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Mark Wilding on "Where the Boys Are"

Original Airdate: 11-09-06

Mistakes.  I’ve decided to talk about mistakes.  My mistakes.  The characters’ mistakes.  And the mistakes I made which led to the characters’ mistakes.  Already you’re probably thinking “What??  Can’t I just enjoy this blog without the stupid build-up?”  The answer is no.  Don’t worry.  Read on.  It’ll become clearer.  Last night’s episode was called “Where the Boys Are”.  Which was my first mistake. 

When I suggested that song title to the writers’ room, I got a lot of blank stares.  The Connie Francis song, I said.  You know…Someone waits for me?  A smiling face, a warm embrace?  Two arms to hold me tenderly?  And, pushing on -- despite all the puzzled looks from my fellow writers, the people who I thought would at least pretend to be supportive – I told them that what made the title so VERY, VERY clever is that the episode’s about where the boys literally are and where they are emotionally.  See?  Pretty clever, right?  Right??  Again, more blank stares.  Connie who?  Okay.  My first mistake.  Pitching very old songs to a very young writers’ room.

And now for my second mistake.  Or at least what I thought was my second mistake.  Seattle.  Yes, those pictures on your TV screen really were Seattle.  That Space Needle in the background when Derek’s sticking the Chief’s suitcase in his Jeep-looking vehicle?  That’s the real Space Needle.  We didn’t CGI it or go to LAX and shoot that futuristic looking restaurant that may or may not revolve and that could maybe look like the Space Needle if you were flying at ten thousand feet and there was enough smog that day.  And the woods?  Those are REAL SEATTLE WOODS. 

I know because I was there.  And I insisted that we fly up a crew and they be there too.   Because I thought it was really, really important that the woods look like Seattle woods – with their towering pines and moss-covered trees and mountains covered in clouds.  As opposed to the eucalyptus trees and dry brush and blue skies that you tend to find in your basic L.A. forests. 

On my first visit to the place, though, it rained.  Hard.  Really hard.  And living in L.A. where you think the weather in other parts of the country must somehow be just like L.A., I didn’t exactly come prepared.   I wore a cotton shirt, flimsy golf jacket (no hood) and sneakers.  Yes.  BIG MISTAKE.  BIG STUPID MISTAKE.  I was freezing cold and soaking wet before it was even 11:00 o’clock in the morning.  And even though the water dripping off my face looks like it could be tears, it really was just rain.  I want to clear that up because there’s a video of a soaking wet me that circulated around the Grey’s offices for the better part of a week.  I wasn’t crying.  Okay?  Still.  Letting someone film me?   A very bad mistake.  And the thought did cross my mind – if only for a second – is shooting in the rainy Seattle woods really the best idea?  Or was it a mistake? 

Then I was saved.  Our extraordinary line producer Rob Corn made it all happen.  We found the locations.  We shot great stuff.  And there was next to no rain (great job Rob!).  Plus, all the outdoor stuff looks FANTASTIC (great job director Dan Minahan and great job, Director of Photography, Herb Davis!).  So, to quote Ronald Reagan, “Mistakes were made.”  But Rob Corn saved me from those mistakes!  Thank you again, Rob. 

And now onto the actual episode...

My next mistake might have been the theme of the episode.  It was Outside/In.  Thinking you can recognize a problem by what’s on the outside while somehow underestimating or not recognizing what’s going on inside.  Yeah.  That’s a lot to bend your mind around.  For example – Jamie’s a healthy-looking young girl on the outside; on the inside she has a dead baby.  Donna isn’t happy being a man.  She wants to undergo the final step in becoming a woman so that she can finally have her outsides match her insides.  And then there’s Derek, who thinks that being outside in the woods will help him with his inner turmoil. 

Don’t get me wrong.  Outside/In was a serviceable theme.  But it might have been a mistake.  A better theme might have been “couples”.  Because, it turns out the episode revolves around couples and how happy or unhappy they are.  I didn’t really notice this until Shonda mentioned the idea of couples while we were in editing.  So now I’m running with it.  Because, hey, it’s Shonda.  It’d be a mistake not to.

