Another quickie while we race through our TiVo, which deleted some precious final episodes of The Shield because an episode of What Not to Wear recorded for 2421 minutes. That so far is the best argument I can think of against continuing to record What Not to Wear . . .

The Husband:

After last season finished, I heard that Shonda Rhimes was going to be making some pretty heavy changes to the show in order to make sure that it could hit numbers as big as those that went with the series pilot, or maybe even better than that. Then the s2 premiere came around (which I had missed due to DVR conflicts and a faulty ABC.com player), and many viewers and bloggers said that the show did, indeed, improve over much of the hokum of s1. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to viewing it two weeks late, I have to say…not much is different. Not really. It’s better, yes, but I seem to be missing the “big difference” to which everyone was referring.

Private Practice
has sort of written itself into a corner. On the one hand, it’s an ensemble show with some great actors (Diggs, McDonald and Walsh especially) and owes it to us as a prime-time dramedy soap to explore their lives in interesting ways. Problem is, the first season could not find anything of interest to deal with outside of the Diggs/McDonald love-and-hate relationship, and some goofy pining for McDonald from VMars‘ Piz. On the other hand, it’s a medical show, and in order to focus on the cases, you have to move away from the ensemble’s core. Problem is, the cases weren’t especially good in s1. (Except for the preteen with an STD. That was good.) So now, the show has to realign its balance while understanding that a.) the ensemble needs to be more interesting and less whiney and b.) the medical cases need to be better.

So far with the s2 premiere, they worked very hard on b.) — even going so far as to have a character say that the Oceanside Wellness Clinic needs to take on more cases, echoing the cries of millions of viewers — by shifting very aggressively away from a.). I think that’s what people are responding to, that there is less crazy adult shenanigans happening on the show, but all that really means to me is that the comedy has been toned down and that before long we’ll be right back into Amy Brenneman‘s whining.

A precarious show this one is. Why do I watch it? I see glimmers of goodness, I like Walsh as an actress and Addison as a character both, the ensemble is top-notch and it’s good to have a little injection of television estrogen after watching something like, say, Criminal Minds.

This, my friends, is why you think ahead and save your babys cord blood.

This, my friends, is why you think ahead and save your baby's cord blood.

This week the two cases really got me motivated for the series, because finally they truly did something new for this particular show — they directly affected the ensemble’s plots and not the other way around. In the first case, McDonald’s Naomi had made a very impulsive and desperate decision by accepting nearly $100,000 —which would help the money-hemorrhaging clinic — and implanting a baby in a woman. Why? Because that woman’s young son is dying from Leukemia and needs the baby’s umbilical cord to survive. Unfortunately, the son is dying, so the woman wants to induce labor three months early before he dies. After Addison and Naomi argue over ethics, the woman finally breaks her own water by puncturing herself with a knitting needle. (OH NOES!) Naomi’s decision gets her demoted in the clinic by her own ex-husband, and now she feels she can no longer trust Addison for tattling on her.

The second case involves a young teenager who wants condoms from Cooper since he is going to have sex with his girlfriend. However, due to doctor-patient confidentiality to the boy’s parents, he cannot tell the teenager that he was born HIV-positive and definitely should not have sex with this girl, and due to doctor-patient confidentiality to the boy, he cannot tell the boy’s parents about their son’s horniness. When the kid finally learns about his disease, he drops a bomb — the two already had sex. (DOUBLE OH NOES!) It got Cooper thinking about his intense promiscuity, and made him think that maybe he should take the torrid affair he is currently having with KaDee Strickland and turn it into a full-fledged relationship.

PP isn’t particularly great, but I like it enough to watch on our bedroom’s DVR right before I fall asleep. I’ll do better this season to not TiNo the crap out of it (which last year got so bad that I just deleted the eps and caught them all on DVD in one day only a couple weeks ago) and I will still hold out hope that in the future, the show could potentially be great. No promises, though. Shonda has been known to screw the pooch on multiple occasions.

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