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Monday, October 26, 2009

M-M-M-Monk's Sharona

    If you tuned into USA’s Monk this weekend, you saw a familiar face. Bitty Schram, who played Sharona Fleming, Monk’s assistant for the first two and a half seasons of the show, returned. It was her first appearance since her abrupt departure five years ago, when she remarried her ex-husband and moved to New Jersey, and will likely be her last appearance on the show, which is scheduled to conclude its eight season run on December 4th.

      This episode was predictably fun, but as Monk often does, it stayed too true to the formula instead of allowing itself to roam free. Though there was no official police investigation, leading to little screen time for Randy and Stottlemeyer, the show stayed on the murder plot too much, allowing only a bit of clashing between Sharona and her replacement, Natalie. Near the end of the episode, their bickering did cause Monk to have a little bit of a breakdown and run off, but there was prime opportunity here to deal with a Monk who was hurt very deeply by his assistant leaving, and this was overlooked completely. Instead, their first meeting dealt only with Monk trying to find out what happened to a shirt that she took to a dry cleaner’s shortly before she left, one that he never did find.

      There was a bright spot, however, in that the episode did, albeit very briefly, delve into Randy’s crush on Sharona. It was an ongoing plot never resolved in the early seasons of Monk, and as Sharona left, the audience did get to see her give him a little kiss. Unfortunately, it is left up to your imagination whether anything more will happen with them. With only a few weeks left, and Sharona not announced as returning again, it is unlikely that they will end up together, though one can hope that that may be a surprise tucked into the series finale.

      Check back in this column after Monk comes to end for a review of the series finale, and make sure you watch on Friday nights, as Monk will reportedly finally solve his one still-open case, the murder of his wife, Trudy.

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