Sunday, October 02, 2005

Medium

See, I do watch TV for grown-ups.

Medium stars Patricia Arquette and Jake Weber, and is based on the book Don't Kiss Them Good-bye by Allison DuBois.

The Plot: Allison DuBois (Arquette) is a medium who works for the local police force. She is also married to rocket scientist Joe and has three daughters.

The Good: Let me say this right up front: the weekly mysteries aren't all that. Half of them the viewer can figure out without the help of a vision. This isn't a show to watch for the whodunit.

So what is good?

Rather, what is great? There are 2 reasons to watch this show: first, the family dynamics; second, the visions.

The family dynamics: This is the only TV show that "gets" families. This is a real family, living in a real house, wearing real clothes. But it's more than the set design, with laundry baskets half full and a home full of the usual clutter created by a family of five. It's also how this family interacts. They fight, they argue, they love, they like, they fight. There are no easy answers or pat emotions.

Also? Joe is my TV Husband. (Plus, I loved the TV show American Gothic.)

A perfect and ongoing example of the realness of this show about psychics: the constant ongoing squabbling about who drops the kids off to school and who picks them up. Joe's "I have an important meeting" meets Allison's"I have a murder investigation" and both are important and both are frustrated and finally one gives a little and they move on. Their is no very-special-moment when it is talked out and resolved and someone miraculously changes their job to make it all work. Nope, this argument will happen again and again and again.... just like it does in homes around the country.

The second example: upon occasion, Allison self-medicates with a drink; a drink keeps the visions away. It's been alluded to as a past issue, and we've seen her do it. And this show has the courage to say, Allison can take a drink -- and not be an alcoholic. Yay!!

And now the visions: I love it because, while Allison's visions are critical to solving the mysteries, they aren't pure. These visions are less clear than Cordelia's. Other things going in in Allison's life can get in the way: the face of the murderer in a vision may not be the face of the real murderer, but comes instead from a menu looked at the night before. The visions have to be decoded. They aren't obvious. They may be messy.

Also noteworthy: Arquette is excellent as this soccer mom/ psychic. She deserved the Emmy. And even better: she isn't some perfect looking, made up, TV person. Arquette plays Allison as the woman who you see in the supermarket, at the playground, in the PTA meeting.

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