In the early days of ER it was appointment television. A young George Clooney, a radiant Julianna Margulies and interesting writing made it one of the top rated shows on television. Just as you would get into the groove of the show and want to know what would happen next they would crap all over the show with fifteen minutes of Eric Benton and his elderly mother.
On its own this one plotline made me turn the show off, or at the very least switch channels until it was safe to return. Eric LaSalle was an unlikable actor playing a dreadful character who spent a good part of each show whining about taking care of his dotty mother. Every week I expected the old lady to die so the show wouldn’t be interrupted by a full segment of watching someone make elder care arrangements.
I was just watching Downton Abbey and referred to Bates’ nasty wife as a “Benton’s mother” plotline and my wife knew exactly what I meant. What other series were dragged down by similar dragging plotlines? Was anyone actually tuning into ER to see if Benton had found a nursing home for his mother? If so I definitely am interested in hearing that perspective.