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August 20, 2014

Monk: Mr. Monk Makes the Playoffs

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 31st 2009 12:05PM
Monk(S07E13) NBC is broadcasting the Super Bowl on Sunday in case you didn't already know that, although I can't imagine how unless you've been living in a cave for the past couple of weeks. The promotion has been across the entire NBC Universal network.

There have been little football reminders in most of its programming, like the NFL-themed cuisine on Bravo's Top Chef. This Sunday there'll be an all-day USA Network Super Bowl Promotion including the characters from Psych, Law and Order: CI, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, The Starter Wife, and Monk. Yeah, Monk.

And yet, probably because of some "rights" thing, this episode of Monk had to build the mystery at a playoff game around a fictional football team and that made this whole show pretty flimsy.

This is a pet peeve of mine. All the action is set in the alternate football universe -- the NNFL, Not-National Football League -- the one in which San Francisco has a team called the Condors -- not the 49ers or even the Oakland Raiders -- and their arch rivals are the Los Angeles Wildcats. Right, in NNFL L.A. has a team! In this unreal world, Monk and Stottlemeyer were on their way to the game when they stumble upon a murder involving -- wait for it -- one of the players! The bottom line is this: Adrian Monk shoehorned into a football story is a dud.

The entire episode felt strained to me. The playbook theft, which maybe was worth a couple of thousand dollars, didn't seem a strong enough motivation for the driver to kill the back up quarterback. And Monk's finding a murder before the body was even discovered strained credibility.

Stottlemeyer's football frenzy seemed over the top; I don't see him as a beer swilling, jersey wearing tailgater, especially with Adrian in tow. That didn't work. However, Randy's shenanigans did. His attempt to watch the game on a cell phone was a nice dig at hand held viewing, and his later attempt to drag a big flat screen from the evidence room reminded me of The King of Queens pilot when Doug tried to move a big screen to the basement. I don't think this was homage, just proof that Disher is a goofball.

Bob Costa played himself as an old friend of Adrian's who gave him the press passes, and was pretty funny recalling how Monk saved him from a killer calico cat. The premise of him calling the game solo, of course, was idiotic. But the ultimate in dumb was the sequence in which Monk steals the stolen playbook and runs into the parking lot, throwing the package to Stottlemeyer like it's a football. This was like the boxing episode in which Monk has to prove his physical prowess in the finale. Monk is cerebral, not physical so anytime they do this type of action, it's a weaker episode.

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Mr. Friesand

Yes, Randy grabbing that plasma screen TV from the evidence room and getting stuck in the stairwell is funny. I think the funniest moment is when Natalie arrives at the empty station, and finds that Randy has hooked up the TV to an endless line of extension cords!

However, there are two things that bother me: I find it odd that the whole department took the day off to go to the game. Surely they would have just gone with watching the game on their perfectly good TVs at the station? That way, there are cops who are still investigating any crimes that take place during a game.

Secondly, that entire NNFL issue is true. You know what I've done? I've actually taken the story of the episode, and rewritten it. This modified version essentially has Natalie going to the game with Monk instead of Stottlemeyer, and they aren't there because they have press box tickets but rather because they are working a homicide investigation - specifically the murder of the home team's defensive coach, found gunned down at a construction site. Also, when retrieving the stolen playbook, Natalie threatens to shoot the rival team players and then blow up a gas grenade to get them to hand the book over.

May 22 2011 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Manoj Kumar

i am waiting for the next coming episodes

February 03 2009 at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Manoj Kumar

These shows were fun this time . i had a nice laugh with my family and friends .

February 02 2009 at 7:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carissa

Seriously - I was laughing out loud when Randy was watching the game on his phone...and then when he picked up the magnifying paper weight - OMG. Its that type of awareness I will miss when Monk shows its final episode.

I have to disagree about Stottlemeyer, however. From the first episode he has been a man's man, and every sports reference in the past has always shown him to be exactly what was portrayed in this episode.

