What to say if you like it
Hospital drama that’s as slick as a blood spillage on the operating theatre floor
What to say if you dislike it
Grey’s Anatomy may be a snappy(ish) title but focusing on Meredith Grey is a mistake as she’s the least interesting character among the bunch of new interns and their fearsome bosses
What’s good about it?
• The reality TV approach to drama in which the new interns are pitted against each other in a cutthroat contest. Who’ll survive? The number of dead patients will decide. We’re rooting for the nervy, sweet George O’Malley (TR Knight) who is full of doubts (“I should have become a postal worker. I’m reliable.”) He’s up against the beautiful blonde Isobel Stevens (Katherine Heigl), obnoxiously ambitious Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) and golden girl Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), who is following in the footsteps of her esteemed doctor mother.
Their mission was spelt out by chief of surgery Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr): “The seven years you spend here as a surgical resident will be the best and worst of your life. Look around you. Say hello to your competition Eight of you will switch to an easier specialty. Five of you will crack under the pressure. Two of you will be asked to leave. This is your starting line. This is your arena. How well you play. That’s up to you.”
• The satirical opportunities provided by the Star Patient Of The Week, a pageant queen called Katie Brice (not to be mistaken for our own Katie Price). She tripped over her ribbon doing rhythmic gymnastics and treats the hospital like a hotel. “I can’t sleep. My head’s all full,” she complains. “That’s called thinking,” snaps Meredith. “Go with it.”
• Some very clever lines. Our favourites:
“If I hadn’t taken the hippocratic oath, I’d Kevorkian her with my bare hands.”
“She’s freakin’ ancient. She’s lucky she’s still breathing. I’ve got a patient to deal with who wasn’t alive during the Civil War.”
“Next time you wake me, he’d better be so close to death there’s a tag on his toe.”
“You never promise a patient’s family a good outcome. The only one who can keep a promise like that is God and I haven’t seen him holding a scalpel recently.”
• The soundtrack that featured Jem, Butterfly Boucher, Rilo Kiley and Thirteen Senses.
What’s bad about it?
• Meredith Grey’s voiceovers that are suppose to be incisive but are simply sickly
• The clanking predictability that when Meredith threw out one-night stand Derek he was going to turn up again as her boss. Sure enough, he did. And now we’re lumbered with sexual tension bubbling away between Meredith and Dr Derek Shepherd.
• The clanking predictability that George would screw up his big chance to impress when he got to perform an appendectomy. The other interns crowded into the gallery, taking bets on whether he’d faint, cry or throw up. Only saintly Meredith was praying he’d succeed. He didn’t and was then nicknamed 007 (licence to kill).
• The clanking predictability that Derek would choose Meredith to help him perform surgery, rather than Cristina, who wanted the gig so, so much. “I don’t get picked for surgeries coz I slept with my boss and I didn’t get into med school coz I have a famous mother,” she complained. “You know, some of us have to earn what we get.”
• The medical mystery element – why is the pageant queen having fits? House MD does that sort of stuff better.
• The one-note characterisation of Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), a senior resident who is known as The Nazi and is deeply unpleasant to her trainees throughout. She makes ER’s Weaver seem easy going and Scrubs’ Dr Cox seem reasonable. If anyone speaks before they’re spoken to, they’re in trouble, hence Izzie having to complete 17 rectal examinations on her first day.