Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Need An IV Drip STAT!--Grey's Anatomy

I'm serious about that IV drip. I've been watching Grey's Anatomy on DVD (seasons 1 and 2), and I got to the end and it was like a hangover. Seriously? Physical withdrawal symptoms. Elevated BP, difficulty breathing, tendency to experience eye watering.

OK, so I was crying. Yes, I was. I'm a sucker for emotional crack, and Lord help us, Grey's Anatomy is that. We have the effortlessly charming and yummy Dr. McDreamy, spending the first season knocking on Meredith's door to see if she can come out and play. As a med school graduate, Our Mere is no dummy, and she can see what a disaster it would be to date her boss. Her boss's boss, actually. It has to not happen. But he is soooo yummy, she can't help herself. She's got a messed up personal life, she's starting an incredibly stressful internship, and here's this charming, funny, sexy man who likes her and wants to bring something positive into her life. OF COURSE she can't resist him. Yes, my heart started beating wildly as she kissed him in the elevator at the hospital--these are people who should be together. It took a bottle of tequila (which hits hard on a female who weighs about what the full bottle weighs) for her to give in, and with equally bad judgement, she gets caught with him by her boss. But he's so damn adorable, that's gotta be something we can all keep out of the work relationship, right?


Sadly, disc 2 of season 1 was missing from the video store, so I had to skip straight into season 2, and Denny and Izzy and the broken heart. Yes. I cried. A lot. Plus I had to wrap my head around Mrs. McDreamy. And Mc Steamy. And McVet. God, there are a whole lot of really good looking doctors in Seattle! I bet it helps with getting women to schedule regular check-ups, when the doctors are so. . .so. . .so edible.

But all good things come to an end, and so did season 2. And by this point, we are already 15 episodes into season 3. But, did I let this stop me? Hells to the no! Because due to the Amazingness of the Internet, I can read blow by blow recaps of all the episodes, and catch up with the story. Who was that masked recapper? I wanted to thank him/her. Thank you Television Without Pity!

But wait! There's more! And I'm not talking Ginsu knives either. No way. Because in the 13 years since I stopped following weekly television series (coinciding, not coincidentally, with the age of my oldest child), television has become more than the mere broadcast. More than online bulletin boards where fans can rave or rage over the latest episode. No! Now television talks back! The writers of Grey's Anatomy have a blog where they talk about what went into making each episode, how they viewed the writing process, what they tried to do with the story and the overall series arc.

And then? Then it turns out that ABC posts the last 4 episodes of the show (along with many other series) on its website, and you can watch it for free! Each episode is sponsored online by a single advertiser, and they get about e 30 second spots to run their ads between acts of the episode. Which is way less advertising than you get with watching it on TV. It's even less advertising than you have to see before a movie starts in the theater these days. This is da bomb! I'm too cheap and scared to buy TiVo, because I would either never use it, or use is far far too much. So, I can watch and re-watch episodes I missed when they were broadcast.

PLUS! Grey's has a helpful listing of the music they play during the episodes. And through the magic of YouTube and MySpace, you can even find a lot of that music already posted online to listen to. ALSO for free. I've discovered that I enjoy Psapp, who I found from the Grey's Anatomy theme song. Who I've now seen performing live through the magic of webcam in the KCRW studio. How cool is the internet?

But Grey's. I'm not certain why I'm so hooked. Sure, I have always loved watching pretty people do glamorous things. That's why I watch the Oscars every year. That's why I read People Magazine at the dentist's office. But I'm not addicted to those things. Not like to Grey's.

Maybe it's because it's hooked me on two levels. First, it's socked me in the gut a couple of times, and grabbed my heart right out of my chest and squeezed it while twisting my intestines for good measure. I mean, Dylan, the Mad Hot Bomb Squad Guy? Hell of a story that was! Pink mist! Christina Ricci totally owning the OR as Panicky Hannah the EMT! The way that story just got worse and worse. . .not only was the patient shot by his own bazooka, but then the ammo was unexploded! And Mad Hot Bomb Squad Guy couldn't defuse it until the doctors got it out of the patient's body! And Panicky Hannah ran away! And Our Mere stepped in on instinct before she realized what she was doing! And Mad Hot Kyle Chandler just looked at her, and you totally knew that if McDreamy was going to stick with his wife, then Our Mere was going to find something intense with Mad Hot Guy! But then! And then!

But this show also gets me on the intellectual level, which is not something all TV does for me. Because this show makes an effort to take a theme each episode, and illustrate it from different angles, in the lives of the different doctors and patients. A two part episode that starts with cheesy cliche of three girls in the shower together porny dream sequence- - -ends with the three girls actually in the shower, two of them supporting the third, helping to clean the blood off her, to take care of her. Because that's how women really do relate to each other, and if you pay attention, you can see that the show is carefully crafted to make those connections. If you don't see them, fine, but it's fun to see them for yourself.

I'm a little sorry that even though these interns are still in their first year of residency, they've gotten medically so competent that we don't see them pushed to their limits. One of the things that the first season did so well - - -and the old series "thirtysomething" also did- - -was to show the panic and fear of failing at this career you've set out on. Fear of job failure happens in every occupation: with doctors, it's not just you and your career, it's also somebody's life. So the stakes are higher, but the cold lump of dread in the gut when you think you're failing? That's universal.

So, the series is currently in Sweeps month, meaning it's show 2 episodes of a 3 episode arc, and Our Mere is in jeopardy. And I don't mean the game show. And on the boards and in the comments, people are fed up with sweeps stunts. After all, the frickin' show is named after her, how likely is it that Meredith Grey isn't going to be saved? But I still have some hope: hope that the final episode will not be "will she or won't she survive," but "how does this experience (extreme though it is) test Meredith's character?" How is this going to push her into territory where she is vulnerable and weak, and how will she pull herself through it?

I just found out yesterday that the creator of Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rimes, wrote the screenplay for Princess Diaries 2, which was kind of a mess of a movie, but did have some clear structure underlying the mess. The movie was built around 3 major life passages: coming of age, getting married, and taking on adult responsibilities. Grey's Anatomy seems to have a similar "life stages" structure. Meredith starts her internship- -it's her coming of age. She's left the protection of school and entered the world as an adult.

Meredith meets McDreamy, the man she thinks she can spend her life with. She resists at first (because unrequited longing is soooo hott!) because he's her boss, and then they are kept apart because he's married and his wife is fighting for him. But that marriage is now over, and they can be together. This is the "getting married" part. However, even though engagements are busting out all over Seattle, Our Mere doesn't want to get married. Instead, she . . .she. . . what? What is going on for Our Mere? She's not talking about what is going on, but something is not Happily Ever After for her. She's too complicated and modern for that. Finding The Right One is not the end of the story. In the Princess Diaries, the princess nearly married the wrong man, and ended up stepping up to her adult responsibilities by herself. Only after finding herself could she truly be ready to love someone else.

I think Our Mere has something of the same problem. McDreamy, for all his swoony gorgeousness, can't make everything right. In fact, by the end of part 2 of this Sweeps story, Meredith is in trouble, and McDreamy is the one person who has to stand by and do nothing. It is graphically demonstrated--it is impossible for him to rescue her. She has to rescue herself, somehow, and I have hope that the resolution of this story will be powerful enough to hook me again.

And at that point, there will officially be no hope for me. I'll just have to load the whole damn series on my iPod, so I can administer my drug at will.

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