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Wednesday November 16, 2005 6:48 pm

ER:  The Human Shield

Posted by Veronica Santiago Categories: Drama, Prime Time, NBC, ER, Features,

ER Human ShieldIs it sad that the most satisfaction I got out of this last episode was watching former Outsider, Tommy Howell (I mean C. Thomas Howell), be dissected? WOLVERINES!!!  A close second was witnessing Dr. Ray Barnett get his butt kicked for sleeping with an underage girl. If you were that girl’s father, you probably would have felt the same way about that punk.  Is my morbid fascination a reflection upon me or on this show?  All I know is that even though I still watch this show routinely, ER has now become so routine that I am forced to entertain myself with the little things.

Let’s discuss the ever-evolving cast of characters:

I know from my own personal place of work that employees are continously coming and going, and I’m sure that a hospital is no exception.  But when this high turnover rate is depicted on television, the change can be quite jarring - unless, of course, you are watching a soap opera where new faces are accepted as a way of life.  In general, you know a show has been around for quite some time (and probably for too long) when major characters depart without anyone even blinking.  When a chopper landed on top of Dr. Romano, was there ever a mourning period?  When Carrie announced that Susan had moved on to another hospital, did anyone even realize that she had left?  And when Haleh was just recently fired, did she leave to the loudest anti-climactic thud or what?  BTW – where does Carrie Weaver keep going to?

Speaking of departures – what about those recent additions?  Eve Peyton was clearly brought on to not only whip the emergency room into shape, but to revitalize the show overall.  But was I the only one shocked to see her already training the nurses, especially when we didn’t know they needed a nurse manager to being with? Where exactly did she come from?  And poor John Leguizamo.  Right now it’s looks like the chimp storyline may become his most memorable one.  Episodes with cute animals are always imprinted in our psyche.  I know the producers are alluding to a secret in Dr. Clemente’s past, but even when that is revealed – will we even care?  Who at the hospital doesn’t have a secret past?

And here’s another popular topic:  office romances.  When this last episode wrapped up, Abby and Kovac were on the verge of hooking up….once again.  Seriously - who in the current cast of characters has Kovac not been involved with yet? Eve Peyton doesn’t count because she just got there.  We obviously know that he’s already been with Abby and Sam, but let’s not forget his brief stint with Chuny.  And how about Neela?  No – she and Kovac never officially hooked up, but the producers did toy with that idea when they forced Neela to have an idiotic schoolgirl crush on him.  C’mon.  Kovac and Sam’s breakup is barely five minutes old and they already have him sleeping with Abby again?  Are the story lines so tired that he already has to recycle his women?  As for the other characters—does anyone want to make an early bet that Ray and Neela will have an eventual roomies-with-benefits encounter?

But now to the ‘Jump the Shark’ moment/character of the fall (there’s at least one per season.)  Are you kidding me with this Dr. Dubenko character? Is replacing that jerk of a surgeon, Dr. Romano, with someone really creepy the answer?  Leland Orser is a fine actor.  But if he had asked me to sleep with him before he lost all control of his penis, I would have piloted my own chopper and landed on him. As for that remote robot device? It’s still a toss up whether or not the new mechanical version is up an upgrade to the real thing.

Blah, blah, blah.  As for why I keep watching this show while continuing to criticize it?  I guess you could say that you only hurt the ones you love.  As long as ER continues to take a lickin’ but keeps on tickin’, we’ll probably be there to watch.

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