Mr. Monk and the Actor

This was the first episode of season 5 - so Monk is now VERY well established with his contacts and with Natalie, his helper. At this point there are *two* Monk 'books' out - both involving an extremely shallow, breast obsessed Natalie. So at this point I am watching the show to see if the Natalie in the show really is as immature and shallow as she is portrayed in the book. In essence I am really hoping that she is not.

Luckily this first episode really redeems her. Monk is going to have his "astronaut" work turned into a movie, so someone comes on board to play him. There are some great moments with poor Disher thinking he'll be played by Brad Pitt and the Lt. tormenting him by egging him on.

Natalie is almost cold in this episode. She's upset that Monk is going along with this publicity, that he is in essence harming the actor by drawing him into his neurosis. It's also a very very sad episode - because Monk starts out REALLY improving as far as his psychiatry goes. But then the actor gets into the character - and decides that it's all Monk's fault that Trudy (Monk's wife) was slain. Monk quickly agrees and the two have a complete breakdown. By the end of the episode Monk is planning every-single-day psychiatry sessions.

I rank this right down with the "Lt's wife leaves him" in terms of complete downers for no reason. We haven't seen any movement at all on solving Trudy's murder. Monk isn't even trying any more. But now we have to have him feel MORE guilty about her death - and at the same time Natalie is beating on him for "dragging others down with his mere presence"? I even found the basic plotline very questionable. This guy is trapped in a situation and kills a woman *by accident*. Usually the murderers are devious and nasty and we feel good about catching them. Yes this guy was cheating on his wife - but it isn't just the same. Plus, Monk gets clues wrong?

In all, I found this a depressing way to start Season 5 - and am hoping things get better.

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