Grey’s Anatomy: Song Beneath the Song

E: I want to begin by applauding the risk-taking spirit of this much anticipated musical episode. The cast has some pretty nice voices, which was a fun surprise.  (Of course I knew Sara Ramirez could sing, but even Ellen Pompeo can hold a tune pleasantly, and that was rather a surprise.)  They way they did it – Callie’s hallucinations merged with reality – was really surprising.  It’s quite an idea, Glee’s Anatomy. Grey‘s has always been a blend of the ridiculous, the inappropriate, and the melodramatic, so in theory,  it’s feasible.  And I love musicals – I am not ashamed to admit.  So, perfect confluence of things I love, right?

The thing is (for me, for you, dawg), it really got in the way of the emotional impact of the episode.  Not to mention understanding the action.  In part because of the choice to sing not original music but “iconic” Grey’s soundtrack tunes, some characters spent a lot of time singing words that weren’t particularly relevant drowning out the people saying things that were.  I won’t say it was all without merit, and I hate saying it at all, especially after reading the hopeful burbling from creator Shonda Rimes, and all the love that went into it.

But that’s my honest reaction.

Also, how can they have a musical episode without letting Lorretta Devine sing?  I mean, really.  That’s just dumb.

I don’t even know how to break down a recap here.

When Buffy the Vampire Slayer did their musical episode, I came out of it singing the songs.  That didn’t happen this time, and these are already a lot of songs that I love.  So what can you say to that?  Isn’t that what a musical should do?  It sounds like that was Shonda Rimes inspiration, too.  It makes me feel awful that these people begged to do this thing, and poured so much of their love and care into something that just didn’t work for me.

So, let’s see.  I did not relish seeing Callie gasping like a fish on the hood of that car.  Somehow it struck me as unreal rather than just scary, but either way, I did not like. I did like the Chief telling Mark that even though he doesn’t understand it, Callie is his family and he can’t be part of the team that operates on her.  I was a bit disconcerted by Owen singing to Callie, though I see where they got it, and I found it hard to follow the events in the e.r. when Owen and eventually Lexie and Bailey, were singing but everyone else was speaking normally.  The idea of it being her mind’s way of coping was interesting, but I think it had the unintended effect of insulating us from the real stress and horror and frantic action of the moment.

It also posed a problem when the songs appeared outside of her presence. I know she was supposed to be having an out of body experience, but was she following Lexie to the stairwell?  Teddy into randy Henry’s hospital room?  Various staff members to their homes?  That’s even harder to buy.

Now, Lucy Fields not being up to the task of delivering a deeply premature baby?  I’m sorry.  How can she be the only ob at a major city hospital and have that lack of experience?  That’s ridiculous.  While seeing ‘bad’ Addison back was fun – and resonated because she and Callie used to be good friends – was it really worth making Lucy seem like an idiot?  For her to first tell the Chief she didn’t think she could cope, and then complain he was humiliating her by calling someone else in?  What’s that about?

My least favorite interlude, by the way, was the “sunshine” song.  It was all well and good while Callie was figuring out that she does want to marry Arizona, but when we got to see Eli fluttering about giving Bailey a diamond, and Lucy and Alex canoodling in the trailer, and then Owen and Cristina having creepy fake laughy kitchen counter sex?  Ew!  What was that?  I’m sorry, because Callie might have been tripping in her head, but you don’t go home from seeing your roommate/colleague/friend utterly wrecked and possibly braindead and then just fool around.  I’m not saying no one would have sex, because – as Madeleine L’Engle put it – it’s an affirmation of the goodness of life, and it’s a totally appropriate response.  I just don’t feel like they’d be so giddy about it.  Cristina particularly struck me as very, very wrong, like it was more about the song than about what anyone would actually be feeling.

