“Grey’s Anatomy” uses medicine as a convenient metaphor for the drama in its doctors’ lives. But the medical problems the doctors encounter also sometimes work as a metaphor for viewers’ responses to the show.
In a recent episode, two injured women refused to let go of a wedding dress, desperately trying to win a $100,000 wedding by being the last person to let go.
“Don’t you get it? You shouldn’t have to fight this hard for a wedding. You fight for a marriage, and sometimes even that is a lost cause,” Callie lectured one of the women. “Sometimes you have to know when to let go. So just let go already. Just freakin’ let go.”
Let go indeed. “Grey’s Anatomy” desperately needs to let go of George and Izzie’s relationship, which is pulling down the rest of the show even more than Meredith and Shepherd’s endless dancing around the prospect of a more committed relationship.
Amazingly, Callie did, eventually, give up, following the advice that she gave to her patient. She told George that she was letting him go.
And as last week’s episode ended, Izzie, too, seemed like she was on the verge of letting go, about to give up her stubborn, nonsensical devotion to George. “George, I’m exhausted,” she said. “And I don’t think that I can do this.”
Unfortunately, she was talking about a night of romantic sex, not about their entire, ridiculous relationship.
George: Victim of random storylines
Over more than two seasons, the writers developed Izzie and George into the best of friends, not lovers, so their relationship is even more uncomfortably random than his spontaneous marriage to Callie, who essentially just said something nice to him and ignited a wedding. With that diversion all but over (finally), the only course correction that remains on “Grey’s” is to excise George and Izzie’s festering relationship.
This isn’t the first time “Grey’s Anatomy’s” writers have done something like this to George, throwing him in bed for drunken sex with Meredith Grey. But the effects of that awkward moment passed relatively quickly, and didn’t linger and consume lives of many characters for weeks and weeks.
George is a thoroughly likable character, and deserves love interests of his own, but it’s lazy and all too “Friends” of “Grey’s” to just hook him up with whatever female happens to be occupying the nearest bed.
That’s what they did last week with Alex Karev, who hooked up with Lexie Grey. But that behavior fits with his character; he even admitted that to Lexie beforehand. “I’m not a nice guy,” he said. “And honestly, I’m kinda hung up on somebody else. The only thing you’re going to get from me is sex, that’s it. And that’s never enough for girls like you.”
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Even though he has a new love interest in Rebecca/Ava, Alex is clearly still emotionally attached to Izzie, and the only effective part about her relationship with George is to give Alex some additional emotional depth in the form of jealousy.
But Izzie needs to let go of George and stop the pain that’s plagued the show’s third and now fourth season. Almost everyone, it seems, wants them to let go, except the show’s writers.
Those writers finally injected new life into Seattle Grace in the form of a familiar face. Erica Hahn, the cardiothoracic surgeon who once sparred with Burke over hearts and heat surgery, now has his job. Perhaps she can help the show escape from the well it’s trapped inside.
Yet while Hahn, unlike her predecessor, is not fond of Cristina Yang or her attempts to suck up, Hahn has so far simply used Izzie to make that point. When Cristina suggested a surgical procedure to save a man’s life, for example, Hahn asked Izzie to scrub in, not Cristina.
That only effectively drives Cristina and Izzie further apart, as their tenuous relationship is being further strained over Cristina’s refusal to support Izzie’s fling with George, never mind that Callie and Cristina are living together.
Izzie desperately needs someone to shake her out of this relationship, but she’s not getting that from her friends.
Meredith is too busy in dreamland with Derek, and Cristina is too busy judging her. Meanwhile, George, too, is stubbornly holding on to their relationship, which thanks to Callie’s backing off, no longer carries with it the same guilt that it did before.
Before she gave in, Callie punished George by forcing him to act as a proxy for one of the two dress-holding women. But clinging to a wedding dress only strengthened his resolve. “If someone’s trying to break you, it gives you drive, strength,” George told the chief during surgery. “Public, refusing to buckle. ... That’s seriously hard-core.”
It may be hard-core, but it’s not interesting to watch — and still, the writers seem intent upon pushing viewers to their limits with this relationship. The third-season finale offered hope that the dismal unpleasantness was entirely over, and the show would start fresh. That didn’t happen, at least not with Izzie and George.
There is some hope that everyone will emerge unscathed. Also last week, an ambulance delivered a man who fell 12,000 feet without a parachute. Shocking all of the doctors at Seattle Grace, he lived, requiring only an appendectomy. Hopefully, he is a metaphor.
As unlikely as it may seem as the ground gets closer and closer, “Grey’s Anatomy,” too, can survive this free-fall, if it just excises the infected part at its core.
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