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?