Friday, January 29, 2010

'Nurse Jackie' Trailer Makes Me Realize How Off-Track 'Grey's' Has Gone

While watching the season two trailer for Showtime's Nurse Jackie, I kept thinking that, aside from the fact that Edie Falco kicks butt in this series, Nurse Jackie shares a whole lot of DNA with Grey's Anatomy, which, while it used to be one of my weekly guilty pleasures, has been in a creative rut. Some might argue that it's been that way for quite a while.

When Grey's first premiered in 2005, it was edgy for a network TV program. It featured characters whose moral centers sometimes couldn't be located even if they had both a flashlight and a compass in each hand. It raised provocative questions and didn't always answer them. Its leading character, Meredith Grey, was polarizing (though I always liked her) as a self-doubting, self-loathing and smart surgical intern who had serious mommy and daddy abandonment issues. Grey's constellation of characters worked insanely intense hours and, while they were (mostly) great at their jobs, in their personal lives they were almost always in a state of free-fall as marriages failed left and right. Made for great TV for a while.

Then things kind of caved in on themselves. I can't pinpoint exactly when it started. For some people, it was the hugely over-hyped, three-part ferry boat crash storyline where Meredith almost drowned in what was believed to have been a half-hearted suicide attempt, along with the "Is-or-isn't-she-dead" episode entitled, "Some Kind of Miracle" where Meredith consulted with the ghosts of Denny Duquette and Dylan -- (Friday Night Lights' Coach Taylor) otherwise known as the bomb squad guy whose remains coated her after he exploded along with the bomb in season two -- about whether she should continue living.

For others it was the two-headed monster known simply as "Gizzie," the combination formed after George and Izzie hooked up in season four. Some said that the moment Izzie began having sex with Denny's ghost in season five (for a dead guy, he sure got around), that was it, they were outta there.

I was co-hosting a podcast with Erin Kane (one of the two Manic Mommies) this week and Erin, once a huge Grey's fan, said she's given up on the show we used to gab on and on about. Same goes for one of my best college buddies with whom I used to vigorously debate whether McDreamy was a callous, selfish user.

While I still tune into new episodes of Grey's, it's hard not to notice that the show's not what it used to be. Repeats of the drama air on Lifetime everyday at precisely the time I'm making dinner, and sometimes I'll tune into the early episodes while I'm fending off questions from my pediatric picky eaters about what's for supper. Right now, the episodes are in the midst of the aftermath of the post-Denny death timeframe, when Preston Burke was still on the show. Contrast those episodes with the repeat ABC aired last night from the current sixth season about the hospital merger between Seattle Grace and Mercy West. When I found out it was that episode that was being aired, I opted not to watch.

Do you think Grey's has lost its mojo? If so, at what point do you think it ran aground? If not, I'd love to read a vigorous defense.

In the meantime, here's the trailer for the sophomore season of Nurse Jackie, which premieres on March 22 at 10 p.m.:

Image credit: ABC.


Cooley Horner said...

I L-O-V-E LOVED Grey's in college. Season 2 was starting in my freshman year, and I made a lot of great college friends by debating those episodes and the comparative hotness of McDreamy and Burke (Burke won a lot of points with the intellectual crowd at BC, but he lost points when the actor turned out to be a jerk). For me, I left the show during the ferry incident. It was so preposterous and annoying, and it underscored a whininess in Meredith that I'd become talented in overlooking. I turned off the TV and never looked back.

Mr Ridiculous said...

hi, i am new here...

i only watch this show peripherally because when i watch it it is dubbed in french, and usually too fast for me to fully comprehend. so i only half watch it, but i get the gist. the problem with any long running show is that they all eventually jump the shark. despite having only 20, or so, shows a season, what magic that they originally did have gradually fades. writers change, hairstyles change, interest rates flucuate... unless there is a hard-core creative group that remains constant even the best shows written typically devolve into the derivative and the ridiculous. maybe, hopefully, they will be able to end the show gracefully before it passes the point of no return and it will need to be unceremoniously put out of its misery.