Checking in on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

ELLEN POMPEO, SANDRA OHEvery time I decide to write about Grey’s Anatomy, I end up typing the same phrase. “This is good, but we’ve seen it before.”

And it has been good. I’ve really liked this season, and Grey’s continues to be my favorite watch-it-later television. It’s perfect for early on Saturday morning when I’m awake, but not really ready to start my day.

First of all, I think the show still manages to turn out compelling medical stories. This week was particularly good – the sullen teenage gymnast with the double hip replacement was fine, and I really got pulled in by Cristina’s patient. She and her intern were treating a 19 year-old with serious injuries when they discovered a medic alert necklace that said “Jehovah’s Witness”. That meant he couldn’t accept a blood transfusion.

What made this storyline great was seeing Cristina and her intern deal with it. I think Cristina would have reacted differently if this story had come up many seasons ago when she was an intern. Now Cristina knows what the role of the doctor is, and she knew she had to respect that belief even if she didn’t agree with it. She told the intern that they didn’t get to have  an opinion on it. She urged the family to allow their son to accept the blood, but when they said no, she didn’t scoff at their response about prayer and miracles. I loved that you could tell that Cristina didn’t agree with  any of it, and that she was angry inside, even though she remained calm and professional on the surface.

The intern tried to sneak the kid blood when no one was looking, and you had to empathize with her. The kid was only 19. His close friend didn’t even know he was a Jehovah’s Witness. There was no real way to know if refusing the blood transfusion  would be what he really wanted. It was a sad plot, and the kind of thing I’ve always thought Grey’s does very well. Cristina had to discipline her intern and it tied in well to the camera-doctors thing.

That brings me to the larger story arc from the past few episodes. A series of obstacles resulted in the hospital itself being on the hook for the airplane crash settlements, not the insurance company. Seattle Grace – Mercy West was in danger of closing. This would be a compelling storyline if we hadn’t already seen it. Remember how Seattle Grace ended up merging with Mercy West? It was because of money. I didn’t like the story back then (though I did come to love April and Avery, so it worked out) and I think it’s actually better executed this time around – with an efficiency expert who wants to close the ER to make the hospital look more appealing for a buyer. But it still feels repetitive. Not unlike how I thought the plane crash was well done, but you can put one set of people through only so many traumas before it becomes ridiculous.

CONSTANCE ZIMMERA large part of why I like the budget-slashing storyline this go around is because of Constance Zimmer as Dr. Cahill, the aforementioned efficiency expert. I always liked her as Dana Gordon on Entourage, and her disposition plays well here. They’ve been slowly teasing her backstory, as there’s obviously some major reason why she doesn’t operate anymore. I like what they’ve been doing with the character and I’m looking forward to where the season takes it.

There was also a great comedic element to this episode, in the class on hernia repair that Bailey, Webber and Meredith were in. Bailey’s sucking up to try and keep her job and her Hunger Games references (“Tributes, may the odds be ever in your favor” and, even better, “May as well swallow your poison berries now, because I am the Girl on Fire!”) were amazing.

Overall, I think the fact that Grey’s is still producing good, soapy storylines trumps the repetition. It’s never been a fantastic dramatic series, so the bar is set lower. It entertains, and that’s all that matters. What did you guys think about “

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About Jill

Pop culture junkie and TV aficionado. I write sharp and snarky TV recaps at www.couchtimewithjill.com
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2 Responses to Checking in on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

  1. Dana says:

    I agree with you, Grey’s has never been ground breaking TV but more soapy fun. The bar is lower and the truth of the matter is, you just can’t keep making something compelling 9 seasons in. This is the first week all season where the medical cases were interesting and compelling enough and I think that makes a huge difference as to whether the episode is good or not. I do feel like the hospital storyline has been done before too and I am just not interested at all. You know how it is going to end up, the docs will give their payout to keep the hospital going. Plus, I don’t really buy all this financial hardship. Seattle Grace is not a community hospital so they more or less are only taking people with insurance, they have this state of the art technology which was budgeted for, so they can look at an MRI on an iPad but they are so broke they have to close their ER?

    Actually I’ve been nursing the tail end of a flu and cough and stayed in for a weekend. With nothing to watch I pulled out seasons 1 and 2 of Grey’s and it is amazing how compelling those early seasons were. They really need to pull the plug on Grey’s but they won’t, because network tv is not about quality, it is about whether a show can still make the ratings and therefore money, and Grey’s still does.

    • Jill says:

      Yes, unfortunately it was just way too predictable. The hospital was doing fine (hence the iPads), but then the giant payout crushed it. So the obvious choice is to buy the hospital instead of letting some awful company do it.

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