A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Monday Mornings is a serious and intense medical show in which patients, including parents and young children, get ill and injured and sometimes die. Gory injuries are shown, as are medical procedures, graphically: scalpels slicing into flesh, forceps probing bloody, raw tissue. The camera lingers on surgeries and on dead bodies as emotional music plays. The doctors sometimes have to inform family members of deaths as they cry piteously. There is some cursing, including exclamations like "bulls--t!" Characters are under tension and often criticized for their work. Expect flirting and possibly sex amongst the (mostly) young, single, attractive characters. All these cautions make the show unsuitable for younger viewers, but older teens, particularly those with an interest in medical dramas, will find this absorbing, worthwhile, sometimes heartrending viewing.
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What's the story?
Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MONDAY MORNINGS follows a group of medical professionals at the fictional Chelsea General Hospital in Portland, Oregon, as they heroically save patients (or tragically lose them), push through personal travails, and show up every Monday morning for the weekly Morbidity and Mortality conference, which reviews their work. Chief of Staff is Dr. Harding Hooten (Alfred Molina), working in tandem with trauma chief Dr. Jorge Villanueva (Ving Rhames). Among their charges are hotshot neurosurgeons Dr. Tyler Wilson (Jamie Bamber) and Dr. Tina Ridgeway (Jennifer Finnigan), divisive Dr. Buck Tierney (Bill Irwin), and the unimaginably blunt Dr. Sung Park (Keong Sim).
Is it any good?
It's almost impossible to watch Monday Mornings and not compare it in your mind to Grey's Anatomy. You have your doctorly hotties (Jamie Bamber even boasts McSteamy hair!), your life-and-death operations, your dramatic developments set to the strains of popular songs. But Monday Mornings compares favorably to Grey's, a show beloved by millions. Medical drama is intense drama, and there's more than enough to go around.
One compelling reason to check out Monday Mornings: the excellent cast. Leads Molina and Rhames boast incredible gravitas, and watching them alternately dress down and praise Chelsea General's residents is a potent pleasure. Keong Sim as Dr. Sung Park is another standout, and his many socially unacceptable utterings give the show a shot of the funnies. "You've done this before?" queries a husband about to send his wife into brain surgery. "Once," replies Dr. Park laconically. "How's that patient?" asks the wife. "Dead," says Dr. Park. Ha! Of course, it's dark, black humor, as are jokes about stiffs on another floor, and doctors being nicknamed 007 because they have a license to kill. This, and the many graphic surgery scenes make Monday Mornings a no-no for the youngies. But for medical-show aficionados, Monday Mornings will slide right down like something you've tasted (and enjoyed) before.
Talk to your kids about ...
Do you find the many shots of surgeries and injuries on Monday Mornings disturbing? Are you supposed to? What about the way they are presented brings you to this conclusion?
Do you think Monday Mornings is a realistic look at the goings-on in a hospital? Or does the show focus on the most dramatic cases to ramp up the drama for viewers?