Friday, January 11, 2008

"You're too pretty.": Grey's Anatomy

Hey, remember me? I thought I'd chuck in a final review of Grey's Anatomy, seeing as it's likely there won't be any more episodes this season. Which is sad. I hear you laughing, but Grey's Anatomy has been one of my biggest viewing pleasures this year, especially after the wrenching crawl that was the previous year. It was so easy to fix, too - it just rediscovered the sense of fun it used to have, reverting back to wacky patients and sexy doctor antics, coupled with frequent musical montages to hit home broadly emotional serious stuff. It didn't blow anyone's minds, but I bet all twenty zillion of its viewers were way more satisfied this year (and just don't mention Gizzie).

All that said, it's a bit of a shame the 'finale' was a little sub-par, despite the juicy prospect of Bailey getting to narrate.

Previous "other people narrate!" episodes (the one in season two after George slept with Meredith, and the one in season three where Cristina blows Burke's cover) have been good, plus Bailey's the best, so how could it go wrong? Well, pretty easily, really. For one, Bailey barely narrated as it was. I seem to remember some cliche about God creating man at the start, and some other total cliche about how we all come together at the end of the episode. For two, the Bailey-centered crisis, where a bookcase fell on her baby, never quite grabbed me. It seemed shocking for the sake of being shocking, and while Wilson hit all the right notes in her emotional scenes, I didn't really think Shonda was gonna whack Bailey's baby. Sure, Shonda's had her moments of cruelty, but KILLING BAILEY'S BABY? That's a blow the series would have a ton of trouble recovering from. So I didn't buy the immediate crisis, and I also didn't buy Bailey's marriage crisis. They've definitely been laying the groundwork for tension between Bailey and husband over the last few episodes, but before then, it was pretty much out of nowhere, and again, it seemed like crisis for the sake of it. This is so often the problem when you set up a character who's cool, calm and collected - when you try and knock that character around later on, it's tough to make it really convincing. I'll always love Chandra Wilson, but I think Forever Young, a few episodes back, which I mercilessly raved at the time, was a far better "Bailey tape" than this one, one that had a much more plausible plot device to shake everyone's favorite Nazi up.

What else happened in this episode? I suppose I might as well confront the remnants of Gizzie, which hopefully reared their head for the final time this week (famous last words, I know). George Porgie's mom was in town, and through hilarious misunderstandings, she finally found out about her son's marriage breaking up and her son flunking the intern exam, from Izzie no less! Poor George's mom. I forget her name. Anyway, the whole thing kinda seemed like a big ol' epitaph on George and Callie's marriage, and George and Izzie's affair, and thank God for it, too. The scene where Mama O'Malley comforted Callie was a good one. The scene where George admitted to his mom that he'd basically been a total douchebag the last year was great. Great, and true. I mean, does anyone else remember the time when sttutering, flop-haired George was one of the best characters in the crazy gin-joint that is Seattle Grace? Or was that just me? I'm hoping that in season five, or four and a half, or whatever follows the WGA strike, George will be back to his uncomfortable, lovable self. His chemistry with Lexie in this episode was indicative of this, I think. Despite the fact that it's insane they're already throwing another love interest his way (maybe she can just stay a friend of his, a la Izzie back in the day), his brief few scenes with Lexie this week were great. Crashing on the couch with her, then giving her a shot, then inviting her to find a new place with him? I can't wait to see how that plays out.

The latest episode in the Meredith/Derek absurdity of a relationship would have me tearing my hair out, but honestly. Who cares anymore? Does ANYONE care anymore? Meredith's yo-yoing, nonsensical demands from Derek, and Derek's schizo switches from cool passivity to insane proactiveness are making me doubt that they're even human beings. They're behaving like robots with malfunctioning emotion chips. It doesn't help that Derek doesn't have a ton of chemistry with the nurse, who's pretty, but boring. In fact, Derek, has much more chemistry with McSteamy, but ain't that always the way? I'm glad to see they're back to being full-blown buddies now, anyway. Palling them up was one of the writers' best moves this year. Grey's has always suffered from an imbalance--too much girl talk, not enough guy talk. Shepherd/Sloan is helping correct that.

Other guy plots this week were brief - Sloan stepped up his flirtation with Hahn, but she shut him down again, this time saying they have TOO much chemistry. Or something. I didn't really follow it, but I don't think that one's quite in the ground yet. Karev had to deal with this week's craaaazy patient, who was a wacky healer walking around the hospital, healing everyone's illnesses! Crazy! As usual with these kinds of plots, the healer's healing whammy seemed to work, but we were told there were "a thousand other scientific reasons" for her success. Whatever. I found this plot boring, and horrendously on the nose, but I was happy that they brought up Karev's dark past, although they did it rather ominously. Karev's dark past (involving abuse, drugs, musicians, and wrestling) has been alluded to, but sparingly, so sparingly that I wondered if they'd ever pick it up again. Well, we got a reminder here, maybe just to justify Karev's jerkish behavior (sleeping with Lexie and Rebecca at the same time, that McBastard), but maybe a a nice dangling plot thread to be picked up whenever Grey's comes back. We'll see.

So yeah. Season four's been fun. Despite the fact that I've been bashing this latest episode hard, I'm gonna miss Grey's more than most other network TV during the strike. The plus side for you folks is, I'm gonna be reviewing Friday Night Lights now, from tomorrow, so you won't be rid of my dulcet prose anytime soon. Cloud...silver lining. You heard me.

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