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article imageReview: HBO's 'Getting On' is skewed yet intriguing viewing Special

By Mindy Peterman     Nov 19, 2013 in Entertainment
One thing's for sure: "Getting On" would not have made it onto the airwaves back when medical shows were all the rage. And Marcus Welby or Joe Gannon would have never set foot in the show's extended care facility. There are excellent reasons for this.
Medical shows have long been a staple of scripted television. Back in the ‘60s, besides the Matt Dillons and Ben Cartwrights of western fame, Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey were the heroes of the day.
These days, audiences still love their medical shows, but many of these shows are in no way like their predecessors. The fictional health professionals of today are flawed, at times unlikable, and often not very good at their chosen profession. You will find many examples of this in HBO’s new six episode series Getting On.
Based on the BBC series of the same name, and created for American television by Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer (co-creators of the acclaimed HBO series Big Love), Getting On follows the daily grind of overworked nurses and administrators at the Billy Barnes Extended Care Unit of Mt. Palms Hospital in Long Beach, California. It is billed as a comedy but is about as funny as SHOWTIME’s drug addicted Nurse Jackie. In fact the most amusing thing about Getting On is the name of the facility, which sounds like a haven for rehabilitating clowns.
That is not to say the show is without merit. On the contrary, it is quite good. It’s just that if you were expecting Scrubs, forget it. In the first episode, which takes place on July 4th, Nurse Didi Ortley (Niecy Nash) discovers feces in a lounge chair. Since this is Ortley’s first day, she is torn between conflicting orders of veteran nurse Dawn Forchette (Alex Borstein), who wants to file an incident report before removing the turd, temporary medical director Dr. Jenna James (Laurie Metcalf), who needs a stool sample for her medical study, and supervising nurse Beverly Raymes (Telma Hopkins), who wants the seat sterilized. The staff also tries to determine the identity of an Asian woman found wandering the highway and have a long discussion about what to do with a deceased patient’s birthday cake. Oh, yes, Dr. James has a public meltdown during the course of this 30-minute episode.
If you don’t mind a certain amount of uncomfortable viewing (think Ricky Gervais at his most politically incorrect), then by all means tune in. Dysfunction has never been so cringe-worthy yet so entertaining.
Getting On premieres Sunday, November 24th on HBO.
More about HBO, medical shows, Drama, Comedy, laurie metcalf
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