Friday, February 06, 2009

Grey's Anatomy, "Beat Your Heart Out": Delayed gratification

Spoilers for last night's "Grey's Anatomy" coming up just as soon as I plant a kiss on a strange new colleague...

With the specter of Denny Duquette no longer hanging over the show (for now, anyway), "Beat Your Heart Out" was able to get back to some of the series' stronger elements, but it also featured some of the weaker ones.

After all the talk of how excited Shonda Rhimes was to write for Kevin McKidd, I've been baffled by the microscopic amount of screentime devoted to the Yang/Hunt romance. I pretty much always like those scenes and then forget about them immediately because they only take up two minutes per episode. Last night, we got quite a bit more of them than usual, and I thought the gag of having them wander the halls as if they were characters in a Jane Austen story, immediately after Cristina referred to Ellis' diary as seeming like a Victorian romance, was a good one. And Cristina's attempt to hug the demons out of Owen almost -- almost -- redeemed the earlier scene with Dr. Dixon where she got the idea. (More on that in a bit.) If it turns out the mystery blonde woman who triggered Hunt's despair is the wife he abandoned, then I'm going to be annoyed, because they already played that note with Addison(*), and they don't need to do it again.

(*) Speaking of which, it's been a while since I watched "Private Practice," but am I correct in assuming that the extent of the cross-over content in their episode was simply Addison calling Derek for his help? Or was it more significant than that?

I also thought that Derek's struggle to find the right way to propose to Meredith worked, both because Meredith is such a brittle little drama queen, and because it was never played on a life-or-death level. We know he's going to pop the question sooner or later, and that Shonda's not dumb enough to split them up again, so it's more of a relationship in microcosm moment than the precursor to a dumb sweeps twist.

Chandra Wilson continues to do great work in the Bailey-as-pediatric-surgeon arc, particularly the nearly-silent glimpse of Miranda down in the daycare center, reassuring herself that her son was okay and trying to shut out images of dying kids. After fumbling around for a few years to find an ongoing storyline that works for the one level-headed character who's never going to get involved in romantic shenanigans, I think Shonda and company finally hit on the right one here.

But then... then we have Dr. Dixon, whom I thought/hoped we were done with. She was drawn slightly less cartoonishly than in her previous appearances, but she still seems more alien than Asperger's, and I still winced at the tinkly "It's all a joke, folks!" piano music they played during the hug scene(**).

(**) The "This is how you're supposed to feel now" musical score is a problem endemic to a lot of ABC shows -- the Berlanti shows frequently suffer from it -- and I have to assume it's a direction coming from the network and not from each showrunner. Either way, I hate it. Let a damn scene breathe once in a while, folks, Please.

And then we had Arizona whatsername randomly planting one on Callie about 30 seconds after their first conversation began. On what planet, regardless of age, mood or sexual orientation, does that scene end that way for those two people? I get that they wanted to pair off Callie after the awkward, network-mandated firing of Brooke Smith, but how about a little foreplay, folks?

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

Think they mixed the lab results and it's Izzy who has cancer? Why else would El Duque "been there for HER"?

Susan said...

Bob, I definitely think that's where it's going. It seemed pretty clear from the way the blood samples were both taken (and probably sent to the lab) at the same time, plus it was dumb Sadie getting the results back.

I was utterly annoyed at the Dixon moments throughout the episode, not just the hugging. They make her seem like an alien from another planet, as if she just landed here and doesn't know the customs. It's insulting.

Otherwise, enjoyable episode. Although I'm dreading next week, which appears to be when the GA/PP crossover really happens.

Pamela Jaye said...

I never noticed that music. hmmm...

I thought the hugging was insane (but i can ask my three friends who have autistic kids) but of course I loved it with Hunt, as well at the Victorian Romance.

but how about a little foreplay, folks?

last blonde gay doctor didn't do foreplay either. I seem to remember a sudden kiss.
perhaps Arizona didn't want her "confused" as Sadie made her...
I don't care - I like Jessica better than Hahn already.

And finally Private Practice SPOILER FOR ANYONE WHO DIDN'T SEE IT and actually cares.

that Grant Show guy from early Melrose Place (the only part of MP I watched) is Addison's brother and sleeping with Naomi (okay, if you say so) and he though he had an inoperable brain tumor but really (this is so like House it's funny) he has parasites in his brain (sounds more like an ep of Enterprise - next the Xindi blow up Earth) and they are afaid that one of the many bubbles of parasite induced whatever is going to burst and kill him. They just induced a coma-like state to stop the seizures (more Houseyness) and then Addie called her "favorite(?) neurosurgeon that's not her brother" while everyone fights over whether it would be more dangerous to use drugs or surgery. cause he's her only relative, although she seem to not like him.

Pamela Jaye said...

