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"Private Practice": First Thoughts

"Private Practice": First Thoughts

As I said earlier, I really wish the LA portion of this week's "Grey's Anatomy could have gotten its own hour, rather than being intercut with the regular episode. It was tough to get a good sense of what kind of show "Private Practice" could be from that jumpy, scattered two-hour episode. Frankly, I wish they'd skipped the medical cases in LA altogether; we didn’t even care about the doctors yet, much less the patients.

Still, I imagine that if I could pull all the "Private Practice" bits out and watch it as a stand-alone episode, I'd think it was a decent pilot. It wasn't anywhere near as good as the "Grey's" pilot was back in 2005, but the "Grey's" pilot was one of the best I've ever seen. Pilots always have problems, especially in ensemble shows where the writers have to set up a lot of background. But I thought the "Private Practice" elements had promise, even if the show's not quite there yet.

Maybe the most reassuring thing for me was seeing Addison carry a show successfully, so

I love Addison — she's been my favorite character on "Grey's" from her first appearance — but I worried that she wouldn't be compelling as a leading lady. I don't need to worry about that anymore. Kate Walsh is a good dramatic actress, but she might be even better at comedy, which will come in handy if the spinoff keeps its lighter tone. And how great was it to see Addison among friends? In Seattle, she's always been a bit of an outcast, and we haven't seen much of her personal life — most likely because she doesn't really have one outside of work. Her interactions with Naomi were refreshing and fun, and I could see those two sassy, saucy 30-somethings conquering LA together.

Let's meet the rest of the characters:

  • Naomi (Merrin Dungey), Addison's med school best friend. She's a fertility specialist, and she's divorced and bitter because she feels she did everything right and still ended up unfulfilled.
  • Sam (Taye Diggs), Naomi's ex-husband and the guru of the Oceanside Wellness Center. He woke up one morning, asked for a divorce and doesn’t really know why.
  • Violet (Amy Brenneman), Oceanside's therapist who is — shockingly — convinced she'll never find true love.
  • Cooper (Paul Adelstein), the socially awkward pediatrician who either has a thing for Violet, has had a thing with her in the past, or both.
  • Dell (Chris Lowell), Oceanside's receptionist and resident eye candy, who has a thing for Naomi. He also parades around shirtless before and after his daily surfing breaks, much to the delight of Naomi and Violet (and now Addison).
  • Pete (Tim Daly), the alterna-doc who gives Addison her first acupuncture treatment and also her first LA kiss.
    • I saved Pete for last because, while I'm not the biggest Tim Daly fan, I did think he and Kate Walsh had some pretty convincing chemistry. I wasn't surprised to find out, though, that Pete has his problems; he's been widowed for eight years and struggles to make personal connections.

      As for the storyline, Addison heads to LA to try to have a baby, which might have been a nice surprise had ABC not spoiled it in the promos. She finds out she can't conceive, which is just perfect — she didn't have a baby with the right guy because she was focusing on her career, then she didn't have a baby with the wrong guy, and now that she doesn't need either guy, she can't have a baby at all. I like that they left her conflicted about that; on the one hand, she definitely wanted a kid, but on the other hand, as Naomi said, a baby wouldn't necessarily have been the best path to happiness.

      I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the talking elevator. The revelation that the voice was just Tilly the security guard getting her jollies was a little disappointing (though, really, what were the other options?). But I couldn't help thinking that if Seattle Grace's elevator had a security camera, many problems might have been prevented (ahem, George and Izzie).

      The show had some over-the-top sitcommy elements but also some funny lines, most of them Addison's. And I guess that's not surprising; Addison is the character the writers know best at this point. Of the new doctors, I thought Violet was the weakest; Naomi and Sam, on the other hand, seemed like they could become rich characters.

      And yes, of course, it was a little too convenient that Addison would get a medical case on her first day in LA, and it was a little too perfect that their OB/GYN had just left. But pilots are like that; they're contrived and silly, and they rarely show the best a show can offer. The most important thing is that there's potential for the show to become more, and I saw that here. What about you?

      Photos copyright 2007 ABC, Inc.

