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From Mark Wilding, writer of "Owner of a Lonely Heart"

Episode Airdate: 12/4/05

Okay, here was my problem.  This was my first blog EVER for my first episode EVER of “Grey’s Anatomy”.  How do I make it interesting and keep you from clicking off halfway through the thing?  Especially since Harry and Gabrielle already did such a great job explaining the origins of the quint story in last week’s blog.  Then it hit me…

My episode was originally called “Little Creatures”.  After all, the show involved quintuplets AND leeches.  But that title – clever as it was -- didn’t really fit the theme of the episode, which was loneliness.  So now I had a couple of options.  I could talk about loneliness.  Or I could give you a behind the scenes look at the little creatures in my episode – namely the babies and the leeches.   Anyway, now it’s your call.  What would you rather hear about?  Loneliness or leeches?  Show of hands?  Okay… Babies and leeches it is!

Alright, leeches first.  For most of the shots we used real ones.  We had fake leeches on hand but during the course of shooting the episode we decided that, for the most part, the fake ones looked, well…fake.  Hugely fake.  Also, despite our leech handler’s best efforts, half the time you could see the monofilament that he was manipulating to make them wiggle.  Our leech handler was a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) puppeteer, so if he couldn’t make them look real, nobody could.  So when George placed the leech on the patient’s nose, that was an ACTUAL LEECH that attached itself to Timothy Bottoms’ nose.  The good news for Tim was that it wasn’t actually HIS NOSE.  It was a prosthetic filled with cow’s blood (don’t worry, it’s all AMA approved).  That way, the leech really did get some blood, it just wasn’t Tim’s.  A win-win for Tim and the leech.  Getting the leeches to bite in the first place also proved problematic.  Just because there’s the promise of a good meal doesn’t mean the leeches jump on it right away.  Leeches are fickle.  Who would’ve guessed?  That’s when our property master, Angela Whiting, figured out that they might be more likely to go for the blood if it were room temperature.  So she heated it up in a double boiler and… lo and behold… the leeches went to town.   

We did use a fake leech in the scene where the leech fell off George’s ear (when they’re full of blood, they disengorge from their victim).  Our leech handler crouched behind the bed for that shot and, when he got the cue, tugged the leech off Timothy Bottom’s ear.  That was one scene where you couldn’t see the monofilament.  By the way, all the actors were wonderful sports about handling the leeches.  Especially Tim for doing take after take while we were trying to get them to bite.  At one point, one of the leeches even fell into his mouth.  If that had been me I would have run home screaming and had a major nervous breakdown, but Tim calmly plucked it out like it was a strand of spaghetti and kept doing the scene.  Let’s see, that’s about it.  Except here’s probably the coolest leech fact Angela told me -- they take as long as six months to digest one meal. 

As for the creatures who can eat a meal and poop it out twenty minutes later -- Dorie’s premature quintuplets -- those babies were all fake.  Luckily, thanks to the good people at Creative Character Engineering, they didn’t look fake.  They looked pretty damn real (at least I thought so).  The babies are made out of some flesh-like silicone material.  When you saw them move their heads, that was done animatronically.  Our puppeteer guy went from working with the leeches to working with the preemies -- alternately using a remote control to make the little babies’ heads move or a hand pump to make their bellies go up and down.  Why fake babies?  Well, as you might imagine, real quintuplets are pretty hard to come by.  Also, babies have to be a certain age – fifteen days minimum -- before you can use them in front of a television camera.  And a lot of times TV shows go for much older “newborns”.  That’s why, when you watch any kind of TV show and see a newborn, they look HUGE.  Like they could practically walk out of their mother’s womb.

As for the episode, I hope you guys enjoyed it.  I know I enjoyed writing it.  And, let’s face it, that’s one thing you can’t fake...

Comments

Jeanette Valentine

At the beginning of every episode, I make sure to check out the "written by." If it's Shonda, I KNOW it'll be amazing. With the others (sorry, guys), it's usual not as good. So I was disappointed when I saw the name Mark Wilding. 60 minutes later I was in tears, telling my friend, Ivan, "That's THE best episode ever." Lots of suspense, compelling story lines, great weaving of theme throughout and nice nuances in the dialogue. So Mark, I'll breathe easier whenever I see that either Shonda or YOU wrote the episode. Nice work.

Jeanette

Ali

Is there any way we could convince you to give us insight into the episode itself? Personally, I vote for the explanation about loneliness--not the little creatures!

Pretty please?! *smile*

Liz

Mark, I guess you didn't see my hand, I would have MUCH rather you talk about "loneliness" as opposed to "creatures". Maybe you can come back and post a little about the dynamics between our beloved characters as opposed to things the audience didn't care about as much.

I really had a hard time with the "lesson" Addison was supposedly teaching Izzie. To use a dying baby for that was really disgusting. Addison came off as a real jerk (that's the nicest thing I can say). Just because she went through it doesn't mean that she has to put Izzie through it. This is an intern program, not a ritual soroity hazing!

Also, just break up Addison and Derek already! Derek's disdain for his wife makes their scenes together almost unwatchable. I really hate Addison, but at least when she was snarky it was fun, now she's just sad.

