3.29.2009

The Power of the Eye

The last month has been filled with ER retrospectives, pieces on Entertainment Tonight as well as newspaper articles about the long running show. I used to watch it religiously, but haven't for something six years. My favorite character was Dr. Mark Greene, played by Anthony Edwards, and when he left, I left. Okay, that's not true either. I actually checked out when his character hooked up with Alex Kingston's character (I forgot her name). That was after Eric LaSalle made a big deal that his character had to be with a black woman; in spite of the fact that his character (asshole) was a better fit with AK's character. They lost me at blackmale.

Anyways, I haven't watched the show and wasn't worse for wear for it. I found other outstanding television shows, namely The Wire & Deadwood, two shows that rank right up there for me as far as excellent in entertainment. But one ER episode holds, for me, the title of the best hour of television drama that I've ever witnessed. So, it warmed my heart this morning, perusing the Sunday LA Times (yes another reason why I read the paper everyday - but that's another post), to see an ode to that very episode this morning; "
Love's Labor Lost" the only TV show episode of any show I know the title of. The only episode of a TV show that can bring tears to my eyes by just thinking of it.

What's the episode about? In short, in addition to the regular cacophony that was the general background noise (but interesting background noise, nevertheless) of ER, it's about a pregnancy gone wrong; very wrong, really, really, really wrong. Mark Greene was the center of the episode and maybe that's why he's my favorite character (I got an autographed photo from him sometime in '96; still got it too). And, as I recall, it was the first ER episode I bothered to watch. I'm not much for medical dramas, but in that first year, ER had such buzz, I decided to tune in.

And tune in, I did. For the next how many years. That one episode convinced me that ER was a great show. So during the summer, I watched to catch up on the previous episodes I'd missed. And, after I saw the premiere episode, I know that if I had watched it, I still would have been hooked. That, my friend is the mark of something good; really good. There was a point, and I don't know exactly when, that ER was givng us, the poor non-cable paying public, some of the best scripted material to watch, period.

As I said, I don't know how the story lines fared in these last few years, but I do know that ER and LLL will always hold an exalted place in my heart - the television that should be done: smart, emotional, entertaining, and sometimes not a happy ending.

Farewell ER. You were a contender. Actually, you were a winner. Thank you.

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