Thursday, September 27, 2007

"A lot of men have enjoyed seeing me naked. A lot!": Private Practive

It's almost silly how excited I was for this show. Actually, strike that. It's not that silly! Addison is probably my favorite character from Grey's Anatomy. The cast ABC assembled is unusually strong, but the backdoor pilot proved they could function well without stepping on each other's toes, despite the fact that Diggs, Daly and Breneman have all played lead roles before. Marti Noxon's a writer I admire and she's gonna be showrunner. So why not be excited?

In the end, Private Practice looks like it's been hobbled by its own hype (purely in terms of its ratings, which were not as fantastic as hoped). Still, I enjoyed this actual pilot, and there's major potential for a fun series here. It was a little clunky at times though, and also a little less sensational than I had hoped it would be. The laughs were minor and the drama was a little weaker than Shonda can usually manage. NONETHELESS. I think some critics are being a little too hard on Private Practice because of its incredible pedigree, and I'm still excited for what's to come (I also hear episode two is better).

A lot of people complained about Addison's supposed wimpiness here, and I know they reshot a couple scenes to make her tougher, but in the end I think she came off well. Addison being freaked out by the sudden loss of her hi-tech equipment and loyal army of slave-interns and nurses is an obvious reaction, and something the writers have to touch on, especially in the pilot episode. The medical world of Grey's Anatomy is so intense and co-ordinated, and it makes sense that Addison would be fish-out-of-water. She's in a kooky wellness clinic! Anyway, her speech at the end of the episode was the right mix of badass and ditzy for her, the kind of rambling that Kate Walsh really specializes in, and I think that redeemed any of her lamer moments in the episode. However, her actual patient of the week was pretty much a total snooze, and they didn't even properly exploit the patient to create big sexual tension with Tim Daly! I mean, a pregnant teen whose dad disapproves but eventually comes around when zzzzzzzzzzz. Hopefully they'll spice up the patients a little more, cause I didn't really care about who Addison was working on and it didn't sell that she'd fallen in love with the place by treating this one patient.

The Amy Breneman thing (don't worry, I'll figure out all the character's names' by the next episode) was better, seemed more like Shonda Rhimes--a wacky setup (woman crawls on floor in mall!) with a weepy conclusion (kid died of cancer. aaah). Breneman, however, is an absolute ACE at this material, and I know, cause I used to eat cereal and watch Judging Amy repeats on daytime TV all the time. Even though I'm a bigger fan of Daly, and Diggs, and Adelstein, and Lowell, I get the feeling Breneman could be the real standout of this cast. She has the best backstory and already has some good chemistry going with Adelstein. She also seems like a good buddy for Addison to have--get the feeling those two could spark off each other in terms of girl-talky scenes. They're gonna need to work on smoothing that out, because the stuff where the whole cast was giggling and bouncing around about naked people and sperm and so on felt really forced. On Grey's Anatomy it's fun because the interns are like dirty little kids and the residents are like wise-beyond-their-years teenager babysitters and the attendings are like rich socialite sex addict parents (wow, that was a terrific analogy). But when basically everyone on the show is late 30s-early 40s, it feels a little creepier.

Gotta say, Audra McDonald was a marked improvement on Merrin Dungey. Dungey was fine but her friendship with Addison felt oddly forced and you could kind of tell she wasn't that into it. Audra worked better in her scenes with both Walsh and Diggs. Nonetheless, the Diggs/McDonald dead sperm donor storyline was probably the weakest of the bunch. I like Diggs, but he needs to loosen up a little. And all the stuff about why he left her is still so vague and lame, and it's been two episodes (so to speak) already! I'd like to see the two of them really go at it, or trade really fun nastybanter, but instead they seem sort of half-heartedly mad at each other. Enh. Take my advice, Noxon: fun them up!

You know what one of the best things about this episode was, though? JIMMY PICKENS. YEAH. Really just made me inappropriately excited for Grey's Anatomy season 4, which starts tomorrow and I will be covering! Eeeee! So I'll see you guys then.


Carrie said...

I liked this more than I expected to, but it still has a long way to go. I appreciated that they butched Addison up a little bit because I thought she was a sniveling mess in the backdoor pilot last year. I just hope they stay true to the character Addison was on Grey's, because she was by far one of my favorites.

My favorite part of the show so far is definitely Amy Breneman and her relationship with Paul Adelstein. His character is sort of ridiculous most of the time, but his interactions with her at least seem natural. Breneman made me cry when she was talking the patient off the floor, she killed that scene.

Also, thank God Piz got a haircut. But what's up with his sleazestache? Veronica wouldn't approve.

Justin said...

Prison Break suffers because Paul Adelstein is here instead of there now.


Agree that Addison's plot was weak. Agree that Breneman's plot was the best.

Tim Daly is the new McDreamy! Will we all be tortured by a will-they-or-wont-they storyline for weeks, years?