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'John From Cincinnati': Faith healer

Johnc Hey Doctor Smith, welcome aboard. In Sunday's episode, Shaun's doctor from the hospital resigned his post, unable to reconcile the boy's injuries with his lickety-split healing. He was having the de rigeur crisis of faith for a man of science - did he just witness a miracle, as the newspaper proclaimed on its front page?  To try to get a better sense of what's going on with the Yost family, he headed over to the Not-So-OK Corral, the hotel where Butchie lives, and uncovered...well, nothing. Pretty much just a mess of people acting in an irrational way.

On some level it was nice to have a character who is so directly a stand-in for the viewing audience at home.

It's odd to say that nothing happened when, in fact, there were several developments in the episode: John was kidnapped and stabbed by a bunch or border thugs, and Vietnam Joe picked him up and, thanks to a touch of John's own divine intervention, healed the wounds. Filmmaker Cass slept with Mitch, witnessed him levitate, and then started having visions of her own. Linc fired her, afraid that she was buying in to all the miraculous hocus-pocus that surrounds the Yost family. Butchie and Kai hooked up in a scene that might actually have been cute and touching - the misfits finally finding each other - if both of them didn't look like they were in such dire need of soap. And Bill, Ed O'Neill's character, spent minutes (that seemed like hours, frankly) ranting to his birds.

In almost any other show, having several main characters have sex, another one almost die, and still others lose what little of their mental stability is left would be one slambang episode. But in 'John From Cincinnati,' no single action is given any more import than any other. A viewer can't tell what's noteworthy and what's gibberish. We're just along for the ride - but as any beach bum would tell creator David Milch, a wave has to crest eventually.

-- Ann Donahue

(Photo courtesy HBO)

Comments () | Archives (9)

I think the show is brilliant. The characters are just that and very fascinating. Give this show a chance. There is something quite mystical going on here and that in itself has me hooked. Acting and writing exceptional.

I have to see that JfC is one of the worst shows ever put on Television. I say that because of the budgets, the potential, the cast, etc. This show is totally unwatchable.

I am really enjoying this show. I look forward to seeing how it develops. The characters are fun, and the story is tough to predict. It appears from messages here that it will not be a hit to match the Sopranos or even Deadwood, but thankfully, HBO is not as rash as the broadcast networks and will not cancel it before it runs its course.

was that iambic pentameter that i caught ed o'neill's character reciting, as he chatted with his birds? only milch ;-).

Fascinating show. It has been a long time since I have watched a show where I can barely wait for the next episode. The writing and characters are wonderfully diverse and authentic. I do not even mind listening to Bill.

I enjoy the not-so-subtle references to brain implants and the neck.

It's fun seeing actors from "Deadwood" reappearing in JFC for one thing. Hoping that Swearingen shows up for a guest spot at least. Milch's writing is as odd as Deadwood's was, but that's part of its charm too. This show certainly is provacative even if it is slow and one wonders where it's going, but it is a fun ride and worth tuning in for each week.

Did anyone else see that Cass is driving the same car that Linc drove when he was formerly called Dylan and lived in 90210? And wasn't Dylan some sort of stereotypical soul-surfer?

I am not buying into this show - the lives of surfers are kind of dull, according to this offering.

Are there any tapes or DVDs of John in Cincinatti out yet? Personally love the show. Notice that coworkers who were addicted to the Sopranos are all from the New York area, but as an ex Californian, JFC speaks to me more. Not that the Sopranos wasn't excellent and maybe more well constructed....


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