Female friendships

greenspun.com : LUSENET : ER Discussions : One Thread

Someone had posted something regarding this previously, but I am wondering where the heck the friendships have gone?

For example, Carol and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was the first person Carol told regarding her pregnancy, and they seemed to be confiding in each other, etc. quite a bit in the beginning. Now it seems they hardly speak to each other. Also, I remember Carol, Susan Lewis, and Randi (?) meeting at Susan's one evening. The last I remember of the fct that some of these characters interact with each other outside of work was when Randi stood up for Jeannie at her wedding. (Where was Kerry again, anyway?)

I guess I just see an overall lack of friendships here. The nurses aren't showcased very much, and Carol only seems to be friends with people with MDs, and Cleo seems to not get along with any of the other women: what's more, they don't even seem to like her very much. Even Susan Lewis had issues, but she got along really well with the nurses and everyone else.

Any theories on this anybody? Laura

-- Laura (alulak@earthlink.net), April 19, 2000


um...the writers stink?

OK, I'll stop bashing the writers, because without them, there would be no ER and I'd be stuck watching "Behind the Music" at 10 every Thursday night...

I think the point Laura brings up speaks also to the general lack of comeraderie at County. The truth is, there are few real relationships period on the show. I'd be happy if Cleo and Elizabeth developed into real enemies, so long as there was some true emotion (tension!) at work. Remember when there was a rift between Jeannie and Peter? Remember Kerry and Doug clashing? Remember the beleaguered respect between Anspaugh and Carter? I can't really think of anything similar right now, except maybe the competition between Chen and Malucci on cases...otherwise, people seem to be walking in bubbles, occasionally and randomly bouncing off each other(not a reference to Finch and Benton). I really want Carol and Carter to help each other (to the extent that they can)...remember small gestures like him kissing her when she announced she was having twins? Maybe the point is that everyone has personal problems right now (Carol, Mark, Carter, anyway) that are preventing them all from reaching out to each other...but it seems to me that back in the good ol' days, it was everyone's personal problems that made the ER family so tight...I'm not expecting any scenes like the one with Susan and Mark on the swings discussing Baby Susie any time soon...

-- nancy (ntc72@mailcity.com), April 19, 2000.

I think you guys have a good point. I would like anyone, though, to point out a show where women are portrayed as real friends. They are few and far between...

Feminist scholars have theories about this dearth of positive images of female friendship. What do you guys think it is?

I think for ER, it is partly that everyone is in a nasty state. But it could be partly due to larger social issues that seem to manifest themselves in popular culture.

What do you guys think?

-- sharon (mrsrorque@aol.com), April 19, 2000.

I guess the writer's priorities have changed. I miss Carol & Susan's friendship, and I think it's very important to showcase female friendships as well as male friendships, and the ever-important and debated male/female platonic relationship...If only a few of us were writers, eh?

-- Arianne (CarolRossSusanGreene@yahoo.com), April 19, 2000.

I am so glad everyone is seeing this too...I really miss the commeraderie more than anything and I wish everyone would support each other instead of isolate themselves. I miss *both* the female friendships and male friendships...besides Carol and Susan, I also enjoyed Carol and Anna @ Elizabeth's discussing their sex lives (which only Carol had, with Doug!) and then Peter showed up. I loved Doug and Mark's friendship and I loved watching Carol and Jeannie go from enemies to respected friends. I liked Doug and Jeannie's friendship just before he left. And I was really looking forward to some bonding between Carter and Benton, or even Carter and Mark, but I guess they were just teasing us with that. I hope they give Malucchi someone to be good friends with. You know, watching reruns, him and Lucy were pretty good friends...I liked watching him bug her because she probably didn't mind. But Malucchi also needs a male role model. I enjoyed his talks with Carter too, I hope as Carter recovers mentally they go back to this.

Nancy, I've said that too, about Carter always giving Carol a hug or kiss after she has a big announcement (her pregnancy, Doug proposing to her in front of the staff, etc.) I LOVE that and I hope they have a good moment before she leaves. And she'd better give him a big hug because he needs it!

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), April 19, 2000.

