3 Lbs.

CBS (ended 2006)


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3 Lbs. Fan Reviews (37)

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out of 10
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  • I have never before felt the desire to write a negative review about anything, not even the worst show I saw up until recently. But after watching the pilot of 3 lbs. I just had to let you know what I think. This review contains some pilot spoilers.

    I don't want to tell you to not watch this show. Please watch it, especially if you're interested in TV shows in any form, be it as a person obsessed with watching them, interested in producing them or already in the business. It shows exactly what can go wrong in just about every area of production.

    First off, the first idea the entire show is based on was obviously "will be like House, M.D.," and nobody can convince me otherwise. It's the defining part of the show. You've got the same overall episode structure, the same flow of events, the same cuts, the same sets, the same characters. I don't mind shows getting their inspiration from successful concepts, art has always evolved with plagiarism. But please, at least put some effort into it. The producers of 3 lbs. obviously did not even try to get some ideas of their own into the show, they weren't even particularly interested in creating a good copy.

    The writing must be one of the most awful I have ever witnessed. The dialogues are so shallow. Half of the lines can only be described as predictable. One character starts by saying a line (most of the time not fitting the situation at all) and you immediately know what medical remark, personal comment or emotional reaction it was written to be a poor excuse for. There are no overall conversation arcs, the whole script seems to be made of isolated, short exchanges of words, at most 5 lines long. And you could swear that you heard each and every one of those chunks of dialogue in dozens of other shows before. It seems like a 'copy & paste' script.

    The acting is another topic. I found Stanley Tucci and Indira Varma quite cool, while the rest of the cast is divided into about 60% that left no impression, and 40% that left a really bad one. I'm not going to mention any names (partly because I can't be bothered to look them up), but I also can't really blame these actors, because I'm dead serious about it when I say that turning such a script into a performance that doesn't seem laughable and ridiculous takes some serious skill, and those who can pull off such a stunt are few.

    There were some points where I actually started to take interest in a sidestory or two, like the dreams of that girl patient, or the son looking for his father. While the first one has been told well, although much too shallow as I think, most of the other interesting parts were just brutally ignored. There was some real potential at times, but noone seemed to be interested in it - bar the disappointed viewer. The part with Dougs hallucinations would have had the potential to be interesting too, if it hadn't been presented so cheaply. I didn't really become interested in it, because guessing from the way it looked it would also have disappointed me anyway. And come on, anyone who has seen the pilot will agree with me on this, the part about the first words of the girl patient after the operation are the absolutely worst part of the script. Well at first, the girl just had brain surgery, is only slowly recovering, and now regains consciousness for a brief period, just long enough to wake up, take pencil and paper on the table next to her bed and write down a short note before falling unconscious again - and her mother concludes that her daughter must have written it because she recognizes her HANDWRITING? And what she has written isn't any better either. I seriously hope that the show wasn't going to try putting in any supernatural or spiritual elements, because that would be the end of TV. But it still doesn't help much, because by now the show has definitely destroyed all the potential it had for evoking any emotions in its viewers, or having them interested in the characters.

    On to the minor stuff. The music is a matter of taste I guess, but at any rate its pretty irrelevant and disconnected. The show even tried to copy House's CGI sequences, where you can have a peek at what is happening inside the patients' bodies. But to be honest, you don't even have to compare them to the sequences of the original to see how cheaply they are done. If you buy some amateur 3D software and invest 2 or 3 weekends into reading through some free online modeling and animation tutorials, you're pretty much capable of creating animations in about the same quality.

    I'd like to add a final remark about myself - I usually don't do bad reviews. If I write about a show I focus on the positive aspects, and do more like a "description" of the show, because I know tastes are very different, and I'd like the readers of my reviews to think about what they are personally looking for and interested in, and use my articles to evaluate if a show could meet those individual criteria. Plus, I am well aware of all the work and love that usually go in such projects, and it's not nice to bash work its creators might feel strongly about. But this show is just lacking any sign of "love." The people involved must have been aware of that, they must have themselves given up on the show because I can't see any real effort put into it.
    I'm usually the one who loves stuff everyone else thinks is bad. But in this case, even I can't find anything that would make this worth watching, beside the obvious role as a bad example.

    My message to the creators would be: Rewatch the episodes with a really critical eye - I know this is difficult if it's your own work, but just write down everything that would strike you as odd if it was actually happening, and everything that you're not satisfied with. Then just think about why these things are not good, and what would have to be changed so it would make sense and seem natural. Because I think it was at this stage where the show was doomed, it was this thinking that was lacking during the development of the show. If thoughts like these would have had an effect on the script, maybe the show would have been less embarrassing and more interesting, and maybe even survived.
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