Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Rant and a Blind Item

If you don't watch Grey's Anatomy, this rant may not be for you (or maybe it is?). But there's a blind item at the end of this post, and another new post just below it. I've been waxing prosaic today.

Anyway, I've got to get something off my chest right now, before the 3-part sweeps episode of Grey's Anatomy begins tomorrow.

Look, I still love my Grey's Anatomy, but I have some concerns. My worries began at the end of last season. This season, the show seems to vacillate between the sublime and the ridiculous. I understand that reality must be suspended for the purpose of entertainment. I am also mindful of the challenge of being creative and producing a show that is interesting and will bring viewers back each week. For example, I think it's fine that the medical cases on Grey's are unusual because, quite frankly, you wouldn't craft a 60-minute medical drama around routine cases. I love that they will take a case and draw some significance from it or relate it back to a lesson for the main characters. Patients are eccentric; the show gets that and handles it well. And I thought the first season was flawless as well as much of the second season.

The thing that's bothering me is that Grey's is asking us to suspend reality more often and to a much higher degree of absurdity than it used to, and I think it's starting to affect the quality of the show.

Now, I've worked in medicine for the past ten years, so my eye is finely tuned to medical veracity. Grey's is actually reliable with regard to things like hospital protocols, medications, the actors' believability in delivering medical lingo (something that actually has improved over time - there were some problems early on with over-enunciation), and things of that nature. I'm going to address things both in terms of my professional knowledge and as a layperson. I think the most glaring problems are actually things a layperson would question.

1. First off, I'm probably going to surprise you because I'm giving Izzy's cutting of Denny's LVAD wires a pass. It was lame, it would never happen in real life, and if it did, she'd be out of the program, stripped of her medical license, and none of her friends would cover for her, but I'm going to give it a pass for two reasons, 1) dramatic license for that storyline and 2) because frankly, there was a much more egregious problem during those finale couple episodes last season, and that was the damned prom! A prom that took place in the hospital, sanctioned by the chief of surgery in which everyone was required to stop practicing medicine to attend. No, no, no, a thousand times NO! Terrible.

2. Addison's "specialty." Is she an OB/GYN? Is she a pediatric surgeon? Is she a geneticist with a cystic fibrosis emphasis? Guess what... the answer to all these questions is YES! She is supposedly trained in all these things, three subspecialties, with fellowships in this, that, and blah blah blah. But I'm here to tell you, that's totally ridiculous. It is theoretically possible that someone would train in all these subspecialties, but completely irrational that anyone would practice all of them concurrently. The point of being a specialist is that you do ONE thing and become expert at it. She's also barely old enough to have completed the necessary training of all the specialties her character supposedly has. OB/GYNs are not pediatric surgeons who are not geneticists. No one does all of this unless we're talking rural Botswana where there is one physician serving the entire country. But in a state-of-the-art, urban teaching hospital? Sorry. No effing way. This item is actually my biggest problem with the show.

3. The Denny Duquette Free Clinic. This is where Grey's is closest to swimming in shark-infested waters, revving up and getting ready to jump. First off, this clinic is the brain child of a surgical resident. There are two things wrong with that statement, one is SURGICAL, and the other is RESIDENT. For those of you who don't understand the intern/resident thing, an intern is simply a first-year resident. A basic general surgery residency is 4-5 years in duration. (If a surgeon subspecializes, he or she enters into a fellowship, a separate post-residency program that lasts anywhere from 2-4 years, depending on the subject). So Bailey who oversees the interns is really only 3-4 years ahead of them. She's not an attending. She hasn't taken - or passed - her boards yet because she's not finished with her residency. SHE IS IN TRAINING, JUST LIKE THE INTERNS! We know she's in her last year of residency because there was an episode last season that dealt with the fact that she wasn't going to do a fellowship because she was having a baby (not that a baby precludes a fellowship, that was her personal choice). It is true that teaching hospitals have all sorts of clinics, and it's true that interns and residents work in these clinics. Nevertheless, a resident would not conceive of nor open a new clinic at a hospital. Secondly, surgeons don't open free clinics offering GENERAL MEDICINE! NO NO NO NO! Oh, and if that's not enough, this clinic went from zero to open for business in EIGHT days! WTF? Yeah, there are lots of problems from the outset with this new clinic.

4. The normal, single-episode format seems to be disappearing. We just had a 2-part episode with George's dad dying. I listened to the writer's podcast about how the story was autobiographical to her father dying and understood why they wanted to go to two parts. They basically wanted to keep some scenes in (the fart scene, for example, and those of you who watch know what I'm talking about, it was delightful actually) that precluded the typical 42-minute format. So they beefed up a couple other storylines and made the show entitled "Six Days" a 2-parter. Okay, fine; in moderation, I can tolerate this. Now, what, a minute later, we're about to embark on a 3-part episode? That's called a mini-series, folks. Yeah, I know it's sweeps, but whoever heard of such a thing? It's over the top, and it begs the question of how much longer until every episode becomes "a very special episode of Grey's Anatomy," which is what happens to shows when they suck hard. This 3-part situation is a very bad sign. All I can say is that all three shows better be phenomenal, and we'd better look back at the end of them and unanimously agree, "hell yeah, that was worth it!"

