Sunday, May 07, 2006

ER 12.20 There Are No Angels Here -- Deleted Scene

Since I really do feel that it’s inappropriate to snark anywhere near a horrific real-life tragedy, especially when it needs and deserves to receive more international attention and aid, and even though Carter’s Completely Craptastic Crew Cut beckons me very strongly, I won’t be recapping this episode. I will say that despite the bit of patronizing political spoon-feeding going on, I thought it was done better than the Sudan segments from 12.15 or 12.19, and benefited immensely from having neither the choppy continuing cuts back to County, nor the abrupt, disjointed segue from Chicago to Darfur. Though I felt the episode did degenerate at times into a stereotypical buddy action flick, complete with driving through a blockade and ring of fire and the whole “I’ll only slow you down” dialogue, or a contrived, falsely uplifting forced standing ovation type crowd pleaser with the whole “I’m so weak from my disease that I’m not able to walk the four miles to the hospital with you but I can walk forty miles alone through dangerous terrain without my medicine” schtick. And don’t get me started on Carter’s attempted bribing, then blackmailing, before succeeding at the bribing of the police or his turning the death of a sick baby into once again being All About Him – though I did like the way he quietly stopped Pratt from trying to resuscitate the infant and actually got chills when Pratt asked if they were just going to sit there and watch him die, and Carter sadly answered “No, that’s what his mother does – we have other patients”. And I was deeply disappointed that we didn’t find out more about what was going on in Carter’s life with Kem, and why he was in Darfur alone to begin with – like Noah Wyle hinted in TVGuide a few months ago that they would be exploring. I guess this is unfortunately signaling that we actually will be subjected to more Carter in a couple of episodes next season. Oh goody. And of course, it’s one of the many, many, many “signs” we’ve been given all season of Carter’s imminent triumphant return to claim his one true love, who has apparently been pining away for him but keeping it so extremely well hidden for the past three years that there have been absolutely no indications – damn, she’s good - and has had to content herself with the atrocious amorous attentions of the contemptuously captivating Croatian and all the sickeningly sensual shampooing in the Hair Salon. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised at some of the things I ended up liking in this episode. This was mostly due to the excellent acting from Mekhi Phifer, who retained Pratt’s cockiness but showed that he really did end up being affected by what was happening around him and I look forward to seeing what he takes back with him to County, and Eamonn Walker, who is an immensely talented actor and played Dakarai with inner-strength, humility and determination. I liked the whole dynamic among Pratt, Dakarai, Carter and Debbie, and really felt they all did a great job exhibiting the camaraderie that would develop working that closely together in such strenuous circumstances. I also like Dakarai and Debbie as a couple – they had some chemistry and it’s too bad they can’t come back to Chicago and be main cast. I have suggestions for who they can replace. Just saying. And what would their ‘shipper name be? Debarai? Dakbie?

I also have to again commend the producers for at least attempting to bring the issues in Darfur to the mainstream audience who may not be familiar with what is happening, and I’m glad that it was done not just through viewing how things affected the aid/medical workers, but seeing some of the effects on the Internally Displaced Persons, and their various degrees of status, in the camp. I’m also glad that they finally put a “for more information” tag on the end of the episode with the web link to NBC’s ER site, which has links to other sources of information. I would add to that list the Committee on Conscience, which focuses on atrocities committed worldwide, Darfur in particular.

Even though I am not doing a full recap of this ep, I thought I would pass along a deleted scene that never made it into Pratt’s Darfur segments because of its eerie resemblance to another poorly written letter hand-delivered via African Express Mail …

Pratt and Carter are walking through the camp.

Pratt: Oh, I have something for you. Abby asked me to give you this.*

Carter: She wrote me a letter?

Pratt: Well, it’s hard to find a working phone when you’re in the Hair Salon all day … and night …

Debbie (who is passing by): A letter? Now there’s a lost art form …

Carter walks towards the clinic and sits down on a bench outside as Dakarai and a couple of the nurses walk by, bitching about the working conditions. As Carter reads the letter, Pratt comes over and tells him that there’s a patient who fainted inside, hit his head and now there’s blood everywhere.

