Set in a geriatric extended care wing of a down-at-the-heels hospital, Getting On follows put-upon nurses, anxious doctors and administrators as they struggle with the darkly comic, ...
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On the day of her 'Sympoosium,' Dr. James is plagued by unexpected complications. Patsy embraces his truth, and DiDi finds herself caught between her work and family. Dawn and Dr. James see uncanny ...
Set in a geriatric extended care wing of a down-at-the-heels hospital, Getting On follows put-upon nurses, anxious doctors and administrators as they struggle with the darkly comic, brutally honest and quietly compassionate realities of caring for the elderly.Written by
While guests on "Fresh Air with Terry Gross," show-runners Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer said that they named the Billy Barnes Extended Care Facility after the same Billy Barnes who wrote the popular song "(Have I Stayed) Too Long at the Fair," since the title and the lyrics of the song express some of the themes of the show. One of the stars of the show, Ann Morgan Guilbert, got her start in show business in The Billy Barnes Revue, Barnes's musical and sketch comedy revue from the late 1950s and early 1960s which introduced that song. See more »
Say what you like about "Getting On," it's not afraid to color outside the lines. Whether we end up liking the solid coal-black crayon smear that results is still up in the air, one of the reasons I hesitate to review any TV show barely a third of the way through Season 1.
There are no truly likable characters on this show. It doesn't make it that easy on us. Instead, it challenges us to find the humanity and the heart inside a team of geriatric care workers at a hospital that even sounds bottom-tier by its name. It's a behavior focused show: you can visibly see the hackles rising as the staff continually alternates between tip-toeing around and blatantly offending one another. Everyone has an agenda and none are very opaque.
It's been years since I worked in an office environment but this show makes me not miss it a bit. It's actually a bit too overwrought with angst, but then that's kind of taken into account when you learn that this particular ward is kind of like an Island of Misfit Toys --- virtually no one here is here by their own choice, except most notably Dawn (Alex Borstein, the voice of Family Guy's Lois Griffin without the RI accent), whose desperation is actually very touching. Most of us have met a Dawn or worked with one --- fanatical about her job because she has nothing else to focus on, reeling from personal disappointments, self-conscious to the point of cringe-inducement. Her self esteem is so low that, when confronted with a new male head nurse who is carting around some serious gay-repression baggage, she throws herself at him in the midst of being berated by him, hauls him to a bar, then goes down on him. As I said, this show isn't pandering to anyone. They don't seem to want your approval...they're almost seeking to repel it.
The always fine Laurie Metcalf plays an ambition-crazed medical director, whose self-opinion isn't any better than Dawn's, and Mel Rodriguez plays overbearing head nurse Patsy with enough fanatical PC self-righteousness to incite thousands of Ditto-heads to take assault weapons to their sets.
This leaves Niecy Nash as junior nurse Didi, for sympathy and pathos, though even her character can be amazingly dense and self-sabotaging. Nash plays her well, though, with an unaffected realism that may eventually make her the ace card in this series, if it can stay on the air long enough.
Personally, I don't want another Nurse Jackie. I don't want another St. Elsewhere or another E/R. All of those shows became very formulaic very quickly, after strong starts. They either ran out of ideas or just wanted to secure a long run by pandering to the lowest inoffensive denominator. Perhaps by going in the opposite direction, Getting On will keep us turning on. Time will tell.
I do know one thing though...my wife, who has worked in similar medical environments before couldn't stand the show. "It's too real," she told me. "I felt like I just got off a double shift at work in 30 minutes." So, health-care professionals, be forewarned.
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