Emily Owens, M.D. Review: Freaks and Geeks

at . Comments

Emily Owens, M.D. is a show with a lot of heart. Unlike the other programs in this genre that debuted this year, EO feels like a winner. The narrative is cohesive. It's quirky and smartly written, while still treating the medical cases seriously.

As the CW's foray into the medical drama arena, I'm giving it two thumbs up.

First Day of Work

The pilot did a great job of explaining both the series and introducing the characters.

The premise is this: Emily starts the first day of a surgical residency feeling that she's finally "grown up." She's left the anxiety and insecurity of her younger years behind her. That is, at least until she finds that the hospital is an awful lot like high school. The issues of belonging, insecurity and jealousy remain as do the cliques, as Tyra Dupre, daughter of the hospital's Chief of Staff, points out.

Tyra: You've got your jocks, aka the orthopedic surgeons. Mean girls go into plastics. Your All-American, girl next door types, they're gonna be in OB. The true geeks, they're the neurologists. The rebels are in the ER. Stoners, anesthesia, and peds gets your sanctimonious church-goers.
Emily: How about us.
Tyra: Surgery's a melting pot, a little bit of everything, which basically means none of us get along. | permalink

Emily is immediately confronted with her Ghost of School Years Past, Cassandra Kopelson, the girl who caused her to gain the unfortunate nickname "Pits" during a debate in high school. Cassandra, who smells blood in the water, is unable to let the past go and has the capacity to instantly transform Emily into the same girl she was back then - shy, slightly awkward, nervous.

But Cassandra's shark-like attacks are a cover for her own insecurities, setting these two up as great foils for one another. Foils with a boy in the middle.

Will Collins is Emily's friend and study partner from med school. And potential love interest, because what drama would be complete without one of those in the ensemble, right? They've both ended up at the same teaching hospital and we know from Emily's many voiceovers that she wishes things were more than just friendly between them. All of his signs point towards reciprocation of those feelings. But when Emily, at the behest of a 12-year old patient, screws up enough courage to tell him, he sends her running for a pack of Ring Dings when he says he doesn't see her like that.

At the end we see him flirting with Cassandra, which I hope isn't an attempt to force a triangle because, quite honestly, those are feeling a tad overdone these days and sparks weren't exactly flying from my television set when the two were together. It will be refreshing to see them remain platonic if the writers go in that direction, and I sincerely hope they do. That opens the door for Emily and Chief Resident Micah Barnes to get together, which might complicate things nicely since he is her superior and has an ailing mother to care for.

But back to the voiceovers for a second.

Can I just be honest and say that, while it may not be popular TV-viewing opinion, I love them? Because I do. I love a good soliloquy, especially in a show centered on one character. If Emily is my main character, the one I'm supposed to root for above all others, I want to know what's going on in her head and voiceovers do that in a way that doesn't seem like dialogue placed solely in the episode so that the character can say what she's feeling out loud to another character.

And with a character like Emily, who seems very in-her-own-head, they work. They're the equivalent of first-person narrative in the television world, and as a book lover, I appreciate a good first-person narrative.

Okay, okay, enough waxing philosophic about the voiceovers. (Though if you want to read more of them, a couple of them are here on the Emily Owens, M.D. quotes page. I couldn't help myself.)

I'll admit, the opening scene where Emily ridicules a high school student felt at best unrealistic and at worst stupid. I was kind of afraid our main character would be some completely inept, awkward bumbler regarding everything she did, including practice medicine. I crossed my fingers that the show would get better because otherwise, it would make for a long, long season of reviewing. I was happily rewarded once Emily gave herself a pep talk and stepped inside the hospital.

Emily Owens is the perfect balance of science and soul. She's confident in her professional life and insecure in her personal one. While she's intimidated by those who would see her fail for their own gain, she's sure-footed enough to keep that from happening, even if she doesn't see that about herself. In fact, I think it's how unassuming she is that makes her a likeable character. She's surrounded by a supporting cast of characters who (mostly) shine in their own right while adding to the main character's story instead of detracting from it.

So now it's your turn, TV Fanatics. What did you think of the premiere of Emily Owens, M.D.? Vote in our poll and then talk to me! I want to hear your thoughts.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (91 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


i'm so sad it got cancelled! it's a great show but it just got picked up by the wrong station...the cw does not have the right demographic for this show...it should get picked up by some else more suitable!! PLEASE I love this show!


