This ER Thing

Thirteen years ago my sister – who lives several states away – was begging me to watch this ‘new’ television show she was loving. She wanted someone to talk to about it every week. I gave it a watch but didn’t like it much. It was too fast paced. The dialog was quick and filled with medical terminology that was difficult to follow. At least for me. I am hearing impaired and am somewhat reliant on lip reading to follow a show. She was very disappointed when I told her that I wasn’t interested. VERY disappointed.

The following summer I began watching the reruns. We are both teachers. The pace of our lives changes during the summer months. We began our Fridays with leisurely telephone conversations and she would explain what had been happening in the show the night before. Slowly and surely I was hooked. I enjoyed the characters that drove the show. Mark Greene. Carol. Carter. Doug Ross. Jeanie Boulet. Susan Lewis. David Morenstern. ER became a Thursday night ‘habit’ that has continued for twelve more years. My sister’s interests moved on.

The faces on the show have changed. Sherry Stringfield left, taking ‘Susan Lewis’ with her. I loved Kellie Martin and her characterization of ‘Lucy Knight’. I began to follow her story lines. I was instantly drawn in to Luka Kovac…from his very first appearance. What a hunk. What an accent! I was horrified when I’d read that Maura Tierney had been signed to join the show. She was my favorite character from the comedy “News Radio’. How was she going to fit in to this drama driven ensemble? Ha. Should of known. ‘Lucy’ was killed off…..knifed by a psych patient during a Valentine’s Day episode. A horribly surprising event. I still miss her character. However, Tierney’s ‘Abby Lockhart’ rapidly took her place in my interests.

I discovered that my classroom aide had a similar Thursday night ‘addiction’. We would spend the first 15 minutes of our Friday school day – while taking attendance and lunch count and distributing morning work to first graders – quickly rehashing our thoughts from the previous night. Abby and Luka became more than friends and we sighed. We cheered the appearance of a stunningly heart rending Sally Field as ‘Abby’s’ mother. James Cromwell as a dying Bishop blew us away by being the catalyst for several Luka revelations. Abby and Luka broke up and we were both miserable. And life marched on. There have been several job changes and I no longer work with anyone that follows the show.

There have been some stunning performances. Sally Field returned. Susan Lewis returned. Mark Greene died on a beach in Hawaii. Luka went to the Congo. Carter followed him. Guest stars filled the ER. Sherry Stringfield left again . A couple of seasons of not so good story lines. Sometimes I snoozed in front of the television. And then, last year, along came an episode called ‘The Human Shield’. Luka and Abby were back together after five freaking years. WHAT could possibly be better? Back together again and having a baby. Back together again and the most incredible television hours ever in ’21 Guns’ and ‘Bloodline’….interrupted by a long summer hiatus. And then Forrest Whitaker as a frightenly creepy ex-patient and an episode called ‘Murmurs of the Heart’. It just gets better and better. But for whom? My sister will no longer watch. Says she doesn’t know the characters. Friends no longer like the bloodiness of the show. My children are too young. Sigh.

I don’t really know why ER still appeals to me. I have gotten older too. I no longer reflect the preferred advertising target. Sniff. I miss Lucy…and Mark….and Romano…and definitely Susan. I am so loving the reemergence of the ‘Luby’ relationship. And now there is talk of contracts ending and other characters leaving. I think I would be ready to break my ‘addiction’ if that happens. Who could possibly sustain my interest more than Maura Tierney and Goran Visnjic? Searching the current cast….probably no one. But ‘ER’ has surprised me before.

Explore posts in the same categories: ER, Maura Tierney, Sherry Stringfield

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