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stanley tucci can be sexy -- who knew?

The new CBS medical drama, 3 lbs, is my favorite new show of the season, beating Aaron Sorkin's latest effort and the other nbc show about nbc shows. When I heard about this obvious take-off on Fox's House, I thought, "Stanley Tucci? Why would I want to watch him for 47 minutes in a row? And why do I need another doctor drama?" It doesn't sound good, but there was a free download on iTunes, my dvr is on the fritz, and netflix is in a dull period. I turned it on an hour ago and couldn't move from in front of the screen, entirely forgetting the pasta on the stove and my home-rewiring projects.
Remember what happened in Pulp Fiction, when Bruce Willis makes his first appearance onscreen, and we all thought, "Christ, where'd he get thirty pounds of muscle at his age?" Same thing here with Stanley Tucci, but instead of a sweaty boxer pulling off his handwraps with his teeth after killing his opponent, we've got a gratuitous shot of Tucci as he changes into scrubs. The writers went a bit far to make sure we noticed Stanley's physique; they actually put a beautiful woman in the locker room with him, and gave her the line, "you look hot!" The writers can relax: we get it. Strange but true, Stanley Tucci is hot.
If you don't care about medical drama or well-defined biceps, this show is still worth watching for the use of music. The illness = dissonance / health = harmony metaphor is well-traveled, but 3 lbs connects the music back to the characters' narratives with a sincerity I haven't seen since yet this century. With DEVO and Talking Heads and Lisa Simpson and TMBG, music became defiantly ironic. Crooners weren't cool anymore. Which brings me to the 3 lbs coup de grâce: 'Fix You' by Coldplay. This song is so perfect accompanying the episode's climax that I hesitate to write about it here and risk spoiling the moment of recognition for my few readers who intersect the emo/indie music world with the new-fall-season crowd. 'Fix You' features an Edge-like guitar riff that reminds me of the best bits of All That You Can't Leave Behind, and a clarity of vocals that recalls, no shit, "Sweet Baby James." The song fulfills and unites themes of vulnerability and interdependence crafted with Poe-like attention to detail from the first notes of the opening scene. (Wasn't there a 9/11 movie which tried to use this song as the anthem for "the defining moment of our generation"? Sorry, no.)
My Grandma Bea would have liked this show. Perhaps the only thing about which I ever actually related to her as a human being was our shared adoration of George Clooney. Stanley Tucci would have been just right for her. But she probably wouldn't have understood the Coldplay reference.
Note to relatives: no, I am not going back to medical school.

Reader Comments (1)

Stanley Tucci IS hot. Hot, hot, hot! This show should have lasted longer.

10.2.2009 at 06:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterGinger

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