So.  In no particular order.  Our couples --

Ted and Jamie -- the couple with the stillborn baby.  A happy couple.  She slipped and fell in the shower.  She made a mistake.  We never actually answer the question of whether that led to the death of the baby.  Because, at the end of the day, that didn’t seem as important as what she and Ted actually have to go through.

Vicky and her transgender husband Donna.  An unhappy couple.  Donna thinks what Vicky’s doing is a big mistake.  Deep down, she really doesn’t want her to do it.  And she ends up staying with Donna because that’s what makes her happy.

Joe and Walter.  Another happy couple.  Although by the end of the trip, Walter clearly thinks it was a mistake to have gone camping with these guys.  By the way, that scene at the river with Richard talking to Joe and realizing how much they have in common?  We almost didn’t shoot that scene because we had a full shooting schedule and I wasn’t sure if we needed it.  And not shooting that?  That would have been a TERRIBLE MISTAKE.  It’s one of my favorite scenes in the episode.

Richard and Adele.  “I miss my wife”.  What more do you have to say?

Addison and Callie.  A surprising couple.  That scene where they’re both sitting together on the floor at the end was another one of my favorites.

Cristina and Burke.  Burke’s not happy with Cristina and how she’s coming to dominate his life.  That’s why the camping trip.  But he sees the anguish that George is putting himself through with Callie and thinks he may have been a little rough on Cristina.  Which was a mistake.  He returns and they’re reconciled.  At least for now... 

Derek and Burke.  An unlikely couple.  Derek thought it would just be the two of them getting away to the mountains and now all these other bozos are tramping along after them.  And at the end of the day, being in the great outdoors didn’t really solve anything.  Except to help him realize how foolish it was to come out here in the first place.  And Burke’s not that nice to him until the end when he offers to talk about Mark Sloan.  Which doesn’t make them a couple but makes them friends… of a sort. 

Mark and Meredith.  Mark spends the whole episode telling Meredith that they’d make a better couple than she and Derek.  And Meredith’s maybe a little tempted but…talk about mistakes.  That’s certainly one she’s not about to make.  Is it?  Which leads us to…

Meredith and Derek.  Who wind up together at the end of the episode.  And as much as he thought he needed space, at the end, he’s where he’s always wanted to be.  Pressed up against Meredith.  With next to no space between them…

As for me, the next time I go to Seattle I’m bringing layers.  Lots and lots of layers.  Some mistakes you only need to make once…



I thought I was about to have a McNutty--- Meredith shot McSteamy a look, and I was sure Derek was going to turn around, see it, and walk away again. But focus was regained, and the reconciliation--- well, it was time. I couldn't take the waiting anymore! Thank you!


I LOVE YOU!! Amazing episode! really awesome job.

Greg F

Now thats the Greys I know. Taking creative risks when the easy path would be to string out Meredith and Derek untill the series end. I was convinced that that is exactly what was going to happen. Convinced! But that didn't happen and that is why I watch. To see something new, and challenge me as a viewer, and keep me guessing. Even if I am always wrong.

Thank you thank you thank you for putting Meredith and Derek together. I know you will read this same thing a million and one times, but it is my Birthday this weekend and THAT WAS THE BEST PRESENT EVER!!! I'm sure something will come and ruin their happiness, but for now I am like a freaking kid in a candy store. Loved the episode, and next week looks great too *cough bath tub cough*

Kate D

Don't break up Burketina! We love them! We named our website after them!

Addison and Callie = best dynamic all night. (And this was a VERY dynamic episode.)

I'm a Pacific Northwest native, and I grew up in the area you were shooting. North Bend rules.

And I'm young, too, but I immediately got the "Where the Boys Are" reference. (This is what comes of writing papers about early 1960s' film portrayals of pre-marital sex...)

Congratulations, Mark. This is my favorite episode of the season. Great writing.


I love that you guys shot on location. Seriously. My roommate and I spent the entire episode talking about how beautiful those overhead shots were of the forest and the mountains...well, in between talk of how beautiful McSteamy is...


