Watching Private Practice: WTF?

You know what’s more satisfying than shouting at your laptop while Private Practice plays on Hulu? Venting about the ridiculous characterizations on the internet.

Note that I say characterizations and not plotlines. Because YES, the plotlines are pretty silly, but not significantly sillier than any other run of the mill medical drama. Oh, I’m sorry: a medical drama on the beach. They don’t let you forget that, the fact that these are doctors who make way more money than you and also lead way, way better lives that include private beach views and a perfect weather. And yet: still, they are all miserable! Just like you! Except not.

Okay, but whatevs. TV drama. I can move on. EXCEPT.

They are all seriously awful people.

I don’t mean flawed. I don’t even mean interesting. They’re just…awful. And let’s get one thing clear: this is the fault of the writers.

In this last episode, for example (and do I really need to tell you that HERE THERE BE SPOILERS?): Cooper – who I used to love – tells Sam…

OK wait. Let’s go back a few steps. Sam and Addison, yes? They are ‘together’ and ‘in love’? Right. (I will not even get into the fact that these two people have so little chemistry together that I feel bad for them every time they have to do a love scene.) Addison’s mother has just – JUST – died, and Sam is trying to find out if he should go to the funeral with Addison or not. (Hint: if you have to ask, you’re a jackass.) He suddenly says he’ll go, but the reason he gives? “This is too stressful for you. I’ll go.” Um. Way to belittle the bereaved, jackass.

Anyway, so he does end up flying out there – they all do – and he’s whining about how ‘strangely’ Addison (whose mother just died, remember) is acting, and Cooper tells him that he has to ‘push back’ to let Addison know he’s strong enough to take it.

Um. WAY TO GIVE CREEPY ADVICE, COOPER. Especially since your fiancee just got raped.

And Sam of course takes that literally, by grabbing Addison by the arms – hard – and demanding that she stop what she’s doing to cope and acts ‘real.’ Addison quite reasonably freaks out, telling him that her mother just died and he really needs to back off and he’s scaring her. Kate Walsh knocks it out of the park, her face full of rage and terror and barely contained grief.

And then she breaks down and weeps in his arms.

So I guess that worked, Sam! Yay for everyone! The take-home message is, apparently, that if someone else’s grief isn’t doing it for you, you should assault them (gently!) until they grieve in a way you find more appropriate.


And then we’ve got Best Friend Naomi, who – when she isn’t giving FABULOUS advice to rape victims about how the only person who can take away their sense of intimacy is themselves, WAY TO GO WITH THE VICTIM BLAMING, NAE – finds any and every opportunity to talk about how betrayed and miserable she feels that her ex-husband is boning her best friend. Kids: did we not get over the whole ‘you can’t ever date someone I dated’ thing in high school? People do not get dibs on people. That is not the way that the world works. But Naomi’s ‘betrayal’ is mentioned so often and by so many ancillary characters that I am forced to assume we’re supposed to be…empathizing with her?

She didn’t start out as a horrible character. None of them did. When the show began they were funny, flawed, weirdly entitled and entertainingly slutty. Now they’re just self-righteous and off-putting. They even seem to know it – in the episode where they all decide they can’t be bothered to take in Del’s orphaned daughter Betsy (DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON DEL YOU GUYS) Violet even says to them all: we did a bad thing.

And they all sort of look at the ground, like, yeah. Yeah we did.

But at least we live on the beach.