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Rewind & Review: Shondaland, Part 1

Heyyyy, I've been meaning to talk about these shows too. I think I'll do this in two installments, melding the (8?) missing episodes into one chronological blur. Here are the first four.

Grey's Anatomy, 6x07: "Give Peace a Chance"
Or, "That One What Was So Amazing It Broke My Brain/Ability To Comment On Grey's Forever"

-Basically: DEREK. Neuro God. Amazing not-quite-husband. Voiceovers. Standing up to the Chief. Perfection. If only I could have excised the stupid-ass diaper thing from this plot, it would have had zero faults. Well, Jackassson. But I'm trying very hard to will him out of existence. Highlights including but not limited to:

* Sidling up to Cristina at the beginning of the day, looking to cheer her up because Meredith might have mentioned something to that effect. ("Your wife is dead. As soon as her liver grows back, she's dead.")

* Everyone crowded into the room, discussing Isaac's tragedy and/or the awesome-looking tumor

* Granting Lexie a special role as his right-hand woman, to ensure that she gets in on the surgery no matter what

* I really want to hate that he drew on the bedroom wall with permanent marker. Vandalism, graffiti, house defacement! On the other hand, he is a brilliant artist, since it looks like a textbook illustration. And it does sort of mark this, in a wonderfully unique way, as a 2nd-generation surgeon's house. They could always paint over it if they had to, right?

* So much bed-snuggling and cuddly kissing in general. I do love when they pull out all the stops to make me love Mer/Der. It always works on me.

* Bailey interrupting him to tell him that, despite how completely authorized she's sure the surgery is, he might like to know that the Chief is scheduled to operate in the room across the way. In case that's pertinent info.

* Round II: Nope, Bailey would not care to tell him what's going on, because anything outside the OR is an irrelevant distraction. Carry on. (Bailey rules my world.)

* People standing guard outside the door - even Arizona having a rare moment of being awesome when she flung herself in front of it and told the Chief he was not allowed to go in there and be a bully. Woo! Don't worry, I went right back to hating her the second she collapsed in tears, but for like 20 seconds in there she was great.

* The Chief firing Derek, whose response is pretty much "Psh, no."

+ Isaac was instantly the best 1-note character ever to be introduced. Why can't they do this with recurring characters? Why do all their recurring characters have to start out being instantly unlikable? Because most of them stay that way. Just once, wouldn't you like to take a chance on someone pleasant from the start? And not fire her by the next episode?

+ "Don't worry. Being ditched by Cancer Wife won't change my mind - you're still a douche." And thus did Reed cement her place as my new favorite Mercy Wester! For about five minutes, and then she totally changed her mind and by the next episode she was in love with him. ARGH! We have been over this and over this, show. It is entirely possible to unconditionally hate someone forever, without ever turning around and realizing that their hatefulness suddenly makes you weak in the knees. Sometimes, a douche is just a douche.

+ On the Cristina/Owen front, he adorably brings her 12-15 hour surgery presents to cheer her up. Only to be forced to cancel them on her so that Derek can go be a Neuro God. SIGH. I would be more upset about this plot point, just like I would be more upset about Team Yang/McDreamy being broken up before its brilliance could see the light of day, if both of these did not lead to her stubbornly practicing over and over in the skills lab until he comes up behind her and shows her precisely how to hit the mark, despite the fact that he has hams for hands while hers are tiny little geniuses.

It's all very close and whispery, yet does not distract her from continuing to practice now that she's getting it right. *purr* I am a sucker for teaching moments. For them, I particularly love that even though they are not in perfect sync like she and Burke were, and even though he quite frequently doesn't understand her, and it's frustrating, he still comes back again and again to prove that has things to offer her all the same.

I must have the song that plays over the end. It seems breathy and dreamy and pretty. Ahah! Maybe because it is Bat for Lashes. Specifically, "Moon and Moon." Right up my alley indeed.

