Paging Dr. Ross!

I’ve been an ER fanatic since I was (no joke) in the seventh grade. I loved it so much my mom finally agreed to let me stay up to watch it just so I would stop talking about Dr. Greene and Dr. Carter like they were my best friends. It is and will always be my favorite television show. You know that Sinead O’Connor song “Nothing Compares 2 U” thats how I feel about ER. So while I can watch shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, House etc, none of these are equal to ER.

Sadley this is ER‘s 15th and last season and I have (no joke) cried every episode thus far. Just ask my friend Caitlin, who I watch ER with every week. By the time each episode ends, I owe her a tissue box and several juice boxes.

This final season has brought back many of the old doctors – Dr. Corday; Dr. Weaver; Dr. Barnett; and Dr. Greene (from the grave). So this next bit of news, which I have been hopingand praying would come true, makes me incredibly happy.

George Clooney back to the ER?

According to an Internet report, ER alum George Clooney will return to the medical drama this week to shoot a cameo for the departing show. NBC would neither confirm nor deny the story to EW, but it seems highly likely, especially given what executive producer David Zabel told EW exclusively last year. To wrap the show’s final season, Zabel said he wanted to revisit characters that have existed in the ER over the years and say where they are now. “We’d love to get them all back in some way, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to,” says Zabel of actors like Clooney (Doug) and Julianna Margulies (Carol). “But we’re gonna try.”

Hmm… well if you ask me… I think Dr. Ross is back! Woohoo! At least he better be. Hopefully he brings Nurse Hathaway with him, because that would make this ER fan very, very happy. Just like this clip below did the first time I saw years ago.

Premiering Tonight: United States of Tara

United States of Tara premieres tonight at 10 on Showtime. I caught the first episode online a few days ago and it is a pretty incredible show. Created by Steven Spielberg and developed by Diablo Cody, the show follows a seemingly typical suburban housewife that Tara (played by Toni Collette)suffers from dissociative identity disorder. After deciding to take a break from her medication, her three alternate personalities emerge causing interesting scenarios and some problems for her husband Max (John Corbett), teenage daughter Kate (Brie Larson), son Marshall (Keir Gilchrist) and her skeptical sister Charmaine (Rosemarie DeWitt).

Toni Collette is awesome as Tara. Would you expect anything less? And the supporting cast is equally impressive – my favorite character (aside from Tara) is Marshall, whose sexuality isn’t a punchline and is instead a source of good humor. I’m interested to see how the next 12 episodes pan out. The pilot was written by Diablo Cody. While at some moments I felt as though I watching Juno again, United States of Tara is like the grown up version of Juno. Its humor is less forced and the plot is more acceptable.

Here is the trailer:

The pilot episode is still available online so you should check it out sometime.

Latest Obsession: Friday Night Lights

 The great thing about having a six week break in between semesters is that I get to sit around my house and do nothing except read and watch movies or tv for pleasure. The bad thing is that I always end up loving some tv show that I didn’t before and then end up following it during the semester which means I’ll end up spending more time watching tv than doing my schoolwork.

This break I’ve already watched every episode of How I Met Your Mother and most of The Sopranos. But in the past three-four days I’ve become completely obsessed with Friday Night Lights. It’s one of the only good things NBC has going for it right now. So the NBC execs should really stop screwing over this amazing show and figure out a way for a larger audience to watch FNL.

Seriously, how can people not love this show?

Crash: Small screen adaptation falls flat

In 2005, Crash became the little movie that could when it unexpectedly won the Academy Award for Best Picture, beating out the heavily favored Brokeback Mountain. The movie, starring Hollywood heavyweights Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock and Terrence Howard, depicts a three-day period in Los Angeles where several interrelated events bring strangers together. It is a compelling look at race and gender relations, discrimination and bigotry. The executive producers of Crash have adapted the successful film into a television series for Starz.

Like the film, the television series brings to the forefront the tensions between ethnicities, religions and gender. Through a collection of interrelated cases of prejudice, the show serves as a window into the quiet injustice that occurs within law enforcement, the rich and powerful and the world of medicine.

Veteran actor Dennis Hopper headlines the cast as a drug-addicted music producer looking for his next star, who may just be his driver, played by Jocko Sims. Other characters include a model-turned-police officer, a Brentwood housewife, a real estate developer and an illegal Guatemalan immigrant.

The pilot episode begins with a steamy sex scene that twists into an eye-opener on gender discrimination. After this scene, the episode walks the viewer through several more instances that reflect the crimes committed behind-the-scenes: bribery, indecency, robbery, discrimination and unfair arrests.

The show focuses upon issues of national identity versus race and heritage. A Korean gang member-turned-paramedic, played by Brian Tee, must make a choice between his past and his future, placing him at a constant crossroads with his former friends and co-workers. At one point, a homicide detective tells him, “Make a choice, Korean or American.”

Crash exposes the racism and sexism within law enforcement which is supposed to be representative of justice and equality. There are two-faced cops and sexist agents. In episode three, homicide detective Axel Finet (Nick Tarabay) abuses his power and holds the father of a suspected murderer at gun point in order to arrest his son. This reveals inequality in both society and the forces that regulate it.

The overall coverage of prejudices in the show is very touching, exposing the subtle instances of abuse through discrimination that occur every day, unchecked and overlooked. It seems that in a world which feels the need to systemize and govern its own, those with power never really escape from their own personal prejudices.

However, Crash certainly isn’t afraid to show a little —or a lot—of skin, to indulge the fantasies of its viewers. But when sex is used in this sense, it becomes a gimmick and unfortunately, this alone cannot keep the audience’s attention.

Crash benefits from being a 13-episode series and not a two hour film. While the film can feel as though it is simplifying issues and placing a very obvious

Hollywood message onto events, the television show goes into great depth. Characters and situations are not just cornerstones and stereotypes of a larger picture.

This being said, there is still nothing spectacular about Crash as a television series. While there is a possibility for amazing characters and intriguing story lines, in the first five episodes, the viewer is left without a tangible connection to the series. Instead of generating a necessary conversation about race, like the movie did, the audience is left thinking, “So what?”

What made the 2004 film so compelling for audiences was its overall message and reminder that we are all more alike than we imagine and what we do affects others. This message is not carried throughout the television series. The relationships between the characters are not apparent or profoundly moving.

Adapting a successful movie is a difficult task. Sometimes it works (MASH) and other times it does not (My Big Fat Greek Life). Crash, unfortunately, represents the latter.

Crash airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on Starz.

Published: November 13, 2008
The Mount Holyoke News