TV Review: USA’s ‘Rush,’ ‘Satisfaction’

Rush Satisfaction USA Network TV Review

USA premieres a pair of new shows this week — one squarely situated in its lighthearted wheelhouse, the other more intriguingly pushing toward new frontiers. The former is “Rush,” about a bad-boy doctor who administers to those living in L.A.’s fast lane, while the latter, “Satisfaction,” is a drama about midlife crises as seen through the prism of a strained, fracturing marriage. As such pairings go, this one is unusually metaphorical — highlighting a network that appears slightly torn between the temptation to expand and test its boundaries, and simply settling for prescribing the same familiar feel-good formula.

Granted, the doctor in “Rush,” William P. Rush (Tom Ellis), is a little more damaged than most. While “House” might have favored pain pills, Rush is introduced snorting cocaine and smoking pot, only revealing his profession when the woman he’s picked up has an overdose, and he has to speed her to the ER.

Because of his clientele, Rush winds up treating a lot of really awful people, from a mega-producer who experiences what he colorfully describes as a “broken cock” to a baseball player prone to physically abusing the women in his life.

Like most such protagonists, Rush appears torn between just taking the money and trying to do the right thing, with an assortment of Jiminy Crickets in his life — including his married friend (Larenz Tate) and the ex-girlfriend who got away (Odette Annable) — whispering advice that aims to put him on a more ennobling path.

Ellis is fine, but it’s all pretty tired stuff — “Entourage” with a medical degree. And frankly, the world could do without another “physician heal thyself” protagonist whose renegade image is seemingly summed up by the decision to sport a three-day-growth beard. Heck, even the name is meant to signal the guy’s an adrenaline junkie, as if the audience couldn’t figure that out without additional cues.

As for “Satisfaction,” it’s hard to know exactly where to begin, which is interesting from a narrative perspective and challenging from a marketing one.
Neil Truman (Matt Passmore) is a successful businessman with a beautiful wife, Grace (Stephanie Szostak), and a teenage daughter. But he’s also bored and miserable, lamenting in voiceover that, after 18 years of marriage, “I need to start figuring out what the hell is wrong with me.”

Neil is equally blase about work, and he starts the change-your-life process by having what amounts to a “Jerry Maguire” moment at the office — except nobody takes his outburst seriously. A subsequent flare-up aboard a delayed business flight, however, leads to a canceled trip and a surprise at home, one that takes the series and central relationship in unexpected directions, including a new line of work.

Written by Sean Jablonski (“Suits,” “Nip/Tuck”), the extended premiere shifts its point of view — allowing the audience to see things from the wife’s perspective as well — so that it’s not just Truman’s show. The desperation behind the beautiful hedges and lawns lends an ersatz “American Beauty”-like tone, including the daughter’s not-so-veiled hostility toward authority.

Thematically, the show shares certain themes with “Married,” an FX comedy that by happenstance premieres in the same hour and also deals with the struggles of what “happily ever after” really means. Where that road goes in this case remains unclear, but for now — unlike the easily diagnosed “Rush” — this companion series warrants further monitoring. And while it’s premature to say I can’t get enough “Satisfaction,” at this point, I definitely want more.

TV Review: USA's 'Rush,' 'Satisfaction'

(Series; USA, Thur. July 17, 9 p.m./10 p.m.)  

Production

Filmed in Vancouver by Little Engine in association with Fox 21.  /// Filmed in Atlanta by Krasnoff/Foster in association with Universal Cable Prods.

Crew

Executive producers, Jonathan Levine, Gina Matthews, Grant Scharbo, Adam Fierro; producers, Dan Clarke, Shawn Williamson; writer-director, Levine; editors, Kathleen Gibson, Steve Polivka, Joe Leonard; music, Gabe Hilfer; casting, Carrie Audino, Laura Schiff. 60 MIN.  /// Executive producers, Sean Jablonski, Russ Krasnoff, Kevin Bray; producer, Lori-Etta Taub; director, Bray; writer, Jablonski; camera, Paula Huidobro; production designer, Missy Stewart; editors, Peter B. Ellis, Rebekah Parmer; casting, Bonnie Zane, Lisa Mae Fincannon, Craig Fincannon, Mark Fincannon. 90 MIN.  

Cast

Tom Ellis, Larenz Tate, Sarah Habel, Rick Gonzalez.  /// Matt Passmore, Stephanie Szostak, Michelle DeShon,  Katherine LaNasa, Blair Redford, DeAnna Russo  

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  1. Toni Haraldson says:

    I think Rush blows Ray Donovan away! talk about a crawling series to the latter. Rush makes it in an hour and he’s funny and charming.

  2. widowed in New York says:

    One word for both “Rush” and ” Satisfaction”-boring

  3. m. says:

    SATISFACTION: After four episodes, we can say the following. The story does not begin at the beginning, but rather in the middle. It is necessary to put bits and pieces together in order to fill in the blanks.

