I’ve been watching E.R. on television almost since it began nearly 15 years ago. But I haven’t always been happy with the choices the show’s writers make. I always hate it when a popular show feels the need to arbitrarily kill off a major character, like they did to Dr. Green (Anthony Edwards) some years ago with a long drawn out death from brain cancer. Or the time they had a helicopter arbitrarily fall on Dr. Romano, another one of my favorite characters.
But this season’s premier, which aired last week, is probably the worst I have seen. Last season, they ended with an ambulance exploding. You knew that either Dr. Pratt or Nurse Taggart was on board, but you didn’t know which one.
When the show started, they quickly showed that Nurse Taggart was fine. But then there seemed to be some hope when Pratt was found still in one piece in the front of the bombed out ambulance. But that was just so that they could drag out his death through the entire show as first one thing went wrong and then another until he died on the operating table.
I knew they would kill off Pratt (Mehki Phifer). Why? Because he was happy, and the first rule of TV writers these days is that you cannot have happy characters. If a character has something good happen to them, you can bet that a tragedy is just around the corner. If there is a happy couple, they are guaranteed to be broken up. It never fails. Pratt was about to become the new chief of the ER and he was about to propose marriage to his long-time girlfriend. So naturally he had to die.
I’ll finish watching the 15th and final season of E.R., but after this pathetic beginning I won’t be nearly so sad to see the show go away.