Friday, September 25, 2009

How Many Days of Mourning on the Too-Long 'Grey's' Premiere?

*Warning: Spoilers ahead from the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy*

Yes, I sniffled while watching Callie's reaction to her ex-husband's death. I also teared up when each of George's friends -- in his or her own time and in his or her unique way -- came to terms with his passing. I'm not one who shies away from five-hankie TV shows (or else I would've stopped watching not only Grey's, but other shows like Private Practice a long time ago), but the two-hour Grey's season premiere, primarily focused on two hours of mourning, was too long and seemed to drag.

I understand that the writers were attempting to dramatize how long it takes for some people to give themselves permission to feel something as awful as the loss of a friend. In Cristina's case, it took 40+ days and she only let herself react after she and Owen slept together. For Meredith it also took several weeks and her emotional reaction was triggered by the cleaning out of George's locker. And I understand the writers were likewise trying to illustrate how Izzie's near-death in Alex's arms on the same day that George died, had a lasting impact on Alex, chiefly that he was trying to protect himself from losing the woman he loves by pushing Izzie, now an out-patient (and living in Derek's TRAILER?!) away.

Ditto for Lexie and Mark, as Lexie, initially rebuffed Mark's invitation to live with him, to shield herself from being hurt. Only the repeated appearances of Callie, Mark's neighbor, in various states of undress and walking in on Mark while he was showering, prompted Lexie to get with the program and bring some of her belongings to his apartment.

All of this, I thought, could've been handled more succinctly.

The woman who George heroically saved was sitting on the bench outside the hospital, every day, day after day. Did we really need all those scenes? I say, "No," unless she was going to somehow be folded into the show as a regular character. I was more interested in the grieving the regular characters were experiencing.

Beyond George's death, there was the business about the Chief being ousted in a potential coup by the hospital's Board of Directors. This was interesting and has potential, but the tension between Derek and the Chief didn't warrant several curt scenes that did nothing to move the story forward: Derek was offered the Chief's job, said he needed time to think about it as a strategy to get the Chief more time to strategize about how to stave off his firing. The twist at the end of the episode, where it was announced that Seattle Grace would be merging with Mercy West -- the place where Callie, filled with grief and rage, abruptly secured a new job in short order -- has long-term dramatic potential, especially in this economic climate where not only are people losing their jobs, but health care costs and the impact of cuts on patients is being debated in Washington. Could provide excellent topical commentary, should the writers choose to go there.

What did YOU think of the Grey's Anatomy season premiere?

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