Friday, May 04, 2007

Grey's Anatomy: Tongue sandwich

I'm busy packing for a trip that will have me out of town through the middle of next week (and may keep this blog silent outside of my thoughts on "Sopranos" and maybe "HIMYM" if I have time), and I've been struggling to find something to say about the two-hour "Grey's Anatomy"/"Private Practice" backdoor pilot episode, so I'm going to make this quick after the jump...

Okay, remember what I said about being glad that Kate Walsh was getting to escape the mess that the "Grey's" mothership had turned into? Nevermind, because I feel just as uninspired to tune into "Private Practice" when it gets its own timeslot in the fall as I will to watch season four of "Grey's." Take a collection of actors I like, ratchet up Shonda's innate David E. Kelley tendencies to 11, and insert references to sex every 5.9 seconds (complete with a slo-mo beefcake salute to Piz that was like a gender-bendered version of Phoebe Cates in her "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" bikini) and you have a show that feels completely inessential to my life. Didn't hate it, but don't particularly need to see it again, even though Amy Brenneman has better comic chops than I remembered from he brief period when I watched "Judging Amy."

Some decent moments in the brief interludes back at Seattle: Callie and Cristina bonding over their complete disinterest in the girlie wedding stuff, Bailey forcing George and Burke to bounce their relationship problems off each other instead of her (and kudos to T.R. Knight for not seeming disgusted every time he and Isaiah have a scene together), and Meredith's early scenes with her dad and stepmom. However, killing off Mare Winningham felt like another cheap excuse for Meredith to drown in her own sorrows again, just as she was becoming vaguely appealing in her functionality. The scene where Thatcher slapped her was well-played by Pompeo and Jeff Perry, but having Meredith experience a reasonably comfortable family life seems like a more interesting, novel direction to take the character for a while than to make her suffer in solitude again, you know?

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

I just felt like I was watching Ally McBeal only with Kate Walsh instead of Callista Flockhart. That is a huge improvement but its still Ally McBeal, which I hated. Boo.

Anonymous said...

It was really hard for me to watch the whole back and forth between LA and Seattle Grace. I'll wait until the spinoff severes itself from the drek that has become Grey's Anatomy to make my own opinion.

I did like Addison's affirmation that she would never again cap Mc's onto anything. Don't tease me Shonda.

Old Man Snap said...

I went in with an open mind because Grey's has been getting *killed* lately.

And they slowly lost me.

While Kate Walsh is a magnet in every good way possible on the TV, the new show was simply Grey's Lite. Combining the two was distracting more than anything. Grey's alone, OK episode. New show alone, I'm willing to give it some time.

Together? Ech.

Every time a new character was introduced, my girlfriend was all, "And this will be Alex. And she will be Izzie. And he will be George." And elevator voice? Come on, Shonda, I thought dancing babies were so 1998.

As for Grey's, there were moments of goodness, as you said, Alan. Anything Bailey-related. The dynamic between the Chief and Mere's father. "Mrs. Momma."

But it all feels forced and, well, not good. It's a shame because this show has been one of my favorite shows in a long time; George's growth from ninny to man has been heartwarming; Alex's growth from jock jerk to caregiver has been equally good.

But, well, ech. I guess that's the feeling.

Todd said...

I'm willing to go with elevator voice as the world's most elaborate "Rhoda" homage.

Anonymous said...

Boy, that was disappointing. Addison has been my consistent favorite character on Grey's because she acts like a doctor I'd actually trust to perform surgery, and her insecurities and neuroses felt real, not cutesy. But now that she's in LA she has trouble taking off her jacket and makes inappropriate comments to strangers in elevators. Evidently a confident, sane woman does not deserve her own show.

dark tyler said...

On Grey's Original, Susan got the hiccups and died. Okay. Um, whatever.

On Grey's 2.0 we basically had an even soapier and definitely more desperate version of the mothership, with less wit, less humor and, shockingly, less charisma. (which is ridiculous if you consider all the talent involved.)

While Grey's is not as good as it was last year, I wouldn't even consider not watching it next season. With the spin-off, I'm pretty sure I won't be even giving it a second chance. I mean, the elevator voice? It was just plain bad. Bad.

Anonymous said...

I was definitely Addy McBeal.


Kate Walsh could REALLY anchor a great show as she can show a range of emotions and is smart and sexy and vulnerable and BELIEVABLY so. She needs to escape from the clutches of Rhimes. If only she had been Harriet Hayes . . . .

