Night Shift Episode 4: Keep the Change
You know how sometimes you'll meet a new guy, and you think, he is the dreamiest! Cute, smart, funny, treats his friends well, doesn't wear pleated khakis? And then you go out and you realize eh, still cute, but not really all that smart, doesn't like to read, funny only if he's repeating movie quotes, and wears white sneakers? But you stick it out for a second date and maybe a third, at which point you realize that if you spend any more time with this guy, you are either going to black out from boredom or kill him and possibly yourself just to end the misery?
That guy = Night Shift.
I tried to like it. Really, I did! I love the characters of Patrick and Robin. I like GH stories that actually feature the hospital. I adored the idea of plotlines that didn't revolve around Sonny, Jason, and Carly. And the first episode didn't suck, which was promising. But it's been downhill from there. Why was I so optimistic about something from the people who bring GH into my living room everyday? I have no idea.
This week wasn't as awful as the second episode (the first one that I recapped, and still the worst so far, in my opinion), but it was so boring and pointless. You know it's a bad episode when 1) I think Spinelli is the most amusing part, 2) I think Jason being on it would have improved it, 3) there is absolutely no charming Patrick and Robin banter, 4) I miss the ______ Barrett sub-plot, and 5) I think there were episodes of GH last week that moved more stories forward.
I still think Jason Thompson and Kimberly McCullough are great together, and I kind of like Alternate Reality Jason (not that he was on this week), but I really could do without the rest of it. The writing is terrible. In this week's Soap Opera Digest, some SoapNet person makes noises about turning Night Shift into a regular (not limited run) series, and at this point I can't imagine they'll be able to sustain viewership for that. But then again I continue to watch OG GH, so clearly there are those of us who are gluttons for TV punishment.
On with the blow-by-blow. I hope you're sufficiently caffeinated.
Billy Dee is creepily mopping the floor while Stan carries picket signs right through the middle of the hospital. Epiphany gives Billy Dee the evil eye while he walks past, but I'm not sure that means anything, because when is Epiphany not giving someone the evil eye?
Cut to Spinelli in full janitor ensemble, chatting with Billy Dee, macho-ing that he's there to fill in for Jason. (This is bizarre -- Steve Burton is at least 50% of the first three episodes and then MIA for a whole one? I was by no means a proponent of making Jason a central character on Night Shift, but once they did it they should have been consistent.) Spinelli has, by the way, adopted Jason's slicked-back hair-don't for the occasion, which while an improvement for Spinelli's hair (what wouldn't be?) is a sign that in the end evil wins out in the world. Anyway, Jolene walks by crying (so professional!) over what Spinelli decides is a broken heart. Billy Dee creepily dispenses a cheesy "life's a hard mistress" line but then they are both distracted as a patient -- whom we will call Ralph -- loudly and dramatically vomits all over the floor, at which point Billy Dee leaves and tells Spinelli to clean it up. Spinelli rather hilariously sprays a bit of cleanser in the general direction of, but five feet away from, said vomit.
Patrick is hotly sorrowful on the locker room bench while Robin approaches her locker. Patrick hotly welcomes Paulo (I have no recollection of who he is or whether we've seen him before) back from vacation. Paulo joins the "we're so sad the crazy lady who made the terrifying clown tapestries died" chorus. Patrick hotly informs Paulo that Mrs. Storch didn't die from natural causes, but was killed by someone tainting her IV. Leyla suspiciously listens in from the other side of the lockers.
Credits. And then back to the locker room where . . . SHOUT OUT!
Robin: We don't have all the answers yet, but the police do suspect foul play.
Regina: Poor Mrs. Storch, never a bad word for anybody.
Robin: I know. We were all terribly nice, or handsome, or beautiful. I think she even used the word "hot" once referring to Patrick.
Mrs. Storch was a wise woman, repeated accusations of the homicidal nature of broccoli notwithstanding.
Patrick hotly glances at his watch and Paulo does the same (well, Paulo doesn't do it hotly), while they exchange a suspicious glance.
Dr. Ford busts in on the conversation to overact about how health care is a business and his usual BS, and Patrick gets righteously indignant about poor patients and storms off. This routine is getting almost as tiresome as Patrick and Robin squabbling over commitment issues. Ms. Sneed then returns the rudeness by busting in on Dr. Ford's patients-suck soliloquy to advise him that there's a problem downstairs, which turns out to be a nurses' strike, led by Stan. What, you think mafia computer hackers can't lead nurses' strikes? You are so close-minded. And you also might be The Man. Dr. Ford yells at the striking workers that "this is unacceptable!" a couple of times, and orders Epiphany to do something about the situation. Epiphany yells at Stan. As if she needed an excuse to do that.