LOVED the episode...but SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON WITH McSTEAMY? I just can't help but believe that there is so much more going on behind the scenes with him....he seriously was NOT hitting on Meredith for real? He knows where Derek's heart is and just wouldn't do that to him...again! I HAVE to believe that! I think he's got a plan to mend some fences...and tonight was the first wire put into place with FINALLY healing Der and Mer....at least I HOPE so! Would love to see a more detailed follow-up blog to help us understand a little more....the more we know the more we WANT to know!

Thank you Thank you Thank you...I yelled so loud I woke my 5 yr old and scared the cat (he still won't come out from under the bed).

Merideth and Derrick together.

now don't screw it up again.


The best episode of the year. Thanks so much for that mer/der bit at the end... wow. that was perfect. this episode was so wonderful- well written, well acted and so very Greys! Good job!


ok so I'm just warning you now that this is going to be extrememly long... but i'll tell you why I have so much to say - MARK WILDING, you are my HERO!

Seriously... will you marry me? You have no idea the affect you have had on my life, not only today but now this week, this month... you are seriously amazing!! This episode is now one of my favorites of all time and it was absolutely perfect! Don't listen to anyone who bashes you it was unbelievably amazing! Don't doubt yourself =) The last five minutes... the best 5 minutes of TV like ever =) I literally ran through my house screaming my mother called me and @ss whole and I told her "I am an @sswhole, I'm a happy @sswhole =) (sorry I don't know if your allowed to say that word here lol) anyway... i just wanted to really say THANK YOU for another amazing Grey's episode and a HUGE THANK YOU from Mer/Der fans everywhere =) We will love you until we go where Denny is right now =) Seriously... You are amazing... ohh and I think I may have caught onto something... well if you ever visit the message board, you will see that a lot of us have caught on to something... either Addison is pregnant (with what could only be Mark's baby) or there is another piece to the puzzle of Derek and Addison's past that will come to the surface soon... (maybe a miscarriage of some sort) anyway... THANKS AGAIN!! YOU ARE AMAZING!!! SAY HELLO TO SHONDA AND THE GANG FOR ME!!! =D


1 word... BATHTUB. Thank God you had Meredith and Derek at least kiss in this episode because after seeing the previews for next week's ep? Well, I'm just glad to have something to get me through the week.


Would it be creepy if I told you I loved you? Because seriously, I love you. I love you in a very big way, that may very well make my boyfriend jealous. Because you gave me the kiss. The kiss that I have literally been waiting for since Addie showed up. Because the one on 203 didn't count, it was Mer begging. And the finale, that was a forbidden kiss, so it didn't count either. But this was the kiss. The "I love you so much, let's start over" kiss. And I love you for writing it. Because we needed that. They needed that. Thank you.

The rest of the episode was amazing as well. It had that wonderful mix of drama and humour that makes Grey's the amazing show that it is. One second I was laughing at the men, the next I was crying with the poor pregnant couple (talk about heartbreaking?). Just a wonderful wonderful episode. Honestly, I've had a really good week already, I have. But that made it for me. It was such a good one, I loved it so much.

When I was watching it I kept thinking to myself that this is why I'm ham when it comes to this show. Thank you for that.

Of course, you wrote the hairy thigh scene, so needless to say I knew I could trust you.

Okay, I think I'm done rambling. Well not really, but you're probably afraid of me now, or entirely too amused. So I'm done rambling. Really I am. I'm just ever so happy right now. Really happy, but I'll shut up.

Yet again, I love you. I will say thank you but somehow that seem inadeguate. Instead I will say "I'm all for the kissing. More kissing I say."


I kinda felt like the first 55 minutes of this episode was spent trying to pound the show's theme into my feeble little brain. It was starting to get a litle monotonous. I'm not the brightest crayon in the box but I get it, OK??

Once you got to the meaty part--Izzie's scene in the locker room, and of course the long-awaited reunion of Meredith and Derek, it was great. You had to throw in one more moment of sweet torture with Meredith talking about "water under the thing", and looking across the bar at McDingDong Steamy. Brilliant. Yeah, I was on the verge of laughing, screaming, crying, and gnawing on my own arm in that one little moment.

