Remember how at the end of last season Dell died and Maya had her baby and it was really sad? Good. Because those facts are barely relevant to last night’s episode. In its season premiere ‘Private Practice‘ continues to be the show that people watch because it’s on after ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’
We open with a montage of various couples having blurred sex that seems like the director’s editorial comment because all of the couples on the show aren’t living up to their potential. At the end of the montage, Pete (Tim Daly) asks Violet (Amy Brenneman) to marry him. Instead of the lengthy engagement that they sorely need, they decide to get married right away because its totally possible to put together a wedding complete with an outdoor venue and catering in four days on television. Violet asks Cooper (Paul Adelstein) to be her maid of honor. He has all sorts of issues with her quickie wedding to her baby daddy and Charlottte (KaDee Strickland) has all sorts of issues with her fiancee’s relationship with Violet. Did she not notice how codependent they were before?
The cases of the week involve the typical ethical dilemmas. A selfish man asks his developmentally disabled brother, played by French Stewart in a performance that avoids most of the cliches ‘Tropic Thunder’ mocks, to donate his kidney. He does, the brothers forge a close relationship, and everyone is going to live happily ever after until the man’s body rejects the kidney and he faces certain death. Moral: if your brother is a jerk, do not do anything nice for him.
A husband and wife want to have a baby with a surrogate because their first child suffocated when the husband accidentally left him in a hot car. This is an ethical dilemma because Addison was the doctor in the E.R. when the child died and thinks that a couple who endured a tragedy together should never be allowed to be happy again. Finally, Addison realizes she’s projecting her own issues onto the couple. Moral: doctors can refuse to perform medical procedures for no good reason.
Maya and the baby? Off-camera. Naomi is taking over child rearing, and pushes Dink away every time he attempts to step up and be a parent. Sam convinces him to stop being a pushover. Teen parenting is easy and fun! Dell? There’s a brief memorial service where everyone stares at his gravestone.
Violet almost pulls a runaway bride at her wedding, but Cooper calms her down. The wedding is a rushed, unromantic affair because this is a Shonda Rhimes show. At the end of the episode, Addison and Sam have sex in a bathtub because Addison was inspired by the couple with the dead baby to give him a second chance. How romantic?
This season premiere was a reminder of why ‘Private Practice’ is often irritating: all of the characters are self-absorbed and neurotic.