    Grace is a college graduate and has been married 18 years. Best estimate is that Grace is now 40-ish. With a sixteen-year old daughter she is probably going to be a grandmother in five years. A woman who is ever going to cheat doesn’t wait until she is middle-aged to do so … the first time. Grace is an experienced Pot smoker, therefore it can be argued that she has at least experimented with hard drugs. It is a safe bet Grace is not doing anything now that she hasn’t done before, and probably more than once.

    While on the subject of experience, Grace also demonstrates skill at cheating on her husband. Neil is an amateur, having to learn as he goes. Grace is another story altogether. She knows exactly what she’s doing. She has reservations about her infidelity, but they are not the product of a guilty conscience. They are the result of a fear of getting caught and publicly exposed.

    Grace is unhappy because her husband, Neil, is a workaholic. Actually he isn’t; and we’re only using that word because everyone understands its meaning … Neil is always working. Even when he’s home, he’s working (her own words) … and not spending any time with Grace, which is also what he would rather be doing. In all truth, neither of them is happy; but she is not even considering his feelings because she couldn’t care less about his feelings. If in reality she ever was a true partner in this relationship, she emotionally abandoned this marriage long-long ago.

    Down my way, there is nothing more honorable, noble, and respectable than a man who will literally work himself to death for his family … and that is exactly what Neil is doing. He is not a workaholic; he is a slave. He hates his job. He hates his life. He knows something is wrong and he has sought professional counseling. Grace on the other hand does not need counseling. She knows exactly what she wants … sex, and a lot of it … with someone other than her husband.

    Neil has excelled at being a provider for his family. His long hours at work have made him very successful. Neil is an all-round good man. He has provided Grace with a quality of life; a high standard of living. If it weren’t for Neil’s work ethic, Grace would be shopping in a second-hand store and driving a 10-year old Chevy. Grace is spoiled. Everything she has and enjoys … she owes to Neil.

    Grace shows her appreciation and her love for Neil by screwing her male prostitute lover in the very same bed she and her husband sleep in. Again, she has reservations about her relationship with her lover. But they are nothing more than the fear of getting caught and publicly exposed.

    Neil has, himself, started cheating … on the cheater. And there is a certain poetic justice in that. With his infidelity, he is merely following his wife’s own bad example. If she hadn’t cheated, he wouldn’t have. And let us consider the expertise being demonstrated by the two cheaters. Neil literally doesn’t know what he’s doing. He is having to learn as he goes, by trial and error. Grace on the other hand, has a skill that only comes with experience. He is really not the kind of guy to cheat. With Grace, on the other hand, deviant behavior is to be expected.

    Grace is an amoral low-life slut. This marriage has collapsed and cannot be saved. Indeed, it should not be saved. Yay, it should have never happened to begin with! Neil deserves much – much better. And Grace deserves AIDS.

    All things considered, SATISFACTION is nothing more than common PORN that has been edited for television. If the FCC is doing its job at all, it will step in and order this garbage cancelled ASAP.

  4. Daniel says:

    Satisfaction: I submitted recommendation earlier to cancel show as soon as possible but still have more to comment on. Infidelity is the most damaging act that can occur to a marriage. The USA Network asks, “Can a marriage be saved by having an affair”? The answer is NO. Your show is promoting Infidelity as the solution for modern women to bring satisfaction back into their lives. This is without regard to other options or a consideration of the consequences from such an act{s}. The offender places their search for satisfaction as more important than keeping their wedding vows. In this TV show Neil observes his wife with her legs wrapped around the escort and is lifted and getting her brains banged out against the wall. This is an image that he will never get out of his mind. He will take that image with him to his death. In addition to the image, he will never trust her again and even if he should forgive her, he actually never will. The marriage is over. The consequences of the Infidelity is the dissolving of an 18 year marriage, the loss of trust and the belief that she will cheat again, Which she will. Once a Cheater, always a Cheater.

    I believe a Network has a responsibility to do no harm. By promoting Infidelity as the modern womans way of solving a marriage problem by unconventional methods it will influence other women to adopt this solution to their own marriage resulting in many more ruined marriages.

    Please cancel USA TV Show “Satisfaction”. It is a terrible program.

  5. madman says:

    Rush. Are we supposed to like this narcissistic low-life and all the scanky low-life trash he sleeps with?
    Once again an American show that portrays most of the woman as promiscuous. Is this really the message you want to send to our youth: All woman are for is sex? Woman should be attracted to pigs and they’ll have a good time? Hmmm, seems pretty clear that that book that was written almost 2000 years ago is 100% bang on in it’s predictions about how morally depraved out world would be before the end.

  6. Couch Potato says:

    Rush is a sorry excuse of a TV show. Advertisers should be ashamed to endorse a show that graphically depicts snorting cocaine by an otherwise ‘professional.’ (House had class.)What a fine roll model, they are rolling out to the audience!

  7. TV Watcher says:

    Comparing Rush to House is complete blasphemy. The writing/dialogue – no comparison. The complexity/nuance of the lead character – no comparison. The supporting cast – no comparison. If that’s what producers were aiming for…oops. Gregory House is a legendary tv character; ridiculously shallow imposters need not apply!

