I have to apologize for my prolonged posting absence, but things have been getting hectic. And with several trips upcoming, including two jaunts to Vegas (one my bachelor party!!), a pre-wedding party in my hometown St. Louis, a wedding (with still a millions things that need to be done), a minimoon, and various other things happening all in the next couple of months, I have a feeling it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
One thing I still amazingly always find time for, however, is television. Fortunately, it’s the summer so the Tivo is rather sparse, but one of my favorite shows – Monk – recently started airing new episodes. Alas, it is the final season for the underappreciated comedic detective series on USA Network, which wins the latest My One Favorite Thing of the Week award. I encourage everyone to check out the last few shows on Friday night 9/8c
The strong character ensemble team is easily the best thing about Monk. Tony Shalhoub has received well-deserved accolades, including a couple of Emmys I believe, for his performance as the title character – the lovable, OCD-afflicted, genius detective Adrian Monk. Monk, who was kicked off the San Francisco police force after suffering from mental illness when his wife was killed in a car bomb, is afraid of just about everything. And somehow Shalhoub has managed to keep all of Monk’s numerous tics and neuroses from getting stale and annoying over the years. Along with Hugh Laurie’s Gregory House, Shalhoub has created one of the two most memorable TV personalities of the past decade.
But truthfully, the rest of the Monk cast is just as strong, each of the main actors creating endearing, funny characters who play off of Monk’s oddities extremely well. The only other performer you’ll probably recognize is Ted Levine, Monk’s former boss Captain Leland Stottlemeyer, as he was Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. He’s terrific, gruff and perpetually exasperated with the antics of Monk and his own hilariously inept underling Lieutenant Randy Disher.
But my favorite non-Monk actor is probably Traylor Howard, who plays Monk’s assistant Natalie Teeger. She is tough but caring, patient but strong-willed, and she gives as good as she takes. And even more impressively, I honestly first hated her when she came on the show because she replaced a character I thought was awesome, Monk’s original assistant Sharona.
Now I don’t want to oversell the show. The writing is pretty good, but the plots usually aren’t much to speak of, and you’ll probably figure out most of the ‘mysteries’ (many of them taken from recent headlines) long before Monk finally solves the case near the end of the show. I’m sure fans of shows like Columbo and Murder She Wrote will often feel a strong case of deja vu.
But still, it’s top-notch entertainment, and I’m sure going to miss Monk and the gang when they disappear from the airwaves for good next month.