But, of course, DEREK IS THE ONE! YES!



oh how could i forget... WHO EVER WROTE NEXT WEEKS SHOW... (i'll have to head over to abcmedianet.com and find out) THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR THE MER/DER BATHTUB scene we saw in the promo for 'Staring at the Sun' =)

I will be thanking you next week too but just thought I would make that persons day maybe =)


Wow! I just found this site and now we can COMMENT on it? Sweet!

First off, I'd like to say that I didn't see the whole thing, just the last 15 minutes. I'm waiting until 4 so I can watch it online. I did, however, watch the last 15 minutes. And that was enough. I was screaming. Thank you! It was so great!

Astra from Seattle

Thank you! I loved the episode. I must agree that GA is back to how they use to be. Thank goodness. Also I loved the shoots in Seattle. As a Seattlite myself, I thank you for showing the real Seattle and not a back drop that other shows have used, which by the way we can sooo tell when it's not real. Another thing when you guys do come up to film in Seattle, can I get a heads up? Mostly just so I can tell you guys in person how much I LOVE THE SHOW and how great you all are. : )

P.S. Thanks for the end scene with Mer and Der!


Mark, Shonda, Betsey and everyone else you are the most fabulous people in the world. The show is the most fabulous show in the world...and of course meredith and derrick kissing in the bar is by far the most fabulous thing in the world.


Okay seriously, I just want to say thank you for that last scene with Meredith and Derek! I was so thrilled and feels like, there's more exciting episodes to look forward too! YAY!
I live in L.A. and I know exactly how you feel about the weather here! Trust me, I know that tonight's episodes were shot in Seattle and it was gorgeous! I think and I'm not mistaken, that's where Isaiah and Patrick got in each other's nerves in real life. Hey they've moved on and so have I and everyone else! Good for them!
Anyway, thank you for tonight's amazing episode and I look forward to the coming ones. I am team Meredith-Derek :)


This was an AMAZING episode! It is probably my favorite....ever, because Meredith and Derek are FINALLY back together!!!!!!!

I don't just think MerDer were amazing; all around, I REALLY loved this episode!!!


okay good episode
1. fighting scene GREAT
2. george pretty much finding out about burke (and NEXT WEEK OMG)
3. callie and addie
4. THANKGOD mer chose derek, we were literally screaming at the TV, she is very stupid in some senses
5. Christina and Burke at the end aawww
6. WOW izzie is of course not fine, but it's nice she verbalizes it for us, and she doesn't konw if she wants to be a surgon..NOOO don't leave the show. and next week izzie and alex, i love alex and want them to be together, but that can't end well, izzie isn't even over Denny.


Love you. LOVED this episode. (did I mention I'm happy?) This was the episode, and the exact moment, that we have all been waiting for. And do come back to Seattle. As a Seattle native I *promise* that it doesn't rain all the time. (but don't tell the rest of the country - it's a secret)

And if you're ever bored....or can't sleep or something...feel free to write more episodes. :) You rock.


Hands down ... Callie/Addison was the best thing I've ever seen! I didn't see that one coming. But it totally makes sense that they'd become friends. I mean they're both lonely ... they're both outsiders in Meredith's world ... and they both need someone to girlchat with.

Outstanding dynamic with those two. You really showed a very compassionate side to Callie that we haven't really seen before. Like she told George ... she doesn't give a crap what people think about her because she's so independant... well, it's time for Miss Independant to have a friend who can peel those layers away.

Totally great episode from start to finish. This was Grey's at its finest. I can't wait until next week. Brilliant, Mark. Just Brilliant!


YES! Finally! It's about time. Meredith-Derek. Thank you for not dragging it one more night, I wouldn't have been able to handle it.


I laughed. I cried. I was excited for Mer and Der. AWESOME episode!!!


This episode definitely made up for the last two. I was afraid that Grey's was going to lose what I really love about it. But, tonight's episode alleviated my fears. Thank you so much!!!

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