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Is ‘Private Practice’ a bit too ‘Grey’?

After months of anticipation, "Grey's Anatomy" fans finally got a chance to see what "Private Practice" would look like when it stood alone and the result was a show that certainly holds its own.
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

Anyone who tuned in to "Private Practice" Wednesday night hoping to find a more mature version of "Grey's Anatomy" must have let out a little sigh while watching the esteemed, respected Dr. Addison Montgomery dancing around her Southern California beach house naked.

A bold move for a first impression? Absolutely. It was made into an even bigger splash when her new neighbor and co-worker saw her through a window. So, virtually before the opening credits were done rolling somebody had already seen somebody naked. Maybe "Private Practice" isn't so different from "Grey's Anatomy" after all.

After months of anticipation, "Grey's" fans and some curious onlookers finally got a chance to see what "Private Practice," the spin-off that came out of Addison's departure from Seattle Grace Hospital, would look like when it stood alone. The result was a show that certainly holds its own. Kate Walsh of "Grey's" leads an all-star cast that includes Amy Brenneman, Taye Diggs, Tim Daly and Audra McDonald, who are creating new characters that fans should grow to love.

But, while we would never suggest that creator Shonda Rimes and her team could only develop one type of cast, it could be fun to take a swing at drawing hard lines between the characters on "Private Practice" and "Grey's Anatomy."

That's right, we're naming names. Who's the new Meredith? The New McDreamy or McSteamy? Is there an Izzie, a George, a Bailey or Cristina in the bunch?

Addison: The New Meredith
In the most cruel and bizarre twist of fate, Addison has become the Meredith Grey of her own show. Sure, it's easy to pick the title star from "Grey's" and apply that to the lead in "Private Practice," but the similarities go much deeper. Addison, like Meredith, is very much on a path of figuring herself out — she just happens to be pushing 40 rather than being a surgical intern.

The parallels: Addison is seemingly unlucky at love and is making some very bad decisions. The first came way back when she cheated on McDreamy with McSteamy, and the most recent was when she found herself in the stairwell kissing McHolistic-y (OK, maybe that doesn't have the same ring). Addison has also turned into a scattered, flighty mess when she's not in scrubs, which is a little disconcerting.

The differences: As far as we know, Addison hasn't wrecked any marriage except her own. And, while she is wracked with insecurity, she doesn't have the dark outlook on life that Meredith has. Put simply, Addison would swim, and she'd probably think anyone would be an idiot not to.

Pete: The New McDreamyThe parallels: Clearly, Pete (Tim Daly) has got the hots for the star. But beyond that, he's cool, calm demeanor — maybe too slick for his own good — conjures memories of McDreamy. It's probably no accident that Addison might be seeing the same similarities between Pete and McDreamy, her long lost love. Pete's clearly going to be the other half of Addison's "will they or won't they" equation for some time.

The differences: Based on what we know now, the main differences are medical and they'd likely transfer over to how each character — McDreamy and Pete — looks at life. McDreamy is a brain surgeon who tends to get inside his own head a little too much, over-analyze life and get stressed out about a lot of things. Pete is an alternative medicine specialist who seems more likely to stick some pins in his face to make himself feel better about everything, and wouldn't let himself get too stressed so as to avoid throwing off the aura of the room. Still, Pete is filled with sadness as he hasn't yet been able to shake the death of his wife eight years ago.

Naomi: The New BaileyThe parallels: Naomi (Audra McDonald) owns a 55 percent share in the health co-op, which gives her a certain amount of power over the rest of the group, but it's leverage she'd rarely use, if ever. She also seems to be a deeply caring individual, a la Bailey, and could provide a shoulder for any of her colleagues if they weren't a little bit scared of her.

The differences: Naomi was recently divorced from Sam, an internist in the co-op, which provides a certain type of tension that Bailey never faces. Bailey is happily married with a new baby boy, which leaves her in a very different position than Naomi, who has a teenage daughter. The daughter and the medical group are the reasons Naomi and Sam still share each others' space.

Sam: The New McSteamyThe parallels: This comparison is less about sexual prowess and more about heartbreak and being misunderstood. Sam (Taye Diggs) still loves his ex-wife, Naomi, just as McSteamy loved Addison and wanted a shot at a real relationship with her. That said, both of these are total rock stars. Sam has written self-help books that make him a recognizable face, and McSteamy, well, he's McSteamy!

The differences: Sam isn't as much of a player as McSteamy is, and Sam also does not appear to be interested in making a run at Addison (despite the fact that he's very recently seen her naked).

Violet: The New Izzie The parallels: Violet (Amy Brenneman) is also heartbroken, like Izzie, and hasn't been making the best decisions since she lost her love. Violet also seems to care deeply for her patients.

The differences: Izzie lost her love to death, Violet lost hers to a younger woman.

Cooper: The New AlexThe parallels: With as much as he gets around, it'd be easy to call Cooper (Paul Adelstein) the new McSteamy, but his penchant for Internet dating and ending up on dates that don't end well (Cooper gets robbed, Alex gets syphilis) remind us more of Alex.

The differences: Cooper seems less willing or interested in settling down, whereas Alex has given indications he's ready to do just that.

Charlotte King: The New CristinaThe parallels: There had to be one: a Type-A, Cristina sort of character to keep everyone else in check. In what appears to be an odd choice, Charlotte King (KaDee Stickland) is the chief of staff at a nearby hospital who doesn't buy all the feel-goodery of the "wellness center."

The differences: Viewers don't have to get whisked away to another facility to watch Cristina interact with her group on "Grey's." It seems a little difficult, if not a bit forced, to have a regular character who works somewhere else and will have to be written into scripts. Victor Balta lives in Philadelphia and is a regular contributor to msnbc.com.