7 October 2005 | scattering_like_light
Laughable yet laudable attempt to entertain the masses, despite obvious but unimportant flaws...
Dick Van Dyke always seems to play the universal stereotype of the 'good guy' in every role he takes, and this particular role - that of Dr Mark Sloan, is one of the best examples of this principal in action. like Quincy before him, this man lives to be a raging force majeure for the side of all that is good, righteous, and wonderful. Except Sloan is vaguely more likable than Quincy, who's nosey do-gooding antics only made you want to hit him.
The success of the show for me is in its comedy value, and it has attained subsequent cult status here in the UK. This is perhaps because we view it largely as a comedy instead of the drama it seems to think it is. We laugh out loud every time Barry Van Dyke arrives on scene to deliver woodenly his 10 lines of script, that are mostly the same as he said last week. And if i had a pound for every time him, and the police department were on hand at the end of an episode to save the day at the last minute, I'd be very rich. It is great source of amusement also that in every episode Sgt Steve (the son) is made to look a total incompetent by his dad, who manages to do both their jobs at the same time, while Barry stands around and looks wistfully into middle distance.
His hair alone makes every episode he's in worthwhile.
DVD himself is undoubtedly the star tho, and presents his 'do good at all costs all the time' style with the sort of aplomb that suggests not only has he been doing it for the entirety of his acting career, but probably in real life as well.
Sometimes infuriatingly tacky, simpering, and nauseatingly self- righteous, with unfailingly high morals all round from the main characters, the bad dudes have no chance at all. And with the Quincy-style concept that Sloan is a doctor who just can't do quite enough good every day by saving lives, and who's boss understands that he must leave the hospital, and his day-job for 80% of the time he's meant to be there, while he flits around garden parties and crime scenes looking for clues, its a winner.
It did deserve 8 series in my opinion, and they did very well to string what was essentially the same storyline out as long as they did. I found it a bit of a disappointment when it ended, but not for any reasons the producers would like - purely that the unintentionally hilarious acting / plots / concept never failed to entertain, and once you can accept that virtually every episode will start, and end the same, and what happens in the middle is largely irrelevant, none of this matters...
Oh - and the music from series 4 on was fantastic, for exactly the same reasons as the programme itself was...
Long live DVD, and all that good he did :)