Friday, December 04, 2009

Monk, "Mr. Monk and the End, Pt. 2": Hello, Summit!

Judging by the comments this morning, we have some "Monk" fans in the house. Anyone care to offer their thoughts on the very sweet series finale (which included an homage of sorts to the fact that the writing staff is based here in Jersey)?


Sarah M said...

Oh my goodness it was so lovely, I cried. It was an awesome end. <3

Mapeel said...

I thought bringing in Craig T. Nelson as "the guy" was cheating a bit. I watched a lot of the Trudy Marathon today, thinking it might be possible to put the clues together and figure it out. But they didn't plot it that way. Based on these past episodes, it looked like it could have be Dale the Whale himself.

But that's okay.

I don't spend much time on Twitter, but I went right when the finale ended, and there were over 800 tweets in 3 minutes. The overwhelming majority expressed genuine sadness, and many tears! It was a lovely media moment to witness that collective community outpouring of a emotional connection to a show.

Kensington said...

Oh, gosh, I hate to see it end.

Ultimately, the mystery itself was a pretty big pile of nothing, but that's never been the point. It was rewarding enough seeing Adrian wearing casual clothing and being willing to go to the movies with his newfound "daughter."

Even his body language in the last shot as he arrived on the crime scene showed a revitalized Adrian Monk who was so much more comfortable in his skin. Very nice work by Tony Shalhoub.

At the same time, it was nice that they didn't go too far with that. He's still got enough neuroses for ten normal people, but to see him experiencing genuine, sustained happiness for the first time since we met him is sweet and just.

I will miss this show, and I hope that Traylor Howard gets to work again.

Kensington said...

Ooh, I also want to draw special attention to Shalhoub's performance during the sequence where Monk watched Trudy's videotape. Seeing him twisting and wrenching in agonies both physical and emotional was just devastating.

Now, lastly, I want to comment on money. After eight seasons on network television, I would think that most leading actors in a drama would have made enough money to take care of themselves for the rest of their lives without having to worry about getting more work.

This being cable, with its shorter seasons and smaller budgets, I don't know if that model applies, but I hope Monk was able to do that for Tony Shalhoub, because the simple pleasures this show provided have been priceless.

Kensington said...

Okay, one more point, this one of slight disappointment.

I really wish they could have gotten John Turturro back to play Monk's brother one more time and, having failed that, I wish someone could have mentioned him. The episodes featuring Ambrose are my absolute favorites, and it would have been nice to get some closure with regard to him.

Ah, well. We did get a brief clip during the montage.

Unknown said...

It was a nice touching episode. A bit disappointed that they ran to the conclusion of the mystery that quickly, but they had to let us know how the people would end up. The scenes with Alona Tal were quite touching.

I saw some interviews where they said Traylor Howard saved the show. I'll go one further - she elevated the show. Bitty Schram was interesting, but the dynamic with Traylor was a bit more touching, a bit more satisfying. I also loved the development of the relationship between Monk and Stotlemyre.

All in all, a good show that ended on a fitting and touching note.

Anonymous said...

The show had gotten a little tired of late, but I really enjoyed the finale, especially Ted Levine's chase scene. I agree that the finale hit all the right notes. I didn't expect a compelling mystery and it wasn' was character to the end.

The show really is responsible for branding USA and it deserves credit for that.

David C said...

Yeah, I'm with everyone hear. This was a show I rarely talked about the next day, and yet I almost never missed it. It was purely enjoyable television that I could pull my non-obsessive-tv-watching members of the family into. It was great to have a procedural that was so sweet, funny, touching and just fun around. And it was darn consistent, too. I mean, I don't think there was much of a difference in quality from season 1 to season 8, and I mean that as a compliment (in spite of the cast shuffling and the sad departure of Stanley Kamel). It's a show I could always count on, and never disappointed.

dez said...

I'm completely satisfied with the ending, which is rare. It was sweet, as others have said, and touching. I think it's getting dusty again in here again, too...

jblount said...

i've missed more episodes of monk than i've actually watched but i've always had a great affection for this show and the ending was very touching and just right (the mysteries were so very rarely the point of the show). always solid entertainment and though i have no problem w/ snarky or mean tv (LOVED this week's the office for example) i really appreciated that this show had such a nice, sweet core.

Anonymous said...

When the new Randy Newman song came on over the montage at the end, I was overcome with emotion. This show has been a pillar of my television lineup for eight years, and now it's gone. Through the tears, though, I can smile, because at the very end, Monk finally found some real happiness.

May he never be forgotten.

Sean SoCal said...

It ended pretty much the way I expected; Monk's demon(s) put to rest, new chapter in his life beginning, his OCD almost-but-not-completely cured, Leland w/ Virginia Madsen and Randy w/ Sharona, finally paying off his subtle infatuation with her in the earlier seasons. The only thing that took me by surprise was the daughter (and how quickly she took to his craziness), but it was fantastic.

