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"Inconceivable" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 10/17/2005

FOX’s “Head Cases.”  It wasn’t a bad show…but it got cancelled.  The WB’s “Just Legal.”  It also wasn’t a bad show…but it got cancelled as well.  The third new show of the 2005-2006 TV season to get cancelled, NBC’s “Inconceivable,” was a bad show though, and it deserved the cancellation that it got.

The Family Options Fertility Clinic is a business where women get assistance in conceiving a child when the normal methods don’t always pan out.  Dr. Rachael Lu (Ming-Na) and Dr. Malcolm Bowers (Jonathan Cake) founded the clinic.  Rachael has a son named Noah (Andrew Vo) that she conceived with the help of Malcolm through in-vitro fertilization.  Noah wants to find his birth father though, even though Rachael doesn’t think that it is a good idea.  Malcolm is a player (think Christian Troy from FX’s “Nip/Tuck”), but he is currently fooling around with Nurse Patrice Locicero (Joelle Carter.)  The founders acquired a new partner named Dr. Nora Campbell (Angie Harmon), a woman Malcolm had dated in the past, at the end of the first episode.  Psychologist Lydia Crawford (Alfre Woodard) screens all possible surrogate mothers for mental defects and more.  Office manager Marissa Jaffee (Mary Catherine Garrison) is a perky, sensitive blonde.  The clinic’s attorney, Scott Garcia (David Noroña), is a gay man who is having a baby with his partner Jim Kleckner (Jonathan Slavin) through a surrogate woman named Nina (Amanda Foreman.)  Medical technician Angel Hernandez (Reynaldo Rosales), embryologist Asher (Hank Harris), and lab technician Lenny (Kevin Chamberlin) fill out the staff.

In the first episode, there is a bunch of stories going on at once.  There are four main stories going on though.  In the first story, a woman named Tammy Rowan (Elizabeth Janas) gives birth to a baby for a couple named Dan (Casey Biggs) and Adrienne Lidstrom (Emily Cline.)  The problem is that the baby is half-black, and both Tammy and the couple are white.  Malcolm is confused, because he swears that he did the insemination correctly, and Lydia feels guilty that she didn’t screen Tammy right.  The couple doesn’t want the baby, and Tammy can’t afford to take it.  Marissa has been caring for the baby in the meantime, and she wants to adopt it.  Unfortunately, for her, the birth father named Paul (Jarvis W. George) shows up, so she has to give up the baby.  In the second story, a Marine named Greg Lopez (Sam Witwer) wants to fertilize his wife Kelly’s eggs, using her sister Pam Gaines (Audrey Wasilewski) as a surrogate.  Kelly had died over in Iraq (she was a soldier as well), but Greg has reservations about actually going through the process, because it wouldn’t be with Kelly.  He decides that he doesn’t want to go through with it, and Malcolm disposes of Kelly’s embryos.  In the third story, a reverend named Ted Gilley (Jim Abele) and his wife Ellen (Lisa Waltz) are an over-40 year old couple who are having trouble conceiving a child.  Ellen considers using another man’s sperm in order to conceive, and she asks Malcolm if he will do that.  He doesn’t do it, but he contacts Nora about having her do a cytoplasmic transfer (it’s some medical procedure that she is good at doing.)  In the fourth story, Jim is stalking Nina because he thinks that Nina isn’t living a healthy enough lifestyle, and that it is endangering the baby.  In the supermarket, it was Jim’s stalking that saved Nina and her baby, because she went into labor early and gave birth to a healthy daughter named Rose.  Meanwhile, Patrice is screwed over by Malcolm, so she gets revenge by seducing Malcolm one last time, collecting his sperm in a specimen cup (eww), and switching the cup for that of Reverend Gilley.  Someone sees her making the switch though (dum dum dum!)

In the second (and final) episode, Nora arrives, and she immediately clashes with Malcolm.  The Lindstroms are threatening to sue over the mixed-race baby, and they want the clinic closed.  Rachael looks for a surrogate mother for her best friend Suzanne Cohen (Melinda McGraw) and her best friend’s husband Dave (David Newsom) when the previous surrogate, Diane, backs out a week before the procedure.  Patrice starts getting threatening emails.  Malcolm and Nora propose to the Gilleys the cytoplasmic transfer, a procedure that is illegal because the FDA thinks that it is too close to cloning.  Marissa looks for a woman, including a woman she meets at a park (Susan Leslie), to sell some of her breast milk, because Scott and Jim have run out of Nina’s milk.  Lydia meets with a couple named Sam (Victor Webster) and Joanne Marrak (Cindy Ambuehl), whom Joanne doesn’t want using her own eggs to get pregnant.  She finds out that Joanne has been using birth control, and the reason why she doesn’t want to use her own eggs is because she was ugly as a child, which was corrected through extensive plastic surgery.  Malcolm doesn’t have a problem with it, but Rachael and Lydia do.  Lydia tries to talk Joanne out of the procedure, or to at least tell Sam the reasons why behind it.  Nora proposes an offer to Malcolm and Rachael to be a silent partner of the clinic in exchange for a sizable loan to them.  Marissa buys a breast milk stimulator to donate her milk to Scott and Jim, and Rachael offers to be Suzanne’s surrogate herself.  Lydia has Sam see a graduation video of Joanne before the plastic surgery, and he and Joanne decide to call off the procedure and get to know one another again.  After getting a talking-to by Scott over Ted not signing the consent form yet for the cytoplasmic transfer procedure, Malcolm tells Nora that he doesn’t think that they should go through with it, which she argues with him about it.  Scott refuses Marissa’s offer of her milk, and Dan tells Lydia that Adrienne has left him.  Patrice gets nervous when Nora does tests on the sperm sample that she swapped, and she still gets the mysterious emails.  The Cohens decide to take Rachael up on her offer.  Finally, Dan mows down Lydia in the parking garage with his car and crashes into a pole, and it appears that both are dead (though the previews for the never aired third episode say that Lydia’s life “is in question.”  Since Woodard is now a part of ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” I’m guessing that she didn’t make it.)

When the ratings for the first two episodes were horrible, NBC decided to replace it temporarily with a rerun of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”  They intended to bring it back the following week, but when that rerun came back with better ratings than either of the first two episodes of this show had done, NBC made the right decision to axe it.

There is a major reason why it was bad.  Creators Oliver Goldstick and Marco Pennette wrote the scripts filled with such bad dialogue and stupid plotlines.  Honestly…how many people looking for unethical methods to conceive and procedure mistakes can they have before it gets old?  This show would have run out of creative juice before the end of the first season.  What did they attempt to do in order to combat the creative problems?  They added soap opera elements, like the Patrice storyline, and the (supposed) death of Lydia.  When it looked like they would have to recycle stories, they went with this angle.

Why did such a talented cast sign up for a show that they had to have known was going to be bad?  Ming-Na was going to be pregnant in real life during the filming of this show anyways, so that’s probably why they added the best friend surrogate story.  Harmon went from being respected on NBC’s “Law & Order,” to being the hottie agent in 2003’s Agent Cody Banks, to this show.  What was she thinking?  If Chris Noth can come back to “L&O,” why can’t she?  Cake was surprisingly entertaining as Tyrannus in ABC’s miniseries “Empire.”  Why did he decide to rip off Troy from “Nip/Tuck?”  Woodard’s character being killed was probably a mercy killing.

I don’t think that anyone is going to have post-partum depression over the loss of “Inconceivable.”  I was actually willing to give it a couple more weeks because of the cast, but I guess I don’t have to worry about it now.  This show’s fertilization into the minds of the TV watching public just didn’t take.


Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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