Thursday, November 20, 2008

Private Practice: No more TiVo for you!

I find there's a slow progression to breaking up with a TV show. If you're a TV junkie like me, TV shows are a little like a good relationship. When it's good, it's good and when it's bad, it's like a beatrayal. I've broken up with a few long-term-relationship shows before. I was with ER for almost 8 years before the African episodes with Benton and Carter made me realize I was too bored and unfulfilled to keep watching it. I broke up with Lost once because it irritated me and made me angry. I gave it another chance after hearing so many people tell me how amazing the finale of Season 2 was. Right now, I'm back on with Lost- I hope it's a lasting relationship this time.

At the moment, I'm going through a breakup with Private Practice. I gave it two seasons. Mostly, I watched it because I liked Addison Montgomery, who'd brought a spark into the walls of Seattle Grace on Grey's Anatomy. I also watched it because I love Taye Diggs. He's nice to look at, his voice is like velvet and I find him dynamically interesting. Usually. The final icing on the cake was Paul Adelstein who I had LOVED as Agent Kellerman on Prison Break. Agent Kellerman was awesome. He would have worked really well with Jack Bauer. If Jack Bauer was slightly evil. I'm hoping that he comes back to Prison Break. It would add to the ludicrously fun silliness of the show.

I've been trying to have faith in Shonda Rhimes.Greys had me a little worried last year but I trusted and believed and it got better again. Lately, Grey's is frightening me with it's potential-shark-jumping silliness (Read my previous blog for my take on that). But I believed in Shonda. She'd given me one show that I devoured weekly, loving the soapy-steam of Seattle Grace. I followed her to Private Practice. It was slower than Grey's, the doctors more grown-up, the slightly-cliche California hippy-chic setting cleaner and less messy than Grey's.

The thing was it wasn't really the Addison I'd loved on Grey's. She lost a lot of her steel and fire, she whined. She'd always been a grown-up on Grey's, her skill, expertise and no-nonsense attitude making her into a great doctor who cared but not too much. She started mooning over a man immediately as soon as she left Seattle Grace. She didn't fit. Kate Walsh didn't fit. The private practice itself, Oceanside Wellness, was annoying and filled with characters who were supposed to be quirky but turned out to be irritating. Most of the time I found myself wondering exactly how Violet the psychiatrist managed to get a license to practice because she's crazier and more unbalanced than most of her patients. Paul Adelstein's character was formerly addicted to internet chat rooms where he set up dates with women because he was supposed to be pathetically lovelorn. He's the pediatrician. I don't know if I'd want my kid to see him.

The first season was somewhat entertaining if a little uneven. I didn't really like any of the doctors much but I wanted to be as addicted as I was to Grey's.

So I started watching the second season and, well, frankly, I'm bored. I'm so bored with the routine of sex-scenes-in-the-beginning, bickering in the middle, sappy at the end. I hate the doctors, even Addison at times. I don't care about them. I've given it five episodes now and I'm done. The show is boring. Nothing happens. I don't care about any of those people. In fact, part of me sort of wants an earthquake episode in which Oceanside Wellness gets swept into the murky grey of the Pacific Ocean. They're terrible doctors. They come and go as they please. They have sex a lot. I have no problem with sex but I at least want to care about the characters so I'm happy for them. I like Addison's boyfriend, not as a character but because he's played by David Sutcliffe who was Christopher from Gilmore Girls.

At this point, I feel as though should be pointing out tips for improving it, finding ways to make it more enjoyable. But I can't. It's the type of TV viewing situation in which it's better to just put it out of it's misery. However, I would like to propose the following:

  • Paul Adelstein goes back to Prison Break and has a spin off with William Fichner as "Mahone and Kellerman: Agents of Doom" (or something to that effect).

  • Addison goes back to Seattle Grace, exorcises Denny and gets rid of all the new interns except Lexi. She sits Lexi down, lectures her on how pathetic and whiny she is and how she needs to grow a backbone. Lexi, in turn, gives Meredith a few pointers and the two sisters actually get along as well as co-existing. She also develops a specialty in Cardiothorasics so we can stop having heart surgeons who leave or have Aspergers.

  • Taye Diggs and David Sutcliffe should get a new script that is funny and suits them both. They should invite Jeffrey Dean Morgan to join them. As a living character. Who does not die. And then comes back again. Several times.

  • Chris Lowell should go back to Veronica Mars. Which would mean reviving the show. Which would be fantastic.
Everyone else can find their own projects. I like Audra McDonald so I'd be ok with her going elsewhere. Amy Brenneman has never been my favourite and Tim Daly is too smarmy for my tastes, no matter what role he's in.

But in the immediate future, it's time for me to break up with the show. I find that if you record a show and then make excuses for not watching it, it's time to face reality and give it up. That's how I feel about Private Practice. Maybe if Shonda lets it go with whatever dignity it can gather (though it's low on that in the first place), she can turn her attention back to Grey's and stop the gathering storm of mystical silliness that is gathering there. What I don't get is that this show gets to stay on the air and Pushing Daisies is in jeopardy. There's something not quite right about that.

But then, if TV executives listend to the fans, we'd have a lot more good TV and a lot less crap. And we can't have that now, can we?

1 comment:

  1. I loved Private Practice last night. It's far more entertaining than Greys IMO but then I find it hard to relate to the incessant whininess of the Greys characters. And as long as Shonda does not resort to the Greys stunts of bringing back ghosts from the dead, I will continue to watch. Greys on the other hand, has jumped the shark yet again.