Unknown said...

I didn't mind the spinoff, but I'm worried about the bad juju of the's like the ABC "We have you in holding deal, but your show got cancelled" pageant. Tim Daly from The Nines? Check. Taye Diggs from Daybreak? Check. Merrin Dungey from Alias? Check. But I remain hopeful with all that talent that they can make it work.
But since that show's gonna cost a fortune on talent alone, (plus Brenneman), I have to think ABC will be looking for quick hook if it doesn't play. Though I would think with Grey's as a lead-in, it should at least get the fall to try and survive.


Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm watching it now off of the Tivo. I'm actually enjoying it more than I expected. But maybe that's because my expectations were so incredibly low after hearing the negative reactions everywhere.

However, I'm currently in the middle of the scene where Amy Brenneman is talking to Tim Daly on the couches and it ocurred to me how incredibly weird it will be if these two ever hook up on the show since Daly's sister played Brenneman's mother on Judging Amy. Ick.

Anonymous said...

that was so disappointing. Come on - a shrink named Violet who is insecure... All the bad, seldom scene Addison attributes were in full force here - and made it more Ally McBeal for sure. I'd rather see Murphy Brown.

And what is it with Meredith and all the hardships. Jeesh. She is now the female Spipiwicz or even Tommy from Rescue Me. At least Sipowicz took 5+ seasons for everyone to die on him! I agree with Alan that it would have been nice to see her recover from her Mom dying and try to figure out her relationship with her new family.

How long till the half sister is transferring to Seattle Grace? How can they both be interns, anyway? Meredith must have taken a few years off.

Kristen said...

Eh, I'm willing to give the Addison show a chance once it spins off. It did feel a little too twee in this pseudo-pilot, but I'm hoping once the characters and the stories develop a little more they'll have some nice heft to them. The jingly "isn't this fun" music can't be in EVERY scene once it's on its own, right?

Killing Meredith's fake mommy was ridiculous. She now joins the illustrious ranks of St. Elsewhere's Boomer, NYPD Blue's Sipowicz, West Wing's Jed Bartlett, and many other characters who have more tragedies befell them than Job. And in only three seasons! Nice job, Shonda!

dark tyler said...

It's not just the three seasons. It's the fact that all three of them together amount for one "real-time" year. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Just got around to watching this...and, bleh. Even if Addison's show was interesting, I think it was a bad idea to mix Grey's 1.0 and 2.0 together. I remember reading that they were going to be two separate hours, which makes a lot more sense. Maybe I am misremembering. The show to me was very jarring and seemed cut together rather haphazardly, so I suspect they mixed the two shows together after the fact to keep people from tuning out at 9pm.

Right now I'm trying to figure out exactly why I continue to watch this show...

Anonymous said...

While I am a true Grey's fan and I love the character of Addison, I was horribly disappointed with the spinoff. I thought that the acting was worse than mediocre, the writing was way below Grey's standards, and the plot was ridiculous and unappealing. I was also a bit disappointed by Grey's Anatomy last night. I liked the plot line about Christina's wedding, but I think it was a terrible decision to kill off Susan. I was finally liking Meredith since she drowned, and I truly enjoyed the relationship between Meredith and Susan. I have always defended Grey's Anatomy when people have said it's becoming a soap opera, but the death of Susan seemed like a stupid and obvious way to create more turmoil in Meredith's life.

Matt said...

Actually, with the exception of the bizarre Elevator Voice bit (which is probably now at an end), I generally liked the characters on the LA side.

My suggestion? Liza Weil is married to Paul Adelstein. Can we get Paris Geller to do a prestigious internship there?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Not a bad idea, Matt, though Shonda would need to get permission from the Palladinos and/or Warner Bros. to use the character. Maybe time for a thinly-disguised pseudonym.

Kerry said...

I'm looking forward to FNL's Derek Phillips, Aasha Davis and Kevin Rankin showing up this week's GA.

dark tyler said...

Roma Geller? Athena Geller? Monica Geller? (LOL)

Matt said...

Simple--"London Heller." And since apparently, trained monkeys can write Paris dialogue and other material (she and Emily have been the only characters who've consistently worked this season), they can manage. But please, let there be hip-hop dancing. (And how did that clip not make the funny dance dance marathon?)

Anonymous said...

