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Dr. Beaumont Rosewood needs to find himself

FOX’s newest show, Rosewood, is already off to a rocky start. From my informal study of social media chatter, the pilot was a mixed bag. The responses seemed to back up criticial consensus, including Entertainment Weekly‘s Justin Kirkland, who stated that Rosewood‘s biggest problem is not that it’s a procedural, but that it “doesn’t give viewers a clear picture of what the show wants to be.”

It would seem that some of that confusion lies with the character of Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, played by Morris Chestnut. I’m not certain whether the blame falls solely on the writing team, the direction Chestnut was given, or both, but I’m sure I’ve seen Chestnut give more nuance to a role before. As a character, Rosewood seems torn between being a snarky know-it-all detective (even though he’s a pathologist by trade) and being a guy who’s simply trying to live life to the fullest.

There have been plenty of snarky know-it-all detectives (or pathologists or whoever else) on television solving crimes. Chief among them being Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock. Sherlock is like Rosewood in several ways: He’s intensely smart, he’s quicker than most on who was behind the crime and how they did it, and he can be intensely unlikable. What makes Sherlock a success as a character, though, is that Sherlock is clearly defined. There are definite boundaries to Sherlock’s characterization, and for the most part, the writers don’t stray outside of those lines. Instead, they deepen Sherlock’s understanding of the world and his opinions about relationships through his friendship with John Watson, his emotional compass.

Of course, we’ve only gotten one episode of Rosewood thus far, and some might find it unfair to judge Rosewood (the character) on just one outing—while Sherlock has had several years in our consciousness. But there’s something about Rosewood that’s grating, even though I feel that we’re supposed to find him extremely likable. What grates on my nerves is something we haven’t seen from Rosewood in the pilot, which is true vulnerability. Sure, we get to see him talk about his illness, but he still never really lets his guard down while talking about it. Still, there’s an element of performance in it that doesn’t sound sincere.

What’s funny is that, if we’re still comparing Sherlock to Rosewood, Sherlock is somehow still likable, even if we don’t necessarily love him. I’ve taken some time to think about why I’ve been having troubles with Rosewood, and I think it’s just because we are supposed to like him, and that element of his character feels forced to me. He’s got all the hallmarks of a character we’re supposed to like: He’s the guy who’s got an answer for everything except for the thing that matters most to him. He’s attractive. He’s the pathologist to the stars. Everything’s going for him.

Yet his characterization feels half-baked. He feels rather precious in a way. He feels like a character who’s making up for insecurities by pretending to be the most suave guy in the room.

Sherlock himself seems precious nowadays, since the latest season of Sherlock seemed to be made specifically to please the fandom. But the Sherlock of yesteryear, specifically series one, didn’t ask you to like him the same way Rosewood seems to beg you to. Sherlock would solve the case, insult almost everyone, and go back home; he didn’t ask the other characters or the viewer to like him. To me, it’s that quality that made Sherlock so alluring to fans. You wanted to hate him, but you don’t; since he seems to not care about other people, you want to know what makes him tick.

Why do I keep comparing Rosewood to Sherlock, you might be asking? Well, I think Rosewood has the potential to be a great character, like FOX’s version of Sherlock. Rosewood has all the ingredients to become a compelling character, but as we get into later episodes, hopefully we’ll see that the writers figured out how to put the pieces together. Rosewood has a voice, but I don’t think it’s his voice. His voice doesn’t sound like it should be that of a quippy person. From the glimpses of characterization I liked from Rosewood, I saw a man who has a dry sense of humor, who loves life, and who wishes he didn’t have his medical condition.

I also saw glimpses of humanity, something I could connect with. Interestingly enough, Sherlock’s best quality as a character is how he gets dragged down by his personal failings. But never in the Rosewood pilot did we see Rosewood show believable vulnerability. If we get to see more of Rosewood’s humanity and vulnerability, then I think the show will become better for it.

Of course, to paraphrase LeVar Burton, you don’t have to take my word for it. What do you think about Rosewood—and Rosewood? Give your opinions below!

Rosewood airs Wednesdays at 8/7C on FOX.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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