Shifts Happen

Episode Report Card
Heathen: D+ | Grade It Now!
Shifts Happen

Abby's leading around a new nurse. Pratt coasts in and pauses to gaze at her. "Have we met?" he asks. "No," the nurse answers flatly, leaving. My, my. Has his reputation preceded him? Pratt complains that everyone around is fresh out of nursing school. "Fresh off the boat, more like," Frank says, gesturing to a gaggle of nurses who are of a foreign persuasion. Frank says a few more things, but all it's relevant to is the sad reality that TPTB took a cranky old man, turned him into a racist asshole, and think they can continue to try to play him for laughs. I fail to understand why he has to be written this way. Troy Evans, quit! You deserve more. I hear a lot of old ER people have turned up on The Lyon's Den, so get there before it gets cancelled. If that's possible.

"Think fast, truant," says an approaching Nick "Coop" Cooper, tossing a chart at Pratt. "Still here, Wheezy?" Pratt fires back. "Hell yeah! Home sweet home and right on time," Coop breezes. Pratt insists it's his house, not anyone else's. "You're just visiting from Whitebread, Iowa, or wherever," Pratt snorts. "Whitebread, Florida, actually," Coop cracks. I've been there. The people are doughy but the weather's great. Gallant pops in to say something chock full of incomprehensible terminology. Pratt keeps railing at Coop a little, saying he'll compensate for his tardiness and that they're not buddies. As if to underscore that Coop is friendlier -- or that he knows how to pick a hottie out of a bloated cast -- Jerry butts in to offer the new resident some Cubs tickets. Coop accepts them. Pratt mocks this, and then announces that he has to go to the bathroom. You've just witnessed the birth of a gag that runs, not unlike a urine stream, straight through this act. Would that I were kidding.

Before Pratt can get to the toilet, he's sidelined by Neela, one new med student who doesn't get a name yet, and a bearded dude named Lester with a slight accent. They all want Pratt's time. This is supposed to show us that Pratt is The Man, although really I think it's a function of how understaffed they are. Question: If Carter abruptly decided to stay in Congo, without an official assignment from any organization and without giving County any warning, why is his job waiting for him? I don't really see Weaver or Romano and their respective Appliances of Fierce Justice tolerating that. "Am I the only second-year here?" Pratt spits. "Sorry, I didn't see Dr. Cooper. I would've asked Dr. [Malarkey], but..." Lester says timidly. Susan drifts past long enough to overhear this, and heaves a huge put-upon sigh as she yanks back a curtain to reveal Malarkey flirting with a pretty female patient whose ankle has, like, a devastating deep bruise or something, and needs to be felt up with real precision. Pratt is probably offended that he wasn't called in as the resident expert in grope-ology. "A little multitasking on your part would be helpful," Susan lectures a chagrined Malarkey, pointing out that they've got a cluttered board and forty patients in triage. "You're not doing that clown any favors by picking up his slack," Pratt says under his breath to Coop. Clearly Coop is all, "I'm doing it for the patients, you suckmuscle -- have you seen that moron?"

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