From Shonda Rhimes, creator, Executive Producer and writer of "Bring the Pain"
Originally posted on 10/23/05
When I was searching for a title for this episode (all of our show titles are derived from songs with the exception of the 7th episode of Season One - I have a thing for music, if you haven't noticed already), I was looking for a song title that spoke to the theme of the episode, which is pain management. Oddly enough, there are a lot of songs titled "Bring the Pain." But the song I chose - the song the episode is named for - is Bring the Pain by the Wu-Tang Clan. Just in case you wondered.
"Bring the Pain" was originally conceived, written and shot to be the finale of Grey's Anatomy's first season. But then we aired after "Desperate Housewives" and, well…everything changed. Ratings, timeslots, a really great audience following…it was mind blowing and humbling for all of us. The network made a decision -- our first season needed to end in conjunction with DH's season. And so suddenly, the arrival of Derek's wife became our perfect season-ending cliffhanger. And this episode became one of a series of big episodes to launch our second season.
But if you watch it with that in mind - the fact that this was the final episode - you can see me trying to bring the characters full circle from the pilot. Meredith began the show throwing Derek out of her house after a one night stand. In this episode, she's admitting that she loves him. Saying "pick me, choose me, love me" in a desperate attempt to keep Derek by her side. George started out the pilot as "007" - he's the guy who can't get through an appendectomy without choking and humiliating himself in front of Dr. Burke. In "Bring the Pain", George earns his manhood by performing heart surgery in an elevator. And Alex is back to being humiliated - just as he was in the first episode. Cristina, the girl who can't connect with anyone, forms an odd, twisted bond with Porn Guy and then truly connects with Burke. Izzie, so vulnerable and underestimated when we first meet her, is the girl who removes her heart from her sleeve in "Bring the Pain". And, Bailey, the tough "Nazi", shows her softer side - we learn the first bits of information about her personal life. Plus, the word "seriously" - the most overused word on our show - is purposely uttered a zillion times.
I also really wanted to use this episode to give McDreamy a chance to explain why he's waited so long to sign those divorce papers. Here's the thing: Meredith may not understand why he's waited but Derek is a married man and he's a good guy - so he can't sign those papers without really thinking about it first. That was important. In order for McDreamy to be McDreamy, he has to be the kind of man who takes the end of his marriage seriously.
In the end, however, what this episode is about most - what all our episodes are about most - is friendship. The interns form this odd, dysfunctional family with one another to get them through each day. That's when I think the show is working at its best - when our interns are lying in bed together complaining about their lives, when they sit at the bar together complaining about their lives, when they stand around the nurses' station complaining about their lives. Complaining to people who understand is key to friendship, I think.
And so, in the end, when Meredith is sitting at that bar, waiting and hoping for Derek to show up, the other interns are there. Waiting and hoping right along with her...