ER
Benton Backwards

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Wing Chun: D | Grade It Now!
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Benton Backwards

Credits. R.I.P., ParkBum.

Back from commercials, we get a lasciviously lingering shot of a woman in a showgirl-ish green satin costume standing out in the hall of the ER, grinning phonily, and twirling a baton. Oh, jeebus. Here we go. In the season premiere, it was a crowd of football players and cheerleaders. Last week, it was a crowd of costumed sci-fi conventioneers. This week, it's a crowd of beauty pageant contestants in full talent-competition regalia. As Lisa tells Mark "The Marrying of the" Greene, "A bunch of beauty contestants are in the salon, getting final touches. A worker mixed the wrong chemicals, and...boom." My question is, how much longer can the ER writers sustain the plot device of having large numbers of oddly attired extras descend upon the ER all at once? I predict that in episode six, the foundation will give way at a local convent. In episode seven, the road company of Cats will be warming up on stage when a sandbag falls from the rafters, landing on Macavity and collapsing the floor under several other stars, with Jennyanydots, Skimbleshanks, and Old Deutoronomy among the worst wounded. But things will really heat up during sweeps: no fewer than three hundred participants in a Civil War reenactment are injured when part of the Russian Space Station Mir falls in the field where they're staging the Siege of Vicksburg. (Damn, I should have written those fake spoilers as an Extra and fooled Wanda again. Oh, well.) Mark asks Lisa who among the would-be beauty queens is injured the worst, and Lisa directs him to Audrey Hoffman ("Miss Skokie" -- heh. "Skokie" is a funny word): "She's got lacerations and partial thickness burns on her legs, and smoke inhalation." Audrey looks like Renée Zellweger's blonder, cuter, younger sister, and still has her hair done up in huge rollers; she asks Mark how bad her legs are, and he tells her he wants to check her breathing first. And...then he does so. Audrey tells him that "Miss Tri-State is tonight," and asks again how bad her legs are. They're loosely covered by strips of gauze, on each of which several rather large splotches of blood have soaked through. Mark gingerly lifts the gauze off her right leg, takes a look, and cheerfully assures her that it's "nothing that won't heal." She asks if Mark's saying she's out of the pageant, and he says they'll do everything they can. She sighs and pouts, and Mark tries to get her mind off her disfigured flesh by asking what her talent is; it's "rhythmic dancing, with hoops and ribbons." Well, of course it is.

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