Private Practice‘s Debut: Slow Going in SoCal
Welcome, Addison Forbes Montgomery, to your new home: You’re letting your heart ease up and starting over after all those menage shenanigans with McDreamy and McSteamy at Seattle Grace. Now you’re going to work with the Oceanside Wellness medical group in L.A. Outside are waves and surfers and sun, and inside the clinic you’re surrounded by a warm soft palette of corals and torquoises. A lot of thought went into the color swatches for this show. Maybe too much.
It was a busy and peculiarly silly first episode. Addison (Kate Walsh), rejoicing in her freedom, danced around her new home fresh out of the shower as if she were ecstatic over a new brand of hair rinse. It was Mary Tyler flinging up her hat, and flinging off the rest her clothes for good measure. We get it already!
Then we were reintroduced to characters we met briefly on Grey's last season. They include the clinic’s majority owner, a fertility specialist named Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald), who hired Addison without informing the staff; her ex-husband, Sam (Taye Diggs), an internist and author; psychiatrist Valerie Turner (Amy Brenneman); and Pete Wilder (Tim Daly), an alternative medicine specialist who thinks Addison moved all the way from Seattle because they kissed once in a stairwell. Is this a McDelusion on his part?
When the staff weren’t addressing various issues of interpersonal chemistry, the show served up the sort of over-the-top medical crises typical of Grey's. (This also meant that everyone was always rushing off to the local hospital, where the equipment is more elaborate: Doesn’t that defeat the point of setting the show at a small homey clinic?) Most interestingly, a mature gentleman died just before donating sperm for his young girlfriend. Then his estranged wife showed up, demanding the goods for herself.
Meanwhile, Addison panicked before performing a life-or-death C-section that had to be conducted without anesthesia. Her neurotic grandstanding wasn’t very believable, or professional, or likable: I wouldn’t have been surprised if she tore off her clothes and started dancing again.
Which is what she did, anyway, as soon as she got back home after her first day at work. That ended the episode. –Tom Gliatto
Tell us what you thought of last night's PP premiere?