Thursday, April 23, 2009

Grey's Anatomy, "Sweet Surrender": The wedding planner

Spoilers for tonight's "Grey's Anatomy" coming up just as soon as I stress eat to hide my pregnancy...

Really, honestly, today's column about the annoying comic music on ABC dramas was going to be a "Why 'Grey's Anatomy' has been much better lately" column, but then two things happened: 1)I didn't find "Sweet Surrender" and next week's episode to be quite as strong as the previous batch; and 2)The number of scenes featuring the Please Laugh Now music was so high that I felt I finally had no choice but to publish a screed about it.

Of course, the number of scenes that someone felt required that music no doubt played into my ambivalence about an episode like "Sweet Surrender," which had a number of very good things and a number of annoying things in it. "Grey's" frequently tells stories that start out wildly comic and then take a turn for the tragic around the 40-minute mark. But if the comedy feels forced -- which it definitely did in the Izzie subplot, and only slightly less so in the Derek/Mark/Lexxie story -- then the shift into the drama doesn't work. Some of that forced quality comes from the damn music, but not all of it, particularly with Izzie the manic wedding planner. (The crazier they make Izzie, particularly funny/crazy, the more grating Katherine Heigl becomes.)

On the other hand, the 100% dramatic Bailey storyline? Killer -- pun quasi-intended. Yes, it's somewhat shameless heartstring-tugging to show Bailey spend an episode hugging a dying little girl, but if they're serious about taking her down this pediatrics route, then they needed to address the way that it's a specialty where the patient deaths hit the hardest. Chandra Wilson has an episode for her Emmy reel now, and she was terrific.

I was also glad to get what feels like the first real George storyline in forever. Sure, he's partly an adjunct to Karev's story, and Hunt's, but we got to see George take a stand on something, feel present for an entire episode, kick ass in surgery, and even know when to pass Alex the beer at the end. I can understand why T.R. Knight might be dissatisfied with the amount and quality of material he's gotten this season, but he delivered when finally called to serve.

There was other good stuff, including Hunt going to see the hospital shrink, Callie ranting in Spanish (and Mark not indulging her) and the Chief looking at Meredith in the wedding dress like the daughter he never had (in an episode that was very much about parenting). But the show had been on a really great roll when it went into reruns a month ago, when I was having a hard time finding fault with any of the episodes. So to see them going back to some of the annoying comedy stuff that was uneven in the show's early days was a little disappointing.

What did everybody else think?

19 comments:

Pamela Jaye said...

just me, huh?

I could watch Ellen Pompeo play Meredith Grey trying on wedding dresses for a good long time and be happy about it.

I also deeply appreciated the final scene with Mer and Lexie in the kitchen. It made me feel warm and fuzzY, considering Mer's original feelings toward Lexie.

Also, I really liked getting to see George do a good job, and see Alex not hating him at the end. Alex has always had it in for George for reasons I've never totally understood (is it insecurity?) Whenever Alex is feeling crappy, he rips George a new one. So, in the end, it was nice.

I've only watched it once, so I know there was something deep that I missed (I could hear the analogy seeping out of someone's speech, but wasn't paying enough attention to catch the point. hopefully I'll solve that in a few minutes. I had to have dinner (the roomie cooks!) and watch Scrubs)

Really, though - Lexie and Meredith. (and that thing where Mer didn't want the chief in her wedding, I could appreciate that)

Seeing Dr Whatsername again was good too.

Shonda (if it's her) would like someone to ask her a question on twitter to prove it's really her. I can't think of anything, so...

Not as awesome as recent eps - it felt sort of "interim" - but...

Pamela Jaye said...

and since no one is here yet, can I just toss in that I dislike Josh Hopkins as much in Private Practice as I have in Brothers & Sisters, and Ally? I haven't watched the ep (need to watch Grey's again) but I just don't like him. (was he in Pepper Dennis too?)

I guess his role on Ally stuck with me, or something

Pamela Jaye said...

also, they have some new flyovers of "Mer's house"

Theresa said...

Eh, it was ok. I thought Izzie as manic wedding planner was funny with the first joke, but by the fiftieth one I was ready for her to die for realz.

I love me some Bailey, though, and Callie yelling in Spanish was just icing on the cake. (For the record, in the first rant she said something along the lines of, "He's dragging me home, as if I were a lost little girl, as if I couldn't make adult decisions about my life and who I want to spend it with. I mean, it's MY life. This career of being a doctor, even though I know he paid for all of it, it doesn't matter! It's still my life! I've worked for three years!" then Mark and Arizona talk, and then she says, "All of a sudden, he's going to come in here, just like that, and say I can't..." and then Mark snapped her out of it. The other conversation was harder to hear, but it ended with her yelling, "Keep your money!")

just as soon as I stress eat to hide my pregnancy...I didn't realize that until about halfway through the episode, but when I did, it made me giggle. She should enter a hot dog eating contest.

Pamela Jaye said...

I don't watch enough TV to know (can't believe i'm saying that)
but with Alyson, Cobie and Chyler (and now Ellen Pompeo is pregnant too) are there usually this many pregnant women on primetime network TV?

Anonymous said...

Manic-wedding-planner Izzie was HIlarious. Love her.

Devin McCullen said...

