30 October 1999 | VeganThespian
A charming show about real family values and a little bit about Rhode Island.
I believe that the strength of the tv show Providence is that it demonstrates real "family values" and not the traditional "family values". The "family values" i refer to are that members of the family accept one another no matter what they do "wrong" (one is a schemer and gets into trouble, another is a goody goody with excessive pride, and another is a klutz who also has a child out of wedlock... also the Dr. hires a worker who is a klutz and is accepting and nurturing of her - how symbolic that maybe the central theme of the show is the prototypical country veterinarian, taking in wounded animals and nurturing them to health), and they love one another no less when the day is through. They meet their challenges with seriousness and humor, when the situations can allow, and almost always kindness.
The show does not moralize so much as it shows people dealing with real situations (already, 2 major characters have perished)and they are lead by the strong but extremely gentle and understanding character that Mike Farrell portrays, "Dr. James Hansen". He provides an almost unnoticed moral center, strong but gentle.
One daughter forgoes a successful career in los angeles as a plastic surgeon to go home and live with her family and work in a charitable clinic. The other daughter forgoes a fortune if she had gone to Japan and promoted her accidentally invented recipe, to take care of her baby and be with her family. She nurtures a mentally ill man who happened to be the ideal employee for her, and helps him escape when the authorities are after him, the morality being that she cannot harbor him, but she cannot let him be incarcerated either. The son gets into trouble, but works on being good.
We see progressive ideas shown in a viable light. The show accepts gays, it loves people who make mistakes, have accidents, they take in runaways, work at a clinic, find the good in mobsters, mentally ill, take in stray animals, have no negative judgments on ethnic groups. There is very little against a single mother, other than she needs to take responsibilty. And so on... what will be next ? These are all strengths in my opinion, and i think the country and society in general has been waiting for something to show them about this, what i believe to be, inherent unconditional love that exists in all of us, but somehow gets lost at times within the scope of the hustle and bustle of society.
Of note, I also believe that while some people say providence is not really about providence, i believe that it does capture different elements of the area. I think it more pulls together the strengths of the community than focussing on a particular group, providing an amalgam of local people. The parents are suspiciously like my grandparents (who are real life providence lifetime natives), even their bedroom is almost exactly like the television set bedroom. Also, personally i had lived in los angeles ginally went there to be in medical / grad school], working as an actor, and returned to rhode island because a family member was on deaths door.