Did we get a warning???

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I was wondering if we got any warning at all this season or last about Mark's tumor. It just seems a little strange that all of a sudden he's terribly ill..i didnt notice any previous lapses of vision or speech or motor skill, so I'm a bit annoyed that TPTB are just throwing this plot at us from left feild. If anyone noticed any warning I'd appritiate it if they could post the signs here!

-- Jessica (Smayaloo@aol.com), November 24, 2000


I don't remember any clues from last season, but ever since Mark went to Malucci's hockey game he has been complaing about headache, sore neck, and being tired. At the begging of "Rescue Me" Corday was looking for tylenol and Mark said he had taken the last two. I know they are not huge clues, but at least it didn't come out of the blue. Also, some people might have waited till they had had a few more of the episodes like Mark had when he couldn't talk, but since he is a doctor he might have know something was serioulsy wrong and wanted to get it checked out right away!

-- mary_may (mary_may@hotmail.com), November 24, 2000.

Well, as much as I wish they'd stay away from such dramatic material, brain tumors don't usually give much warning, if I remember correctly. People are usually caught by surprise that they have them, and mary_may has a good point about checking himself out right away. If anyone saw Ally McBeal when Billy got the brain tumor, that was came out of nowhere too, and though usually that show is pretty unrealistic (though I love it too!), I think that's pretty acurate.

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

Does anyone know if Anthony Edwards is leaving the show after this season? If so, this could be a way to write him out. Of course, they will probably make him suffer at least until February sweeps if not May. I would hate to see this happen. The poor man, to have yet another tragedy befall him.

-- Micki (mamayn@aol.com), November 24, 2000.

As far as anyone can tell, no, Anthony Edwards is not leaving the show.

With respect to Billy on Ally McEat-A-Cookie, I had plenty of warning. I quit watching the show in December of last year, but for the half of the season I saw, it was pretty clear Billy was going through some major personality changes -- changes that, if seen in middle-aged males without any significant external explanation (emotional trauma, etc), generally cause someone to think about brain tumors. There were several points before Christmas that I pointed at the TV, looked at my SO, and said, "I bet you he's got some kind of mass."

"Okay, dear," she said. When I read through some source on the net that he'd been diagnosed with a brain tumor and was dying, I wanted to do a little happy dance -- I'd been proven right on TV for once in my life, and I wanted to gloat. The situation with Mark is a little different in that aside from the headaches, this was entirely out of left field. Like, beyond the Green Monster kind of out there. Totally unexpected.

-- Mike Sugimoto (phloem@fumbling.com), November 24, 2000.

I am not sure about this, but I remember reading somewhere that Anthony has two more years left on his contract. They can't take him away!

-- Heather (heather7021@hotmail.com), November 24, 2000.

I felt like I didn't have a warning for most plot developments in this episode. While overall this season has been very good overall, last night left a bad taste in my mouth because it seemed to be overflowing. Way too much was revealed too casually. Remember last season, when Mark remarked casually to Carol, "Well, Doug's been seeing them." (referring to the twins) and the viewers sat up and screamed "WHAT?!" at their TV's? I felt like that 100 times over this week. I did that on too many different occasions - first, Romano's "date," (hooker?)..then, Kerry's marriage (we've known the woman six years, this should have come out earlier), then the tumor (which I knew from spoilers, but was way too sudden), Chen's parents being on the racist side, and the fact that this was Kerry's SECOND time out with the cute shrink...and now we know Cleo's mother is white. It wasn't just the number of revelations, but how they came out in contrived ways to me. As my bewieldered husband (also a fairly perceptive spouse) remarked at the end, "Explosions and lesbians and pregnancies, oh my!" My advice to TPTB - less drama, more focus. They've got a lot going on right now, with each plot line big enough to take up half a season or more developing. There's no need to throw them all into one episode.


-- Becky (pattonrd@muohio.edu), November 24, 2000.

Okay, so now I'm wondering, *was* Mark's sudden brain tumor unrealistic? I thought maybe it wasn't, since I've seen movies and shows (as I discussed: Ally McBeal, though I hadn't watched much before that, so I guess I assumed from everyone's reactions that it came out of the blue, but then I read Mike's post) that have it come on unexpectedly. But then again, Mark may not be as far along as other people, and since he's a doctor, he checked out his first "episode" of strange behavior right away. So is it, or not?

