Monday, April 7, 2008

Monk and Psych: Dumb and Dumber

James Roday, Dule Hill
Against my better judgment, I watched both Monk and Pysch on Sunday when they aired on NBC. Call it an act of desperation for something new to watch. Now I know why I stopped watching these shows quite a while ago while they were airing on the USA Network.

I think these shows are written to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

I think Monk actually is a bit worse than Psych. Psych has one redeeming quality – James Roday, who plays the lead character, Shawn Spencer, fake psychic. He is actually somewhat entertaining to watch. He plays the perfect comedic role very naturally and effortlessly. It’s a shame that the stories are overly simplistic and the supporting cast uninteresting. Dule Hill really doesn’t do much but stand there. And the police staff is hopelessly flat. Corbin Bernsen is simply a distraction, because every time I saw him I thought “wow, he really let himself go.” But the boring plot and predictable case in this particular episode I watched - “Psy vs. Psy” was so easy to figure out that I knew how it was going to play out in the first 15 minutes.

But the real travesty is Monk. This show, which was so different an original during its first season, has become a caricature of itself. The obsessive-compulsive disorder for Adrian Monk when we first met him was both comic and sad. Now, it’s overdone and forced. For example, in this particular episode, “Mr. Monk Makes a Friend,” we are led to believe that Monk has never had a friend before. He literally runs into a man, Hal Tucker, at the supermarket (played by Andy Richter) and suddenly wants to be his best friend, for reasons I can’t completely comprehend. Of course, Tucker is the murderer that they just happen to be searching for, yet Monk allows this man into his home and permits him to basically be a slob in Monk’s place. Sorry, but the show shouldn’t play the OCD card with Monk and then just seemingly have Monk throw it out the window at the first whim. And Monk’s suspicions are never raised about this man who seems to be always there when Monk’s mail arrives.
Tony Shalhoub
While Tony Shalhoub is a great actor and is very convincing as Adrian Monk, they have made the character seem almost stupid and na├»ve. In Monk’s first season, I felt that while he suffered from OCD, he still was a smart, cagey detective. Let’s also not forget the supporting cast, who are bland and uninteresting. Traylor Howard (as Natalie), Jason Gray-Stanford (as Lt. Randall Disher) and Ted Levine (as Captain Leland Stottlemeyer) are an insult to law enforcement people everywhere. Monk – both the character and the show – has been dumbed down to the point that it is painful to watch. The plot of this particular story was insipid and predictable, which is why I stopped watching Monk a long time ago.

It looks like it will be a long time before I watch either of these shows again.

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