Miami Medical, Man on the Road: yes, it’s good to be alive…

15 May

Another great episode of Miami Medical has been watched by yours truly (take a bow, Jeffrey Lieber, who wrote Man on the Road). For anyone in the thrall of the acting genius that is Jeremy Northam, Man on the Road was a treat. While we wait to hear whether or not the show will be back for a second season (we’ll know next week), it has to be said that Jeremy has done a great job as Proctor (and at dispelling the myth that he habitually wears wing collars, says “I say”, and knows the Queen).

We saw many sides of Proctor last night, and I empathised with his frustration at the hospital bureaucrats “with their thumbs up their arses”, procrastinating while his patient’s life waned. Out there in the litigious Real World, this kind of situation is happening all the time.

It would have been easy to create a character for Jeremy who was a sarcastic, power crazy egomaniac (and Jeremy would have done a fabulous job), but I much prefer Proctor, and I’ve grown very fond of him. I think we have to thank both Mr Lieber and Mr Northam for having the perspicacity to use Jeremy’s skills in this way.

Yes, people do call you quirky...but don't worry, quirky is good!

Jeffrey Lieber has told us that the story of where Proctor came from and who he was would trickle gently through each of the episodes in season 1, and last night we finally got to see what caused The Famous Scar. It wasn’t easy, watching Proctor felled by a heart attack and lying prone in the snow, cellphone just out of reach.

It's nearly all over for Proctor...

For many, I suspect that there was another aspect of this week’s episode that made it a hard watch. I’m thinking of anyone who has experience of degenerative illnesses such as Parkinson’s, MND, or Alzheimer’s. I’m very grateful that this part of the episode was in the very safe hands of Jeremy Northam and guest star (and fellow Englishman) James Frain. James, of course, gave an excellent performance as Thomas Cromwell in The Tudors. There have been one or two occasions where I’ve felt the patients could have been cast and played a little more successfully (no names, no pack drill), but James Frain’s Brian was beautifully realised. Being a cynical Brit (raised by Calvinist Scots), Mr Lieber sometimes pushes my “schmaltz-cringe” button, but Frain and Northam both accorded the subject of Alzheimer’s and DNR the dignity and emotional truth it required.

James Frain as Brian

This week’s “variation on the format” saw intrepid child-doctor Serena Warren in the field, attending a plane crash with helicopter pilot Moose (guest Kevin Weisman). I hope that, in season 2 (see, I’m being positive), we get to see the docs on location again. I was thinking that if this had been a UK show, the little boy, Truman, would have been found dead, but I forgave Mr Lieber when I saw how well the juxtaposition of Brian and Truman worked. But I don’t quite forgive Elizabeth Harnois for shrieking “OMG!! OMG!!” like a character in Glee when she saw Truman from the helicopter…

There were some nice exchanges between Serena and Moose, as they pondered whether saving lives is always a good thing. I liked the way this worked with the DNR story, and we were treated to a lovely line, which makes it into my Miami Medical quotable hall of fame: “life is not a race and nobody’s keeping score”. Quick check…nope, schmaltz-cringe button not pushed!

OMG, he's totally, like, breathing!

After a lot of angst and worry, happy, happy, joy, joy, Nurse Tuck is in recovery, smiling and joking (what a relief, I adore Omar Gooding’s character) and obviously bearing no grudges, so maybe Serena can stop with the guilt?

Thank goodness Tuck is on the mend

And, of course, Tuck’s recovery after heart surgery brings me to my favourite strand of this week’s show, yes, Proctor and guest star Kari Matchett as Dr Helena Sable, cardiac surgeon. What fun that was (“nobody calls me Matthew” and the look on Proctor’s face were priceless), I loved seeing the crackling chemistry those two cooked up. Dr Proctor likes a feisty lady, does he? I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes!

Kari’s back next week, for the season finale, so maybe she’ll get that dinner…? If ever there was a man crying out for love and, erm, affection, it’s Proctor.

Helena and "Matthew", a match made in hospital

Man on the Road gave us a roller coaster ride, and so it was fitting that we caught our breath and went to the Crab Shack with the docs. Proctor has finally let his guard down, and hasn’t quite spilled all his secrets…but he has confessed that it’s good to be alive. I’ll go along with that, 100%.

