You’ll like if you already like: Grey’s Anatomy, Code Black…
Likely timeslot: Is there even one for it?
I don’t want to be rude against the writers of this pilot but it’s gonna be hard. I don’t know much about Amy Holden Jones; she wrote movies that were popular in the 90s but not very good in my opinion. Since then… she got money out of the Beethoven sequels that she didn’t write herself and decided to enter the TV world in 2014 starting with ABC failed medical soap Black Box. She’s back with another medical fare, co-written with people who works for Code Black. I have to say I’m impressed: she did kid movies, summer movies, horror movies, thriller movies, romance movies… and now medical shows. What a queen! But sorry, The Resident (aka Kings County) is not her best work. Not at all. It lacks a vision, credibility and subtlety. And some more. But good news for her: the other medical pilot FOX ordered fell apart and they don’t have many other choices. Plus, they attracted quite a sexy and diverse cast. So there’s a real chance it ends up on our screens next year… and gets cancelled pretty quickly?
I’m sorry but a pilot starting with doctors taking pictures of the beer can-sized dick of a patient -refered as “giant meat popsicle” by a nurse-during an operation is quite overwhelming. And the fact that it’s never questionned or punished by the 4 or 5 people who are there including the chief of surgery, as if it’s okay doing such a terrible thing sounds horrible to me (not saying that’s what the writers think of course). Oh, I know. Those things happen in real life. But still? And it’s not just this. Later in the script, our young fresh doctor Devon is asked by his supervisor Conrad to shove his finger up a patient’s ass. It’s a bit harsh for a first medical case but why not? The problem is Conrad doesn’t care about the patient, treats him like shit because he doesn’t speak english, he doesn’t even want Devon to tell him what he’s about to perform on him, which is once again very rude. And he makes vulgar comments about how tight his rectum is. He ends up leaving Devon there, his finger’s still in, not knowing what to do and even realizing that the act was in fact not necessary… I know what they wanted to do there: setting a light tone, making us laugh a bit but they failed miserably. It’s awkward and crass. Not funny at all.
The writers are obviously obssessed with the idea that The Resident is not your typical medical drama. And quite frankly, it’s not that different. They make Conrad say to Devon: “You grew up watching all those white coats saving lives on TV. That magical ER where nobody ever dies, CPR always works, patients are all angels, doctors are gods.” Do you really know what you’re talking about? Have you ever watched a medical show? This description doesn’t fit with what I saw. People die on ER or Grey’s Anatomy. CPR doesn’t always work (though maybe it works more often on TV that in real life, I give you that). And patients are not always angels. And well, doctors may feel like gods but it always turns out that they’re not. Anyway. The whole script is built in opposition to network medical shows and what they are supposed to be in their minds.? They are apparently thinking that what they’re doing is earth-shattering. Spoiler alert: it’s not. It made me think of Code Black, which was all about realness initially. It’s hard to make something new in that genre but destroying what has been made before with nasty comments doesn’t make you look good. Just pretentious and mean. Especially when you don’t live up to the expectations you set yourself.
Nothing’s subttle in the show but the worst is the characters’ portraits. Devon is way too kind and innocent. But at least he’s a breath of fresh air in this hospital full of mean doctors doing bad things. Conrad is the biggest dick of them all. Remember Cary Agos in The Good Wife? Matt Czuchry is basically playing the same character, but nastier. He’s a bastard with everyone and on top of that, he objectifies women all the time: nurses, physical therapists, even patients that he locates on Tinder, and Nicolette, who’s kind of his fuck friend. She’s played by Emily VanCamp and let me tell you this is the worst choice of her career. She couldn’t find better, really? Going from leading lady in Revenge to a secondary poorly written character in this is sad. Just so she doesn’t get humiliated I don’t want to it to see the light of day. Another character that is just plain stupid: the chief of surgery I told you about earlier. Dr Bell kills a patient in the opening sequence. And we learn along the way that he has a bad habit of doing that. He’s negligent and simply not a good surgeon. But he keeps his position somehow… There are more tolerable characters, and even some with potential like Dr Okafor, a bad ass Nigerian rising surgical star. But in the middle of this mess, it’s hard to root for them.
The Resident is like a medical drama penned by (bad) sitcom writers. Imagine if Grey’s Anatomy was in the hands of the Two and a Half Men people. It’s ridiculous, distasteful and manichaean. It’s a sad attempt to aim at men, who are not really found of medical dramas in general, with mostly antiheroes characters that are just impossible to like. That being said, there’s a rhythm and an efficiency that could make it easy to watch and I can see some people loving it for what it is: dumb entertainment.