Emily Owens, M.D./Facebook
If Grey’s Anatomy and New Girl were their best selves and had a child they would have Emily Owens, M.D. The series is chock full of awkwardness and a very realistic portrayal of life as a medical intern. Plus, Mamie Gummer shows she is ready to be part of the Meryl Streep acting dynasty by embodying a lovable, relatable character.
Emily Owens (Gummer) is an awkward, overachieving virgin. She’s hopelessly in love with her best friend, Will Collins (Justin Hartley). She is interning with her medical inspiration Dr. Gina Bandari (Necar Zadegan). The only hitch in her plans is that her worst enemy from high school, Cassandra Kopelson (Aja Naomi King) is also in her intern group. Suddenly, her strong grasp of medicine and stellar credentials are useless compared to her overbearing awkwardness and social anxiety.
Gummer brings a quirky and endearing sweetness. Plus, the show offers a grounded approach to medicine. Each episode, Emily uses her connection to patients and extensive medical knowledge to help them. Unlike a show like Grey’s, the show doesn’t rely on outlandish medical anomalies or unprofessional sexual relationships. Instead, the tension is derived from Emily’s love of Will and a budding attraction to equally dorky and unavailable Micah (Michael Rady). However, the show doesn’t just rely on girl crushes and teenage drama. It represents people of a certain age in a time where high school wounds can live on.
This series is cute, engaging, and will have you rooting for the “good guy.” Gummer is a star on the rise. Luckily, the 13 episodes of this prematurely cancelled series are available on Netflix.
Tuesday night the CW premiered its foray into the medical world with the new drama Emily Owens, M.D. Starring Mamie Gummer (the glorious offspring of the great Meryl Streep), Emily Owens is a med school grad beginning her surgical internship at Denver Memorial Hospital, and she just can’t seem to shake her high school insecurities. Whether it’s her nefarious school days nemesis Cassandra (Aja Naomi King) passively aggressively undermining her every move, her med school friend/fellow intern/secret crush Will (Justin Hartley), or her demanding, intimidating idol, the brilliant Dr. Bandari (Necar Zadegan), Emily finds herself anxiety-ridden in a lifestyle that's stressful enough as it is. But there’s a ray of sunlight in her new job: Micah (Michael Rady), her resident, who not only helps her put things in perspective, but maybe, just maybe, likes her as more than just a mentee. Boom: requisite love triangle established.
Watching the season premiere last night, I was shocked by the show’s similarities to another, famous long-running medical drama. You know the one I’m talking about. The one whose doctors recently survived a plane crash on a mysterious island where the Dharma Initiative was born and are now running around with a revengenda hunting villains with a bow and arrow and… wait, I’m getting confused!
Deep breath. Let’s start over. I'm talking about Grey’s Anatomy. Emily Owens, M.D. seemed to be almost a carbon copy of ABC’s veteran medical drama. Now, medical dramas are obviously going to see some crossover. That’s unavoidable. But this isn't merely a few coincidences here and there. The entire show’s structure was practically the same, and those similarities can’t be ignored:
1. The voice-over/narration by the titular doc throughout the episode, kind of like Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) in every episode, ever.
2. The emotional monologues from the characters, telling (not showing) how they feel and explaining their actions, a.k.a. Grey's Anatomy, also in every episode, ever.
3. The brilliant, yet bitchy doctor all the interns fear and idolize, much like Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) in Grey's earlier seasons.
4. Emily’s profession of love in a bumbling speech to her best guy friend, which has happened to just about every character on Grey's Anatomy.
5. The lesbian intern struggling with the implications of her sexuality, much like Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez).
6. The Chief of surgery cheating on his wife with another hospital employee, just like the Chief Webber cheating on Adele with Meredith's mother.
7. The patients’ medical drama eerily mirroring the doctors' relationship drama, giving the patients the opportunity to give advice that conveniently and completely solves all the doctors’ dilemmas. Once again, this is every episode of Grey's Anatomy ever.
Now, that’s a whole lotta similarities going on. The comparisons should completely turn viewers off, and yet, it works.
Somehow the few, small-yet-game-changing differences completely change the entire tone of the show and the result is really quite charming. For one thing, after Emily’s profession of love to Will, her crush completely shuts her down, saying he just sees her as a friend. It was awkward. It was uncomfortable. It was mortifying. And it was totally realistic.
