15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Monk’

Hide the milk, people!
15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Monk’

Once reigning among the highest-rated shows in cable history, Monk put a fresh comedic spin on the police procedural formula. Tony Shalhoub nabbed multiple Emmys as Adrian Monk, a police homicide consultant with a thing for lamps, with the series balancing its comedic quirks with heartfelt moments as its main character lives with an obsessive-compulsive disorder made worse following the murder of his wife. 

Blazing a path for other iconic USA shows like Psych and Burn NoticeMonk has more than earned its spot in television history, which is why weve rounded up some series factoids to dive into... 

Monk  Tried to Be Accurate About OCD

Even though the character of Adrian Monk was somewhat of a fantastical amalgamation of various maladies, Shalhoub made an effort to spend time with an psychotherapist who specialized in obsessive-compulsive disorder to learn all he could about the affliction. Weve been careful not to treat it too lightly, and OCD sufferers and OCD support groups have embraced the show, Shalhoub explained to New York Daily News. But this isnt the Learning Channel. We try to be accurate while still being entertaining.

How Shalhoub Found His Character

During the first day of filming, Shalhoub had an epiphany when one of the writers asked him how his character felt about a lamp on the set. When asked if hed like to touch it, a lightbulb went off in Shalhoubs head. In that one second (touching the lamp), it was almost like an electric shock; I cant describe it, Shalhoub remembers. It was as if the character just came to me in that second. I got into his skin. A wave just came over me, and it became a kind of defining moment. And then, interestingly, over the next eight years, Monk couldnt go by any kind of lamp without touching it. And if he couldnt touch the lamp, he would focus very heavily on it, wanting very badly to touch it.

The Lost Episode

Season Three wouldve seen an episode called Mr. Monk Is At Sea, where Monk solved a murder on board a cruise ship. Except it turns out that no cruise liner wants to be featured as the ship where people get killed or thrown overboard, and the script was never filmed. Instead, it was turned into the novel Mr. Monk Gets on Board.

The Show Almost Starred  Seinfeld’s Michael Richards

Richards, of Seinfeld/racist tirade fame, was originally considered for the role of Monk, which wouldve proven disastrous for the show if events played out the way they did. Richards passed on the opportunity, and a potential crisis was averted.

Shalhoub and John Turturro Did  Waiting for Godot’ Together

The two actors graduated from Yale together and starred in Samuel Beckett’s famous play alongside Christopher Lloyd before eventually playing the Monk brothers on television.

The Original Character Was an Inspector Clouseau Type

Shalhoub told Australia’s The Age that the character’s original concept strongly leaned toward slapstick comedy. But I knew that the show couldn’t lean too far in either a comedic or dramatic direction, he said. In early drafts, Monk was more like Inspector Clouseau, more goofy and physical. I thought we should focus on the tragedy of the character, his difficulty after his wife was killed, and let the comedy come out organically.

Sharona Was Originally Conceived As a Black Woman

Dr. Watson to Monk’s Sherlock Holmes, Sharona was originally written as an African-American woman, according to Shalhoub, but Bitty Schram blew everyone away. Bitty had this great maternal thing crossed with an East Coast-type impatience for other people’s problems, Shalhoub explained. They (Monk and Sharona) simultaneously have a child/parent, husband/wife, employer/employee, buddy/buddy relationship.

Both Its Theme Songs Won Emmy Awards

Fans of Monk were perplexed when the show decided to chuck its Emmy Award-winning theme song and replace it with It’s a Jungle Out There for the show’s second season. It didn’t matter though, as Randy Newman’s new Monk opener went on to win an Emmy, too.

The Spin-off Webseries

Before The Big Bang Theory turned their biggest character into a spin-off child prodigy origin series titled Young SheldonMonk did it first with a 2009 show called Little Monk. Starring a young Bella Thorne, it followed Adrian Monk and his brother Ambrose solving a bunch of mysteries at school.

How the Idea Was Born

Producer David Hoberman (George of the Jungle, The Fighter) pitched the idea of a detective with OCD" to Breckman based on Hobermans own childhood experience with the affliction, coupled with a variety of phobias. Hoberman didnt see it as a big joke, Shalhoub told Huffington Post. He wanted to make sure we were being somewhat respectful to the people who struggle with this disorder. Trying to find the comedy without turning it into a mockery.

Snoop Dogg Rapped One Episode’s Opener

The doggfather appeared in the episode Mr. Monk and the Rapper, doing a cover for Its a Jungle Out There. Snoop also rapped the shows famous Heres what happened… segment for the episode.

Seth MacFarlane Hosted a Monk Reunion During the Pandemic

Introducing Shalhoub as a guy who played a germaphobe long before it was the key to survival, MacFarlane hosted PeacockAt-Home Variety Show with its first episode featuring Shalhoub as Monk adhering to safety protocols by constantly washing his hands and microwaving his mail. The bit was followed by a Zoom call featuring some of the shows cast members in character, checking in on Monk to see how his anxieties are doing. It ends with a message from Shalhoub, saying, Were all Monk now.

Peacock Is Making a Monk Movie

In March, the streaming service ordered a 90-minute film thatreportedly titled Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie and will see the original cast reprise their respective roles. The case will apparently revolve around Monk and his stepdaughter, Molly.

Fans Keep Giving Shalhoub Wet Wipes

Appearing on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Shalhoub admitted that hes changed his views on personal hygiene and sanitation since playing the character of Monk. He also said that when folks meet him in public, theyll try to shake his hand, only to pull back and give him a wet wipe first. Ive gotten a lot of wet wipes, he quipped.

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