Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Checking Back into the ER

Last week I watched my first ER episode in about, oh, 4 years. And my first new ER episode in about 5. The last one I watched was in Season 10 when Romano got the helicopter dropped on him. At that point, I was done; I mean the guy had already had his arm cut off by a helicopter, almost everyone I liked on the show had left, and I was a little busy with law school. But not too busy to keep watching ER episodes in syndication (the glory episodes!) on TNT during the day.
Quick background: when ER started, I didn't watch. I watched Chicago Hope instead since it had Mandy Patinkon. I mean, he was Inigo, hello. I didn't get into ER until I started watching it in syndication during college. Then I got hooked.

Oh, those were the days. Clooney, Edwards, Wyle, Margulies, Stringfield, Reuben....I loved them all. So when I tuned back in last Thursday it was with the promise of a return of some familiar faces. And wouldn't you know it? We got Clooney in the first 10 minutes! Thanks, NBC!

As a whole I thought the episode was really well done. Instead of trying to shoe-horn all the past characters back into the ER, we got a sub-plot in Seattle that connected to Chicago and allowed interaction between the new characters and the old. I was not expecting Eriq La Salle to show up, and the scenes between his Dr. Benton and Dr. Carter were my favorite. I think I might have actually cheered when Benton stepped into Carter's room. Oh, and if anyone knows why Carter had renal failure, let me know, k? All we got was, "it's a long story."

The end was bittersweet, however, as they often are. When Carol Hathaway explains to Doug Ross who got the kidney from Seattle, not knowing that it went to Carter, all she said was that it went to "some doctor." Missed connections! So sad!

It's going to be the end of an era when ER ends this season. After all, it's been on for 15 years, basically half my life. I feel like the epitome of the show was the episode "All in the Family" when Kellie Martin's character, Lucy Knight, was killed by a psych patient; if it's available online, I suggest you watch it. It's one of the most powerful hours of television I've ever seen.

In short, thanks for the chance to say goodbye to our fav characters, ER! Well done. And on a final note: how classy is George Clooney? How many other actors who have achieved that level of fame would bother going to back to the television show that made him? Love him.

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