State Of Mind
4 therapists (and 1 lawyer) share a big old house
Type of Pilot: Drama
Similar Shows: LA Law (a bunch of people in nice suits running around helping folk with their problems), Ally McBeal (the heroine is pretty messed up herself and constantly 'sees' funny visions as she sorts matters out her own head).
Strengths: Lili Taylor, Derek Riddell, the house.
Impressive Characters: The Derek Riddell character blew me away. He works with children under 12, and - in the pilot - when he gets angry with parents that he dislikes or disapproves of, he really cuts loose. It's cool. His firely temper combined with his thick scottish accent is a joy to behold. Likewise, I really liked the Lili Taylor character from the get-go.
Impressive Actors: Lili Taylor (the main character), Derek Riddell, Devon Gummersall (the lawyer) & Chris Diamantopoulos (as Lili Taylor's cheating husband). Taylor is a fantastic lead. Beautiful and intelligent. There is always something going on behind her eyes. It's wonderful to watch. Her chemistry with Riddell (her best friend?) and Diamantopoulos (her cheating husband) is fantastic. But Taylor is the kind of actress who sparks chemisty with nearby inanimate objects.
Less-Than-Impressive Characters: Hard to judge. The opening episode gave almost no screen time to two of the doctors (Banks & Kalid), so it's hard to judge them. And while Devon Gummersall is superb (one of the best actors on TV) the opening episode didn't really give us much of a handle on his character (beyond the fact that he's a lawyer stuck for an office). focus was very much on Taylor & Riddell's characters.
Less-Than-Impressive Actors: Seems like a uniformly strong cast.
Continuity: The cases will probably be wrapped up in each episode, but the personal relationships (the romances, etc.) will probably evolve from episode to episode.
Rewatchability: Bits of the pilot are cool enough to watch again. Most of the scenes where Derek Riddell is angry are awesome, and Lili Taylor's speech at the end is - likewise - awesome.
Other Info: Airs on Sundays at 9.
Three Things I Really Like About This Pilot:
The final big scene has a big speech, where Ann cuts loose with a fighting married couple. It's - as I said before - awesome. "What is it with you people? I mean, you have looks. You have luck. You have IQs over 75, no apparent physical disabilities. And all you do is piss and moan about how you deserve better. You don’t deserve better. Of course she doesn’t want to sleep with you. You’re like an ice cube all day. I mean, wild turkeys do a better job at foreplay. Of course he doesn’t listen to you. Not one kind or supportive word comes out of your mouth. I mean, what do you think, marriage is easy? It’s not. It’s not easy. You’re in a little lifeboat, you morons, in a big, cold ocean, and there you both are too lazy to row. Too selfish to do one inch more than your share. And there’s a hole in the boat. And what do you do? “You fix it.” “No, you fix it.” “I fixed it the last time.” “It’s your fault.” “No, it’s your fault.” Believe me, it’s not the other person’s fault. It’s yours. Do you offer the other a hand? Do you row when the other one gets tired? Do you forgive? Do you apologize, as everybody needs to, a lot? For our mistakes, for our accidental cruelties, for the ways in which we disappoint each other all the time? No, you just sit there, co-captains of the “What’s in it for me?” team, waiting for someone else, apparently the Marriage Fairy, to fix it. There is no Marriage Fairy, people, you either help each other or the marriage dies. And then there you are, two more people treading water, alone and cold, and wondering what went wrong. Shut up about your needs. Shut up about the past. Do more. Give more. Give what you never got. Love each other more than you deserve, for God’s sake." Now, that is some speech. Lili Taylor pours her heart into it.
I really like the house where the show is set/filmed. It's old and it's got character. And it's a nice change to see a TV show where the characters aren't in plush 21st Century offices.
The scene where Taylor & Diamantopoulos end their marriage is beautifully written. It's a scene we've seen a hundred times on a hundred TV shows, but rarely written (and acted) with such simple honestly. Class.
Three Things I Really Don't Like About This Pilot:
Lack of screen time for Dr. Banks.
Lack of screen time for Dr. Kalid.
Kalid comes across like a really cliched character. The sort of character these shows always have (the Douglas Brackman Jr.). Why? Not every group of professions sharing offices have a dick in their midst. I think.
I went into this not knowing what to except. Turns out it is a very fresh idea. It hooked me. Definitely a place worth going back to. I instantly liked the Taylor and Riddell characters, cared about them, and wanted to root for them to succeed.