From Gabrielle Stanton & Harry Werksman, writers of "Much Too Much"
Episode Airdate: 11/27/05
It seems somehow fitting that our episode, with its theme of too much of a good thing, should air the Sunday following Thanksgiving. A holiday all about too much traveling, too much eating, too much family, too much time together. All good things but perhaps not in such concentrated doses.
We started thinking about this episode by asking ourselves, can you actually have too much of a good thing? You start with the obvious food, alcohol, drugs and soon realize these aren’t such funny or uplifting stories. They’re addiction stories and not really good things.
Then we read about this woman in Australia who had given birth to a set of quadruplets, got pregnant again and gave birth to a second set of quadruplets! Wow, what are the odds, right? That made us think, having a baby is a good thing, but what if you’re this Australian woman, didn’t you get a bit more than you bargained for with a second set of quads? Out of that came Dorie. Three boys are great, but she wanted a little girl. She ended up with five girls, all with serious medical conditions. What seemed like a good thing, suddenly became too much of a good thing.
We also want to give a nod to Maggie Welch, the actress portraying Dorie. What an awesome performance. When she breaks down in the OR at the end of the show, around here, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We should also mention our fantastic director Wendey Stanzler. That scene in the OR was the source of great debate. Do we show the birth? How much of it should we see? Will we be satisfied if we just see Dorie being wheeled into the OR? We decided the audience needed to see the births, and, thankfully, Wendey figured out a way to shoot it. It took all day to shoot just that scene. We did 58 different set ups and takes to get what appears on screen. But we at least think it was worth it..
What else are good things that can go bad? We started talking about those TV commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs. You know, the ones that say “if your erection lasts longer than four hours consult your doctor immediately”. That struck us as too much of a good thing. Now how to make it work in the show? Well, if Meredith is having a series of one night stands, maybe one of the guys comes to the hospital with an embarrassing problem, not knowing Meredith works there, for treatment of his “problem”. Stuff like this could only happen to Meredith.
What was really fun about this story line is that broadcast standards and practices won’t let you talk about an erection using most of the terms people are familiar with. We got to spend some time coming up with TV friendly nicknames for erections. Two favorites that didn’t make it into the show were “Morning Missile” and “Uncle Upright”. Feel free to work them into your daily vocabulary.
We also had the dilemma of exactly how we were going to show Steve’s problem. The old Austin Powers gags are funny but not our show. After some talks with our director Wendey, we decided that we would utilize a “penis cam” shot. We would set up the camera from Uncle Upright’s POV and shoot our doctors' reactions, while examining the patient.
Finally, we came to Mr. Martin. Everybody these days is toting around some kind of water bottle with them. It’s become a huge industry. “Stay hydrated”. “Drink at least eight eight ounce glasses a day”. Got it. Water is good for you. Turns out only to a certain extent. You can drink too much water and exhibit many of the same characteristics as drinking too much alcohol. Weird, right? Here, again, Curtis Armstrong, who we’ve been fans of for years (yes, he was Booger in “Revenge of the Nerds”, but don’t forget about “Moonlighting” or “The Chronicle” or “Ray”). He nailed a difficult role in Martin. Had to be funny, had to be offbeat, but had to have something underneath it all that made him who he was; a great mirror for Alex to peer into.
And just what about our doctors? We tried to keep them busy.
Burke’s bold “key” maneuver seems to have worked, for now, but will Cristina be able to clean up her act living in Burke’s hyper-neat space?
And we know Cristina reads all the medical journals she subscribes to, but do you wonder what other magazines are in that six month unread, will not be thrown away pile?
Poor Izzie just needs some sex and Alex is having performance anxiety issues. These two just can’t catch a break. And then Alex, seriously, back to Nurse Olivia, it might have been good but you crushed Izzie.
George is clearly not over Meredith but maybe his “Silence of the Lambs” talk he gave to Meredith in the stairwell will break her streak of one night stands. Or else she’s probably in for more nightmarish humiliations.
Derek’s heart died a little when he realized that Meredith is moving on, or at least trying to move on, with her life. But watching Addison in complete control of the choreographed chaos in that delivery OR… maybe, just maybe, stoked a little bit of the old Addison and Derek flame.
Whew. We pack a lot into these episodes. We’re tired just reliving it here on the page. But that’s what makes these shows so much fun to write, to produce and hopefully to watch. They say “expect the unexpected”. On “Grey’s” the unexpected is the expected and what you get every week is always something completely different.
PS: Ever wonder what the writers look like? Harry got to play the MRI Tech in the scene with Derek and Alex viewing Mr. Martin. We shot that scene at 3 AM. All the extras had been sent home and we’d forgotten that we’d need someone to work the MRI keyboard. Rob Corn grabbed Harry told him to get into scrubs and next thing you know he’s typing. His mom thinks he’ll get “discovered”. But moms are supposed to think that.