Monday, September 16, 2013

What Might've Been: E. R. (1984)

Before there was E/R, there was E. R.. Confused? Well, let me clear it up.

In 1984, Norman Lear adapted Stuart Gordon's Chicago theatre production into a sitcom, E.R., which was the first TV series for film star Elliott Gould. Gould played a twice divorced emergency room doctor who worked long hours at a Chicago hospital to support himself and to perhaps settle some issues from his divorces. The supporting cast included Conchata Farrell (ex-BJ & The Bear, currently on Two & A Half Men) and Lynne Moody, with the theme song performed by the inestimable Lou Rawls, and composed by another music legend, Jimmy Webb.

One of the nurses on the show was the niece of George & Louise Jefferson, and Uncle George (Sherman Hemsley) made an appearance in the first episode, which would be the extent of the link between E. R. & The Jeffersons.

So where did this show go wrong? It was another of those wrong-night-of-the-week scheduling deals, in this case airing Tuesdays opposite The A-Team. What links this E. R. to the later drama? George Clooney appeared on both. Clooney, I believe, got his start, at Embassy, which also produced The Facts of Life.

Gilmore Box provides the open:

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

I do remember this show.

There was also a bit of stnu casting - Martha Quinn appeared as herself who was in need of the ER's medical treatment. Gould tried some bit of humor by asking her about that band, "Wounded Tiger". Martha replied, "You mean Def Leppard!".

Wah! Wah! Wah!

There was a far better medical sitcom a few years later with Matt Frewer called, "Doctor Doctor". Now There was a funny show!

hobbyfan said...

I remember that ep with Martha. It was the only reason I bothered with E. R. at all. She went in to have her ankle, I think, checked out. Too bad that isn't available on YouTube....