Friday, September 28, 2007

Grey's Anatomy: This is absolutely childish and ridiculous

Sigh... Once more unto the breach with "Grey's Anatomy" spoilers coming up just as soon as I can figure out why I'm still watching...

Okay, it's cost-benefit analysis time. On the good side of the ledger for the premiere:
  • Yang and Karev as mentors. Both could occasionally be grating when they were talking down to their fellow interns, but they have genuine reason to condescend to the newbies, and Oh and Chambers and the writers are clearly enjoying this arrangement.
  • Bailey and the Chief. Shonda actually came up with a semi-reasonable reason for Miranda to not get the chief resident job (never mind that I think Callie was originally established as a year behind Miranda, and if I'm right, that she shouldn't be eligible for the job) and one that was a celebration of Bailey's awesomeness rather than an attempt to take her down a peg. (As opposed to the character assassination happening to Callie, but more on that below.)
  • Lexie Grey. Yes, she's still being written as Meredith circa season one in an attempt to make us like her, but I didn't mind the manipulation, if only because there are so few characters left on this show to like.
Now for the bad side, and I'll try not to pile on too much:
  • Izzie as a mentor. So, whatever, they reinstated her as a surgeon after her complete break from reality at the end of season two, but if there's a doctor on this show who should be forced to repeat their intern year -- if only to prevent them from being allowed to influence younger doctors -- it's Izzie, not George. And, of course, she proves her unfitness for this role with her first patient of the day. Speaking of which...
  • Izzie saves a deer. No. Not cute, not character-illuminating. Just dumb. Seattle's a reasonable-sized city that I'm sure has at least one animal hospital. Why did no one -- whether the grouchy interns or the kid's dad -- ever once utter the phrase, "Can't we just call a vet?"
  • Callie as punching bag. Hey, remember when Callie was cool? Remember when she rocked three different surgeries in the same afternoon, when she was so outgoing and full of life and confidence? Can't have that, can we? So now the character exists entirely so the writers can dump on her, in a devolution far worse than anything that's being done to Addison on the spin-off. Did Shonda catch Sara Ramirez flirting with Denny Duquette or something? I just don't get it, and it pains me to watch any scene with Callie in it.
  • George still loves Izzie. Speaking of someone not getting it... ugh.
  • Meredith/McDreamy break-up sex. In my post about "The Office," I talk about how bringing together two Unresolved Sexual Tension characters doesn't have to be the end of a show. I guess that's easier on a comedy where the couple in question aren't the stars, much harder on a romantic drama where the title character's involved. Not that I ever cared that much about this duo (which I recognize puts me in the minority of the viewership), but these constant break-ups and reunions are as silly as if Shonda had just kept them apart for three seasons before letting them kiss.
  • Did I mention that Izzie saved a deer, and that she and George still love each other?
  • George as undercover intern. I get that Lexie's trying to do him a solid by keeping his secret, but I didn't even think it was supposed to be a secret until about halfway through the episode. Shouldn't the other interns know something's up by how friendly the residents treat George compared to the rest of them? This story has nowhere to go but another humiliating moment for George, wherein he will no doubt blow up at Callie and go running into fair Izzie's arms once and for all.
  • The Seattle Grace attending shortage. George had to deliver a baby because Addison (who was always apparently the hospital's only OB/GYN) is gone, McSteamy had to reattach an arm because Callie was stuck on paperwork (and because the writers never have enough genuine plastic surgery cases for him), and I shudder to think about what's going to happen the next time they get a heart patient. I'm not saying the show needs more new characters, what with the 16 new interns and all, but I miss Burke, off-screen homophobia and all, and I really miss Addison, even though a faded copy of her has her own show.
So why am I still watching? I have no idea, save the same masochistic feeling that kept me glued to all 22 episodes of "Studio 60" last year. I doubt I'll blog every week -- life's too short -- but it took me a long time to cut the cord with "ER" even after the Mark Greene Deathwatch, so I guess inertia will keep me tuning in for a while still.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