Nancy- Your comment (and you know which one) must be the funniest thing I've ever read in these pages! Friendships- I know! This is really my main problem with the show. Its not abou the lives of people who work in an ER, but about an ER where the workers are as jumbled up as the patients. There have been hints of interaction (mark and carol in the lounge) but few complete scenes. There is no downtime- everything is so rushed. No swingset conversations, no side smiles, no making dinner and blender drinks, no instant photo booths (remember that? can you imagine a scene like that these days? The arcade scene counts a little bit, but not as much). Much of the at home time is between Carol and Luka, which is wasted because we all know it goes no where. Thank goodness for David and Isabelle and Gammy.

-- May (archerl@cadvision.com), April 20, 2000.

I agree. I would definitely like to see some female bonding on the show. I loved the scenes where Carol, Anna and Elizabeth were hanging out at Elizabeth's place and Peter showed up unexpectedly; when Elizabeth kissed Carol on the top of the head when Carol was sobbing in the lounge; Susan and Carol sunbathing on the roof. I've read a lot of feminist theory and the lack of positive female bonding DOES have a negative affect on women. I would think this is especially important in a profession like medicine, where they have so many day-to-day dealings with very stressful situations. I would think that women working in medicine in the real world do have friendships with each other! I have a sneaking suspicion someone from ER reads things from this group (and I do hope so), because some of the things brought up here have surfaced in one way or another on ER! (e.g. making sure Lucy isn't forgotten about and the characters are shown dealing with their grief; Doug's relationship with his new babies -- I know a lot of us thought it was weird that all of the sudden it was mentioned that he sees them!)

-- Cindy (tailchasers@earthlink.net), April 20, 2000.

I made a comment re: this on another thread. There seems to be a lack of cameraderie in general now. I'm hoping, that with Carol leaving and Carter in trouble, the writers will use the opportunity to do a major shakedown, redefine alliances and give the show a focus again.

-- (trelles@ix.netcom.com), April 20, 2000.

CINDY! i have been thinking the very same thing! that the writers or whatever maybe read this board, because some of the things that have been discussed here, have happened, like everyone being in such an upoar that lucy seemed to be forgotten, then a few episodes later, that letter comes and carol and carter have that talk. there are a few other things also. cant think of them right now cuz im tired!

-- Alexis (lexicat1@webtv.net), April 21, 2000.

I think one of my favorite female friendship episodes was the full moon Saturday night, or something like that, where Susan was covering for Greene, and she and Carol "handled" the ER with Carter stickig around for experience. They decided that every full moon should be ladies night. It was a realistic portrayal of women working together. If I am correct, this was also the episode where Carol asked Susan to be a bridesmaid in her wedding to Tag.

As for the current cast, Elizabeth did try to create friendships when she first got there, but she is definitely more tightly strung now. Cleo is a cold fish, and reminds me of those women who is kind of tough and hangs out with the guys rather than female friends, yet really needs a man in her life all of the time.

Maybe Kerry, Elizabeth, and Abbey will realize that they must stick together in order to protect themselves from the likes of Romano! Maybe they will band together once Carol leaves and overthrow the little dictator!!

-- KJ (kristijohnsonSD@aol.com), April 21, 2000.

So Romano reminds you of Napoleon too, eh? ;-)

-- Cindy (tailchasers51@hotmail.com), April 21, 2000.

I have thought about this for a long long time, guys. It's really strange! It seems to me that nobody has really good friends outside of the hospital. It's understandable they (nurses and docs) are pretty busy and they were busy, but I think the fact that they have been busy is just kind of excuses. I want to see some friendships going on between nurses and mds or docs and docs. Especially, I think writers should show us friendships with "outsiders". I thought it's good time to show us in terms of Carter's situation, but I don't know... This is just what I thought.

Happy viewing, folks! 4 new epis coming up. Hope they're climbing up..!! :)

-- Kilim (kelly_kilim@hotmail.com), April 21, 2000.

Tonight's rerun on TNT of Carol's almost wedding to Tag, really shows that they aren't developing the friendships, or portraying them, like they used to. They way everyone was involved with the wedding was more like real life, the people you work with all day long are the ones that usually become an important part of your life. Do you think things started to change when Kerry came along and was more strict?

-- kj (kristijohnsonSD@aol.com), April 22, 2000.

No, I think things started to change in season 3 when Susan left. And change even more when Doug left. The new staff (with the exception of Jeannie, and now she's gone and possibly Elizabeth) have never really "integrated" (if I may use that term). Elizabeth, in season 4 you will notice, made a concerted effort to make friends.

-- (trelles@ix.netcom), April 22, 2000.