Patrick wants to join the striking nurses, but Robin wants them to go inside and take care of patients. Patrick picks up a picket sign and joins the fray, while Robin hangs out. Skeevy Dr. Archer comes on the scene and asks Dr. Lee what's going on, but she's giving him the uber silent treatment. He says she's been cold to him and it's like they never had sex at all. Maybe they had sex between 3 and 4pm on a weekday. Then it totally didn't happen.
Dr. Julian is listening to his iPod and fishing around in a jar of candy like a 12-year-old, so Epiphany yells at him and tears his earbuds out to get his attention. As you do. Epiphany hands Dr. Julian test results for a lab frog, and for a guy who is pregnant. Nothing in that previous sentence is a joke. Oh wait, it turns out someone is messing with the medical records, just like what was happening last week. This "entertaining" exchange is interrupted by Ralph vomiting on the floor in front of Dr. Julian. Dr. Julian's face looks like mine would if someone puked on the floor in front of me, but I don't have an "MD" after my name, so maybe the iPod'd, candy-fishing Dr. Julian isn't the most professional of doctors?
Back to the strike. Billy Dee and Spinelli (that is a parody song waiting to be written, to the tune of "Ebony and Ivory") are on the scene. Billy Dee is observing, while Spinelli is attempting to be supportive ("power to the peons!" -- alright show, that gets a modest "hee" from me), explains that he's filling in for Jason because the hitman is "working," and gives Billy Dee the whitest, strangest "low five" I've ever seen. Billy Dee's like yeah, I guess it's the thought that counts. Jolene shows up and asks Spinelli where Jason is, because Jason is the star of this show and the one everyone is tuning in for.
Stacey (the HIV+ pregnant woman from episodes past) is observing the strike and promptly passes out. Bob Guza is unhealthily fond of putting pregnant women in mortal danger.
Patrick is hotly sitting out by the strike, drinking water. He's alone, so of course Leyla swoops in and starts chatting him up. Shockingly, since Patrick never does this, he starts being inappropriately flirtatious and tells her she has "pretty eyes," among other things. If you think the Grey's Anatomy docs are entertaining, but not quite unprofessional enough in their rampant sleeping around and over-sharing, then this is the show for you! Patrick wants to know if Leyla ever hears "When the Saints Come Marching In" in the hallways, but thankfully that scintillating exchange is cut short by Patrick seeing Stacey passed out and hotly calling for help.
Cut to Stacey in the ER with Patrick hotly tending to her. Stacey asks about Robin and says Patrick must be the guy that Robin has told her so much about. Patrick says yes and that "she's very impressed with your decision to have a baby," like she decided to buy a hybrid after thorough online research. Stacey rightfully responds that she's "not really trying to impress anyone." Robin comes on the scene and takes over, plus makes a snotty comment to Patrick about tearing himself away from the strike to help her with Stacey. O...kay. So do the writers just have a Wheel o' Pissiness that they spin to decide what stupidity Drs. Drake and Scorpio are going to argue over in any given scene?
Stan, in his 100th Hawaiian shirt and wearing a large beaded necklace (seriously, who is this guy?), bugs Patrick to come back out to the strike. Patrick's busy hotly being a doctor, so Stan storms off, with a semi-helpful word from Billy Dee and another "power to the peons!" from Spinelli.
Paulo is orderly-ing when Dr. Lee comes up and gives him the sex eye. Then they kick off their hideously ugly orthopedic shoes get naked and hook up in the locker room shower. (I sincerely hope all these randy GH-dwellers are wearing shower shoes, because eeewwww.) They don't know each other -- he's like "I've seen you around, I've got protection right here" (no really, that's a direct quote; isn't he a charmer?) and she goes "this isn't about you." I think the writers are trying to tell me something about Kelly's use of sex to deal with emotional troubles, but if only they would be less subtle about it!
Lainey and Cody are talking about his need for pills because of his time in Iraq. I'm sorry, I know this is supposed to be topical and meaningful, but: SNORE.
Dr. Lee is tending to Stacey while Robin looks on. Stacey's having some symptoms so Dr. Lee says she's going to run some tests and that Stacey should just "hang in there." Oh, Kelly. I could deal with your rampant promiscuity, oddly immovable face, and terrible taste in footwear, but you had to go and say "hang in there"? I might have to hate you now. As Dr. Lee walks out, Robin notices Kelly has something on the bottom of her shoe, and some chords play to tell us this is significant. I submit that there is some odd poetry in a significant GH-related plot point being stuck on the bottom of someone's shoe. Stacey is a bit worried but Robin tells her she's going to have a healthy baby and be okay. Patrick is hotly listening outside the door and looks hotly distressed.
Back to Lainey and Cody. Cody says she could be in danger and proceeds to pull a big knife on her. Lainey responds by giving him the number to the VA hospital, which Cody decries as "a joke." Lainey says they're done but Cody says they're just getting started. Since Lainey is almost never right, I put no hope in them actually being done. Lainey gets a call that upsets her, and says she'll be sending an ambulance for someone.
