"PRIVATE PRACTICE: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: * (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Kate Walsh as ADDISON MONTGOMERY
Tim Daly as PETE WILDER
Audra McDonald as NAOMI BENNETTT
Taye Diggs as SAM BENNETT
Amy Brenneman as VIOLET TURNER
Paul Adelstein as COOPER FREEDMAN
KaDee Strickland as CHARLOTTE KING
Chris Lowell as DELL PARKER
Studio: ABC Studios
Back to DVD Review Home
WHAT IT’S ABOUTClick here to read more DVD reviews!
Click here to read more movie reviews!
Click here to watch films by 7M Pictures!
Doctor Addison Forbes-Montgomery (Kate Walsh) continues working at her private practice in Los Angeles with a series of other doctors who handle various levels of family care. The practice sees a series of challenges, both medical and social, which requires the skills of the different doctors. Plus, Addison and her co-workers find themselves in various romantic trysts, sometimes resulting in conflicts of interest.
WHAT I LIKED
Back when she started as a recurring character on “Grey’s Anatomy,” I found Kate Walsh and her on-screen alter-ego to be quite compelling. She was the most interesting character on that other ABC medical drama, and she continues to be the same on “Private Practice.”
This is a competently made show that manages to strike a certain balance between real-life medical issues and prime-time soap opera fluff. And with the relatively large cast, the writing does allow each person to have his or her own storyline, which might help avoid an off-screen hissy fit from the actors like what happened with some folks on “Grey’s.”
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
My biggest problem with “Private Practice” was something I identified last season... it’s really forced. The setting of a hospital offers a large canvas for drama, considering there’s an E.R. handy and the entire hospital at the writers’ disposal. However, with a holistic family practice, things rarely get so dramatic.
The writing really stretches to get the issue of the week, touching on an array of social concerns like drug addiction, abortion, autism-causing vaccinations, euthanasia, teen pregnancy, rape and anything else that has hit the front page of any number of news sources. In this respect, the show is too hyper-realistic. It doesn’t take a very big step backwards to realize that Oceanside Medical is one of the worst health care spots on the coast.
Shonda Rimes tries to play nice with the social issues, but cannot help but direct her own personal prejudices into the mix with everything from episodes on prostitution to a strawman abortion discussion that ends in an overwhelming pro-choice stance. The show has the appearance of trying to show all sides of an issue but sneaks its message in there in the end.
What balances out the medical issues is the romantic entanglements, but these are irritating at best and downright horrible at worst. Like so many other soap operas, the characters’ hormones justify any sort of atrocious behavior, including infidelity with a patient’s spouse (which is glossed over by showing the attraction before it was known the love interest was married to a patient). And as bad as it is to watch rich, beautiful, successful people bellyache as to why they can’t find a mate, it gets worse.
The character of Violet gets pregnant with the possible father being two different guys. Instead of being an adult about the whole thing, she whines and complains, then refuses to find out the child’s paternity. And this is presented as being an okay choice. Well, it’s not. Violet is a selfish, unhealthy, childish character presented as just a woman with a lot on her plate, and this is why the show fails.
I suppose there’s a certain degree of joy the viewers get by seeing rich, beautiful, successful people who don’t have their shit together, but I found it excruciating to watch. In fact, when the episodes were supposed to tug at the heartstrings, I rolled my eyes. And when they were supposed to make you think and engage in social discussions, I just found myself pissed off at both sides that were presented.
The six-disc DVD set includes all 22 season two episodes, as well as two extended episodes (“Crime and Punishment” and “Nothing to Fear”). There are a series of deleted scenes as well as a blooper reel that is easily the funniest thing you’ll see on an ABC Studios release this year.
There’s a spotlight on Chris Lowell (who plays Dell Parker) and his photography, which is a bit self-congratulatory and also reminiscent of a similar piece done for Matthew Fox in one of the “Lost” seasons.
Finally, a behind-the-scene video called “Patient Confidentiality: Examining Season 2” looks at the making of this second season. And as much as I have been irritated with this show, I was happy to see some of the actors – including Amy Brenneman and Paul Adelstein – point out some of the major flaws in the series.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who want a medical drama but thing “Grey’s Anatomy” doesn’t have enough drama.