ER
Dear Abby

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Dear Abby

Previously on Emmy Repellant, a hotshot surgeon called Dr. Eddie Dorsett hit on Elizabeth. Romano returned to the ER after having his arm amputated and was, unsurprisingly, pretty peevish. And A Hero Rescued That Other Hero in The Congo, and sent a letter back to Abby. Because when the writers realize that they lack the skill to write emotional scenes, they revert to the postal service.

The episode begins with Abby "The End Of The Affair" Lockhart, who's giving some new residents a free course of "ER 101." She explains with a touch of the bitter that in a given day, three hundred people receive treatment in the ER and forty come and go without getting any help. "This all starts with the nurses," she says. "Treat them with respect, it'll get you through your shift. Treat them as your own personal scut slaves, you'll be lucky to get out of here alive." She's not kidding. The reason we haven't seen Haleh? She got suspended for giving a med student a scalpel enema. The three newbies listen eagerly. One is a good-looking Michael Vartan's-little-brother type, one is our old pal Scott Grimes, who played Malarkey on my beloved Band of Brothers and Will on Party of Five, and the last is a pretty Asian girl. Oh, great -- a mini-Chen they can write into all kinds of stereotypes! I can't wait until she starts doing lots of complicated math, performs mystic herbal healing rituals, and carries personalized chopsticks.

"Triage is your first line of defense," Abby explains. "Patients will be signed in and vitaled by whoever's working the cage." Malarkey doesn't get why it's called the cage. He's been to strip clubs, and this thing's about two nipples and a wedgie short of being a cage. "It's like a shark cage -- you can see them out there circling around, but they can't get at you," Abby smiles. I get that the rigors of dealing with hypochondriacs and other run-of-the-mill things can be exhausting and tedious, but she really shouldn't be dissing the sick people on whom she plies her trade. Malik interrupts to ask Abby when Luka is arriving, and she replies that his flight's landing at 7:30. "What about Carter?" Malik asks. Abby shoots him a look of unhappy amusement -- lips pursed and turned up as if smiling, she's clearly perturbed that she can't answer that question.

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