Friday, February 13, 2009

Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice: Underwhelming crossover

So, like a good sucker, the prospect of a "Grey's Anatomy" / "Private Practice" cross-over actually got me to watch both shows last night. After the jump, some thoughts on how it worked, and whether it might be enough to get me watching "Private Practice" again on a regular basis (hint: no)...

I was talking with my friend Rich about these episodes, and we each felt it was less a cross-over than a two-hour episode of "Grey's," with a sprinkling of obligatory scenes at Oceanside Wellness in the second half in lieu of Meredith and Cristina angsting about how little they know the men in their lives.

And, frankly, I'm fine with that. Whatever problems I have with "Grey's," it's still a vastly more entertaining show than "Private Practice." The setting is more interesting, the stakes higher, the cast and characters better-drawn and with more compelling relationships, etc. Addison is always a much more dynamic, vibrant character when she's walking the halls of Seattle Grace than she is down on the beach, and a pair of episodes like these just reminded me of how much I want the spin-off to end so she can come back for good.

It was also amusing to me that the "Grey's" regulars featured in the second episode were McDreamy, McSteamy, Bailey, Karev and the Chief, since around the time the backdoor pilot for "Private Practice" aired, I wrote a column saying I had grown to hate so many of the original characters that I wished the spin-off would be about Addison going to work at a new hospital and taking that group (minus McDreamy, who was used well here, away from the usual Meredith dramatics) with her. Now, a number of other "Grey's" characters have been rehabilitated since -- Callie, for instance, had a nice moment last night where she reminded Addison that God would know who she was -- and they've added other good people like Kevin McKidd (who finally got some material to play and knocked it out of the park). But I watched a lot of the scenes in the second hour and felt like I would be satisfied with a show featuring only this group of people (and, yes, that includes Taye Diggs and Audra McDonald, I suppose).

As for the "Grey's"-only hour, I see that Melissa George got written out more definitively than Brooke Smith, and I won't especially miss her. And in addition to the Hunt/Yang story finally getting some room to move, I liked the parts of Izzie's game that didn't actually involve Izzie. Cristina blithely saying she had all the symptoms of testicular cancer was one of the funnier throwaway moments the show's had in a while.

What did everybody else think?


Susan said...

I like Addison, but I don't watch Private Practice, so it was nice to see her back on Grey's. For the second hour, I just fast forwarded through the scenes in L.A. (or wherever it is Addison lives now) and followed the show just fine. I enjoyed the dose of Taye Diggs and Audra McDonald, and really enjoyed the discomfort Meredith had with seeing Derek with all of his old friends, a glimpse of a whole other life he had before her and without her.

However, I can't deal with Mer and Christina commiserating about their relationships. Cristina doesn't HAVE a relationship. She has stolen glances, making out in the closet, showering a drunk guy instead of going on a date. There's nothing there yet. Of course she doesn't know him. But I do like the character of Hunt and I'm interested to see where it goes.

I'm sad that George literally has nothing to do now. And annoyed at the Izzy-illness being dragged out so long. Enough, already.

Anonymous said...

* I loved everyone saying that Archer is an ass. Cause he is.

* Addison has had more of a backbone in the past month or so of PP. At least in the hospital/medicine/surgery plotlines - not her personal life

* Glad to hear that Bailey stuck with her husband! Yeah, her. I'm glad they kept one marriage together.

* I love Dr. Hunt, but Mom will understand. How can you not see that even in your broken state, your friends and loved ones feel better knowing you are OUT OF A WAR ZONE! That bugs me big time, but I guess it is part of the character.

Pamela Jaye said...

you *wanted* them on PP? Bailey and Alex?
Oh - that's when you thought it would be a Positive Career Move.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I had no idea what PP would be. I just wanted, at the time, a show that only featured Addison, Bailey, Karev, Sloan and the Chief (and maybe Callie).

Pamela Jaye said...

I think that for once most of my thoughts ended up in my Grey's list.