There is so much about this show that is stupid, but what really bugs me the most is:

1. I thought Thatcher left when Mere was maybe 6 or 7, but she has a half-sister who is presumably 1 year younger?

2. The exponentially increasing surgical residency program (and complete lack of attendings and older residents). Coming from the world of medicine myself it is just such a huge inaccuracy that i really wish they'd address it somehow.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Camille, as to your points:

1)This may just be me remembering something that didn't happen as a way of explaining someone as old as Ellen Pompeo playing a surgical intern, but I could have sworn there was a reference at some point to either Meredith or Cristina (also played by an older actress) not having gone directly from college to med school, which would allow for the existence of Lexie.

2)The first few episodes of the first season established a whole bunch of interns, with us only following the ones assigned to Bailey's team (and Karev originally started on a different team), but the other interns got forgotten a loooong time ago.

Cree said...

I hated the deer plot. WAY TOO HARD TO BELIEVE. But I keep coming back to this show because the characters have so much chemistry and even when the plot is way too overdone I still love to see the interaction between everyone.
There seemed to be way too much going on last night, with all the new interns and such. I felt dizzy trying to keep up.
Totally agree that Callie has become a punching bag. She used to be my favorite and now it hurts to watch her on screen. Please let her get some confidence back.

Carrie said...

This episode had good and bad, but the moment that got me to tune in next week was the wonderful one-on-one conversation with Cristina and Alex when they admitted they missed Burke and Ava/Rebecca, respectively. That was a wonderful, quiet scene. More Cristina and Alex as friends, please, Shonda. And don't hook them up because that will just ruin it.

Anonymous said...

With shows like "House" working so hard to get the medical aspects right, the short shrift "Grey's" gives them become even more apparent. For instance, when the guy who'd just been through a physical trauma kept saying he was hungry, one of the doctors just said something like, "Golly, you've got a big appetite." At that point, I virtually yelled at the screen, "No, it means there's something wrong with him, you idiot!" And I've never been to med school. But the half-dozen actual doctors didn't notice there was a problem until he started swallowing scissors.

Maybe that's why "Private Practice" is set in a clinic for baby doctors, psychiatrists and "alternative" practitioners -- so no one has to bother looking up how actual procedures are done.

Anonymous said...

Alan, I thought you were somewhat harsh. Deer popping up moment was kind of funny and unexpected.

But that's not why I comment.

1. Sloan and Derek. Their tender moment was pretty funny. I like the friendship dynamics.

2. Thad Grey is now a boozehound, per Lexie's talk with George. This will probably be revisited. Unless he runs over Grandma with a raindeer in a special Christmas episode -- then, I'm done.

OK. There weren't many other stand out things, but one does get the sense Shonda and the gang are hitting the reset button, which could make for good TV this year.

Although, yes, Izzie's Bambi speech was awful. But this is a character, and as a character, she's slowly lost her sh*t since getting involved with Denny. It makes some sense, but I agree: too corny and childish.

And I could just do without the SHONDALAND end shot. Ew.

One last point: isn't it odd that the Grey's Writer blog hasn't been updated because "Shonda's fingers are tired"? Double ew.

Anonymous said...

re: Mer and Lexie - it's the season 2 Thanksgiving ep - Thanks for the Memories. Mer slacked off, in some way, after college. who knows how she made it into med school.

Interns - in the pilot it was mentioned that there were 20, 25, some large # of interns. I don't know if it's normal in a hospital that's so large it has a surgical "wing" (even though it has so few attendings that it's several thousand miles past ridiculous) but there it is. Of course it's funny the interns never had med students... and probably funny that they had the same resident all year...

The deer and its antimetaphor, George being saved by Izzie are and were ridulous. Gaining confidence in front of your interns by breaking hospital policy for, what is it? the 55th time? yeah, right.

I did like Lexie, though. Seems to have the quality her half sister has - she's a good loyal friend - apparently moreso, even, as she does it for people she's just met.
Mer could have at least spoken to her before running off to have breakup sex with Derek.

