by Melissa Longbrake
The Monk Fun Page Episode Review
ahead. This is a RE-view, which
means I'm going to discuss what
happens in the episode up to and
including the ending. If you haven't
seen it yet and you want to be surprised
read no further. If you don't like
surprises, consider this your "surprise
alert warning"... and this
is your "surprise alert"...
and this is your surprise!
final season of Monk is
upon us, beginning with the season
premiere on Friday, August 7th.
The premiere episode for the final
season, “Mr. Monk’s
Favorite Show,” proves they
still had at least one more fresh
idea. Here's hoping they have fifteen
more to go along with it.
producer and the most frequent Monk
Zisk hand-picked this episode
to direct. It’s not hard to
see why. It offers a lot of opportunity
for a director to shine. As usual
Mr. Zisk does a stellar job. If
anyone is responsible for the deliberately
old-fashioned, straightforward “look”
of Monk, it’s probably
him, but he gets to have a lot of
fun with "Mr. Monk's Favorite
writer is Jack
Bernstein who's also responsible
for a few of my other favorites
like "Underwater" and
"The Captain's Marriage".
I don't know if he likes to talk
about it, or how proud he may
or may not be, but Jack wrote
the story and screenplay for Ace
Ventura: Pet Detective.
Perkins, who has earned an
Emmy nomination this year for
her role in Showtime's Weeds,
is the guest star. She's an excellent
choice for the charming, slutty,
and ultimately dangerous, character
she plays here.
as Christine Rapp
Rena Sofer as Kim
Sofer also guest stars in this
one. I've met Rena a few times at
Hospital events. (She starred
on General Hospital for
a couple of years before moving
on to prime time, including a co-starring
role on the final season of Just
Shoot Me and a recurring
role on 24.)
She's always been a favorite of
mine. My only complaint about the
episode in general may be that she’s
under used. She gets a few good
lines (Most notably, "She likes
anything in a man") and she
plays off of Tony Shalhoub beautifully,
but I just wanted more. Of course,
the episode is jam packed as it
The casting for the entire Cooper clan was
inspired. Or is that far out? No,
no. Make that, groovy, man!
Aldrich (Mrs. Cooper) quite
well from her days on Port
Charles (the General
Hospital spinoff soap). The
scheming, gold digging, social climbing
shrew she played on that show couldn't
have been any further removed from
the gentle, understanding, cookie-baking
Mrs. Cooper. She's so Florence
Henderson here with just a touch
of Stepford Wife. Her best line:
"Cathy, we've talked about
this. Killing people is never the
Tony Shalhoub hugs
Gary Weeks... Awwwwww |
Weeks (Mr. Cooper) best from
his turn on last season's Burn
Notice as Fiona's paramedic
boyfriend, Campbell. He was stable,
considerate and law-abiding. In
short, nothing like lead character
Michael Westen (except they're both
quite handsome) and not at all what
Fiona really wanted. Campbell recognized
that before she did and he gently
gave her the old heave-ho. Gary
also did an interview
for the Fun Page. So he's a
great guy in my book. About
the here's-what-happened scene he
said, "It took all I had to
not break and start laughing the
first time he did it."
Longbrake, plays Cathy Cooper,
Christine Rapp's character in the
Cooper Clan. It's Taylor's television
debut, but she's a natural and she
really shows a lot of depth and
maturity, particularly in her hilarious
final scene. Taylor also did an
interview for the Monk Fun Page
and she talked about thar scene:
"The hardest part was not laughing!
Especially in the scene where Monk
is accusing me of murder. It was
pretty hard to take him so seriously
in the afro!" |
and Tony Shalhoub
Monaghan plays Danny Cooper.
I recognize him from only one other
role. He played Winthrop Paroo in
the 2003 television production of
Music Man. Of course, he's
changed quite a bit since then and
reached that gawky teen-age stage
we had the pleasure of watching
all the Brady kids go through...
except Marcia, of course.
Morgan Heit) and Janie Cooper
(Angelina Wahler) were also quite
good as the cute little Cindy and
Bobby Brady knock-offs. I assume
there are only four kids, because
Monk is a cable show and
they couldn't afford six. “Shucky
Darns!" as Billy, who would
later become a crystal meth addict,
would say. I thought that Janie
got some pretty good lines considering
The Cooper Clan is supposed
to be badly written. "Why not?
The vase is already broken."
Well, maybe it's her delivery.
Brady Bunch parallels are
obviously deliberate and easily
recognizable. At least to me. That’s
right. I’m a Brady
Bunch fan. There's not much
I don't know about the Brady's.
In fact, I've had the pleasure of
meeting four of the "kids."
The Brady's attended Clinton Elementary,
Fillmore Junior High (where Davy
Jones appeared at the Prom) and
Westdale High. Peter threw the
football that broke Macia's nose.
He also broke the vase. The show
was filmed at Paramount where
Monk now films and The
Brady Bunch will be celebrating
its 40th Anniversary on September
26th. Don't worry: I'm not crazy.
Just a fan. Okay, the truth is
I am crazy.
is just another one of those Monk
episodes that seems to be written
especially with me in mind. Maybe
I just have way too many cultural
roots in common with Andy Breckman.
“The Cooper Clan were the only friends
the opening of "Mr. Monk's
Favorite Show" Monk and Natalie
are alone late at night, in front
of the Beat City bookstore and
the "teaser" is about
his childhood memories. Monk
episodes usually begin with the
crime and Monk doesn't appear
until after the opening credits.
the episodes in which Monk does
appear in the opening the format
is shaken up a little. They usually
reveal something significant about
him. The center of the episode isn't
so much the mystery as it the development
of the character. Other episodes
like this include "Mr. Monk
Fights City Hall", "Mr.
Monk is Up All Night" and "Mr.
Monk and Mrs. Monk."
is waiting for a book signing
event set for the next morning
with actress Christine Rapp who
has written an autobiography.
As a child Christine starred in
a TV series called The Cooper
Clan. Monk explains his keen
interest in the show to Natalie.
“I’m not obsessed.
I’m barely fixated. I’m
mildly…. Okay, I’m
obsessed. The show was very important
to me. The Cooper Clan
were the only friends I had.”
question: Does Natalie get over
the next morning Christine Rapp
(Elizabeth Perkins) is leaving a
TV station surrounded by reporters
who want her comments on the reaction
to her new book, which is actually
a tawdry tell-all. When told that
a former co-star Steven Dorn has
advised her to watch her back Christine
laughs it off, but after her car
explodes seconds later she’s
not laughing anymore. She’s
hiding… behind her publicist,
Kim Kelly (Rena Sofer).
Rena Sofer and Elizabeth
is the name of the letter carrier
in the Pen Pal episode?”
Brackowitz. If you said Daisy
Green you were WRONG.
Monk and Natalie have been joined
in the line at the bookstore by
many other autograph seekers/Cooper
Clan fans. Monk is having
a trivia contest with another
obsessed fan who’s armed
with an episode guide and a
Cooper Clan lunch box. The
fan in line with Monk at the bookstore
is excellent. I think I know him
or, rather, some of my closest
friends are a lot like him. (Just
to set the record straight, I
myself do not own a lunch box.
Probably because there is no Monk
lunch box.) He’s no match
for Monk, who delights in rubbing
pleased that Monk is having such
a good time, but seconds after
Monk has purchased the first copy
of Christina’s book
Re-Cooper-ating, they learn
that she’ll be a no-show
because someone tried to kill
When Monk and
Natalie arrive at the crime scene,
Stottlemeyer and Disher are already
on the scene investigating. Monk
is frantic. It’s got to
hit close to home for him since
he’s dealing with a car
bomb case. Through the windows
of the blown up car he sees Christine
Rapp for the first time. She’s
laying on an ambulance gurney.
he says awestruck. “She
Natalie is reading Christine’s
book. She’s horrified. “It’s
filthy and I thought I was a wild
child.” (Natalie's wild side:
I'd like to know more about that.)
Among other things in her book.
Christine has a long list of, shall
we say, romantic conquests and Randy
wants to know “Why is there
an asterisk next to Bob
Denver?” The answer is
bad, but apparently not as bad as
page 73. |
in the family. I’m in the
gets Natalie and runs over to meet
Christine Rapp. She’s uninjured,
but apparently overwhelmed by the
incident and being fussed over by
EMTs and her publicist. She extends
her hand for Monk to shake in a
bizarre and pretentious fashion
that would creep most people out.
Natalie hands Monk a wipe without
being asked, because she has a good
idea where Christine’s hand
has been. After shaking Christine’s
hand at Monk’s urging, Natalie
quickly wipes her fingers. “Why
are you wiping?” Monk asks.
tell you later.”
she finds out who he is, Christine's
publicist, Kim Kelly, pulls Monk
aside. Christine has been getting
threatening letters and Kim wants
to hire him as a bodyguard until
the stalker/bomber is caught. Monk
jumps at the chance.
“I’ll do it.
“A thousand dollars a week.
Is that fair?”
“Okay, it’s a deal.
I can’t pay it all once.”
“No, we would pay you.”
“Ah! Even better.”
is thrilled when Kim tells him “Welcome
to the family!”
shucky darns! All I can say is she
better write fast."
The interior of The Cooper Clan
home is awwwesome! Some set decorator
should start dusting off his or
her shelf in preparation for the
Emmy he or she is going to get next
year. (presuming this episode will
qualify; I’m not sure where
the date lines are drawn). So in
case anyone missed The
Brady Bunch parallels,
Bunch incidental music
was used in the review video of
"Favorite Show" each time
The Cooper Clan show is seen.
Of course, it was removed and replaced
with something a little more generic
for the actual broadcast.
spectacularly authentic sets, the
sit-com style three camera shooting
(although technically The
Brady Bunch was shot mostly
one camera), the hippie jokes, the
dog named Scamp, the “groovy”
wardrobe, the horse on the sideboard
is all perfect, perfect, perfect.
(Except the Brady's didn't have
a toilet, so they would have been
holding it a lot longer than Billy
Cooper.) The first Cooper Clan
episode we see is clearly spoofing
and Disorder" episode of
Brady Bunch. Oh, come on.
Don't pretend you can't remember
it. Bobby becomes a safety monitor
and let’s the power go to
his head. In fact all the mentioned
plots in "Favorite Show"
have real-life Brady
Bunch (I guess that's an
oxymoron) parallel episodes.
Photos by Melissa
Click to enlarge
|It's also interesting to note that the associate
producers on The Cooper Clan
are also associate producers on
Monk: at least Nathan
Perkins and Sal
Savo are. Sal has also written
a couple of episodes: "Wrong
Man" and "Takes a Punch".
Johnson-Poelking was the production
supervisor for Monk last season.
(She may be an associate producer
this season.) The credits are in
Brady Bunch font. How cool
is that, especially for Sal, Nathan
this point the camera pulls away
to reveal that Monk is watching
the episode with Christine Rapp.
She's amazed at how much he loves
it and how well he knows it. He’s
memorized all the dialogue even
though he hasn’t seen it in
35 years. Monk asks her what Mr.
Cooper was like in real life. Obviously,
that was and is the main attraction
for Monk to the show: finding the
father figure he’d lost in
real life. Kim arrives and wants
to get down to business. Are there
any leads? Monk shows her a fuzzy
surveillance photo of the suspected
bomber which could be anybody (as
Steven Dorn later points out), but
most closely resembles the Unabomber.
They take a tour of the house. Christine’s
bedroom has many mirrors. In fact
mirrors sort of become a motif in
this episode. The mirrors in her
bedroom, the mirror the threatening
note is written on, the "mirror"
that the Cooper Clan episode represents
as Christine watches the younger
innocent version of herself. They
represent her duality: most overtly
how different she is from her TV
persona, but it's also foreshadowing
that she's the guy.
course the mirror over the bed
is more practical (and personal)
than symbolic and very reminiscent
of the scene in "Mr. Monk
and the Playboy”. Monk just
can’t figure out what the
one over the bed is for. We find
out Christine has a registered
weapon which her publicist encouraged
her to buy. (Funny, you’d
think that would be the last thing
a publicist would advise a client
to keep around especially a client
who drinks so early in the day.)
the remainder of the tour Monk
pesters Christine with nit-picky
questions about the inconsistencies
on The Cooper Clan. Why
is Cathy allergic to peanuts in
one episode, but not in another?
Monk wants to know. As a Monk
fanatic I think I can tell you
at least one inspiration for that
bit (although, goodness knows,
the Monk writers have
probably heard dozens): in the
first season's “Mr. Monk
Goes to the Asylum” it’s
stated that Monk is allergic to
tomatoes, but in season seven's
“Mr. Monk on Wheels”
he happily prepares a meal with
the perfectly square tomatoes
he got from the lab. Those kind
of nits are picked regularly on
Monk message boards and it’s
bad netiquette to say that nobody
freaking cares. Like Christine,
the proper response is to try
to explain it away within the
context of the show. The uncommonly
chosen sane answer would be, it's
just a TV show.
Tony Shalhoub talked a little about
this subject in a recent interview:
"I find that there are obsessive
fans. There are people who know
way too much about the details of
the character and way too much about
various moments in different episodes,
things that I, frankly, have long
forgotten: small, small details.
I suppose that’s good on the
one hand. I just hope that those
people keep a nice, healthy distance
in the future: a nice, healthy,
likes anything in a man.”
flirts with Monk inviting him to
guard her while she dresses. Naturally
Monk declines. Of course, her being
so forward is designed to give her
time alone to fake the threatening
sees the “Silver Globe”
award (perhaps they’re making
a reference here to the one time
reputation of the Golden Globes.)
Silver Globe Award
certainly the TV movie that earned
(or, as we ultimately discover,
did not earn) Christine the award,
The Vanishing Girl, is a reference
to the critically acclaimed role
Portrait of a Teenage Runaway
that Eve Plumb (Jan, The Brady Bunch)
took on immediately following the
Brady years. Eve didn’t win
an award for that, but maybe that’s
because she has much higher moral
standards than Christine Rapp.
It's an excellent scene
between Tony Shalhoub and Rena Sofer
as he describes the award show.
Both the essential clues are contained
in that scene, the award and the
accounting firm, but the dialogue
is amusing enough to distract the
audience. Well played. When and
if Tony decides to return to episodic
television I want it to be in a
series with Rena Sofer. The two
work well together. His fake scream
blending into Christine’s
(as it also turns out fake) scream
is very nice. (I confess I have
the same reaction when Tony Shalhoub
wins an award... only not fake.)
Kim rush to her rescue. They see
the scary note Christine's stalker
has left on the mirror. The handwriting
is the third clue.
a loud mouth, a liar and a tramp.”
the police station. Randy, Monk
and Natalie examine the mirror.
Monk thinks the handwriting is
familiar, but can’t quite
place it. Here's where were treated
to a quintessential Disher moment:
believes, "someone right-handed
wrote it with their left hand."
Natalie agrees. "That makes
"Or someone left-handed wrote
it with their right hand."
makes sense, too."
if he was ambidextrous he probably
got drunk and then wrote it."
makes less sense."
spots Steven Dorn, a grown up
and strung out Billy Cooper from
The Cooper Clan, who
Stottlemeyer is questioning in
his office. Excitedly Monk runs
over to meet him and greet him
with his catch phrase: “Shucky
darns! Hey, Steven! Hey, Shucky
Darns! Steven! Shucky darns!”
He can't believe that little Billy
Cooper could have anything to
do with the attempt on Christine's
Dorn, played by Michael
Stanoyov, was great, just perfect
for his one little scene, especially
that final little nod to Monk advising
him to read the book. He looked
very familiar to me and I remembered
him as soon as I saw his name in
the credits. He guest starred in
another one of my favorite shows,
Leap, as Kevin Bruckner
in the 1990 episode "Another
Mother". He went on to play
the older brother on Blossom
for a few years.
orders from Stottlemeyer, Monk
does read the book except for
page 73, which Natalie eats. (Every
episode needs a running joke.
"Mr. Monk's Favorite Show"
has page 73.) Monk's few happy
childhood memories have been shattered.
is that?" he asks Natalie.
"I don’t know."
you for not knowing."
With Monk's loss
of Cooper Clan innocence,
the tone of the episode shifts.
Sit-com is out and film noir is
in as Christine Rapp checks into
cheap airport motel with a gaudy
neon sign and lots of mysterious
shadows, that Monk has recommended
as a hide out. In real life that's
Inn in Burbank. Do they have
an awesome sign or what? So as
Christine disappears into those
mysterious shadows it's inevitable
that someone gets killed. Turns
out it's the stalker who's shot
by Christine. It's not often that
we have to wait so long for a
murder on Monk.
he loved the show. Maybe the
show meant the world to him
and she betrayed everything
it stood for."
has been called to the scene.
Stottlemeyer mentions Victor Timlinson
(the stalker/victim) managed a
Taco Bell. He also mentions that
the guy worked in the mail room
at some big accounting firm.
Gone now is the happy, excited,
childlike Monk. He’s very
bitter and unforgiving about Christine’s
perceived betrayal of his childhood
memories. Stottlemeyer notices.
read the book, didn’t he?
Not page 73?"
I ate it.”
now confronts Christine and he can
be very harsh. If it weren’t
for the fact that I already know
she’s a very bad lady, I might
have felt a little sorry for her.
“Maybe you should have called
your friend Bob... Denver.”
you, I haven’t read the book,
but I don’t know about these
veiled aspersions on Bob
Denver’s character, especially
since he’s now passed away.
Besides smoking a little weed, I
don’t know that there was
ever much scandal about Bob? Was
there? If there was I do not want
to know. I mean it. Don't tell me.)
a cool customer, however, and if
Monk were any other man she probably
could have convinced him to forgive
her. “I was just a girl trying
to be a little less lonely.”
