This show doesn't have tough love, it's angry love.
Jun 23, 2010
Sitting down to watch Becker, I wonder where it had been my whole life. Becker wasn't into trends or trendy, he was angry and had common sense to fill a whole night of NBC sitcoms.
In the show, John Becker lives in New York and according to him is the only one dumb enough to open a medical practice in the Bronx. In truth he admits that he does BECAUSE no one opens a practice and people there need a doctor. He has a staff of two, ditzy Linda and headstrong Margaret with the usuall motley crew of patients every episode. Becker's refuge is the local diner owned by his friend a former model Reggie and in the diner the blind newstand owner Jake. Eventually Bob and obnoxious would be ladies man would try to hit on Reggie. Yeah it's a sitcom but at least it's a good one.
The best things about Becker is what he would say. One episode has a bystander overhear an argument Becker has with an immigrant driver. Not knowing the whole story, the bystander takes it upon himself to write an article on racism and Becker as an example. Becker later confronts the guy on a radio talk show and Becker kicks this guy square in the balls with what he has to say and the audacity of what is said is stunning to hear on a 20 minute sitcom. Another episode involves Becker and Linda trying to teach a classroom of children about nutrition and it leads to sex ed due to the children's curiosity and complete lack of understanding on the subject. When the parents complain, it's obvious that THEY don't know anything about sex. One epsiode brings up why Becker doesn't believe in God. On another show this would have be completely glossed over by a dumb joke or if your a writer on a crappy animated Fox sitcom you can make up some completely unbelievable reason that insults the intelligence of those watching. Becker however stands firm and proud with his reasons that no, you MAY not agree with but you can definetely understand and even better, the explanation is with a Preist.
The show definetly had it's share of comedic moments in between Beckers many grumblings. One of my favorites has Becker visiting Linda's house, a penthouse and learning that her job is important and gave her purpose in life. The penthouse was provided by her rich parents who do it to remind her what she is in life, a nobody. The conversation about money and a career does hit a point though:
Linda: "Dr. Becker, you don't mean to tell me that you'd give up being a doctor if you won the lottery."
Becker: "In the middle of an operation!"
The show though hit an ugly speed bump towards the end. The lovely Terry Farrel left the show leaving two seasons without her and plauged with Nancy Travis. She wasn't a BAD character but where Becker and Reggie (Farrel's character) had a friendship, the idea of dating and sex was usually in each characters backburner. Not so with Chris (Travis's character) where the writters felt they NEEDED to have Becker get a girl and mellow out. You can say that got a chance to explore something with Becker that they couldn't with Reggie, but I can say that if it ain't broke don't fix it. Ever see "The Avengers?" Whether it was Steed and Peel, Steed and Gale or even Steed and King, it was ALWAYS a friendship, with the only romance being that it was a man and a woman. Remember when The X Files, finally and truly went south? It's when Mulder and Scully became an item and episodes were written around them being that instead of conspiracies and aliens.
Where was I? Oh, Becker. As far as sitcom fairs, Becker is king. No it's not cutesy like Friends, and it isn't crude and rude like Two and a Half Men. It's genuinely funny. To me anyway. Hell even the Nancy Travis years had their moments. Becker did have a heart even though for a Doctor giving medical advice he chain smoked like a fiend or that his idea of a romantic date was to the local Chinese dive. His heart was filled with rage though, like the guy who yelled "I'm mad as Hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!!" Like I said, it's refreshing to hear.
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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This TV sitcom offers a forum for the brash and belligerent Bronx Becker (Ted Danson), an opinionated doctor who not only holds forth in his office but also in the local diner run by Regina Costa, aka Reggie (Terry Farrell) where his pessimistic rant ranges over such topics as talkshows, "white trash," used cars, and "parasitic car salesmen." "If you care about your wife and kids," Becker tells one overweight patient, "I want you to remember this one word: salad." But there's also a soft side to... Dr. John Becker, as revealed in his treatment of an HIV-positive boy, M.J. Johnson (Robert Bailey Jr.). Filmed in Los Angeles, the series premiered November 2, 1998 on CBS. ~ Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide