Monday, May 07, 2007

WTF is wrong with Grey's Anatomy?

Hubby and I sat down last night to watch the highly previewed two-hour episode of Grey's Anatomy. Yes, through the miracle that is TiVo, we watched Thursday's episode on Sunday. Without commercials. It was bliss. (I'm not trying to advertise for TiVo; I don't even own their stock anymore. It really is the best invention ever, other than maybe penicillin.)

Anyway, Grey's USED to be my favorite guilty pleasure. It had great writing, good characters and interesting plots, although unlike the first few seasons of ER, it did not have George Clooney, my spiritual soulmate.

Unfortunately, Grey's Anatomy is turning into a soap opera. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that it's turning into a really BAD soap opera. Even worse, it's veering dangerously close to the territory once occupied by Ally McBeal, a show I loathed with all my heart. (Alessandra Stanley wrote a great article recently in the New York Times about how Ally McBeal "marked a turning point in the devolution of women's roles in television comedy--the moment when competent-but-flaky hardened into basket case.")

Let's take Sunday's episode--oops, I mean, Thursday's episode--as Exhibit A. When Addison (Kate Walsh) first slinked onto Grey's, she was fabulous. She was calm, sexy, evil. She had whiny Meredith and the other interns quaking in their tennies. She was tough, and in control, and thoroughly confident in her sexuality. I hated her, but in a good way. She was friggin' my role model, because she was everything I'm not.

Thursday's "2-Hour Event" trashed that image for good, even as it tried to set up the premise for a proposed Kate Walsh spin-off that looks like a refugee camp for every former ABC star. (Look! It's Sark from Alias! And Francie! But is it the evil Francie, or the good Francie?)

This episode completed Addison's transformation from cool, fur-clad villainess to whiny, shallow nincompoop. She can't even drive down PCH without getting hair in her eyes. She can't cross a Santa Monica street without getting tangled up in her wildly inappropriate black satin jacket. She babbles at a cute guy in an elevator, and after he leaves, she starts hearing voices.

Were the writers taking mushrooms?

But that's not the worst part. The WORST part is when she announces to her former best friend Naomi (Merrin Dungey, a.k.a. Francie!) that she doesn't have a man, she's going to have a baby. 'Cuz you know, having a baby is just that easy and is a super way to make yourself feel better about having been dumped by by Alex (Justin Chambers, who looks like he can't believe that the writers are making him give the brush-off to the smokin-hot Kate Walsh).

After giving her a lame warning about how much work babies are (Ha! Ha! Ha!), Naomi says she'll take Addison's FSH, estradiol and antral follicle count. While this statement is no doubt Greek to 90% of the viewing audience, it surely made every fertility patient in the U.S. hurl rotten fruit at her TV set. Because everyone knows that you can only do these tests on Cycle Days 1-3. And you're telling me that Addison's timing is that good? Right. Then we get treated to a scene where Addison's poring over a binder of sperm donors like she was picking out curtains for her loft. Which made me hate her again, but not in a good way.

we get a scene (in between scenes back in Seattle, which is confusing as all hell) where Naomi tells Addison that her FSH is high (the fertility kiss of death) and that she has a follicle count of 2. "There is no fertility potential," Naomi says. Wait. This is one of the "best" fertility specialists? Hasn't she heard of books like Inconceivable by Julia Indichova, who managed to get pregnant after five reproductive endocrinologists told her she couldn't? No matter. It's a Plot Twist. (I know, I know, it's just a TV show. But when you're talking about people's health, shouldn't you at least give some nod to the facts?)

But just as bad is that Addison just sits there and accepts this stunning bit of bad news. Game over. For most of us, this is just the beginning. The beginning of spending hours on the Internet, taking your temperature, timing sex, having pins stuck in you, drinking foul-smelling herbs, taking drugs that make you moody and bloated, poking yourself with needles and hormones, and doing ANYTHING you can to get pregnant.

This could have been a great plot line about Addison's journey through infertility. (Although God, do I hate that term "journey." What I've experienced more closely resembles a doomed expedition across the Sahara. And that's despite the fact that I apparently have the FSH level of a woman 10 years younger, and my ovaries respond to stims as though they were Miracle Grow.) Instead, it becomes an excuse for her to whine about how barren and dried up she is, which compels Tim Daly to kiss her.

I went to bed feeling pissed off, and depressed. So depressed that I'll let LTG, one of the writers on, sum up my feeling about the muddle that Grey's has become (even though she's writing about the ridiculous George-Izzy pairing):

...the constant inappropriate sexual and romantic connections and misconnections and the triangles (and every other polygon you can imagine) are ruining this show. I used to love this show because I'd watch these screwed up people muddle through their lives as best they could and at some point in every episode I'd look at a character and think, "That's me. That's my damage, and that's how I can deal with it or choose not to deal with it." But this constant bed-hopping is not me or anyone I know or anyone I want to know.
This portrayal of infertility is not anything or anyone I know, either. C'mon, Shonda. You can do better than this. In a time when every dumb celebrity is popping out babies like a Pez dispenser, we need you to do better.


Snuffleupagus said...

Oh no! Oh no! I LOVE Grey's!! My North American friends tell me it is deteriorating. And you have just confirmed it. In England, we are way far behind. Addison is still as you first described her. Oh how awful. I'm so depressed. What ever will happen to my Sunday evenings now...?

Cynthia W Gentry said...

Keep reading, Snuffle. It does get better. I'm hoping the show redeems itself tomorrow night.