The playwright Anton Chekhov said, "One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it."
There are a lot of guns going on on Grey's Anatomy, and none of them are going off.
For starters, these story arcs have just been going on for way too long.
For another, it's February sweeps--time to tie up loose ends and start anew. Dr. Jack Shephard just figured out how to go back to the island. And what did you do this February, Dr. Derek Shepherd?
Lastly, and I say this with all due respect, Ms. Rhimes, but you just wrote five hours of story (three from Grey's and two from Private Practice) in which nothing happened for our main characters.
Oh, yeah, there was a lot of character development for, y'know, Archer Montgomery and Ben Shenkman, but everybody else is pretty much right where they started.
So that five hours was clearly a colossal waste of time for me.
Here are the so-called "loaded rifles" I can think of off the top of my head:
Derek proposing to Meredith.
Loaded because: Derek's mom gave him the ring.
Threatened to fire when: Jennifer Westfeldt's character noticed the ring in his pocket; his proposing becomes a point of connection for doctor and patient. Everyone knows about the ring except Meredith. Meredith says "a thing about babies"; Derek is charmed enough to believe she won't say no.
Ultimately remains loaded because: Derek is a pansy and Meredith is the world's worst girlfriend. Tequila? What is this, Meredith, season two? I thought we were past this. While I do acknowledge that you have progressed beyond Jose Cuervo, I seriously thought you were to the point where you could comfort your boyfriend without shot glasses. I mean, we know alcoholism is what you do best, but come on.
Shot in the dark: What would've been better is if Meredith proposed to Derek. Instead of that end scene, I would have written a fitting conclusion to the arc where Meredith, affected by the death of their patient, realizes the importance of True Love and Marriage and Babies. She wants to end up like Rob and Jen, only not dead. So instead of a "let's get drunk and feel sorry for ourselves" end scene, the story comes full circle--as one couple's life together ends tragically, another begins with a touch of angsty hope.
Izzie's Gonna Die.
Loaded because: In episode eight (Eight! "The Ties That Bind"! That's Eight episodes ago!), Denny told Izzie, "I'm here for you."
Threatened to fire when: Denny showed up. Denny left. Denny came back. Izzie told Denny to leave. Denny finally left, but only after Izzie realized she was sick. Slow clap for Izzie. (By the way, that was four episodes ago, if you're keeping track.) Izzie enlisted interns (unbeknownst to them) to solve her medical mystery. Her medical mystery was solved.
Ultimately remains loaded because: This, what I am officially deeming the World's Worst Storyline, is still going on. Riddle me this. If you were told by a very convincing ghost that you had some kind of brain abnormality, would you not be calling up, oh, I don't know, the best neurosurgeon in the country to check you out, rather than feeling for lumps in the ladies room? If Izzie dies, then she deserves it for being so effing stupid about seeking medical attention.
Shot in the dark: I would have been just fine if the Crossover of Wonderment ended with Izzie having figured out her problem, seeking medical help from Derek or, since he was kind of busy with his own non-story, the Chief, and starting the rest of the season on a scary but cool treatment plan.
Bailey wants to be a pediatrician now.
Loaded because: Five episodes ago, Bailey got attached to a sick kid.
Threatened to fire when: That kid almost died. But then lived. Bailey applies for a fellowship. Bailey spends way too much time complaining about applying for the fellowship. The Chief is unsupportive.
Ultimately remains loaded because: We still don't know if Bailey got her stupid fellowship. I really couldn't care less about Bailey and her problems--remember back in season one, before she had a kid, when she didn't have her own storylines? God, those were the days. Anyway, now Bailey has ridiculously long story arcs that are stupid.
Shot in the dark: Bailey gets the fellowship. It's that easy. I've been saying for a long time that they need a pediatric surgeon, because then you get to have more cases with kids. (Same way Addison facilitates all those baby cases.) Dr. Doug Ross is apparently working at a different Seattle hospital, so just sign Bailey up, forget about how the Chief feels, and move on. Good times.
Ultimately, the problem with Grey's is poor planning. This season has been an absolute exercise in laziness. Sixteen episodes so far. Three have just been devoted to the Crossover of Wonderment; the three before that, to Serial Killer and Liver Boy. Four patients in six episodes! Supreme laziness!
You came up with two good ideas, and they were both basically stolen from old-school ER. Remember "Carter's Choice"? Remember "Love's Labors Lost"? Both classic episodes that got fully and totally ripped off by Grey's.
Rather than letting good ideas linger long beyond their welcome (cough Denny Duquette cough cough), why not write ideas to run their course--and then come up with new ideas? Do you really not have any?
These stories are all just moving way too slowly, and it's whoa frustrating.
Please, people, make those guns go off, and stat. Otherwise, I'll take it off the wall and shoot you with it myself.