Spoilers for "Grey's Anatomy" episode two coming up just as soon as I punch a guy in the face...
This episode, called "Love/Addiction," was the work of a creator who's been reading her press clippings (and message board chatter, and blog comments) and decided it's time for a little damage control. Heck, this is the first "Grey's" episode that I've seen in advance since the sixth episode of season two ("Into You Like a Train"), as Shonda's spoiler paranoia -- not to mention the belief, in her office as well as at ABC, I'm sure, that the show didn't need additional publicity -- kept the network from sending out screeners for a very long time. When the screeners start coming back, that's when you know the show needs some help (in this case for perception more than ratings, since the overall numbers are still great).
The episode itself was filled with meta commentary about events from last season, with Diahann Carroll returning as Burke's mom for the sole purpose of telling people off for how they behaved in season three -- and maybe, by extension, how Shonda wrote them. Hey, Meredith, maybe it was a bad call to turn the end of Cristina and Burke's relationship into an excuse to publically break up with your boyfriend! Hey, George, maybe you've been acting like an immature fool for rushing into a marriage with a woman you clearly don't love! Etc.
There was even the moment where Izzie, while tending to Ben Vereen, utters the most meta line in the history of the show: "Just because people do horrible things doesn't mean they're horrible people."
Don't hate on Izzie, people! She's not horrible! She just does horrible things! All the time! Every minute of every show! But she's a good person deep inside!
That all this self-examination of the direction of the series and its various romantic storylines took place in an episode where the sledgehammer narration theme was addiction is kind of fascinating. You could argue that Shonda's addicted to her characters, and to the paths she feels they've made her place them on. Everyone hates George and Izzie, even regardless of their feelings for Callie. Everyone is tired of the never-ending Mer/McDreamy break-up/reunion cycle. But Shonda keeps going there, over and over and over again -- even within an episode that's largely a commentary about how Shonda can't stop herself from doing it.
They say that the first step towards beating an addiction is admitting you have a problem. Maybe an episode like this is a sign that Shonda has figured out the problems plaguing the series. But if it is, the fact that she keeps backsliding within it -- that McDreamy dumps Meredith yet again and then gets back with her, that George flip-flops 17 times on whether to tell Callie the truth -- is a reminder that admitting the problem is only the first step in a long, long recovery process.
Or maybe I'm reading too much into all of this. Maybe it's just another annoying, self-congratulatory episode of latter-day "Grey's."
What did everybody else think?