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Becker: First Season [DVD] [Import]
"Aren稚 doctors supposed to be nice?" Running for six seasons, Becker broke the Cheers curse (RIP: Good Advice, Inc, Pearl). The role of Dr. John Becker was just what the doctor ordered for Ted Danson. Becker is, according to those who know, and grudgingly admire him, best, "a miserable human being" and "such an ass," but "a brilliant one." As for his bedside manner, he makes House seem like Marcus Welby. But this being a sitcom, the cynical and politically incorrect Becker also must have a heart. In the pilot episode, it is revealed that he will secretly pay for treatments for an HIV-positive seven-year-old. "You may go to heaven whether you like it or not," his chief of staff Margaret (Hattie Winston) tells him. Becker divides his time between his chaotic clinic and the local diner, where he alienates the patrons with his tirades on subjects ranging from Jerry Springer to reality shows. In its promising first season, there痴 nothing wrong with Becker that sharper writing can稚 cure. The first season suffers slightly from Night Court-itus; the gritty urban setting glimpsed in the show痴 interstitials undercut by the broadly-drawn character types who are either Becker痴 patients, or simply try his patience, like his flaky new nurse痴 assistant (Shawnee Smith) or on the make diner (as opposed to lounge) lizard Bob (Saverio Guerra). Much better company are Jake (Alex Desert), the blind diner newsstand vendor, and "Reggie" (Terry Farrell), a gives-as-good-as-she-gets gal in the mold of Frasier痴 Roz. Becker and Reggie aren稚 exactly Sam and Diane, but this season sets the stage for romantic possibilities (although the season finale, in which he wrestles with whether to ask her to a formal charity benefit, is anti-climactic). As the season unfolds, Becker more closely examines the good doctor痴 misanthropy. One of the season痴 better episodes is "Becker the Elder," featuring Dick van Dyke as Becker痴 estranged salesman father, who is as charming as Becker is abrasive. In "Activate Your Choices," we meet Becker痴 ex-wife, who has written a self-help book in which she diagnoses Becker as "Angry Man." There are no spoonfuls of sugar (extras) to help the medicine go down, but for those who made an appointment to see Danson and company every week, the DVD release of Becker is good for what ails you. --Donald Liebenson
"Becker" is one of the funniest shows ever to hit TV, but sadly some casting changes and other behind-the-scenes squabbling brought the show to a slow demise after about six seasons. Ted Danson gives some of his best work here. If you think the rants of Dr. Cox on "Scrubs" are funny, just wait until Becker storms into his office ranting about the bums on the street, the city health department, the justice system, humanity in general or any one the upteen-million things that seem to make him angry.
The true heart of this show is it's sheer originality and unique characters - Becker's dim-witted female assistant, Linda, could have been a walking cliche were she portrayed by a busty blond, instead she's portrayed by the raven-haired Shawnee Smith (of "Saw" fame) with perfect comedic timing; Margaret is Dr. Becker's nurse, a heavy-set Bible-thumping black woman who is the perfect opposite of Becker's in-your-face sarcasm, anger and rants against God and religion; then there's Jake, Becker's blind best friend who, although he becomes the butt of many jokes, holds his own as one of the show's leading men; there's Reggie, the middle-aged ex-model turned diner owner who can't get a date despite her drop-dead gorgeous looks; and Bob, the fast talking nitwit who annoys everyone yet manages to remain an appealing part of the show. Other characters constantly move in and out of the show with many famous stars making guest appearances.
Naturally "Becker" falls prey to many common sitcom gags and it's formula never really changes, which makes it a bit redundant after a while. Still, it's not one to miss!
I guess it came on at a time slot we just missed.
We really watched it more in syndication and of course now on the DVD collection.
The best thing I can say about BECKER is even though they write the show to kind of stab some fun at him........ the truth is he is right on the mark about 99% of the time on the things he gripes about........ (ie.. people acting stupid, rude neighbors playing loud music, stereotypes, the silliness of political correctness, etc...)
BECKER has the right viewpoint most of the time.
I have to confess we started losing interest in the show after Reggi & Bob left.
Like many TV shows, the "chemistry" between leading cast often makes the show.
The "chemistry" of BECKER was lost quite a bit when Nancy Travis joined the show.
We found her a real negative detraction from the series.
I recommend this show that loves truly well written comedy.
It has now been approx 2 months and 7 days since I pre orderd the season 1 release. It should be here by the weekend and I have planned to watch it all over 2 days!!!
For its dry, hold no punches comedy it has to be one of the greats. Ted Danson gives us yet another character that you sometimes wish you had the guts to be like and get away with it.
Why is it that the great shows are cut off in their prime or moved to late night TV? And yet the mindless crap still gets prime time spots that I can't believe anybody really watches and enjoys.
The answer to this I fear will never be known, all I can say is keep releasing the greats to DVD ... All seasons of Becker are definitely on my purchase list.