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Private Practice Recap: Season Two, Episode One, "A Family Thing"

Private Practice Rundown: Episode One, "A Family Thing"

At this Summer's TCA press tour, a lot of shows talked about "hitting the reset button" after the writers' strike — but maybe none more than Private Practice. The Grey's Anatomy spinoff had a rough go in season one, and the producers wanted to refocus it to be more about medicine and moral dilemmas. Wednesday's premiere was a step in that direction, though I didn't think the actual "reset" came till the closing minutes. To hear my thoughts, just


This episode is spent mostly "resetting" the situation of Oceanside Wellness to be anything but the idyllic clinic we once imagined it to be. It's less of a lovey-dovey family and more one of those families where everyone bickers all the time (though they might still come in for group hugs eventually) — plus its finances are in disarray.

The idea of Naomi doing something drastic to save the practice and having it go wrong rang true for me; we've seen her struggle to balance the responsibilities of her job before (Violet: "She does everything. We just eat the candy."), plus she's still an emotional wreck. She wants something to go right so badly that she makes things go wrong instead. Another thing gone wrong is the situation with her patient, which angers Addison enough to sell her out to Sam at the end. And I have to say, if Private Practice wants to deliver a whole season full of heart-rending moral dilemmas, choosing one child's life over another is a pretty gut-punching way to start.

Cooper, meanwhile, had something of a similar dilemma: choosing whether to protect the privacy of his patient or the wishes of his parents when he knew that either could put another kid at risk for HIV. I don't know much about medical law, but just as a human being, I think Cooper had to say something — and clearly everyone realized it by the end. Maybe it's because the kid playing the teenage patient was pretty charismatic, but I related to that story more than Addison and Naomi's.

Oh, yeah: romance. Cooper and Charlotte are still doing their kinky thing, but Cooper's starting to want to be "boyfriend and girlfriend" while Charlotte, apparently queen of saying the wrong thing in bed, thinks whatever they're doing isn't that serious. Ouch. It is nice to see him not mooning over Violet, though. And Addison gets the romantic subplot that works least well for me, since apparently the SWAT guy can disappear for days on end but then — coincidence! — start showing up at her home and office. First, that's creepy. Second, she deserves better.

Some other thoughts:

  • Naomi's "I'm gonna donate my lips to chocolate" made me chuckle.
  • On the other hand, if I heard a doctor on TV say "I put my hands inside a woman's body and fix what's wrong," I would probably not be going to that doctor.
  • Dell quits. He's such an afterthought that I kind of forgot about him.
  • I'm assuming Violet basically uttered the new mission statement for the show: "When any of us come into an ethical grey area we all discuss it! We decide as a practice what to do!"

So, Addison sells out Naomi, Sam's in charge, Cooper's breaking free, nobody gets a bonus, annnnnnd: reset! Are you curious to see where Private Practice goes from here? Did you find the show improved? And seriously, y'all, can we get Violet a plotline?

Photos copyright 2008 ABC, Inc.