Right, on the other hand, was Lexie feeling like she needed to talk to Mark, to help him.  When she ran to him in the stairwell, I thought for sure that she’d end up making out with him, and I kept screaming at the tv (much to the annoyance of my husband) for her not to kiss him.  No offense to all the Lexie/Mark shippers; it’s just that she can be so empathetic that it messes her up.  Remember her pretending to be Izzie to Alex?  I was happy to see Jackson let her go comfort Mark, but I’m happy he asked her flat out who she wanted to be with, and I’m happy she chose to stay with him.  Maybe she and Mark will be together later, but (and I feel like I always have to justify saying this) they don’t want the same things.  Babies, marriage; Lexie just wants to be young and happy.

Meredith wants more.  I loved Meredith’s breakdown in, of course, the elevator.  That was probably the best moment of the episode for me. As someone who’s had friends struggle with infertility (and has been weirdly addicted to infertility blogs) everything she said struck a chord.  Her envy and subsequent guilt and horror at this turn of events were all very real, very true and beautifully played.

The other bit I liked – and the time where the music worked to the show’s advantage, sort of – was during the surgery where the still unnamed tiny baby girl was born.  I liked Arizona stepping in to save her.  I liked Cristina’s brave new technique to save Callie, although because of the way it all went down, I still can’t figure out why they had to get the baby out when they did.  And why they didn’t have a plan and a team for the baby.  I know from personal experience that they’d have protocols, that there would be that team not run by the obs.  I don’t know why a hospital of that size and alleged reputation wouldn’t have a neonatologist on staff, or at least on call for a case like this, but whatever.  I’m sure next week I’ll get the chance to be infuriated by their lack of proper nicu protocols.

But I can get the chance now to be infuriated by Mark’s fight with Arizona.  Damn, but the man fights dirty.  If you were Arizona, could you get over him telling you you were nothing?  I know he was messed up and frightened – and I liked their fight about what Callie would want and saving the baby – but man.  That was so low.  I’m glad he apologized, and I understand it was heat of the moment, but you have to wonder if that’s when the stuff that people secretly think comes out.

But probably that’s not fair.

So, what do you think?  Will the unnamed baby girl live?  What’re they going to name her?  The menage-a-parenting haven’t even had that fight yet.  Will she have terrible deficits?  Will Callie’s terrifying family show up to support them?  (In a normal world, they sure as heck would, but will Grey’s write a normal reaction?) And what will an Arizona/Callie wedding look like?

(I should add, btw, that I watched a bit of the episode again and it makes way more sense in the second viewing.  Make of that what you will.  Also, Brandi Carlisle’s The Story is awesome and worked best of everything here.)

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5 comments on “Grey’s Anatomy: Song Beneath the Song

  1. Tobaspoon says:

    I was completely disconcerted by the musical side of this episode: it doesn’t really fit most of the time though it is very true that Sara Ramirez has a beautiful voice. But it was then kind of difficult to get into the episode and to really feel the pain and fear (like we did last season with all the shootings).
    My favorite moment was also by far the breakdown of Meredith in the elevator, and the worst was the “sunshine happy song” (I was like: “WHAT?” “What’s going on?”).
    I think the little girl will live and that Callie and Arizona will get happily married: they will probably focus on other matters for next season (Meredith’s baby and Christina&Owen issues). Plus we’ll get to know who’s being picked for chief of surgery and towards which specialty any of them is heading

    • E says:

      Yes. Yes to everything you said. Loved Meredith in the elevator, Sara’s voice, hated the happy sunshine song and thought that the singing made you feel things less, not more, which was crazy for such an emotional episode.

  2. Yaara says:

    Do you think we might see some action on the Owen-Cristina/Teddy front? Even Burke got mentioned! I felt they totally dropped that story line. Thanks for an awesome recap!

    • E says:

      Hee – I’m glad someone else was excited to hear about Burke! (I’m still annoyed at Isaiah Washington for messing up his career; I loved Burke. What a great character.)

      I’m going to be very curious to see if there’s more Teddy/Owen/Cristina stuff when – as everyone is assuming – Cristina and Owen go into a rough patch.

  3. Alexis says:

    One word describing this episode…stupid.

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