Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Real People, Real Mistakes...On Fictional TV

As a new fan of Grey's Anatomy, I feel like a total bandwagoner. But, hey, if it supplies fodder for my brain, I'm there. If you haven't seen the past two episodes, this entry contains SPOILERS, so stand warned.

This past Sunday's episode hit me upside the head by handling an issue in such a realistic way, I couldn't believe it. The writers had set things up in such a way I figured every cliche out there would need to be utilized to undo the problem, but instead, they actually made it work.

A little background. George has been in love with Meredith - fellow surgical intern and the landlord of the house they share - since he first met her. He's spent the entire run of the show moping after her, and everyone - including Meredith - knows how he feels about her despite the fact that he's never acted on his feelings. For her part, Meredith does her level best to ignore the giant elephant that is George's infatuation with her, instead focusing on the misery she now wallows in ever since her own love, Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Sheperd, decided to reconcile with his affair-having wife.

Last week, at the end of the episode, George was feeling particularly gutsy and Meredith was feeling particularly lonely and sad. So when George came to Meredith and confessed that he would always treat her right, she let things go a little too far. George and Meredith had sex.

So, here's where I figured things were going to get messy. George would imagine that Meredith's having sex with him meant she loved him. He'd be all happy and full of joy. She'd try really hard to pretend she liked him in that way, but inside she'd be miserable over the pain of faking feelings for the guy or knowingly causing his heartbreak by telling him her real feelings. Eventually things would come to a head, George would figure out the truth or Meredith would break. Things would get sad and ugly. Nothing I haven't seen before.

But the writer's of Grey's Anatomy actually did things in a realistic way. We opened this week to find a huge rift of discomfort between George and Meredith. As if they both were mortified at having seen the other one naked, as if both realized what a huge mistake had been made. George wasn't in the least bit happy, but rather as miserable as ever, which made no sense at all. Where was his elation over having finally won the girl of his dreams? Why wasn't he spending all of his time hanging on Meredith, treating her like a girlfriend and openly showing off the new status of their relationship? And why wasn't Meredith gritting her teeth with regrets all the while forcing a "yes, of course I love you" smile on her face?

Then we were graced with flashbacks that showed us exactly what had occured between these two while having sex. How Meredith hadn't even tried to pretend that every single thing going on wasn't absolutely the wrongest thing possible. She actually acted like a person having sex with someone they didn't want to be having sex with would; she tried to fake enjoyment, she tried to endure it (evens saying "It's okay. You're almost done, right?"), but she ended up in tears. No pretending involved here. George knew immediately that she regretted her decision. No delusions for him.

While my heart broke for the guy, I really respected the way the writers deviated from the expected path on this one. The end result is the same - George and Meredith's friendship has been decimated, George realizes that his love will remain forever unrequited, and Meredith feels like the total heel she is - but we don't have to endure weeks of fakery. We don't have to squirm on our sofas, feeling so sorry for George and simmering over Meredith's cruelty and stupidity for having slept with him in the first place. Instead of a slow pull, the band-aid was yanked of in one, quick jerk. Both parties are now free to go about the business of picking up the pieces and figuring out how or if they can ever put them back together in some semblance of order.

Too, I love how this show gives us characters who make really stupid yet very normal mistakes. Meredith's sleeping with George was like watching a train wreck, but you could see why it might happen. And to keep things real, to show us what might really happen instead of what normally happens in such a TV-created scenario, keeps things interesting.

Poor George. Meredith, you're a schmuck!

1 comment:

Anita said...

I totally agree. That was a great episode and the way they did it was excruciating and really great. I love George. I wish I could just jump into the TV and give him a great big hug. And you know what? I'd enjoy it, too, because I prefer the Georges to the McDreamys anyway.

Nice blog, by the way, I found it by accident but I'm glad I did!