Monday, June 11, 2007

Grey's Anatomy: An Exercise in Futility

A few months ago, I issued an ultimatum to Lost: stop screwing around with Jack and Kate, or I'll stop watching. As predicted, Damon and the crew did not stop screwing around with my favorite Lostaways, and yet I am more involved in the mythology than ever before.

Go figure.

All sarcasm aside, the ultimatum I never thought to issue was not with Lost, but with Grey's Anatomy. I remained true to the Seattle Gracers through the ferry disaster, even heralding Meredith's limbo as a fantastic (if predictable) hour of television. However, the last few episodes of the season were so disappointing, so unbelievably miserable, that I feel I have no choice but to cut ties with the show.

I've had this conversation with what feels like every college student on the east coast. The season finale left virtually every character in a woefully miserable point in their lives. Bailey got passed over for Chief Resident, George failed his intern exam, and Cristina had her heart broken—or did she? Burke may or may not be gone, Callie's only happy 'cause she doesn't have all the facts, and Izzie's facing the ever-popular unrequited love storyline.

The happiest story in the whole episode was Adele's miscarriage!

Don't even get me started on Derek and Meredith. Derek's been acting like an asshole for the past eight episodes or so, going so far as to stop returning Meredith's phone calls, dangling his dalliances with other women in front of her, and to roll his eyes at his girlfriend's rare fun time with her friends. Yet, suddenly, when push comes to shove, it's her fault? Maybe it's the feminist in me, but that's not right. Now, it's like even though I still want them together, I think they'd each be ridiculously stupid to stay with the other.

And Izzie, my God! Let's recap.

In the past year (remember, we're only one calendar year past the pilot!), Izzie has broken up with her hockey-player boyfriend, hooked up with Alex, broke up with Alex after finding him with "George's skanky syph nurse," fallen in love with Denny, gotten engaged to Denny, lost Denny, hooked up with Alex again, and is now pining for George?

I don't buy it. I just…don't buy it.

Grey's has been marketed from the beginning as a primetime soapy drama, and I've gone along with it since the beginning. Since its inception, the show has masterfully married the dramatic with the light-hearted with the downright insane. My all-time favorite Grey's hour is a season two episode called "Name of the Game," which brings Meredith's pregnant sister into the hospital as a patient. In between dealing with Meredith's tenuous-at-best relationship with her father, her still-awkward let's-be-friends attempt with Derek, the fact that she's on the outs with George after their disastrous hook-up, and the beginnings of the George-Callie romance, this episode shows us some classically Grey's comedic moments. The hour opens with George, Callie, Burke, and Cristina playing a rousing game of Celebrities at the Burktina apartment. Cristina's competitive streak is in full force, and she is mortified when "Blonde Ambition Tour" doesn't connect with her boyfriend. (Neither does ""Blonde Ambition Tour! Vogue! She's blonde! And ambitious! With the...with the...cones! Boob cones! Vogueing!" Brilliant.) It also introduces Meredith and Izzie's knitting, as well as wrong-place-wrong-time-wrong-girl victim Finn Dandridge.

Anyway, it's great. If you haven't seen it, go watch it, and if you have, go watch it again.

The most recent episode of Grey's, meanwhile, had way too much of the dramatic and just not enough heart. And I am very upset by that discrepancy. It made for a tedious finale that left everyone miserable and, well, pathetic. We can't even rejoice in Callie's moment of planning-a-baby, big-promotion joy, because we know what's waiting for her around the corner: a cheating husband who's also jobless.

I need my television to give me hope, some fluff every once in a while, and the occasional side-splitting laugh. Lily and I have been getting this in spades from our recent binge on West Wing DVDs. It's also found in droves anywhere you can spot John Krasinski's face.

Next year Grey's Anatomy is going up against The Office, and I know how to navigate my remote control. Gosh, that one precious look on Pam Beesly's face at the end of that episode was more happiness than Grey's had all season.

The real winner in this situation?

Kate Walsh. She and I will be spending Wednesday nights together.

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