sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 1, 2009

tomorrow, an era ends
posted by soe 11:59 pm

Fifteen years is a long time: It’s the amount of time it takes for a newborn to age enough to acquire a learner’s permit to drive.

Fifteen years ago, a little drama premiered on NBC. ER was the story of a med school student at a Chicago inner-city hospital emergency room and the situations (and people) he encountered there.

Fifteen years, 331 episodes, and 130 Emmy nominations later, the show is finally coming to a close. Tomorrow will be its final, two-hour finale.

I discovered the show the summer after its first season. It was the summer before my senior year at Conn, and I wandered into the dorm living room one night as Must See TV was airing. As was later noted, “If you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you” — and it was.

School started up again in the fall, and we watched the season premiere in Becker House. I had a note allowing me to work late and I may have abused that privilege with campus safety to have a few private tv evenings. After that, we moved it over to Rudi’s dorm. Warnshuis only had six residents and the other five had spliced the cable from the living room tv to extend it to their rooms. That left the living room free for us on Thursday nights. Rudi and Sam had a meeting that night, but they’d head over after they got out to find the rest of us — Rebs and me and sometimes Eri and sometimes Alec — sprawled on the couches.

After college, we kept the habit up. John would come up from Milford and Jason from Branford. Rudi and I would come down from Glastonbury and Middletown. Periodically, Eri would come from Greenwich or BW from Norwich. We watched at Kim’s in Hamden for the first half of the year, since, as a teacher, she had to get up earliest. It made the most sense that her commute home would just have to be down the hallway. The second half of the year, Rebs’ start time also moved to a ridiculously early hour, so we started alternating between her place in Stratford and Kim’s. It occurred to us to stop watching together to prevent tired Fridays, but somehow it just seemed wrong not to get together.

We saw the finale of Seinfeld at Kim’s. We saw the episode where Sherry Stringfield originally left the show at Rebs’. Every once in a while, Kim made fried rice. Sometimes Rebs made cookies. We drank warm beverages and caught up on each other’s weeks and watched stories unfold before us.

Eventually, though, life intervened and we all moved on. First Rebs moved home to Washington and Eri moved back to upstate New York. Jason moved to California. And the rest of us just drifted off to our own things.

So, too, did the original cast members of the show. George Clooney’s and Julianna Margulies’ characters moved to the West Coast. Eriq La Salle’s Dr. Benton took a job at a private practice in the ‘burbs. Characters died. Characters moved on.

Rudi and I kept watching, though at home by ourselves. We watched through a dozen or so ridiculously awful shows at 8:30. We watched through the bad seasons — and then the good final seasons — of Friends. I tried to wean us off ER after they had so many catastrophe scenarios that I swore any real hospital with those problems would have been shut down by the Board of Health. When they dropped a helicopter on a particularly nasty doctor — and no one noticed for several hours — I called it quits. Rudi, though… He was stalwart. He followed the show, true to the end.

And this year, I’ve come back for one final season. They promised that all the major characters from past years would reappear — in one fashion or another — and I was curious. Generally, I’d have to say that I’ve been pleased with this season’s writing and acting, and I’m glad to have caught it.

I’ll be sad tomorrow night when the show ends. In a way, it will be the severing of the last tie to my college days and college friends who are now far away with their own lives. But I’ll be thinking of all of them as the show’s music plays out. It will be the end of an era.

Category: arts. There is/are 2 Comments.

Thanks for calling me on that April Fool’s joke! I’m online way too late for my brain, obviously. What a dork. 🙂 The funny thing is I played some good tricks on my kids, today, but let my own guard down too soon. 🙂
*I will be sad to see ER go tomorrow, too. Have been there since the beginning . . . 🙁

Comment by Amanda 04.02.09 @ 1:25 am

Amanda, I have to say I was underwhelmed by the finale of ER. But perhaps I was just so impressed with how well they’d done the rest of the season to expect a reasonable conclusion.

Comment by soe 04.17.09 @ 11:17 am