Question: OK, I'm just going to come out with this: I liked Private Practice. Despite all the tomatoes thrown at the show by critics, I found it entertaining and funny, with a dream cast. I realize that taste is subjective, and I can't be in agreement with the masses every time. What I don't accept is the idea that Practice is in some way completely different than or (god forbid) less than Grey's Anatomy. In fact, they're pretty much the same show. The title character has a romantic encounter with someone she finds herself working with later. The commiserating-over-cake scene between Addison and Naomi could have easily been between Meredith and Cristina. Violet and Cooper are an older version of George and Izzie (before that got all gross and icky) and Pete's a taller version of McDreamy. I'm not saying Practice is perfect (I've never thought Grey's was either, even when it was beloved by all). I'm just suggesting that perhaps it doesn't deserve to be punished for unrealistic expectations. It's just a soap. I wonder if it would be better received if it were on Lifetime or Oxygen, where shows like Army Wives are free to be the soapy pleasures they were meant to be.
Answer: So the defense of Private Practice is to point out all the ways it's a clone of Grey's Anatomy? Not buying it. My problem is that this show should present an older, wiser, possibly less silly version of the antics we find in Grey's. Instead, the pilot (and May's "back-door" introduction) felt to me like Boston Legal going to the hospital, with Shonda Rhimes badly channeling David E. Kelley. The Lifetime/Oxygen analogy doesn't wash, either. Army Wives was a pleasant surprise for many, a show perfectly suited for the Lifetime brand that didn't aim higher or lower than it needed to. It may be unfair that Private Practice is burdened with higher expectations and hype, but that's the way it works. We actually did expect better of this one. Maybe we'll eventually get there. Time will tell.