CONCLUSION: this episode is actually of my all-time favorites, even with the obnoxious Alex "wahhhhhhhhh, my wife is going to miss her cancer treatments!"/Reed subplot. There's no such thing as a perfect hour of Grey's Anatomy, after all. 85, 90% is about as good as it gets.

=============
Private Practice, "Strange Bedfellows"
*gallops in on Maury* OH GOSH. I have so many Issues to attack today, I think I might need to hire a high pack mule too. Risky invasive surgery vs. 100% chance of fetal death! Sexology! Not being involved in the first months of your baby's life! Legal insanity vs. revenge!

But no. I will not tackle the big issues. I will not unpack them and I will not explore them. I will stick to the rough-draft outline I wrote a month ago, which I should have gone ahead and posted then, and just hit the highlights. SOME THOUGHTS:

Wicked Witch of the South
Sam: I just don't like you.
Charlotte: Well good grief, what does that have to do with anything?"

I'm...actually speechless. Speechless! I have no speech! Because, I don't know, I was always weirdly under the impression that personality was a factor in hiring someone you have to work with on an interpersonal level every day? I guess I have crazy ideas about the workplace.

Dear Kadee Strickland: could you, I don't know, hurl some racial epithets around the set, or maybe strangle someone, and get your ass fired? Because I am just pleading with every god I can think of that Charlotte's tenure won't outlast Burke's. If this relationship is supposed to be the Mer/Der of the show in terms of longevity, I will actually cry.

*20 minutes later, upon reveal of her specialty*
OK. No. I have made a lot of allowances for this show. A lot. But I am not even acknowledging Charlotte's existence in the practice. (Although it was really enjoyable watching mean!drunk!Cooper ream her out. If we could make Charlotte cry in every episode, I'd enjoy her a lot more. From an unabashedly mean-spirited place, I mean. Mock and taunt, mock and taunt!)

For the record, Sam was awesome here at all times (except for the time when he finally let her join).

Fetus Swap '09
Naomi: Look, I know you don't want me involved...
Sam: Not a good beginning of a sentence.

Yep, still loving the repeat patients. The latest twist in our crazy turn is that Blondie's baby, in Zoe's tummy, needs some sort of invasive surgery that may harm her future chances of carrying a child, but without which the baby will die. As you may recall, she and her husband were planning to try again, while this was Blondie's last shot at having her deceased husband's baby. Half an episode and some Very Special Moments later, the surgery goes through, but the baby dies anyway. Lose/lose!

And then Blondie, who has been holding it together remarkably well up to this point, finally flips out when Zoe's husband, who left her at some point along the way, returns the minute she loses the cuckoo baby (as I imagine would be his words). HOW DARE YOU. I AM HER ONE TRUE FRIEND. What the hell do you mean, you called him? Does my steadfast friendship mean nothing to you?! BITCH! That's it; I am taking a page from Katie's book and going MOTHERFLIPPIN' CRAZY! My belly fruit, although biologically yours, shall be mine to keep, nyah! *strolls out, nobody stops her*

Man, it is way more hilarious in my memory than it was the first time I watched it. I think I got a little teary during the original airing. Perhaps there was manipulative music at play. Although I did really enjoy all the shouting at Naomi and hassling her off the floor. Seriously, how did she just walk out of the hospital with everyone just hoping she'd come back? There's a legal contract preventing her from keeping it, yes? We can't all get off with psych defenses in court.

For the record, Addison was awesome here at all times. Period.

Traitor Floor
SIGH. Can I also refuse to acknowledge that Pete quit his job and moved downstairs? With Naomi. STOP SPLINTERING MY DREAM TEAM. I can't appreciate this weird quasi-friendship thing when all is wrong with the world.

Court Case
Whatever. I do not make excuses for insanity. She chose to stop taking her medication, it was not blocked from her; anything after that is her own fault. Violet should have stuck to her bitch guns. I liked it much better when she was hyperventilating and seething "I'm supposed to be on your SIDE?!"

