TV Shocker

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

TV Shocker

Updated 04/09/2009 – 04:01 pm

There's something about Fox's House M.D. that appeals... to me, at least.

Not, however, my wife the medical profession­al! It's not that Jeanne finds that the show gets the medicine wrong so much as "things just don't work that way. It's stupid!"

Still, I've been a fan since early season two... whatever the "medicine," I love the writing1.

This week the show, in its fifth season, pulled a fast one on its viewers by killing off a prin­cipal character without so much as a hint or a tease that something dire was going to occur.

(Had it been an NBC show2, there would have been a week's worth of promos with the guy with the throb in his voice let­ting viewers know that "this week we say 'Goodbye' to someone special!")

What happened in the show's first segment was that colleagues went to Lawrence Kutner's apartment to check on why he hadn't shown up for work and wasn't answering his 'phone, and found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

(All viewers saw were legs3 and a pool of blood on the floor, so there was no visual confirmation that it was even Kal Penn4 who had portrayed the young doctor over the past two seasons.)

So it was unexpected5, and the aftermath within the narrative of the episode which wasn't devoted to the mystery-affliction-of-the-week, was centered on the self-centered title character played by Hugh Laurie who be­came singularly focussed on "how could we6 have missed it?," i.e., the signs which led to the character's suicide.

Penn, who also played one of the stoner duo in the successful Harold & Kumar... flicks, has had a nice film career to date, and his role in the medical series was a good one, so no one anticipated it being "written out."

Then it was revealed that Penn, née Kalpen Suresh Modi, quit not just the series but sus­pended his acting career to take a job with the Obama Administration as "Associate Director for the White House Office of Public Liaison."


And the job description? Penn told Television Without Pity:

"What the OPL does ... is take the adminis­tration itself out of Washington, so they go into communities across the country, con­tinue the sorts of dialogue people had started during the campaign and basically ensure that a bunch of citizens' views about their elected officials, about their govern­ment are all happening and that they're working effectively. Make sure that a lot of these new voices that have emerg­ed -- especially during the campaign sea­son -- are brought to the table -- Demo­crats, Repub­licans, everyone in between - and to build those relationships and kind of embody the types of changes that Presi­dent Obama had run on."


I really really object to my tax dollars being spent this way!

More Boob Tubery...

A big "Atta gal!" to Hampton Bays' Carolyn Feldschuh for her first speaking part on either the large or small screen, in Tuesday evening's episode of Fringe.

("Inner Child:" scenes at 37:52 and 43:55. Her big line: "Thank you. Your mother raised you well.")

Carolyn, an ol' schoolmate of Jeanne's and Gordon Werner's from Lindenhurst, and known to many on the East End as "Mrs. Snowflake," has been busy as a film and TV stunt person and background actress for the better part of the decade, with a expanding list of credits.

Another local, along with Westhampton Beach ZBA Chairman Chris Bean, whose faces are frequently seen in movie and on TV, usually uncredited.

But they're there, so keep a sharp eye.

  1. Not the least of which, quod vide, was this week's en passant skewering of David Car­uso's insufferable posturing in CSI: Miami:
    "...solving a crime by taking off your sun­glasses to the strains of The Who play­ing in the background."
  2. Not that Fox is without its own schmaltz! They mounted their own "Kutner Tribute Page!"
  3. His own legs, the actor told Daily Beast blogger Kim Masters.
  4. Penn, however, was listed in the opening credits, so there was absolutely no hint that he was being written out of the show.
  5. As unexpected as the deaths of Officer Joe Coffey and Andy Sipowicz Jr. in a pair of Steven Bochco cop shows.
  6. Read: "I," as in first person singular.


1. Rob F. said...

Your wife has the same reaction to medical shows that I have to lawyer shows.

2. Jeanne Speir said...

No Dean, I said doctors don't stroll into the OR without masks and gloves to stick their hands into an open abdomen. There exists no benign creature like House's boss -- the one with the Ferrari-piston bottom (actually, a funny and quick line) who would knowingly tolerate a Vicodin-addicted practitioner, gimpy boy wonder or not. The DEA would be ALL over that. How the doctors switch their specialties mid-action is patently ridiculous. The always nigh-never-heard-of-diagnoses at show's end serve to denigrate your poor clay-footed local schlub; trying to figure out what is wrong with YOU, despite one's grand hypochondriasis and quirky insurance forms.


I like some of the sarcasm -- otherwise the series leaves me wanting.

Jeez, you're getting as curmudgeonly as ol' House himself!

As I stated, I like the writing!

3. Jeanne Speir said...

CAROLYN -- You're a STAR! I'm SO glad you got to live!!

Unlike my daughter-in-law, who has taken her last breath SO often on the cable Lifetime and risen again that she's given J.C. a run for his money!

4. Gordie Howe said...

Hey Dean....

Happy Holidays! Maybe the writers can come up with a Rabbi show for the Fall season - oh wait - that's the reality show we live, mea culpa!


You're right! No one could script this stuff!

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