Elizabeth Perkins gives a nice edge
of vulnerability to a basically
favorite shot in the episode comes
just about here as they pull away
from the scene into the night
with lights reflecting in the
pool and the beautiful neon Safari
Inn sign. Loved it. I also really
liked how Monk watches Christine
as he circles the crime scene,
just as he did in the earlier
scene where he first sees her,
but now with a completely different
is the surprise alert warning.
This is the surprise alert!"
next day with the case seemingly
wrapped up, Natalie tries to cheer
up Monk. She's consulted Ambrose
(Yipee! An Ambrose mention!) about
Monk's favorite snack: ten round
crackers and a glass of apple juice
with 1 ice cube. (Wait a second.
Ten round crackers? Doesn’t
Monk prefer square crackers? Maybe
it's a childhood thing.) To go with
the snack, which she serves to him
while singing The Cooper Clan
theme song, Natalie has brought
him his favorite show The Cooper
Clan on DVD. Monk is sulking.
"I don’t have a favorite
pops in the DVD anyway and Monk
has an epiphany while looking at
the DVD cover. "Episode four
'Broken Arm, Broken Heart,'"
he tells her.
DVD groovy graphics
uses the same DVD player instructions
we heard in "Mr. Monk's 100th
Case": "picture go fast",
"picture regular", "picture
freezer". This is despite the
fact that we see Monk earlier in
this same episode using the DVD
remote at Christine’s and
he seemed to have the hang of it.
I guess he just doesn't have the
terminology down. We see that little
Cathy Cooper, who's right arm is
in a sling, writes just like Christine
not really a fair play clue since
none of us has ever seen The
Cooper Clan.) It all falls
in to place for Monk. "She
wrote those letters to herself."
asks Natalie, because the biggest
part of her job is asking that question.
she could kill Victor Timlinson
and claim it was self defense."
interesting note, to me anyway,
is the description on the DVD. "The
Cooper's wedding is a true family
affair, complete with four children,
a dog and a maid. And after the
wedding ends in chaos their lives
become a family affair, too."
I'm sure it will
surprise no one, but that is the
description of The Brady Bunch
pilot, "The Honeymoon".
Not just approximately, but word
for word except for changing six
children into four and two pets
into a dog. See
single and he’s dead."
may have solved it, but they need
more evidence. They go to Timlinson’s
apartment to get it. Natalie has
a very blonde moment. She knocks
on the door and calls Timlinson's
name. Maybe it's sleep deprivation.
Maybe she's been spending a lot
of time with Randy. Monk finds the
evidence proving Christine stuffed
the Silver Globe ballot box, in
the unused interior design book,
but before he can give Natalie a
surprise alert he's conked on the
head from behind with a lamp leading
to a very rare Monk dream sequence.
Have we ever had another? Besides
a webisode? I don't think so.
next scene opens on a broken vase
at The Cooper Clan house where we're
treated to what is perhaps the best
"here’s what happened"
ever. How anyone kept a straight
face I don’t know. All the
ramifications of Monk's abandonment
issues and his disillusionment,
play out against his unraveling
of the crime. Breathtaking. Plus
the afro is just too funny.
I also found it interesting that when Monk
hears Natalie in his dream, she's
speaking through Mrs. Cooper, his
"real" mother. Monk wakes
up just in time to see Natalie tussling
(in a patented ActionNatalie™
sequence) with Christine, who has
apparently dropped her registered
weapon. Monk picks it up and gets
the drop on her. "You're in
big, big trouble, young lady. That
was episode five season two, 'Grounded
an all around entertaining episode
and a charming way to open up
the final season. It would be
a lot easier to let Monk go if
they didn't keep making such great
|Special Guest Stars
•Elizabeth Perkins played Christine
•Rena Sofer played Kim Kelly
•Michael Stoyanov played Steven
•Dan Cole (1) played Cooper
•Taylor Longbrake played Young
•Cameron Monaghan played Danny
•Gary Weeks played Mr. Cooper
•Sarah Aldrich played Mrs. Cooper
•Angelina Wahler played Janey
•Donnell C. Barrett played Third
•Edward Flores played Motel
•Jeremy Gram Weaver played Second
•Jonathan Morgan Heit played
•Justin Dray played First Paparazzi
•Rob Mainord played Bookstore
Interview with Taylor Longbrake (Cathy
with Gary Weeks (Mr. Cooper)