Join The Conversation
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
i liked addison in it not all the other characters are equally likable though, but maybe that'll change. taye diggs is a huge plus for the show!
ballerina ballerina 10 years
it was the most contrived junk I've seen in a long time, and I had higher hopes since everyone speaks so highly of Grey's Anatomy and Kate Walsh... though I've yet to be fully convinced about the merits of either. Most of the cast seems like they are too talented for this material. I found the scene where Mr. Supposed to be Tantalizing receptionist kid strolls through half naked with his surfboard to be kind of repulsive... if they must do ridiculous stuff like that, get Taye Diggs to do it!
crispet1 crispet1 10 years
I will give this show a shot.
tomtom7 tomtom7 10 years
i thought that the show sucked. agree that they should have made a separate pilot. overall the show lacked substance. it was just fluff. even though shondra rhymes is a great writer and she totally succeeded with grey's by combining a medical drama with sex, private practices wastes the talents involved and is just a light weight psychobabble show. it's now all about sex, makes us think that LA is just about surf and neurotic people and left me with a feeling of having eaten in a promising restaurant which didn't deliver and didn't serve "food" but just nicely decorated plates. please mrs rhymes, don't waist mr tiggs, mrs brenneman and above all mrs walsh, whose talents is far above such fluff..
balenciagababe balenciagababe 10 years
You know what, I thought it was cool. I'm usually not the biggest fan of spin-offs, but I love Kate Walsh and I think it could be a quality show.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 10 years
I'll probably give it a chance, just because I like Addison, but quite honestly, I hated it. The characters were just so...I don't know, but I didn't care about them at all, and I really didn't like Amy Brenneman's character Violet. I feel like her storyline would get soooo annoying, what with all the whining and whatnot. I mean, honestly, can these writers not put together a female character that is strong on her own?
tooq2love tooq2love 10 years
ktownpolarbear--i was also a huge judging amy fan, and watched it till it ended. it's hard to judge shows by their pilots. i'm hoping this show will do well.
JennyB JennyB 10 years
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS SHOW AND CAN'T WAIT FOR IT! addison is the bomb diggity! :) ..a thousand different versions of yourself..
DeaconP DeaconP 10 years
i found myself wishing the LA parts would just end already - i think that Grey's has a comic relief (mostly with christina) that Private Practice is totally missing. The whole thing in the elevator was just stupid, and as much as I LOVE addison, i found her so much more annoying with these new people. i think i have a weird hate for main characters - meredith annoys me, i always hated carrie on sex and the city, and now addison - so it could just be me love taye diggs though
BLisLove BLisLove 10 years
Some aspects of the pilot were not so good. For example: the surfer boy was completely pointless and not hot, the medical case sucked, Violet/Cooper bored the hell out of me, and there was no character who was the voice of reason and not romantically dysfunctional on the show. The good parts: The interesting Naomi/Sam backstory, despite the fact that Taye is a sucky actor. The best part: The Addison/Pete chemistry was off the chain. I don't now what it was, but I liked Addison better with Pete than any guy she's been linked to on Grey's. Tim Daly performed well and his character was probably the most intruiging. Overall though, the pilot fell short of expectations in my opinion. I think they relied too much on the big names they had to pull a large audience.
sanD13 sanD13 10 years
It was a bit cliched but I love the chemistry between Kate Walsh and Tim Daly. If I watch it, it'd be one of those mindless, guilty pleasure shows kinda like Grey's itself.
Phil Phil 10 years
I really liked Addie's Anatomy. It wasn't great, but Brothers & Sisters didn't have a great pilot either. I agree that the show has potential to be great, and I already really like the individual characters. I'm a bit iffy on Tim Daly's character, mainly because I think Taye Diggs' character and Addison belong together. And Paul Adelstein's character was pretty funny; I always kind of assumed that he would reprise his role from Rob Thomas's old (greatest) classic, Cupid in which he plays a dating-challenged schmoe who likely resorts to long nights alone on the internet... gah, I think I just described myself! Anyway, I can't wait to see more from the show. Hopefully it gets picked up.
LeninaCrowne LeninaCrowne 10 years
I HATED IT. boring, cliched and has no heart. if this terrible show gets get picked up ill probably stop watching grey's.
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 10 years
Every time the story shifted to L.A., I was bored. It was so contrived. Addison, Cristina and Callie are my faves on Grey's and I was really liking the new friendship between Addison and Callie. And once George dumps Callie for that soppy idiot Izzy -- which he will -- her character may flounder. Which would be a pity. All that said, Private Practice looked like a rehash of Ally McBeal, but with a better lead actress and an inferior supporting cast. If it gets picked up --which it will--I hope the writers do Kate Walsh justice. She was meant, after all, to be on Grey's for just 3 shows, but she was just too good to drop.
JessNess JessNess 10 years
Kate Walsh is hilarious in real life so its nice to let her show some of that on this show. I think it has great potential. Lets face it most pilots suck. They have to introduce too much at once and at the same time hook you in. But I think it will do well
Bonfire Bonfire 10 years
I was so disappointed in Private Practice! The characters were weak and there was nothing compelling about the storyline. Most irritating to me was the elevator voice which was incredibly stupid. Almost as stupid was the annoying receptionist boy the women were drooling over- like one of those old coke (pepsi?) commercials. I prefer the more reserved Addison of Seattle Grace- so much sexier. I couldn't stand the 'friendship' she has with Naomi- with friends like that who needs enemies! I agree that Tim Daly should move to Seattle. This spin off is a recipe for disaster I think- probably taking Grey's down with it.
CiaoBella2 CiaoBella2 10 years
I totally agree with Buzz... and would have watched Private Practice pilot after GA. Tim Daly was hot last night - McAcupuncturist Dreamy!
Classy-Amelia Classy-Amelia 10 years
Personally, It wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be. It disappointed me a little.
Daisy6264 Daisy6264 10 years
It may turn out to be a Good Show.
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 10 years
I think the potential for a great show is there. It's definitely worth watching. I'm glad some of my favorite old TV stars are in there like Tim Daly and Amy Brenneman. (I may have been one of the last Judging Amy fans to cling on to the show.)
sarabel sarabel 10 years
i love the cast but it felt like it was trying too hard. i guess we'll see how it pans out but right now i'm doubtful.
iloveclothes86 iloveclothes86 10 years
i like addison, but i thought this show was very boring. it's not her fault though... it is the new characters and the writers. taye diggs would look better alone because he is a lot shorter than all of the characters. his shortness makes him unattractive.tim daly should go to seattle. i thought violet was the boringest character and surfer boy it NOT hot. they need to choose more attractive/sexy characters. addison is not young but she IS sexy, that is what makes her so special. violet is not young and not sexy.
CM213 CM213 10 years
oh and there's more clips from EYES and kate is so good in it
CM213 CM213 10 years
did anyone else knew that kate walsh and tim daly worked together before in an ABC show in 2005 called EYES??? found this in YouTube also Eric Mabius (Daniel from Ugly Betty) was in the show.
higgydt4 higgydt4 10 years
Call me crazy, but I thought it sucked.
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