Unlike Grey’s Anatomy’s epic love stories and heartfelt confessions that are few and far between in real life, having a crush not return your feelings happens more than we’d all care to admit. That “just friends” response Will gives to Emily slams the swelling romantic background music to a jarring halt, quickly reminding us this was one happy ending that isn't going to play out. Emily raids the vending machines and camps out in a stairwell to nurse her wounded pride. Girl, I’m with you on that one. Life isn’t pretty, and Emily does the best she can with the lemons she's given.
And another significant difference is that Emily – unlike Meredith Grey’s "dark, twisty" personality – is light, happy, and optimistic. Even after her heart is stomped on by the guy she’s been crushing on for years, a quick pep talk with Micah puts her life in perspective, and she puts that smile back on her face and gets back to work with a kick in her step. Faced with her high school nemesis, she remains upbeat and confronts her, determined to not let anything stop her from being a good doctor.
This sunnier disposition can partly be attributed to Gummer’s brilliant portrayal of Emily. She conveys emotions and feelings with subtle shifts in her facial expressions and the tone of her voice is astounding. It could have something to do with her good genes – being Meryl Streep's daughter never hurts. No other comment will be made of her parentage, though. Gummer clearly has talent, and I don’t care whether it is learned or inherited. As long as I get to see her on my TV Tuesday nights, that's fine by me.
The effect of these few changes made this show (at least, the pilot) worth watching. Only time will tell if the rest of the season continues on this trend. And in the words of Emily Owens herself at the end of the pilot: “Oh come on. It’s gotta get better than this—right?”
Emily Owens, M.D. airs Tuesday nights on the CW.
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW]
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Can you believe it? We’re already a whole month into the Fall TV season, and sadly Mad Men and The Jersey Shore will end their seasons. (It had to happen folks, we can’t have fist pumping guidos frolicking around with some classy ad men to balance it out.) So as we enter this exciting month of finales and trial periods for the newbies, the television sphere is all abuzz. Here’s the rundown of what may or may not be headed to the small screen soon.
Over at NBC, The Event is starting to hit its stride, and critics are even comparing it other shows with fanatic followings – that’s right, it’s getting comments about being the next Lost or Heroes or 24. Really. Despite these praises, the show’s ratings aren’t matching up, so it makes sense that creators are searching for a way to hook more viewers. Enter 24 veterans executive producer Evan Katz and actress Necar Zadegan (who you may remember as the president’s wife in season 8). Zadegan is signed on to play a mysterious new character with potential for a recurring role. Taking the 24-esque route could potentially bring in the 24 fanatics who had their beloved series ripped out of the prime time lineup, and I’m sure that’s what NBC is hoping for. I hope it works because it would be a shame for something that NBC is doing right to fall by the wayside – they’ve been scraping the bottom of the barrel for a while and it’s about time they enjoyed some success.
ABC’s also got some new stuff coming down the line. Matthew Perry is returning to television with his new show called Mr. Sunshine. (Hey, if Monica can do a show without Chandler, then Chandler can do one without Monica, okay?) Perry’s already got a guest star lined up for his new endeavor, tennis great Jimmy Connors. He’s play himself (what a stretch) and he’s challenge Perry’s character to a charity tennis match (wow, another stretch). I’m not sure about a Matthew Perry sitcom, but I’ve bet big money that it will at least be better than Joey.
Once Dancing with The Stars comes to an end, ABC already has the next show all lined up. It’s a really creative replacement – Skating with The Stars. Revolutionary, isn’t it? The show will start November 22 and bring more flickering stars into American homes to participate in an identically-structured skating competition. I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Thankfully, ABC Family managed to tap into their taste-meter for a second, killing the pilot for a new show called Strut. Get this, it was a show about a Vegas show girl who becomes a drill team instructor – on a channel with the word “family” in the name! They were trying to get Jenna Elfman as the lead, but she wisely rejected that offer (smart move lady; I don’t see any way that the Showgirls-meets-Hellcats show could have been a good move). I guess Elfman was the last straw, because they pulled the plug shortly after the rejection, but I bet she just saved them from wasting time on a show that I’m pretty sure was going to crash and burn.
Source: Entertainment Weekly, The Ausiello Files