The Common Grey's Anatomy Maladies

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Karla Peterson of the San Diego Union-Tribune has come up with a unique guide to Grey's Anatomy -- one she feels encompasses the pain mixed with the joy addicted viewers get from watching it.

She admits that Grey’s Anatomy is the most watchable show in TV, but thinks that even the most ardent fans will admit it is also likely to drive you insane in the process.

As a result, we're hooked. Diseased. Sicker than some of the patients who walk through the halls of Seattle Grace. Here's Peterson's guide to some of the more common Grey-related maladies:


Addison Montgomery
One cure for chronic Grey's Anatomy-itis? Give the bracing Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh, right) her own show.

After being symptom-free since Sex and the City went off the air in 2004, we are once again haunted by breathy voice-over narration from a woman whose whimsical observations on life, love and shoes aren't nearly as clever as the writers think they are.

Yes, the ghost of Sex and the City-gal narrator Carrie Bradshaw has come back to TV in the form of the chipper, chatty Meredith Grey. And it takes more than a martini to keep her quiet.

THE CURE: Cover your ears and wait for George to appear. Suddenly, Meredith doesn't sound so bad!

Abigal Breslin as Megan
She's super-freaky! For once, Alex (Justin Chambers) felt for a patient (Abigail Breslin, right), a little girl who couldn't feel pain.

THE SYMPTOMS: Exhaustion and cramping from wrapping your mind and stomach around the number of outlandishly diseased and injured patients who stumble into Seattle Grace Hospital on an alarmingly regular basis.

The kid impaled on the tree branch. The epileptic psychic. The dude with the ovary. Not to mention the many unfortunate men whose icky medical events allow the Grey's writers to indulge in their favorite prime-time activity: Seeing how many times they can fit the word “penis” into one script.

THE CURE: A hot shower, a cool compress and an episode of America's Next Top Model, where the damage is emotional and the impalings are done by experts.


Meredith: Always a Topic of Discussion
THE SYMPTOMS: With the nausea, the irritability and the Pepto Bismol chugging, Mal de Mere is frequently mistaken for the flu. In fact, the only thing you're sick of is Meredith Grey (the wispy Ellen Pompeo), whose self-absorption and whiny blandness make her the least interesting person in her own show. Not to mention a totally undeserving recipient of the McFabulous affections of Dr. McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey).

THE CURE: She is a polarizing figure, by which we mean some fantasize about the Lost polar bear arriving magically from the island to carry Meredith away. Unfortunately, Mal de Mere will last until Cristina Yang, Addison Shepherd and Dr. Bailey get the Golden Girls-style spinoff they deserve. Since that won't happen until Grey's goes off the air in 2026, you will have to settle for throwing tongue depressors at the screen.


What's the Grey's Anatomy music telling McDreamy to do now?

THE SYMPTOMS: What is that thudding in your ears? And that pounding in your skull? Why, it's that pain you get every time Grey's Anatomy uses an on-the-nose rock song to drive the show's many bold-faced messages directly into your brain.

If Meredith is learning one of her weekly life lessons, the soundtrack is probably blasting something instructive. Like “Live and Learn” by the Cardigans. Is Meredith interviewing loser roommate candidates? Then you are probably hearing Tegan and Sara's “You Wouldn't Like Me.”

And when McDreamy gave the cheatin' Addison the cold shoulder, the infernal Grey's Anatomy jukebox burst forth with Fionn Regan's too-prophetically titled, “Be Good or Be Gone.”

If only you could put in a quarter and make it stop.

THE CURE: Before the show, fire up your CD player for a rousing version of No Doubt's “Don't Speak.” Don't speak – Everybody now! – I know just what you're saying/So please stop explaining/Don't tell me 'cause it hurts.

If that doesn't work, there is always the Mute button and a course in lip-reading.


Chandra Wilson as Dr. Bailey
As the beautifully blunt Dr. Bailey, Chandra Wilson (right) can blast those Grey's Anatomy phobias right out of your head.

THE SYMPTOMS: Sweaty palms! Pounding heart! The urge to find a copy of Roget's Thesaurus and set it on fire! Don't panic. It's just the natural response of the Grey's viewer trapped in the claustrophobic clutches of the all-enveloping Theme of the Week.

