ER: the end of an era

ER, as anybody with a television and a tolerance for Steadicam and guest stars will know, is a prime-time legend. The first medical drama since M*A*S*H to be a hit, ER settled itself down in its Thursday night slot in 1994 with the comfortable hubris of a Roman dictator. And it brought munchies and a granny rug: this show was in it for the long haul. No fly-by-night Marcus Welby, no fizzle-and-a-pop Doogie HowserER came fully loaded with George Clooney and a guy from Top Gun, a sane one. They even shot the thing in widescreen from the outset, as if to say, through smirking lips, “Ha! Don’t try to pull one on us, sneaky future of television standards!”

The show’s creator, Michael Crichton, was a doctor himself (as well as, of course, a confirmed techno-geek: his novels tend to turn on such cliffhangers as the presence of lysine and atypical hair-growth patterns), and ER became renowned for its bold (and quite often technically accurate) depictions of ghastly medical procedures. It’s not that it was realistic per se; more that it captured a certain vibe, perhaps the spirit of — no, well, actually, it was more that, despite the somewhat overwrought melodrama in which it sometimes indulged, there was a core of — OK, it was pretty much just shiny.

The point Betty wishes to make is that ER is finishing tomorrow. This marvellous piece of television, which Betty has watched for years — by turns sneaking into the family room after coming home from girls’ club, catching up on DVDs borrowed from Smokey’s lovely friend (who, if she perchance reads this blog, may rest assured that Betty is going to return that last Season 7 disc at any moment), settling in with her pre-London sister on their bunk beds, and most recently dashing into the city after work to watch it with the boy person friend over a burger or a lovingly homemade red curry — will be over in a flash. The end is not only nigh, it is a mere eleven hours away.

To console readers who may be taking this a little hard, Betty will embed a blooper reel. It is the least she can do.