"s&co" - a photo by Flickr user austinevan
Thoughts on media, culture, and the world-at-large bubbling up from the dusty corners of my cluttered mind
May 15, 2011
The Crew

Bridesmaids was marketed like a raunch-com centered on female friendship and the absurdities of weddings, but there's a whole lot more going on. The film's wide-ranging (and, to some, surprisingly cross-gender) appeal appeal is based on something far more universal.

Posted By Saralyn on/at 8/17/2011 10:04:00 PM

I've stocked my queue with all manner of films from the Criterion Collection in an effort to justify my Hulu Plus subscription while unemployed, but somehow I've mostly just taken advantage of every free wi-fi connection to re-watch Green Wing on my iPod. In my defense, it is a rather brilliant British comedy.  Imagine a more absurdist, uncensored Scrubs with very little moral compass and you'll begin to enter the ballpark of the wonderful craziness that is Green Wing. [Fair warning: Thar be some spoilers within this post!]


When I discovered Green Wing, I was dragged relentlessly along from episode to episode by its sheer ridiculousness and the adorable/frustrating "will they or won't they" of Dr. Caroline Todd (played by the always lovely and hysterical Tamsin Grieg) and Dr. "Mac" Macartney.   This all still holds true, but the beauty of second (or third or fourth...) viewings is that new/different aspects can come to light. While rewatching Green Wing this time, I was struck by the adept and sometimes subtle characterizations of many of the "loonies" that populate the fictional hospital.  Every actor physically embodies his or her character in such unique ways (like the weird, lumbering gait Grieg gives Dr. Todd) and there are many little shifts and aspects of characters that give them more depth than meets the eye.

Example: Mac's humor.  Dr. Macartney rarely takes anything seriously (exceptions include his reaction to a particularly cruel joke another doctor plays on an internist), preferring to twist people's words about or humorously change the subject.  At one point toward the end of season one, Dr. Todd is trying to get an honest, serious answer out of Mac and asks why he makes a joke out of everything. Mac replies that it allows him to avoid "grown up" conversations and responsibilities.  It's very nearly a throwaway line as delivered, particularly considering how quickly the episode moves on to more momentous things (one character inadvertently sleeps with his mother, Dr. Todd and Mac finally kiss, Mac and two other characters are trapped on the edge of a cliff in an ambulance).

Mac (left) is not amused....but Holly is (right)
The insight the flippant comment gives to his character isn't wasted or abandoned, though. In season 2, Mac's ex, Holly, returns four years after the messy, painful failure of their relationship - with a slightly ginger-haired child in tow.  Mac is hesitant to rekindle a relationship with Holly but wants to be a good father to his child.  He tries to communicate this to Holly one night in his apartment after the child falls asleep, but Holly will absolutely not be serious about it. She insists they speak through the kid's can-and-string "telephone" , cannot look at him, and giggles her way through the conversation.  With Mac's flippant conversation from season 1 in mind, it's really easy to see how Mac and Holly had been in a relationship for 6 years.  Holly epitomizes Mac's comment about avoiding "grown up" issues through humor and mirrors his sense of humor/behavior in season 1.  However, his frustration with her during this conversation also shows the ways his character has changed since those earlier episodes. I love it when the skillful parts of things that seem to be solely silly show themselves!