I think I am predisposed to like doctor shows. I have very fond memories of watching ER as a kid and of how engrossed I was in the characters’ lives and in the patients they saw every week. As far as I’m concerned, ER will always be the bar by which all other doctor shows are measured.
It’s inevitable, then, that I would want to compare Grey's Anatomy to ER. That’s not a fair comparison, though, since, while they’re both essentially doctor shows, they’re also completely different. ER was fairly serious drama about intelligent people saving lives. Grey's Anatomy, on the other hand, is a show centered around a group of narcissists who take turns sleeping with each other and occasionally pretend to be doctors in order to make themselves feel better about what messes they’ve made of their lives. The fact that any of them is a doctor is really tangential to the fact that they’re all completely stupid.
We're doctors! Woo!
Am I being hard on Grey's Anatomy? If I am, it’s only because no one on the show is doing it him or herself. Meredith Grey is a protagonist who consistently manages to make the problems of her patients instead about herself. She is so busy establishing metaphors between her patients’ ailments and her own trivial problems that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her practice any medicine. She talks to patients a lot, sure, but most of the other characters on the show are surgeons, and when the time comes to actually heal someone I feel like Meredith’s more likely to run off and talk to her therapist than she is to cut into someone’s abdomen.
The object of Meredith’s incessant crazy is Derek Shepard, who may or may not be a distant relative of Dr. Jack Shepard. Making a connection between this show and Lost makes it infinitely more interesting, and leads me to believe that Seattle Grace may actually be some hell dimension from which light and goodness cannot escape and where the Man in Black (Titus Welliver, not Johnny Cash) rules supreme. Apparently Derek Shepard is dreamy, which we know not because of anything particularly dreamy that he has done, but because Meredith and Christina Yang refer to him as McDreamy. Using the ‘Mc’ prefix is actually pretty apt here, as Derek is probably the most generic guy on the show – he’s protrayed by Patrick Dempsey, the McDonalds of actors, a poor man's Rob Lowe who resembles a good actor but is no where near as good as the real thing. The audience has the benefit of seeing Derek when Meredith and Christina aren’t around, and I wonder, if they saw all of the pissing and moaning that he does when they’re not around, if they would still find him as McDreamy. I would refer to him as McNugget.
Meredith’s best friend for some reason is Christina Yang, an actually likable person who helps make the show watchable. She has personality, intelligence, and she’s actually a good doctor. The thing holding her back for a few seasons was her attachment to uber-douche Preston Burke, played by real-life horrible person Isaiah Washington. Her decision to help him hide a hand tremor was a bad one, for sure, but it’s definitely not as bad as some of the decisions others on the show have made, and it resulted in her becoming a good surgeon. I also like how she occasionally yells at Meredith for being stupid. She should really do that more often. Did I mention that she gets impaled by a falling icicle at one point? Because that is a thing that happens, too. Don’t worry, it didn’t hit anything vital. Just her pride.
And then there’s Izzie Stephens, played by the Rainbow Killer herself, Katherine Heigl. As an intern, Izzie fell in love with a patient who needed a heart replacement. Rather than do what a normal person would do, she decided to stop his heart on purpose in order to speed up the necessity for his heart transplant. And then she did it. She stopped his heart on purpose. He received the new heart according to plan, but then died anyway when he had a stroke. Izzie quit the intern program after killing her fiancée on purpose, but then came back after she inherited 8 million dollars from her dead fiancée who she helped kill on purpose. She is now a full-fledged doctor, and not in jail or a mental institution like she should be for killing a patient on purpose.
And I'll do it again if I have to.
I could go on, about Karev also falling in love with a patient who happened to be an amnesiac, or about O’Malley and his uncomfortable sexual escapades, or how the show has forced a storyline where Callie Torres (O’Malley’s wife, for a brief time) is basically goaded by one of the male doctors to fall in love with a female doctor with whom she has zero actual on-screen chemistry. The actual adults on the show – Doctor Bailey, and the Chief (I don’t know his name, they just call him Chief, but he's actually FBI Assistant Director Kirsch from The X-Files, so that's pretty weird) – are pretty good, what with the being actual adults and taking their responsibilities seriously. They have their silly moments, sure, but they are never as laughably bad as the other characters on the show.
So why am I watching this show? That is an excellent question. Sometimes, after a long day at work, you just want to watch something that doesn’t make you think about anything. And since Jennie doesn’t like cartoons, we instead watch Grey's Anatomy. It’s basically a cartoon, but more ridiculous.