Proof: Cable’s Number 1 Psycho-Religious-Medical-Divorce DramaRomCom

Proof (Photo: TNT)
Proof (Photo: TNT)

What kind of show is #Proof trying to be? No, seriously, what kind, because the show doesn’t seem to know.
One of the things I meant to mention in my review of last week’s episode of Proof is the mismatch between network and content. Aside from occasional swears, it felt like TNT’s new drama could just as easily fit on the Hallmark Channel. Proving there is an afterlife seems like something that would be catnip for the Hallmark audience, though the absence of a goofy love story would probably cause some headscratching.

I told you that to tell you this: Proof is still causing headscratching trying to settle on a tone. The show doesn’t seem to know what kind of story it wants to tell and has provided all of these options just in the second episode:

  • The Patient of the Week is a pilot whose wife was killed. He continues to see her and all sorts of paranormal phenomenon start happening. Is she ghost? Is she trying to kill him? Why did a show with a hard scientist as its central character suddenly become a low-rent X-Files episode?
  • Can a doctor whose son died, whose daughter may be on drugs, and whose husband is stealing her intern really have it all? Well, Dr. Tyler isn’t grieving exactly–she’s more haunted by happy memories of her son. Sophie is just like any other teenager on TV, in that she adds nothing to the story and can smoke or shoot up whatever she wants as long as it is off screen. Tyler tells her ex that the dramarama over who gets Intern Zed is “just like the custody hearing,” so add “divorce drama” to the list of potential genres Proof is trying to occupy.
  • Tyler tries to be House by arguing with Owen Turing about science and facts and how she wants to quit. Turing reiterates that she is uniquely qualified. Remember, her qualifications are 1) Science-oriented person whose 2) son just died and 3) she had a near-death experience that one time. I guess it was either Tyler or Hans from that giant game of WebMD Guess Who, so congrats on winning a coin flip, doc.

Proof also tries to shoehorn comedic/wacky moments by way of Turing’s assistant/protege Janel (Caroline Rose Kaplan). She allegedly has two PhDs (one in quantum mechanics?) despite being I would guess mid-20s1 and someone who I suspect would have trouble crossing a street without incident. The comedy isn’t organic and clashes with the somber/maudlin tone the show exudes elsewhere.

Worst of all, there were no medical ethics quandaries to tackle this week. Fortunately, Proof had a couple of medical curiosities. First, when the PotW was ready to go under the knife for invasive brain surgery, Dr. Richmond (Joe Morton) asked Dr. Tyler to help. Even though she is not a neurosurgeon, she had washed her hands and was within earshot, so she should prep? Are surgeons Swiss army knives? A few hours after the surgery, the PotW was sitting up, chatting and gesticulating with Dr. Tyler. You know, because the recovery time could almost allow for that work to be an outpatient procedure. Oh, show.

  1. Kaplan’s actual age isn’t posted anywhere and this show is her only IMDB credit.  

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About Mike McComb 654 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv