After 15 years, ER finally flatlines

er_cast_season_1Last night, NBC aired the series finale of ER. The past few years, ER has slipped a few slots in my list of favorite shows, but it has always remained in the top 5.

I was a sophomore at WPI when the show first premiered, 10pm on Thursday nights (where it remained for its entire run). It truly was a great show in the beginning, and we would religiously watch every episode. In fact, I think I’ve seen every episode since it premiered. My friends and I at WPI never missed it. And then after I graduated in 1997, it was usually viewed with the other Must See TV Thursday night shows in Matt’s parents’ house basement in his room in a large group. When I got my own place, I still watched it, and then when Jo and I got married in 2000, it was one of our “never miss” shows during the week. When I couldn’t watch it, I’d always tape it on my VCR (remember those?). I was 18 when ER premiered, and I’m 33 now. It honestly blows my mind that I’ve been watching it every Thursday night for almost half my life.

cast_season_151It went through many changes over the years, as did its viewers (I graduated college, moved out of my dad’s place, got a job, got married, and had a kid during its run). Cast members came and went. And while the quality did suffer a few years ago, it was still one of the better dramas on television, and actually bounced back the past couple seasons. It was weird watching it last night. It didn’t feel like the end. I don’t think it will sink in until next season, when there’s just no new ER.

So many memorable moments in the series. Here are a few that come to mind for me:

– Doug Ross saves a drowning child
– Mark Greene gets brutally beaten in the men’s room (we never did find out who did it)
– They shoot an episode LIVE. Twice! (Once for east coast, once for west)
– Romano gets his arm chopped off by a helicopter tailblade
– Mark Greene gets a brain tumor and dies
– Luka beats a mugger to death
– Carter gives Benton and appendectomy
– Sam shoots and kills her ex while her son is asleep in the car
– Romano is killed when a helicopter crashes. On top of him.
– Carter develops a drug addition, is confronted by everyone, and is dragged off to rehab
– Dr. Dave storms out of the ER and calls Kerry Weaver a “nazi dyke”
– Pratt is in an ambulance that explodes, and dies from complications when the other docs try to save him
– Ray is hit by a truck while drunk, listening to a voicemail from Neela, and loses his legs
– Mark Greene runs into complications trying to deliver a baby, and loses the mother

(Feel free to comment with your own memories of the show, on the off chance you’ve made it this far)

The most memorable moment for me, by far, is the stabbing of Carter by a psychotic patient (played by David Krumholtz). The scene still gives me chills, even after 9 years:

The song playing is Battleflag by Lo-Fidelity All Stars, and will forever be known to us as the “Carter getting stabbed song”. I’ll never hear this song again without thinking of Carter falling to the floor and seeing Lucy Knight’s bloody body lying there.

In addition to Battleflag, ER has had its fair share of songspeak moments. Lest we forget singing “Carol Hathaway” to the tune of Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones? And a favorite line that Matt and I still break out to this very day occurred when Carol Hathaway gave Doug Ross a very special present. She finally gave him another chance, and they were becoming serious. She thought it was time he had his own drawer to put his stuff in at her place. He opened it and said, “It’s a drawer” in a way only George Clooney could. Something about the delivery made us snicker, and we still bring it up.

The final episode was good. It featured the return of John Carter, Susan Lewis, Kerry Weaver, Peter Benton, and Elizabeth Corday. We got to see Benton’s deaf son Reese all grown up, and Rachel Greene (Mark Greene’s daughter) returned for an internship at County General. It was weird seeing them all, but it felt right for the show to end that way.

Anyway, I think that’s probably enough of me babbling. Congratulations, ER…it was a good run. I really am going to miss you.

Related Post