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You would think I would be happier than I am, but the problem is "Providence" is not even close to what I imagined "Providence" would be like when I was a kid, making up TV stories instead of paying attention in school. You see, "Providence" is a bit of a success (to many people's surprise) and in order to succeed, so often Hollywood has to play down to the audience's lowest, common denominator. "Providence" does just this. All my friends and family thought this show would flop, but America seems to relate to it!
In every episode, you can see how an autistic or abused child can be instantly cured by looking into the eyes of a puppy dog. You can see how the only person with a Rhode Island dialect is the cab driver in the first episode - but really he was probably an actor from Jersey, or something. Of course, they did capture the flavor of our controversial, but politically brilliant Mayor, Buddy Cianci, in all his genuine charisma! His Marinara sauce really is quite tasty!
Yes, I wish I lived in "Providence", where I could bring my cat Whitman to the neighborhood Vet when he gets sick, but instead, I have to watch "Providence" from my TV in Providence, screaming PROVIDENCE!! with every passing scene of my little city, looking better than I ever noticed as a kid. Yes, I have to suffer through this condescending dribble every Friday night, eight o'clock, NBC.
She works? No, she does everything at work! Other doctors should only be extras! She volunteers? No, she is probably preparing to run for mayor one day. She helps, she befriends? Yes, but only developing relationships with people she can control more, eg her patients (how professional)! She is even in touch with her dead mother, mind you, because they clearly took her away without her consent! Who could have been so stupid to challenge her almighty powers like this? Does she ever engage in useless, yet funny activities? Does she ever avoid to take her heroic self so seriously? If I were one of her colleagues I would just tell her politely to *Get A Life* and resign from my job. Oh, and when the show isn't concentrated on the epic of this woman there is also her family - a bunch of poor actors who try to raise the morale of the show with some humor, only to succumb under lines and gags that are worse than those from "The Drombusch Family". The saddest thing is that writers surely didn't need to invent anything for her characters: women like that are everywhere theses days. If it's coming near you, get a bigger tv set to accommodate the ego of this character.
The show does not moralize so much as it shows people dealing with real situations (already, 2 major characters have perished)and they are lead by the strong but extremely gentle and understanding character that Mike Farrell portrays, "Dr. James Hansen". He provides an almost unnoticed moral center, strong but gentle.
One daughter forgoes a successful career in los angeles as a plastic surgeon to go home and live with her family and work in a charitable clinic. The other daughter forgoes a fortune if she had gone to Japan and promoted her accidentally invented recipe, to take care of her baby and be with her family. She nurtures a mentally ill man who happened to be the ideal employee for her, and helps him escape when the authorities are after him, the morality being that she cannot harbor him, but she cannot let him be incarcerated either. The son gets into trouble, but works on being good.
We see progressive ideas shown in a viable light. The show accepts gays, it loves people who make mistakes, have accidents, they take in runaways, work at a clinic, find the good in mobsters, mentally ill, take in stray animals, have no negative judgments on ethnic groups. There is very little against a single mother, other than she needs to take responsibilty. And so on... what will be next ? These are all strengths in my opinion, and i think the country and society in general has been waiting for something to show them about this, what i believe to be, inherent unconditional love that exists in all of us, but somehow gets lost at times within the scope of the hustle and bustle of society.
Of note, I also believe that while some people say providence is not really about providence, i believe that it does capture different elements of the area. I think it more pulls together the strengths of the community than focussing on a particular group, providing an amalgam of local people. The parents are suspiciously like my grandparents (who are real life providence lifetime natives), even their bedroom is almost exactly like the television set bedroom. Also, personally i had lived in los angeles ginally went there to be in medical / grad school], working as an actor, and returned to rhode island because a family member was on deaths door.
Probably a bit old by the time I saw it 2002.
My father died that year and the show kind of kept me going.
I felt the those same feelings as sydney and in reverse by brother is like joanie.
I would love to have the whole series on DVD, is there anywhere I can buy it?
it helped me so much
Some parts of it are Ally McBeal-esque, particularly the dream sequences that almost always begin each episode with Sydney Hansens mother and some crazy thing happening to Syd.
After watching just a few episodes you really care about the characters and what happens to them and want to keep watching them.
Some of the parts in the hospital and clinic are a bit like ER but the show is more relationship based.
This is one of my favourite American TV dramas of all time!
Dr Hansen (Syd's father) is the backbone of the family, now that his wife has died. He is a vet with his own clinic in the basement. After being shot in the head, he has made a wonderful recovery and become the clever and caring person he used to be. Now he has a new girlfriend, Meredith and is putting his accident behind him. Owen is the best thing that could happen to Syd. Tina is perfect for Robbie, and her son Pete is very funny. They all work together to be the perfect cast and best family you could hope for. I wish this show could go on forever, and I advise everyone to watch the re runs when they come on.