Monk the character redefined the television gumshoe and "Monk" the tv show redefined cable and what it means to be a piece of quality entertainment in this age where so many things we're given are pure crap that Monk wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.

Farewell to the Defective Detective. Thank you for 8 great years of laughter and tears.

Narrim said...

Ambrose was mentioned, actually. In Part 1's opening featuring Trudy herself, she mentioned picking up Ambrose's medication.

Anonymous said...

Haven't watched the show since maybe s3-4 or so, but had to come back to see the finale.

The big mystery was pretty silly and kind of a fail as a detective show - in that it only required Trudy's tape to explain almost everything, and had nothing to do with the old Trudy episodes - but, I suppose with a show like this, for this many seasons, it was more about seeing the individual characters get their own happy ending (I love that Randy's with Sharona) , and it was very sweet and very much Monk-ian, if a lot predictable and mystery-lite (Like seeing Alona Tal's name pop up in the opening credits of the second ep and then hearing Trudy's explanation on her tape in such close proximity gave the last daughter 'twist' away, which left just the characters wrapups since the mysteries was solved in a matter of minutes into pt. 2. )

All in all, everything went pretty much as expected, and a good and fitting finale for the show that made the USA network.

JMC said...

The wife and I were in tears at the end. As someone else said, Monk delivered as a 'comfort food' - you knew exactly what you were going to get... though I'd extend that a bit and say that Shalhoub's (and Levine's!) dedication to his craft is what gave it that extra 'oomph'! There were many memorable events throughout the show's run where Shalhoub put in 150% to the character of Monk. All in all, it was just a great show and the writers gave it a great sendoff. A very life-affirming finale which is all too rare nowadays. We'll miss you Monk!

Anonymous said...

I loved the finale too and thought that the clip montage at the end came off as very nostalgic. I live in a town right next to Summit and noticed that the decals on the Summit squad cars on the show actually looked pretty similar to real-life Summit Police squad cars. They even have a symbol that is vaguely similar to the flame logo of the City of Summit. I'm going to have to take a closer look at the squad cars when I'm in Summit downtown. But the police station in the show looks nothing like the actual Summit police station.

JanieJones said...

I thought the finale was poignant and touching. I was left satisfied. Tony Shaloub deserves credit for bringing the role to life and sustaining for a long time. Ted Levine, Bitty Schram, Traylor Howard and Jason Gray-Stanford all deserve recognition.
It definitely got dusty in my house, especially with the ending montage.

CS said...

I thought the finale was very touching and a perfect way to end the show.

But as a lawyer and legal nerd, something bothered me. The timeline of the Judge's career didn't quite work out. When Trudy was killed, he was elevated to the Court of Appeals, where he still presumably worked until the Governor called. Yet, Monk/Capt/Disher/Trudy were going to his house for a search warrant at the beginning of the episode. Appellate judges do not authorize search warrants. When Monk made the Judge dig up the body, the Judge said, "Are you threatening a federal judge?" A federal appellate judge does not take a job on the state Supreme Court -- the career line almost always goes the other way. They should have made him a state trial judge -- a good excuse to have him preside over a few trials in earlier episodes -- who was being elevated to the state Supreme Court.

Once the writers figured out the backstory of why Trudy was killed, CTN should have had a few guest appearances just so we knew who he was and trusted him prior to the finale. As a mystery, the finale didn't work. You need to have met the murderer before he is revealed as the murderer in order for a good mystery to work. How disappointing would an episode of Monk/Matlock/Columbo have been if at the 52 minute mark, the detective stood up and explained how the murderer was a character you hadn't met in the preceding 52 minutes? It is a measure of Tony Shalhoub's performance -- which was nothing short of amazing -- and the love we have for these characters that the deus ex machina mystery didn't matter because we were just happy to see them happy at the end.

Anonymous said...

Monk never impressed with me its plotting or storylines but it was always an enjoyable hour to spend with funny and endearing characters, mainly Monk and Stotlemeyer, for me.

Having said that, I'm amazed at how for a show set in San Francisco they get so many basic things wrong.

For instance, they mention Monterey County being 20 minutes away. More like 2 hours. Or the judge mentioning he'll have to commute to Sacramento once he's on the state Supreme Court. Nope, the court is in San Francisco even though the capitol is in Sacramento.
The funniest thing for me was the depiction of the BART station in part 1 that looked like a combination of Grand Central Station and a large airport. Those train stations are actually kind of small and look noting like that.

Those are ultimately minor details but they do end up distracting me from the show.

Anonymous said...

jesus christ, it's a tv show not a documentary

Patrick Wynne said...