I should have remembered that those characters were bad (Bailey? bad? or just storyline challenged tm ? )

Anonymous said...

I am just having an extremely hard time buying that Christina - after everything we know about her - would entertain this potential romance with Owen. I don't see how Christina would allow herself to be interested in someone so clearly damaged, who can't emotionally take care of himself. I don't feel they have justified her interest in the character. I just feel like last night, when he was telling her, "look at me", the Christina I feel I know after 5 seasons would have said a witty put-down and walked away.

As far as the cross-over, I could do without Private Practice. I thought there was promise in the idea of all these old friends coming back together - there is something in that which everyone can relate to. But to me it fell flat, except for Archer's 'come to Jesus' moment when he thought he'd die, followed by Derek telling him he's a moron. That was classic Shonda, and what both shows are missing on a regular basis.

Pamela Jaye said...

I like that George was back (now George 2.0) albeit in small quantities. He was at least recognizable.

The Olympics were fun (although who is caring for the post-ops?)

the location switch between scenes was less jarring than last time

I miss Addie on GA.

I feel Mer got her answers to her questions of 1.08 (even though she never thought to ask them again)

I disliked the writing of Sadie's depature (despite disliking Sadie) McPherson shouldn't write for Grey's. There were a lot of hints that never wil be explained, now. And yet, I like how that played up Mer's newfound stability and her growth and another adjective (noun?) that i forgot while waiting for the letters to show up in my screen.

No Mer/Der pussyfooting makes this a better show.
Tell me how Izzie=no tumor & no death equates with what we are seeing.

I still can't spell the disease Archer had, but it reminded me more of the House pilot this week than Enterprise.

I don't think anyone misronounced anything, but I've only seen it twice.

The to be continued aspect (which makes me feel too unfinished to comment) left us voiceoverless, and made me feel unfinished - more than last week's Grey's did (did she VO close last week?)

Bailey and the fellowship - thank goodness they aren't skipping the fellowship.

The continuation of the focus on teachng and learning makes me happy.

I think I'm getting more spam sice got cracked.

Dr Dixon's absence was a Good thing.
(but I do like AZ. she's not silly like Sydney)

Have you ever noticed how much God there is on this show? Is that different from other shows? People talk about God, they pray, they go to confession, they sit Shiva (virtually), people admit to believing in God and others actually ask them. It comes up So Much.
I don't hate it. I find it refreshing (House discussed God, in a way but it's not the same and on Scrubs it's the place with the lesbian cloud (oops, forgot LaVerne - but she's not main cast); here, it's And you and God are okay with that? Damn, i forgot about God!)

I was behind last night as PP was required, I wanted to see ER, I kew you'd comment on 30Rock first (and i have a secondary crush on Jon Hamm minus BrylCream) and... i watch Grey's twice on Thursdays - this time it didn't happen till 1am.

The song was silly in execution though a great concept. Krista Veroff wrote it. Mer was good enduring it. I think it may have been harder for Addie.

Did I mention that I liked Alex confiding in Addie and asking if it was worth it?

I totally understand Addie's "tiny box."

PP is someething i usualleave for later. like a snack. it's pleasant but not satisfying. snack is the best I've got.

Pamela Jaye said...

But to me it fell flat, except for Archer's 'come to Jesus' moment when he thought he'd die, followed by Derek telling him he's a moron. That was classic Shonda, and what both shows are missing on a regular basis.

then you will be oh so thrilled to hear that ABC? has given her a *third* show.

I read the blog. They researched repatriation apparently. I feel it was given sufficiet gravity despite some people's stupid decisions.

Alan, maybe your inclusion of Sloan confused me, as I didn't like him, even when some called him "one of the grownups."

Anonymous said...

Sadie's run on this show was just so strange. She had that annoying entrance, and was then in the background. Have we even seen her interacting with Meredith since that episode where she showed up? There was nothing before this episode leading up to revealing Sadie's incompetence, so they just clearly wanted to get rid of her. She was a superfluous character, who has had pretty much no effect on the other characters' lives. The interns probably would have gotten caught on their own.

Pamela Jaye said...

there was one scene where she reminded Mer they had a fight and were never as good friends after that, although you certainly couldn't tell from the ep in which she arrived and kicked Cristina out of bed.

And what's with the new black intern. He seems to only be there to talk about having sex. There's no reason for him to suddenly appear in the middle of the "year" and they don't give one.
At least Bailey's residency ends in July like all the rest of the medical world (in the US) though I wouldn't have called it a promotion, I would have called it "hiring."

KaveDweller said...

I really liked all the scenes with Derek, Addison, Sloan, and the PP people. They seemed to have good chemistry as friends talking about the old days.

I can't believe I am saying this, but I also liked the Izzie scenes. One thing I like about Grey's, is that all the doctors really love surgery. Or at least original set of interns. They compete to do the best surgeries and get excited about new is just nice to watch. The new interns don't have that same quality.

Stef said...

Alan, I agree with you on the best characters of the bunch. I don't normally watch PP, and all of these eps did just feel like extended Grey's, but I totally didn't miss Meredith, Izzy, Cristina, George, etc. in the last hour. Addison was always one of my favorites and I would love to have her come back.

I'm still not buying the Mark-Lexie romance, but I did like to see all of the "old friends" docs together and ribbing each other on their new lives including all the jokes about Little Grey.

So -- are they crossing over again next week or will the Jennifer Westfeldt arc be resolved in Grey's. I'm a little frustrated at being forced to watch PP!

And too bad for timing, that Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm both get great guest-starring roles but are up in the same time slot!

Toby O'B said...

"So, like a good sucker, the prospect of a "Grey's Anatomy" / "Private Practice" cross-over actually got me to watch both shows last night."

As an amateur televisiologist, I live for crossovers, but I couldn't bring myself to DVR it.

In fact, I thought to myself, "I'll let Alan and my other fave TV bloggers do the heavy lifting for me, just to see what happened in it."

Thanks! LOL

Zowy said...

Bringing Kate Walsh back to Seattle Grace is the best thing that can ever happen to Grey's, in its state now.
But sometime inside me tells me if it causes Meredith and Derek to fall apart with it, it's gonna suck. Big time.
Addy just takes over, like no more breathing space for other characters' developments, that kind of domination.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody tell Kate Walsh to stop making those stupid faces it's distracting.

Anonymous said...

Greys without Meredith is a total waste of time.

Addison, go home. How anyone can feel for a character who has been wearing the same unwrinkled suit and masses of costume jewelry AND stilettos for two straight days while her brother is seizing and dying and she is flying from California to Washington...

And still doesn't have a hair out of absurd. Addison and PrP GO AWAY FROM GA FOREVER.


Anonymous said...

Cristina and Owen have no chemistry together. Seriously. Anyways, I've grown tired of Cristina's attitude. Callie isn't a believeable lesbian. The whole Dead Denny storyline is a joke. Addie should go back to PP and stay there. The cross-over was boring and annoying. The only good is Mer and Der, but it's tiring to see just how darn reluctant Shonda is putting these two together. No wonder the media and fans laugh at this show. It's a shell of it's former self.

Anonymous said...

This was not even Grey's Anatomy, it was Addison's Anatomy. A 2 hour Addison-fest where she could do everything. Yes folks, she's just that special. And when we do see The Chief, Bailey and the fiercely independent Alex, they all turn to Addison as if since she left, they have not had one coherent thought of their own. It was ridiculous and while I like Addison, the pimping of her show that has lacked ratings from the jump was insulting, and a overused gimmick to get viewers who simple DO NOT want to watch PrP. But hey, nice cheap shot at the Meredith character. When you did that, it said everything. You hate the lead on the GA, therefore you love this predictable and so typical. Now excuse me while I find a FAIR review of this crossover.

