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|Index||88 reviews in total|
Razor sharp comedy starring Ted Danson might not appeal to everyone,
given its focus on a cantankerous and highly grumpy doctor, but the
script is incredibly strong.
Becker is a traditional style sitcom, much in the blend of the popular ones which went before it like Frasier and Cheers. Like Frasier, it stars a major actor from Cheers, in this case Ted Danson, but otherwise shares absolutely nothing with it and certainly isn't a follow-up. The only other thing the 2 share is that the star of Frasier, Kelsey Grammar, also features in a cameo in an episode of it.
The situation part of the 'sitcom' of Becker is that John Becker, a slightly bitter and abrasively outspoken doctor has set up a crummy practice in the middle of New York's Bronx. Suffering the 'morons' of regular society makes his attitude decline by the day and he constantly preaches his rants at Reggie's Diner where both his best friend Jake (Who's blind) runs a newspaper stall, and Bob the amiable pest hang out.
Becker also lives alone in a fairly seedy apartment where the rest of the block's residents universally loathe him.
Add his long suffering surgery assistant Margaret who's basically his rock, and the dipsy 'receptionist' Linda and you have the overall picture.
Sure, this doesn't perhaps sound all that original or even inspiring to any degree on paper, but bring it to life with a sharp script and quality actors and you have one of the finest comedies it's been my personal pleasure to witness.
To say Danson *is* Becker is the understatement of the year. He has created a character with complete life here, and embodies what he represents absolutely perfectly. His line delivery is totally spot on and he commands every scene such is his definite presence. Now when looking at him I see Becker, and not Sam Malone.
The other characters are pretty good as well, even Bob, who after simply getting on our nerves to start with eventually grows on you. Jake is extremely well played by Alex Desert as well, managing to portray a fairly decent level of vulnerability while trying to be as tough as possible. The only matter of taste with a blind character in a sitcom are the inevitable jokes at the expense of said blindness. Subsequently, it goes without saying that Becker is *not* PC - at times some of the gags can be slightly offensive, but nothing is ever truly over the score.
However, next to Becker the best character was the simply fantastic Reggie, who was played by Terry Farrel up until she was bizarrely fired based on reasons of 'creative direction' late on in the show's run by the producers. She gave the show a touch of glamour, but we identified with her because she never seemed to have anything go for her, and yet soldiered on in a state of light despair. Farrel captured her brilliantly, and her loss was felt big time. The replacement, Chris, was OK, but simply nowhere near in the league of Reggie.
However, this is an aside; the strength of Becker is and was the quality of the script. The dialogue was, at times, acidly delicious with razor sharp wit. In fact, most of the time it was like this. Becker's constant rantings might be repetitive, but they were always funny because we can actually relate to the aspects of life which got his goat up so much.
Furthermore, while he was shown as a cantankerous old git, Danson gave him plenty of self-deprecating moments too. Not only did we laugh at what he said, we laughed at his situations and the amusing body language he emitted regularly.
His practice was also a massive character in itself, with patients combining hypochondria and hemorrhoids much to the amusement of the viewer.
The other characters got plenty of hilarious lines as well, so this wasn't just the Ted Danson show, and consequently it was an extremely well-rounded show and not relying on any one character. But, as Farrel's absence later on showed, all of the main characters were vital. Bob was also written out for season 6, and his replacement Hector simply didn't fit in at all.
Despite these drawbacks, up till the chopping and changing, the show ran seamlessly and hilariously smoothly. It's a testament to the script that even *without* the main characters, although we didn't like their replacements, they still made us laugh.
Overall it's a superb comedy, and it's a rank pity it wasn't more levied by the Americans, many of whom seemed oblivious to its existence.
Said one: "Becker? The German tennis guy? I didn't even know that he had his own show," "Is it on BBC America or something?"...
I watched the final "Becker" episode last night, and will miss this
Critics have beaten up on this show quite a lot lately, but I watched it
regularly and always enjoyed it. The characters are diverse and likeable,
and I particularly admire Shawnee Smith, who played Linda, for taking a
character that could have been annoying in the extreme and making her
and funny. One of the funniest things I've seen in a sitcom is when
in trying to fix the hanging skeleton in Becker's office, managed to
crazy-glue her hand to that of the skeleton. She ended up walking around
the office all day holding hands with the skeleton, which rolled alongside
her on its stand (you had to see it to appreciate it).
