Ask Matt: Malpractice on ‘Grey’s’ and ‘Resident,’ Animal Control on ‘This Is Us,’ ‘Goldbergs,’ and More
Welcome to the Q&A with TV critic (also known to some TV fans as their “TV therapist”) Matt Roush, who’ll address whatever you love, loathe, are confused or frustrated or thrilled by in today’s vast TV landscape. One caution: This is a spoiler-free zone, so we won’t be addressing upcoming storylines here unless it’s already common knowledge. Please send your questions and comments to [email protected] (or use the form at the end of the column) and follow me on Twitter. Look for Ask Matt columns on most Tuesdays and Fridays.
Medical Shows Should Do No Harm
Question: So, slight rant here, “TV therapist.” In last week’s Grey’s Anatomy, I really feel the producers missed the boat when it comes to educating women about postpartum preeclampsia. As someone who suffered from it, I would have appreciated a 15-second post-episode message about the warning signs, etc. The producers have been so on point with domestic violence resources this season, but missed the boat on this one. Yes, I know only 750 women in the U.S. are even diagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia, but the signs are usually missed, and a little blurb about more information would have been well received. Based on the previews for the next episode, I’m sure we’ll be educated about the warning signs of heart attacks in women, so I’m wondering why postpartum preeclampsia was glossed over. (Also, it was really in character for April to miss the finer details, since she was originally fired because she forgot her ABCs of smoke inhalation.) — Veronica
Matt Roush: At least it sounds like you think Grey’s handled the storyline with some accuracy. And even without a Public Service Announcement, the show might have provided some benefit by dramatizing this complication so forcefully (though tragically). But no doubt shows like these should always be thinking about outreach, especially when it comes to lesser known ailments—and this reminded me a bit of that early ER episode, “Love’s Labour Lost,” about a delivery gone terribly wrong. Storylines this traumatic deserve to be put in context. And on another note: Bailey! Not sure my heart can take it if hers gives out.
Question: I watched the first episode of Fox’s The Resident and half of the second, and I realized that the show was annoying me. I can’t believe that a doctor could get away with murdering a patient due to his incompetency. Supposedly it has been going on for a long time and no one ever reported it. Come on! Also, I feel the show is too pretentious. I may be shallow, but give me Chicago Med every time. I love the show and the characters and the fact that people from Chicago Fire and Chicago PD show up occasionally. — Connie
Matt Roush: The set-up for The Resident is outrageous, in the sense that an entire hospital would cover up the failings of its star surgeon, but it is at least dramatic (and as I noted in my review, reminded me of a gripping British drama from the early 2000s titled Bodies). Calling a show “pretentious” is tricky, because that adjective can mean a lot of things. My problem with the early episodes of The Resident is a sense that it’s too self-congratulatory in calling out the dangers of medical error, and there’s a smug preachiness to it that could be a real turn-off. My problem with Chicago Med is that it’s just so generic, but I get the appeal of the various Chicago shows overlapping, so to each their own.
This Is a Viewer Asking to Save the Animals!
Question: I do like and always follow This Is Us. However, I was binge-watching the last three episodes and found it terribly depressing to wonder what was going to happen to the cat Clooney and then have to endure so many references to that cute little dog about to perish in the fire. — Linda
Matt Roush: Bless your heart. Most of us are so focused on the fate of the humans, including Best Dad Ever Jack Pearson RIP, that we tend to forget about the animals. But give This Is Us some credit for its aww-inspiringly effective methods of emotional manipulation. Sure, we care about the Pearsons, but put a cat or dog in harm’s way and we’re an instant mess.
Should We Send Out a Space Probe for The Orville?
Question: Whatever happened to that TV show called The Orville? I loved that show and watched every episode from the beginning. The episodes got more interesting by the week. How could they leave us hanging like this? – Paul
Matt Roush: Welcome to the new world of shorter seasons, even on broadcast network TV. In part because of its elaborate production demands, The Orville was always envisioned to run just half a season, not cranking out a full 22-episode order. It has been renewed for a second season, so it will be back—but if it stays on its current trajectory, it will never air in the traditional September-to-May pattern.