Meredith really looked and acted healthy this episode. That I really did like. She loves Derek, but she is trying to move on. I adore her!

Also, Bailey talking to the babies about her baby was PRICELESS!!! Great job there!

Jennifer

I loved, loved, loved this episode! I feel like the Grey's I love so much is back. I feel it was very cleverly written and it held my interest from start to finish.
Season 2 has been quite depressing with the Mer/Der/Addison thing. Meredith has been so gloomy and the other characters hav been out of whack. But your episode made me feel how I did during season 1. There was drama and sadness but I also felt really good because you took care of the leading lady.
Thank you so much!

Fan_of_Grey's

You are awesome :) The babies looked so real! The fake babies made the entire episode more powerful. Older, real babies would not have made such an impact.
Fantastic episode! Meredith and Derek were great too by the way! You did such a superb job writing out that dialog. Is there a reconciliation in the near future?? Those two just light up the screen!

Liz

I loved this episode -- not so depressing. To me the two babies were Mer and Der. It just symbolized that they function better near one anothe whether it is as friends or lovers is up to you the writers. I think you know what we are routing for.

I loved Ellen in the episode. She interacted with every character on an extraordinary level. With Bailey, Alex, Addison (the witch just had to put that in)Dorrie, the babies, Izzie and Derek. She carried this show -- it was great.

The comfort level between she and Derek was amazing.

I loved the addition of the dog to the house. Whether she shares her bed with Derek or the dog remains to be seen. But at least I went to bed knowing she wasn't sleeping alone.

Thanks

Kay

I absolutely love to pick this show apart as I watch it and later when I read the writers' blog. This is such a brilliant idea on so many levels. I love to read what you all though while writing each episode, then I love reading the character's blog just for that little extra bit of info I didn't catch in the show. For instance, I KNEW that Nurse Olivia was upset about George, but I didn't know about her crying in a bathroom. Please keep doing this and the show will have a long, long life.

Brooke

Mark,
Great piece, I LOVED last night's episode so so so much. THANK YOU! Keep up the amazing work you guys do!!
Brooke
(Grey's fan in DC)

PERFECT

Dear Mark,

Thanks for the insight on the leeches and babies. I think you guys are doing a wonderful job!!! Grey's Anatomy is the ONLY show I watch. I love the dialogues!

Kandice

Very disappointed with the Blog. Great Episode, terrible blog.

EM

It was a great episode. The writing was very good. There were some technical issues that were very incorrect, but the story line was fab. I also wanted to hear about the loneliness aspect, and I loved the ending with the dog. You should feel very proud.

Karen

I completely understand the Addison character and she's so misunderstood. She sees real potential in Izzy and wants her to be a great not just good surgeon and doctor. It's one of the reason Derrick loves her so darn much. Mer loves Der for who he really is but Der admires Add for her depth of character. No comparison in the quality of charactgs of add and mer. Der loves mer because she adores who he really is, Add doesn't have clue what makes der tick. Loved the episode. Little creatures was very clever and well thought through. Best part of the whole show though was when they brought home the dog-now that is the way to have unconditional love and not be lonely.

Kendel

LOL, I also voted for the lonliness, but hey.

I really felt for Izzie, she seemed so hurt that Addison did that to her. But at the same time I don't blame Addison a bit for doing it. You caould tell that she didn't want to but Izzie really did need to learn.

And poor Addison. She needs a friend. Everyone is against her. That said I really do like her with Derek.

I don't think that Derek and Meredith could really make anything work at this point, to much has happened. I am so glad that Meredith got that dog. She needs to move on, the troublemaker. Whats the dogs name?

Mehrunisa

I wish you had called the episode "Little Creations" Little creaturs somehow sounds a little curt and the present title you finally gave is a little too long and blah (thats just me)

But I loved the episode, especially when Mer lets the two babies sleep side by side.
PS: Chandra Wilson simply rocks.. All my friends unanimously find her character the best sketch ever amonst the cast!

Janna

It was a great episode. I especially enjoyed how the Leech-Guy grew attached (ha, ha) to his new little friends, even naming them and promising to set them free in the wild.

Sharlene

After much discussion about this episode with some friends who had been through the NICU experience, we were highly troubled by several things about last nights show! First of all, let me say the babies looked more real than any other preemie we have seen portrayed. The mothers fear was genuine, the doctors responses (rude or not) were genuine, that we understand.

We all love this show, so that is why I am here, representing Preemie Parents and parents who have lost children. I have never been to a teaching hospital, but we were wondering why they let all of these interns take care of these babies & not the experienced Addison...or another neonatologist. The fact that she left this baby to an intern ALONE overnight to die - well, that was poorly done...the mom & dad should've been given the option to spend those last hours/moments with that baby. I understand she was teaching...but come on...at who's expense is this done? As a parent who has lost a child, I am apalled!! My last moments with my son were something you can never replace or put a price on!

Another thing...the mom had a C-SEction...and she was up walking around after that? Don't think that's realistic. The wheelchair was realistic, as painful as it is to sit up after major surgery, but to see your babies, we moms do it.

