Emily Owens M.D.: TV Review

2012-36 REV Emily Owens MD H

Mamie Gummer stops talking long enough to check in with patient Sarah Willey.

Give this doctor 500 cc's of Shut Up. Please.

The CW’s annoying new hospital drama, starring Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer, will be unbearable to any smart women who accidentally watch.

There is a moment in the new CW hospital drama Emily Owens M.D. when the main character, played by Mamie Gummer, says, “You must think I’m the most self-absorbed person in the world.”

It’s at this point, way beyond anyone’s level of tolerance, when any sane viewer will leap from the couch and scream: “Yes! Yes! I think that! For the love all things holy, stop talking!”

Welcome to one of the most annoying and condescending shows you’ll ever hopefully not watch. Emily Owens is a pilot that should be shown to all preteen and even high school girls, like one of those shocking Red Asphalt driver’s ed films from long ago. It should be a warning to all young women that they need to have self-esteem, confidence and a belief in their own intelligence, or they’ll end up like Emily, the most talkative, least confident successful woman you’re likely to meet. Even more than all of those other characters on TV who are successful in their work lives but a total mess in their love lives. Emily is, in fact, way worse. She has a raging case of 12-year-old-girl insecurities about a cute boy. Patients could die around her, but Emily would just stand there, mooning over a male doctor.

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If you didn’t know it was an American television pilot made by The CW, you might think it was some kind of propaganda film from an Early Man cult, whose members are terrified that women will become educated and successful and -- horrors -- not cater to a man’s every need and not walk the Earth in their proper state, which is to appear weak and docile.

Poor Emily. She gets a residency in Denver and, wouldn’t you know it, so does her bitchy high school nemesis. Everyone thinks Emily is awkward and insecure, especially Emily herself. She’s constantly telling herself not to say the stupid things that she’s thinking but -- spoiler – she still says them.

There is not one smart or endurable moment in this series. It starts from the preposterous notion that medical school graduates who go into residency at a prestigious hospital would pretend it’s high school. All the insecurities and interior dilemmas are the stuff of high school kids. And yet, here they are, completely forgetful of a very long college experience. Tune in next week when they talk about prom? Don’t miss the afterschool-special quality of that acne story arc. Sigh.

It makes you wonder why Emily Owens M.D. wasn’t just Emily Owens: My Life in High School, which at least would be believable. And it wouldn’t put smart women in the uncomfortable position of throwing up all over their shoes. That’s not a reference to anyone on the show but to any smart women who might accidentally view the show. If they have a brain, they are going to lose their minds over this. Tee-hee -- girls become doctors to get boys. Oh, and if you’re a successful female doctor who isn’t writing some boy’s name on a prescription pad and surrounding it with hearts, then you are a stone-cold bitch.

Who knows what was on the mind of executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman (90210, Lipstick Jungle) when making Emily Owens. Maybe she was trying to answer some CW paradigm where “It has to relate to high school” is a permanent note from drama development. Maybe she thought it would be great to take Meryl Streep’s daughter and give her a role in which she doesn’t stop talking -- ever. Emily is like AM radio on “seek.”

Dan Jinks (American Beauty, Pushing Daisies, Milk) also is a producer, and if his role was to somehow counteract the gooey, doe-eyed girliness of the thing, then he failed. Also in the show are Michael Rady, Justin Hartley, Aja Naomi King, Kelly McCreary and the lovely Necar Zadegan, who deserves better material and a better show.

Unfortunately for Gummer, this role is going to make a lot of people root against her. They’re going to want to see someone stick 500 cc’s of Shut Up in her arm and let her drop to the floor, her lips -- moving like hummingbird wings -- finally slowing down to whispers while everyone in the hospital cheers wildly.

Email: Tim.Goodman@THR.com