Aw, c'mon, Alan - it can be the show you love to hate.

And yes, I thought when we met Bailey she was 5th year (no idea why) (and being courted for fellowships) and when we met Callie she was third year (I can't prove either one). And when we started, residency was 7 years. Timelines apparently make Shonda's head spin. But at least she didn't do any more Christmas or Prom eps (again), to allow us to figure out where we were in the timeline - again. I'll suspend whatever it is you suspend and spend 3 seasons in intern land as long as the holidays don't repeat.

So why did Bailey get interns as a 4th year (that's what she apparently actually was) and now it's the new R2's (watched too much ER) that have interns?

(and did you notice that your first shift is now 36 hours rather than 48? i think that's more true to life, at least. even if it is deadly to the patients - and where did they get off all having 13 day vacations at the same time, right before their residency started??)

Anonymous said...

and btw, Lexie, it's called "Mass General"
We do abbreviate some things, but I think we stop long enough to pronounce "general"

--Pam (forever from Boston, where we abbreviate almost everything)

Anonymous said...

Well, I really disagree with you, Alan.

Because you weren't nearly harsh enough.

This was literally one of the most painful hours of television I've ever sat through.

Izzie and the deer? Bad. But Izzie's bambi speech to George? So mind numblingly painful it made me want to take my finger, stick it in my eye, into my brain, and then swirl it around.

And Lexie? Yeah, we get that she's anxious to meet Meredith. But maybe running up to say "hey, I'm your sister" when Meredith is trying to save a patient brought in on a stretcher isn't the best time.

I am seriously done with this show now. Seriously.

Matt said...

While Grey's still did gangbuster overall (20.48 M viewers and 8.7/21 in the demo), it got beaten by CSI in total viewers and had a 20% drop from last year's season premiere. Three factors might play:

1. CSI had a big, heavily promoted cliffhanger resolution for its premiere. Not so much on Grey's.
2. Displeasure with George/Izzie and other aspects of the finale.
3. The Office moving into the slot, which has a very devoted (and likely overlapping) fan base.

Big Shots is an unmitigated disaster. Ratings lower than what 6 Degrees premiered to, and 25% drop at the half hour?

dark tyler said...

I saw this right after Private Practice and, quite frankly, I thought I was watching The Wire. Seriously.

Anyway, I've definitely lost my deep affection for this show, but while I've learned to accept the bad (the deer. Good lord, what were they thinking?), there were enough good stuff here that I'll keep watching. I'm not making the mistake of having big expectations ever again, but I'm probably gonna enjoy it if they keep it light, as Shonda insists they will.

Nicole said...

I didn't watch Grey's last night and I somehow feel liberated. I stuck with it through last season, but since my favourite character is on Private Practice, I will now watch that show, at least for a bit.

There is far too much good stuff on Thursday night to waste it on this drivel. (ok, so I didn't watch Big Shots either, but at least that show doesn't have undeserved praise) I hope the hour Office can kill this in the ratings.

Anonymous said...

Mer and Der...who cares?

Callie's character assassination: totally agree.

Seattle Grace: The last place on earth any ill or injured person would want to be. Seriously!

I was already done with the show back when they did backbends to figure out how to keep Izzie on the show after her outrageous behavior with Denny. I have been enjoying your comments on the show since then, though. Alan, you have to keep watching so I don't have to!

Bix said...

Has there been any sort of explanation as to why the George/Izzie storyline keeps going and going when it tested horribly in addition to the hate it's getting from critics & fans?

Jon88 said...

GA has gone from "watch live and tape the competition" to "tape for later" to "wait until Elizabeth Reaser is on again."

By the way, Alan, if anybody is wondering why there are so few comments on the version of the blog, it could be because I'm not the only one whose comments are disappearing into the ether.

Anonymous said...

As with last season, the only way to make this show watchable (or at least one that I don't love to hate) is to write Izzie and/or Meredith out of the series. (Maybe, with Lexi being a Grey, they could toss Pompeo off the show and still keep it's name? Or is that too much to hope?)

