Friday, February 02, 2007

Grey's Anatomy: Is that like Julia Guglia?

"Grey's Anatomy" spoilers coming up just as soon as I figure out whether Marian's official middle name is the one she was born with or her maiden name...

I know I complain about so many aspects of this show, and not without reason. But that? That was pretty damn good.

Ellen Pompeo has always been the show's weakest link, but something about the Ellis storyline always brings out the best in her. There was an episode almost a year ago where Meredith had a massive freak-out in the supply closet over the pressures of dealing with her mom, and it was the first time she ever impressed me, because the pain felt real instead of some actress putting together her Emmy reel. This was just as good, and sustained over a longer period. I love that the writers didn't try to soften Ellis and have Meredith braiding her hair by the end of the day. Instead, mother's haughtiness caused her and her daughter to completely waste what could be the last lucid day she ever has. Ah, well, at least the Chief got five good minutes (or so) with her before she went back into Alzheimer's land. Very grand, deservedly weepy melodrama.

When Bailey gave that speech last week about wanting the clinic because she needed something to believe in, I turned to Marian and said, "And I need a subplot, because I'm happily married with a kid and the writers don't know what to do with that!" Even though the clinic's a contrivance to give Chandra Wilson more to do and give the show an excuse to feature non-surgical cases when writer's bloc hits, I'm not complaining, because Wilson deserves every second of screen time they can give her, as demonstrated early and often in this episode. (Particularly her delivery of that line about eight million dollars worth of patient.) I think Izzie's bean-counting is going to get old, though, and wouldn't she have invested some chunk of the money so the clinic could operate on the interest? Then again, seeing as how they got the place up and running in the week since last episode ended, maybe she didn't have the time for sound financial planning.

I don't want "Grey's" to go to the "ER" Disaster of the Sweeps formula too often, but because they do it sparingly, episodes like this one or the Super Bowl bomb two-parter resonate more. It's a measure of how well the high stakes were established that I didn't even object to the fact that Seattle Grace no longer seems to employ any surgeons who aren't regular members of the cast, which became a plot point when McSteamy refused to go in to help with the Saran wrapping.

I appreciate that, through Callie, the writers are willing to acknowledge that the three main female characters can be such snots on occasion, though here it really only seemed like Izzie was being rude about the Callie O'Malley thing. Cristina was all wound up in her own proposal issues, and Meredith went out of her way to be supportive.

One last thing: when Cristina accepted the proposal, that was clearly the most enthusiastic we've ever seen Burke, but can anyone remember the last time he even smiled? Has he ever before?

What did everybody else think?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought it was an enjoyable episode as well. However it is driving me crazy that they have been interns for THREE years, and that Bailey is apparently the only resident in the entire facility that who made it out of 1st year (not to mention that startling lack of attendings).

Anonymous said...

I love the show, but have found the Ellis Grey storyline frustrating. My father had Alzheimers Disease, and during the seven years he was failing I read everything I could get my hands on about it. Not once did I see/hear anything about sufferers becoming "lucid" for a day (or even for a matter of hours). So it felt very contrived to me last night. But I agree, Alan, it was a terific performance by Ellen Pompeo. -Stacie

Matt said...

According to the writers' blog, show time and "real time" don't move at the same pace. They've been interns for a little over a year now. That would seem to mesh with all the timing we've seen:

Season 1--Begin internship in Fall 2005
Season 2--Ends in April-May 2006 (concurrent with High School prom season)
Season 3--We're currently somewhere in early winter 2006, it seems (based on clothing, timing, etc.) Remember that while we had three months without shows, we picked up right where we left off, without a break in "show time" in the fall.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is my favorite show -- and last night was another example as to why. It's amazing how much they can get into 42 minutes, but it's the *what* they got in that really gets me. Meredith and Ellis -- *Cristina* and Ellis(!) (though I could relate more to Mer and Ellis (and it was my father, not my mother, though I could understand "everyone thinks she's wonderful -- as long as your not her daughter" or however it was worded).

I could relate to all of it. Far better than I can relate to House and his father, actually. I'm not sure why.

As for the timelines (oh, and that supply closet ep -- I'd love to watch it more, but the old lady dying was just too close to *my* mother) Krista, probably in her Q&A's did try to explain. She explained that it's really unexplainable... yeah it's still first year. but some things just won't make sense in the timeline.
Thankfully they *have* (no, wait, "had") stopped with the time benchmarks they had in season 2 (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Prom) -- unfortunately someone recently mentioned the year. I think it was Izzie.

Stupid not to invest and endow, but...
I don't know: ER's clinic was overflowing before it was even open.

Bailey with the little girl was great, but also

Derek and Burke doing abdominal surgery! (it's about time. last Christmas ep I was wondering why they couldn't be bothered to help out pregnant and overworked Bailey with some meat and potatoes surgery)

Christina and Burke -- and the Ellis factor.

The Chief -- lying to Ellis, actually.

George sticking up for Calliope Iphegenia (I turned on the captions).

(Izzie said she let go of George, but she hasn't yet, really)

George Ddx'ing the toxic blood.

Bodies on the floor (hey, it's nothing compared to whatever Mass Casualty they have coming up)

More stuff I can't even think of

Now... what the heck is up with Scrubs being "relevant"??? I wasn't all that thrilled with the ep. Not that into Kelso, and I missed JD (wonder what he was really off doing)

ER... "gee -- we've stopped crashing things (like planes and tanks) into Chicago -- let's just have 4 or 5 mini-disasters!"
I knew how Forrest Whittaker was going to end when they hit the roof. Abby needs to read the scripts....

After all that, no time for 30 Rock, but probably tonight. I haven't watched Studio 60 yet either. Perhaps I shouldn't instigate the comparison that must come from watching them together.

And now I should dig out the laptop and watch Grey's again... (I fell asleep the second time)

Anonymous said...

(sigh)
That last was me -- Pam
(I have blogger, but I don't want anyone to find me... so I'm not using my blogger name)

Katie V said...

I hear Ellen Pompeo did very well in this one, but I just can't get her infamous "choose me, pick me, love me" speech out of my mind! Her nasal whine grates on me, and it's beyond me how so many men have found her irresistible.

Anonymous said...

oh, btw, Internship actually began in March of 05 (not fall 05), although Internships begin in July in the real world.

Pam -- watches too many doctor shows

Dan Coyle said...

They might as well just mail James Pickens Jr. an Emmy right now for his "What might have been" speech to Ellis.

Lindy said...

One of my favorite things about Grey's lately is the friendship between Callie and Addison. They're both smart, capable women and the rapport they share is great.

Anonymous said...

Plus it's just so great for Addie to have a friend!

--Pam

Heather K said...

I love the Callie/Addison friendship, especially how it came out of their mutual alienation but now is so real.

Great, great episode, I can tell from the amount of gasping, weeping, laughing, and occasional louder sympathetic sounds coming from me as I watched on my computer with the headphones on. Yes, the roommates gave me strange looks, but I bet they will be watching it on the computer soon too.