Ted Danson was quoted in TV Guide as saying that they decided to end the show with some grace, which I think they did quite nicely, tying up loose ends for the various characters. A couple of the jokes were particularly apt, i.e. Dr. Becker looking at the chart for a patient named "Mr. Nielsen" and saying he didn't know what he was complaining about because "these numbers don't look so bad to me." Danson's wife, Mary Steenburgen, appeared briefly as a deluded patient, and Becker exclaimed after she left "I pity the poor man who's married to her."
Anyway, I commend the makers of "Becker" for giving some closure to the characters in this show while they had the chance. As a regular viewer I appreciated it, and found it a very satisfying end to the series.
Well I just found out that the show has ended, which prompts me to write
this review for the show.
Something that I rarely do, and I am doing so now because I thought the show
possessed something special.
The run down is simple, Ted Danson plays Dr John Becker a dedicated and talented doctor who has a very gruff exterior. The episodes revolve around his work in his practise and his interactions with his friends at his local diner. The show was interesting purely due to the talented and diverse cast, although they change throughout the seasons the show manages to keep its comedic style. I encourage anyone who hasn't seen the show to watch it, and all those who have
Over the years I've become attached to the show and the characters in it. It will be sorely missed.
We love Becker here in the UK it is a really funny comedy and look forward to each hilarious episode Ted Danson Plays an excellent role as Becker He is ably supported by Nancy Travis ,Shawnee Smith,Alex Desert, and the rest of the crew There is a great rapport between the characters which blend well together We think it is one of the most original and funniest situation comedies of all time There is nothing to compare with the quality of the scripts at present here in the UK at present and the fine acting compliments the scripts well. I heard that it has ended production in 2004 I hope that it does carry on as the standard has not fallen throughout it's production run
I just started watching this show a few months ago, and already I love it. Ted Danson is wonderful as the title character, and I think it is refreshingly funny and good. Shawnee Smith also makes a terrific airhead in Linda.
This show is hilarious.
I never understood the scorn the critics heaped on this show over its time on the air.
It's about as realistic a comic portrayal of our nation's largest city as will ever be seen on broadcast TV. It's certainly more realistic than "Friends", which show a New York almost completely devoid of minorities, or "Will and Grace", an allegedly "gay" show in which the gay characters have almost no sex lives. (Could we at least hear some moaning from behind a locked door once in a while?)
But back to "Becker". It's as though someone at CBS said, "What if Harvey Pekar, the grumpy file clerk from 'American Splendor', had a medical degree from Harvard?" Fiction, you say? You must belong to the Shangri-La HMO.
A divorced, single50-something man in a job he really doesn't like, in a city he'd rather not live in, working with people he's not that crazy about, eating every meal in a diner that looks like a roach motel, going home every night to a peeling, cramped apartment that looks like it reeks of cigarette smoke, in full self-pity mode, wondering what that whoop-di-doo college education was worth if all it got him was THIS!? You see that type every day, and that includes doctors.
The only thing that could make it funnier would be if Wanda Sykes were the owner of the diner (and his love interest). Or maybe Whoopi Goldberg. Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg as a romantic couple!? Nah ;)
This show is funny and very original. The show is like a reflection of everyday life, sort of like Seinfeld. But whereas Seinfeld gives a more positive out look to the world, Becker does the opposite. Every episode has Ted Danson complaining about something; a broken street light in front of his apartment, his annoying patients, the post office and much, much more. A very funny show.
And I have to say, I love it. It comes on Fox (really late on weekdays) here. My husband and I enjoy laying in bed and having a good laugh. I haven't seen an episode yet that didn't crack us up at least 3 times. Everyone can relate to someone in this show. My husband is a mix of Bob's charm, Becker's sense of compassion and Jake's ability to see whats coming. For me, I'm as loving as Margret, witty as Reggie, and have the body of Linda...well, maybe I'm pushing it. Anyway, wish I would have found the show sooner. I am currently trying to figure out what happened to Reggie and where this blond chic came in. I don't like her as much as Reggie, but maybe she will grow on me. Although I doubt it since it was canceled!