I though the crossover was this week and recorded them together. alas i was wrong.

for more PP SPOILERS

Violet who needs a shrink is pregnant with the baby of either Pete ot Bria Benben. She didn't want to tell either of them, so Cooper moved in with her, causing his girlfriend Southern head of the hospital who now has a competing Practice downstairs from Addie and gang to get jealous and angry (cause apparently the show is boring when she's not angry)

I'm not invested in any of this (though Pete and Violet was interesting rather than as silly as it sounds) and it just makes a pleasant waste of time (as well as smething i could get off my DVR to make space!)

back to Grey's

I, too, hope that Hunt's freakout inducing woman is not his Addie, although it was my first groan-accompanied thought

Pamela Jaye said...

btw, is "what did everyone else think?" on a template or do you have to type it every time? (my brother asked, a long time ago)

and since you asked, my response to the blog, which I actually haven't read yet (if i read it at 1 am, i can't sleep afterwards)

12:14 am
viewing #2

I really liked this episode, and I thought that was all I would have to say. But there are a few more things.

Bailey as a Pede's Surgeon - I like it. I also like that the Chief got the date right - July - to make her an attending. Now I want to know - does she have to do a fellowship in Pede's surgery? I love that Dr Bailey has a storyline!

Also, Arizona - I like her. I thought I would like Hahn at first, but she just got very shrill and annoying. But I like Arizona. I really don't need to see lots of sex scenes of her and Callie, though. Not any more than I need to see anyone else's sex scenes,

which brings me to

Cristina and her Chaste Victorian Romance Novel.
Loved the glances, the gazes, and the reading of Diary number 9.
I thought Mer never told anyone (I guess Derek knew) and I was right.
Good stuff here.

The hugging - Dr Dixon *and* Dr Hunt.
I find it odd that someone with autism tendencies could stand to be hugged, but great that it was Bailey and esp Cristina that had to do it. And I loved that Cristina turned it on to Hunt. It was awesome. And very caring.
I do worry that the woman he saw is his Addie. I hope she is perhaps the wife of someone he could not save.

Lexie and Meredith - I love seeing them together. Mark was better... still think he needs to deal with his self destruct. It doesn't go away just cause you love Lexie (see Alex). Lexie saying she couldn't lie to her sister. Good stuff.

I also liked the interns/residents lunch. Not just due to the oblique sexual references, but cause I love seeing everyone together - or at least our original 5 and Lexie - and I always have. It's important they be together, even if it's just to gripe, as Shonda once said.

Lots of Meredith - love seeing Meredith.

George's brief scene was great, what there was of it.

Izzie using the interns practice to diagnose herself. Obviously she thinks she is fine when she is not. But it was good for the interns to be taught. I see some newbies and miss some of the interns we had before. I like that Megan got a line. I don't like the new male intern who was with Alex.

Almost a bed of flowers. And then Addie. I do hope that this time Derek *will* get to propose and not drag this out. Though I hope they move to the new house and everyone at Mer's frat house gets to continue to live there.

And I will always love the Derek and Meredith theme.

And finally, no Denny.

Good ep. Loved it a lot.
I have to poke around and see if Krista is going to get an ep written soon. I like Krista's eps - as lonf as she isn't reliving the death of her father - and I love her blogs (except that first one this season)

Dan Jameson said...

So wait, this week wasn't the Grey's/PP crossover episode?

Does this mean I have to watch PP next week? I find it hard to believe that ABC would add important Grey's plot details into a PP episode; thus requiring Grey's fans to watch. I know it would be a nice ratings boost for PP...but it seems out of context.

If anyone knows the details, please let me know. Thanks!

erin said...

Pretty satisfactory show. I was incredibly annoyed by the Capshaw/Callie kiss at the end...why, WHY do they have to throw this faux-lesbian BS at us? It's just...dumb. I don't buy it with these characters, and I don't think I ever will. It's just--what can we do with Callie today? Who can she hook up with? However, I love Sara Ramirez's bangs.

I might be dumb, but I didn't realize the Cristina/Owen slo-mo was played for laughs. I just liked how they actually ARE taking that relationships more slowly, I'm enjoying the build-up. They have excellent (damaged) chemistry. Loved the shot at the end with them in the on-call bunk, and the way Hunt was just passed out on her. Kind of sweet.

Not pleased to see McDonnell back in her unfortunate role. She was such a weirdo when she freaked out. Can you imagine if that was your doctor? You'd want her to stay the hell away from you and your kid. Whatever Chief (and Shonda) are thinking having her at SGH...rethink it.

I'm sure Iz is the one with cancer, but maybe not. Not really caring at this point. More wondering what in the hell they're doing with George. He's such an afterthought.

None too pleased with the crossover event AGAIN next week. I was sure we were done with it last night! Don't care about the characters or the show, so i'll be aggravated if i'm missing something in the 10pm hour that's relevant to GA.