You know the one. The theme -- the power of guilt, for instance -- first appears in Meredith's opening voice-over musings. ("'First, do no harm.' As doctors we pledge to live by this oath. But harm happens, and then guilt happens. And there is no oath for how to deal with that.") And like a stubborn fungus, the theme worms its obvious way into every nook and cranny of the remaining episode.

It turns up in lines like, “So why the guilty face?” It is mirrored in every aspect of every intern's personal life, from Meredith's guilt for not telling McDreamy that she didn't dump Finn, to George's guilt about avoiding Callie and, to Callie's guilt for sleeping with McSteamy (Eric Dane). It even infects the medical cases, as in the woman who felt guilty for sleeping with her ex-husband. Particularly after her IUD got stuck to the piercing on his...

Finally, the theme gets the last word in Meredith's closing narration, as when she solemnly intones, “The fact is, most of us do harm all the time.” Fortunately, you may not be able to hear it over the sound of your own screaming.

THE CURE: You're out of luck on this one. Thanks to the watertight structure of its pathologically tidy scripts, Grey's Anatomy can offer its audience the perfect combination of pulse-rattling drama and wish-fulfillment resolution. With its racy mix of sex, blood and bonding, Grey's Anatomy is much more exciting than real life, and those neat, fairy-tale endings make sure it's safer than real life, too.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


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Why are they criticizing Meredith??? She is the best part of the show!


This article is soo funny!
I don't think that Addison Montgumery should have her own show, BUT Kate Walsh should def. have her own show!!! She is talented. ....oh but then who would watch Greys Anatomy??

Avatar first one didnt post. I said why watch a show if you dislike so much about it? Some of those happen to be my favorite parts of the show. I love the music, I love the theme/narration and I happen to LOVE Meredith. She's dark & twisty, scary & damaged, narcissistic, self-centered, whiny and a lucky bitch and I love her.


oh, and another thing. Who would want to watch a surgical show that only did normal surgeries? Seattle Grace has a "world renowned" staff (so we're told. lol) so of course the weird/cool surgeries are going to come there. A show that was all about apendectomies & tonsilectomies would be boooooring.


I totally agree with hope and Erika....GA is awesome and i don't understand were they get their analysis from.... I don't understand why everybody is so hard on Mer....i love her character...she is sooooo me...except that I don't have a hot docter or vet wanting to get in my pants...much less fight over me....if i could just be her for one week...(especially the week they were co-dating) I would die


i know my obession is silly, but who cares? its more exciting than real life yes, and everyone has the right to their own opinion, and it was semi-funny... but their analysis had too many holes to be taken seriously. Especially with Meredith and the Soundtrack. I agree with Erica... They're just jealous of it all :P


What can you say about an article that calls for reducing Cristina, Bailey, and Addison to typical, one-dimensional sitcom characters? Not much, except that the article is a poor analysis of the show and the characters on it. Here are some of my thoughts on her suggestions: Give Addison her own show? While Addison is great to watch for a few minutes in each episode, 45 minutes of her high-end outfits, snarky comments, and nothing but ob-gyn cases would cause her to get real old real quick. Get rid of Meredith's voiceovers? I love Mer's voiceovers. One of the themes of the show is self-reflection and discovering who you are, and her voiceovers really aid that. They're not meant to be cleaver so much as honest. And they are definitely honest. I would never cover my ears during Meredith's voiceovers. The show would loose a lot of purpose without them. Meredith as the least interesting person in the show? I wouldn't watch the show without Meredith, and I wouldn't like her nearly as much if she weren't played by Ellen Pompeo. Why do people insist on seeing Meredith in such a limited way? As far as I'm concerned, she's the most complex, realistic, multi-faceted character on the show. She's just not as loud as Cristina or Addison, and I like that. Ok, did she seriously criticize GA for selecting songs that relate to what is actually going on in the show? Seriously? Sorry, but isn't that what songs are suppose to do when they air them on a show? Tie into what is going on? And isn't an episode supposed to have a theme? More and more, I just don't understand the criticism this show gets. I can't help but wonder if the critics really watch it at all.


I really do have a sense of humor, but I didn't think this was so funny. I agree with Anna T. It was pretty insulting. I love the music, love Bailey, love Meredith. And I don't know what show this person has been watching, but I am waiting for any neat, tidy, little fairy tale ending. So far no one has ended up anywhere, except maybe Denny and he ended up dead. Was this person saying George sounds bad?


funny perspective...makes GA a more interesting watch


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.