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), November 25, 2000.

Sometimes the symtons of a brain tumor are very subtle. And because the symptons cans be so close to that of other more minor conditions I don't think that it is unreasonable for the writers to expect the viewers to believe that this wasn't caught before. Often people with brain tumors have episodes where they kind of space out (of course depending on the location and type of tumor), and so the person effected and the people around him/her just thinks that the person's mind was wandering. Obviously the headaches and neckaches have been the primary symptons that have been portrayed. We might learn about other symptons once this storyline continues. Afterall hindsight is 20/20!

-- Emma (webbef@hotmail.com), November 25, 2000.

Someone I work with had a tumor removed a few months ago. She'd been sick for quite a while but they couldn't find out what was wrong with her. They finally found the (benign) tumor after sending her to a large city hospital south of our smaller city. She had ten hours of surgery and is now back to work, but still experiencing many problems. I don't know her exact symptoms just that they knew something was wrong and couldn't pinpoint it. Tumors seem to be a funny thing like that. I'd say ER gave us enough clues if you were watching for them. The headaches weren't enough to make Mark go looking for answers but the not being able to talk sure was. Of course, those of us who post and read spoilers knew all along so we were watching for the clues/signs so maybe I'm not the best person to say. :)

-- Diana (dilynne@juno.com), November 25, 2000.

I wondered where they were going with the hockey injury and follow up pain and such. But I NEVER expected this. I am glad to see that some other people were surprised too. And I am getting overwhelmed with drama. Benton's nephew/his relationship with Cleo. Carter drug addiction. Corday's lawsuit. Romano's office politics. Abby's mother/ex-husband/back to nursing. Luka and the dead guy. I wonder if this is about an Emergency Room, or a room full of people having emergencies. Blast away at me if you like but- this show is becoming more and more like a soap opera.

-- Minnie (tcminnie@aol.com), November 25, 2000.

I read somewhere a few years ago that the difference between soap opera and good drama is in the writing and the acting, not the plotlines, and I think that will be the case here.

Re: Mark and Elizabeth: you know, sometimes in life, a few bad things can happen all at once, and bad things can happen at the same time as you are rejoicing about something good (pregnancy/tumour).

I know in my family that we have had several occasions when life seems to be going really well, we have just had something wonderful happen and then we were struck down by terrible tragedy. This happened when I was a teenager and again a couple of years ago. I also know of a couple who got married and found out they were having a baby straight away and then a few days after found out he had cancer ( he survived after a lot of treatment thankfully) .

Bad things do happen to people in real life - don't just dismiss it as soap opera. I for one am looking forward to this storyline with great interest to see what character development it brings for Mark and Elizabeth, and the chance to see two terrific actors handle some interesting material.

-- rb (broomie@one.net.au), November 25, 2000.

I was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last March, and it was *completely* out of the blue. I had a seizure, they took me into the ER, I had a CAT scan and an MRI and they told me I had a brain tumor. Boom. Just like that my life was changed. Since then, I've had surgery, radiation, and 4 rounds of chemotherapy. I'm wondering how realistic they'll portray the rest of Mark's journey...

-- Wendy (wendy@sameasiteverwas.net), November 25, 2000.

RB- if you read my post again you will see that the soap opera remark is not directed at Greene and Corday specifically, but rather the direction that the show seems to leading all of the characters in- soap opera lane where no one is allowed to be happy for more than a few episodes. I know people can have both joy and tragedy at the same time. I will say though, in my opinion, Mark in particular seems to be a perpetual drama victim on this show- the Erica Kane of ER. It would be nice if one of the main characters on the show had a stable life for more than ten minutes.

-- Minnie (tcminnie@aol.com), November 25, 2000.

Minnie - I do see your point re the show at large. One of the things that seemed a relief at the beginning of the season was Mark and Elizabeth so happy after the tragedies of last year.

My comments re: M/E and soap opera weren't aimed specifically at you but just in response to posts at various boards re this storyline and the potentially soap opera nature of it.

As to Mark being perpetually in tragedy - true - but I think there is a point to that. I read an article in a newspaper here in Australia a few months ago where John Wells referred to Mark as the show's "everyman" .

