'Private Practice''s very special episode aims high but falls short

"Private Practice"

I've always considered "Private Practice" to be a guilty pleasure show, a soapy indulgence that occasionally tugs heartstrings but mostly features a lot of bed hopping. So why do I so often feel let down when the show aims to be more than that? 

Take Thursday night's two hour "life changing" episode (to quote ABC's promo). Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) has been on a slow, ugly descent to the bottom of her drug addiction, and the evening's episode was to be devoted to her intervention and subsequent dive into rehab. The episode started out with promise -- a cryptic, beautifully shot flashback followed by Amelia bouncing into the office, brightly trying to convince her co-workers she's clean and sober. Scorsone turns in a nuanced and pitch perfect performance, which is what we get, really, from all of the cast. 

And for much of this "very special" episode, great acting from all of the cast is paired with some pretty stellar cinematography, most of it built around Amelia's character to reflect her shaky, warped state of mind. Once the intervention begins and Scorsone begins tearing up the scenery, her pale and wild-eyed Amelia spewing insults at her shell-shocked friends, it seems like "Private Practice" is going to take a serious subject -- addiction -- and give it the rigorous prime time treatment it deserves. When Amelia snarls,"Not even Rosemary's baby would want to live among the tumbleweeds in your uterus," to Addison, it seems pretty clear that Amelia's intent on not just self-destructing but on taking her friends down with her as well -- and her piercing words should ricochet through the rest of the cast for a long, long time. Not that they do, but they should. Read More...



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