Anonymous said...

I removed Grey's from my Season Pass on Wednesday in a moment where I thought about committing to the show again for another season and came to the conclusion that Grey's Anatomy, Mad Men and Dexter should not be watched by the same person who expects quality.

On Friday (when I'd normally watch), I confirmed that, yes, I did delete it. It didn't record. For a moment I regretted not seeing what's up with the sister, but reading your post made me so-so glad I cut it off. The deer storyline and the "break-up sex" alone (migod, how often must we endure the maschinations of that f-up'd relationship???) would have put me over the edge anyway. And in my mind's eye, I know EXACTLY how the scenes with the sister and George went, so I don't even feel I missed out on that moment. The show is ridiculously predictable.

(Surely there must have been a scene where Christina agonizes over the missing Burke?)

I am so not sorry I didn't waste another 50 minutes of my life with that show. Instead, I'm going to pick up 30 Rock. Life is too short to watch crappy television.

Anonymous said...

for some reason my TIVO stopped when George knocked at the door. I really was hoping that he told Izzie that he is done with her. But, I've read otherwise, sadly. I am soooooo sick of this storyline. I loved strong Callie, especially as an allie to strong Addison, but this just sucks. I hope Callie kicks his butt and that is the jump to her becoming more like Bailey. THat is what I will watch for, not the break up, break room sex.

Anonymous said...

Out of everything in this episode that irritated the heck out of me it was at least partly redeemed by the dad providing a commentary about how ridiculous Izzie and her actions were. Of course, it was impossible to really feel for the guy since I have a hard time seperating him from the abusive Ex-Con husband on Dexter.

What's more, what the heck is up with inappropriate timing in this episode? Izzie shuts the dad down when he's trying to explain to the son that animals die and then they get eaten. She says that this is no time for the cycle of life lecture. Sorry, but when the kid is standing on the side lines watching an animal that may or may not survive and which he may or may not be having for dinner, when else is an appropriate time?

Add on to that the totally inappropriate introduction by Lexie to Meredith. When someone has just come off of an ambulance and your surgeon sister is trying to get them to the emergency room, when was that ever an appropriate time to mention that you're the surgeon's long lost half-sister?

I guess my biggest problem with Grey's isn't just that it seems to lost an idea of character integrity or backbone, but that even the most basic social mores and understandings of what is or is not appropriate have escaped the series in the interest of emotional drama.

Whew, that was both longer then anticipated and waaay late considering when this episode was broadcast.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that everyone's Tivo stopped when George knocked on the door. I've heard the stated Tivo reason is that ABC *changed* the end time in the middle of the broadcast (??) and someone Tivo tried to tell everyone and it didn't work.
I'm not sure. Dredge the Tivo messageboards for details.

I think Tivo didn't want anyone to have to gouge out their eyes and ears.

My mythtv box stopped before George could get his words out of anything but my mangled captions, switched to another recording of the next ABC program and left me with a little gap. Myth was smarter than me - it wanted to skip Big Shots. I was loyal to the brother, and forced it.
I got screwed twice (the second time being having to actually *watch* Big Shots) and had to resort to ... other means to see Grey's in its entirety.

--Pam (whose box died last year with all her ... other means on it. (sigh) next time I have to back them up somewhere else.)

Yes, it's sad - not only do I have Recorded versions from ABC, DVDs of the Recorded Versions, Official Store Bought DVDs of Three Seasons, but apparently I need the AVI files too. (they are the only thing I can shove back into the mythbox after my old one died. Lifetime is taking too long. but I'm doing that too.)

the only thing I won't do is iTunes. but last Thursday night, if they'd had the ep up, I might have.

(shamefacedly admitting I also bought the *game* (along with the calendar and the book, which I never did finish))

And did I mention George and Izzie are idiots? (and I used to love George)

Okay, I'm done. I wonder if Shonda's fingers have recovered yet

LA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Your list of pros and cons is dead-on accurate. Bravo.

Dani In NC said...