Mark is the everyday Joe of the cast, the regular guy who represents the ordinary person and what they may go through in life. Yes, he has been through a lot, but no more than a lot of people I know. Divorce, death, remarriage and illness are all a part of many people's lives, be it over a 7 year period or a 20 year period. Mark is just one of those people in life that we all know who tends to get a raw deal in life more often than others. Maybe I can buy all this because of the tragedy I have seen in the lives of quite a few people I know .

Besides, when Mark and Elizabeth were happy and content people were complaining they were too boring - you can't have it both ways!! (and that comment is not directed at you, just the world in general)

-- rb (broomie@one.net.au), November 26, 2000.

Wendy, wow, what a wild ride, huh? Hope you continue on the road to recovery.

-- Diana (dilynne@juno.com), November 26, 2000.

Just in general about things we haven't gotten warning about on ER/ and the whole soap opera concern. ER has this way about introducing things that have potential to give way to huge soap operatic storylines, (ie. Mark's Brain tumor, Kerry and Kim's lesbian storyline, Carter's drug addiction, Abby and her mother) but portraying them in an understated, very accurate way. I have no doubt that they'll do the same for Mark's storyline-- and it can be done, without a lot of soppy dialougue and whatnot.

Just another observation: a lot of the character's life-changing moments this year (I assume having a brain tumor does change one's life) have happened out of the blue. Abby's mom just pops in on her, Mark finds out that he has a brain tumor, I guess Benton's nephew getting shot was out of the blue, and Elizabeth's pregnancy.

-- samira (matb_west@chickmail.com), November 26, 2000.

I couldn't have put it better myself Samira!!

I too believe these storylines can be done in an understated, accurate way without a lot of soppy dialogue etc.. especially with actors the calibre of Anthony Edwards and Alex Kingston.

As to things being dropped suddenly, possibly, although from what I have heard they have given a few clues in the last fews episodes re: Mark's tumour. Also being a doctor, the seizure would have him immediately realising something is up , whereas someone else may try to ignore it or have to wait to see a doctor to know how serious it could be.

As far as Abby's mother turning up out of the blue, I think this may have been the point. Maggie has obviously had a way of disturbing Abby's life in the past, and here she is doing it again, if you see what I am getting at.

-- rb (broomie@one.net.au), November 26, 2000.

True, rb, about Abby/Maggie-- this dropping out of the blue was very consistent with Maggie's character.

I think we need to have some faith in the writers that they'll come up with a good storyline for Mark and the rest of the characters-- they really haven't let us down with any of the other major storylines that have come out of the blue. And I think this suddenness is a trend that has been in focus since last February-- the stabbing was out of the blue, per se, and after that there have been a lot of sudden storylines (major and minor) that have shaken the security of the workplace, and of the character's lives.

I've also been wondering why they chose Mark to have a brain tumor, or why they came up with the storyline in the first place. I mean, I'm sure the baby would have made for a great storyline for him just there, and I guess that's one of the reasons I'm so interested (for once!) in Mark's story arc. I really want to see the result of this whole ordeal.

-- samira (matb_west@chickmail.com), November 26, 2000.

I have denied myself to read any spoilers until today so this whole brain tumor thing came pretty unexpectantly, At first I thought that maybe he was having a stroke. I'm not glad or mad that I didnt look at any spoilers I'm more proud that I lasted this long, but I figured we have repeat epi this week so I need to get a quick peak at whats in store. A friend of mine is a nerosurgeon so I wonder what he thinks I this I see him this week and will have to ask him. But since Mark is a doctor I deffinately can understand him wanting to get it checked out immediatly. Even when my yonger brother was having migranes which I am assuming is not very common amoung ages 10-11 my parents had our nerosurgeon friend do a cat scan. which was thankfully normal. I cant wait to see Elizabeth's reaction to this news

ps sorry I digress:)

-- bridgette (bridgette713@hotmail.com), November 27, 2000.

I don't know about that, but I agree with the headaches. I came on this web sight to find out about brain tumors. My opinion is theres got to be more to it than just the headaches or even neckaches. The brain is a powerful thing and if there is something not right your body should tell you one way or another. Maybe the reason we think there is not symtons for it, we don't look at that possibility. That is my opinion but I could be wrong. I guess thats why we have to research.

-- Davida (destinee_26@hotmail.com), November 20, 2001.

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