Now this is a rare time to describe a sitcom as great. Every other show
got something to do with what I call it the American comedy. But Becker
is for all I think. That's related to what kind of characters, cases,
situations, ironies it presents. So its cleverness here to make it
humanly profound whereupon internationally effective.
Here, we have a very stingy caustic peevish M.D. yet with a heart of gold (he still insists on treating the poor people in Queens). And most of his nervousness comes from some idealism exists under the scalding surface, and causes it. Add to that a crazy bunch that represented the strangest family that doctor might have had : cynical nurse (a mom), lazy childish employee (a young sister), diner's kind disappointed owner (a girlfriend-wannabe !), a black blind man (a friend or a brother), annoying handyman (the opposite friend or brother).
Actually the writing for this man's world was all perfect. The genius concept is that it centered on how to make you think and feel with laughing. Others prefer to make you laugh, smile, then forget about the whole thing after ! Yes, more than 1 plot per episode but there must be something touching in the way. Just imagine wise lines through comic sitcom ! Truly this show provided me with a lot of deep meanings with unstoppable comedy. Wow, a sitcom with meaning ! Now that's something I forgot that it even exists !
Becker was my first time ever to witness such a miracle where everyone and everything are laughable. Every episode is assured riot. The comedy (from situations to gags) is plenty and absolutely not mannered nor dirty nor tacky. Its sense of humor was bitter, cynical, and jocose all at once. It floated serenely and naturally. The characteristic about this show is that it had stereotyped characters yet their talking wasn't stereotyped ! And with talented harmonizing cast the hot lines were delivered cutely and truthfully. So through humane situations they became real people.. Real and damn funny ones too.
(Ted Danson) made some glory out of being the dusty irate John Becker, who is always grinning, deriding, and in one cheap coat ! (Hattie Winston) is the nurse every one needs, her performance made the character so vivid and honest like it's not acting. (Alex Désert) was enjoyable even by saying nothing and consummate as the mate; he confirmed that Becker can really get a friend (and be, metaphorically, blind to overlook his harsh behaviors). (Saverio Guerra) was Bob himself, the desperate lover and the little worm in the same time. (Terry Farrell) was good but the less powerful among the rest. (Shawnee Smith) was great as (Linda) but poor Linda, the writers wanted nothing for her but being the stupid (Linda) all along !
The memorable moments are endless : Becker is about making a moral mistake and then all his world's characters appear as ghosts to judge him. Becker meets his total opposite (Nancy Travis). (Bob) wants to be in a photo with (Reggie). (Becker) can't sleep because electric lights attack his bedroom. (Jake)'s grandmother slaps (Becker) in the face for treating her right. (Becker) is on a plane that has serious problems. (Becker) is a jury. (Becker) is making a speech in his high school. And (Becker) is trying to quit smoking. For anyone doesn't watch the show that means nothing, but for the one who did.. This is thorough Classic.
So, smart comedy, clever lessons about life, perfect cast.. I don't need more. This is one of the best of its kind. And that's coming from a guy who doesn't use the term "The best" in his talking much or ever ! and let alone that in every other sitcom the laughing (track or studio audience) is terribly provocative, but here it's believable to an extent won't push you to press "Mute" !
When you compare Becker to shows like -God forbid- Friends, it wouldn't be like comparing good sitcom to bad one, it's more like comparing good one to NO one !
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Becker is perhaps one of the most original Situation Comedies to arrive on television since Cheers. The original, witty, and intelligent style that it uses is very wonderful, but even more important could possibly be the character relationships. I've often considered this series to be "friends with personalities" It is sorely missed and I hope in time more people will grow to be a viewer through reruns. However the series is not great. Ideally the series was on top when Bob was a non-regular, Reggie was in the cast, and Dr. Carson was a recurring character. When Bob was a guest star the series would not overdo his character and once he appeared in every episode there was a lack of the power that he had in the previous episodes. This show really unwound by the final two seasons which were partially recast and just not on par with the previous years. Watch the first four seasons and you will love this television gem!
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