Sunday, May 15, 2011

TV: Living Proof

Body of Proof wraps up its season run Tuesday with an episode featuring Jill Eikenberry of LA Law as a guest star. The ABC medical and crime drama will return next season being one of the few new series the networks have elected to bring back.


In the nine episodes that made up season one, it wasn't uncommon to hear Dr. Kate Murphy (Jeri Ryan) repeatedly note political pressure the morgue was under to solve a case or to have her put a check on a hospital refusing to cooperate by citing the mayor. In that regard, the series was similar to The Chicago Code on Fox where police superintendent Teresa Colvin (Jennifer Beals) was frequently dealing with political pressure and often interacting with the mayor's department. While Body of Proof was renewed, Fox gave The Chicago Code the axe last week.

If you watched the police drama, that made no sense and it made complete sense. Jennifer Beals gave an incredibly strong performance. Jason Clarke was developing an equally strong performance as her right-hand and friend, police officer Jarek Wysocki. When the show wanted to focus on the two of them, it held interest. The two were working on, among other issues, a sting on a crooked city council member. But to deal with those mature performances, you had to suffer through Vonda & Isaac: Young Love. Devin Kelly and Todd Williams may not be bad actors, it may have been the scripts. But in Kelly's case, she also never should have been cast in the role. She's about as threatening as Tweetie Bird with a snub nose 32. And that Vonda and Isaac, police partners, would also be conducting a secret romance (some secret, her uncle found out, a city attorney found out -- and apparently didn't relay it though it cost the city a hefty financial pay off in civil suit). One moment Beals and Delroy Lindon (Alderman Ronin Gibbons) were in a scene that was involving and menacing and the next thing you knew it was Saved By The Bell: Police Academy.

Body of Proof probably survived in part because all the supporting roles are perfectly cast. It also survived because not only was Dana Delany giving a lead Emmy worthy performance as Dr. Megan Hunt, but ABC wasn't ashamed or embarrassed by that. Meaning Jennifer Beals can do all the work required and deliver the performance but if the promos and advance work isn't getting the word out, audiences aren't going to know they're missing something.

Megan Hunt misses nothing before her. The reason why may be in the character's backstory. A car accident left her with unreliable hands which meant an end to her career as a neurosurgeon. After a very rough patch, she became a medical examiner. Megan's the type who would blame herself for not anticipating the car crash in a, "If only I had stopped at that station and gotten some bottled water, I wouldn't have been on the road when . . ." She also blames herself for the bad relationship with her teenage daughter. And she may even blame herself for the marriage failure. Carrying familial, physical and romantic blame can be a heavy burden and Megan's not eager to add any more heavy lifting so these days she misses nothing.

So what the police call a murder - suicide, Megan immediately notes wasn't because the shooter's wallet is in the wrong back pocket for his dominant hand. Or she notices chemical burns or breast milk or some other tip-off at the crime scene that no one else picks up on.

Megan's relatable, not a super human. And watching Body of Proof, viewers are left with the impression that they could do what she does if they only worked harder to notice things.

In New Mexico last week, we were speaking to Native Americans on a reservation when one activist brought up what he termed "A Jew Grows In Brooklyn." What was he talking about? Democracy Now! The Amy Goodman hosted talk show had decided to half-heartedly explore the use of "Geronimo" by the US government for Osama bin Laden. Though Senator Daniel Akaka had called out the use of Geronimo's name the day before, in an open session of Congress, you weren't informed of that.

You did get this excuse from Amy Goodman, "Of course, I'm sure it wasn't he [Barack], himself, who gave this name for this operation to kill bin Laden." She then went on to brag about Barack being born in Hawaii -- Daniel Akaka was born in Hawaii. Sometimes facts matter, sometimes they don't in the world of Goody Whore.

"A Jew Grows In Brooklyn" -- as the program is derisively known on at least one reservation -- does not refer merely to Amy Goodman. It also refers to what Native Americans see as the show's practice of booking one Jewish guest after another. We were asked, on the reservation, whether it wasn't true that one was considered Jewish or not Jewish at birth based upon the mother and not the father? Yes, that is true.

So why, they wanted to know, was "Paleface Winona LaDuke" on Democracy Now! as a voice for Native American people? The woman does not live on a reservation. She is only 1/8 Native American and she's 1/2 Jewish. Her mother was Jewish. Why is she allowed, they wondered, to be the voice for Native America, this woman who does more work (they felt) with the Indigo Girls than she does with Native Americans?

Because she whores for Barack Obama. She whores and Goody loves a whore.

There was the backstabbing Winona declaring Barack innocent of what was done. While attacking the US military? Who is commander in chief of the US military? Maybe Winona missed that while living in the suburbs?

Who is the commander in chief of the US military? It's the President of the United States. That would be Barack Obama.