I loved Ally McBeal (and surprisingly, I also love Brothers & Sisters (Rob Lowe helps. and they got briefly West Wing-esque last week)) but I'm right there with the "inessential to my life." I will probably watch it just because it's there. Sorta like Providence.

So you noticed the David E Kelley tendencies? I noticed them around episode 11. Yeah it took me a while.

Sad about the slap and sad Derek can't figure out, now that she is not forbidden fruit, how to deal with Meredith - the woman he has in the past said was "worth the work" and "i'll always come home" or some things to that effect.

The switches between Seattle and LA gave me whiplash.

My brother liked it. I liked the elevator. I can't relate to any of these people - and yes, I can relate to Meredith quite easily (not the drinking and the sex, but definitely the parents and possibly ... regarding love. sort of.) I was very sad that they killed off Ellis, as she gave you occasion to praise Ellen :-} (and I loved their scenes together. always)

Gotta agree with old man snap about George and Alex (but not lately, about George - then again, he did promise to leave. then again, so did Foreman. I'd love to see what both shows do with that/those/whatever)

and well, technically, Meredith should soon no longer be an intern (yup Shonda, stretch it out three seasons. not a problem. really)

but yes, I think Mer is older than the straight HS to college to med school to internship. obviously Cristina is - with all her degrees. Izzie and George are younger. I'd guess Alex is too, but don't quote me.

Back to 2.0
...Well, as long as they don't put it opposite House or ER or something halfway decent... I will probably endure for a while. But when I was watching Kevin Hill (for those 2 or 3 eps) I was really hoping it would get cancelled so I wouldn't have to bother. Daybreak went quicker (I didn't have to watch the recorded eps - I just deleted them)

And if it gets cancelled, does Kate get to go back to Seattle?


Anonymous said...

Apparently, I'm a much less discerning TV watcher than I like to think I am. :-)

For my part (I make a living being contrarian, can't you tell?), I was pretty happy with both the episode, and what I think they'll do with PP.

Oh, my ghod, that *is* what we're going to call it, isn't it?

Hope Shonda's actual kids don't have playground trouble in school...

I had a pretty good idea what Elevator Voice would turn out to be, and I think that joke will have legs... as long as (this is very important) They Don't Ever Show The Actress.

Otherwise, I loved the 356, though that's going to eat their Budget (hee) if they have to have her drive around much. I was pretty happy with the casting... though I hope that Piz' appearance doesn't mean that VM was cancelled and I didn't hear about it. Coop, I like.

Overall, my reaction to PP was that Shonda is a pretty big David E. Kelley fan, and if she wants to pull "I haven't seen you much this episode", so much the better that she doesn't do it to Grey's, where it *would* not play well in Peoria.

Matt said...

Personally, I would be shocked if "Private Practice" did not wind up Monday at 10. ABC's already got female-skewing reality on that night, and "CSI: Miami" is rife for a takedown. They're not going to waste it on Friday or Saturday, Thursday is working well as is (and back to back would be overkill), Boston Legal is entrenched on Tuesdays at 10, and Wednesday is Lost driven.

(An alternative would be to put Lost Mondays at 10 and try PP Wednesdays at 10.)

dark tyler said...

I hope ABC will finally put "Brian" out of its misery (I know! Still not canceled!) and maybe pair "Private Practice" with "Football Wives" on Mondays, since they're probably picking this up, too.

Since PP looks somewhat trashier than Grey's, it's probably a better pair for the trashiest show of all. (if it's anything like the original, that is.) Can't wait, of course.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll be the only one to admit that I, er, didn't mind the Piz beefcake scene. I'm shallow like that.

And come on, Private Practice? That sounds like a bad ABC sitcom. (wait, sorry, that's redundant. Just ABC sitcom would have sufficed.)

Anyhooo... not a great start to Montgomery's Ward (still my preferred name for the show). I love me some Kate Walsh, and dang if that girl didn't almost sell me some very suspect goods. But can someone please do away with Amy B's character? She bugged the living crap out of me.

Good actors all round, to a large degree wasted on sub-Grey's silliness. If they make me hate Addy, if they make her all whiny and needy and a big old mess like everyone else at Oceanside, I'll be truly ticked.

Last, a shoutout to Stephanie Niznik. Woo! Everwood! I didn't know all those FNL folks were going to turn up on Grey's -- thanks for the heads up. Woo!