Saturday, 9 July 2011

Guilty Pleasure: Private Practice

This is one guilty pleasure that I'm actually ashamed of. This badly written soap about a group practice filled with unbelievably shallow doctors and therapists masquerades as a serious medical drama. It's really, really bad, but I still can't resist watching it every week.

The writers of this show are very conservative. Consequently, almost every story to do with sex ends badly. And if it's about teenagers having sex, watch out: death of one or both teenagers is imminent. Because sex is bad for you, people who are pro-choice are evil and the only people considering  euthanasia are would-be murderers.

It's as if this series takes place in a different world than the one you and I live in, sort of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer had the Buffyverse. The kind of world where a judge in  Family Court tells a woman whose kid was taken into care: "Sorry, but you can't have your child back, because your friends think you're not quite ready to be a mom again". What? I mean, really? No assessment by a social worker or anything?   Well no, as apparently they don't exist in the world of Private Practice. Neither do less than beautiful people, so it seems. Or people without too white, perfect teeth.

I feel quite sorry for Amy Brenneman, playing psychiatrist Violet. Quite a comedown for her after starring in the excellent Judging Amy. Amy's Violet is a sorry excuse for a psychiatrist. I don't think I've seen a therapist as bad as Violet, ever! She's vain, consistently does the wrong thing for the wrong reason, shares the intimate details of her patients lives with  anyone who'll listen and is self-absorbed beyond words. In other words, she fits right in with all the other completely unprofessional doctors and therapists of Private Practice.

So what exactly is the appeal of a show this bad? Well, it's very nice feeling sooo much smarter than the people you're watching on screen. In a way Private Practice fills the void in my life that Charmed left. Everyone should feel this good about themselves at least once a week! It's not so much a guilty pleasure as feel-good medication.

And of course, as they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Even Private Practice had some great episodes. The episode where Charlotte King was raped was surprisingly good, I admit I even shed a tear or two. KaDee Strickland is a fine actress, she and Amy Brenneman really deserve a much better show.

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