Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Let me go on record in saying that I’m not that fond of Meredith Grey, the pivotal character in ABC’s hit nighttime soap opera/medical drama/relationship comedy Grey’s Anatomy. Dr. Grey is at turns whiney and naïve, self-absorbed and clueless, wistfully foolish and earnestly self-flagellating.
When I say that I’m not that fond of Meredith, I mean that I wouldn’t want the character as friend (for all of the reasons above and more) but, that said, as the focal point of a sterling ensemble of characters, she is more than fine. Ellen Pompeo plays first year intern Meredith with this pouty Ally McBeal meets Renee Zellwegger thing that, for the most part, works (though her goopy narration and constant moping both do tend to grate at times.)
Her star-struck romance with Dr. Derek Sheppard (Patrick Dempsey)…given the too-precious-by-half nickname of “Dr. McDreamy”…is so tedious now (what with him being in love with Meredith but having gone back to his cheating wife out of a sense of duty and honor and the two of them…Meredith and Derek…making soulful doe eyes at each other at every turn) that it derails the show for me whenever it comes to the fore (if the doctors Sheppard are going to stay together, Meredith needs to get over it and get back into the mix…I was hoping that the bomb squad guy in the most recent episodes was going to be a possible love interest but, after teasing us with he and Meredith engaging in that “bickering-as-foreplay” thing that people on TV do when they’re falling in love, they blew him up.)
When it’s clicking (and lately it has been doing so more often than not), Grey’s Anatomy walks that tight line between soap opera and medical drama with aplomb.
On the soap opera side, the relationship between the imperious Dr. Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington) and the nakedly ambitious Dr. Christina Yang (the wondrous Sandra Oh) is more interesting by far than the Grey-Shepherd-Shepherd triangle. Even the sometimes awkward relationship between the earnest ex-model Dr. Izzy Stevens (the radiant Katherine Heigl) and the caddish Dr. Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) has more juice.
The medical drama side is well-served without too much mind-numbing medical jargon. And the comedic elements are never allowed to take over the show.
The rest of the regular ensemble…the sad sack (but often quietly-heroic) Dr. George O’Malley (the delightful T.R. Knight) along with the tough love Resident Dr. Miranda Bailey (the sassy Chandra Wilson), the long-suffering Chief Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.), and prodigal wife Dr. Addison Sheppard (Kate Walsh)…all bring nuance and color to their characters and the overall ambiance of the show.
Grey’s Anatomy is what it sets out to be…a good show with characters and situations engaging enough to make you want to tune in each week…and there’s nothing wrong with that.