I know why I'm still watching this -- because my husband is still into it. He has occasionally stopped watching shows if there was a conflict on the schedule, but there is nothing that can happen on a show to make him intentionally give it up. If it was left to me, I would have stopped watching right after George slept with Izzie. Callie, Bailey, and Yang are the only characters left that I really like and they have already changed Callie.

I don't get too upset about the medical inaccuracies (I was screaming "pica" at the TV as soon as the guy ate the cotton balls) but the whining and the bed-hopping makes the show too much like a soap opera. I think having all the characters sleep with each other is the easy way out. Having them work on their relationships would be more of a challenge for the writers.

georgia said...

ahhh i'm from england and we havent even seen series 3 yet, from the sounds of it i'm lucky but i love the show so much i dont think i could ever stop watching it! it makes me so sad to think of it getting thuis bad and i think its ridiculous they sacked burke <3. fair enough hes an idiot in real life, but come on viewers dont care him and christina made it worth watching.

- one thing if they get rid of meredith and derek i'll never watch again, fair enough her voice is boring but could you ever love lexie as much as meredith. derek <3<3 just love. never leave. i think their storyline has gone as far as it can they need ot stop the on/off thing its getting annoying and they should just stay together i love them.

Anonymous said...

In the end, I loved it that Izzy saved the deer. Yes, she could have called a vet, but the neat thing was that she stood up to the creepy father who wanted to butcher the deer his little boy wanted to save. And why not save the deer? Shouldn't she have compassion for all living things if she's going to be a good physician? That was plus for Izzy's character, and yes, I get it that George loves Izzy, and hopefully she loves him and it's not a case of lust after their one night together.
I didn't like Callie at all when I first started watching the show, but I feel sorry for her now. However, George is the one who sc***ed up by marrying Callie when he loved Izzy not her.
I wondered how long George would keep his first year of internship a secret and whether the residents would keep the secret. Sloane was a total jerk to tell the other interns and humiliate him.

Anonymous said...

Re: the creepy dad and Izzy-let me clarify this for any anti-animal rights tree hugger haters who may see this. The deer was hit by a car. It was not being hunted and it was not a clean kill. The deer was suffering and the child had compassion for it while his greedy neanderthal father only cared about filling his freezer with venison. He gave no thought to his child's feelings as if the kid would ever be able to eat a bite of "Bambi"* (It's a chick thing guys. Anti-hunting women tend to invoke the name "Bambi" You're not expected to understand. :-) )
Anyway, the child wanted to believe that the deer could be saved and Izzy helped him to believe in miricles. Kids grow up way too fast without having to deal with realities like his greedy father's plan.
Speaking of reality-let's face it, "Grey's Anatomy" is a soap opera in its own way and soap operas bear little or no resemblance to reality. So, if you want non-fiction watch a medical documentary, for goodness sake.
And as for the Bambi metaphor, I don't really see Izzy as a little lost deer type, but a gazelle or deer is more her physical type than Callie's (who is a moose by comparison.) Izzy, who is beautiful, blonde, and feminine, is much more likely to be the dream girl of a guy like George, who is definitely not a McDreamy or McSteamy. Plus, he loves Izzy. I feel sorry for Callie, but she needs to let go and find someone who can love her the way she wants to be loved.
Also, for those "The Office" fans who post-I just don't get why people like it. I've tried watching it a couple of times and hated it. Guess, I can only take my "Dilbert" in small doses (3 panel comic strip). LOL

Anonymous said...

I loved the way that George got the dad to take his daughter's heart-almost cried, it was so moving. Course it wouldn't have worked on me-it would be too morbid to have my child's heart beating inside me. I'd give my own heart to one of my kids in a minute, tho. Anyway, he will make a very sensitive doctor with a great bedside manner and it's good that he thinks of Bailey as his mentor (even tho she's not his "mother" :-) ), cuz she's the most together of all of the doctors on this show.
Wonder how much trouble Cristina is going to have with the new cardiac thoracic chief (and what the latter said to her-Ouch!!)