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Review: Monk - Mr. Monk Goes Camping

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 7th 2009 2:01PM
Monk_tony_shalhoub_camping
(S08E12)
Well, after the past couple of shows -- especially Monk's reunion with Sharona -- I was imagining that the final season of Monk was sprinting to the finish line, delivering some final hours that would be up there with the best ever for the series.

Then Adrian went camping. This might be one of the weakest Monks of all time. The funniest thing was the title, which was where the inspiration began and -- sadly -- ended. Nothing worked. Monk and children? No. Monk in the woods? No. Monk and the grizzly bear? Do you even have to wonder? More after the jump.

I'm glad they're dealing with Monk's desire to be reinstated in the San Francisco P.D. before the series winds up. It's been his goal from the start, although I have to think by now that he's just as happy -- for Monk -- not being part of the force. As a consultant, he's allowed his idiosyncrasies and foibles. He's allowed Natalie as a sidekick. What would he get by being back -- a gun and badge? He doesn't need to be reinstated for any reason other than he's a completist and wants to be whole again. I just don't think it matters anymore.

The tribunal was weird. Monk's record should be enough to warrant serious consideration. Couldn't they give Adrian back his status with limitations if they're concerned about his fitness in the field? And, seriously, in Monk-world, how tough can the SFPD be if Randy Disher is an officer?

There was some good interaction with Randy and Monk, especially Disher's philosophy lesson. We now know why he's so sanguine about things. He's chosen to be happy. Leave it to Disher to chose a lifestyle based on a bumper sticker. The heck with books and learning.

Unlike "Mr. Monk and the Dog," there was nothing heartwarming about Monk and the kids. He didn't get them. He was schmoozing with the one kid to suck up to the boy's father and it was just smarmy. Monk's not a schmoozer and he does not related to kids. Then add the tropes of camping and you have an ill-conceived string of episodes. By the time the bear showed up, I had mentally tuned out.

The case -- yes, there was a case -- somehow trickled back into the camping plot. There was a trout and bear and twisted metal, but it didn't really add up to much more than one slightly funny moment when Monk calmed the grizzly by telling him/her a story. "Here's what happened..." See, that was it. The one funny in the show.

The rejection at the end and Monk's decision not to hear the truth was simply daft. By next week's show will reality set in? Presumably it will. I sure hope by then that Mr. Monk is back on track for a winning finish.

[Check episodes of Monk on SlashControl.]

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saluss

Have to disagree; thought "the scream" when Monk sees the bear was one of the best LOL moments. I'm still laughing....loved the summary twist; loved the episode

November 08 2009 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rhomboid

Considering that the title for the episode in two weeks (s08e14) is "Mr. Monk and the Badge" I wouldn't be too surprised if the decision changes and he does get his badge.

But yes this episode was a snooze fest. What really annoyed me was the coincidence that both parties both happened to end up at the exact same campground, completely out of the blue. That was some seriously bad writing, it was blatantly obvious that they started with the premise of "get Monk in the outdoors somehow" and then pieced together some weaksauce crime plot to fit in with it.

November 08 2009 at 3:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Danny Smith

You got to expect this from episodes with Monk and kids. His character does interact well with kids in an episode. That's the reason they usually limited the screen time for kids on the show. Where other shows can benefit from this, Monk can slow down to a snail's pace. The interaction with Randy and Monk work best on the show tonight, and while the changed mindset of the review board was stupidly contrived at best, I thought his reaction worked, especially since he wasn't convinced of the real results before it ended. Weak show though.

November 07 2009 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

I don't get it. This is the final season and there has been NOTHING at all about the overall plot about Trudy's murder, Monk getting cured, and Monk getting reinstated. I thought this episode might be the first to actually change some of that, but the random, nonsensical ending where two of the three panelists changed their minds and voted against Monk, only to have Monk go insane - proving their decision to be correct - was the ultimate letdown.

They always imply there may be some growth in Monk, but by the end of the episode it's all negated. For example, he could have kept that dog in the last episode - that would have been growth. For a second there, I actually thought he would. But nope, by the end of the episode the dog was gone. This show has become a cartoon - nothing ever changes. I guarantee you that next week's episode will not even mention Monk's failed reinstatement attempt and mental breakdown upon the rejection. Not a word about it.

Clearly we're just going to have random, meaningless episodes until the every last episode of the series, probably called "Mr. Monk and the Series Finale" ... what a crock of shit. This show has gotten so disappointing. Watch one of the old season 2 or 3 episodes and you'll be amazed at how totally, utterly lame the show has gotten.

November 07 2009 at 9:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bruce's comment
Elizabeth

I believe the last five (?) episodes are supposed to be about solving the Trudy mystery. Which doesn't excuse the lameness of this episode, but there is still hope for the end of the season.

November 08 2009 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rahul

i agree; this was a weak one; it makes me happy that they are ending the show this year, maybe it's a sign by the writers to show how they "really can't think of anything else". also weren't the kids supposed to be troubled kids from the city? they all seemed like upper middle class kids, why would they need to spend time with a cop?

November 07 2009 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pingles

To be fair I only watched half of the show and then decided to actually turn off the TV.

But I agree wholeheartedly. The episode was all set-up and no follow-through.

The first time they used the "he's trying to go the whole show without drinking water!" story (Mexico) it was somewhat fun. Using it again was silly.

November 07 2009 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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