I was curious to watch Mamie Gummer and to see if she could carry a show -- especially a hospital drama, a genre I generally detest. (That goes particularly for "Grey's Anatomy." Ick. I still feel my brain cells exploding anytime I catch a glimpse of simpering Ellen Pompeo or any castmember for that matter -- with the exception of Katherine Heigl, probably because she had the good sense to leave the show.) By contrast, Gummer makes Emily Owens a pleasure to watch. She's natural and quirky and her costars are very good, particularly her savvy, cork-screwed, lesbian colleague. Owens is also very funny. Trying to be cool, she misses the mark with the opposite sex, with rivals and with clothes. I loved the scene where she unwinds her endless scarf as if to say, "What's with this stupid, ubiquitous fashion statement?" It's a feat that she pulls off both literally and figuratively. (There's something about her self-deprecating humor that reminds me of Mary Tyler Moore in her eponymous role. That's a good thing. A very good thing.) The writing is first rate. Kudos to everyone. I'll be watching.


I love this! I'm a Grey's Anatomy lover and i thought i'll never like this. Suprisingly, i liked it! :)


In case nobody knows, Mamie Gummer (aka Emily Owens M.D. is the daughter
of Meryl Streep.


I enjoyed this show. Emily is easy to root for and funny to watch. I love the fact that after pouring her heart out and getting rejected she did not cry. She was embarrassed and hurt but she got passed it and I liked that. I don't think her chemistry with Will is that good but I like her with all the other characters. I also love that she knows what she's doing, she's a great doctor even if she is a dork. I plan to watch more of this show and hope it gets even better.


This show is what it is, and does it well! I left Grey's when they lost George and shoved gay in my face and bed hopping became the norm. As long as they keep the dialogue short(I don't enjoy using closed caption)and the sex to a "bare minimum," I'm in for the long haul. I was a full-time caregiver for my mom for 10 years and the emotions came back from this show that reminded me it was all worth it in the end. I just want to enjoy this show like the early Grey's. Don't politicize and keep it light. The patients' stories should be the "stars," but Gummer rocks!


Since I don't watch Grey's anymore and House is gone from my life, I'm in need of a medical drama. I liked the pilot and from the set-go felt the storyline of her crush on her friend a little forced. Dr. Micah, on the other hand, talk about instant chemistry! I can't wait for something to happen between them. The medical aspect was well handled, with lots of heart and drama. I'll comeback for more.


Elisabeth L. I find very interesting what you said, the parallel with Emily and the girl and I agree, it seems like we don't really grow up. I guess it's the theme of this show. They presented it to us by saying a hospital is like high school...


I liked it. I hapen to see it by chance online on the Project TV free site. I found it very likeable and couldn't wait to see episode 2 (not realising that there was only one episode available). My one disappointment though was that they made the black friend (and the head doctor's daughter) gay. Now why did they have to go there? She reminds me of the girl in Hawthorne. So what, because that one was straight, they make this one gay? The token gay character? So not buying that, but I like Mamie Guber (didn't realise it was her from The Good Wife until I read the posts here), and plan to continue watching, but if they start shooting too many lesbian scenes down my throat and any woman on woman kissing, I'm gone.


I saw this at the CW preview, and it was totally annoying. I find Emily a character I just want to slap, and the other characters were equally annoying. I do not feel this show is compelling, and the characters are not likable. And I wanted to like it because I always liked Justin Hartley on Smallville.

Tags: ,

Emily Owens, M.D. Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Tyra: You've got your jocks, aka the orthopedic surgeons. Mean girls go into plastics. Your All-American, girl next door types, they're gonna be in OB. The true geeks, they're the neurologists. The rebels are in the ER. Stoners, anesthesia, and peds gets your sanctimonious church-goers.
Emily: How about us.
Tyra: Surgery's a melting pot, a little bit of everything, which basically means none of us get along.

I wasn't one of those kids who thrived in high school. I was geeky. Alright, I was very geeky...high school was rough. But, you know what got me through? The knowledge that I'd outgrow all those feelings of insecurity and in