Review: Love, Anger and Disgusting Toilets in Netflix’s ‘Med’
However, it’s too bad that the expansion on Land’s story leads to a cliché tale involving mental illness, alcoholism, and recovery – meaningful and at times well-made but utterly familiar. Content that deals directly with domestic violence is also more meaningful than dramatic. It might shake you up, but it won’t surprise you.
A little lost, or small, in the reimagining itself is the central place of house cleaning, and a critique of class and economic structures that can put a working single mother in an almost inevitable box. It’s not that the physical toll and meager pay of Alex’s work, or his comments about the lives and homes of his clients, don’t get screen time. But they are not as central as they could be – they are there to embellish or illustrate other, more melodramatic story lines. You don’t get the feeling that Metzler or his fellow executive producer John Wells (“The West Wing,” among others) engaged with the maid angle, or spent a lot of time thinking that it was arranged in a standard television drama. How to incorporate from Plot.
In “Med”, that plot is built around two opposing sets of characters, who are divided by gender. On the male side are Maddie’s father, Sean (Nick Robinson), and grandfather, Hank (Billy Burke), both with addiction and anger issues, whose violence has played the biggest part in derailing Alex’s life.
On the female side is Alex’s mother, Paula (Andie McDowell, Qually’s mother), a bipolar free spirit and narcissist who is a huge burden on Alex, as well as two women who throw the lifeline: Denise (BJ Harrison), the manager of a domestic violence shelter, and Regina (Anika Noni Rose), a testy, tightly wound lawyer whose house Alex cleans.
These talented actors do their best with parts that feel like composites of writers’ rooms. McDowell can’t do much with Paula, whose inappropriateness and hurtfulness take on cartoonish dimensions. Rose, on the other hand, creates something acrimonious and poignant amid Regina’s insecurities, even in a terrifying scene in which she dumps herself on Alex over Chardonnay and Thanksgiving pie.
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