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Zoanne Clack on "Oh, the Guilt"

Original Airdate: 10-19-06

Admit it.  Grey’s Anatomy is one of your guilty pleasures, right?  Your curl-up-on-the-couch, unplug-the-phone, “get your own dinner” pleasure.  I could be wrong, but that’s what people tell me.  Don’t feel bad.  Some people’s guilty pleasures get them into much more trouble than watching Grey’s in the comfort of your home ever will.

Take Callie and George for example.  Callie’s got a new little guilty pleasure and his name is McSteamy.  Yowza.  That woman knows how to work it.  But now she’s got to work it out.  Work out the guilt.  She may have been trying to hide it, but she’s feeling hella guilty if you ask me.  I mean, let’s face it.  Her break up last week was not a lesson in communication.  Yeah, she can make the point that George should’ve known so she doesn’t have to feel guilty, but look at it from George’s point of view.  I could totally understand his… confusion!  That may be because, I, too, am no good at relationships.  Being, well, let’s say an “over-thirty-never-married-singleton” did not happen for no reason.  But, on the other hand, don’t you think George should’ve known?  He kept pushing her away, she was never a priority.  As far as she was concerned, it was over.  Not just I’m-mad-at-you-over.  Over over.  Is she wrong for that or completely justified?  Who’s to say…

And what about poor Addison?  She got kicked out of a city over her guilty pleasure.  She stayed with Mark!  She moved in with Mark!  She was IN LOVE with Mark!  Sure, she hoped against all hope that the love she and Derek shared would overrule the wrongs, but she mainly came to Seattle because Mark had cheated on her and she realized who he really was/is (which is, BTW, a MAN WHORE! - since he’s been in Seattle he’s slept with Addison, Callie and flirted with Mer, I think he pretty much fits the bill, towel and all). 

She didn’t want to tell Derek. She had to.  She knew she could lose everything.  But she faced Derek head on.  Nose to nose.  Eye to eye.  You’ve got to commend her for that.  Okay, she was coerced into it… a little.  Mark just wouldn’t let up!!  Not to mention she was face to face with the horrors of what guilt brings with her patients, Mr. and Mrs. McStuckey.  It’s so hard (although extremely brave) to look someone in the eye while confessing some truth you’ve been hiding from.  I mean, you’ve been hiding from it for a reason, right?  Guilt is a crazy powerful emotion.  Addison should be commended.  Except maybe for falling right back into the bed that got her in this mess in the first place.

Which brings me to my next point:  top five reasons you should not feel guilty about taking this hour out of your life to watch our show.

(1) You get to learn life lessons.  Yes, I’m the doctor-writer on the show but I’m not talking medical things, I’m talking life lessons.  Things that pertain to all of us somehow, someway.  Not in every episode for every one of us, but I think if you look back, you’ll find some reflection of yourself in at least one of the characters or situations.

For me, in this episode, the thing that became plainly obvious when we started writing is that we didn’t need some big huge reason for Mrs. McStuckey to need to tell her husband.  Did I mention guilt is a crazy strong emotion?  My learning point for this episode: the truth just has to come out.  It just has to. 

(2)  You get to see that there are people in the universe more flawed than you!  (not that anyone who watches GA is flawed… you’re all fantabulous!)  Everyone’s looking for perfection and I think our show pretty much lets you know:  there is no perfection, just levels of flawed humanity.  And our characters have that down ten-fold.  And as much as you may hate to admit it, I think most people can see just a little piece of themselves in at least one character.  I, for one, like Meredith more the more I get to know her.  Yeah, she’s got issues.  Big ones.  Gargantuan ones.  She makes bad decisions.  Really bad.  Phenomenally bad.  But who am I to say if given her situation I’d cope better?  Which leads to reason number 3…

(3)  You get to learn to move with your whole body.  Okay, I’ll admit it.  That one I learned from some wise person on “Dancing With the Stars.”  But Alex said it, too:  live your life while you can.  Mer would’ve done well to apply that philosophy and just let out the truth!  Instead, she decides to put it all on the line right after Addison dropped her truth on Derek!  He was not in any space to hear that she, too, had betrayed him all day long.  And what did she get in return?  Yep.  A whole lot of nothing.  Because even the McDreaminator is flawed.  He, too, has issues.  Deep issues.  He thought had come to terms with them.  He was trying to stand up for his mistakes.  Trying to pay for his guilt by giving Addison everything so that all would be right with the world again.  But guilt is not really accustomed to being bribed.

