Did Natalie Save Monk?

The Wall Street Journal thinks so

Ms. Howard’s casting was a variation on the understudy-to-the-rescue bit. Midway through the series’ third season, audience favorite Bitty Schram, who played Monk’s no-nonsense nurse/assistant Sharona, made a precipitous departure. Reportedly, there was a contract dispute. […]She got the job as Monk’s aide-de-camp and partner in crime-solving. She also got a cool welcome from a certain number of fans who were no more fond of change than the troubled Adrian Monk himself.
“People would say to me ‘I really didn’t want to like you,'” said Ms. Howard, who understands that they were protective of the show and protective of Monk. “He can be very mean to me. But if I say one little thing to him, people react. When you think about it, he’s very selfish. But he gets away with it.”
She won over the doubters — and the detective — blending firmness with palpable sympathy for Monk’s myriad quirks and phobias

8 thoughts on “Did Natalie Save Monk?”

  1. Lee — I don’t know if Natalie saved Monk, but, over the seasons, I’ve come to like her much, much better than I ever liked Sharona. Natalie is someone I’d get along with, and I think Sharona would drive me as crazy as she drove Monk. Sad the show’s ending.

  2. I liked Natalie from the first. Altho I enjoyed Sharona, she was a nurse who understood Monk’s eccentricities. Natalie is a gal like me, with the vaguest clue about the level of Monk’s OCD and no training in how to treat him. She seems equal parts sympathy and “yea, get over it.” I like that in a character.

  3. It took me a long time to warm to Natalie, I preferred Sharona and kept hoping she’d come back. I do like Natalie (and that your books are from her point of view have helped me warm to her) – altho it seems an overstatement to say she saved Monk. I enjoyed your book that broke Sharona back for a bit – closure helps even with fictional characters!

  4. I will admit I was one of the sceptical ones. I liked Sharona and couldn’t figure out how they would replace her. I had enjoyed Traylor in “Two Guys and a Girl” (Yep, I am one of the three people who watched it to the bitter end), so I was willing to give her a chance. And I fell for her in the very first episode she was in. It’s still one of my favorites of the series.
    Frankly, I was beginning to feel the entire show was going too far over the top during season three, and I think introducing a new character made it a bit more grounded. So quite possibly introducing a new character did indeed save the show. And it might just be going a bit over the top, too.

  5. Lee – Although I am a fan of yours…my enjoyment of the Monk tv show “jumped the shark” when “Sharona” was fired…I mean left the show (though I read the books on a regular basis). “Natalie” to me is just too vanilla, I miss the more dramatic reactions from Sharona, and the hidden/budding romance building between her and Randy.

  6. I prefer Natalie over Sharona. She’s a much more likeable character.
    Plus, besides being a very good actress, Traylor Howard is incredibly cute. I still hope the producers turn MR. MONK GOES TO HAWAII into an episode so we can see her in a bikini.


Leave a Comment