Fox is joking, right?
Surely the network that helped re-energize the medical drama with “House” – and elevate its own critical standing in the process – doesn’t really want us to take “Mob Doctor” (* star out of four, Fox, 9 p.m. Monday) seriously? By title alone, it’s a “Saturday Night Live” skit just waiting to be written, though odds are even “SNL”’s best writers might struggle to come up with anything as funny, albeit unintentionally so, as what this ill-conceived series has to offer.
Apparently mistaking network TV for a down-market megastore, Mob Doctor offers you the dubious pleasure of purchasing two cut-rate shows in one. As its name indicates, it’s half Mob drama, half doctor show, and all terrible.
“My Boys”’ Jordana Spiro (who seems ill-cast, but then, who wouldn’t?) stars as Grace Devlin, a hot-shot resident at a Chicago hospital who moonlights for the Mafia.
At the hospital she’s a star, the kind of surgeon whose brilliant procedural suggestions are greeted with a stunned, “It’s new and it’s never been done at this hospital” – immediately before her boss (Zeljko Ivanek) agrees to do it.
At home, however, her life is a mess, thanks to a ditzy mother (Wendy Makkena) with her own ties to the Mob, and a wayward brother (Jesse Lee Soffer) who got in too deep with a Mob boss. That boss, by the way, is so wildly overacted by Michael Rapaport, it’s possible he actually thought he was working at SNL.
To rescue her brother, Grace has agreed to do little medical chores for the Mob – only to discover that means being told to kill one of her patients. And you think your boss is unreasonable.
You could, if you wish, watch and try to isolate the show’s worst moment. Is it when Grace threatens to skip a surgery unless her boss upbraids her attending? Is it when that attending responds with that hoariest of old melodrama staples, “This isn’t over yet”? Is it Grace’s decision to turn to the former Boss of Bosses (William Forsythe) for help, because hey, that never goes wrong?
But why bother trying to separate the bad from the worse when it’s all awful. Which is what happens when you concoct a show out of leftover scraps instead of new ideas.
And that’s no joke.