Carter finishes the letter, then crumples it up and throws it away before heading inside. Pratt gripes “That’s right, leave me to pick up after you”, and grabs it and starts to read:

Dear Carter,

By the time you read this letter, Pratt should be safe in Darfur and you will probably be wondering why Luka is not with him. Before you go blaming me, let me just say, it’s not me, it’s you – and I know even as I write this that you’re going to think that’s bitchy doublespeak, but if you could just try and hold back your judgment – and your Sanctimonious Smirk of Condescending Righteousness – for a minute, maybe you will actually be able to understand what I’m trying to say. Being pregnant has changed me in ways I never imagined. Besides the larger cup size and the voracious hunger, and that’s for pretty much everything, by the way, if you get my meaning and I’m sure that you do … well, maybe not, considering I didn’t have much of an appetite when we were together … it put everything into perspective. County, being with Luka, you. Well, me without you. Me with Luka, Luka with me … in the car … or in a dressing room … or while a patient sleeps nearby … um, yeah … where was I? Oh, right. We just had to work so hard at everything. Too hard, you know? When I think back on our time together … actually, come to think of it, I don’t. And in the Hair Salon, everything is very clear. Luka shampooing. I can help him. My hair needs it. In a way yours doesn’t.

You’re more smug than you think. You don’t love me, Carter, and I don’t think you ever really did. We both know Luka and I work better together. Especially when lather, rinse, repeating. I think that at one point you convinced yourself that I would be what you wanted after you fixed me – I dyed my hair that non-flattering blonde because gentlemen like you prefer them and you only ever seemed to date blondes, so … - but I knew that who I am isn’t what you really wanted. When we were just friends, it was great. We could let the air out of exes’ tires, break into apartments through the fire escape and pull any other Junior High/Juvenile Delinquent high jinks, I didn’t have to worry about remembering your first name, and I still got to go home and do the naked body press with Luka. Maybe we even put each other on pedestals and had those sorts of crushes on one another that you do when you have a guy who follows you around like a puppy-dog while you still get to score with the captain of the football team. I don’t know. And then when we were finally together, it didn’t become what either of us thought it would be – we didn’t have any fun, you enabled my drinking and I enabled your enormous ego, the showers weren’t all that steamy and the butterfly sheets never even got creased. I didn’t end up being what you expected, and you were, you know, loud, with the gurney sex, and the back-slurping on my tattoo, which caused the ink to run, so now instead of being a religious symbol it’s in the shape of a sorry, I’m rambling.

I gave you as much as I could, but it wasn't enough, even though I honestly don’t think you can blame me for the cold fish showers – Luka’s certainly never complained, I can tell you that, so really, you may want to work on that. I can have him include some pointers, along with your hair care instructions. Clearly, there were a lot of things going on with your hair that were more important, understandably. Though I don’t think it’s Alopecia disease, your hair problems are a serious matter. Your life is complicated, and I didn't fit into that mix very well, did I? I tried to help, but really, I hadn’t opened the Hair Salon yet, and then when I needed you…I don't know … you went to another continent and all I got was a lousy medicine man box.

The light in the bat cave is dim as usual. And though my night vision is improving, I don’t want to waste what light there is on this drivel when I’ve got Luka in his boxer-briefs waiting for a deep-conditioning treatment. The man sure loves to be fettered.

I don't know how long it will be before I can get you an appointment – Luka and I are pretty booked up ... Don't wait for me … your hair needs help now.

I also want to say thank you. If you hadn’t gone back to Africa, I wouldn’t have Luka back, who is still one of the most amazing people I know, and the things that man can do with spritzer …

Lovin’ Luka,

Abby

P.S. Make sure Pratt gives you all of the Rogaine samples – even though he’s follicle-ly challenged at the moment too, his hair shortage is by choice, so he can wait and always book an appointment when he returns. And he knows we only give these samples out to our most needy and desperate clients.

