October 04, 2012

The Mob Doctor


Stepping in the House time slot, I was hoping The Mob Doctor would pick up where House left off. Maybe a nod to Black Jack, Osamu Tezuka's groundbreaking manga about a gifted surgeon who operates (literally and figuratively) outside the law.

Unfortunately, what we get instead is an annoying angst-fest.

Our Dr. Grace Devlin (the writers must have exhausted all their creativity coming up with that name) has the emotionally demanding job, the understanding boyfriend, the single mother of a mom, the looser screw-up of a little brother. She's even got student loans!

Give me a break.

At the end of the pilot episode, she's given a clear way out and turns it down for entirely sentimental reasons. She throws her life away because she doesn't want to move. House made his own bed and knew he had to lie in it. Devlin is a victim of circumstance. Poor baby.

Give me another break.

William Forsythe as the local godfather is great just to listen to, but the only interesting storyline I could detect is straight out of the Sopranos. And I thought the Sopranos was never much more than pretentious Emmy bait.

Compare Grace Devlin to Kumiko Yamaguchi in Gokusen, a teacher at an inner-city high school. The catch is that Kumiko is the scion of a yakuza family. She's going to run the "family business" and pound an education into the heads of her juvenile deliquents.

That produces plenty of moral quandaries, but she doesn't spend any time wringing her hands or whining about it. Hollywood can make mobsters and serial killers into male leads, but still can't let a girl be a bad boy without her feeling guilty about it.

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