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.