Bill Maher and Monk – TV
The only reason I have HBO is to watch Bill Maher. I loved “Politically Incorrect” before it got cancelled off ABC. His new show, Real Time debuted last week and was a bit of a disappointment after waiting so long. It devolved into arguing and there was no actual discussion.
Maher’s humor also fell a bit flat with the audience at first.
It’s still a shock to me to hear so much swearing on TV. After the initial shock it doesn’t bother me or anything, it’s just not been part of my TV-viewing experience. I’ve only had HBO for the last three months.
This week’s Real Time with Bill Maher was a vast improvement, with guests who actually seemed to have a clue rather than just get into an arguing match. Since one of the guests last week was presidential candidate Al Sharpton that doesn’t say much for him or his chances (approaching minus figures by all accounts)
Yesterday, John Edwards, who thankfully was only interviewed early via satellite, journalist Farai Chideya, actor Richard Belzer and Bush advisor David Frum. I say thankfully because I’m not looking for electioneering when I tune into Bill Maher. I’m tuning in for unafraid discussion.
There was also Monk, which debuted last week. Adrian Monk is a neurotic, obsessive compulsive detective. This time around his brother was introduced for the first time. For any follower of Sherlock Holmes, the similarities to Mycroft Holmes and how he was introduced in “The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter” was unmistakably evident.
The show had a great ending, the type of ending that sounds overwrought, unless it is played by great actors. In short, Ambrose Monk is a recluse, afraid of everything. He is afraid to leave the house and indeed, does not. Adrian Monk’s wife Trudy was killed a while back (the whole premise of the show is that this event and Monk’s inability to solve that crime drove him to be debilitatingly obsessive) and Adrian held a grudge that he never heard from his brother.
In a touching scene, Ambrose Monk reveals that the reason he didn’t contact Adrian is because he blamed himself for causing her death, as she was out on an errand for him when she was killed.
Adrian reassures him that, no, it is not his fault at all. For brothers who clearly don’t hug for hygienic reasons – a childhood photo of them shows them standing about two feet apart – the hug makes sense.
The real clincher to a great episode, though, is when Ambrose Monk does not leave his house even as it is burning. Adrian gets there in time and runs in to save his brother. Not easy for a man who has to have his hands wiped after shaking hands.
For long-time watchers of the show it says something else, as well.
Another running plot thread is Monk’s attempt to show that he can be a police detective again, instead of a police consultant. In previous episodes his former boss, though awed at his inductive talents, has testified against him in status hearings.
Here we are shown what has been his drawback all along can be overcome. He can be relied on to save a life.