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A Love-Hate Relationship With "Grey's Anatomy"
Just Another Medical Soap Opera or Well-Written, Addictive Drama?
I don't know what it is about Grey's Anatomy that has hooked millions of viewers - me included.
For those who have not yet been lured into the cult of the faithful, here is a synopsis of the show:
For nine seasons "Grey's" has followed the medical and personal crises at fictitious Seattle Grace Hospital. In those years almost every main character has had a near-death experience, and won and lost at love at least twice. To date three major players have died, some have left, and others remained to experience weddings births, miscarriages, abortions, and adoptions.
At first glance this sounds like any soap opera on afternoon T.V., and it is. Which is why even I often wonder why the show acts like a drug I can't do without. When I break it down, I find lots of stuff to like, but almost as much which irritates me.
Some of "Grey's" Most Beloved Characters
The Nicknames are Part of the Charm
No one tags co-workers faster or better than the Seattle Grace staff. A few of their classics include:
- Miranda Bailey (Uber Chief Resident) - "The Nazi"
- George O'Malley - (Soft hearted intern) - "Bambi"
- Alex Karev: (Slick, edgy intern) - "Evil Spawn"
- Derek Shepherd (Hot neurosurgeon) - "McDreamy"
- Mark Sloan (Hot plastic surgeon) - "McSteamy"
You've Just Gotta Love "Grey's" Wonky Humor
The characters' natural wit provides lots of fun, quirky moments, and the series is also punctuated with classic dialogue, A few of my favorites:
1) (Callie to Mark Sloane, advising him to tell his girlfriend Callie's having Mark's baby)
"You'd better tell her before this baby homes out looking all Sloane-y"
2) (Addison Shepherd on meeting Meredith, who is talking to Derek): "Hi. I'm Addison Shepherd...and you must be the woman who's been screwing my husband."
3) (Meredith discussing safe sex with Derek): Meredith: "...you'd tell me if I need to get tested...? ...we never made any rules or anything..." Derek: "...When would I have time to...get syphilis? You're handful enough...besides, we're practically a condom ad." Meredith: "Yeah...but no more glow-in-the-dark-ones"
Plots Twist and Twist, Then Twist Again
"Grey's" writers have a way of leading us down one path, getting us comfy with it, then suddently changing directions. Just a sampling of the way that works:
Meredith and Derek: Two strangers who had a one-night stand. The next morning Meredith tells the good-looking stranger beside her he has to be gone by the time she finishes her shower. When she begins her first day as an intern, she realizes last-night's plaything is her boss's boss.
George O'Malley: Soft-hearted, loveable but feckless intern who bumbles his way through several seasons. Inexplicably, three of the show's loveliest women fall in love with him. George is eventually killed when he throws a woman out of the way of a bus, which then hits and drags him.
Callie Torres: Beautiful, brilliant Latino orthopedic surgeon. She marries George O'Malley, who then cheats on her. Heartbroken, Callie finds temporary solace in the arms of charming man-whore, Dr. Mark Sloan. However, her true love turns out to be Arizona, a gorgeous (female) pediatric surgeon.
Mark Sloan: More commonly known as "McSteamy" in honor of his undeniable hotness and way with women. After wooing and winning - then losing - intern Lexie Grey (yes, Meredith's little sister), Mark has a one-night stand with Callie Torres, who becomes pregnant. Callie marries her long-time lover, Arizona. The trio (Mark, Callie, & Arizona) agree to co-parent the baby girl, Sophia.
If It's So Great, Why Does It Irritate Me So Much?
There is so much to love about "Grey's Anatomy", but sometimes it feels like Shonda Rhimes, it's creator, deliberately throws annoyances in - perhaps to see if the audience will catch them? Often I tell myself she's just trying to make these people more "human" and relatable. If that's the case, she failed - at least from my point of view.
Here are a few of the things which make me grit my teeth:
- In almost every episode one or more of the doctors has a meltdown. This usually involves tears, yelling, or both. Never mind the patients nearby or how they're being perceived by other professionals.
- No one has a handle on their love life. Those who don't stumble inarticulately through attempts to talk about their feelings just act out. In Alex's case, he just becomes jerkier.
- Despite their advanced degrees, most characters talk like 12-year olds when they argue. At least once an episode an argument begins with the words, "You don't get to..." I'm almost beginning to think this is an inside joke. (Callie Torres once commented that basically this elite group is simply, "...high school with scalpels". I'll buy that.
- If it were real, no one in their right mind would ever actually go to Seattle Grace Hospital. A few of their typical incidents include a mass shooting, a bomb explosion, and a ceiling falling in on an operating room. We won't even talk about the frequent, loud, public arguments which seem to go on at all hours.
- The Singing Episode. Mysteriously, "Grey's" writers had virtually the entire staff sing most of their lines in one episode. Admittedly many viewers loved this because so many of the actors have terrific voices. To me, it was annoying and kind of weird.
I May Not Know Why - But I'm Hopelessly Hooked
At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter why the show pulls me back to it like a tractor beam. The fact is that I jones for "Grey's" on Thursdays the same way I drum my fingers on the counter top each morning, waiting for the hot, delicious coffee that will revive me.
If I was ever in doubt about the power of my "fix", the Season Nine "Grey's" premier clinched it. I scoured the T.V. listings, posted on Facebook, and got my snacks ready to find out what happened to Seattle Grace's best since I saw them last.
Despite the fact that one beloved character died by the end of the show, the premier didn't disappoint. If you want to know who died and what else is going on, you'll need to tune to ABC on Thursday nights, at 9 p.m., EST. This is a spoiler-free zone.