Friday, March 27, 2009

ER, "I Feel Good": Camp classic

Very brief spoilers for the penultimate episode of "ER" ever coming up just as soon as I make a friendship bracelet...

I almost wasn't going to blog this episode, as I'm busy today, and as it was a very low-key episode leading up to next week's two-hour series finale. But I couldn't let mention of it pass for a few reasons:

1)It featured Linda Cardellini dancing, and if you've ever seen the "Freaks and Geeks" series finale, you know she's an awesome dancer. (The great shame of the Cardellini/Jason Segel breakup is that it deprived the world of the possibility of them doing some kind of filmed dance number together.)

2)It gave us a nice coda to the years-long Redemption of Archie Morris story arc. Basically, Archie's been a good guy for a while, but even with his good intentions he was still a bit of a social bumbler, and here we see him put it all together with that great quasi-proposal to Claudia. Great, great work from Scott Grimes(*), who's been the best reason to watch the show in these final years.

(*) I knew John Stamos was a drummer who sometimes plays with the Beach Boys, but who knew Grimes could sing? Apparently, he has a band.

3)It cleared the decks of a lot of running subplots so the finale doesn't have to spend time wrapping up everyone's personal life. We still have the inevitable Sam/Gates reunion, I suppose, but Archie gets his happy ending, Neela's been seen off, Banfield gets to adopt the baby, etc. I don't know exactly what the finale's going to entail (and let me remind you once again about the No Spoilers rule -- which extends to previews, interviews, articles, spoiler blogs, whatever), but I'd like to think it winds up being more about the hospital and the series' themes than it is about these characters who, while likable, aren't that important in the grand scheme of things "ER."

So, the obvious question before we go: what would you like to see in the "ER" finale?


Anonymous said...

I think the last open thread from this season that still needs to be tied up is Brenner child abuse/heart transplant patient sotry

Michael said...

Here's how it should fade out.

Life goes on in the ER just as it has for the last 15 years. Doctors running around like chickens with their heads cut off, patients being wheeled into the ER from the ambulance bay, someone going to Trauma 1, someone being treated in Curtain 2, Frank and/or Jerry at the front desk, shouts of "get me a CBC, chem 7 panel, and a shot of epi", camera wheels down the hall in reverse looking back at all of that, fade to black.

"In memory of Michael Crichton."

Tosy And Cosh said...

Were those kids real patients? My wife noted that the acting was kind of off, and I wondered if it was because they were real open heart surgery kids, not actors. I've lost touch with the show in only the last two years or so, but found myself reminded of how well it does what it does last night. Those kids had me misting up fierce.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen last night's episode - it's on DVR, with a couple of the ones from previous weeks. I'll catch up on all of them before the finale. I'm one of the people who hasn't watched regularly in a while.

I always saw ER as Carter's story (it started out on his first day with that lab coat, watched him grow and change, etc.) While he was not my favorite character (not by a long shot), the show did take the viewers along with him and it did seem to be about him. I began to stop watching when Noah Wyle left the first time, because it felt like the end of the story.

So, now that ER is really ending, I want to see Carter's story ended or resolved, or brought to a complete close.

Tiana said...

I have to say how much fun it was to see Uncle Jesse (Full House) again! The "hard to reach" boy was an awesome actor .. I felt like I knew Sean too!

I would love to see what's going on with Kerry and Susan! County General should continue on with business as usual...

Anonymous said...

I haven't watched in ages, so maybe they've done this already... but I'd like to see Baby O'Brien from Love's Labor Lost return as a teenager with a broken arm or something.

And at the end, all the docs can be watching "Michael Clayton" or "O Brother Where Art Thou"

I agree with the Crichton tribute.

Adam said...

I expect The Tone to be re-set, and I hope it's done appropriately.

I'd like to see some acknowledgement of Chase Carter. Or Doyle. Or "Bob". Better, even still, would be a reference to Doug Ross' mentioned-once-first-season-then-forgotten son.

Last night's episode was nice, esp. for someone like me who hasn't seen much of these characters since Romano died. But it will end the way Michael describes, no?

Pamela Jaye said...

