jumping the shark: Grey’s Anatomy, suspension of disbelief, and ectoplasm

SPOILER ALERT, and also note: i have only just finished watching Disc 2 of Season 5 — which means that the last GA episode i’ve seen is ‘These Ties That Bind’ and it ends with *LOOK AWAY IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS* Izzie making out with Denny’s ghost. yah. NO, i have no idea what happens next. so all of this is commentary based on limited information. that said, if you feel like spoilerizing things for me, make sure you put a warning in your comment for those that might actually care what happens next.

i have a thing for hospital dramas. to contextualize this for you: i have an entire Netflix queue that rotates between Grey’s Anatomy, ER, House, and Private Practice. i will probably continue to add hospital dramas to it as i discover them. but never Scrubs. that one is just NOT for me. don’t ask me why, i have no good explanation. as far as WHY i have a thing for hospital dramas, i have no freaking clue. one of my theories is that i sometimes find life so stressful that it is soothing to me to watch other people undergo intense stress. but that’s just a theory.

ok, wait, i know there’s a point in here somewhere. OH RIGHT. so the most recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy that i have seen (obvi. not the most recent ever, but i don’t have Tivo and i rarely get to watch live TV because, oh yeah, I WORK RETAIL) ends with Izzie making out with Denny’s ghost. for serious, people. it bothered me. it bothered me so much that i had to write a post about it. and i don’t tend to write posts about things that bother me, except that i think that this says something interesting about the suspension of disbelief.

before i get to that, though, some more context. up until this episode, i thought Season 5 was going to be my FAVORITE season ever. i mean, it’s got the hot guy from Rome! and, also, Lexi is getting lines, and i love Lexi. and then Mary McDonnell showed up! even if it’s only for one episode, Mary McDonnell = BIG FREAKING WIN. and Izzie started having Denny flashbacks, and i was cool with that. as i said on twitter last night, you can keep McDreamy, McSteamy, and McArmy (is that a thing, or did i just make it up? WHO CARES, MOVING ON), as long as you leave me Denny. so in theory, i should be thrilled with any storyline that involves more of Jeffrey Dean Morgan wandering around looking grizzly. BUT NO.

let us now switch gears to: suspension of disbelief. i am ridiculously good at this. it’s kind of in my job description, but i think it’s more likely that i chose the job description i did BECAUSE i am good at it. tell me a story, really just about any story, and i am MORE than ready to hear it. i can take a lot, if you make it worth my while. i am willing to go pretty far in suspending disbelief, so long as you retain some sense of internal logic and so long as i find that internal logic interesting.

here is where, for me, GA is falling down. let’s take the premise of the show: people are working in a hospital. NOT VERY RADICAL. not even particularly interesting, unless the people involved are interesting. WHICH, i do believe they are. so, there i am. interesting people in a hospital: SOLD.

now let’s think about hospitals: they exist in real life. you have probably been in one. and, in them, people do things to other people that also happen in real life. like, appendectomies. and crazy brain surgery that maybe you haven’t heard of, but if you were to go on WebMD or Google you could find stuff about it there. and sometimes you might think, “ok, can they really use umbilical cords to graft skin onto a heart,” but  WHATEVER, roll with it, because HEY, it is maybe possibly remotely plausible and interesting.

enter CORPOREAL GHOSTS. oh, hey, now. do these exist in real life? can i go visit one in a hospital? if i Google it, will there be pictures? (ok, scratch that last one, but i think you get my drift.)

which leaves me, at the end of this particular episode, thinking about what my options are as a viewer. i now have to wait a while to see the next episode. in the meantime, what do i think is happening? i have to accept one of two premises: Izzie has gone COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY BATSHIT CRAZY, or Denny is a corporeal ghost, and the writers of the show are making the statement that corporeal ghosts fit within the internal logic of this show.

now, i will probably find out that Izzie has gone batshit crazy within an episode or two. but the writers are deliberately presenting me with a conundrum. and this conundrum, BY DEFINITION INSIDE THEIR SHOW, should not exist. this is not, this one guy or this other guy; this career vs. this marriage; this specialty vs. this other one. this is, do crazy shit like corporeal ghosts exist or is Izzie (who, while overly emotional and kind of whiny, generally is pretty reliable) insane all of the sudden? and if she has gone insane all of the sudden, what am i supposed to think about her behavior, in hindsight? has she always been crazy? if not, what made her crazy now?

some people (like, the writers of this show) probably thinks that these issues make for good TV. i do not agree. i think they make for sloppy TV. i think they make for a show that has destroyed its own internal logic, and now has a big gaping hole blasted through the middle of it. talk about jumping the shark — more like they tried to jump the shark and failed, were mauled by the shark, and then resuscitated by Stephenie Meyer. life not interesting enough? let’s throw in the supernatural!

NO, people. i will not stand for it. BAD TV. BAD PLOTTING. BAD.

p.s. you want to see hospital drama meets supernatural done REALLY AMAZINGLY WELL with ALL KINDS of awesome internal logic? Chris Adrian’s THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL is a triumph of story-telling. i am seriously tempted to replace time i would have spent watching GA with re-reading it. in fact, you know what? coulda woulda shoulda. i am off to read.

in the meantime, anyone want to recommend a good hospital drama?

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jumping the shark: Grey’s Anatomy, suspension of disbelief, and ectoplasm

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