27 January 2006 | ccthemovieman-1
Monk Mania Is Upon Us
Here's a cable television that, by word of mouth, is really gaining in popularity..... and it's easy to see why. It scores a bullseye by combining interesting crime stories with humor. When you have that combination and it works, you have a winner.
Monk's comedy, despite what the producers say, is really making fun of people who have compulsive-obsessive disorders (OCD)., but not in a mean-spirited manner. Adrian Monk (Tony Schaloub) and his many phobias are what make us laugh. That's what makes this show unique and sets it apart from every other "whodunnit" show, from Sherlock Holmes to Det. Robert Goren on Law And Order: Criminal Intent.
Shalhoub excels in his comedy, in large part, to his body movements, his reactions to situations and to his deadpan deliveries of hilarious lines. He is a master at all of it, and always entertaining.
I did have trouble, unlike most people, with his sidekick, "Sharona," played by Bitty Schram. I'm sorry but I found her extremely annoying with her OMG's every other sentence and her horrible nasal New Jersey accent. I was glad to hear she left the show midway through the following season but, as others have pointed out: the shows have gone downhill since she left. However good Scrham was in her role, (and she was effective) the show getting weaker by the fourth year is due to the writers, not the appearance of "Natalie Teeger."
The two other main characters and good and bad, too. Levine is good as the no-nonsense, gruff and tough police captain. He looks the part and acts it, but Gray-Stanford is ludicrous as his main detective. He's portrayed as someone totally stupid and immature, and no lieutenant would act like him. He's an insult to the viewers' intelligence. Oddly, he was pictured much more realistically the first season of the show but by the second season he was made into a goof-ball.
Story-wise, each episode is entirely different so it never gets stale. Most shows feature surprising twists and clever plots. That's the idea of the show - odd cases that nobody but the extremely observant Monk could figure out. All his phobias wound up costing him his badge, but he's so smart, the police have to call him in to solve the difficult mysteries.
It's beautifully filmed and occasionally you get a travelogue-type glance at the San Francisco scenery. This show is picking up new viewers each week because it's addicting. Once you've seen a show or two, you have to see more....and it rarely disappoints. After watching this, I purchased the first and third seasons. The first season is outstanding, particularly the opening episode. I'm now looking forward to viewing the third season.