Friday, February 14, 2003

ER has been a favorite show of mine pretty much since its first season. No, it's not the fresh wonder that it was back then, but I still find it much more enjoyable than most of the stuff elsewhere on TV. The show did waver a bit, a few seasons back, when the producers allowed the cast to balloon to a ridiculous degree with a set of newer characters that weren't particularly likable; luckily they ditched the duds, brought in a few new ones, and the show's doing just fine now. I like that Dr. Carter has matured and is in what appears to be a good relationship; I like the dynamic of Doctors Gallant and Pratt, the two young students who bounce off each other because one is gung-ho and cavalier while the other is cautious to a fault. I've never been a big fan of Dr. Weaver, but Laura Innes is for my money the most underrated actress on television.

The only blemish right now, for me, is Maura Tierney's character. Tierney is a very beautiful woman and she has great comic timing -- so obviously, the ER producers keep downplaying those qualities by keeping her looking incredibly frumpy in every episode and giving her character more psychological baggage than the supporting cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She's a recovering alcoholic with one broken marriage under her belt; she dropped out of medical school; her mother is bi-polar to the Nth degree and now she apparently has a brother who is also bi-polar. I really hope the writers quit dumping on her, soon.

(And for God's sake, stop inflicting Sally Field upon us during every sweeps period! Field is an actress of, shall I say, limited appeal. She was good in Smokey and the Bandit. She was excellent in Places in the Heart, and she was fine as Tom Hanks's mother in Forrest Gump. But her character on ER is the very picture of annoying.)

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