Some quick thoughts on the two-hour "Grey's Anatomy" season premiere coming up just as soon as I say "rue"...
As the two titles suggest (as did the multiple use of the title logo at 10 o'clock), the premiere was actually two separate episodes aired back-to-back. And I keep going back and forth on whether it was a good idea to do that, or if we'd have been better off spacing out the tearful speeches over two weeks.
That isn't to say that there shouldn't have been tears, or speeches. George's death, no matter how marginal he had become last season, is and should be a huge event in the lives of these characters. Had the show raced through Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's famous five stages of grief (as opposed to the four stages of cancer, with the fifth stage being death), it would have rang false, as if everyone making the show was in a hurry to move past the events of the wildly uneven fifth season. And I also recognize that putting both episodes on a single night allows the show to deal with the mourning period in an appropriate but self-contained way, so that when we do get into these season six stories about the hospital merger and the rest, it won't feel like there's a constant pall cast over them.
My problem, I guess, is that there's a very specific rhythm to a "Grey's" script - particularly a big three-hanky one like this - whether it's written by Shonda Rhimes herself or in this case by Krista Vernoff. When you put two episodes back-to-back, those rhythms - the pace at which the acts build to emotional crescendos and then briefly recede - start to become too predictable, and it sucks some of the life and emotion away.
There were so many strong performances (particularly by Sara Ramirez, Chandra Wilson and Justin Chambers) in these two hours, as well as a lot of great individual moments, highlighted by the hysterical laughter at George's funeral. But in the end it felt a little like overkill - or over-grief, I suppose.
Still, "Good Mourning" and "Goodbye" maintained the tone and quality of the creative upswing we got at the end of last season. In general, "Grey's" is really strong at the starts and ends of seasons - I liked last season's premiere - but things are a lot dicier in the middle. I'm hopeful this season's equivalents of Wacky Asperger's Doc or Ghost Sex are at least briefer than last season's. And maybe we'll get lucky, and skip over the bad patch altogether.
What did everybody else think?