I could go on & on....but you get the point...we are disappointed & wish a show would take prematurity seriuosly & try to educate along with the story line.

When shows focus on a topic through most of the show, they usually end it with an actor/actress coming on to talk about that subject and a phone number/website to visit for more information...is that not possible? March of Dimes is a leader in prematurity awareness.....www.marchofdies.com

Thank you & I will continue to watch as I am hooked to these characters, but wish you would put more realistic ideas into your show! There are plenty of us out there to educate you as to what is real & what is not.

spoiledshar@yahoo.com

Robin

My hand was raised for loneliness, too! That said, the episode was wonderful so I can live without not knowing more. And it was so nice to see Meredith laughing and smiling.

Theresa

Loved the show; I love them all, since ep. 1!! I was in major tears at the end. Contrary to some of the popular opinions, I like Addison on the show, even if she and Derek split for good. It sort of looks like she wants to take Izzie on under her and develop her abilities and I love that. I think she should stay on for good. I feel that Derek and Meredith is re connect soon.
I hope that Alex gets is act together and starts to become human and more serious about is work and Izzie!!

I just love this show so much, I hope it will follow these interns their entire residency (I think the first show mentioned something like 7yrs). Then it can go on after that too!!!!!!!!!

MamaKat

The episodes are delicious! The music great! My wish is that the music NOT drown out the dialogue, makes me want to channel surf. Sorry.

SpuhlerMcCabe

I need to give props to all the writers so far. Great Job! I have tried to figure out why this is my favorite tv past time....the writing. Acting is good and the acting is even better because of the writing. You are quick, sharp, and humorous with reality...in a non realistic way. More on loneliness would have been nice but also probably too much. That is why the show works so well...the writers leave me thinking about the subtext...I am thinking after a television show! I am not just going, "oh, I wish I had that drama in my life." I am thinking about loneliness: personally and professionally. Good job! Please don't expound too much on the real stuff...I like thinking, just wish I did not have to do it at 11 at night.

Bob Schreib Jr.

Bravo on an excellent medical show about preemies. Anyway, you may have overlooked a kind of mystical treatment of preemies called 'the laying on of hands'. That is, a nurse places her hands on the preemie or his incubator, and wills his energy into him, and the kid gets stronger, and the monitors' numbers go up, and nobody can figure our the mechanics of it. Further, if you form a 'Power Wedge' or 'Conga Line" of people standing behind the nurse doing this procedure, while placing their hands on the person in front of them and ALL of them willing their energy into the nurse doing the 'laying on of hands', the effect is greatly magnifed. Unconventional, but you do what works in the medical field. And, also, in the recent episode where they had two people impaled on a post, requiring one to die when the post waswithdrawn, there's an old MASH technique now used in ERs when they encounter such impalement injuries, where they psss a bicycle tire inner tube through the injury, and inflate it from an air tank, to gently plug the inury so that they can gradually repair it and save their lives, that the writers should have used in that case.

Cassandra F.

Good job on that part when Meredith told Alex she was only talking to him in short sentences, when her sentence was really long. I appreciate the irony. And for everybody who thinks the blog sucked-chill out, it was his first time!!! And definitely not the end of the world.

lucky mom of twins

Dear Mark,
I love the show and watch it faithfully every week but I didn't watch last night. On purpose. After 5 weeks in the hospital to stop my preterm labor, my daughters were born at 30 weeks and 5 days of my pregnancy. Alexandria weighed 2.14 and Sydney weighed 3.3. They spent 5 agonizingly long weeks in the NICU and every minute was a rollercoaster ride. The issue of prematurity does not just "go away" when the babies go home. I worried that my girls would have delays and other lifelong medical problems. By the grace of Gd, my daughters who are almost 3-years-old now, are healthy, thriving, BRILLIANT and perfectly fine little girls.

It's taken a long time to deal with all of the emotions surrounding my daughters' birth and I knew that if I had watched last night, it would have brought it all back to me...I mean, I lived it, I don't need to watch it.

I'm the luckiest person in the world because I got the best outcome possible.

Thank you for a wonderful show...I promise I'll tune back in when the preemie storyline is over!

Sincerely,
Jennifer
jcohen520@aol.com

William Hays

Here's a factoid that Addison might share with the group.
Look at a man's hand.
Compare the relative length of his fourth (ring finger) and second (pointing) fingers.
If the 4th finger is longer, it indicates a lot of testosterone, and larger sex organs.
One way for a doctor to evaluate penile size without asking the patient to remove his trousers.
Also, if you look at a PET scan during sexual arousal, the area lighted up in a woman's brain is about two and a half times as large as the corresponding area in a man's brain.
Women have language areas on both sides of their brains, but men only use their left sides for language. Hence, men use less words and shorter sentences, and women will enjoy television shows that slowly explore the subtle nuances of a relationship. Men think women talk too much, and a woman who talks to her husband the same way that she talks to her girlfriends... usually winds up boring him.

Codi

I enjoyed Meredith & Derrick's little moments. I thought Izzie over reacted when she seen Meredith talking with Alex. I liked Geroge and the Nurse Olivia's scene with the paient, how hilarious Grey's Anatony Rules!

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