Wednesday, January 23, 2013

“PRIVATE PRACTICE” by DR VIOLET TURNER


That’s how PRIVATE PRACTICE ended. It was a bittersweet moment for me, as it always is when a show ends. These are my thoughts on the last few episodes of the show.


When PRIVATE PRACTICE began, I was skeptical. I had to watch it, obviously, because it was by Shonda Rhimes, and the lead was going to be Addison Montgomery, one of my then favorite characters in GREY’S ANATOMY. But I was skeptical because it was a spinoff, and it didn’t have a gripping premise. Maybe that wasn’t a big requirement for TV shows six years ago, as it is now, but still. As the show progressed, it grew on me. It had the same storytelling that GREY’S ANATOMY has and that worked very well. While several storylines may have reduced the characters to immature people making hasty and bad decisions, it was, on the whole, a pretty decent show. They’ve had some very strong storylines that have remained with me over the last six years. Violet’s baby being cut out of her and stolen, Charlotte’s rape, Amelia’s addiction, Dell’s death... And these are stories that will stay with me for a long time. Yet, it probably was the best time to end it.

As it drew to a close, I realized that I liked what they had done in order to give each character their final sendoff. Having an episode each dedicated to all the characters was a good way to give their stories some kind of resolution, with dedicated screen time, while also exploring the journeys they’d had through the show. I especially liked to see Sheldon’s episode. He was on the sidelines throughout the show, even when Brian Benben became a series regular. Other characters like Amelia, Charlotte and Cooper got to look back on their stories from the past, which reflected their evolution in quite a nice way. With time-frames established by showing the stage of Charlotte’s pregnancy, or the girl going missing, it was clear that all their stories were progressing simultaneously, and it could’ve been just as easy to go through with it like regular episodes, but clubbing each storyline together into single episodes turned out to be an effective storytelling tool.

After all the characters’ episodes ended, the last two episodes seemed like they would have gone well together as a two-part series finale. But seeing as I was doing a marathon, it came across that way for me anyway. Charlotte having the babies, Amelia’s epiphany about wanting babies, the touching story of how Addison adopted Henry with Jake’s help, Violet accepting life as a ‘work in progress’, etc made a good lead-in for the finale. In the finale, I was happy to see Naomi back. She had to come back as Addison’s maid-of-honor. The weddings were both beautifully done, especially Addison and Jake’s—the venue, the dress, everything was perfect. Towards the end it did kind of seem like it was all about who ended up with whom. In that, I thought Amelia and James’ story was very rushed, even though I thought they made a very hot couple. Sheldon and Miranda’s story was moving, but theirs was also quite rushed. Sam and Naomi came out of nowhere, but I was happy. Somehow, I always thought that they should get back together, especially when they hooked up once, a few seasons ago. But then he and Addison got together, and that became serious. Eventually, Addison didn’t end up with Sam, because their relationship was always tense and stressed, and she made way more sense with Jake. And even though I thought that Sam and Naomi back together might be awkward after he was with Addison, but the writers managed it very well, using Addison’s wedding as a catalyst.

I particularly liked how they used weddings to start and end the finale, with all the resolutions transpiring between the weddings. Violet’s sense of resolution and spirit of moving on was reflected well in the story of that patient (played by the lovely Sarah Ramos), and the book she was writing. And finally, it’s the book that ends it. The premise of the book seemed a little lame, but it was clear that they simply wanted to give us the message that all would be fine from there on, and that they were all out of the depths of depression that they’d all seen in the last six seasons. 

And while I say goodbye to PRIVATE PRACTICE, here's a medley of the Charlotte-Cooper dancing sequences in one of the last few episodes. It was hilarious and they were both so good. I'm sure some of you would like to watch it all together as well. 



What did you think of the series finale? Share your views below... And don't forget to vote for your TV favorites in the TV TALK Best of 2012 polls on the right! 

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