Friday, October 23, 2009

Latest ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Ep Felt a Lot Like ‘ER’


*Warning, spoilers from recent Grey’s Anatomy episode ahead.*


With Ellen Pompeo and Katherine Heigl sidelined for personal reasons (Pompeo just had a baby and Heigl just adopted one), Grey’s Anatomy writers have had to come up with ways to explain their absences. For Meredith Grey, it’s that she felt guilted into donating some of her liver to help save her alcoholic father, and she needs time to recuperate. For Izzie Stevens, she was fired for making a bone-headed decision at work at the same time when the Chief needed reasons to fire people as his hospital merged with another Seattle Hospital. Now she’s taken off. And is . . . somewhere.

Ever since then, Grey’s Anatomy – which I’ve liked because it’s largely been a character-driven, not necessarily action/plot-driven show – has turned into ER. Especially the latest episode. While cleverly written so that you, the viewer, felt as confused as the Seattle Grace administrators about what led to the death of a mother of a young boy who’d been in a hotel fire, there was precious little in the way of character or relationship building on a smaller, individual scale, with the exception of Lexie reacting to a teen burn victim and Arizona telling her to toughen up. The episode was almost all based on chaos in the Emergency Room – as Derek told the Chief at the end – and the hostile relationship between the two groups of competing hospital staffs. Between the groups, not the people. As individuals.
 
Back in Grey’s first season, the focus was on a group of interns, but it took the time to take each character and really examine him or her. We saw what their lives were like, personally and at work and how those affected one another. We learned their backstories and why they interacted the way they did. They felt like fully fleshed out characters, not cardboard characters about whom I don't care what happens. (I simply didn't care about the Mercy Wester getting fired last night.) The medical cases on Grey's were used as dramatic tools by and through which you could get to know the characters better. (Yes, the ferry boat accident a few years ago was over the top, but it led to the heart-breaking exploration of whether Meredith Grey was suicidal and depressed.)


Last night’s theme of “chaos” was well executed and snappy, I'll give it that. The actors were convincing. But that “I Saw What I Saw” episode, along with the one that preceded it called “Invasion,” felt much more like ER, than Grey’s. And I wanted to watch Grey’s.

Image credit: ABC.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Heigl is absent to film her new movie Life As We Know It.

Cooley Horner said...

In my opinion, "Grey's" hasn't felt like "Grey's" since season 3 and Isaiah Washington's departure. I loved the first two and a half seasons of that show, but they just lost me around season 3. Still, I can see what you're saying about an "ER" feel. I think "Grey's" has always toed a fine line when it comes to balancing character with action and storylines that will also pull in audiences. It must be a challenge for them.

Anonymous said...

We need meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) back front and center. STAT

kdjmom3 said...

More first-season Bailey. More Christine always (best actress on the show). Less new people, WAY less Lexie (so whiny! and I can't believe she's already had FOUR children), more first-season conflicted Izzy and get rid of the Chief; bring in someone new...like Dr. Doug Ross, for instance.

Meredith said...

Although many folks say they loathe the character of Meredith Grey (they say she's whiny, self-absorbed, yadda, yadda, yadda) I thought that her messiness, the sometimes unattractive qualities with which her character has struggled have been at the heart of the show. Without a solid Meredith storyline -- around which the bulk of the first two seasons were built -- the show seems to falter and lose its center.

Bailey's also an extremely strong character who hasn't been given a lot to do other than to bark at people. I'm hoping she gets some meaty, quality material. I want more Bailey and less of the twentysomething, intern stories.

Cooley Horner said...

A lot of people always had an issue with Meredith, but I never minded her when I watched the show. If anything, it was cool to see a show with a fallible lead character. It made it more believable, in my eyes...

Meredith said...

First commenter, you're right about Heigl doing a film. She'd taken time off to adopt a baby AND do a film. People Magazine just reported that both Heigl and Pompeo have returned to the Grey's Anatomy set. Here's the link: http://tvwatch.people.com/2009/10/24/greys-anatomys-new-mommies-return-to-set/

frate said...

well it's a great news for the fans of Heigl. now it will be great to watch Grey's Anatomy with her return.