Wednesday, March 12, 2008

ER: In Delusional Casting News...

It wouldn’t be a day ending in Y if I couldn’t find some reason to complain about ER. has some interesting quotes up today, courtesy of our good friend David Zabel. Suggesting that it might be possible to get George Clooney and Julianna Margulies to appear next season.


Zabel admits it might not be realistic. Ya think? He’s the biggest movie star in the world and she seems to… not have such great things to say about the show that made her career. If this actually happened, I would – I don’t even know. Some equivalent of “eat my hat.”

Even if a deal could be worked out, didn’t Gloria Reuben’s return prove what a bad idea it is? There’s been such a cast overhaul that none of our characters from now know our characters from then. Carol would know Abby and Luka (if he were around). She and Doug would both know a couple of nurses. Not a treasure trove of story material there. Nevermind that they live in Seattle and would have to have some clunky reason for showing up in the ER. I know Abby helped deliver their second baby, but… no. They have no one to visit. I was the world’s biggest D/C fan back in the day and I think this is a crazy-dumb idea.

Would it be better to bring back some other character? Not really. The same logic applies. Weaver, certainly, could return. And as much as I’d love to see Susan back, I know that ain’t happening. But anyone else from the first decade would be just as awkward as Jeanie was. The nostalgia factor doesn’t matter if the story you’re telling sucks.

And then there are the other ex-cast members returning next season, The Two That Wouldn’t Leave. In recent years, I’ve gone on and on and on about the lameness of Noah Wyle still doing guest appearances. His last few seasons completely destroyed Carter’s character. He has no place on this show anymore. Noah himself once used the analogy of the kid who graduates from high school, but still hangs around the playground. Yes. That. That’s what’s happening here. There’s nothing I would like more than a Carby reunion, but I gave up hope on that one a long time ago. They’re not gonna pull it together in the space of four episodes next season. Also, there’s the thing where I can’t stand the sight of Carter anymore.

We’re playing the same game with Goran Visnjic. “I’m leaving, but I’m not really leaving, I’ll just have my own story going on on another continent, even though it totally disrupts the rest of the show.” Luka in Croatia is not nearly as disruptive as Carter in Africa and I’m plenty glad to have him shipped off. But “gone” should mean “gone.” George Clooney? He did it right. The writers bungled his departure and absence pretty badly - Doug should have been on a plane the second he found out about his impending spawn. But when he made his return appearance, it truly was to wrap up his storyline. Not to drag it out and detract from everyone who was still there.

God willing, next season will finally be the last. And the show will have only lasted twice as long as it should have. “Jump the shark” is such a played-out phrase. ER deserves its own. “Drop the ‘copter?”

To their credit, there were parts of this season that were remarkably watchable – even good! Most of that was Abby’s alcoholism storyline, but I’ll watch Stanley Tucci do anything and I love Gates playing Daddy. Maybe that’s some kind of residual Uncle Jesse thing on my part. But the good was overshadowed by the awful. The pervy med student? Surgical hockey team showdowns?

There’s something to be said for going out on top.

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