ER: The premise : LUSENET : ER Discussions : One Thread

I was thinking about the very first episode of ER (the pilot). We entered the ER world through the eyes of medical student John Carter. I am wondering if the premise (and therefore the "magic") of the show is this perspective. Therefore the audience has to stay slightly naive, overwhelmed (and sometimes delighted) by the strange unique world of the emergency room as Carter was that first day. If so, this would explain to me why Carter never really grows up (in relationships or judgment) despite his years of experience and increasing competence as a medical doctor. (Golden Rule of Television: never kill off your premise.) I would be interested in others thoughts on this.

-- (, January 21, 2001


I have always seemed to think that we saw a lot more through Carter's eyes than other characters. That while we went through issues with Mark, Doug, Susan, Carol, Kerry and the whole ensemble, it always seemed that Carter issues were most explained and clear. I do think that we are suppossed to keep a naive type of perspective, and maybe because of that, it seems that we have more of a "Carter" view on things. I tend to marvel at how much we have seen him go through over the course of six years, how Carter seems to be the child we are watching grow and learn. When something good happens to him, you want to be happy for him and when something bad happens, you're upset and feel bad. I'm not saying that the other characters don't have this effect on me, but the effect is not as strong as Carter. I don't know if that's intentional, or if it's because I just really like Carter. I really like Mark too, and his issues never seem to affect me quite as much.

-- Joanne (, January 21, 2001.

I would totally agree with you guys. Except I would have to say that I am more affected by Marks' issues - mainly because I think they have always been more intense somehow.

-- Tara-Jane (, January 21, 2001.

I disagree with your interpretation. Carter has changed. He was overwhelmed in the first season. It was magic because he had no idea what was going on. ("Someone call a doctor - You are a doctor.") Everyone helped him. Now he has experience. He helps others. The Carter magic has changed, subtly and evolutionary, but it is different.

But, was not the viewpoint of Doug Ross part of ER magic - one of a rebel, putting the patients above the rules. Or Carol Hathaway seeing the ER through the head nurse, knowing when the rules must be broken and when not. Or Jeanie Boulet never putting her life subordinate to her job.

Or Mark Greene as the ambitous experienced doctor never achieving his desired future. When Mark was down, the ER was work, nothing special, nothing unique. He mistrusted patients and doubted his ability. Mark and his story lines had no spark, for a couple of years. But, Mark's troubles did not bring down the show, because of the spark of others. When Green was down, Weaver rose up and Jeanie, as always, sparkled.

To see the ER through Carter means that you consider John Carter to be the main character. That was not before and still is not true. Surely, George Clooney was the top star from the beginning, but Doug Ross was never the centerpiece. No one wa

-- Zorbo (, January 21, 2001.

It's from this aspect where I know that my view of Carter is because Carter is my favorite character. I'm not saying he's the main character and I never thought he was. We've seen Carter go through a lot, but we've seen all the other characters go through a lot too. Each character had it's own principles to stand for and it's way of understanding. Carter's was naive, confusing and overwhelming. If you take the show that way, then it seems like Carter is the premise in the show. If you take it differently, it may seem like Mark's, Kerry's, Doug's, Carol's, etc. It's all how you watch and react. I relate mostly to Carter, therefore, he has always seemed to mean more to me than the others, even though I am interested in all of them.

-- Joanne (, January 21, 2001.

Actually, I think you're right about seeing the ER through Carter's eyes. If I remember correctly, at the beginning of the series, the show was said to be based on Michael Crichton's experiences in med school and internship. And since Carter is the med student we watched "grow up," I think he was (is) Michael Crichton's alter-ego and central character.

-- christine (, January 24, 2001.

Michael Crichton was quoted as saying there was a part of him in each of the original doctors -- Carter, Benton, Ross, Greene, Lewis.

-- Phyl (, January 24, 2001.

Well, I'm as big a Carter fan as any, and certianly I take intrest in his story lines and empathize with him, but it seems to me that the origional premise of ER started through Mark's eyes. I know that the shw has evolved since then, but i believe that Mark really started off as the main character. In the Pilot , we come on to the show during his shift, and we see how he reacts to different people...Carter the new guy on the block, Benton and the whole ER/Surgery rivalry, His friend Susan struggling with athourity, he hadto deal with Doug, with Carol. It was really his show at first. He was the middle of the line- a resient. He could be taught by people like Morganstern, but also teach Carter and Susan. Also, it was his family life that we were really first introduced to.

-- Jess Dara (, January 24, 2001.

I totally agree, Jess--the original premise of the show was seeing life in the ER through Mark's eyes. Remember, the pilot began and ended with him coming to consciousness during points in his shift, and he was definitely the center of the ER during the early years. While that centrality has been diluted of late, I still consider him the heart of the show, and I am afraid it will be a very different show after AE leaves.

-- Mary (, January 25, 2001.

After writing a 37 page paper on the use of popular television, and more particularly ER, as a means to educate the population about certain contemporary issues, the above threads are a true tribute the writers of the series. It is my opinion however that the usage of "seeing through one characters eyes" was mainly used to draw the viewer in and to give him/her the primary points of comparison. The ability for the audience to relate to a given character is crucial to the success of the series. Particular focus on characters such as Carter and Greene was applied as a result of market research that clearly outlined them as being "realistic people" that people could relate to. Other characters may have enjoyed far more popularity (ie. Clooney)but have not attained the same level of understanding from the audience (which is quite diverse I might add). This is in my opinion the source to the focus and approach.

-- claust (, December 11, 2001.

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