An Open Letter to Shonda Rhimes
Ok, so there is this show…. you might have heard of it…it’s called:
I was always aware of it. I mean the whole “McDreamy” v. “McSteamy” thing was practically required pop culture reading for a period of time, was it not?
But I’m not a huge fan of TV series watching. Until a little something came along…called “NETFLIX.”
“NETFLIX” allows you to consume TV shows in a way that makes eating an entire takeout pepperoni pizza and downing a bottle of cheap wine by yourself seem healthy.
Not that I’ve done this.
Ok. I have.
But I digress.
I have watched a bunch of shows a few years too late. Until recently the most noteworthy obsession I had was with something called “Breaking Bad.” I flipping could NOT stop watching that train wreck. The twisted author in me adored the way the writers would wring those characters out, hang them on the clothesline, give them a hard whap on the ass with a broom, then set them back down to resume their lives in a way that gave many mortal viewers the vapors. I am still 100% OBSESSED with the Jessie Pinkman character and the adorable actor who plays him. I was recently thrilled to discover his voice on another NETFLIX obsession of mine: BoJack Horseman. But that is for another post.
After my Breaking Bad experience, I sort of swore off that sort of thing. I mean, I was like a zombie — no worse than a zombie — staggering around, grabbing total strangers by the collar and asking them if they really (really) thought that Skyler was that much of a bitch, was Marie OCD about the color purple, and if Walt was justified killing people by continuing to claim it was “for the family?”
And they were all….”lady, that was, like, seven years ago!”
I mean I get like that when I’m in the middle of writing too but this was … eerie.
So I went a solid year and a half declaring myself free of the TV show binge thing. I watched movies and yes, I did swallow an entire season of House of Cards in one disgusting bolus but you are SUPPOSED to watch it that way. Geez.
Until this summer and Grey’s Anatomy. My youngest, the afore and oft-mentioned Soccer Wenchling began this one after she watched all of The Office and Parks & Rec, 2 shows I half paid attention to as background noise. But I’ll admit to being a “doctor procedural junkie.” I cut my teeth on that show “Emergency” (“ringers and lactate” all over the place on that one!) and of course the George Clooney show, a.k.a. “e.r.”
So as soon as the medical background noise caught my ear on this one, I figured, what the hell. It’s summer. I could use a brain rest.
I can safely say that I dropped into the Grey’s world and barely emerged. I watched 12 entire seasons (#elevenyearstoolate) over the course of 2.5 months. I think I could easily snip an aneurysm while doing a liver transplant and 3-D printing an artificial heart right now, no sweat.
All in all, I was enthralled and obsessed yet again. But something about it bugged me from time to time. I mean, I have caught many rashes of shit over writing books where in the characters f*ck, cheat on each other, get back together and die. And really, were I to write my own two sentence NETFLIX blurb for this show it would be exactly that: Watch a chick with a lisp move from raw rookie intern to bossy-pants bitchy attending on a show where everyone is f*cking everyone else, or cheating on their significant others, or dying.
Do not get me wrong. I LOVED it. Well, okay most of it. Which leads me to the point of this blog.
Dear Shonda Rhimes,
thank you so very (very) much for creating the Grey’s Anatomy series. I was constantly entertained by the fast-moving medical drama surrounding all the f*cking, cheating and dying. Also, well done on creating such an ingrained iconoclast name and locale with all those location-setting shots (“Grey’s” and “Seattle”). There was an entire kingdom of marginal erotic fiction built on those easily recognizable two things. I hope you got a cut of it.
But no, really, I was entertained. I write that way too. We should talk. But I have a top ten list of things that bugged the crap out of me or that I loved (sometimes one and the same. See: “Christina Yang.”) throughout my Summer of Grey’s I want to share with you:
Liz’s Top Ten Things that Consistently Bugged the Crap Out of Her/She Loved about Grey’s Anatomy:
10. Get Botox for Owen Hunt. And while you’re at it, write him a storyline where he is NOT getting his adorable, ginger, funky forehead-ed self shafted by some chick. Gawd. But seriously he is at his best when he’s being confounded and bamboozled by the women in his life, am I right?
9. Surely amongst all breathtakingly HOT doctor/firefighter lesbians in Seattle there are two hot doctor/nurse/EMT dudes who might feature as a couple too?
