April 2nd, 2009



If I can correctly recall, I did NOT stop watching ER at the peak of its brilliance. Nor did I stop watching ER in the midst of its ever steepening decline. Nor did I even stop watching when the only regular from the very beginning was the immensely uninteresting Dr. Carter - though it could be argued, if you had to pick one, that he was the central character throughout his own duration on the show; though our judges were actually looking for The Gurney, The GUR-ney was the central character throughout the show's history. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to place the last time I took in a full episode of ER, though I remember something about Croats and helicopters and attractive women made to look exquisitely homely at every turn.

It probably SHOULD have been at the end of Season 8 when Dr. Greene finally dies, thus leaving us with little-to-no reason to watch the show anymore. Of course, there were still a few compelling side-characters around, and Carter was still there, but for all intents, this was the death knell of a series. And if NBC wasn't so desperate for programming of any kind with even the slightest slice of its former audience, ER never would've lasted another 7 seasons.

And since it went on, and on, and on, it's hard to remember that ER was once a truly great television show. I was never Mr. Diehard about it; I don't even think I started watching until the second or third season. And even when I WAS as Diehard as I was ever going to get, I'd still lose interest mid-season, only to pick it back up during February Sweeps for the stretch run on into May. Nevertheless, it was the epitome of Hospital Shows. Like individual bandages are commonly known as Band Aids, cotton swabs are called Q-Tips, and facial tissue is Kleenex, anything an hour long, dramatic, and on network television every week located in a hospital is ER.

House wouldn't be House without Dr. Romano. Grey's Anatomy wouldn't be Grey's Anatomy without Dr. Ross and Nurse Carol. And Scrubs wouldn't be Scrubs without Dr. Benton (admit it, he was always the funny one).

I'm probably not going to watch the Series Finale, but then again, I might give it a shot. After all, it is a milestone. And just because you stop watching a show you once admired doesn't mean you can completely drop all feelings you've ever had. I mean, Aerosmith is a snivelling shell of its former self, but that doesn't stop me from listening to any new releases that come out. Sure, watching the car crash is exciting to stop and gawk at, but you always want to read about it the next day to discover how everyone did.

I'll tell you this, though: all this hullabaloo about series finales and the like has given me a hankering for re-watching all of the first seasons. I don't know how far I'll be able to go without a sharp desire for pulling my eyeballs out, but I should think at least having the first eight seasons on hand would be a fine way to go. After all, I hear the first season was profoundly epic. And who doesn't enjoy their lives a little more when George Clooney is on screen?