Join The Conversation
bluegeisha00 bluegeisha00 8 years
I liked PrP but I had doubts about it last season. I love Addison, esp in GA, and of course Kate does an amazing job. I love PrP to but it felt like it wasn't very Addison like, but still enjoyed the transition. But this season was a knock out! It made a huge leap with the story and Addison is more of a fighter again and love that she's back to some kick a$$ surgeries! All of the characters were great. Kate and Audra did a powerhouse acting. I can see a Nod with these 2 if they keep giving them this kind of storylines.
thelorax thelorax 8 years
Poor Dell. Remember the pilot episode, where I guess the producers were still figuring out his character? He walked into the office, shirtless and long haired and tanned and wet and RIPPED, carrying his surfboard. Then he cut his hair and turned into a meek, secretary/midwife with no surfboard and a hopeless crush on Naomi. If he comes back, I hope it's in the former incarnation. Overall I was kinda disappointed with this episode, but after the abrupt dropoff last season I don't know what other options they had. My hopes are still high!
Allyace Allyace 8 years
Yay for Rory's dad. I love that guy. His smile just kind of makes you want to smile. Other than that I think I'm finally giving up on this show. I really think it would have been cancelled last year if not for the strike, so they just delayed the inevitable... But hopefully Addison will pack her bags and head back to Seatle.
DCBaxter DCBaxter 8 years
I love Rory's dad too. My favorite line: "I've been training for the SWAT team. [opens his vest]. I'm SWAT now." Too funny. I think Naomi is a coward and I didn't like her at all last night. When people can't admit their mistakes....ugh, so frustrating.
graylen graylen 8 years
Haha, Swen. I still see Heroes commercials and go, "Jesse!" I really like this show and the characters. They still have a little work to go, but I like it. I do however wish my DVR had actually recorded the last 5 minutes...
crazychica crazychica 8 years
Private Practice was back in fine form last night and I loved every minute of it!
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Great recap, Buzz! I'm hopeful that PP is on track this season; last night's episode gives me hope. Cooper's story was compelling and even Addison kept me interested. Here's hoping.
tweet-hotpants tweet-hotpants 8 years
quick note: why does the cop ALWAYS wear his bulletproof vest? it's weird.
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 8 years
I liked last night well enough. I like this little show, I'm personally against Naomi getting back together with Sam. Let her date other people at least, before she takes him back. I wanted her to have her little fling with Dale. I think he's cute like a little surfing teddy bear. I hope he comes back.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Thank you Buzz, for noticing the creep factor of that "I put my hands in a woman" line!!! I heard that and my only thought was "um, ew." Anyways, I can't help it, I love this show, even if sometimes it's only because of Addison and Sam's wonderfully full biceps, and Cooper. Mostly Addison though, since she was my fave Grey's character. I did like last night's episode. My only problem is that this was sort of my happier alternative to Grey's, and if it starts being all depressing, it's just going to be Grey's with more sun and I don't need another show trying to make me cry every week.
seryscarlett seryscarlett 8 years
I'm lukewarm on the series. Addison was my favorite Grey's character, but Private Practice has just been a disappointment. My DH watched the season premire with me and in the first 5min summoned up: *chocolate, CHECK *expensive handbags, CHECK *implied cougar sex, CHECK All that's missing are the girly cocktails (thank Gawd Addy was drinking scotch later). I'm still not seeing that character dynamics and chemistry that Grey's had. I'm hoping Addy just goes back there.
pinkmystic pinkmystic 8 years
:)I love Private Practice and have been an active follower. This episode was sooooooooooooooo good. At some point I shed some tears (the whole 6mo. pregnant storyline). I really like the change this show is taking and I hope this show can gain some viewers. I know I'm gonna get crucified for saying this, but I like this show a lot more than I like Grey's Anatomy.
Swen Swen 8 years
I really like this show, so I'm hoping it succeeds. The whole baby plot was pretty much stolen from My Sister's Keeper, but whatever, it's a very interesting moral and ethical question. I'm glad Rory's dad (have no clue what his character's name here is) is back. I'd rather Addison date him then that herbal doctor guy.
tiabia tiabia 8 years
Buzz that was a nice summation. I will say that because I really enjoy all of the actors in the show, I am pulling for this show...or at least I'm still trying too.
Nitachequita Nitachequita 8 years
Love love loooove me some Cooper! I know Dell isn't gone for good, but seriously, I wouldn't mind if he was gone. I think this is an improvement from last season, although I don't like how they've changed David Sutcliffe's character. POSSIBLE SPOILER??... Amy Brenneman was on the Bonnie Hunt show talking about how she and Tim Daly are very comfortable together since they've known each other over ten years, and when Bonnie commented on how they have a lot of intense scenes together, Amy acknowledged that they do, and the conversation went on to kissing scenes, and how Amy gets a "free pass" from her husband for such scenes. Did Amy mistakenly give something away? Is something going to happen between Violet and Pete?!?!
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