It’s not like I really expect Grey’s Anatomy to be a paragon of subtle storytelling, but this season has been pushing against the season five “sex with ghosts” storyline in terms of credibility. Weirdly, it’s not one of the multitude of life threatening disasters that fell off the cliff of credibility, but a divergence into the world of business and economy.
To summarise – the gaggle of series regulars who’s plane crashed at the end of last season are rescued variously missing their marbles, their willingness to fly, a functioning hand, a leg and their lives. But a few episodes later the dead are buried and only referenced passingly, the injured get better, the crazy wears off and the only lasting impact is that Arizona’s got a prosthetic leg hidden under her scrubs and the fact that each of them gets fifteen million dollars compensation. Except it turns out that the crash was the hospital’s fault, the insurance is void by the fact they put so many series regulars, sorry, senior staff on one plane and the payments bankrupt the hospital. Have no fear though for our valiant plane survivors can use their money to buy the hospital for themselves. See, shopping really does make everything better. Oh and Jackson’s mother chips in and puts him in charge. It’s the American dream!
There are so many levels of stupid in that storyline it’s hard to know where to begin. What I found particularly amusing was the fact that no one had chosen to sue the hospital previously when they were shot, blown up, or had an icicle fall on them. Then there’s the fact that everyone got the same money, so compensating the death of one of the country’s top plastic surgeons is exactly the same as compensating someone who after a couple of surgeries is completely cured. Or that the hospital is responsible because the plane company had a dubious safety record, the fact that the company was still legally allowed to fly had nothing to do with it.
Grey’s Anatomy is really at its heart all about the characters. It’s not about the medicine, or the disasters, they’re just there to give the characters something to do, when the ridiculousness of the plots overwhelms the characters, the series starts having problems. If the initial impetus for character development is ridiculous, the characters in turn suffer. Arizona was the principle victim, her inability to get over the fact that her leg was amputated to save her life just got frustrating beyond all measure. By the end of the season it wasn’t coming across as PTSD, it was just a convenient excuse for her to sleep around and it didn’t seem like something Arizona would do. And don’t even get me started on the tedious circling of Owen and Christina.
I really did miss Mark and Lexie this season, not least because their absences was replaced with yet another gaggle of unremarkable interns, who’s only real interest came in Christina’s increasingly hilarious dwarf names for them all. I also remain frustrated with April and Jackson, who I still think of as “new” 4 seasons in. They’re another example of a relationship that’s endlessly pushed on the audience despite them making far better friends and April in particular has degenerated from quirky to unbearable. Fortunately Meredith and Bailey continue going from strength to strength, always reliably having appropriate emotional responses, be that extreme sarcasm, calm, anger, or in Bailey’s case some of the most heartbreaking tears you’ll ever see on television.
Yet again, I’ve spent my review moaning about a show and then in the final paragraph I say that despite all the problems, it’s still one of my favourite programmes and I can’t wait for the new episode each week. Much of my enjoyment comes from the ‘water cooler’ nature of the show, the fact that I can chat about it with a couple of fellow fans, and find a quote for every occasion. It’s also though that it’s a show built on emotions; by making you laugh and cry along with the characters every week, it’s one of the strongest connections that you can have. And for that reason alone, I’ll tune in every week until these characters are old and grey.