Who says no one likes a guy who’s negative all the time? Becker has got to be one of the most cynical, grumpy, and negative characters to grace our sit-com screens. He’s a guy you probably love to hate, and he’s also hilarious. Ted Danson spent over a decade behind the bar at Cheers and could have easily called it a career. You know, stop while you’re ahead. Instead he climbed right back into the television saddle and reemerged as Dr. Becker. This time he’s a medical doctor who hates everything and everyone around him. Refusing to display that little bit of a heart we all know he has, Becker spends most of his life complaining about everything. Never before has it been so much fun to watch a guy moan and groan for twenty minutes at a time. Fortunately for him, Becker is truly a dedicated doctor, and while he’s likely to complain about it the whole time, he’ll go to any extreme to help a patient.
The secret to Becker’s genius is characters. Like Cheers before it, Becker is populated with wonderfully distinctive characters played by actors carefully cast for the roles. To start with there’s his office nurse, Margaret, played skillfully by Hattie Winston. Margaret runs things for Becker in his doctor’s office. She’s pretty much his mother and the brains behind the outfit. She’s one of those straight talking ladies that don’t take any guff, and that means not even from Becker. The office assistant is Linda, played by Saw star Shawnee Smith. Linda’s used to getting by on her looks, which is fortunate because she’s naive and a little short on the intelligence front. How she got the job and holds it is anyone’s guess, but her blundering makes for some classic comedy. Becker spends much of his off time at a café owned by Reggie. Reggie is portrayed by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s resident Trill, Terry Farrell. There’s a hint of a romantic interest here. Reggie is more interested talking about her own pitiful social life than serving her customers. Jake, played by Alex Desert, is blind, and interestingly enough runs a newsstand out of Reggie’s Café. He’s pretty much Becker’s best friend and often foil. A frequent patron of the Café is sleaze Bob, played by Saverio Guerra. He’s got the hots for Reggie and just about any other woman who meets his criteria (breathing) even though he’s married to an unseen wife. Bob always refers to himself in the third person and is clearly the most entertaining support character on the show. He was a recurring character up to year three where he was finally upgraded to regular. I can’t imagine the Becker universe without him.
It’s the second season of Becker. Becker might actually regret saving a woman’s life in Point Of Contact, when she begins to stalk him in gratitude. Becker gets shot when he ends up in the middle of a parking space argument in Stumble In The Bronx. Becker’s gunshot injury might be life threatening… to everyone around him, as he recuperates over the next few episodes. Santa is dead, at least the one in Becker’s waiting room is in the extra funny Santa On Ice. When Becker decides to start doing more healthy things, his friends think he’s dying in The Rumor. In, All The Rage, Becker is sentenced to Anger Management classes. That’s also the classic episode where Linda invites Bob to live with her when he’s kicked out of his own place. Becker’s latest flame turns out to be a hooker in the season two finale, Panic On The 86th.
Each episode of Becker is presented in its original full frame broadcast format. The picture isn’t anything spectacular here, but it actually looks pretty good. Unfortunately there is some compression artifact. Still, colors are relatively strong. I’d say the transfer’s as good if not better than its original broadcast was.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is basically there to service the dialog, and it does. There’s some sweet guitar rifts throughout each episode, and they come out pretty nicely here. All in all a fairly serviceable audio presentation.
This show found its legs quickly and was firing all the way by its second season. It’s very much character driven comedy, something all too rare in today’s television landscape. Becker on DVD is just the right medicine to “make your booboo all better”.