”Private Practice” recap: Charlotte stays overnight
Boy, Private Practice got deep last night. Charlotte opened up about her alcoholic mother, who didn’t touch her as a child. Dell offhandedly mentioned that he’d been abused when he was growing up. A patient named Angie asked Naomi and Addison to tell her husband he’s unable to father a child even though he can.
And Addison, Coop, and Dell emerged as the wise ones. Who’da thunk it? Fending off Pete, Addison resolved to hold out for true, lasting love, marriage, and children. And her advice to Angie — ”live your whole life” — resonated enough to make the patient tell her husband the truth, that she has the gene for a fatal disease.
Coop, meanwhile, called it that a young patient was being abused by her MS-suffering mother. But Dell evidently knew all along — which makes you wonder why he never said anything before. Then again, he’s, like, the receptionist. The receptionist who does nothing to hide his huge crush on the woman who owns the place, but the receptionist no less.
Even the boopy music that plagues every ABC drama (you listening, Brothers and Sisters?), turning any serious moment into a lighthearted romp, seemed to be somewhat under wraps last night. But they let loose with some bombshells. They sure do love their bombshells on Private Practice! Let a character abruptly reveal some unexpected fact — like Angie’s ”I think I’m dying” or Dell’s ”I was abused as a child” (though, in his case, not in so many words) — and then…jump to a commercial!
When Angie told Addison and Naomi that they should lie to her husband, she was met with disbelief and confusion. Where did these people go to medical school? I know they’re not so great at teaching bedside manner at those schools, but don’t they tell you to at least adopt a poker face when a patient reveals something unexpected? To make it worse, Addison and Naomi then decided to kick ”Liar Liar Pants on Fire Angie” (literally, that’s what they called her) out of their practice — without even trying to figure out what was behind all this. People, it’s a TV show — there’s always something behind all this! That’s when (dun-dun) Angie declared she was dying. Addison and Naomi were shocked, and…commercial break!
Once they sorted through all that and administered the needed test, Addison, Naomi, and Violet broke the news that Angie is positive. Only they didn’t tell her; they simply looked at her with pity and sympathy — puppy-dog eyes — until she realized it. Shouldn’t the doctor have to speak the diagnosis?
Still, that’s when Addison came through with her ”everyone deserves to live their whole life” spiel, which was very effective for both Angie and Addison. It’s the reason Addison moved to L.A.: to live life on her terms. And that doesn’t mean just sleeping with Dr. Feelgood. It means having the life she wants — a serious relationship, marriage, children — ideally named Carson. (”It works for a boy or a girl,” she said.) And since this is television and not real life, she can make Pete become the guy she wants him to be. That’s the fantasy, right? You can change someone else; he can become the man you want him to be. Or the woman: Coop wants the same from Violet; first she just has to realize he’s in love with her, then she needs to learn to want kids.
NEXT: The big life lesson
But is living your whole life really about changing someone else? It’s about changing yourself. Take Angie. She had to face the truth of having the gene for Huntington’s, the disease that killed her mother. Once she did and realized she deserved to still have a full life, she just needed to be honest with her husband. Charlotte just needs to be honest with herself. Hell, she just needs to be quiet for a few moments a day and listen to herself and deal with some of her anger. This episode was really about people who can’t deal with being intimate with others, or themselves.
For someone who hates these Oceanside Wellness folks, Charlotte sure can’t keep away from them. In fact, she practically moved in last night — tossing people’s noodles, as Coop said. Is that a euphemism? Anyway, she couldn’t sleep, so after a consult with Sam, who did nothing — because Sam never actually does anything — she landed with Violet (team coverage!), who once again demonstrated what a lame therapist she is. (”I’m fine,” Violet said, defensively. ”I’m better than fine.” But it was tough to believe her since it looked like she’d had so much Botox she couldn’t move her face.) Charlotte then ended up with Dr. Feelgood: Buddha Pete. Pete’s another one whose credentials you’ve got to question, considering he’s an alternative-medicine practitioner who became practically unhinged from the stress of trying to help this woman sleep. Chill out, Pete!
When Charlotte finally did fall asleep, Pete let all the other doctors in the practice stand around — they literally stood around the table she was on and gawked, talking about her/”it.” Did they all go to medical school in the Bahamas? That must be it! When people can’t get into good med schools, they end up in the Bahamas. It may be ”better in the Bahamas” for snorkeling, but it’s not better for medical school. Run, patients, run! My advice: Go to the Tao of Wellness instead. It’s a real-life private practice in Santa Monica, but it’s all alternative/Chinese medicine, and Dr. Wong is fantastic!
Finally, Addison made her intentions clear to Pete: She wants him, on her terms. She wants to live her full life. And she kissed him in front of everyone she works with. (”You in it now, man,” Sam said, trying to make himself useful for once.) For people who have a hard time getting close to others, they sure don’t seek a lot of privacy.
So, TV Watchers, do the bombshells work? Do you spend the commercial break dying to know what’s next? We learned a lot last night — including that Violet doesn’t want to have children — but will these doctors ever learn how to act professionally with their patients? Then again, does it matter? Isn’t this just a TV show that I should let slide, or have ER and even Grey’s made us expect a certain verisimilitude that this show just doesn’t care to deliver? And there was a Christmas commercial for Hallmark during the show last night — have they started already?