I thought you had previously mentioned that Scott could sing. Perhaps it was someone else. He's sung at least twice on the show (he auditioned to sing with Haleh at the Christmas party once)

anyway, I bought his CD, used on Amazon a couple of years ago (with shipping it was $4 or so. used CDs are cheaper than mp3s it seems) There are a couple of good songs. The whole thing is pseudo 80's retro, I think they called it. Sounds like Springsteen, etc.

Did I mention how happy I was about Neela and Ray? :-)

Pamela Jaye said...

What is that thing Shonda likes where the end matches the beginning? My brain has turned to mush and I can't remember the damn word. All I have is syncronicity and that's not it. symmetry. (thanks Shonda)

the first episode of Ally McBeal ended with a song, the final ep od season 1 ended with the same song and I would shot DEK if he didn't ended the series the same way. But ER doesn't usually have a song.

But, of course there should be a new med student on his/her first day, as Carter was. (or Ross' long lost son could stumble in drunk for a pre-shift banana bag)

I liked the mention of those who had vanished or were gone, and searched in my head for someone who might be of med student age (that would be premiere + 6 or 7 maybe? or is it 3rd year?), unfortunately after going thru the kids of Peter, Carol & Doug, Chen, Susan (& Chloe), and Jeannie all I could come up with was
Rachel Greene.

and I never liked New Rachel. (Of course if they could get Original Rachel, it might be okay. Otherwise they'd have to spend too much episode rehabbing her character)

They did try, when Carter left, to have a kid he's delivered, but I didn't recognize the parents from the pilot.

I do like the Michael Crichton thing, though. My brother was unhappy that they didn't do it in the titles when they did do it.

(and btw - when John Ritter died, and they memorialized JD's dad on Scrubs, they had John Ritter's name in memory of, in the titles - but they took it off for the DVD! I had to go back and look at the homemade ones (see: reason to keep your recordings, see also Buffy season 5 ep 22 opening sequenced, not on DVD)

I wonder if we would notice if they had the same patients? I almost didn't notice last time.

Like Shonda, I'm a big fan of symmetry.

Pamela Jaye said...

PS You set the tone is great, but generally done when a character leaves. I should think no one will be "leaving" in the finale - plus, I can't remember who is currently in possession of The Tone. Anyone remember?

Adam said...

The Tone has gone Morgenstern -> Greene -> Carter -> Morris.

Anonymous said...

One of the best things about the farewell-tour aspects of this season is that they don't have to do a "very special finale" because they've tied up either the old character stories or the Season 15 plotlines (particularly Morris' dating and Banfield becoming an adooptive mom). So the finale can be a day in the life at County kind of presentation, and it'll work whether we have familiar faces or not.
NYPD BLUE showed that the work we saw for so long can and will go on without us having to see it. I am sure ER will achieve the same thing next Thursday. To the finale!

Adam said...

Rachel Greene. Hmm. I would find few things more implausible than that unpleasant, unlikeable teen ecstasy user who stole her dying father's Vicodin would not only cleaning up enough to want to attend medical school and be academically driven enough to be admitted, but want to practice at the same place where her late father was miserable all the time, rarely available to his daughter and, oh yeah, savagely beaten in the bathroom.

Given what we know about the characters, a third helicopter attack is more likely.

Alf said...

Earlier this season, Scott Grimes played a street busker singing, and he also sang karaoke when he was trapped at a medical conference that was snowed in.

I hadn't thought before of how I will react to the finale, but seeing the previews made me realize I am so going to cry. I've watched every episode.

bgt said...

I quit watching ER when they killed Mark Greene, just started watching again with the last handful of episodes.

Can anyone explain to me who that guy was Neela walked up to at the end of last week's episode (may have been at a VA Hospital, there were injured soldiers doing rehab).


JasonR said...


The guy was Ray (can't remember his last name). He was a doc on ER - lived with Neela at one point and eventually fell in love with her. She did not reciprocate, and he got mad, then got drunk, and then hit by a car, which cost him his legs. He left the show, but we find out he got his life in order and now does physical therapy. Him and Neela have been almost together for awhile. The show decided to let them be together (apparently) for Neela happy ending.

The Amazing Acting Eye said...

Maybe the whole series turns out to have been a fantasy of Mandy Patinkin's.

Anonymous said...

