Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mr. Monk And The Big Goodbye

It's sad to see a good television show come to an end.
And that's why I felt especially nostalgic while watching the series finale of "Monk" on USA Friday night. On the air for 8 seasons, the program broke the rules of a traditional cop show, blending in just the right amount of comedy along with tight storylines and characters that were a genuine pleasure to watch week after week.
I'm proud to say that from the beginning, this was a show I felt comfortable watching with my parents, and trust me, there are far too few of those left in the vast wasteland of TV.
I had the good fortune to meet Lee Goldberg, who wrote a couple of episodes of the show, and is the man behind the "Monk" books, which are still in print. I asked Lee why there weren't more shows like this one on these days, and his reply was simple. He said, "The show (aims) for an older audience," and it wasn't the demographic most advertisers were after.
That's a real shame, and it ought not to be that way. The show won multiple awards, and star Tony Shalhoub, a fine actor, was showered with acclaim for his portrayal of the obsessive compulsive detective.
He said he simply felt it was time to move on, and I certainly wish him well. He and his fellow cast members did a great job over these 8 seasons.
So, here's what happened: Friday night's episode managed to solve one the show's biggest mysteries: the cold case involving the murder of Adrian Monk's wife, Trudy.
I had long felt that this was an unnecessary subplot to the program, but am glad they managed to wrap it up so neatly, and everyone moved on. Monk wasn't cured of his problems, and his life as a police consultant continued.
The episode's end was a montage of clips from past shows, punctuated by a new song from Randy Newman, "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone." And, yes, it was enough to make me shed a tear or two. Indeed, Mr. Monk, you (and the rest of those characters that populate your life) will truly be missed.


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