Friday, March 13, 2009

Fond Memories

My Smallville column should be posted on PrimeTimePulse by tomorrow morning. I'll provide that link once it's available. And by the way, that "memories" title is pretty appropriate, given the events of that episode.

But no, I actually wanted to briefly discuss ANOTHER Thursday night staple: ER. For the first time in, what, over a decade, we had classic characters like Doug Ross, Carol Hathaway, Peter Benton, and Carter in one episode.

Last January, I criticized ER for falling into a lazy writer's trap. It seems like many writers are incapable of making happy characters interesting. As a result, you rarely ever see characters get a happy ending until they're written off of the show entirely. I find this to be a cop-out, and really unfair to the audience that becomes emotionally invested in the character's happiness. I mean, we were there for all the drama, depression, and miscellaneous crap, but we only get a fleeting glimpse of the happy moments?

What's even worse is when a character gets that less-than-ideal, but better than nothing happy ending before getting written off, and then makes a guest appearance where we discover the character's life went to the crapper (like with Jeanie last year). This episode was the antithesis of this. We learned that Peter and Cleo are still together. Reese is apparently a happy and well adjusted teenager. Peter has also grown significantly as a doctor and a man. Likewise, Carol seems to have achieved great success, as has Doug. And the two are still living happily ever after. Carter seems like the exception, except his misery is part of an ongoing story arc that remains true to his character. That's not lazy writing, in my opinion.

I also LOVED the coincidental connections, many of which went undiscovered by the characters. The hospital that Carter was sent to ended up being the one that Benton works at. The kidney that he received came from the facility where Carol and Ross work, and was delivered by Sam, who was there for an unrelated transplant.

And while I loved the way this went unnoticed by practically everybody involved (which is true to life), I'm glad that the one reunion they did give us was Peter and Carter. These two are so fantastic together. I just loved the brief, pained expression on Carter's face when Peter unknowingly asked him if he has any children. I also enjoyed how Carol walked into the room immediately after -- and therefore missing -- when Sam mentioned "County" to Nela.

So yeah. That's me being brief.

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