Another post involving the TV show Private Practice that assumes you know nothing about it and are not worried about spoilers.


By far, the two characters I care least about the show are Pete and Violet. Sometimes, when writing characters, the traits they think are admirable end up being an albatross around their necks. So Pete the ER doctor is “passionate” and has a strong sense of right and wrong. Over time, this translates into the fact that he is always angry and yelling at everybody. Violet is sensitive and thoughtful, which ends up with her being a neurotic mess.

So over the course of the show, Pete and Violet end up together. And together, their intense and passionate feelings for one another (a good thing!) turns into episode after episode of them screaming at one another (him usually screaming at her) and wallowing in self-pity and personal turmoil (usually her). To the point that my response to this relationship that I am supposed to care for is that he needs to move to the other coast or San Salvador or something.

Then Pete died, which was probably for the best of all involved.

All of this is how dramas work. I pick on Private Practice, but it’s actually one of my favorites. In good part because Pete and Violet are the exception rather than the rule. But even there, we have it. Humans (at least of the affluent variety) aren’t meant to endure the things they go through. Sometimes the best thing to happen to a character is that they get to check out of the show (and thus, the drama).

As the Chinese proverb curse goes, “may you live in interesting times.” I think of the relationships that I have had in the past and while none of them reached the degree of “interesting” as Pete and Violet, they were… what they were, I guess. The relationship that lead to my marriage was comparatively boring. I got to check out into my own happy ending. Unlike Pete, I didn’t have to die to do it.

I have actually finished the series, which ended a couple years ago. I am happy to report that the final season of the show was probably the best final season of any show ever. But for the most part, they knew they had a half-season to wrap things up, and they did. Character by character, most of them getting their own episode. Some new storylines were started, but with the conclusion in mind. Amelia went and fell in love with a Republican. Sheldon fell in love with someone dying of cancer. Cooper and Charlotte had triplets. And Pete stayed dead.

Category: Theater

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