Private Practice [s1 ep01]: "In Which They Meet Addison, a Nice Girl From Somewhere Else"
*** Spoiler Warning ***
Key Plot Points of Season Premiere
- Pediatric surgeon Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) quits Seattle Grace Hospital and moves to L.A. to work at Oceanside Wellness Center. Her friend Dr. Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald), a fertility specialist, owns 55% of the business and has hired Addison without consulting the other four business partners which include her ex-husband Dr. Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs), the center's internal medicine specialist.
- A couple visits the center with fertility issues. While giving a, uh, donation, the man has a heart attack and dies. The younger girlfriend want his sperm so she can still have his baby. The emergency room doctor refuses the postumous donation. Sam & Naomi fight for the girlfriend's rights, which get complicated when the man's wife shows up.
- Dr. Violet Turner (Amy Brenneman), the wellness center's psychiatrist, goes to a department store where a patient of hers named Jenny is obsessively counting floor tiles. Violet tries to figure out what's wrong with Jenny and is joined by Dr. Cooper Freedman (Paul Adelstien), the center's pediatrician, who shows up to help out. They discover Jenny's episode was triggered by a store camping advertisement video that reminded her of the last trip her family took with her son who died of brain cancer. (Note: This was the best part of the episode; only reason I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 3.)
- A pregnant teenager, accompanied by her angry father, goes into premature labor at the center and has complications. Bothered by the lack of the center's surgical equipment or sterile environment (the center is not intended for surgeries, and an ambulance won't get there in time), Addison has no choice but to operate on the girl to save both her and the baby.
- The four other partners are upset about Naomi hiring Addison, but Addison babbles on about how much she needs to be there, how much they need her there, etc. and basically insists on not leaving. No one puts up a fight, so the matter is closed.
Opinions and Observations
- The acting is really impressive. It'd have to be because the casting is so good. The script, however, isn't so good in spots, but the actors do the best they can with it.
- I like Paul Adelstein's character. It's refreshing to see him play someone funnier and more likable compared to his corrupt Secret Service Agent character on Prison Break.
- I was worried about Amy Brenneman's characrer being annoying, because she's so fragile and neurotic, but she's growing on me.
- The scene where Violet and Cooper are talking to Jenny after discovering what happened to Jenny's son was very powerful. It was well written, well acted, and genuinely tear-jerking.
- The character of Addison has become to talky, too quirky, and too silly. She wasn't the most interesting character on Grey's Anatomy in the first place, and her dialogue here, especially her tirade near the end, is the worst of the episode.
- Tim Daly's character thinking Addison would ever have moved from Seattle to L.A. just because the two of them kissed a few weeks earlier is arrogant and unrealistic.
Hopes, Concerns, or Expectations for New Season
- This pilot was not as bad as the negative internet buzz implied. I found it more enjoyable than the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy.
- After the pilot, I'm actually willing to give this show a chance. However, I'm watching *a lot* of TV already, and Scrubs and Pushing Daisies haven't even premiered yet. If I have to dump any shows, Grey's Anatomy is my first choice among returning shows, and I may also tire of Private Practice by association.