It’s refreshing to once again see the Emmy award winning comedian, Patricia Heaton, in yet another lead role in a sitcom. Ever since her masterful role as Debra Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005) and Frances “Frankie” Heck on The Middle (2009-2018), she is a welcome sight for prime time comedy.
CBS releases on September 26th the first of a series that presents Heaton as a 50-year-old woman embarking on a second career as a medical doctor after teaching high school science for decades. The series begins with Carol Kenny (Heaton) starting her first day at Loyola Memorial Hospital in Southern California as an Intern, along with three other new doctors: Daniel (Jean-Luc Bilodeau), Lexie (Sabrina Jalees), and Caleb (Lucas Neff). She enters the hospital floor and the other three interns mistaken her for the Resident Doctor who is supposed to direct them. In typical Heaton style she lays out her excitement in an expressive diatribe that reflects her bubbly, self-aware character who plays up her motherly instincts to her advantage.
Pictured (L-R): Lucas Neff as Doctor Caleb Sommers, Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Doctor Daniel Kutcher, Sabrina Jalees as Doctor Lexie Gilani, and Patricia Heaton as Doctor Carol Kenney. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS © 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In an age when anyone 50 or older is often overlooked or removed from the workforce, this sitcom brings out the grace and gift that age has over the inexperienced younger interns. And it shows that women over 50 have so much life, energy and joy to share that someone in their often self-conscious and ambitious 30s does not usually have that same degree of interior freedom. It’s smart and funny while also reflecting on the cultural view of the over 50 population and their situation in society.
At 50 many people look towards retirement. But, in this economic climate, so many 50 years old and beyond are simply not able to survive on their meager retirement funds or social security and so need to continue working sometimes into their 70s. The cost of living prevents so many from simply “taking it easy” in their later years. This show gives a voice, albeit a self-deprecation one, to those who continue to make a career or change careers later in life.
Dr. Kenny runs up against the Resident Doctor, Dr. Maya Jacobs (Ito Aghayere) and is firstly assigned to obtain stool samples rather than help a patient directly. Through her motherly and womanly instincts she talks to the wife of Dr. Daniel’s patient, thus overstepping her role and disobeying orders from Dr. Jacobs. She is roundly brought to task but keeps her positive attitude, along with the help of the other interns. Daniel sees that Carol rightly diagnosed his patient with cancer and after the proof of blood work has to carry the news to his patient. He employs the help of Carol, though she was specifically told not to interfere. She kindly but directly tells the patient the diagnoses. Dr. Jacobs who later confronts her to thank her for her proper care of the patient overheard her caring conversation. All is well that ends well… at least for the first day.
Pictured L to R: Ito Aghayere as Dr. Maya Jacobs, Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Daniel, Ashley Tisdale as Jenny, Patricia Heaton as Carol Kenney, Kyle MacLachlan as Dr. Stepen Frost, Sabrina Jalees as Lexie, Lucas Neff as Caleb and Cedric Yarbrough as Nurse Dennis, of the CBS series CAROL'S SECOND ACT Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Carol’s Second Act is a smart, funny, and clean comedy that the entire family can watch together. Heaton, a faithful Catholic, lives her faith in how she chooses to act and the parts she accepts to play. The sitcom is produced by herself and her husband, David Hunt, along with several others. Her role presents a woman who makes the choice of a second career and evidently brings great success because of her caring, gentle, and kind way of treating the people who are in her care, something we all wish for in the doctors we encounter. I look forward to seeing the rest of the season and feel that same connection to Heaton I have had in her previous roles. Kudos to CBS for bringing this series to life….and may it live long!