Monk: Mr. Monk's Favorite Show (season premiere)
by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 8th 2009 1:00AM
(S08E01) Somewhere Sherwood Schwartz was smiling if he watched this season premiere of Monk. Or else he was calling his attorney to sue for copyright infringement. I think it was more likely the former, because the tribute to The Brady Bunch was sweet. More on that and the rest of Mr. Monk's return -- for his last season -- after the jump.
The idea that Monk was obsessed with a show called The Cooper Clan was just goofy enough to work. After all, it played into Adrian's dysfunctional childhood. He felt like the Cooper clan was the family he should have been part of, a 1960's sitcom, squeaky clean, wholesome and happy bunch that resolved every problem in half an hour. No wonder Adrian was obsessed. How neat they all were.
Elizabeth Perkins as Christine Rapp, the child star of The Cooper Clan, had turned into a Hollywood whore with a tell-all book to hawk. From the moment she pushed the remote to start her car and it blew up, you knew "she was the guy." Interestingly, Monk never said that in the episode. It was too bad, too, they didn't give the publicist more motive to kill Christine, because Rena Sofer was sort of wasted in the expository role.
There were a few good scenes that stood out, like Monk and the mirror over the bed. In his obtuse way, he just couldn't figure out why it was there. Searching the victim's apartment, only Monk would have noticed the book on interior decorating didn't fit in, and therefore, he found the incriminating evidence against Christine.
The best bit in the show, though, was the re-creation of The Cooper Clan, courtesy of Christine bashing Adrian over the head with a vase. In his fantasy version of the sitcom, Monk was Adrian Cooper, the eldest son of the clan. From the moment he entered the set, he was awash in applause. It was like Fonzie on Happy Days, remember?
In Monk's mind, Adrian Cooper was the king of high school -- star quarterback, most popular guy, everybody adored him. He had everything, including an understanding dad who promised to never drive away and leave the family. And didn't you love the 1960's polyester pants and print top?
It wasn't a top-notch Monk, in that the mystery was pretty pedestrian, but it was a good character piece. It was also interesting in terms of family dynamics, especially when he never once mentioned Trudy. That was unusual.
Overall, though, it was a welcomed return. Shucky darns, Mr. Monk, it's good to have you back.