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Stream it or skip it?

Most medical dramas have their funny, or at least humorous, moments. It’s mainly because the relentless routine of trouble, sickness, and death has to be toned down at some point, both in fiction and in real life. But the best of the genre know how to balance the ridiculous with the tragic, the witty with the difficult. Few shows have achieved this balance, but a new BBC series now airing on AMC+ might have.

Opening shot: We see a sleeping man with his mouth open. As the camera pans around him, the man is seen sleeping in his car.

The essential: Adam Kay (Ben Whishaw) has been sleeping in his car since his girlfriend kicked him out of their house. He works as a registrar in the labor ward of an NHS hospital in London; in other words, it’s about a resident training to be a gynecologist (what he says on camera is known as “kids and pussies” using the British pronunciation of the second word) . He marks the days he worked on a notepad in his locker; the goal is to become a consultant — the equivalent of an attending physician who earns money. The year is 2006.

Even though he complains about his job, he does it pretty well and he cares about his patients, like when he sees a woman in labor outside the hospital and takes her to a service elevator when he sees that the umbilical cord is prolapsed. His street clothes covered in blood and placenta after an emergency C-section, he rents his umpteenth set of machine scrubs. He is frustrated with a young and shy resident named Shruti (Ambika Mod), but also encourages her to “watch one, do one, teach one” when it comes to forceps delivery and other procedures. But he also seems to be constantly in hot water with the consulting physician, Mr. Lockhart (Alex Jennings), who seems to regret appointing him Acting Registrar.

Adam is stressed enough from work, but his life is also in disarray. Even though he’s the best man at his friend Greg’s (Tom Durant Pritchard) wedding and is constantly pestered with texts and emails about Greg’s bachelor party, he’s pretty much given up on the idea. ‘arrange. He’s also in a relationship with a guy named Harry (Rory Fleck Byrne) but is completely in the closet about it; when they arrive at the bachelor party, they let go of each other’s hands, for example.

Mr. Lockhart calls the already exhausted Adam and asks him to cover a night shift for a clerk called in sick. To get out of the bachelor party, he volunteers. He meets a patient he sent home earlier in the day for what appeared to be a minor complaint (she thought her taste buds were spots). But when he has to perform an emergency C-section and deliver his 25-week-old fetus, something goes wrong.

This will hurt
Photo: Anika Molnar/Sister Pictures/BBC Studios/AMC

What shows will this remind you of? This will hurt reminds us of a less silly version of Scrubswhere the funny moments are balanced by moments that can only be described as heartbreaking.

Our opinion : Adam Kay, now a comedian and writer, adapted This will hurt from his 2018 book about his time as a junior doctor in the UK NHS system. Its aim was to document the ups and downs, the moments of sheer drudgery, the paperwork, the fun times and heartbreaking tragedies that ensue as young doctors work themselves sick in order to reach the ring of or: the work of a medical consultant. The first episode effectively shows all of this, thanks to Kay’s clever writing and a performance by Whishaw that makes the viewer feel exhausted just watching it.

Director Lucy Forbes gives the first episode a frenetic but not uncontrollable feel, which mimics what goes through Adam’s head as he juggles 100-hour weeks, bringing the world to life and a chaotic and clearly social life. secondary. his work. He fights the feeling that he chose the wrong profession, but when he loses a patient, he is devastated that he made a mistake that cost his mother a baby.

The funny moments are really funny, like when Adam has an instinct that a patient and her mother are racist, given how they react to Tracy (Michele Austin), the midwife on duty. It’s confirmed when he decides to let Shruti do his C-section, and his response involves a dolphin tattoo and a not very precise cut. But like Scrubs before that, when tragedies strike, they strike hard and they feel out of place next to the fun times.

Even though Adam will be the focus of this series, it looks like Kay will give Shruti a lot of time to show the perspective of a first-time resident who is still overwhelmed a few months into his job. As the series progresses, this contrast will be welcome, as it’s hard to get into Adam’s corner at times, given that he has deliberately sacrificed friendships to further his career. Also, as we enter into the lives of others in the parish, the show will become more dynamic.

Sex and skin: Besides showing incisions and torn skin, nothing.

Farewell shot: After visiting the preemie who survived the C-section, Adam goes to a strip club at sunrise. it looks like the bachelor party is going on. He sits down on a sofa, curls up and falls asleep.

Sleeping Star: Ambika Mod does a great job of showing how shy Shruti is, but how willing she is to learn.

The most pilot line: Harry says to Adam, “My second favorite doctor!” When Adam asks who his favorite is, Harry says, “David Tennant, first series. In fact, the pilot part of this is that AMC’s caption writers write “David Tennant” as “[Indistinct]”.

Our call: SPREAD IT. Thanks to a fine performance by Whishaw and a fair balance between the funny and the tragic, This will hurt has the potential to be one of the best new series of 2022.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he’s not fooling himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.comFast Company and elsewhere.