“Great Expectations” for Eric Buchman (and his blog)
Original Airdate: 1-25-07
I got a call at midnight last night from my Mom. From the East Coast. So it was 3am where she was. She watched the show. Went online. And waited. And waited. And waited. And called.
She wanted to know where my blog was.
She called again this morning. No blog.
Just got an instant message from her 15 minutes ago from her. Asking about the blog.
My point… I know ya’ll are a little frustrated at the lack of a blog. But no one is more frustrated than my own mom, so you don't need to worry about punishing me because I’m surely going to be grounded the next time I get back to Florida.
The thing is, I just don’t know where to begin. There’s just so much I want to say.
Do I start by saying how thankful I am for this opportunity? I just can’t thank Shonda enough for this. And many, many thanks to Krista, Mark, Allan, Tony & Joan for guiding me through the process with such care. To Stacy for being such a rock on set. To Debora and Kip and Zoanne and Harry & Gab for their input in the script. To Carolina for easing all my fears and offering such great advice. Television is a very collaborative medium, and I’m so fortunate that my first time was with such a talented and generous and considerate writing staff.
Or do I start with what a hypocrite I am? I’m the guy who posts the blogs the writers write, so I’m the guy who harps on all them for not getting in their blogs in a timely manner. And even though I've done two blogs in the past (this one and this one), this IS my first time writing about an episode with my name on it. And I finally get where their brain freeze is coming from. (but don’t worry, I’ll still harp on them!)
Or do I start with the stuff I know you all want to know about? You see, for the first two seasons, I was the guy who read every comment. Every. Single. One of them.
And I know what you really want to know…
And you don’t want a recap of what just happened in last night’s episode.
You want to know what happens next.
You want to know how Cristina and Callie respond.
You want to know if Derek finds out about all the proposing and is inspired to ask Meredith to marry him.
But you know I can’t tell you that. Because as you can see in the above, I love my job. And if I told you, I’d get fired. My parents threatened to disown me if I didn’t tell them. And… I still didn’t tell them. I’ll be eating take-out for Thanksgiving this year. But at least I’ll still have my job.
Anyways… I can’t really start out with any of those things.
So I’ll start with… sex.
Let’s talk about George having a lot of it. We needed to show George grieving in a new way for Grey’s. We didn’t want to repeat any beats of Izzie’s grief. And because we knew we had to build to that proposal, we wanted to have George burying his grief in Callie. And in a way that would bother his best friend Izzie. We also wanted Callie to feel some remorse. She finally got George, but not in the way she wanted. She’s gotten his body, but the underlying relationship isn’t there anymore. So what does all that add up to? Make George a sex machine and it’ll bother his friends, pain Callie, and be VERY different from Izzie’s mourning.
Let’s talk about the fact that Cristina and Burke are probably still having a lot of sex, despite their silent situation. In early versions of the script, we actually wanted to show just that -- Burke and Cristina having great sex, but not saying a word. Silent sex. It works in theory, but in execution (on broadcast television) how the hell do you show two people having sex, and know they’re enjoying it if it’s completely silent. You can’t have silence on television. Unless it’s for dramatic effect… waiting for a verdict on Law and Order. Or for comedic effect. The awkward but brilliant silence of The Office. But silence during sex? On TV that usually conveys boredom.
Wait a second, I just remembered something. I can’t start with sex after all. My mom is reading this.
So let’s start with…
Richard and Adele. Richard finally goes to the board and officially got his retirement going. Which gets the race for chief going. Which gets all our attendings acting like children. Which gets the Nazi back. Which leads him back to Adele’s… only to be turned away at the door. Poor, poor Richard. Does this mean the race is over? All that was for naught? Wait – I can’t talk about the future. Crap. Okay, moving onto the next topic…
So let’s start with…
The fact that this was my first time.
And how thankful I am that I did it with people who were so gentle and considerate, and wanted to make sure I was completely satisfied by the experience.