Patrick and Robin are pedeconferencing about Stacey. Robin wants help with the case but Patrick says Stacey's conditions are outside his expertise. Robin accuses Patrick of not wanting to help because the case hits too close to home. I can't believe with all the dramatic possibilities, that this is the way the writers chose to approach the "Robin contemplates having a baby" story. Such a waste.
Epiphany is snapping at the student nurses. (I know, I know! It's very shocking. Epiphany is overly angry and the student nurses are useless. We're breaking new ground tonight.) Apparently Ralph has stomach cancer and they fed him all kinds of junk that he wasn't supposed to get and that exacerbated his condition. The junk is cream corn, chili cheese enchiladas, and tapioca. I am totally healthy and even just hearing that list made me a little nauseated. Epiphany keeps yelling, progressively louder (someone needs to provide Carly with a challenge for the title of Yelliest Harpy Ever, I suppose), until Jolene confesses she was the one who gave him the food, but says she just delivered the tray that was already made up and labeled. Am I seriously recapping hospital food delivery?
Ford and Sneed, mutual haters of other humans, are having an obnoxious conversation about Mrs. Storch that includes the charming "well, whatever makes us look good, right?" solution to the PR problem of possibly having a killer on the loose in the hospital. Patrick hotly points out they're incredibly insensitive, and Ford responds by somehow blaming the striking nurses (!). Patrick rattles off all the bad stuff that's been going down at the hospital. Sneed points out that the killer has medical knowledge. This show is written for people with the intelligence of third graders, although most third graders would be like "Hello? The killer is one of the doctors or nurses. Next!"
Regina and Leyla are talking at the nurses' station and Regina tells Leyla she saw her go into Mrs. Storch's room just before she died. (That sentence has antecedent issues, I know.) Leyla is outraged by the insinuation. Billy Dee looks on creepily.
Patrick and Robin are back with Stacey. Patrick thanks Leyla for her help outside with Stacey, and Leyla leaves. That was useless. Stacey's test results are back and her blood pressure is elevated, but Patrick is [not hotly] dismissive and tells her to "hang in there." You are seriously testing my patience and the hotly qualifier, sir.
Stacey tells Robin that Patrick is afraid and Robin should stop beating around the baby bush and just tell Patrick how she feels. Stacey, you and I can totally hang out. Robin says she'll do that as soon as she figures out what it is that she feels.
Dr. Ford is kicking some coughing patient out to County because she doesn't have insurance. Patrick witnesses this and is hotly outraged. Then the damned "When the Saints Go Marching In" starts and Epiphany confirms she hears it every day. Patrick is elated that he's not crazy, even giving Epiphany an enormous hug. She is rather amusingly horrified by this demonstration of affection and physically recoils. Hang in there, Epiphany.
Robin appears and Epiphany, here's where I'm confused, helps Robin by heading off to arrange an x-ray. Epiphany, the nurse, helped a doctor, without attitude. I cannot process this. Kelly shows up and Robin confronts her with the thingie that was on the bottom of her shoe (antecedent issue again, I know), which it turns out is a condom wrapper. Robin just wants to make sure everything is okay because Kelly has been acting weird, but Kelly says she's fine and says as far as the wrapper is concerned, carrying it around is a big "ew." I don't think people living in ew-y houses should throw ew-y stones, Kel.
Paulo rants his way through the lounge in Spanish. Leyla understand it but doesn't clue us in as to what was said. Jolene is there. Regina is there. They talk about Mrs. Storch's death and blah blah blah I could not find these student nurses less interesting if I tried.
Strike. Epiphany bellows for an x-ray tech and two orderlies. They leave the strike, much to Stan's dismay. Epiphany and Stan argue over the strike. OH MY GOD KILL ME NOW BEFORE THE BOREDOM TAKES ME. They are both ashamed of each other. Stan points out that the woman Ford just booted appears to have pneumonia and is coughing up a lung on a bench and yadda yadda yadda Epiphany raised a good man.
The ambulance Lainey called was for her dad, who has Alzheimer's. Mr. Winters is the dad from Generations! (And a hundred other things -- he's a Hey! It's That Guy! type.) Lainey's dad doesn't recognize her and she's clearly upset. Patrick hotly arrives and promises to take good care of Mr. Winters. Lainey and Patrick go into the hall and discuss her dad's deteriorating condition. This is another Grey's Anatomy rip-off, in case you're keeping track. After commercials we come right back to Lainey and her dad. Lainey and Patrick chat some more, and Lainey reveals that she and her dad had a "complicated" relationship. Patrick recommends surgery to fix damage from a "warning stroke" or something. Ford and Sneed arrive to spew some more corporate BS about how there won't be a procedure because Mr. Winters' insurance doesn't cover his preexisting condition. WHAT? That makes no sense at all, but neither does anything else that's supposed to be medically, legally, or otherwise factually accurate on this show, so whatever. Lainey says she'll pay out of pocket, Patrick says he'll work for free, but Ford basically says let the dude die.
