Lulz. It’s not often I come across a show as completely off as the pilot episode of Saving Hope. Yes, I have watched many pilot episodes which have failed to thrill me. They are lackluster, lukewarm, and filled with characters who are either bipolar or else lacking in emotions altogether.
But Saving Hope is something else entirely. I watched the first episode because it has Michael Shanks (and he’s adorable). I’ll watch the second episode because it’s absolutely fucking insane. Pretty much all the dialogue sounds as if it was written by two chatbots in a deathspiral. The plot was concocted by someone who lives in a country with no hospitals or medical malpractice lawsuits.
I don’t know where to start.
Michael Shanks is a doctor who is riding in a taxi with his fiancee when some other car plowes into it. He’s bleeding a bit on his forehead, but he’s fine. He hops out and rushes to the car that t-boned him just in time to uncollapse the driver’s lung using a tool he’s just improvised (one component of which comes from a tampon his fiancee had with her). Then Michael Sha–Charlie–collapses due to a bleed in his brain. So, he wasn’t fine.
He slips into a coma and spends the rest of the episode having an out-of-body experience. But this is not about him. Oh, no. Well, sort of. Peripherally, belike.
His fiancee–Alex–rages and weeps around the hospital (she works there, too). She gets upset when another doctor tries to raise the subject of DNR (do not resuscitate). Alex and Charlie are both doctors. How have they not talked to each other about this?
Alex’s ex–Joel–has a sexy accent and has just started working at the same hospital. He takes over all of Charlie’s patients, including a war vet with cancer in his arm. The vet wants to have the arm taken off, and Charlie was willing to accommodate him. However, once the patient is under anesthesia Joel decides to just cut out the cancer instead of taking the arm off, despite the fact that this was totally not what the patient had agreed to. The vet wakes up, goes, “I’m gonna sue you,” which is totally within his rights, and Joel is all, “Yeah, and you’ll probably win,” which makes it sound like he’s cool with the consequences of his actions except he’s giving the patient these puppy-dog eyes that scream BUT THAT WOULD HURT ME AND YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO HURT ME, RIGHT?
And then there’s this subplot where a nerdy girl (she’s got glasses big enough to be from the 80’s and that makes her nerdy and unattractive, right??) poisoned herself with daffodil roots because she made a love potion that both she and her crush had to drink to make it work. The doctor and the psychologist are all like, Oh, you weren’t trying to commit suicide? That’s all right then! And absolutely fail to even attempt to warn the boy that some classmate of his has just poisoned him. Later on he shows up to have his stomach pumped, and the doctors are all like, oh, these kids are ADORABLE!
Had enough yet? TOUGH. There’s more:
Some chick showes up with her boyfriend because she’s having stomach cramps. The doctors order some tests and go home. Then they find out that she’s preggers and didn’t tell the doctors this because she didn’t want her boyfriend to know. And they’re all, Oh, that’s fine, it’s not like we were going to perform tests that would have harmed the fetus or anything! (They totally were.) A little while later, while she’s still hanging around the hospital, she goes into labor. It went pretty much like this:
Chick: It hurts!
Doctor: Do it!
And then the baby was born, and the entire scene took less time than you did to read this sentence. And despite the patient checking in with abdominal pain and then delivering her baby, like, four months prematurely (the baby survived…is that even possible?) the doctors went, “Oh, la! Guess everything’s fine.”
Then the chick died due to blood clots in her lungs. Whoops!
The absolute bestest part of the episode is kind of hard to capture in words. Alex was hanging around Charlie’s comatose form. Then the nurse supervising him said, “You can get into bed with him.” Except, she said it with a kind of knowing look. The same way you’d tell a traumatized child, “It’s ok to hug your wubbie.”
And Alex whined back, “I’ll mess up his lines.”
The nurse smiled a bit. “No you won’t. Anyway I’ll be here just in case.” (As in, I’ll be here WATCHING YOU SNUGGLE WITH YOUR COMATOSE FIANCE.)
Alex smiled in return. “WELL, THAT”S ALL RIGHT THEN.”
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I don’t understand how pilots episodes are this bad. I really don’t. But, to steal a turn of phrase from Mark, this is the best worst pilot episode ever.