  8. Ally says:

    Satisfaction is yet another male sexual fantasy show with no grounding in realty. We are expected to believe that women who hire male prostitutes are all gorgeous and look about 30, with perfect bodies? If this were the case, we would have a LOT more male prostitutes out there. It would be perfectly legal and there would be respectable agencies on every corner to manage them. The reason this is not the case in reality is because most of the people who hire male prostitutes are men and MUCH older, average to below average looking women. Maybe there are a handful of exceptions, but the “hot cougars” are the exception, not the rule. Stop feeding the delusion!

  9. Arlene says:

    I find RUSH to be beyond the ridiculous ( 2 episodes was 2 too many ) Seriously ? Who writes this crap . I loved HOUSE – Hugh L. a likable actor who developed his character into someone you knew you should probably dislike , but just couldn’t because of the glimpses we saw into his vulnerable side . His character struggled w/ addiction true – but you felt sorry for him because it would never ” fix ” neither the physical or emotional pain he was dealing w/ . Rush’s character is one dimensional at best and comes off as a self serving , egotistical pig . It pains me to admit that I actually like SATISFACTION . The trailers for the show a bit misrepresenting . I was completely turned off ( if you will ) and found the idea of watching it beyond disgusting . Imagine my surprise when I found myself listening to it while on my TBT ! I actually found it to be quite entertaining – humorous and the characters quite likeable . Is there sex ? Yes – but not too explicit and quite honestly a lot more tastefully depicted than the majority of TV today . So there you have it – the show I was hoping to like was a huge disappointment and the one I had vowed not to watch I actually quite enjoy ! They may not be able to find story lines for a second season but that has pretty much become the norm of TV today – as soon as you find a show you actually like , it gets canceled . For now I will simply enjoy being entertained and try not to think about next season .

  10. p. haag says:

    I think Rush is the most ridiculous show I have ever seen. In a world where youth has enough trouble making positive choices in life, networks release a show promong drug use and abuse.
    I am a House lover, I loved the premise of the show and Hugh Laurie’s portrayal of a Dr who thrived on the stress of being a diagnostic Dr but struggled with his addiction of pain killers. Most of the show was about his team solving a mysterious illness.
    Rush is about a Dr where the first 5 Seconds of the show was he and a girl scarcely wearing clothes snorts cocaine she stops breathing. ….where in society is that considered great entertainment? I turned it off and will not watch the show.
    I know most that read this will say just turn it off if you don’t like it, which I did, My concern is the many young people that won’t turn it off and get the notion that that is acceptable behavior especially in the medical field.

  11. happybidr says:

    Reading this little column tells me where my formerly beloved USA Network is going off the rails. Please stop encouraging this network to “test its boundaries” and leave well enough alone. Hey, USA, it ain’t broke, so stop fixing it. We tuned almost exclusively to your network and now you’re starting to forget what made you different from EVERYONE else. We liked feel good shows. Heck, this world needs a lot more of them. Who cares what the critics think? No one listens to them anyway. Haven’t you learned that yet? They’re all just wannabes anyway.

  12. CR says:

    TV shows that are build around cheating married couples and sex can’t survive a full season. They have no were to go. This show is cheap and insulting!
    Producer of this show also produced Nip/Tuck which was interesting for the first couple seasons. Then they dropped the bomb and it became cheap soft porn. Every 12 minutes there was some fill in sex scene. Beyond boring!! Satisfaction has already fallen along these lines.
    Don’t waste your time!
    And people wonder why I enjoy “TV LAND” and old reruns!

  13. persephone says:

    Satisfaction? Yawn, same old story, this one tries too hard, plain ole predictable trash, not on my tv schedule. Not worth my time.

  14. Kate says:

    WOW! Satisfaction! Original and creative and full of surprises. Well cast and I loved the pilot and emailed my friends about the show. I’m hooked!

  15. m says:

    I will not watch Satisfaction and will discourage others from watching.
    #1 – It isn’t believable. A marriage where both partners are actively cheating on each other ends in divorce, sooner rather than later.

    #2 – It appears obvious the objective is to get as close as possible to an “X-Rated” show. The entire story is built around sex.

    #3 – Shows built on sex have to titillate to survive. Sensationalism must increase in regular doses. In several places, Satisfaction has already come close to being “Soft Porn.” Where does it go from here?

    #3 – There is no entertainment value in a show whose plot surrounds a married couple cheating on each other. Has our culture deteriorated to the level of ancient Rome?

    All things considered, Satisfaction is not suitable for family viewing … it is strictly For Adults Only … and should be shown at a very late hour.

  16. TJF says:

    I found Rush to be riveting, fast-moving, likeable and hey, whats wrong with an ‘unbelieveable fantasy?” :) I like the lead, Tom Ellis, too.

    I just thought that he should have smiled less and been a touch more malevolent…. more of a tortured bada** type like Ray Donovan ( HBO ).

    I think that this show has promise but they have to tune up his frat-boy-gone-wrong persona into a slightly darker character.

  17. glenp says:

    Rush is totally hopeless reprobate (no matter his medical skills) starring in a series that requires a willing suspension of disbelief.
    Whoever thought up this completely unbelievable fantasy and thought it was good should be fired.

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