"Monday Mornings" Discussion: Chapters 1-8 - Jamie Bamber News
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"Monday Mornings" Discussion: Chapters 1-8
Good Morning! Welcome to the Monday morning "Monday Mornings" discussion. Yes, yes I went for the obvious. This post will cover the first eight chapters of "Monday Mornings". Since leading a book discussion is new to the comm...and me...I'm just going to start by sharing my general thoughts about the book, some differences I've already picked up on between the book and Chelsea General pilot, and at least one way in which I think CG will differ from MM.

One rule for the discussion: if you've read ahead, please don't discuss plot developments outside of the chapters we are currently covering. In other words, no spoilers! ;)



Dr. Tyler Wilson is 38 years old, tall, fit, with wavy dark hair and "blue eyes, which had a hypnotic effect on nurses, patients, just about anyone locked in his gaze." Gee, does this sound like anyone we know? OK, maybe the "tall" is a bit of a stretch, but the rest is a perfect description of Jamie. I even had to laugh when the scrubs in the book were described as a "deep shade of blue, seemingly to match his eyes". Apparently, Sanjay was ahead of the CG's costume people as well as us fangirls. :)

Putting Ty/Jamie aside, I thought Sanjay did an excellent job in both describing the characters and providing insights into them. And knowing who the characters are to be portrayed by in CG, I think the casting has been close to perfect. While Dr. Jorge (George) Villanueva may be Hispanic in the book, I easily see Ving Rhames in the role.

Ty and Dr. Tina Ridgeway are clearly written as being VERY attractive people, but with the rest of the cast of characters Sanjay seemed to want to include a lot of diversity, not just ethnic. Dr. Michelle Robidaux is described as slightly overweight, with stringy hair and acne scarred skin. However, the Hollywood makeover machine has turned her into Emily Swallow. Emily may be awesome in the role (and she did some fine work on Southland), but I have to admit to some disappointment the show didn't stay closer to book Michelle in appearance. Still, the series stuck with the ethnic diversity, which pleases me.

Quite a few CG character have not been popped up in the first eight chapters of MM. I'm curious to see if they will be introduced later in the book or if they are original creations for the series.

Being a Michigander, there were a lot of little Michigan references I could appreciate (especially the Lions blowing a play ;p). And working at a law firm (a respected one!), there is frequent talk of so-called "ambulance chasers" and the cost of superfluous lawsuits to both the medical and legal professions. I sympathized with Tina during her deposition.

Given a choice, I'd prefer "Monday Mornings" as the title of the TV series. "Chelsea General" is so generic, like "St. Elsewhere", "Chicago Hope" and "ER" before it. But I wonder if "Monday Mornings", rather than being deemed to confusing for the TV viewer, is too specific? I'm not sure the series intent is to have every episode revolve around a surgical screw-up and the analysis of it. I suspect many episodes will just be the doctors dealing with cases and the challenges presented by them. Hence "Chelsea General" may make more sense, even if a less interesting title.

Finally, I may not work at a hospital, but I wish we had 'Someone Effed Up Conferences' where I worked. They would be useful in just about any working environment. ;)

OK, now it's your turn. What did you all think?


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zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: April 2nd, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
OK, maybe the "tall" is a bit of a stretch, but the rest is a perfect description of Jamie.

I'd actually go so far as to say "dark" is a bit of a stretch - when I think "dark" I think Matt Bomer. Jamie has that sandy/ginger thing going. ;) But ultimately the physical descriptions aren't the point; the gist of his physical gifts + his personality type are what will make a great fit for Jamie. I can very much seem him pulling off the dichotomy of the type-A personality who isn't always the best co-worker, yet who is uncommonly good at reaching out to patients.

The physical descriptions, as you noted, are of even less concern with other characters - Jen Finnigan does not match the description of Tina, Alfred Molina is not as old as Harding is described, etc. etc. I agree that it's a bit disappointing that they felt they couldn't cast to type for Michelle, though I'm sure Emily Swallow will do a great job. One other way of looking at it is that certain archetypes play differently (ie emphasized) on screen than they do on the page, and on the show it might actually end up seeming unnecessarily awkward/mean if for some reason the one less-attractive female character also happened to be the one who struggles at the job, amidst all these other rock-star doctors.

Re: Original creations for the show: Are you thinking of Bill Irwin's character in particular? Was waiting for some clue about him, nothing yet.

