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.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Life is too precious to waste doing anything less than what makes us happy.


MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."