Pratt smirks, because he knows that when he and Debbie were waylaid by the Janjaweed, they took all the Rogaine samples and Carter and his receding hairline are shit out of luck …

* Carter’s actual letter to Abby from “Dear Abby” in Season 10 can be found here: http://www.nbc.com/nbc/ER/dear_abby.shtml

17 Comments:

At 1:02 AM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay.....cute.

 
At 5:17 AM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant - as ever.

 
At 5:20 AM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, that letter was hilarious.. and so true! You are seriously a carbies worst nightmare.. that's why I think I love you. ;)

 
At 5:28 AM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be really stupid to put carter and abby back together I mean how many boyfriends do u go back to. Anyway your recaps are the best on the net and believe me when I say this because I visit a lot of er websites that try to recap but are not as good as yours. I would like to thank you for your time and effort writing these recaps, as i am from Australia we dont see the epps but you write them as if I am watching them.
Thanks PS Please be kinder to abby (Big fan) thanks

 
At 10:13 AM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gah. That was the most brilliant slap in the face to those delusional Carbies I have ever read. Please keep it up. ;)

 
At 12:02 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Madelien said...

I loved it, especially the whole (blonde) hair thing and the subtile references to the Carter letter!

 
At 12:04 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, come on! Hospital shows deal with things that are tragic in real life all the time...a funny, informative recap of a tv show doesn't do anything to take away from the seriousness of the subject so long as you're not saying things, "Haha, I love it when people die senselessly!" Remember, some of us live overseas and don't get to see the episodes at all. Now all I know is Pratt was there and Carter's hair was bad.

 
At 12:30 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Cranky doesn't get paid for this you know (or rather, I presume she doesn't), she's doing it out of the goodness of her heart. She also, I assume, has a life away from her computer. What I'm trying to say is that if she doesn't have the time/doesn't want to recap something, that's her prerogative. You can figure out quite a lot of what happened in an episode from the message boards anyway (well, I do, at least). Just MVHO.

Oh, and about the actual 'deleted scene' - keep up the good work, you're very funny.

 
At 12:51 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Just Jo said...

Chipping in (unintentional Plank reference there) to agree - nobody pays Cranky to write these brilliant recaps and rumour has it that she does, indeed, have a life that includes kids, husband, paid work, leisure and other such distractions.

I love your recaps, but I am totally with you about not recapping the Africa episodes.

The letter was brilliant. Loved it.

 
At 4:32 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my God, you are brilliant!!! I started readind your recaps last friday, and that's preatty much all I did in the weekend (now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I shoud get a life too!)...your writing is hysterical...i couldn't stop laughing...i'm looking foward your recap for this week's episode.
Thank you so much for doing it!
*(I'm from Brasil, so forgive me if my English is not that good),
Andie

 
At 6:58 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a great parody of the infamous "Dear Abby," letter! Thanks so much for sharing your talent and humor with us.

 
At 9:35 PM, May 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

really funny recaps. you sound almost as cynical as me. anyway, keep it up!

 
At 4:41 AM, May 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about Susan and Sherry Stringfield and her hair ? don't you miss her anymore ???
better watch your back as carbies will be breathing down your neck ... with a very creepy music...
but that was a fair revenge to the "Dear Abby" crapy note (wouldn't qualify it as a "letter")!
just loved it!

 
At 12:53 PM, May 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my God! Really your imagination has no limit!!! I spent all night laughing out loud at this ... I love how you lough at the Carbies.
BTW, I'm overseas too and I can't watch any of the ep, but I'm with you in not recaping the saving-Africa-Carter episodes. :)

 
At 9:30 PM, May 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tht was great Lol ... wish it was a real scene

 
At 10:21 PM, May 09, 2006, Anonymous Ann said...

The letter was absolutely brilliant - no worries about not recapping the entire episode, this is much, much better!

Loved the Baby Registry too! So many very funny bits, but my favorites are "Rats, Lice and History" Board Book and squishy toy, the Rocking Horse of Righteous Haughtiness and the Viper pedal car, complete with spark plugs and fuzzy dice!

 
At 8:06 AM, May 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd never read the NBC letter before... yours is a lot better! 'I don't want to waste any more kerosene' - way to make a girl feel better, Carter...

 

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