As of the first eight pages, less so far about the character of Sydney; hoping for more of a sense of her really soon, as I've already taken a shine to Sarayu Rao because her tweets are hilarious. ;)

One thing I want to speculate on a little re: the Ty/Tina relationship; at this point in the book we understand it's there but we have very little detail to go on, I expect we'll get a bit more as the book progresses. I'd place a bet, though, right now that we'll get some kind of concrete resolution to it before the book ends - either she will go back to her husband, or she'll leave Mark but maybe it doesn't work out with Ty either. (I get the feeling like the realism of the book kind of makes the idea of a romantic Ty/Tina ending a long shot.) The reason I bring this up is that it will be interesting to me to see how the show plans on handling the conundrum of an extra-marital affair long-term. It's easy to keep a workplace romance between singles going indefinitely (See: Any number of couples on ER over the years). But when one of the people is cheating on a spouse, the longer you draw that out the more you run the chance of that character seeming less and less sympathetic, which IMO would be a serious concern considering that Tina is essentially the female lead. (There are plenty of ways to work this - break them up at the end of the season, give Ty another girlfriend, etc, none of which would prevent them from hooking up again later, esp. if the Ridgeway marriage does eventually tank.)

I'm sure I'll jump in with more later. Lunch break is over though. ;)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: April 2nd, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Duh, I meant as the first eight CHAPTERS. *facepalm*

Also commenting-upon-myself to add that re: Villanueva, the fact that the actor's black almost isn't an issue either. Lots of Hispanic cultures with black communities, Cubans especially. Or he could be mixed-race, like the new Spider-Man. ;) I agree, though, Ving's kind of perfect.
onlyariana From: onlyariana Date: April 2nd, 2012 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I loved this book. Once I started it, I read it all the way through in just over a day so I had to go back and skim the first 8 chapters to remind myself when in the story to talk about in this post. I found it really flowed well bowing to our ADD tendencies by having a lot of different overlapping stories and many main characters. I think this would play out well on TV. It's all very ER.

I agree with the Dr. Ty description. Ok, not everything was totally on the money but it really felt like if I was reading it well before they even had the idea of a TV show I might be seeing Jamie Bamber as him. And the pic posted a few days ago of most of the cast made me think the costume department picked up on the whole thing where the scrubs were made just to show his eyes and his body.

In trying to type up this comment, I checked the imdb page and saw Mason Cook the boy who is playing Quinn McDaniel. Awww and also sniff.

I am liking the Ving Rhames casting. I think he fits well as Villanueva. He was one of my favorite characters though the plot about how he doesn't get his son is a little eh. "Did pretty boy explain how he killed the kid yet?" was one of my favorite lines in the whole book. Seems like it would transfer to screen well.

I like Tina. Her determination in taking on Michelle both in quizzing and feeding her popcorn and in standing up for her in the deposition was endearing. I agree that they might want to hold off on taking things to an actual affair. Maybe that can simmer for a while. You don't want to play out something like that in the first season.

I'm confused on Michelle Robidaux. Why is it she can't cut it as a doctor? Is she not as smart as she thought or was her background too much to overcome? I just don't get why she keeps failing her boards.

Dr. Sung Park rubbed me the wrong way. The scene where his daughter gets chastised for giggling at the book she's reading made me want to scream. His crass jokes and joy at Ty being in the hot seat all made me not really love this guy.

There hasn't been much on Harding Hooten yet but bow ties are cool.

Also not a lot on Sydney Saxena but there's something very compelling about Sarayu Rao.

I believe Bill Irwin's character will show up later in the book.
jsjbg From: jsjbg Date: April 3rd, 2012 02:40 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I am excited about the potential for this show. I am not all that crazy about the Chelsea General title, but I can live with it.

Living in Ohio I like that it's set in Michigan. Lots of references I can relate to. Nice coincidence that Jamie's father is from Michigan too.

I like the Villanueva character. Although he seems as clueless a father as Bill Adama.

Jamie's Ty has the potential to be an outstanding role. I can already picture many of Jamie's emotions playing out. Some of his best moments as an actor come when he doesn't even have any dialogue. He is excellent at showing a range of emotions with his facial expressions and body language.

Ty's journey so far in the book seems to be the backbone of the whole Monday Mornings concept. Even the best doctors make mistakes. I like that he feels this so deeply too.

I do not care for Dr. Park character. Seems to have a huge chip on his shoulder and he grates on me so far.

I really hope if this gets picked up we see alot of Ving and Jamie scenes.

Edited at 2012-04-03 02:56 am (UTC)
eden1013 From: eden1013 Date: April 3rd, 2012 11:29 am (UTC) (Link Me)


I agree, there is a lot of potential for a show, but I'm really disappointed in the book so far. I don't feel anything for these characters, so I'm hoping the great cast can bring them to life better then Dr. Gupta did.