Oh, and for those who have followed the show’s development through Twitter, do you remember reading about Jeremy’s rendition of the Monty Python classic, “Sit on my face”…? I have to say, he’s a man with a good sense of humour because that’s a big dog!

He saved Dr Proctor, but did he tell him he loved him?

Next week is the season finale, An Arm and a Leg. Watch this space for more on that very soon. And while you’re waiting, check out SueVo’s review at The Exploding Egg.

Here’s the trailer for next week’s episode. Apologies for the poor quality, but it’s all I can access (legally) here in UK.

by henrysmummy2003

21 Responses to “Miami Medical, Man on the Road: yes, it’s good to be alive…”

  1. Mary May 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    Many thanks Gill, for their contribution.

  2. henrysmummy2003 May 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Message for SueVo: I got my “big word of the week” in, do I get a prize?

  3. Gayle Cooley May 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Absolutely awesome review!! I cannot wait to watch this episode now.

  4. SueVo May 15, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    lol ‘perspicacity’ you mean? Yes indeed Gill – you win!
    Great review! Thanks!

  5. Glaros May 15, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    I really enjoy reading your “Miami Medical” reviews, I will miss them as well as quirky and attractive Doc Proc, if the series gets cancelled.

    Thanks for mentioning the juxtaposition of Brian and Truman, I found that interesting too. I liked the whole episode very much, it was one of my favourites, I suppose mainly due to Jeremy Northam’s charism and acting skills that again had the opportunity to shine brightly during this episode. But I think Jeffrey Lieber’s script wasn’t bad either. As fas as the “schmaltz-cringe-button” is concerned, I (who is neither American nor British) felt tempted to push it, when Dr. Sable and Proctor conversed about Tuck’s “good heart”.

    By the way, I wasn’t aware that the words “Schmaltz” and “angst” exist in English and I wonder why these of all words seem to be of german origin. I’ll have to meditate about that. 😉

    • henrysmummy2003 May 15, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

      Thank you for your kind and interesting comments. As for etimology of those words, English has so many influences from many languages, including German. I’m not sure, in these particular instances, how they arrived in the English language. At a guess, I’d say we’ve stolen schmaltz from American English, and I’d probably credit Jewish Americans. Angst…not so sure. Anyone else know???

      If the show is cancelled, I will miss Proctor terribly. But, for now, we watch and wait because we really don’t know what will happen. People are guessing all over the place, but really they know as little as we do and it’s all pure conjecture.

      I’ll still be writing about Jeremy, whatever he does and whatever happens with the show so do keep visiting the blog!

  6. Glaros May 15, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    It was the other way round anyhow. I don’t visit the Jeremy Northam fansites because of “Miami Medical”, but I watched “Miami Medical” because of the Jeremy Northam fansites. 😉 (I came across the Jeremy Northam fansites because of princessamerigos fanvid about the “Winslow Boy”.)

    Ad “Schmal(t)z”: I remember a scene of my childhood. My mother was listening to a schmaltzy song and my father said in German (Austrian dialect): “When I listen to that, I feel as if I were swimming in Schmalz.” I laughed out loudly and heartily because I was too young to understand that there was a thing called figurative language. I imagined my father swimming in a huge pot of pork lard. :-))
    In German it has the two meanings: the literal meaning “lard” and the figurative meaning for slushy things.

    • henrysmummy2003 May 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

      Fascinating, thank you! I’m a real language junkie, took linguistics as part of my degree many moons ago and never shed my love of language. It’s one of the things that attracts me to Jeremy, he uses language so well.

      • Glaros May 15, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

        So am I. 🙂 I suppose that’s one of the reasons why I like “The Winslow Boy” so much (and why I dislike the lousy German dubbing of this film, by the way. Besides the fact that Sir Robert without Jeremy Northam’s original voice is only half as attractive.)

  7. Jenny the Nipper May 15, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    I completely agree. There have been times that this show has pushed the schmaltz button a lot and that the British show (Golden Hour) would have probably killed the little kid at the end. The transition between the death of Frain’s character and the little boy’s first breaths after having his jaw reset was beautifully done.

    I agree as well that Frain was brilliant here and he Northam were great in their scenes together. I also thought the “thumbs up their arses” comment might have been the single best moment of the entire season. Ok, well maybe seeing JN in jogging shorts at the beginning. It’s a tough call.

