Monday, November 08, 2021

7 Things I Learned From "ER"

I finished a complete "ER" rewatch earlier this year.  And well, it seemed time for a seven things post.  
1. "ER" was in some ways, much like "The Wire" or "Parks and Rec" in that it was very interested in demonstrating how the large systems that we create are often populated by (some) people doing good work, and stymied by funding and processes. 
2. "ER" told me I never knew whether I was going to get the caring doctor or the distracted doctor.  It was often impossible to tell from the outset whether the demanding patient would turn out to be right that something was wrong, or wrong, but the demanding patient rarely died by being ignored by the distracted doctors.  
3. Doctors on "ER" often had disagreements on the best course of action, with both each other and with patients. Much of this was honestly because the human body is unpredictable, and sometimes it was because having multiple possible health concerns makes many things a judgement call. 
4. Doctors who mean well have about the same success rate as doctors who don't.  Some of this is just the function of fiction, of course. 
5. Doctors who are sticklers for process will abandon it when presented with the right set of circumstances.  
6. Privilege will always serve you.  For a show about a department serving the underserved, it showed again and again how privilege was a great thing to get if you could.   
7. "ER" managed to figure out a way to get Scott Grimes and Angela Bassett to sing on their doctor show.  So the next time I suggest your show needs a musical episode, I don't want excuses.  
Also, this may go without saying, but if you choose to rewatch the show, be ready for a number of sexual assault storylines, rampant unpunished workplace sexual harassment and racism from credited and recurring characters, multiple fatphobia storylines, and an non-zero number of the surprise twist is that they are LGBTQ storylines.