Friday, May 19, 2006

Grey's heads one to the grave

Denny had to die.

At least, that's what Grey's Anatomy creator and finale writer Shonda Rhimes said over at the writer's blog. I'm inclined to agree with her -- and not just because Jeffrey Dean Morgan is so smokin' hot and talented that he deserves his own show. I agree because Denny's death is realistic for the circumstances and sets up a lot of interesting dramatic stuff for Izzie, Alex, and the whole crew.

However, I disagree with the execution (ha) of Denny's death. Rhimes says they portrayed it that way because death is often sudden, without warning, when you least expect it. Trouble is, I did expect it. A lot of us did. Not because of spoilers, though I know how much Rhimes hates them. I expected it because it was telegraphed from a mile away. I'm pretty sure I saw a scythe-carting dude cloaked in black in the background of every happy scene Izzie and Denny shared in the finale. And if there's one thing I've learned from television, it's that happiness doesn't last long.

How should it have been handled? Well, I don't want to say they should have followed The Body episode of Buffy (in which Buffy's mom dies) word for word, but I think that episode is a good model for understanding what an unexpected death feels like. All the events in the Izzie-Denny story, from the beginning, felt like they were leading up to her letting him in and then getting her heart broken. So to do things that way seems just predictable. I would've hoped that Shonda and crew would do something different.

Likewise with this season's cliffhanger. Having Meredith sleep with Derek just as she's made a connection with Finn is standard drama tactics - divide a woman between two romantic options. Since reports say Chris O'Donnell will be back next season, I'm guessing she's going to choose Finn. However, given that Derek has pretty much just admitted to himself (and Addison to the whole hospital) that he's still in love with Meredith, it feels just like prolonging the inevitable reunion between Mer and Der. I can be patient, but I don't want to feel strung along.

Reading over what I've just typed, I realize that, like a few of my other reviews lately, it's coming off more critically than I intend. I don't mean to get down on these shows - I write about most of them because I love them, and the site is called "TV and Sympathy", not "TV and a pissed off fan", or "Television Without Pity". Sometimes, though, it can be easier to focus on the negative rather than waxing rhapsodic about all the things I thought were so super-fabulous.

What did I love? The interrogation scenes, with the Chief grilling the interns about what really happened to Denny's LVAD wire, with each intern just completely derailing his line of questions to deal with their own personal issues. How the interns' prom clothes turned into funeral garb as soon as we discovered Denny was dead (as Shonda said in the blog). The long-awaited love scene between Meredith and Derek. Alex's reaction to Izzie's despair. Not to mention Addison's confrontation with Derek, Callie's confrontation with George, and George's apology to Meredith.

And don't even get me started on all the VM people who showed up in the last episode.

If you can't get enough Grey's, Michael Ausiello has a great Q&A with Shonda Rhimes up over at TVGuide.com. Or, on the fluffier side of things, check out the cast appearance at the Upfronts.

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