STUDIO: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
MSRP: $25.99
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 394 minutes

Kate Walsh: Practice Makes Perfect
Alternative Ensemble: Behind the Scenes of Private Practice
Deleted scenes
Commentary on three episodes by cast and crew

The Pitch

It’s safe to say your HMO doesn’t cover this.

The Humans

Kate Walsh, Tim Daly, Amy Brenneman, Audra McDonald, KaDee Strickland, Paul Adelstein, Chris Lowell, Taye Diggs.

The Nutshell

In this spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy, Dr. Addison Montgomery (Walsh), having had enough of the loony business running rampant at Seattle Grace, and seeking some solutions to her relationship and baby desires, relocates to a private clinic in Los Angeles, run by her good friend, Dr. Naomi Bennett (McDonald).  Unfortunately, once she gets there, she finds that L.A. specializes in loony business.

“Okay look, it was a mistake to tell Clancy Brown that I could kick his ass for real…I admit that now…”

The Lowdown

If you can’t stomach Grey’s Anatomy, might as well skim the captions and call it a day.  Because Private Practice, although somewhat different, nonetheless has many of the earmarks of Grey’s.  Now, if you can not only stomach Grey’s but actually enjoy it, then feel free to continue.  PP, like
Grey’s, splits the narrative between the frequently unusual or morally ambiguous cases of the patients that the doctors treat and the relationships of the doctors themselves.

Addison’s main concerns are wanting to find a man and more importantly, wanting to have a baby, which is in doubt since there are issues with her being able to conceive.  This is especially disheartening for her because at one time she was pregnant with McSteamy’s (Eric Dane of
Grey’s) baby, which she aborted, because she knew he wouldn’t be a good father and it would permanently making reconciling with her husband impossible.  The fact that she cheated on McDreamy with McSteamy (feel like I’m writing a promo for McDonald’s two newest burgers here) and ruined her marriage because of him makes that an even more bitter pill to swallow.

After going through the rigamarole with trying to reconcile her failing marriage with McDreamy and realizing that a relationship with McSteamy would never work, she departed Seattle for L.A.  Now in her new environment, she carries that baggage with her, not wanting a casual relationship, even though her most likely suitor, alternative medicine doctor Pete Wilder (Daly) has made his interest clear.  Meanwhile, Wilder has his own relationship issues, not being able to connect with any woman since the passing of his wife, with whom he had a strained relationship near the end.

The other cast members include Addison’s good friend, Naomi Bennett, a fertility specialist.  Naomi was the reason Addison first came to the practice, in the hopes of conceiving.  Naomi offered her a position, which Addison accepted, even though the nature of the practice was far different than she was used to as one of the leading neo-natal surgeons.  Naomi and her ex-husband, Sam (Diggs) are the two founding partners of the practice, and the issues of their terminated marriage aren’t completely resolved, although they have managed to work out a civil working relationship.

Needless to say, it was a little awkward when Kate Walsh allegedly found me under her alleged bed with an alleged video camera…allegedly…

Sam is an internal medicine specialist who actually still makes house calls and is also a budding author and media personality.  His book’s success has earned him the name “Dr. Feelgood.”  Addison bought a house on the beach right next to his, so they often converse across their windows, which look right in on each other.  Amy Brenneman plays Violet Turner, a psychiatrist.  Her best friend is Dr. Cooper Friedman (Adelstein), the practice’s pediatrician.  Although Violet counsels her patients, she can’t counsel herself, as she is frequently unhappy, particularly after her former boyfriend had surreptitiously left her for another woman.  She spent a good deal of the season pining for him and stalking him, with Cooper hanging back in the wings, pining over her.  Finally, Dell (Lowell) is the emo receptionist who aspires to be a midwife of all things and secretly pines for Naomi.  It’s a vicious cycle of pine to be sure.

Daly: “Nope, don’t see Stella’s groove down there either.”
Diggs: “Hey Tim, blow me.”

When the doctors’ relationship issues aren’t dominating their lives, they manage to see a client or two.  Some of their cases include four sisters who share the same illness: turning blue (“In Which Addison Finds the Magic”).  “In Which Addison Has a Casual Get Together” has Violet obsessing when the wife of her former boyfriend shows up at the practice for medical treatment.  “In Which Charlotte Goes Down the Rabbit Hole” has Addison dealing with a patient who wants to hide her fertility from her husband because she has a terminal genetic condition that will be passed to her kids if she conceives.  “In Which Sam Gets Taken for a Ride” finds Sam making a house call to a liquor store during a robbery and “In Which Cooper Finds His Port in the Storm” Naomi and Sam make a house call at a convent.

“Okay Kate, who’s better: McDreamy or McSteamy?”
“Neither.  McOliver.”

All things, considered, Private Practice is a fairly solid show.  The season was shortened to just nine episodes due to the writers strike, but generally, I found it pretty watchable.  One advantage it does have over Grey’s Anatomy is the lack of that show’s titular character, Meredith Grey, whom I’m growing very much into loathing with her selfishness and incessant whining.  PP has also become a place where some actors that I like, particularly Diggs and Daly have found a place to ply their trade after recent failed TV shows.  The jury is out if elements of
PP will become as tiresome as Grey’s (the aforementioned Meredith and George and Izzie), but it’s off to a pretty good start so far.

“I’m sorry, was that a House on Haunted Hill crack I just heard?”

The Package

The episodes look sensational, better than Grey’s Anatomy actually.  They’re offered in the standard Dolby Digital with optional English, French and Spanish subtitles.  There are commentaries on the extended episode “In Which We Meet Addison, A Nice Girl From Somewhere Else” by Kate Walsh and executive producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, the episode “In Which Addison gets Taken For a Ride” by Amy Brenneman and Paul Adelstein, and “In Which Dell Finds His Fight” by Taye Diggs and Chris Lowell.  Kate Walsh: Practice Makes Perfect is a surprisingly detailed, 32-minute spotlight on Kate Walsh, her career, family life, working on Grey’s and now Private Practice, her dogs, everything.  They even bring in her parents and siblings to comment on her.  Anything you ever wanted to know about Kate Walsh is in this piece.  Alternative Ensemble: Behind the Scenes of Private Practice was exactly what the subtitle suggests, a 14-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.  There are deleted scenes from six episodes and approximately three minutes of bloopers to round out the offerings.

7.2 out of 10