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Public television in my area is showing 3 series starring Martin Clunes. I've watched 3 episodes each of William and Mary and The Fall and Rise of Reggie Perrin and all of the first two seasons of Doc Martin. Although my opinion may change when I've finished watching all the episodes, at this point I am struck by the way all three have characteristics in common which make them both endearing and in some way admirable and override their obnoxious aspects.
(1) They need to value what they do for a living in order for them to be happy. William's ability to be empathetic makes him, in a real sense, a "community worker." Doc Martin lacks the ability to pick up on the feelings and viewpoints of others, as would someone with Asperger's Syndrome, but he is unshakably dedicated to serving the health needs of his community and responds to situations with alacrity and persistence, undeterred by distressing and inconvenient elements. The feckless but lucky Reggie Perrin has been rendered punchy because of his inability to either reconcile himself to or escape a job he despises.
(2) They may flirt with infidelity but are generally restrained by their monogamous dispositions.
(3) They are emotionally vulnerable.
(4) Reggie and Doc Martin do not suffer fools gladly. The latter insults the good as well as the foolish. Reggie says the things we would like to be able to say to people we wouldn't like either and generally defies people in authority, breaks stupid regulations, and largely ignores assignments from which he can't escape. He's a bit like an out-of- control and luckier. Dilbert. In this regard William so far has only maintained benevolent parental authority over his disrespectful teenage daughters.
All this is validated by the people in their environment who respond to them with affection, often partly due to their own tolerance as well as their appreciation of their good qualities. The love Mary's sons openly show towards her is especially endearing.
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