The Case of the One-Off Spinoff
Question: What was the point of ABC showing us the spinoff pilot for The Goldbergs last week? My understanding is that ABC passed on it last year, and as such, the cast options would have lapsed by now. If they actually want to get it going again, it would seem difficult to accomplish, and if they don’t, it seems like a random thing to show audiences. What do you think? — Jake
Matt Roush: I remember the days when networks used to air busted pilots (often in the summer when little else was on), which was kind of a fun what-could-have-been or what-were-they-thinking exercise. In this case, The Goldbergs produced the episode as a backdoor pilot, and even though the network didn’t bite, the episode was already done and finished and paid for, and instead of wasting the effort, they must have liked it enough to consider putting it on as a “very special” episode. I don’t see the harm in airing it, although it doesn’t represent a second lease on life.
Such Smart Programming
Question: I finally caught up with National Geographic’s Genius. The performances were mesmerizing (for the most part) and the production values were stellar. Are you aware of what parts were fictionalized or exaggerated for artistic means? I never learned about much of his life in school. So this was mostly new to me. — Fred
Matt Roush: If watching Genius makes you want to learn more about Albert Einstein, then it served its purpose. (I’ve had a similar experience after watching Dunkirk, and then The Darkest Hour, in movie theaters.) I can’t pretend to be expert enough on the subject to tell you what truths were stretched for dramatic purposes, but the source material for Genius was Walter Isaacson’s book Einstein: His Life and Universe, which by all accounts is accessible and illuminating, so I’d suggest checking that out. And here’s hoping the upcoming Picasso season of Genius, starring Antonio Banderas, is as stimulating.
Is Riverdale High?
Question: What happened to Riverdale? Right now TV is amazing. The fact that you don’t have to go to the movies to see shows like The Crown or Black Mirror is just kind of astonishing. But even as much as I love those shows, I do love my popcorn shows, and that is why I started to watch Riverdale. Last season was so enjoyable and had a good twist at the end. The young cast and especially the adults were so much fun to watch. Then this season happened. After last week’s episode, I purposely made a decision to stop watching. It wasn’t because of my busy schedule or another show on at the same time, but because I just have come to find the show to be ridiculous. What happened to the characters? It is like watching a different show every single week. Is Betty’s mom a prude or is she a girl from the wrong side of the tracks? How many personalities can Cheryl have in one scene? How did Jughead go from anti-serpent to wanting to be the leader of the group? Finally, how stupid is it to believe that a high school can be shut down and the students transferred to another school? It honestly feels like the writers write an episode but then never talk to the other writers. Has there been a change of writers from the first season? Are there any other complaints coming your way, or am I just being dramatic? — Isaac
Matt Roush: I don’t hear a lot about Riverdale, perhaps because if you read between the lines of what I do or don’t tend to write about, this isn’t really on my radar, so I haven’t given my followers much to work with regarding this show. (Within TV Guide Magazine and tvinsider.com, we do have people keeping up with the show, and I try to stay current through their coverage.) I’ll admit I bailed before the end of the first season—in part because I fell behind due to the tonnage of TV, and falling behind often indicates a lack of fondness for the material, which I felt went over the top pretty quickly. It doesn’t surprise me that someone would tire of its garish inconsistencies and wild plot swings—this strikes me as a teen version of Scandal’s wretched excesses, which on the other hand is what many people seem to like about Riverdale.
Will There Be More Bad (as in Good) Behavior?
Question: Have you heard anything about a third season of Good Behavior? I really enjoy this show and have been looking, but have seen nothing. — Brynn
Matt Roush: Haven’t heard anything, and don’t expect to until TNT makes the call. It’s hard to predict which way TNT will swing, with its current lineup being in such a state of transition, but this edgy and torrid drama was a very noisy part of the rebranding, so it would be significant if TNT doesn’t go forward.
That’s all for now. We’ll pick up the conversation again soon. Thanks as always for reading, and remember that I can’t do this without your participation, so please keep sending questions and comments about TV to [email protected] or shoot me a line on Twitter (@TVGMMattRoush), and you can also submit questions via the handy form below.