Yeah, I'm getting worried about Bailey in Peds being too tough for the audience. Chandra Wilson is just amazing.

I know it makes a good visual, but that's 2 different shows this week where jumpers have found cars like they're magnetically attracted. Enough already.

I get that they wanted a contrast, but I don't know where the idea that Alex is bad under pressure came from. George being good under pressure makes more sense, although that usually didn't show up in a strict medical context.

Theresa said...

I get that they wanted a contrast, but I don't know where the idea that Alex is bad under pressure came from. I believe it was a callback to the episode in the first or second season where he and George were trapped in the elevator with the injured cop and Burke was talking Alex through the procedure but he froze and George took over and saved the day. In fact, I believe I heard Shonda/Betsy say in the last podcast that we would soon be revisiting that specific scene and that's what they were referencing.

Theresa said...

I looked it up; it's season 2, episode 5, "Bring the Pain." Courtesy of IMDB: "There is a power shortage and George and Alex are stuck in an elevator with a critical patient. They need to perform heart surgery, but Alex is too freaked out and so George does it."

erin said...

I so loved the last episode (which was hard to beat) that this one seemed a little flat to me. Although it's much improved over much of the beginning of the season. But it seemed kind of cliched that Izzie doesn't accept she's sick until she collapses, and then Oh My God! I'm Sick Now! I don't know--they've played out Denial Iz long enough that this didn't have much weight.

And I miss Owen and Yang, but I like his scenes with Amy Madigan.

Like seeing Happy Meredeth.

However, were we supposed to think the end dress was THE dress? Because I thought it was pretty awful. But i like that she's indulging Izzie because that's what Izzie needs.

Yay, George. Finally! And I actually liked that Callie, who's been her daddy's girl all series (remember when George couldn't believe she lived in a hotel because of all her money??) finally took a stand on something and made a break from her super controlling father (which had a strong callback to the latest Walter episode on In Treatment, which I literally watched right before Grey's). I'm so surprised how much i like her and AZ together.

bettyd said...

loved Bailey's storyline. My son is severely disabled and I've spent lots of hours/days/weeks/months in NICU/PICU/Children's Hospital's and I have seen first hand the parents anquish. It is heart wrenching when you are just observing, and I think they got some of that right.

I HATE the hide-the-pregnancy by making her fat. Didn't Fraiser get backlash for that with Daphne. And wasn't there a column/blog recently somewhere (here?) talking about the worst pregnancy hiding? I still love how on Seinfeld they didn't even bother and had some meta comment about "I hate when they hide obvious pregnancies on TV" when JLD was getting bigger.

Anonymous said...

I thought Chandra Wilson was amazing tonight, but that wasn't a remotely accurate depiction of end stage Tay-Sachs, which took me out of the story a little bit.

Anonymous said...

I know we all love Bailey, and Chandra Wilson is amazing, but was anyone else thinking that Tucker is absolutely right and she is choosing being a doctor over the child she chose to bring into this world? I understand that she wanted to see the procedure, but (1) she hasn't bothered to discuss the new peds direction with Tucker and (2) she has little enough time to spend with her kid, who is too young to understand anything other than mommy isn't around, and she decides to come in on her day off? These are not the actions of someone invested in her husband and child. I always used to be on Bailey's side in the marriage issues -- her husband knew how demanding her job was from the get-go -- but this was different. It was a powerful storyline and Wilson was terrific, but I wish they hadn't thrown in the day off bit.

jennilynn said...

Ok - the last dress was FABULOUS. Mer doesn't want a pouffy dress but she wants to make Izzie happy...and it looked astonishing on her (they all pretty much did).
Grey's is my happy place - even if the bad episodes aren't as fulfilling, I love it almost as much as I loved West Wing.

Pamela Jaye said...

I can't argue with Anonymous 10:53

and now I have to figure out what end stage Tay Sachs looks like. (also, dad didn't look Jewish, so my TS database needs updating all around.)

was it this dress?

Pamela Jaye said...

wow

"Orthodox Jewish high school students are given blood tests to determine if they have the Tay-Sachs gene. Instead of receiving direct results as to their carrier status, each person is given a six-digit identification number. Couples can call a hotline, if both are carriers, they will be deemed 'incompatible.' Individuals are not told they are carriers directly to avoid any possibility of stigmatization or discrimination. If the information were released, carriers could potentially become unmarriageable within the community."
(check wikipedia article for original source)

Ron said...

That was almost unwatchable sorry. The Bailey scenes were so cloying to me I had to skip the last one entirely. The Heigl scenes were almost as bad, the Lexie scenes were not funny at all. Only the George scene with the crazy trauma doc was really good. Pretty depressing.

LA said...

I'm with Ron. I was annoyed by this episode. But Shonda's always had a knack for turning the wacky melodrama up to full throttle as the season draws to a close, so I guess I should have seen it coming. Still, it was disappointing coming off a couple solid episodes before the break.

lizriz said...

I don't think those scenes are funny like you seem to think they're supposed to be funny. I mean, I don't think of it as comedy, just humorous story, so it just flat out doesn't hit me the way it hits you, I guess. I literally read your opening and had to keep reading to see which scenes you were talking about. And then I was like, OK yeah, those were amusing scenes. But I just watch it all as part of the story.