KJ makes an interesting point which I'd like to take one step further...I wonder if the new management (Kerry, but also Romano) and the attitude of tow-the-line, think-of-the-budget style leadership has put something of a damper on feelings of comeraderie...things are a bit stricter than perhaps they used to be. While it hasn't maybe affected the older friendships (think of the nurses especially) the feeling that you can't really screw around has perhaps made it harder for some of the newbies to feel at home.

-- nancy (ntc72@mailcity.com), April 22, 2000.

They are showing people outside of work but not what I want to be seeing. I miss seeing Carol, Elizabeth and Anna having a girls night out or even the guys playing basketball. Them are some ER moments where you like the characters outside of the hospital and you feel like it is real and not just some show.

-- Splash (iluver@hotmail.com), April 22, 2000.

It's not just with the women, the men are also lacking friendships. It seems everyone's having problems(Mark's dad, Carter's... Carter, Benton's child, Luka's family, Carol's babies etc) yet none of them are talking to each other and instead of weaving themselves closer together they're all making themselves private and not talking. I agree with KJ's point - this attitude seems to have been adopted from both Romano and Kerry. We don't know anything about either (Romano has a dog and Kerry likes jazz) and perhaps this is coming out in those who work under them and from the manners of the new staff. Luka's naturally private because of his past and Cleo never really talks with anyone, besides which she never seems to have any emotional problems. Lucy's death especially should drive everyone closer together yet there's nothing. Lizzie seems to be holding the whole lot of them together but even she's not trying like she used to. When Mark found out his Dad had cancer she asked what was wrong and he said nothing. She left it at that - surely if she still felt close to him she would have pressed him? I hope the writers think about this in future. It's the major thing lacking from ER.

-- Juliet (Vizzn@AOL.com), April 23, 2000.

I was thinking about this, especially in relation to Carter. Someone mentioned it in another forum - that he really has no one to talk to about what he's feeling. He's well-liked, but has no close friends in the ER, no girlfriend, and can't even really talk to Gamma. Like someone said above, Carter needs a hug in the worst way, and it has been soooo frustrating watching the episodes since AITF where no one talks about it, and it just bubbles beneath the surface for him. That said, in every job I've ever had, folks develop close friendships (i.e, the kind where you want to spend time with the person outside of work) with one or two people, but with everyone else they just have "work' friendships - you like them well enough, but you would never spill your guts to them.

-- Beth (bsmith@internet-95.com), April 23, 2000.

The only friendship that has remained in tact is that of Carol & Mark, and even they don't seem to talk as much as they used to -- which is understandable, both have complicated personal situations right now. However, in the early years of "ER," it was when the characters had complicated personal matters that intense bonding would occurr. When Tag left Carol on their wedding day, Susan was extremely concerned. Doug had a heart-to-heart with Carol. As is typical, these characters would at first isolate themselves, and then finally seek solace in their friends. Susan helped Mark through his divorce, Doug helped Carol through losing Tatiana.

SO much has happened this year, and yet no bonding has taken place. Mark & Carol seem to have a healthy off-screen friendship (i.e. he knows Doug has been seeing his daughters, therefore Doug has seen Mark as well, or Carol has confided this information in Mark). Mark, taking on the role of friend and fatherly-type figure, is quietly and not-so-quietly looking out for her, worried about her, helping her. He was her lamaze coach and is really her only confidante left. As is typical of Mark, however, he has not told Carol about his father. This ONE example should show TPTB that beautiful, absolutely platonic relationships can attract and intrigue viewers. It was the same with Doug & Susan.

What is missing now is the little quirks and funny moments of the show. When Carter mistook Mark & Susan's (flirtatious) friendship as an affair, it allowed us to see Doug & Carol exercising their healthy friendship (Season 2) by gossiping and giggling about it. We saw Mark & Susan perplexed and then amused, bonding later in her apartment. These people had secret looks, private jokes, and personal matters that they confided in their friends about. When Shep and another paramedic lightly berated the girls who "swallow five pills instead of two" because they had a fight with their parents or "their boyfriend," Mark & Doug's ears immediately perked up. They were worried how Carol would react to the statement, Doug's guilt again quietly surfacing. Carol told Shep, "I meant it" and walked off. Doug & Mark continued to exchanged nervous glances, wordlessly allowing Shep to realize that Carol was, in fact, NOT joking. A person who tuned in for the first time to witness that scene would know, without any words needing to be said, that Carol was close to Mark & Doug (perhaps they would pick up on the complicated relationship between she and the latter), and that she was somehow involved with Shep.

