One of my best friends has this joke that he likes to tell about House MD. He says that you could replace all the dialogue in every episode with “unorthodox practices, unorthodox practices *sarcasm break*, unorthodox practices” and never notice the difference. Well if that’s true, Private Practice’s version would go like this: “moral grey area, moral grey area *timeout for preaching*, moral grey area *sex break*, moral grey area”.

The “moral grey area” can be a really interesting device, particularly in a medical show, but at this point Private Practice is in such a predictable pattern of grey-ness that all the fascination has gone out the window. Not even Grey’s Anatomy, it’s predecessor, spends so much time discussing moral dilemmas. Maybe the problem is that dramatic cases can’t possibly come and go at Oceanside Wellness as often as they do at Seattle Grace, so the ones that are there have to be more complicated than dangerous. But still, giving patients interesting character stories instead of this pattern of ethical debacles would be a very welcome change.

And speaking of change… let’s try and get rid of the preachiness. I often feel like I’m watching the adult version of an afternoon special while watching Private Practice. This week alone we tackled euthanasia AND abortion. The sermons so far this season have touched on everything from incest to pedophilia to polygamy to conception for the sole purpose of organ donation. Private Practice feels less like a television character drama and more like an hour of social studies class.