(4) You get to learn money management.  What would you do if you got $8.7 million dollars from out of the blue?  Spend it all?  Invest it? Travel?  Or put it up on the fridge?  I bet "put it up on the fridge" was not your answer.  What is she thinking LEAVING AN 8 MILLION DOLLAR CHECK ON THE FRIDGE??!!  But that’s just it, isn’t it?  She’s not thinking.  She’s not, people!  She hasn’t gotten as far as thinking.  It’s blood money!  This money is laced and interwoven with the finest 100% silk guilt!  Perfectly fine Izzie isn’t perfectly fine.  Yes she finally was able to go into the hospital.  Yes she talked to the chief about coming back.  But wouldn’t it be more fun to move to the islands off the coast of Belize and be Leo DiCaprio’s island neighbor?  Hmmm….

(5) You can be inspired.  Bailey inspires me.  Almost weekly.  She’s so amazing both in character and in real person-ville.  Boy did she get put through the ringer in this one.  Every possible way.  She got attacked personally, politically, and professionally.  The three “p’s” we like to say here at Grey’s.  Okay actually that’s not true, I just made that up.  But I digress.  Personal:  being a new mom.  Political: your interns have no respect for your authority (in front of your bosses, no less).  Professional:  your hormones affecting your judgment.  Show of hands for who would’ve just packed it up in the middle of M&M and given it back to Burke?  Or better yet, walked down from the podium, stood up on a chair, and punched Dr. Savoy dead in the face? 

But Bailey was steadfast, she held her ground.  In true Bailey style.  But it got to her.  She actually let it affect her patient care.  Things can get to even the toughest of us.  The question is, do we come out the other side?  Or do we let guilt win?  Do we let our own insecurities (and those insecurities that are thrust upon us by others) bring us down?  Well, if we take a lesson from Bailey we sure as hell don’t.  You get your “3 p’s” back in order.  Kind of like getting your chakras in order, but different on a same kind of level.  And it doesn’t hurt to get a little justification from a friend (which in this case, happened to be Alex, whose just a teddy bear inside).

(6) You can realize that maybe your day-to-day issues aren’t as terrible as they seem.  I mean, nobody’s gonna die if you filed the wrong folder, right (I mean, literally)?  You didn’t think I’d forgotten about the Burktina of it all, did you?   It was Burke’s first surgery… he HAD to go in.  He could either live with the guilt of watching Mr. McStuckey quickly exsanguinate (doctor talk for “bleed to death”) on the table while they waited for another surgeon to come in or he could get in there and do what needed to be done.  There’s that lingering question of “is he ready.”  Cristina assures him she’ll be there.  On his right side.  They saved this life together.  They pulled it off.  They are in love, they’ll make this work, but when do you draw the line with love?  Kind of makes the decision of which wallpaper to pick a little less life-altering, doesn’t it?

(7) You get to learn new vocabulary.  There was the roll-off-the-tongue “seriously.”  Then the infamous “vah-jay jay.”  Now I challenge you to use “swirl” in everyday conversation.  And I’m loving the re-introduction of 70’s phenom “chump.”