There were various scenes that DEMONSTRATED Carol & Susan's friendship, without us having to be TOLD. Doug mocking Kerry to make Susan feel better let us know that he cares enough about Susan that he wants to lift her from her unhappy/angry mood. There were small gestures and looks in those days, that let us know these characters were more than just coworkers -- they were close friends. In fact, they were best friends. I miss that, it made the show MUCH more interesting. One would feel betrayed if another sided with an "enemy" professionally, and that person would perceive themselves as a betrayer.

They wouldn't always get along, sometimes they would go for days or even weeks without speaking to one another. The point is, at the end of the day they were there for each other. No matter how late it was or what else they had planned, if Doug or Carol or Susan or Mark needed a friend to talk to, then that friend would be there, because they cared about the o

-- Arianne (CarolRossSusanGreene@yahoo.com), April 24, 2000.

LoL, it cut off part of my "book." It was supposed to read:

"No matter how late it was or what else they had planned, if Doug or Carol or Susan or Mark needed a friend to talk to, then that friend would be there, because they cared about the others so much that they were viewed as a priorit

-- Arianne (CarolRossSusanGreene@yahoo.com), April 24, 2000.

My two favorite examples are "Full Moon Saturday Night (thanks, KJ)," which showed an all-female trauma team (until later in the evening with Swift and Carter) and "Calling Dr. Hathaway" which had Kerry personally tutoring Carol in patient assessment. Later, when Carol decided that she was happy being an excellent nurse, she went to join Chuny, Haleh, Conni, and Lily for "nurses' night out." I don't think there's been a scene like that ever since.

-- anonfan (erfan@anon.com), April 24, 2000.

I just saw that scene too, with the nurses playing pool, and I thought the same thing...they would never have a scene like that now. I wish they would have another party...like Carol's Christmas party...where Doug tells little Susie not to ever dance like Carol and Shep (or was he referring to Randi?), and Jeanne and Benton talk about his mother, or Carol's bd party that Doug threw, or the banquet where Mark humbly thanked everyone for being his family after his attack (which is EXACTLY the kind of thing I want to see with Carter awhile down the road). I admit Susan helped a lot with this...she was close with not only Mark, Doug, and Carol, but with Carter too. And there was always the grudges Mark and Susan had against each other if a professional decision was made against the favor of their friendship...it always went back and forth, Mark or Susan would feel guilty for "betraying" the friendship, but in the end, the "betrayer" would be forgiven and they would leave the hospital together.

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), April 24, 2000.

Reading these, I was thinking about friendships in my work environments. I'm not in medicine, but in the past, when I've been friends with and had a lot of fun with my coworkers, it's been when the work environment is more relaxed, we're allowed the freedom to do our work the way we do best, are treated as the professionals we are, and management isn't breathing down people's necks. If new management comes in or existing management starts telling everyone to "toe the line", cut costs, etc., I've seen the casual, easy fun and friendships start to fade away because people are more anxious and stressed. I'm no psychologist, but I've seen this in 3 different work environments and I think maybe you all have a point about Kerry & Romano's management style and the lack of friendships and bonding in the ER. That said, I, too, totally miss the fun and fun-NY moments in the early seasons of ER! And both Kerry and Romano totally need to relax! ;-)

-- Cindy (tailchasers@earthlink.net), April 26, 2000.

I agree that the new managers are effecting the general mood. It began immediately after Kerry became an attending and has become damper since. At the beginning, Mark and Morgunstern were in charge- could there be less serious guys? and the entire atmosphere was relaxed. If though I prefer the old stuff in this way, I try to remember that the beginning was the Beginning, and they were trying to grab viewers. Also, they claim to be realistic and cut-cutting and stress are totally real. Darn reality- let's have some fun! I think that next season will be much calmer- this year they had to win people back with energy and action after the dull and strange season 5, so next round will be weaving in the new people some more. At least I hope so. *Elaine- I was wishing for an old-time party as well, and then I remembered the last one and realized it will be a very long time before the cloud lifts :( which might not be so bad- it will be another thing to pull them together, if not outwardly, at least they and we will be thinking about it.

-- May (archerl@cadvision.com), April 29, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