July 19th, 2004

ledbetter tat

My Sharona

The poor man is crippled with nervous ticks that move his shoulders in unwanted shrugs, an overriding sense of doom grips him by the throat, his compulsions lead him to repeat hamster wheel behaviors, and he’s saddled with a unique brilliance for solving crime. His beloved Trudy, killed seven years ago by a car bomb, is the junction where time stopped for him. His only hobby is to find the people responsible for planting the bomb that killed his wife. He’s a handsome devil but he doesn’t know it. His apartment is austere, immaculate, and every day he uniforms himself in the same simple tailored suit and shirt with the top button buttoned.

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.

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