Yeah, yeah I know.  Not five reasons.  Whatever.  All I can say is, if Grey’s is your guilty pleasure in life, I think you can feel pretty good about it.  At least you won’t end up stuck on your spouse, being pulverized at an M&M, or getting kicked out of a city.  At least I hope not.




ahhh i wanted more! (don't we all, though) but i guess i have to wait for the next episode.

great blog zoanne! just what i needed after watching the show. i literally jumped on the computer as the credits started rolling.

btw- you should play josh rouse's "sad eyes" on the song. it's very grey-like.


good episode, but i really wish there were more surgeries. it is becoming more about the drama. though it was an amazing episode, really enjoyed the bailey alex moment



Sharon C.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I am such a loyal fan, I feel like a traitor saying this, but... I feel let down!! I feel like you guys are slipping!! Where's the humor so sublimely mixed in with the pathos? The last few episodes have just felt very sophomoric to me, too obvious, too melodramatic. What's happening, people???

Grey's is my guilty pleasure, so pathetically so I embarrassed to admit it, but I'm still a critical viewer who's abandoned most TV shows because they're not showing me the money. Please, please, beloved Grey's Writers, don't let me down. I'm just not feeling the love this season, and I'm not speaking metaphorically.

(Still love you guys, don't blacklist me and cut off my ABC signal.)


LEAST fav episode of the season. Why is this happening? After EVERYTHING. They've been wanting to be together and now it's hinted to us that Derek is going to sleep with some random woman? SICK. I'm so disappointed that I feel like totally giving up on the show. I usually read the comments you guys get and so SO many people have asked that you not do this to MER/DER, that you not do this to US, which is putting us on an emotional rollercoaster and in the end, finding a way to keep them apart. And worst of all, Meredith is alone now. No Finn, no nobody. NADA.



EXCELLENT episode:) The writers at Grey's Anatomy are the best. I sure hope that we get to see Meredith and Derek reunite soon:)


I'm glad that you didn't forget about Burktina, but you wouldn't be the first to have done so.

A little annoyed

why must this Mer/Der thing be drawn out so long...quit frankly it's starting to get really annoying...either they end up together or not...i'm losing interest in those two. but i do like that there is so much going on with the other characters to keep me entertained...either they get together or they dont but PLEASE STOP TEASING US WITH THIS STORY LINE


I know one thing you writers had Burke steer Izzie in the right direction with his make use of your two good hand speech, yet you have him steering the woman he loves and woman who is also a student just like Izzie under his direction, in the wrong direction. Are you ever going to address that? What a crock if Cristina is seen as his equal in this situation, sorry, she is still a student and this is the hospital where he is supposed to be her teacher. I'll say this he is sucking as a teacher right now when it comes to Cristina. I have no doubt that she will learn a lesson or lessons from this who tremor storyline but please make sure that Burke takes responsibilty and acknowledges his fault in all this, thank you very much. Cause it seems like you people always right Cristina in the wrong, she never needs anyone to stick up for her and I'm not buying it. She's an intern just like Izzie who had everyone sticking up for her. I'm sick of the standard for her being completely different. What cause she rides a motorcycle and wears leather and has a smart mouth, so she never needs anyone to step in for her. Sorry, Burke is slowly become NOT the victim in all this, the more and more I see him allowing his student and on top of that the woman he claims to love go down this dangerour route with him.


I loved tonight's episode. Especially when Izzie realized that she does want to be a surgeon. I expected Mer and Derek to get back together tonight. Thank you for surprising me and keeping them apart!

Tina M

Awesome episode!! I so feel for Derek and Addy; but understand both points of view. I just hope they work things out and the tension is not prominant. Bailey rocks!! She is the greatest!


