Perhaps it’s the writing. Maybe it’s the acting. Maybe I’m just so obsessed that I’m blinded by the characters I’ve grown to love (and hate) over three seasons. Or perhaps, it’s everything.
Hopefully, everyone knows that there’s a lot that goes into making a television drama. Much less a successful one. A script goes through many, many revisions before the actors even see it, and then again before it begins production. Once that begins, it’s at least a week or longer to get it filmed, and even longer before the audience gets the chance to critique it.
With that said, I strongly feel that quite a bit of work goes into creating a soap opera-like drama like Grey’s Anatomy, where every episode keeps you coming back for more. But when a great show can make generate a response like tears, you know there’s something special about it. I definitely appreciate all the work that went into creating great television. But what really proves a show has great staying power is the ever popular, suspense grabbing, tear jerking, gut wrenching two-parter. There have been only a handful that really excellent and inspiring two-part episodes, and Grey’s Anatomy‘s “Six Days” was one that stood out in my mind, as both a sad story and an inspiring one.
To start with, Meredith is still dealing with her abandonment issues when she discovers that Derek sleeps on the couch because he has a problem with her snoring. And now her father is circling the hospital with his other family, to boot. George’s father is recovering from one surgery and ready to go into another that will determine how far along his Cancer is. Christina and Burke are co-existing in a relationship with no words, and a disturbing game of “uncle.” Izzy finally deals with her $8.7 million, when a 17 year old girl with severe spinal curvature is admitted and insurance won’t cover experimental surgery. And then there was Addison. Does she want Mark, or does she need Alex as a distraction?
It’s difficult to determine which storyline was most important, simply because they are all expertly woven together. But that’s not to say that each story individually wouldn’t mean something on it’s own. George’s father, for example, would still have had surgery and would still be suffering from Cancer. The difference would be how he dealt with the pain. What if he wasn’t a doctor? What if he didn’t have a solid support system, would he have freaked out over Christina doing all of Burke’s surgeries? Would George have known enough to calm his family down? Would he have reconnected with Callie?
What makes George’s story significant is watching his emotions. Being with him, and feeling like you are one of his friends during this horrible and tumultuous time. Izzy said it best when she said, “I have $8.7 million, and I would give every penny of it to not let George go through what he is about to go through. But I can’t.” Out of the entire script, that one line was clearly the voice of the audience, wanting to protect George from pain and the suffering he’s about to endure. And we, as the audience, can’t do anything more than what his close friends are doing. And in turn, we feel like George’s friends.
And it’s not just George that remains our faithful TV best friend. Christina and Burke’s drama make me want to die. It’s laughable, at best. They’re at odds; it’s foil against foil. We feel for Burke because he’s recovering from surgery to fix his $2 million hand, and because he feels Christina isn’t being “human” and doesn’t care, he withholds all information pertaining to his recovery. Seriously. Who does that? What the witless game of “uncle” eventually proves is that Christina really does care about Burke, but sometimes her pride will get in the way. But Christina’s pride does not stop Burke, who has his own pride.
The most difficult, and trivial thing to watch is Meredith’s abandonment issues. Not because they are actually important (did you forget about George’s dad already? Yeah, the world doesn’t stop just because Meredith snores). But because it plays a larger role in Derek’s story. Commitment is a big issue for both Derek and Meredith. He’s newly divorced, and she’s afraid of being abandoned, as her father was the first of many men to leave her. To get to the root of the problem, Meredith had to confront her father and try to understand where she gets some of her idiosyncrasies: snoring, being messy, fumbling and stuttering. Thatcher Grey, her father, is able to shed some light on some of her minor faults, which helps her progress and find a solution to her snoring “problem” with Derek.
Aside from the heartbreaking moments with George and his family, a common catalyst that stays consistently strong in each storyline is Dr. Miranda Bailey. She helps Izzy deal with her pain over Denny, as well as pointing out her problems and proposing a list of solutions. As a result, Izzy (eventually…and we don’t find out until the next series of episodes) decides to use her money for good, and a clinic is built in Denny’s name.
Bailey also maintains a deep connection with George and his family. “My son is named after his son,” she says of Mr. O’Malley. In her heart, she feels deeply for all her interns, but George is special. He helped save her baby by appealing to her common sense.
Maybe, without Bailey there to remain intertwined in each storyline, things wouldn’t mean as much to us, as the audience. Because the characters care so much, we care more. The writers took the time to craft such a tale that would make the audience melt, and feel pain and show tears.
One thing I wasn’t especially fond of was the Addison/Mark/Alex part of the story. Clearly, Mark would have made a horrible father, and Addison knows it. Mark knows it. And this week in particular is a hard one for both. Addison allegedly aborted Mark’s baby eitght months ago, and now Mark is feeling the brunt of the pain. Is it believeable? Sure. But that doens’t mean I have to enjoy it. The only forseeable upside is that this moment sets up Addison’s next challenge, her own show. She wants a baby, and turns to a friend who happens to be a fertility doctor. Which eventually leads Addison to move to a Private Practice. But it’s this moment. And this issue between Mark and Addison, and Alex being the potential rebound guy that pushes Addison to decide to change her life and her surroundings.
Looking back, I was very unwilling to give this show a chance during it’s normal run during a regular season. And by doing so, I missed out on some great drama. It is the two-part episode that made me feel and cry and understand.