And finally, loved Derek's "I'd love to have your crappy babies", which for them is pure romance. And I was thrilled his awful proposal was sacked. How could he now know that Meredith, even if she didn't outright hate that gesture, would probably be unable to stop laughing at the grandiosity of it all? (Oh, the white bear!!)

All in all, the show is returning to form...I mostly enjoyed it. Only rolled my eyes a few times! That's progress!

Pamela Jaye said...

is it cancer that Izzie is supposed to have?

It never ocurred to me that Mer would laugh, but you are probably right.

as for next week, if they don't mic thee two eps into one 2 hour "event" (sigh) then I'd record PP just in case and only watch it if people say it's necessary to the story on GA.
Ally McBeal did this once.

The Practice also crossed with Boston Legal in such a way that the coming attractions on tP showed us that someone was about to be fired on Boston Public before we had a clue. (it was a cross-network crossover, which never really made Fox as happy as it made ABC)

Anonymous said...

Re: hugging & autism - Check out Temple Grandin's work. She's an associate professor at Colorado State University who is autistic (and brilliant). She does a lot of work designing equipment for the humane treatment of animals (cattle, etc.) and invented a "hug machine" (based on a cattle-holding chute) that calms autistic children.

Byron Hauck said...

I'm with you, Alan, and not so much with my fellow commenters. My reaction to Dr. Dixon is more "have they ever met anyone with Asperger's before?" and less "oh my god she's so weird, I'd never want her to be my doctor."

Craig Ranapia said...

And then we had Arizona whatsername randomly planting one on Callie about 30 seconds after their first conversation began. On what planet, regardless of age, mood or sexual orientation, does that scene end that way for those two people?

On a planet where nobody is the writers' room has been closer to an (out) lesbian/bisexual woman than a re-run of The L-Word? And after watching Greys/House/Bones etc., I can see why women like Wanda Sykes aren't in any rush to launch themselves out of the closet.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Re: hugging & autism - Check out Temple Grandin's work.

Oh, I'm very familiar with the idea of hugs as a way for people on the autistic spectrum to self-regulate. I didn't object to the idea of the scene; I objected to the way it was turned into a goofy joke, complete with the hated musical score. And I hate the way Dixon is portrayed the rest of the time, where she resembles an actual person with Asperger's as much as the Callie/Arizona scene resembled the way an actual lesbian romance might begin.

Right now, the most accurate depiction of someone with Asperger's on TV -- and one that finds a way to tell jokes about that behavior without pissing me off -- is Sheldon on "Big Bang Theory," and there the writers don't even want to cop to the character being on the spectrum.

Anonymous said...

I think the crossover is next week. After Grey's ended with Addison's phone call, PP showed us everything leading up to the phone call, and then ended with the same scene.

It was continued, so I assume next week we will see Derek saving Addison's brother. However, I have no idea if we will be seeing it on Grey's or PP.

It would have made more sense to show this PP last week, and then THIS week pick up with Derek arriving in CA.

Pamela Jaye said...

On a planet where nobody is the writers' room has been closer to an (out) lesbian/bisexual woman than a re-run of The L-Word?

At least two of the male writers have as much as said they were gay, in the blogs, so... Do gay men in L.A. not know any gay women? Apparently that meeting the writers had with GLAAD didn't do any good either.

That's as much as I'm qualified to add, here.

Pamela Jaye said...

I love Sheldon.

Anonymous said...

Craig, I think there's a lesbian in the writer's room. That they are getting it so wrong, I think, is more about (lack of) talent and less about life experience.


Anonymous said...

Regarding Doctor Dixon's panic attack: I'm a fan of both Mary McDonnell and Kevin McKidd but I've always thought MMD is the superior actor. After this week GA episode I'm not so sure anymore. I had a hard time taking Dixon's panic attack seriously or even keep a straight face during it but I had to look away during Cristina/Hunt scene because his anguish seemed so raw.

That's being said, as someone on TWoP noticed - between Doctor Dixon, Bailey and Owen, can someone in SGH possibly survive his shift without enduring a massive breakdown?


Unknown said...

I stopped watching after season 2 but Owen Hunt drew me back in. Kevin McKidd and Sandra Oh always do a great job at pulling whatever they can out of the material but there is so little material for them to work with, it's mostly had to be supplied by the viewers. It's halfway through the season and all they've had is isolated snippets without anything weaving together a contiguous story line.

I feel like I went out to a restaurant for dinner, only to be shown the ingredients and told to do the cooking for myself.

Anonymous said...

Another disturbingly offensive and inaccurate depiction of Aspberger's syndrome by Mary McD. Glad Denny is gone, but am extremely bored by Izzy.

Other than those two complaints, I enjoyed this week's episode.

Pamela Jaye said...

to whoever it was not watching Private Practice, yes you have to, if you care about the pregnant patient with the aneurysm.
It won't hurt too much. Bailey, The Chief, Derek and I think Mark are in the ep. Can't remember anyone else. Well, Joe's there too