I do vaguely understand why she had to testify on Katie's behalf in order to find her own peace of mind, but I am also bitter and believe in revenge, that she needs to pay, and everything else Pete said. But especially that rational part about how she might well convince somebody else she's okay, only to stop taking her meds again; that is an unacceptable risk.

For the record, everyone was awesome while rallying around her, including Sam keeping guard while she talked to Katie's dad. Good plot.

Pete/Violet
*suspicious look* If I tell you why I don't sympathize with Pete claiming Violet is "missing everything," are you going to yell at me? Yeah, you are. I know you. So I'll skip the detail and succinctly phrase it as "frankly, I don't see anything she's missing except unpleasantness." I mean, Violet is living my dream.

In other news: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHH! "Don't. Don't be sorry. Just...come back. Come back to me."

Yeah. So living my dream.

[Translation: That whole scene, of Pete seething and angry and Violet slowly realizing that he's angry because Katie didn't just take the baby from Violet, she took Violet from him...had devastating effects on my molecular composition. And God, even now, he's still holding the door open. Still holding out hope for her, even as he backtracks away from her approach and won't let her touch him. I credit Lucas for distracting him too much to re-enter the dating scene. Goodness, babies have uses on TV besides the standard proof-of-love token? How curious! And wonderful!]

And while Violet is, tragically, not going for a redux of the season finale this time and they're still apart, I cling to the hope. Not to mention all the fabulous tears happening here. (See? EVERYTHING I LOVE, ALWAYS COMES BACK TO TEARS. Why is that?!)

CONCLUSION: It continues to frustrate me that this show (season, episode) is so brilliant that I want to shout its praises everywhere, until I remember that it is only brilliant through my special perception filter, and other people don't have the same ability and/or inclination to cut Charlotte out of it like I do. And thus I cannot recommend it or, in fact, really make conclusive statements about its perfection at all.

That being said, you see why this week's 1-2 punch of breathtaking quality knocked Shondaland right out of my reviews for a month.

============
Grey's Anatomy, 6x08, "Invest in Love"
-I hated the focus on Arizona. It was horrible, it was forced, and I am scrubbing everything about her, her starring role, and her birthday (most especially including the surprise party), out of my brain right now. I am also scrubbing out every memory of the Mercy Westers, because I've changed my mind. I no longer like them. The tide has turned! The usurpers must be driven back out! I demand it. None of them may stay.

Well, possibly Reed, but it will be on a conditional basis. If you break up Stevens-Karev, for example, I would not hold it against you in the long run. (in the short run I would, because Alex kissing people is nasty, but if I could avoid seeing that part of it...the end result might give Izzie a chance to bounce back in my esteem)

-I take back the thing about Arizona, in part. I actually enjoyed her for about the first quarter, giving her shiny speech about how children are not general surgery in miniature, they are tiny humans who believe in magic and have fairy dust in their IV bags. I willingly allow myself to be seduced by the flutes and roses and glazed smiles on everyone's face every time, even though on the inside, my actual reaction is the same as Cristina's: gag me.

For a minute, I was actually thrown by mini!"Doctor", and thought he was going to be some sort of child genius. I'm reasonably certain it's been done before, possibly even outside Doogie Howser. He was a decent patient, I guess.

-Dear Izzie, feeling stupid about squandering your millions on the clinic yet? Oh, that's right, you're going to come back next episode and flaunt why it was a good thing after all. Irrelevant! You'll still have $200,000 worth of unpaid medical bills. Not that I'm not fine with rubbing Alex's nose in why stealing Derek & Meredith's wedding was a terrible idea, I'm just pointing out that you could have lessened the financial ruin a little.

-Mer/Cristina bonding in bed! "I hate Married Happy You." Not-Quite-Married Happy Mer, however, is most adorable while beaming and smugly declaring "He cares about your career. He's in love with you."

