Monday, September 21, 2009

What I’m Watching: Monk

Monk: Season 8, Episode 6 “Mr. Monk and the Critic” (B+)

USA’s slogan is “Characters Welcome,” and while the leads are always spectacular, it’s great to see the little people who are just as interesting every once in a while. I’ve always championed the spotlighting of supporting characters on shows like this, and I’m happy when it happens. This is the most I’ve seen Natalie get involved in a case (even more so than the leper episode), and her immediate suspicion after hearing a negative review of her daughter’s performance is very much in character, though she rarely speaks up as boldly and loudly as in this episode. Her insistence on the critic’s guilt was extremely entertaining, and her excitement at the inevitable solving of the case was fun, though not as much as Monk’s warning that she’d want to hug him but shouldn’t. Dylan Baker is a superb actor, and casting him as a cruel (and murderous) critic is brilliant in typical “Monk” fashion. Monk’s trip to the bathroom at the start of the episode was funny but seemed disconnected at first, though that’s always the trick “Monk” pulls off so effectively, linking threads that seem to have nothing to do with each other and making them all relevant. Monk dusting the bathroom attendant’s jacket while the man cleaned Monk’s jacket was another classic Monkish move that proves that this show really hasn’t lost its cleverness in the eight years it’s been on the air. It’s going to be sad to the see the old guy go in just a few months, but hopefully more simple but fun episodes like this will air before then.

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