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Fall '98: "Trinity"

Trinity is the best of the new Irish shows emigrating to a network near you. Of course, the other Irish shows on this season are Costello, To Have and To Hold, and Legacy, so that's faint praise, but it's probably the nicest thing I'll say in this article.

For those of you who somehow missed the blitz of mournful, grainy promos hawking the show on NBC, Trinity is about a large Irish family living in New York City's Hell's Kitchen. If you watch the promos, as I did, you'll learn that the show was brought to you "by the producer of ER" Fortunately for me, I caught the Trinity promo at the end of ER and was able to read the credits.

ER has four producers. One of the four produces Trinity. And it's entirely fair to say that Trinity has about one-fourth the appeal of ER -- namely by recycling the same characters that got people hooked on ER.

  • The Miserable Success. Dr. Susan Lewis resurfaces as stockbroker-cum-adulteress Fiona McAllister. It's just NBC's helpful reminder to us chicks that beautiful, successful women are failures when it comes to picking a man.

  • The Renegade Charmer. Dr. Doug Ross, ladies' man and the last doctor I'd want treating my child, is recast into the form of Father Kevin McAllister, presumably not a ladies' man and the last priest I'd want to confess my mortal sins to.

  • The Uneasy Sell-Out. On ER, Dr. Peter Benton does a dangerous dance between success in the highly political theatre of surgical medicine and his own submerged set of personal values. On Trinity, union organizer Liam McAllister dances a dangerous jig between success in the highly fatal theatre of construction unions and his not-yet-submerged set of pesky siblings.

  • The Crusading Weenie. Dr. Mark Greene is a swell doctor with a disatrous marriage he notices only after it disintegrates in a fiery crash. Detective Bobby McAllister is a swell cop whose marriage is already sending up flares.

  • The Walking Argument for Planned Parenthood. Just as Susan Lewis was saddled with her loser sister Chloe, so is the McAllister clan saddled with their own drug-addled slattern, Amanda. Trinity even borrows the will-she-or-won't-she-abort? plotline from the first season of ER I'm laying even money on the odds that Amanda becomes a mother during sweeps month.

I would write about the plots in Trinity, but they don't involve any interesting and gory medical trauma. Nor do they involve resolution -- just a lot of ceasless character exposition. Since we already know these characters from John Wells' other NBC show, all this characterization is merely boring and unnecessary.

I can only hope that ER producer John Wells begin cribbing other elements from ER. to enliven Trinity. Perhaps the clan faces a scorching crisis when Ma McAllister burns the pot roast, and the event forces the squabbling siblings to set aside their personal differences and work as a team to save the carrots and potatoes. Or maybe it's revealed that Amanda's baby is actually the result of injecting dinosaur DNA into an embryo and ...

Whoops. Sorry. Wrong ER producer.

If Trinity's characters were given half of the plots that ER. gets, then the show might be interesting. But one-fourth of the intensity -- which is apparently all one producer out of four can pillage from a show -- doesn't carry Trinity.


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