In conclusion, there are still many things to love about Grey's Anatomy. Perhaps I'm taking this all too seriously, but it sucks when a show this good starts its decline so early (this is only it's second full season, the first season was a spring replacement and only 9 episodes). I'll be watching with a critical eye over the next few weeks, hoping for the best.

Okay, here's the blind item. It's from

I guess it is now officially safe to say that it is not a good idea for married actors to be asked to make out with their costars on TV. It seems like only yesterday I was teasing you with tantalizing tidbits about a married-but-not-to-each-other tube couple whose on-screen chemistry only intensified when the cameras were off.... And well, here we go again. This time, only one of the torrid twosome is hitched, and aside from that pesky spouse hanging around, things seem to be going as well for the lovers off screen as they are on. I can't tell you which night the pair's ensemble show airs (or whether it's the same night as the last duo's much-buzzed-about show), but I will leave you with this one final clue: No amount of medicine in the world could cure these two lovesick puppies. So, care to hazard a guess? You know you want to.

Okay, I watch three medical shows on television... Grey's, Scrubs and House. I can only think of one more (ER). Anyone care to hazard a guess about the blind item? I honestly am drawing a blank.


At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 6:53:00 PM, Blogger GetFlix said...

And I thought my Grey's posts were long!! Actually everything you say makes perfect sense. You really hit upon something that I've been feeling, too. And having your added medical background really nails these valid points.

The whole Denny ending and prom really bothered me, too. The first season flowed easily, and the characters were solid. The second season was just about as good as the first. But now the show really needs some new charcters.

At Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:09:00 PM, Blogger EditThis said...

I don't watch Grey's but I loved your rant. Another problem I have with television, even with the show I work on - what happened to stand-alone episodes. Why does every f-ing story line have to span several episodes?

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 12:05:00 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

What a great rant!

Yes, Grey's has gone into a decline this season. Actually it started with the last episode of the 2nd season like you stated. The whole Prom thing was totally gay and would never happen in real life.

I think that there is so much pressure to make this show outstanding that the writers are coming up with some lame ideas that they think are good, yet are so far fetched, the viewers are catching on to the lameness of it all.

I would have loved to see the money Izze received being more of a focal point in her life instead of opening up a free clinic.

As far as the blind item... my guess is Kate Walsh and Justin Chambers. Just a guess.

I never thought he was that attractive until the last episode when he was lying there on the gurnee in his black tank-top. My opinion has changed and I did a total 180. I still don't get the McDreamy thing. I am still crushing on George O'Malley. I am a sick man. Oh and Dr. Sloan, I would jump his bones in a second.

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 2:34:00 PM, Blogger LN said...

I usually hate rants... yours was awesome!
I agree with every point you made, especially the prom thing. A prom in a hospital? Gimme a break!

I'd like to add one more thing: Christina covering for Burke. Now that bothered me A LOT. I am not a surgeon, I don't even work in medicine but I like to believe that real doctors show more respect to ethics. Because this wasn't just about Burke's reputation as a surgeon: people's lives were at stake.

I am a big fan of shows set in hospitals - Scrubs, ER and of course Grey's - so thank you for your insight on the medical system.

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 5:51:00 PM, Blogger Diane said...

I can relate b/c this is why it is hard for me sometimes to watch legal dramas on tv - it is usually so far off that I can't get past it, or even let it go as creative license

At Friday, February 09, 2007 9:38:00 AM, Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said...

I was going to say that Christina covering for Burke was what bothered me most. And for two doctors to sign off on his hand being ok, one of them being the chief of surgery, seemed iffy. Good post, LA.

As for the Blind Item, I say Justin Chambers and Kate Walsh. Lord knows Merideth and McDreamy don't have any chemistry.

At Friday, February 09, 2007 5:00:00 PM, Blogger prunella jones said...

I watch House which I love but I can imagine it would get on my nerves if I knew anything about medical stuff. It does seem farfetched that any doctor could get away with that kind of stuff even if he was a genuis.

That blind item is juicy but I have no idea.

At Friday, February 09, 2007 9:06:00 PM, Blogger ffleur said...

Thats a damn good rant LA. Passionate yet not angry and very well-written.

At Sunday, February 11, 2007 11:44:00 PM, Blogger LA said...

Hey everyone, thanks for the great responses!


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