Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ER: Enter Fat Lady. Singing Imminent.

I don’t want to definitively speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure that the five of us are all members of the I Used to Ship Carter & Abby and Had My Heart Broken by John Wells Club. (It’s a fun club. We meet at Doc Magoo’s. Oh, wait. That burned down, remember? About five minutes before my hopes and dreams.)

So when we read spoilers that said Dr. Kovac was exiting ER stage left, we were, to say the least, stoked. For as much as we’ve hoped and hoped that our OTP would eventually be reunited, we’ve pretty much been living under the feeling that as long as we can’t win, we don’t want them to, either. And we genuinely don’t like Abby with Kovac. We’re not just being bitter. First and foremost, we love Abby Lockhart, and we think she deserves better than a head-basher toolbag who is either thinking about Catholic clergy during sex or telling our heroine how she’s not that pretty and not that special. Excuse us, but we think she IS that pretty and that special.

So then we got word that Noah Wyle was making good on his deal with Warner Bros. to do a handful more episodes of ER—they were supposed to happen this year, but then the strike happened, and, well, you know how that goes. Suddenly, the Carbies were at attention. It was like the freaking barking chain. It doesn't matter how long it's been, we operate perfectly every time. Mae, Sophie, and I were spending way too much time talking about the potentialities associated with a John Carter return, especially one which coincided all-too-nicely with a Goran Visnjic exodus.

Could we win? Five years after “Kisangani,” could we win? Could we literally lose five years of battles and then win the freaking war?

Also, has it seriously been five years since Carter’s first trip to Africa? That terrifies me. I feel so old.

We didn’t want to get our hopes up or anything, but for about a week, there was a lot of cautious optimism. A lot of speculation, a lot of wishing and hoping and you know what would be perfect? And you know what would be perfect? Carter coming back from Africa (is he seriously still over there?) to a newly-single, still-kind-of-broken Abby. And it’s not that she needs fixing, but she could use a friend, she could use John Carter. First for friendship, then for something else. Just like old times.

‘Cause really when you look at it, it’s eerily similar to the positions they were in so many years ago. Post-breakup, trying to stay on the wagon...except now she has a kid and Luka’s for reals gone. So, you know, we’re suddenly building a happy little season fifteen for them, where Carter’s meeting Joe and they’re creating a family and holy crap working together again and getting coffee and pie and finally getting engaged and taking things slowly but ultimately realizing that they’re basically the OTP of this freaking show and have been for the last EIGHT YEARS.

I was already considering the fact that John Wells might actually call me and ask me to appear on the show in my long-awaited role as Carter’s super-awesome niece Caroline (Ha! Get it! That’s my name!) who loves her Uncle John and ultimately sets the tone.

We really wanted that. So when we heard the unspeakable—that Maura Tierney is leaving, too—we were a little inconsolable. I mean, it’s kind of heartbreaking. And, yes, we were exercising cautious optimism, but we had also just been hoping like hell. After the heartbreak wore off (a little), we had a few pretty serious WTFs to ask John Wells.

First of all, what’s the point, really, of having a season fifteen without Maura Tierney? I mean, I know we give her a LOT of credit based on our fangirly obsession with the woman, but she is absolutely the emotional center of the show. Are you really going to try to center a whole year around Taggart and Gates? (Also, now’s a good time to say that I don’t even know what Gates’s first name is. That shows (A) how seldom I watch the show nowadays and (B) how inconsequential John Stamos is to ER in the long run.) Y’all need Maura. Without her, damn, I don’t even know.

Secondly, if Maura’s leaving, then SERIOUSLY what’s the point of having a season fifteen WITH Noah Wyle? Again, we know we place a lot of weight on Carter and Abby together, but the only other person he really knows from back in the day is Pratt, and they didn’t really like each other that much. Remember how awkward it was when Jeanie Boulet came back and didn’t know ANYONE? It negated the awesomeness of her return, quite frankly. And I worry about them negating the absolute awesomeness of Noah Wyle doing anything other than those freaking Librarian movies.

We’re also going to have to concede to the Lubies. It sucks. A lot. But with Maura and Goran leaving at the same time, it seems pretty clear that Abby, Luka, and that dumb baby Joe are going to get to ride off into the sunset together. And then two episodes later, our hero will return to a sadly empty hospital. As a brilliant Carby Board member (Shannon) said a few days ago, “In a way it is kind of fitting...it has always been about timing."

The hope that has kept the five of us tethered inextricably to ER is pretty much obliterated. What could have been a final season of redemption and Carbitas now seems like it’ll be another example of tragically missed connection and poor timing. And for that I am sad. I literally can’t remember a time when I didn’t want those two to end up together or a time when I didn’t have absolute faith that they would.

My esteemed colleague—and, seriously, one of my best friends in the whole world—Mae Vaughan said something the other day that made me reconsider my Post-Carby Angst. She reminded me that our friendship was built on a foundation of Carby. It’s a friendship that has obviously evolved from that, but we can’t help that the beginnings of our awesomeness are seriously Carter and Abby. So for that, I am grateful. So thanks, ER, for Mae. Thanks for the handful of people who understand the importance of the 2.12-carat Royal Oval Diamond and who remember the day we found out about it and basically keeled over and died. And then called each other and did it all over again.

I’m a big baby for my OTPs, but I’ll take Mae over them any day.

5 Responses to “ER: Enter Fat Lady. Singing Imminent.”

Mae Vaughan said...

I love you, Caro! <3

We Carbies are a solid unit, that's for sure. No one will ever understand us the way another Carby can and does.

Sigh. I don't want to concede to the Lubies. Can't I still have hope that they'll get divorced and Abby will leave County self-sufficient and strong on her own? SHE CAN DO IT!

Ugh. I so love that ER brought us all together, but good God do I hate John Wells.

Anonymous said...

Word to everything you just said. A Maura-less ER is a sad, sad thing. I've been wishing and hoping for a Carby reunion for years.

Multiple Dundies to you (yes I'm cross referencing with my OTHER favourite show... who at least seem to KNOW what they're doing with their OTP) for being so absolutely, wonderfully and terrifically correct.


Anonymous said...

WOW that was so spot on it's almost freaky. And seriously only true carbys will really understand how true it all is. But you are right about how much ER brought people together and how we all made friends. i myself have 4 really good friends two of which are Mae and Leigh and they are now my BEST friends. we talk all the time and they are such a huge part of my life. As much as we went though those friends are what make it worth all that. Even though being a carby makes you scarred for life. you can never have total faith in your shipper couple working out no matter how written in stone it seems to be. there's always that "yea but remember what happened on ER" going through your head.

Unknown said...

haha "even though being a Carby makes you scarred for life." i think ultimately it was an important lesson to learn--don't get too comfortable with thy ship. expect the worst--then you'll always be pleasantly surprised.

Anonymous said...

You have just said exactly everything that I have been thinking but been unable to say! I completely agree with everything you've said.
Jo xx