Anonymous said...

Frankly I thought the crossover sucked!! It fell flat. I didnt see the chemistry I expected to see. Addison's time ran dry on Grey's and Prp is where she belongs. Will I watch PrP after this, definately not.

I beg to differ that Meredith showed any discomfort, Derek showed more discomfort then she did. Most of the episode Derek seemed like he was out of place, especially at Joe's. Derek look like he just wanted to be anywhere but there.

I do think that Mark would fit in better at PrP, but the rest have their home at Seattle Grace. They can get rid of Izzy and her sex scenes with dead people, and focus on what people really want to see, more screen time with MerDer, Alex, Bailey, Owen, and Cristina. Get Mark a real storyline and quit making him look pathetic with Lexie, we want our manwhore back!!!

Greys is nothing without the core character of Meredith and all her dark and twistiness!!! I so look forward to seeing Meredith being the strong one for Derek!!!

Anonymous said...

I am not buying it at all. They try too hard to make viewers like Addison so people would watch her show. And they are doing it at the expense of Grey's character screen time. Enough already!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you anom. They could have used Grey's time to show that the "real" characters in Grey's kick ass, but instead they gave us Addison Palooza. What's that! Do it in her own show, PP! But ofcourse won't work because more people watch Grey's than PP. Why? Because they don't like PP. They try to make us loooovee Addison using Grey's time. F**k off!!

Pamela Jaye said...

Anonymous 4:26, when, in its former self did this show Mer and Der "together"? A few minutes at the beginning of ep 1.07?

I've watched most of the episodes a zillion times and really, Mer & Der are always angsting for one reason or another:
He's my one night stand
He's my boss
Okay whatever
How come I don't know anything about you?
Oh, it's cause you have a wife
I won't be a homewrecker
Pick me!
Stop sniffing me and go home to the wife you picked instead of me
Let's be friends
Stop snifing me, i'm done with men
Seriously stop sni.... where did my panties go?
Let's date!
Okay, I want you/go with Finn.
I ca't be happy while George's dad is dying
Or my mother is lucid and thinks i'm ordinary.
I think I'll drown in the tub... or maybe the bay.
Oh wait! I can't leave Derek! I'm back!
Derek: wait - i'd rather be Chief! don't call, I won't answer.
Never mind, how come you don't want me.
Which one of us is pulling away this week? I've lost track.
It's over. So over
Let's break up. but still have sex.
And go away together! Or not. but I'll wait for you. Unless someone else comes along.
Hey, why wait? I'll go look for someone else!
This nurse looks good. Kiss.
Derek, I don't want you seeing other people. And about that nurse... oh I can't trust you!
Hey let's work more closely together so i can angst over you being with Rose.
Meredith, you destroy everything, I never want to see you again! (but i'm not going to another hospital)
Oh look! She lived! House of candles!

Seriously, season 4 has been better. Even if you can't see them every minute, cause all that hapiness is dull, they're still together - 15 episodes now! or 16, i forget.

captcha word: derte

Pamela Jaye said...

correction. this is season 5. sorry

Pamela Jaye said...

wait, *who* hates the lead but love the crossover?

Consensus around here seems to be: doesn't like Meredith but would rather watch Grey's than PP.

I will admit to loving Meredith (I'm in the minority), and generally watching PP when I get around to it. It's better than last year but I still am not invested in one of the characters.

(and we got over Addie being perfect sometime in season 2 of Grey's. Not as quickly as we felt for Ally, Billy & Georgia in the Ally McBeal pilot, but still...)

Michael 8-) said...

I'm actually the opposite, Pamela, and yet I STILL have the same conclusion as Alan.

I can't stand GA, and only watched these episodes because of the cross-over with PP. GA's writing has just jumped the shark and the heights of absurdity one too many times for me...

On the other hand, my ideal show would be exactly the characters from both shows that Alan mentions, and that was reaffirmed by these two episodes.