Saturday, May 12, 2007

Don't cry for me, Seattle Grace

I've been so uberbusy the past two weeks that I haven't had time to watch much TV. I have a string of TV shows and movies sitting on my DVR waiting patiently for me to get to it. And every time I've tried someone has called or stopped by or needed me to do my job or something. How am I supposed to watch the Veronica Mars I missed because of the fire if the kids keep asking me to teach them things? Honestly.

I even got asked on a date Thursday by a reasonably attractive, nice but very boring man and had to tell him that maybe in two weeks I could pencil him in. Where does all the time go?

Anyway, I finally watched the last two episodes of Lost last night. Wow. I don't care what people say. That show's mantra of only answering one question by asking 8 more is still in full effect. And I'm totally in love with that Richard guy.

But what struck me as most interesting in what I've been watching was Grey's Anatomy. First of all, is it possible for those people to NOT sleep with each other? I've never dated anybody I work with. It's sort of an unchanging policy, largely for the very problems it's causing on the show. Do these doctors know there are people outside the hospital?

Last season Izzie was in love with Denny. She met him in a bed in the hospital and that's pretty much the only way she ever saw him. She never got to know him as anything but the sick patient in the bed, so I propose that what she felt was not undying love. The show tried to make me believe it was undying love, but even though I find Jeffery Dean Morgan just as irresistible as the next gal, I think if you've never seen a guy in action out in the world, you don't really know him. I think Izzie fell in love with that fact that he needed her.

So when that big death scene came and Izzie crumbled into a fashionable mess of a prom queen, it didn't really hit me that hard. I honestly felt more emotion toward Alex as he picked her up and carried her away from the bed of the dead hottie. But I did not cry. And I'm kind of a crier. Then again, it may be because I can't relate. I've never lost anyone who meant that much to me.

It reminded me of something Jane Espenson once wrote that I've always tried to remember when I write emotional scenes: It's a lot more tragic to watch someone try not to cry than it is to watch them weep openly.

On this week's episode Meredith's dad showed what an ass he really is. After a lifetime of abandoning Meredith out of his own laziness, he now unfairly blames her for his current wife's death. He slapped her last week. This week he confronted her at the hospital in front of her friends and told her what a horrible daughter she was for taking away "the only thing he had".

Meredith did not cry. She went numb instead and snapped at people a little, but all in all tried to pretend she was just fine. So I cried for her. What Jane said was completely true. It was far more effective to watch Meredith try to pretend she wasn't hurt when she so clearly was than to watch Izzie let it all out right then and there with her meltdown.

It also might have something to do with the fact that my dad is also a big fuckwater.

So the lesson I learned is twofold: if you can write a scene people can universally relate to it's much more likely to make them cry. And if you really want to make them cry, make sure your characters struggle against it. I kind of knew that already in theory, but now I've examined it in practice and seen that it does indeed work exactly that way.

Ok, now I have to see what lessons I can learn from the past two episodes of The Shield.


  1. I, too, was put off by the fact that they all sleep with each other on Grey's. But a doctor friend, currently doing his residency, filled me in. He says that Grey's is pretty accurate with the everyone-sleeping-with everyone thing. They work so many hours, and have such limited personal lives, that their fellow coworkers are usually the only viable options.

    I'm still waiting for George to come out of the closet, even though he's slept with most of the main female cast. That show needs a gay character.

    And Richard on Lost is awesome. Gotta love Nestor Carbonell. He's come a long way since Suddenly Susan.

  2. I watch every episode of Lost and I couldn't even remember who Richard is. I thought it might be Nestor Carbonell since no one else came to mind but I always think his character is named "Suddenly Susan Dude".

  3. Anonymous4:41 PM

    "It also might have something to do with the fact that my dad is also a big fuckwater."

    Sorry but that's TOO GOOD for me NOT TO STEAL... LOL.


  4. Is that picture from Grey's? It's a big cult at my uni -- once there was a fire drill during Grey's and we laughed at all the people who were pissed off. I've only ever seen it once, the episode where the blonde chick and the married guy slept together and he had to prove to his wife's father that he was worth her. Interesting conflict, but as I've said, I've only seen one episode...

    However, hardly a day goes by where we don't talk about Lost.



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