In the season 2 finale when Carter graduates from Med school he misses the ceremony to stay with a patient. The patient's sister says she wants to be a doctor just like Carter...

...And she does matching at County starting her first day next Thursday

ghoti said...

Forget the Freaks and Geeks finale.

If you want to watch Cardellini dance it's all about Grandma's Boy!

ghoti said...

The link in the above comment is probably NSFW, but if you like Linda Cardellini you should watch it anyway.

Yet another anonymous said...

Tosy and Cosh, my understanding is that a number of those kids were actual heart patients/surgery surivors. Unless I totally read this wrong (elsewhere), this is a group that Tom Arnold has an affiliation with.

Speaking of which, that was a pretty low-key Tom Arnold.

Still thinking about how I'd want ER to end. I'm still having a hard time with it ending, but so happy that they had this last season, which has been one of the better ones of the last few years. The show is ready to go, but they are ending on a much higher note, IMO

I must say, the growth of Archie's character has been a real pleasure over the year (and so well done by Scott Grimes); I used to DESPISE him! As far as his singing goes, I don't remember which season, but I remember him and Haleh singing some jazzy version of holiday songs at a bar, for a Christmas episode. He had a lovely voice, as I recall. Don't get me started on Haleh!

dez said...

I must say, the growth of Archie's character has been a real pleasure over the year (and so well done by Scott Grimes); I used to DESPISE him!

Same here! Now, I'm glad he's getting a happy ending. I also agree with you about the show ending on a higher note than previous seasons. I have a feeling I'll be sniffling mightily by the end of the finale.

Jennifer said...

I knew Scott Grimes could sing ever since he was Samantha Micelli's boyfriend & wrote her a song that Ray Charles sang for an ad campaign that Angela was working on.

Anonymous said...

Well, really disappointed by this pre-finale episode. Even Though they pretty much tied every character storyline, the whole camp idea was boring.

Mark B said...

You set the tone is great, but generally done when a character leaves. I should think no one will be "leaving" in the finale.

Morganstern said it after Carol's suicide attempt, that the ER would be looking to Mark for leadership, and that it was up to him to "set the tone." I don't know if he was leaving at the time.

After that, it felt like more of a wink to the audience/call-back than something one doctor ritualistically would say to another. (Carter didn't know Morganstern said it to Greene.) It did seem logical for Greene to say it to Carter, but when Carter left, it was done like "well, we've got this running bit - we have to have him say it to somebody."

I don't know if Archie is going to say it to anyone - he doesn't even remember it being said to him. Or maybe he will, since Carter reminded him. (And it would make a nice bookend to the series.)

Unknown said...

Angela Basset, in the scene where Banfield is slowly realizing she may get to keep the baby, showed why she's got the reputation that she does.

The only character left on the show that I still care about is Morris so I'm glad he's going to be ending happily. Neela has been annoying me for three seasons now so good, enjoy youself with Ray. Don't care about Gates or Sam; hope Brenner gets his act together.

It was good to see Doug/George Clooney again a few episodes ago but I don't really care about the original cast any more, it was so long ago. Carter, Carol, Benton, Susan even Elizabeth .... it was another time.

I'd like to see Abby and Luka back because they were what kept me watching seasons 6 - 14. And Kerry, who was the show's anchor for 13 seasons.

A tribute to Michael Crichton, who died last year, would be good.

And a bookend of Frank, who was in the pilot as a cop who got shot.

Pamela Jaye said...

I was wrong - "the tone" *is* in the pilot.

Pamela Jaye said...

sorry 'bout that, Mark B.
I didn't rewatch the pilot till... well right now. (and apparently I did not subscribe to this topic)

Pamela Jaye said...

and again, the scene in the ambulance bay had nothing to do with any burn victim, it was just Carter and Mark

my memory is sad

Pamela Jaye said...

Adam - didn't say I liked Rachel (in fact, I said I really disliked her and they wouldn't have sufficient time in a finale to make (me like her))
I only said was the only person I could think of that was remotely the right age (but I intimated it would be a poor choice)
I will admit that I forgot about Dad and the bathroom

Pamela Jaye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pamela Jaye said...

I removed my post, on the off-chance that anyone might figure out what I meant by it