Thanks for making me feel a little less guilty. This whole Grey's Anatomy obsession has grown and I have been feeling guilty. My kid's have to listen to the GA soundtrack in the car, I am tired in the morning from being in GA chat rooms til all hours of the night and when my son asked if I could lay down with him until he fell asleep tonight I told him I could tomorrow because tonight my show was on. Yep, guilt. I understand it, I relate to it and yep I guess it could be worse......


amazing episode. i LOVED every minute of it, especially the heart attack scene cuz it was so well played and ended up being hilarious. mcsteamy is a total man whore, and yet he kinda grows on you...thanks for another entertaining hour well spent! :)

Megan from Mississippi

So, I learned a lot tonight. for instance.. Mark CHEATED on Addi. and i guess you could say that she deserved it for cheating on derek.. blah blah blah.. but honestly i always pictured mark to be the guy that was madly in love with addison for years and finally got his chance... but, it seems that isn't the case. or maybe it is, and he was just an idiot. and he definily qualifies as a man whore! but anyway, that fact was very very interesting to me and it is what i have been "chewing on" since the show went off. i LOVE when addi told them to "swirl" mcstuckey. wow. that was just awkward. i'm so angry with mcdreamy right now. i love angst, i really do, its what makes Grey's what it is... but for the LOVE OF PATRICK'S HAIR, please put Mer and Der together soon! i NEED them to be together. ok well anyway thanks again for a wonderful episode even though i feel really really sad for Callie now.

Shonda says Alex is Izzie's hero, where were on earth is Cristina's hero? Oh, I know he's taking her down with him when he is supposed to be her superior and teacher and should be watching out for her and not allow her to go along with covering up this tremor that could have disasterous consequences. Some hero he turned out to be. Or, what girls who ride motorcycles and where leather, and have snarky mouths don't deserve heros? Oh, that must be it, they deserve to be used by the one person they have looked up to and admired. Nice writers, really nice.


wow, awesome blog...i felt inspired :)
and the ep was good too...a bit of a tease...but i guess that's how you get me to tune in every week ;)


This was the best episode all season!


irked in Belmont

Okay, so for how long have we waited, season after season (okay, so only two, but it seems like a lot more) for Meredith and Derek to finally be together??????? You have got to be kidding me with tonight's episode!!! What is so phenomenally great about Grey's is how far it is from a soap opera, but as stated above, it is still one of those guilty pleasures just like a soap opera. But tonight, with the whole, "I am ready for you now, I am available, so are you , yada yada yada" and then for McMeany to say nothing...I mean, I get timing and all and how crappy that was, but still...seriously! I mean SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!


Loved tonights ep!

Sally that Grrl

We have a new name for Mark.


Thankyou for your excellent work!!!!


Yes it's my guilty pleasure. Yes, I pretend to be reading a goodnight book to my son while I watch it with my peripheral vision. Yes, he knows.
But that I have to talk about the details of GA immediately following..that I look for solace from this website about my conflicting feeling about Derek! Is that so wrong? Meredith jumped the gun on the breakup with Finn. Bad boy decision #27.


I can totally see Izzie and Alex switching personalities.

Izzie should cash the check for $8.7 milion dollars instead of depositing it because then she could ask for twenties and she would get 435,000 twenties, which would be awesome!

Then, if she feels guilty about taking the money she could create a charity and give the money to that charity and call it Helping People with Hearts or HPWH, which is kind of hard to pronounce, but that is okay.

jessica freels

Okay that M and M rocked. Of course Alex stood up. The boy has balls for days. Thats his thing. Its amazing how together all the interns would make one hell of a doctor. But Bailey is the bomb! Baileys taking bullets right and left and those interns are stuck in fear. fear and guilt.

Derek blanking in the elevator was real but d***....can mer catch a little break? Does that whole, "I have loved you forever" all she gets for now? I feel gipped.
BTW, Burke not being able to move fast in the OR made me sad. THis is the kind of thing that is going to break them up, mark my words. Cause Cristina doesn't feel guilty about it, and Burke does.
And Callie and Mc Steamy? Bring that on!!!! Mark having an affair with this spitfire girl who is not perfect is exactly what I want to see.

Stephanie G (aka Starphoenix)

I loved every bit of this episode! And I don't doubt that you have seen a case like the McStuckeys in the ER. :)


I just wanted to say (first time posting by the way) that this was, once again, an amazing episode, and thank you for helping me justify my procrastination of homework for the amazing-ness that is Grey's Anatomy! Much appreciated!

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