-MORE snuggly, kissy Mer/Der! Right off the bat. And right before I had to purge my brain of a Calzona scene twice as long, but, you know. There was more at the end. Like, was that a bit of actual spooning? Fantastic. Oh! And my favorite kind of bedroom scene, the ones where Ellen Pompeo is not yet up to filming sexytime romps, so my eyes and ears are spared.
"Are you okay to...?"
"Yes, we can."
Camera: *moves away*

Hee! This is Contented Happy RS, signing off. Except not, because I have more to say.

-Owen: When we see Cristina, she is going to be mad. She's gonna be mad at me for not paging her in last night, possibly mad at you for not waking her up either. Now, I am handling this. Do not engage her. Do not provoke her. Simply ignore her, all right?
Callie: Oh, that's your plan? Ignore the scalpel-hungry animal?
Owen: Yep! Until I come up with something better.

-Mitch Pileggi, you're my favorite administrator. I love how you and the Chief see the world in dollar signs. Was it just me, or was the latter way more entertaining this week than most weeks? *looks around* Just me. 'Kay.

-Broken-Everything Girl: Yeah, I'm with the dad. I don't care if she rescues puppies in her spare time - if you have to find entertainment by experimenting with hallucinogens ("explore the bounds of your consciousness" my butt), you suck. "Disappointment" is just a word parents have to use because "you suck" is not a socially acceptable chastisement. Not to mention, her surly little attitude? Unnecessary.

So I loved hearing her try to score more drugs right in front of her doctor, thus prompting Cristina to grab the phone away, frighten off the little drug-pusher, and tell Broken-Everything Girl that she's an idiot. But using much more sophisticated words and sound logic than I would ever be capable of. Justified sarcasm for the win.

-SHOUTY OWEN. Oh. Gosh. I love that when they fight, I can see both sides of the argument. The conflict is real, and yet they both have valid points. It's fabulous. She DID go against orders, which she has a habit of doing, and she's bullheaded and stubborn, and sometimes I do think that there's a measure of luck involved in the fact that things rarely go wrong for her. He is so, so in the right, as her attending, to chew her out. "You just thought everything would be better if you took charge."

But like she counters - it is not all luck. She is better and brighter than most of her peers, and while I hate to hypocritically borrow Broken Girl's faulty logic - her risks are carefully calculated and the chances she takes are usually worthy ones. "The Chief's not going to fire me, because the last time I did an open thoracotamy was with him. In his OR. Only he was giving me words of encouragement, not screaming in my ear."

-When this fight briefly continues, back at the apartment, they are still both right and both wrong at the same time. So fabulous. There's an age difference thing at play here too; not much of one and one which I don't think about too often anymore since everyone is evening out on the skill/maturity plane - but it still exists, as does the experience gap along with it.

-I very nearly broke something when Jackson kissed Cristina. In that instant, I promptly upgraded him from "pain in the ass with creepy eyes" to "Mortal Enemy #1" and also took the "Supreme Jackass" crown off Charlie and planted it firmly on Jackson's creepy head. I bet there's still hope for ol' Charlie. But from now on, Avery is my sworn nemesis. He is not quite worse than McSleazy, as he's still largely on the fringes of the social group rather than being praised and petted in the center of it, but he's surpassed Alex at this point for sure.

Definitely would have broken something if Cristina had not promptly shoved him away - and I do mean promptly, as in certainly not after 2.5 seconds of kissing him - and told him "I'm involved." Finally, something going right. I think she was even under the influence of alcohol at the time. I mean, I can only assume that's why she didn't run out of the room when he entered.

