That catchy opening ditty, which yanks me into the quirky, goofy, world of Mr. Monk--the defective detective--guarantees that I am in for an hour that is brimful of laughter. I enjoyed the sixteen episodes of season six immensely, perhaps because I came to it new and have nothing to compare it with (My cable company did not offer "Monk" at an affordable level.).
The show works because Tony Shaloub plays Monk not for laughs but with such sincerity that I find myself, in turn, laughing, wincing, and sometimes crying for him. I also love the supporting characters: his personal assistant Natalie, who teeters between concern and exasperation; the good egg, Captain Stottlemeyer and his dim-bulb assistant, Lieutenant Disher. And Monk's sessions with his psychiatrist, in which the neurotic patient often ends up reversing rolls with the therapist, are delightful.
My only quibble is with the settings. The show is supposed to be in San Francisco, but most of it is recognizably Los Angeles (as the commentary confirms). This flawlet, however, does not detract from the enjoyment of a series that, while it might not be on the dramatic level of the great BBC Mysteries, is just plain fun.
And in a world that increasingly resembles a "jungle out there," who can't use a little rooty-toot-toot fun?