Wait a second. Sounds like I’m talking about sex again. Um... Okay then… moving on…
So let’s start with…
The Amish. Yeah, we had Amish characters fly on an airplane. But I’m told that’s okay under such dire circumstances. Their daughter is 3000 miles away and she’s sick! But wait – I don’t want to upset any Amish people reading this, so I probably should move on…
(possibly interesting tidbit: first day of shooting, a member of the crew, Ryan Blank, walked up to me to say that his father was Amish, and that he just happens to be in town for a few days… an amazing coincidence. we immediately set up a meeting with his father and our researcher and director and that’s how the Pennsylvania Dutch wound up in the episode. Mr. Blank made a CD of him saying the lines, and the actors memorized it and rehearsed it on their own. And I think they did a great job… even though I still have no clue what they were saying)
Okay. So let’s start with…
Meredith and Derek!
Finally. They're a topic with no more taboos. I possibly can’t ruin when they’ll get back together, because they got back together 5 episodes ago. (or 6 depending on how you count “back together”). On the surface, their story in this episode isn’t very complicated. They had a fight that -- compared to past Meredith and Derek fights -- was barely anything. I mean, remember when Derek basically called Meredith a whore? But this was their first fight as a real, honest-to-goodness couple. And even though it was a minor fight, it’s very revealing for Meredith. She’s not used to fighting with someone and having them come back. We know how things are with her mom. We know her dad left even before she had a chance to ever fight with him. We can now picture every boyfriend she ever had leaving after just a couple weeks, if she didn’t leave first. This is probably the longest relationship she’s ever been in. And the first with someone she feels a genuine connection with. We might know Derek will come back – but she doesn’t. The scene at the end between them is actually a milestone of sorts for her. She has to admit just how new to all this she really is. The woman with a habit of getting drunk and having sex with inappropriate men – is finally in virgin territory.
You know, that’ll be good title for a novel. “The Virgin Whore” I wonder if that’s been done yet… Just googled it. Crap. It’s not a book, but it’s a cocktail made with vodka, tequila, cranberry and apple juice, food coloring, and lime kool-aid. And you know what? Meredith might actually like that, considering her fondness for tequila.
Okay, I’m off on a tangent… That’s not a good sign. Means I need to pick a topic with more going on… hmm…
Let’s start with…
Alex and Addison. Ouch. That’s all I can say. I watched the episode with a group of friends, and when Alex says “you’re my boss, what was I supposed to do?” (when he explained why he kissed her back in the last episode) – it stung the entire room. We all felt what Addison feels in that moment. But what’s most painful about that scene? Not that Alex effectively shut Addison down in such a cold and direct manner. But that it seems like such a waste of chemistry. When they went into that closet, the last thing we wanted to see them do is pour water on their fire. Okay, I’m getting frustrated just thinking about it. Not a good topic for me.
So let’s start with… Well, what’s left?
Can I just say that Eric Dane, who plays Mark, is like the nicest guy ever? During the read thru for the episode, he paid me my first compliment ever as a writer (from a professional actor). Sara Ramirez got to a line I wrote in the Izzie-Callie hallway scene (a line that never made it to air actually), and she totally sold it. And Eric looked up and said “way to go, Bucky.” And what had been an incredibly nerve-inducing experience, all of a sudden became very relaxing. My nerves went away. I was able to enjoy the remainder of the read thru.
Hopefully the excised line will wind up on the DVD. I can’t tell you what the line was, though, because ABC Standards and Practices requested its removal. In fact, I can’t really talk about those network matters at all, so I guess I should choose another topic…
Let’s start with… the opening credits!
Did you notice that Marti Noxon is now in the opening credits!!! Yes, Buffy fans, THE Marti Noxon. Or as we like to call her. TV’s Marti Noxon. And you know what’s even better than having her here as a consulting producer for the rest of the season? Her writing an episode. And you know what’s even better than her writing an episode? Her writing and episode WITH Shonda. And you know what’s even better than all that? (wow, I’m beginning to sound like game show host slowly revealing some big prize) Them writing an episode you can see in less than a month! Wait a second – Shonda is telling me that I’m revealing too much. I can’t say anymore, and I’ve already said too much.
Darn…okay then… I guess there’s only one thing left for me to say…
So let’s just start with the closing.
Thank you all for watching last night’s episode. Thank you for reading this blog. I hope you enjoyed the episode almost as much as I enjoyed working on it.
Oh, and thanks, Mom, for being so patient!
(even if you’ve been IMing me all day while I’m busy taking notes in the writers’ room)