Monk; it’s one of my favourite programmes, it’s won countless Emmy and Golden Globe Awards and it’s been running for an impressive eight seasons in the States. Well, I say countless awards. I’m presuming we can only count to eight, which is unlikely. But nevertheless, Monk doesn’t get the recognition it deserves from the Geek community. I can see why: there aren’t any zombies in it, or ninjas, swords, guns, aliens, super heroes or mutants. So, even judged by my own private film and TV ranking system, it shouldn’t be all that good. But it is, and here’s why…
Firstly, Monk himself is a geek. OK, he may not display any evidence of liking Star Trek and his favourite musicians are Willie Nelson and Snoop Doggie Dog, but he’s at least as much of a geek as, say, Simon Pegg. For instance: he displays an encyclopaedic knowledge of anything that interests him; he can perform complex mathematical equations in his head; and he appears to have genuinely platonic relationships with women. This is very geek.
Secondly, in 1999 Tony Shalhoub took a leading role in Galaxy Quest, which is possibly the best science fiction film of all time. He was also in Gattaca and, sadly, Men In Black, but the least said about that the better.
Thirdly, and crucially, Monk gives the viewer the opportunity to show anyone who will watch TV with them how clever they are. And deep down you know you like this. You might not do very well when you have to watch University Challenge, but given an episode of quirky detective drama, Monk, you can solve the case before the second ad break (or before the seventh ad break if it’s being broadcast on G.O.L.D.). If only it were possible to impress members of the opposite sex by working out who committed the murder and shouting, “That’s the record. I figured it out and we’re only 17 minutes into the show.” In fact, if only it weren’t grounds for divorce…
Finally, Lieutenant Randall Disher, one of Monk’s key contacts in the police force, is a huge geek. He wants to be Captain America and even owns a set of pyjamas featuring Marvel’s premier, recently deceased super hero. He’s in a band called the Randy Disher Project, which plays both rap music and country music and he obsessively buys MP3 players with ever larger memories, on which to keep his collection of geek music (and no doubt videos of classic Doctor Who episodes).
My last piece of evidence for Disher, and thus Monk’s, geekdom is that he was originally called Randall Deacon thus demonstrating that he and fellow police officer Leland Stottlemeyer are named after Inspector Lestrade in the Sherlock Holmes series. (You have to take the first two letters of their names as they appeared in the pilot episode, LEland STottlemeyer and RAndy DEacon, to spell Lestrade.)
And, if you don’t think that last fact is very geeky, I challenge you to tell me which classic character from geek fiction you were named after. See, you can’t and you’re reading an article on a website called Den Of Geek.
So, in conclusion, I put it to you that Monk is, in fact, not only geek but über geek. It’s geek TV par excellence; it is, if you will, quintessentially geeky. Start your comments with ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, to vote for or against Monk’s inclusion in the canon of geek, and we will gather a definitive and democratic answer, an accolade which will surely take pride of place on the figurative sideboard display of Monk’s countless awards.