But Winona endorsed Barack for president in 2008 -- stabbing one-time running mate Ralph Nader in the back yet again -- and she's still whoring. Barack, as a US senator, strongly embraced counter-insurgency. It was that -- not genocide -- that first led him to Samantha Power (who worked for his senate office long before she became a National Security type for the administration). Counter-insurgency is war on a native people. Power's friends wrote the US military's counter-insurgency manual. Power herself praised it publicly repeatedly (and also blurbed it for ads and the book cover).

A Native American would be calling that out. Winona LaDuke is not a Native American.

And that little 1/8th she possesses can, apparently, be shoved down deep to allow her to whore.

"A Jew Grows In Brooklyn" describes not just that episode but the attitude that Native Americans see on display when Goodman's sitting down with guests. For example, a playwright last week. Why? He wasn't going to get an honor from a college. With all that's going on in the world, that matters because? It doesn't. Not only does it not matter, but he ended up getting the honor. But Goody Whore wasted all of our time with that b.s. (And, no surprise, the playwright went out of his way to cower before the Israeli lobby via his statements on the show and -- if you missed his key point -- he did not now or ever know Professor Norman Finkelstein. That may have been the most craven and self-serving point of the whole interview, how he repeatedly used the professor's name and worked overtime to provide distance from the professor.)

"A Jew Grows In Brooklyn" refers to the insulated and out-of-touch microcosm that the show and its guests inhabit. A world that the bulk of the country doesn't recognize because it doesn't reflect their own lives.

This was again driven home last week the day after Barack went to El Paso to stand near the border between Mexico and the United States and deliver some empty words about immigration. Wednesday morning Juan Gonzalez' "President Obama weakly punts immigration reform back to Congress" (New York Daily News) was published. Juan is billed as "co-host" of Democracy Now! and the program decided to 'explore' Barack's speech on Wednesday.

But somehow Juan wasn't present.

Not only that, but Goody Whore continued her tradition of refusing to note Gonzalez' latest column when it is critical of Barack. She began that practice during the Democratic Party primaries of 2008 and has continued to this day.

Juan Gonzalez -- as you might deduce from his name -- actually is Latino. So he would probably have had more insight into the issue than the Jewish American Princess who went to Radcliffe Amy Goodman. Having kept him and his column from the show, did you really think Goodman was going to present Latino guests?

She had three guests. Not one was Latino. (One of us, Ava, called this nonsense out last week in "Tell White Anglo Bitch Amy Goodman to stop." ) Barack goes all the way to the border in order to discuss immigration and Goody can't even leave her comfortable call circle to find a Latino to bring on the show?

Time and again, Amy Goodman seems to think, as several Native Americans in New Mexico put it, that her being Jewish means she can speak for every ethnicity -- can speak so well, in fact, that they don't even need to be given the microphone. More and more, what is very clear is that Amy Goodman can't speak for anyone.

She certainly can't speak for journalists. Real journalists, in the midst of a discussion about the use of Geronimo for bin Laden, wouldn't interject, "Of course, I'm sure it wasn't he [Barack], himself, who gave this name for this operation to kill bin Laden." How are you sure, Goody? Did you read in the Talmud?

Reality: Barack Obama is commander-in-chief of the military. If he was at all involved in the assassination of bin Laden, he was aware of the codename long before bin Laden was assassinated. He may or may not have been the one to pick the name, we have no idea because, like Goodman, we weren't present. But whether he picked it or not, he certainly had the power to override it before the mission was on the ground in Pakistan.

Amy Goodman has turned herself into a sad joke. More and more, she comes across like Alvy Singer's father in Annie Hall, specifically the scene where they argue about whether or not a maid is stealing from them. Repeatedly, Goodman misses real issue and real stories because she's mistaken herself for universal.

It's not the sort of mistake Megan Hunt would make. The corpses that end up in the morgue come from all walks of life: a social worker, a police officer, a young woman at an elite school, two young lovers shot up in the bad side of town, etc. If Megan saw things only from her own world, she wouldn't be Megan, she'd be Judge Joan Hunt (Joanna Cassidy), Megan's mother. And the two bump heads frequently such as when Megan's attempts to solve the murder of a journalist lead her to suspect the city's privileged set -- the set the Judge runs in.

Megan watches for patterns, for evidence and forms conclusions based on that. Dr. Ethan Gross (Geoffrey Arend) eagerly soaks it up as he attempts to learn from her and, in that regard, he's probably a stand-in for many viewers.

Because in Megan's world, she not only is able to figure out who's responsible but -- at least so far -- her work allows the culprits to be punished. That doesn't always happen in the real world. But with Delany's incredible work, Jerri Ryan finally getting a role worthy of her and a top notch supporting cast, we'll roll with it.
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