PRIVATE PRACTICE: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
MOVIE: * (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Kate Walsh as ADDISON MONTGOMERY
Tim Daly as PETE WILDER
Audra McDonald as NAOMI BENNETTT
Taye Diggs as SAM BENNETT
Paul Adelstein as COOPER FREEDMAN
KaDee Strickland as CHARLOTTE KING
Chris Lowell as DELL PARKER
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Kate Walsh headlines the third season of her “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off on ABC. In this season, the moral dilemmas increase to an insane level as Violet is recovering from a patient literally stealing the baby from her womb, Sam and Naomi face an unexpected challenge from their daughter, Pete learns to be a dad, Dell deals with tragedy surrounding his daughter’s mother and Cooper and Charlotte explore where their relationship can go.
WHAT I LIKED
I don’t have a problem with Kate Walsh. In fact, I find her to be a beautiful, compelling and fine actor. She was the best thing about “Grey’s Anatomy” when she was on that show, and I did have hope for her spin-off. However, the show around her isn’t what I like.
But let’s get back to some positive points. “Private Practice” is a well-made show. Sure, it falls entirely in Shonda Rimes’ formula that she set out with on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but it fits together well. It looks slick, and it’s timed very well. And on the whole, the actors all do fine jobs in their role. The characters… well, that’s a different story. Read on.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
My problem with “Private Practice” from the onset was the angst-filled characters and the overdone crisis-of-the-week format. For a medical show like “House,” the disease-of-the-week makes sense. He’s doing differential diagnosis. However, in a show like “Private Practice,” it’s a relatively small clinic that faces some of the most bizarre medical challenges each week.
But beyond the set-up of the medical issues, the characters are what make me grind my teeth. There is not a single character that I feel sympathy for, even those that are sliced open by some psych patient. They are all burdened by their neuroses. Take Violet, for example, who does some of the most horrendous things from an emotional level. I understand being traumatized by an event, but she lost all sense of right or wrong.
Similarly, Naomi and Sam’s characters ignore real options in their situation, and they both become caricatures in how they deal with the challenges of their daughter. I like the actors, but their stories (as well as many others) just seem overwritten and twisted. Dell does a similar wretched action with his storyline. I don’t mind a few bad decisions by the characters, but when all of them are doing things that I personally disagree with, I can’t stomach the series.
Finally, there’s a new character in the secondary role – a doctor in a wheelchair. I don’t have a problem with him being in a wheelchair, but the writers use that as an excuse for him to be an asshole. And this is the problem I have with Shonda Rimes’ characters on both this show and “Grey’s Anatomy.” There’s an undercurrent that says you have to be an asshole to get ahead. Her characters don’t promote teamwork, friendship or unity. Instead, they run on a zero-sum game. If someone wins, someone has to use. Personally, I just don’t subscribe to that philosophy.
There are some decent special features on the DVD, which includes deleted scenes on more than half of the episodes. There’s also a funny blooper reel. Finally, Kate Walsh picks her “Kate’s Top Eight,’ which are her eight favorite things about season three.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of angst-filled medical dramas.