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SERIES PREMIERE REVIEW: The Mob Doctor “Pilot” S1 E1

18 Sep

This will be a short one considering the ratings last night.  In my predictions podcast, I had The Mob Doctor as my 2nd runner-up to Guys with Kids as the First Canceled Show of the season.  Well, looks like that will be my first wrong prediction because I don’t think The Mob Doctor makes it past the 1st week in October.

The premise is great…a great doctor with ties to the mob having to keep her connection secret from her job and her boyfriend.  Because of this connection, she’s constantly having to cross the line of ethics with her work and the safety of her family.     Sounds awesome right?  Well, it’s not.

The biggest issue I had was that the baseline of the story was never really developed well because there was so much going on.  It was a mess.  With a show named The Mob Doctor, the first thing I want to know is how is she connected with the mob?  Now they did explain that her brother got into trouble with the wrong crowd so she agreed to do somethings for them to help pay back his debt.  But in the scenes with James Carpinello and William Forsythe, I got the impression there was a connection long before her brother getting into any trouble.  So what was it?   I would have liked establishing some clear connection in the pilot but that didn’t happen.  Forsythe made the comment when Jordana Spiro’s Dr. Grace Devlin was treating him in his home that she was always like family to him.  He was asking sweetly about her mother, they were quoting poetry together.  So how did that start?  How did they get this “friendship” started?   I don’t know how you don’t clearly lay that out in the pilot or at least give the viewers some insight into their relationship.

Then you have her chaotic work life where she appears to be one of the top doctors in the hospital.  She’s similar to Jada Pinkett’s Smith character, Christina, on Hawthorne, where she’s the best but she doesn’t follow the rules and she always bends them to get what she wants and everyone in the hospital bows down to her as a result, because she’s the best.  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  But worse than that, was everything that went down.  First there was a boy she operated on and for some reason was pulled from that case.  Later the boy died because the attending dismissed her care notes and the following doctor followed the attendings instructions instead.  Oh and by the way, Grace and this other female doctor get along as well as Crystal Carrington and Alexis Colby.  Showing my age with that reference.  Then, she calls out said attending for his bad treatment to the chief of surgery and asks he be brought up to the review board.   She’s really making friends that Grace.  While all that is going on, the daughter of a friend of her mother’s, who’s 14, comes in and she’s pregnant.  Grace wants to terminate her pregnancy so her father doesn’t kill and she can still go to private school on an athletic scholarship.  QB1, her boyfriend, (also a TV reference not deeply entrenched in 80s flashbacks) doesn’t like this idea, especially not after she lies to the father and tells him it’s a ruptured ovarian cyst they need to remove.    Finally, Grace is doing a landmark surgery with the chief on a mob informant.  However, Michael Rapaport wants him dead and wants Grace to do it during the surgery or else he’s going after her brother.   I’m not kidding.  This was ALL happening in the pilot.   Talk about aggressive.  It was too much!  All that didn’t need to happen in the pilot.   I don’t think that much happened in the pilot of Lost.  And that was just her work life.

Cut to her personal life where she seems like she could care less about her mother, who is in remission from cancer.  And her brother is a little asshole who gives her nothing but crap during every scene they are in together.  Hey jerk off, you know your sister is the one who bailed you out after doing…whatever it is you did that the writers didn’t feel was important enough to share with us.  In the 7 minutes we dealt with her family, I hated the brother, and Grace went down a few notches in my eyes for being such a bitch to her mother, who seems a delightful woman.

So what’s wrong with the show?  I can’t tell if I like Grace or not.  All she did was run from her job, to her house, back to her job, to the mob garage, back to her job, back to her house, to a mob boss’ house, and back to her job.   Spiro must have lost 5 pounds just running from place to place in this episode.  At certain points she was very endearing and at others she was very distant.  I think she was trying to play tough but it really came across as confused and scared.  She seemed to be running around the whole time with this “what the hell is going on” look on her face.  It’s probably representative of how the audience felt watching this pilot.  And even thought there weren’t that many characters introduced, I still felt like I didn’t get a chance to really know any of them…except maybe Forsythe’s Constantine (great name for mob boss by the way.)  I think I liked him the most.  What does that say?  I’m rooting for the mob boss.  Yikes!

In all seriousness, the premise of the show is good, but the execution is terrible.  It’s all over the place and the characters have no identity.  It’s a lot like another recent show, The Cape.  And we all know how that turned out.  Sadly, I don’t think this show is going to have a chance to see if it can right itself and be the show it has the potential to be.  Especially not on FOX who is faster to pull shows than Usain Bolt is to running 100M dashes.  See, the references got a lot more recent by the end!

DVRs:  1 DVR

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