Patrick Dempsey has earned himself quite a bit of goodwill playing Dr. Derek Shepherd on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” for the past nine seasons. It was an image rejuvenation, jump-starting the actor’s career that had mostly laid dormant since the early ’90s — an actor’s dream. And that’s what makes “Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans” feel so unseemly.
The new docu-series, premiering concurrently on Velocity and Discovery on Wednesday (Aug. 28), follows Dempsey on his quest to race cars in the illustrious Le Mans. The premiere chronicles the many obstacles Dempsey faces on his way, while also illustrating his love of the sport. It begs the audience to sympathize with the actor — a near impossible feat.
At one point in the hour, Dempsey says to the camera, “Do I love acting? I don’t know anymore.” While it’s certainly understandable that one might fall out of love with their career, it’s hard to find any sympathy with a major TV star who decides he might not like it anymore and, instead, wants to race fast cars.
Dempsey is not an underdog, however the series argues otherwise. He’s a man of impressive means who can afford to fund his passion. In tonight’s premiere, it’s noted that ABC demands triple the usual insurance on their prize actor’s car, meaning he must have a closed top. This is supposed to make us feel for the man. Beautiful actor means too much to big TV network, so he needs a more expensive car. Sorry, but I can’t relate.
McDreamy says he wants to follow in the footsteps of Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and James Garner — the three other actors who’ve managed to reach Le Mans. And I wish him the best of luck. I just sincerely do not want to watch him on the road there.
Did you watch “Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans”? If so, what did you make of the premiere?