John From Cincinnati
His Visit: Day Three

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Someone Got Mad -- AND They Got Stabby

You know, if I hadn't just seen the credits, I would have sworn my TiVo got stuck on VH-1 Classic, because the opening sequence looks like a 1980s New Wave video. We see a perfectly sculpted swoop of hair, a chiseled jaw, a landscape empty but for an ominous military building. Can't you just anticipate the moment when the man opens his mouth and begins singing about how we'll glow in the dark after the Cold War heats up? Aren't you missing that soundtrack as we go from the first shot (John very far away from the Naval radio receiver) to the second (John appearing to have moved to a different angle without, you know, walking), then back to the first?

After that short, bafflingly synthesizer-free interlude, we're back in what passes for civilization. Palaka rolls a shopping cart of supplies across a street, narrowly misses getting hit, and waves his duct-taped hand in outrage at the car that had the nerve to honk at him. But that's all background to the real action: Dr. Smith is meeting Mark Lewinski, the liability attorney at the hospital. Lewinski sourly says, "Good copy in the paper does not necessarily mean an uninterrupted night's sleep for the hospital's liability attorney." Dr. Smith refuses to be guilt-tripped, guilelessly offering, "Would you like me to prescribe some barbiturates?" Lewinski would not. What he would like: "Some sort of accounting as to how a patient could be admitted with a flatline E.E.G., be oxygen-deprived for twenty-seven minutes, be worked up for a C2 fracture, then exit the side door of our hospital within two hours." Dr. Smith deadpans, "I believe he left piggyback." We soon get to the heart of the conversation: Lewinski's sure the Yosts will eventually stop screaming at one another/ shooting up/ levitating long enough to hire an attorney and sue the pants off the hospital. Dr. Smith does not. This is not because he thinks it unlikely that the Yosts will eventually stop the hollering/ shooting up/ levitating. Anyway, Dr. Smith dismissively says, "The hospital has a public-relations problem. This should solve it." He's quitting. Dr. Smith tosses over an envelope and quotes, "I misread the Yost boy's tests which, on recognizing my mistake, I destroyed." Lewinski applauds Smith's forthrightness. He adds, somewhat cynically, "Inhuman hours, excessive overwork?" "Put that in a P.S.," says Smith. He gets up from the table and wanders off without another word. Lewinski watches him off, a little cheesed off that Smith doesn't seem fazed in the least.

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John From Cincinnati

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