-Oh, ending scene of heartbreak! (Which I love. Conflict between them is always so full of nuance and depth.)
"Surgery yesterday? It wasn't just... It was me. Can't you see that?"
"See what?"
I love that she is imploring and he has shut down. Or, not really shut down, but his words are flat and hard, and he will not see. Which I get. And she gets, too. And that's disappointment, because even if she's wrong, he should at least understand why she did it. Her subsequent apology is dull and too submissive, but at the same time it's not. If she wanted to keep fighting about this? She could. She's taking the soft road because this one isn't worth it.

"Come home with me?" I don't think that was a victory for anybody, really. And part of me hates that he accepts her apology like he's been waiting for it all day, but most of me is too busy being pleased that, unlike many of the trainwrecks around here, they can make up with relatively little drama.

==========
Private Practice, 3x06, "Slip Slidin' Away"
I watched the last 25 minutes of this on TV (I do not know why), so I think I know how the plot points end, but since I've forgotten most of it I'm just going to rewatch it from the start and see if any opinions change along the way.

-Well, now the show is just baiting me. "RS! Don't you want to talk about designer babies and god-like genetic research?? The subject has never come up before; you'd get all new material to work with!" Short answer, not really.

That's it; I think it's time to sell Maury The High Horse. My blood pressure is much better when I don't take him out. I feel calmer and happier. He was having the opposite effect a pet is supposed to have. Good times lie ahead! (Warning: you should know that his bill of sale includes a clause whereby I can pull him back at any time, in case of emergency.)

-When did electroshock become an accepted therapy treatment again?

-I don't think I like New Violet. Tears, I work with tears. This is the opposite of tears. Freaks me out.

-Hee, Naomi and her chocolate binges.

-Jackass in a wheelchair. That's different. But not new, as this show always felt a little weird, having such a high percentage of people I liked. As horrible as Charlotte is, it just doesn't feel like Shondaland without a whole palette of hatred, you know? Most of the California ones are on a rotating basis and as such it's hard to get in a real hatey groove before they're gone. Dr. Brilliant But Jackassy, on the other hand, seems unlikely to try and seduce Addison with an Instant Magical Connection, which puts him a cut above the last two downstairs hires.

-But not by much. I want to make this very clear. Even Naomi yelling at him wasn't satisfying, because that was far too much emotion to grant his smirky self. He's not worth the attention, Nae. Just ignore him and he'll go away.

(*40 minutes later* It's remarkable, his ability to get on your nerves more with every passing scene. I'm about two steps away from wanting Noah and his awkward, chemistry-free seduction back.)

-Haha! Oh, Pete/Naomi friendship. So weird, but starting to work.
"Do you want me to say the thing again?
"Yes."
"Violet is not ready to come back. Do not get your hopes up. Do not push. Wait."

-MILO. Thanks to a conveniently dying patient, Addison is now the owner of an adorable cat named after his lookalike in "Milo and Otis." Just when you think you can't love her more! THIS IS THE BEST PLOT POINT EVER. Now, he's not going to become a sacrifice in the name of drama like Meredith's dog, is he? You can keep this pet alive for the long haul, right? Because I really need her to have something stable and constant in her life.

-Sam & Addison are honestly the cutest pals ever. Wine, kitties and good company; what more does one need?

-Oh, crap. I already need Maury back! Now I remember - this is why I stalked away from the show and haven't even been watching it, unlike Grey's. The part where Violet and Pete conspire to keep up their patient's convenient amnesia lie, because somehow it will be better for the boyfriend if he believes that his girlfriend just experienced Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, rather than being dumped.

That's terrible! That would suck so much more! Not to mention, if I were him, I would never give up my attempts to at least start over - ask her out on a first date and hope she fell for me like she did before. At least with a breakup there are some happy memories in place. This way seems far more devastating.

-P.S. Show? I am still mostly not acknowledging a certain person, but I was happier when I didn't know what certain things looked like, and they were just a vague idea in my head. Remember when we talked about this in vague terms and showerheads, back in season 1, because there was some semblance of class? And even that scandalized me? Yeah. All the class, slip-slidin' away.

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