acronym for Emergency Room. NBC's treatment specializes in more reality than TV usually gives and many rotating steadycam shots. Of course there's still a bit of soap opera as well, which is understandable seeing all of the beautiful people on the cast. To name a few:
George Clooney, Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards, Julianna Margulies, Eriq LaSalle, Gloria Reuben, William H. Macy, Laura Innes, Alex Kingston, ... and a bunch more. That's what I could come up with off the top of my head.

A filler word, such as "um" and "uh", but more common in typed communication. Used almost like an emoticon in chat and other informal net communications. Often used to indicate sarcastic content, as in "Windows is, er, not exactly a secure OS".

This one might be called "ER, or how the French discovered that some Americans do have a brain after all."

Okay, so before to downvote me to abyssal levels, sit back and relax, and read on.

First, let me describe the background: we're somewhere around the mid-90s, and French tv programmes are filled with American crap of the 80s. When I say crap, I really mean crap - at that time, Johnny Depp's character in "21 Jump Street" was the most prominent intellectual figure I can think of. Our natural conclusion went along the lines of "dirty yankees ruining our magnificient culture with their stupid, dumbing shit, what else would you expect from cultureless cow boys" (but here this is the most frequent conclusion of about any debate in which the US are involved).

Needless to say, those "crappy tv series" that everybody hated so much reached Himalayan audience levels among our oh-so-brilliant-and-cultivated fellow citizens (how do you think I know that Johnny Depp played in 21 Jump Street ?).

Of course, some of us already knew that American tv programmes might be very good indeed (because they had been able to see Seinfeld, Twin Peaks, etc. on cable tv, which was quite rare at the time), and that only the greed and risk-averseness of our own TV networks had led to that situation. But all in all, the result was the same : to 95% of the French population, "american tv series" was synonymous to "commercial piece of shit", and was used as such in everyday conversation.

And then there was ER. Ouch ! For the first time, the majority of us were able to see an american tv show where real characters, with real stories, real personalities and real feelings, led real lives in an (almost) realistic environment. The complex psychological descriptions were especially surprising for us - many of us were sincerely convinced than only in a french film could such a thing be found, and Hollywood had done little to change our minds on that subject.

All in all, the broadcasting of ER on a (state-owned !) french television channel has done more against stereotypes anc cliches on this side of the atlantic ocean than any other documentary/fiction/whatever tv programme. This contribution to transatlantic mutual understanding may be an unexpected effect, but will certainly not be the least important one.
ER began as a collaboration between Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton. Their initial goal was to come up with a movie based on the doctors and events in a hospital emergency room, to be directed by Spielberg. However, things didn't quite go as planned and the project was dropped. Spielberg directed a movie adaptation of Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park instead.

Crichton kept at it, though, and his plan for a movie evolved into a plan for a television series, which he came to believe would be a much more fitting way of telling an ongoing, continuous story. Warner Brothers produced the show and NBC picked it up in 1994. The show instantly shot up to number one in the ratings.

Eight years later, ER is still one of the most popular shows on television, consistently ranking first in its timeslot. It also holds the distinction of being one of the most realistic, well-written, well-acted and (perhaps not coincidentally) expensive shows on TV. The cast has gone through many changes since the first episode, but even though only two original cast members remain (with one leaving the show this season) ER is every bit as good as (if not better than) the day it first aired.

It's also no coincidence that the show has boosted the careers of many, many people. George Clooney went from a relative unknown to an international superstar almost overnight, as did (to a lesser extent) Noah Wyle, Ming-Na Wen, and Julianna Margulies. In addition to actors, ER has spawned several other big names. Director Mimi Leder got her start directing episodes of China Beach and, later, ER. Quentin Tarantino even directed an episode, although his career was already well-established.

All in all, this show has some of the highest production values on television, and is probably responsible for the recent bombardment of high quality TV -- something that I don't think anyone's complaining about.

It might help some American folks that "er" alone in British English isn't to be pronounced like the last syllable of "maker" but like the last mumble of "butter", rather like the American "uh", but utterly different than "Ah."

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