    I thought the flirtation with Doctor Sable a bit of a yawn and was glad it didn’t suck up to much of the show.

    I’m totally hooked on this show, despite all it’s Bruckenheimerisms. I started watching for Northam but I think this is an ensemble piece and there isn’t a weak link. Some of the guests have been hit or miss, but all the actors were excellent this weak, especially Frain (thanks for pointing out where I knew him from, it was driving me nuts while I was watching the episode) and the woman who played his sister. The writing has been hit or miss but good acting can always sell weak writing. Thankfully, it looks like the writing is getting stronger and the actors won’t have to work quite so hard.

    I’m going to be quite gutted if this show gets canceled. I think having JN on tv every week is vastly superior to getting to see him in a movie a couple times a year (and lets face it never in the theater, since so much of what he doesn’t takes forever to get across the pond even on DVD…I’m talking about you Glorious 39!) Even if the film material he’s done is probably better quality, you just can’t beat getting to turn on the TV every friday and see Jer.

    • henrysmummy2003 May 15, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

      If (and I hope it won’t come to it, but…) the show isn’t back again, it maybe that JN has a contract which will mean he finds another suitable vehicle. Knowing his rather idiosyncratic choice of roles, who knows what we’ll see him doing next! But yes, in the meantime, we’ll have to form some sort of therapy club for the Jeremy-deprived! A weekly helping of Northam has been a luxurious treat that I have got rather used to as well!

  8. HazelP May 17, 2010 at 12:22 am #

    We will all miss Doctor Proctor and the rest of the MT1 staff if the ptb (powers that be) at CBS do not renew Miami Medical. As far as patient stories go, Episode 7 was outstanding, especially the sympathetic view of Alzheimers. Those of us who have had family members and/or friends who have/had family members with this disease understood the thoughts and fears portrayed so wonderfully by James Frain and the actress who played his sister.

    However, the ice queen portrayal of Dr Sable’s interpreter left me unconvinced about its inclusion within the episode. IMHO, more time should have been given to the patients and less to Dr Sable.

  9. Jennythenipper May 17, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    I agree HazelP.

    Speaking of medical issues, any one else think it’s pretty crazy that Doctor Proctor has a near fatal heart attack and his way of recovering is to take on the most stressful job imaginable? he’s still jogging like a maniac and eating like…an American (that hospital cafeteria food will kill you). No wonder he’s trying to date the cardiac surgeon. He shouldn’t let her out of his sight just in case…

    • henrysmummy2003 May 17, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

      Ah, but he wants to ‘live’, not be careful…that’s how I read it, anyway. But yes, that could well be the lure of the heart doc!

      • jennythenipper May 17, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

        I sort of almost buy the premise that if you were really unhappy in your life you could get sick and that by merely following your bliss, you could overcome it, despite the fact that everything you are doing is the opposite of medical advice. It’s very New Age-y, but at least the chest crack scar looks real.

        Hey, thanks for adding my blog to your roll. I just added you to mine.

  10. henrysmummy2003 May 17, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    Thanks for the link, Jenny, much appreciated!

    I think I thought it was as simple as the fact that maybe he doesn’t actually care and is just going to enjoy himself, whatever happens. That every extra day is a bonus to be lived to the full. We kind of need to know more about that, I guess…let’s hope we get the chance to find out!

  11. jennythenipper May 18, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Am I over thinking it, maybe? Yeah, prolly.

    • henrysmummy2003 May 18, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

      Overthinking where Mr Northam is concerned is perfectly normal…!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Miami Medical, Man on the Road: yes, it’s good to be alive… « The Jer Blog, all about Jeremy Northam -- Topsy.com - May 15, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gill Fraser Lee. Gill Fraser Lee said: Another great episode of #Miami Medical, it's good to be alive! New blog post: http://wp.me/pNnl7-87 @CBSMiamiMedical @MiamiMedicalCBS PlsRT […]

  2. Miami Medical: Man on the Road Runs Away With It « Exploding Egg - May 15, 2010

    […] Update: Gill over at The Jer Blog has a great post up about this episode, too. Check it out here: Miami Medical, Man on the Road: yes, it’s good to be alive… […]

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