My biggest problem with the episode was that after all this time (12 years of Monk's life; 7 years of mine), Monk didn't solve Trudy's murder; the solution was just dropped in his lap. That felt to me very much like a betrayal of both the character and the audience.

My next biggest problem was the circumstances of Trudy's death and that it really didn't tie into any of the stuff they had set up in earlier episodes. Her death should have been related to her job as an investigative journalist, not to some secret kid she'd had 26 years earlier as the result of an affair she'd had with a judge we'd never, ever seen before. Lame. Really, really lame. Especially considering the writers have had 7 years to think it up.

Having said that, I did get all emotional during the finale. Story problems aside, I thought it was a fairly nice sendoff for these characters. And it does leave the door open for future television movies or specials, even though it wouldn't be the same without Randy and it would be too implausible to have him always flying cross-country just to be there.

Anonymous said...

Just had to chime in here in regards to loving "Monk" and feeling that the series finale overall did a great job in sending off the series.

Shaloubh deserves every Emmy he received for his portrayal of Monk, a character who may have been considered too brittle and annoying as portrayed by anyone else. It is to his credit that he could play Monk and show his pathos and sensitivity (despite the OCD) for over 8 years, without it ever getting old.

May I also add that Melora Hardin's portrayal of Trudy in these past 2 episodes allows me to forgive & forget "Jan" from "The Office."

Anonymous said...

I am a huge fan of Monk but didn't love the finale. It's too bad that Trudy just told him in the first 2 min of the finale. Monk has never been about the mystery of whodunit. But this was the biggest case of his life and a series finale. I can live with the irony that he had the answer right in front of him for 12 yrs but I wish she had given him a clue instead of the guy's name. Other than the sundial there was no real Monk detective work.

I did like how they tied all the loose ends though. Loved Randy and Sharona together and Natalie dating, Captain married; even Monk moving on, sleeping in the middle of the bed and not wearing a suit in the last scene. But I did not like how he got there. Molly was not only Trudy's daughter, she was Trudy's killer's daughter! If she had never been born, Trudy may have been alive. How could he ever overlook that? That was too far from his character. Also the timeline didn’t match. She had this affair before she met Monk but they were Class of 81 (reunion episode) and the kid was born in 1983.

I thought i would cry as I saw the usa previews "maybe its time to say goodbye" but the whole daughter thing killed it for me. I wish they had a few alternate endings.

cgeye said...

"My biggest problem with the episode was that after all this time (12 years of Monk's life; 7 years of mine), Monk didn't solve Trudy's murder; the solution was just dropped in his lap. That felt to me very much like a betrayal of both the character and the audience."

I agree. Trudy didn't betray Monk -- even the man he was 12 years ago wouldn't have felt that -- she just had a life before meeting him. I thought the secret would have been bigger, such as rape.

Otherwise a man who had serial girlfriends while married (remember he said several women had 'crushes' on him, and if he took advantage of one, he took advantage of more) was in danger of being caught. I can understand that as a believable motive for murder, 15 years later, but a reason for suicide, when caught? To hush up a birth he damn near ordered Monk to find? And "take care of her" when all he had to do was make a trust for her? There was no indication of any relationship between the judge and Trudy's daughter, so why should Monk care for her, when he didn't?

This is not to say the episode outside the mystery wasn't great -- but as Mrs. Peel said, you cast someone of the caliber of Craig T. Nelson in a guest star role in the final episodes, you're damn near indicating to the audience who the murderer is.

*That's* cheating, and along with Trudy's tape-ex-machina a disservice to the long arc they spent seven years crafting. It's as if they got tired of it, and wanted to give Shalhoub a chance to rock out the After-Monk scenes, instead.

I didn't cry during his meeting with his new daughter, or the lugubrious, as usual, Newman song; I teared up once Monk wore a turtleneck for the first time in the series. As he said last week, for 12 years he lived in the prison of grief, with so much time wasted. With that turtleneck, he no longer needed his badge (which was a way of staying in that past before Trudy's death) or the great baggage of his OCD.

That was the letting-go that touched me -- the loss of that guilt of never doing right by Trudy, caused by his own stubborness and grief. If he were one hair weaker, the knowledge he let Trudy's killer live a free life, because he hoarded her last gift, would have killed him. It almost did.

Maura said...

I was never a big Monk fan, but I've seen a number of episodes, and I had to see the finale. I'm glad I watched it. Seeing Monk happy was so satisfying. No full tears, but it was a little dusty in the house.

Randy and Sharona! I had no idea. I love that, although... police chief? Randy has to be the worst cop in the history of television. But he did look very cute in his uniform.

Harris Miller said...

CS said "A federal appellate judge does not take a job on the state Supreme Court -- the career line almost always goes the other way."

Malcolm Lucas became a California Supreme Court Justice in 1984 from the Federal bench (although he came from a District Court, not a Circuit Court), and went on to become Chief Justice.