Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Emily Owens M.D.: Three Thumbs-Up (That's one adult & two teens)

One thing I've learned: teens and medical shows don't mix. I've tried before to get my 14 and 16-year-old daughters to check out past episodes of my favorite, ER, but to no avail – they prefer the world of glee clubs, mean girls, quirky twentysomethings and zombie apocalypses. I was even clueless enough to try and entice them with the George Clooney connection, to which my youngest crushed me with, "THAT old guy?" Right then I decided there was no way she was getting my Tony Bennett Live on VHS in the will, either.

So to be honest, when I got invited to a screening of the CW's new show, Emily Owens M.D. I didn't get my hopes up. (Although a big selling point was that the show's star Mamie Gummer is the daughter of Meryl Streep – one of my 16-year-old's faves.) But guess what? They loved it. And so did I.

The show - centered around Gummer's character Emily as a first year med intern – is just the right combination of drama and humor. Emily, still carrying some of the anxieties and awkwardness of her teen years, finds that her new life at the Denver hospital isn't that far removed from her high school life, complete with rivalries, jealousies, unrequited love and yes – mean girls. You can see why my teen girls can't wait for the rest of the season. Well, that and the abundance of "hot guys." (Although some zombies might be a nice touch, too.)

One thing we liked about this Emily – unlike most similar characters in TV and film, she didn't just miraculously turn into a swan one day and have an easy go at life. Instead, she proudly flies her geek flag but powers through her insecurities to take on life's obstacles as an adult.

I got the chance to chat with Mamie via phone, and I asked her if we'd get a chance to get a glimpse of Emily's tortuous high school years in the upcoming season. "I don’t know I’ve been wondering that as well," she said. "We haven’t yet, but I would be surprised if we didn’t." Justin Hartley, who plays Emily's crush Will, was also on the call and said that was one flashback he'd like to see." That would be awesome to find some actress to play high school Emily – it would be kind of cute, wouldn’t it?" he laughed.

I also asked Mamie if she had any reservations about taking on another medical show after last role as a doctor on the drama Off The Map. "To be honest, I did," she admitted. "But this one was so different from what that was. There’s more to do, character-wise, dramatatically than what I was afforded in that show."

Recalling his last role as Green Arrow on Smallville, I asked Justin what it was like going from playing a superhero to portraying a medical intern with just plain old human powers. I love it!" he said. "When I was doing my character on Smallville I had all these gadgets, like a superhero work belt on my costume. The gadgets were there, but I never got to play with any of them.

"And now that I’m doing this doctor thing, I have pockets with a stethoscope, flashlights and pens but I actually get to play with them and use them. I had a superhero suit but now I have a coat that kinds of looks like a cape. But I enjoy it because I get to play with comedy a little bit more, especially in the newer episdoes they’re sort of letting me be, what I hope is funny. I loved Smallville, but ths is more grounded in reality."

Emily Owens, M.D. premieres tonight 10/16 at 9/8c on The CW. 

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