Sometimes the show balances on an absurd tightrope of obvious jokes, pratfalls, and satellite characters that defy all reason along with crimes that are impossible to solve. Adjusting a crooked picture, picking lint off another’s jacket, or sharpening pencils until each are the exact same length, Monk also can see the details no other flat foot can catch. What the soul of the show accomplishes, though, is a deft command of the vicious contours of grief. It is the poignancy and subtlety of Tony Shaloub’s performance that has won him the Emmy and Golden Globe, and one very appreciative audience member.
Sharona, played with precise comedic timing by Bitty Schram, is his nurse, his guardian angel on earth, at the ready with disinfectant wipes in case an unwitting person comes to shake Adrian Monk's hand, and she’s there to make certain he is safe, sometimes at the expense of a paycheck or her own well-being. She props him up, pushes him forward toward an unsolved case, and stands back to bask in his achievement. Sharona is the heart of the series. And the Emmy committee robbed Bitty of her nomination.
This was one tough nutted weekend for me, I'll tell you what. I listened in helpless horror as one of my best friends told me his lover announced to him that he was in love with another man. All of Saturday and a little of Sunday was spent with Joe which was three parts Sedaris with a splash of Plath. I went on an ill-fated search for another dog, one I no doubt couldn't take care of properly but something I needed to fill the eighty-pound void I have in my life. I watched The 4400. Like a said, a tough weekend.
I needed my Sharona this weekend, as selfish as that sounds. mickster fills some of those duties but she's three hundred million miles away. Joe tries his best, anticipating my needs, eye-rolling his way through my menu of neuroses, patiently respecting my time with Billy, and even going on that damned dog search that ended up with nothing but disappointment and the grim realization that there won't be another dog in my life until I get back home, to Venice, where my yard is friendly and I'm certain there are some doggie cookies left over somewhere.
It's in the coda of Monk that always has me in tears, every single time. After the crime is solved and Monk has regained whatever dignity he lost in the process, there is a tender moment for him and his Trudy. Sometimes he just looks at her picture, running his hands over it as I do with my Guyster. Occasionally, it's Sharona's arm around his shoulder, reassuring him that she is there for him, no matter what. There's always that final twinkle that gets it just right, and makes me feel I'm not the only crazy one. Monk is still in love with Trudy and the show never casts a callous shadow on that loving light.