I also live just down I-75 in Ohio, so I do like the familar setting.

This would normally be the point where I would drop a book that I'm not into but I'm curious enough to see how it develops into a series (because it WILL be picked up, darn it!). Maybe it will get better.
charlsie_esq From: charlsie_esq Date: April 3rd, 2012 06:39 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I really liked the first chapter and how it set the pace for the novel. I worked at a trauma hospital, years ago, and I love it when authors get the energy right. And the description of Villanueva made him my automatic favorite.

I will admit, I didn't see Jamie in the part of Ty. At first I thought of Matt Bomer, then thinking, no he's too young then I thought of Rob Lowe and that stuck. . . until I saw the cast photo. THEN I saw it. I got a thing about the "love triangle involving a married person"-story and I never like the characters involved, so I am waiting to see if the writing gets me beyond that. Now, I would watch Jamie read the sea reports for an hour a week, so this isn't going to stop me from watching or appreciating the fact his eyes match the scrubs! I keep going back to the Rob Lowe image in my head though, and now I can't un-see it.

I like how all the doctors are presented in a two-dimensional way, not just these super brilliant healers but also complicated people. I'm going to be alone on this but I like Dr. Park. I have worked with this personality type so many times, I like how the root of his infuriating personality is this need. It's not so much that I like the character, but like the honesty used to portray him. The bit about the kids -- I knew kids who grew up in that kind of household. It felt true.

I generally like that all the characters felt real. Maybe it's just that I'm reading the third Game of Thrones book at the same or maybe it was my experience at the trauma hospital, with each chapter I thought, "I know someone like this" I know someone who couldn't pass her boards for 8 years; I know a doctor that screwed up so many times that he was fired from a hospital, and I remember meeting "Dr Sexy" after hearing about how good looking he was for weeks. But I think even if I didn't have those experiences, the characters have an authenticity that I really like.

I can't wait to see where it goes.

Edited at 2012-04-03 06:40 am (UTC)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: April 3rd, 2012 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I'm going to be alone on this but I like Dr. Park. I have worked with this personality type so many times, I like how the root of his infuriating personality is this need. It's not so much that I like the character, but like the honesty used to portray him.

I agree with you. I wouldn't say as though I like him so much as I like the fact that I really appreciate that he is there and that the writing in the show will hopefully reflect the writing here, which is a really difficult character to empathize with that hopefully through Keong Sim's performance and progression over time will become someone you can at the very least understand better, if not entirely embrace. (I hate to come back to ER all the time, but I did watch that show religiously for about eight years before I lost interest. ;) And I feel a lot of similarity in the potential of Park's character to Peter Benton on ER, someone who is in so many ways so abrasive and unsympathetic but over time, you come to learn a lot more about him as he learns more about himself, changing your perception of him a lot.)
charlsie_esq From: charlsie_esq Date: April 3rd, 2012 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I forgot about Peter Benton! I used to feel like at Peter's core was this deep, deep fear of being helpless and it drove him to be the ogre in those first seasons. I feel like Dr. Park is just driven by this need to be admired and that need creates the opposite result in his colleagues. Considering that so many variations of the "brilliant but flawed" archetype were necessary for this, I give Dr. Gupta kudos and I wonder if these are just combinations of people he has worked with in the past.

What I really want to know is this: Where did he find the time to write a novel?
Physha1 From: Physha1 Date: April 18th, 2012 01:22 am (UTC) (Link Me)
"love triangle involving a married person"-story and I never like the characters involved, so I am waiting to see if the writing gets me beyond that. "

I totally agree! I don't find much romantic about that. I did, however, have instant fan fic flashes about Ty and Quinn's mom--I hope the author goes there. That would get him out of the dirty cheater relationship!
Stephanie Wilke From: Stephanie Wilke Date: April 3rd, 2012 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link Me)

the book

I know it would seem that they had Jamie in mind, but there are lots of striking blue eyed well built men. It surely made casting the part in his favor. I think he is a really good actor and will bring a deeper level to the doctor. One thing that will be interesting to see his level emotion. I have seen him in another show where he showed emotion, his ugly cry is very funny.

The Dr Park character is right on the nose. Most people may not like him and may think very much of him. The Asian community is exactly like that. They have the most type A personality. In the Asian community failure is not an option. They would rather kill themselves then admit failure.

The other match pretty the way the book describes them for the most part.
spongetrisha From: spongetrisha Date: April 7th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I'm about 10 chapters in so far and I love the book. I can't wait to see the level of emotion that Jamie is going to play with Tyler.
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