8. Speaking of lesbians: Arizona lost her leg, yes (and she screamed so loud Christina had to yell at her) but she was really beyond the pale, selfish speaking — -UNTIL (until…) you made her give Sophia back. Well played. Miz Rhimes. Well played.
7. Christina. Christina. Christina. I loved her. I hated her. I wanted to be her. I wanted to throw her out a window. I think it could have been “Yang’s Anatomy” for all that. I liked her better than Meredith.
6. Honestly, if these people ACTUALLY ATE as much as they pretended to eat, they would all (for the most part with a few notable, normally-sized exceptions and thank you for that) be bulimic. Oh. Wait. Maybe they are.
5. God help any patient an intern/resident/attending would fall for. Seriously it was (a somewhat predictable) Kiss Of Death. The hot guy from That Seventies Show and poor, poor, pitiful Stephanie Edwards being the most brutal of these predictable deaths. But I’ll add this photo because I can’t even on how annoying THAT storyline was….seriously.
4. MATTHEW THE HOT, VIRGINAL PARAMEDIC WITH THE KILLER PROPOSAL SKILLS…. WHAT THE EVER LOVING F*CK WAS THAT ABOUT???????? I am sorry April but you are goin’ to HELL for that one. You didn’t deserve a sick, dead baby but having a C-section without pain meds later? Maybe. Deal with it.
3. I value and appreciate the legitimate dilemma you presented when Derek was ready to head to Washington at the personal behest of the President of the United State of America to run his Generic Brain Research Thing. I mean, yeah, all of Meredith’s “friends” (including “her person” who nearly immediately left for ZURICH) were there. Her “house” was there — who owns that house anyway? That whole Karev buying it storyline was a dead end. Her “job” was there. But I have a news flash: Her “job” at George Mason or wherever it was being arranged for her would be great. Her new life in D.C. would rival the soggy Seattle existence. And her whining about it was the most grating thing I have ever experienced in my life. Not to say she deserved losing McDreamy but, um, darlin’ you looked that gift horse right in the damn mouth and he spit that semi truck right back at you.
2. NO ONE KISSES BY GRABBING PEOPLE FACES THE WAY PEOPLE IN THIS SHOW DO. I write romance and people kiss a lot and I will never, ever, ever, EVER forget an editor saying to me:
“This guy ‘cradles her face in his hands’ WAY too much.” Seriously. There is too much fakey, cheesy face-cradling going on at this hospital.
1. Death. Death. And more Death. Of all the horrific deaths — of children, of moms, of dads, of brothers, sisters and lovers that goes on in a busy, Level 1 Trauma facility — there was one that nearly made me stop watching. And it wasn’t McSteamy (although I am a fairly reliable plot predictor and I did NOT see that coming. While I will admit to a “good riddance” thing for Lexi. She annoyed me. What? Sue me.) It was George O’Malley. Adorable, sick-crush-on-Meredith-rush-into-marraige-with-a-lesbian-lose-your-dad-in-your-hospital George! That was one episode that I will give the highest possible compliment one writer can give another: I wish I’d written it. It killed me. Dead.
And I have not even touched on my Official Favorite Characters:
1. Christina Mother-f*cking Yang (I hear she’s coming BACK! Yay! Legit cynical selfishness returns!)
2. Alex Karev. God. He rocks. Jo does not deserve him.
3. Miranda Bailey. I wish she were my friend/sister/mom/boss
4. Owen Hunt. ‘Nuff Said.
5. Callie Torrez although I know she’s riding off into the sunset with that freckle-faced DEREK KILLER ….
So, if someone wants to get Shonda on the phone for me, I have a bunch of books we should talk about that would make killer “ShondaLand” TV shows!
I am feeling bereft now that I don’t have the comfort of my Grey+Sloane Memorial Family every night. And I understand I must wait like a peasant to watch it (gasp) WEEK TO WEEK starting this fall (Gawd). So what’s next? I’m thinking……Scandal. (but I see she hasn’t let go of the “hands on the face kissing thing” yet. But hells yeah: F*cking. Cheating. Death. SIGN ME UP!!)
Love ya, LizLand Fans and others.