Patrick storms out, into the elevator with Billy Dee. Patrick vents, and Billy Dee sings. Patrick, apparently the dumbest brain surgeon on the planet, finally realizes it's been Billy Dee singing all along. Billy Dee reveals he used to sing professionally with a group called The Saints," which Patrick IDs as "an oldies group" that his dad used to talk about. Patrick wants to know how Billy Dee "got here," by which he means mopping up vomit. Billy Dee says everyone gets somewhere (deep!) and The Saints was a long time ago.
Spinelli encounters Jolene in an exam room. Jolene is still distraught, and Spinelli tries to comfort her. If he spoke like an actual human being, I would have found this scene sweet. Jolene has a photo of her dad and says he's dead, that he died seven years ago today during what was supposed to be a simple surgery. She has regrets that she didn't say goodbye. They talk some more. She says he's "strange but sweet," and he responds by freaking out strangely after she leaves.
Patrick sees Epiphany and fills her in that the mystery singer is Billy Dee and he was in The Saints. She says "it can't be" but then is excited. Is Billy Dee Stan's daddy? (I'm unspoiled, but the hints are pretty clear.)
Lainey is getting her dad ready to go but he's confused and having trouble getting dressed. Cody comes in and helps. Mr. Winters salutes Cody. Lainey responds to this uncharacteristic display of kindness by (justifiably, I think) accusing Cody of being nice in order to score drugs. Cody accuses Lainey of not being human and not liking people helping her. Why does every female character on this show and GH have to have emotional problems with being closed off and defensive? The writing team has such a low opinion of women, it's ridiculous.
Nurses' station. Epiphany turns around and sees Billy Dee, drops a bunch of binders and goes all bug-eyed like she's never seen him before. He asks if she's okay. Epiphany is speechless. No, seriously. And then she backs away, trips over stuff, mutters -- basically goes all Spinelli.
Patrick and Robin are walking and bickering again. Patrick heads into Stacey's room, Robin apologizes to Kelly (who has arrived with test results for Stacey) for earlier but Kelly blows her off. Kelly tells Stacey she has pre-eclampsia, which I know about from every other medical show on TV and because I think it's the only medical complication pregnant women on GH ever have. Worst case scenario is stillbirth, but they can try bedrest, lying on her side, etc.; or, as Robin proposes, inducing labor (Stacey's due in a few weeks anyway). Patrick pulls Robin into the hall and bitches at her about living vicariously through Stacey. Robin responds by bitching at Patrick about just trying to help her patient, not trying to "shackle [him] with an umbilical cord." I can't believe the writers are actually making these two unlikeable. That's like making Sonny seem classy and law-abiding.
Billy Dee goes out to Stan by what used to be the strike area (nobody's left) and encourages him even though it's clear the strike was a total failure.
The now-customary closing montage, though it's much shorter this week since nothing of interest happened and they therefore have little to wrap up:
- Epiphany helps the uninsured woman with pneumonia, runs into Dr. Ford and reminds him that he's afraid of her, so he lets them into the hospital.
- Kelly's in the locker room. Dr. Archer wants to talk about what happened, she says it was nothing. He wants to hang out and have an estrogen-y talk about what's going on, but she storms out.
- Patrick and Robin are on the roof with that damn CGI sunrise in the background, and have a conversation that had they not been bickering like schoolchildren for the last hour I might have found interesting.
Patrick: How's Stacey? I'm asking because I want to know,
Robin: She decided to go full-term. She's coming back for re-evaluation.
Patrick: That's good.
Robin: It is good. For her, it's good.
Patrick: And for you? I'm not saying you vicariously want to live through her as much as you look to her as a success story.
Robin: And for some reason you see that as a blueprint.
Patrick: I just, I don't think things'll be the same.
Robin: Why is that such a bad thing?
. . . and they walk away holding hands.
To sum up: BORING. And mostly pointless. Did they sit down and map out a 13-episode arc? It doesn't seem like it. Did they create this alternate reality, totally divorced from regular GH, in order to really develop certain characters or show what others would be like in different circumstances? Nope. It seems like they created it so that they could be lazy and not tie in the two shows or worry about continuity. Plus it's not campy bad, it's just boring/makes-no-sense bad. Ugh. Add to that the production values which are roughly equivalent to your average homemade YouTube video, and I'm having a hard time getting motivated to tune in again.
But maybe next week will be better. Jason Thompson might be hotly naked in a shower again!
Sorry, I don't know why I persist with that pesky optimism thing.