Does "Monk" overdo the "Man from Mars" angle?

The fish-out-of-water character ignorant of the most commonplace things about the society of the story’s setting is an old comedic standby, the whole of Mork and Mindy was based on it, but in the case of Monk it makes no sense. E.g., with all his phobias and compulsions, there is no reason why Monk, who has spent all his life in the United States, would not know the terms “fast-forward” and “reverse” in connection with a VCR, DVD or digital-video player. There are countless others examples in the series.

Yeah, he’s become more of an idiot-savant as the series has gone on. Especially since the early premise used to be that he was always quirky, but he just got a lot worse when Trudy died. Later on they made it where he was always that bad. I guess it’s good that they end the show before he becomes a barely functioning autistic.

I think I saw episodes where he doesn’t really know how to drive a car or swim, but according to the show he used to be a police officer who would likely be required to know how to be both those things.

He can drive, but he’s incompetent at it due to his phobias. He’s driven, poorly, in at least one episode.

He’s made a few comments that Trudy helped him overcome his phobias, so presumably he was a wreck before her, better with her, and an even bigger wreck afterwards.

I think they’ve made some continuity errors. I’m not going to watch all the DVDs to find out for sure, but I seem to remember him doing things like talking on cell phones and watching VCRs in the early episodes that later they claim he doesn’t know how to do.

IRL Monk could and should never get his badge back because he’s proven a thousand times it affects his ability to do his job. He’d be a prime candidate for a “make up a title” job- hire him full-time with benefits as a civil servant consultant of some sort- but street duty other than crime scenes, impossible.

I think Big Bang Theory works the Man from Mars angle more than any other current show. They can get away with though since they’re a sitcom (technically MONK’s a comedy- that’s how it’s nominated at the Emmy’s anyway) and because Jim Parsons as Sheldon is hysterical.

Monk used to be more of a detective show- it was detective with a quirk solves crime. Now, it’s a dude with lots of big quirks… oh yes, and there might be a crime or a mystery somewhere, but who cares?

I stopped watching it for that reason.

I’ve resumed watching it for the final season, but what bored me was the Deus ex Machina aspects of every episode. Monk happens to get a gift that is identical to the same item a killer used or somebody just happened to know some arcane information that allows him to crack the case on it seemed every episode.

I did like last week’s though; always enjoy seeing him interact with Harold. Plus I like Dr. Bell better than his late predecessor, who seemed a total quack (the character, not the actor).

I watched the first few episodes and then dropped it because Monk was not believable as a character, only as a gimmick.

In my experience, people with OCD are more likely to have an overabundance of knowledge about the mundane. Not knowing how to work a VCR? Not a chance. The OCDer will read the guide cover to cover and know everything possible about he device.

At least, that’s what I do. Of course, I don’t have the germ phobia either, so maybe I’m just different.

Yeah. He used to be Stottlemyer’s partner, even. Initially it did seem like he was quirky before Trudy and then got worse but they really Flanderized him to the point where even as a kid he was this incredibly dorky barely functioning guy. If he was a cop he’d definitely need to know how to drive, for one.

Come to think of it, is every retcon-flashback where he’s a barely functional youth set before he joins the police force as Trudy’s Big Strong Man?

That was why I stopped watching it, too. I coud believe that a former police officer had some quirks that he had controlled in order to live a fairly normal life. And I could believe that the traumatic death of his wife could unbalance him badly. I couldn’t, and can’t, believe that he was potentially so mentally ill, if he was able to function as a police officer. Cops have to deal with a LOT of traumatic experiences in the course of their daily duties, and while I’ll grant that the sudden death of a spouse is even more traumatic, if Monk had been so easily upset, he would have washed out in the academy. I can accept that Monk’s mental state is steadily deteriorating, but I think that the writers aren’t really doing anything but throwing stuff at the wall to see if it sticks. I am watching this final season because I hope that the show will resolve nicely.

I got the impression that Monk doesn’t so much “not know” things, but that he does know them and goes bakc and forth on how much he doesn’t want to do them. We’ve seen that he can do things if he really wants to, and that his problems become more prominent depending on how badly emotionally he’s doing right now. I assumed his phobias were fundamentally how he excercised control over the world with a weak emotional core. As a kid, he wasn’t so badly messed up (just uptight). As an adult before Trudy, he probably managed. Trudy let his thrive, and when she was gone, he crashed and never entirely recovered. We’ve also seen from previous episodes that if he could find Trudy’s killer, he’s probably get much better, if not ever “cured”.