January 31 2009 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

Just another example of how intellectual property hinders, not fosters, creativity and innovation.

They've mentioned the 49ers on Monk before (Monk trying to join in a conversation among cops about the 49ers' recent game to fit in with them). But they can't show the logo - they'd have to PAY for that.

People should be able to use any trademark they want as long as they don't (a) slander the product or (b) pass it off as their own. The sole purpose of trademark is to prevent people from selling their product with the name/label/mark/look of another (better selling) product. Being able to mention and show the logos and uniforms of real NFL teams in a TV show does not hurt the NFL's product nor does it trick anyone into buying non NFL murchandise by mistake (if anything it's free advertisement for the NFL). But IP is about greed, not protection. The NFL wanted a huge fee way outside of the Monk TV show's budget, so they had to use fake teams in the show - a show that's already set itself up as being in the (real) universe where San Francisco has an NFL (not NNFL) team called the 49ers.

Of course, if they used real teams, then someone might try to argue that this episode implied that the defensive coordinator for a real team tried to steal the other real team's playbook. But surely they'd use a fake name for that person, and everyone knows it's a freakin' fictional TV show set in San Francisco.

Anyway, I agree this was a lame episode. The fake football teams made it seem like they were freaking out, with Bob Costas covering, a football game some secondary, lesser "football" league in a world with the NFL (since it's been established that the NFL exists in "Monk" as I mentioned previously). It's hard to get past that. Even so, I agree - Monk thinking there was a crime before there was any evidence of a crime... nothing more than a small explosion in a charcoal grill in which some drunk idiot had just been seen spraying so much lighter fluid into said grill that some other drunk idiot told him it was too much and to be careful.

I realize Monk wanted to get out of going to the game (I wouldn't want to sit through a lame non-NFL football game either when the NFL is playing down the street - I don't blame him). So which was it? Monk trying to weasel out of going into the stadium, or a real murder/attempted murder having taken place? For it to be both is extremely bad writing and an extremely lame plot device. Sure enough, it turns out it was both. In fact we knew it was a murder from the cold open of the show.

As a rule of thumb, when an episode of Monk begins with a cold open that shows who committed the murder, who died, and how it was done, leaving Monk only to solve what we already know, is going to be a bad episode. Historically that's been the case with Monk. This episode continues that tradition, further ruined by the harmful, creativity-hindering effect of intellectual property law.

January 31 2009 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
carrie

After what is probably my favorite episode to date aired a couple weeks ago, Mr. Monk on Wheels, I was expecting the rest of this season to get even better. I was extremely dissapointed in this episode, which was no more than a commercial for the Super Bowl. Hello, NBC, it doesn't need any advertising! Nobody forgot it was on this Sunday!

There was no real confrontation with the killer. Did they even arrest the guy? The way Monk figured it out was weak, at best. And the whole passing around the playbook was ridiculous. I've never felt so unsatisfied at the end of a Monk episode.

Why did they show us the whole reason for the killing at the beginning? Usually we only see the murder itself. And the fake teams, etc. really just made the whole show seem generic.

January 31 2009 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cathy

i think you are way off base on your review. I do agree with the scene where Monk throws the playbook was off. But I thought the rest was great. Except when Randy was moving the tv. Pure dumb. Most people would have brought a smaller set into work that day or used the elevator. duh. and you liked that scene. lol. Stottlemeyer was not over the top and was not SWILLING beer. Apparently you know nothing about football. Im not a big fan myself but I know the excitement playoff games can bring. And why would it matter that it was a fictional team. Whether fictional or not had nothing to do with the basic plot. I think you got lost and hung up on that issue and didnt watch the show much. I thought it was great with Monk in an uncomfortable football situation and the comraderie there. And without Natalie it was even more difficult for him. I dont know if you review monk most of the time or not but most of the show has weak premises. Thats really not the point of the show. But you nitpicked this one to death. It was very possible there were other announcers to the side of costas. Forget it. I dont care to nitpick your bad review to death. I enjoyed the show.

January 31 2009 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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