ABC debuted tonight a new medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy, as Boston Legal went on a four-week hiatus.
I watched the debut. The show has an attractive cast but I found it horribly cliched. A group of interns fresh out of medical school are beginning their surgical residency at a hospital in Seattle, and Meredith Grey, played by Ellen Pompeo, is our viewpoint character. She, along with three other interns, are our gang of characters to follow through their struggles in their first forty-eight hours. George, tagged with an unfortunate nickname and hounded by bad luck. Christina, who wants to be the best. Izzy, who has a reputation as a supermodel.
I thought part of the soundtrack sounded eerily familiar. And then it struck me–one of the background instrumentals came from the About a Boy soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy. I’m not sure which cue–it’s probably “S.P.A.T.”
For the first half-hour nothing remarkable happens. Izzy is afraid to wake a doctor in the middle of the night. George gets to participate in an operation in his first day as an intern, and suddenly things go horribly wrong, and now George spends some time with a man in for a heart bypass operation. Meredith has self-doubts and is hounded by a young girl. Christina wants to excel, to show she’s the best, and the chips aren’t falling her way.
And suddenly at the half-hour mark Grey’s Anatomy take a House turn. Meredith has been following a kid, a young gymnast. She fell, twisted her ankle, and suddenly she suffers grande mal seizures, her heart stops and requires paddles to restart. A top-notch doctor has a mystery on his hands, he’s putting together a team to find the cause. Yep, definitely House territory, but Patrick Dempsey isn’t Hugh Fucking Laurie, and Ellen Pompeo is cute but she’s no Jennifer Morrison.
Grey’s Anatomy didn’t greatly improve in its final half hour.
The hospital’s hot-shot heart surgeon sends an intern–who had already messed up on an appendectomy–to tell a woman that her husband died on the operating table during heart bypass surgery. The intern tells the woman out in the open–hospitals have private rooms for just that reason, and it wouldn’t be an intern who had shit to do with the operation to be the one to inform the wife. Stupid, stupid moment.
In the ripped-from-House storyline, things go pretty much as expected. Aneurysm detected, kid undergoes brain surgery, Meredith Grey gets to participate in the operation and she realizes that she belongs, that she can be a surgeon. Oh, yippee.
The one truly surprising moment comes in the episodes final minutes. Meredith goes to visit her mother, and then we discover that her mother, a great surgeon herself, has absolutely no idea who her daughter is–she’s been institutionalized for a brain disorder.
I’ll probably watch again next week. I’d rather watch House, but Grey’s Anatomy had decent acting, competant writing, and understated direction, and that’s not a bad combination.