« Drowning on Dry Land... | Main | Debora Cahn on "Scars and Souvenirs"... »

Marti Noxon on "Sometimes a Miracle"

Original airdate: 2-22-07

A few months ago, I got a call from Shonda and Betsy Beers.  I was lying on the floor when they called.  I had my computer in front of me, so I was “writing”.   I’d recently had lunch with Shonda and Betsy, and a few other meals with Shonda before that.  So we’d hung out .  We’d dined.  We’d complained about…  things only lucky TV people complain about.  Things related to actually having jobs.  Things which, by real world standards, barely even qualify as problems.  But that’s why we need each other.  Because we get each other, man 

When the call came, despite previous eating and complaining, I was intimidated.  Shonda and Betsy had created this monster hit, this highly-entertaining medical drama that millions of people watched and adored.  Including me.  I mean, Shonda’s kind of eerily talented -- and she knows Oprah. 

But, honestly, I needed a good call.  I was working on a soon-to-be Ill-fated pilot. Before that it was a brief and ill-fated stay on an otherwise successful ABC show.  And before that I launched a brief and ill-fated series for Fox.  And before that I worked on a…  brief and ill-fated series for Fox.

We see a pattern. 

Buffy was good.  Can we talk about Buffy? 

Problem is – Buffy was a long time ago.  She lives on –- Season 8 soon to be in comic book form…  But, in my nightmares, I’m 90 at a Buffy convention, and nobody wants my autograph.  They’re all in line to see virtual Joss, who has invented a way to put his brain in a jar on a floaty thing, live forever and be funnier and more prolific than everybody for THE REST OF ALL TIME.  I love Joss, but it’s hard being his friend. 

Like I was saying.  I needed a good call.  And it came.  Would I like to “come hang out” on Grey’s for a while?  I’ll skip the part where I hung up and cried and called my agent and he cried and we all cried because, try as I might, it would be hard for me, personally, to turn Grey’s into an “ill-fated” show.  Especially since I was to have a vague job title, no authority and non-specific duties.

So I hung out.  For a few days it was all Christmas baskets and trying to make Shonda laugh (she was dying from iron deficiency and was too weak to lift the corners of her mouth – nobody knew that yet, so I danced like a little monkey.  But more on that later).  I also got to hang with the aforementioned Shonda and Betsy (so great at her job and so funny she makes me laugh until things come out of my nose); the amazing Krista Vernoff (amazing and pregnant and beautiful and able to write many fabulous pages in a single bound); Allan Heinberg -- Joss-like in his smartness and multi-talentedness; the warm, funny and ridiculously “on-it” in-every-way Tony and Joan Phelan; The Hammer – Mark Wilding – a great writer and The Godfather around here;  fantastic (also lovely and pregnant) Debora, whose writing made me laugh and cry and all that other envy-inducing stuff; Stacy who can produce both wonderful scripts and amazing portraits of people made entirely of pipe cleaners…  Not to mention the always enchanting Kip and Caro …    Zoanne and Elizabeth, great writers and the people who actually know what doctors do and say.   Every one of them was welcoming and seriously funny and dedicated.   Also -- Kern, Eric, Darren, Jim, Chris, Sonay – assistants today – our bosses tomorrow.  Tremendously funny and talented in their own right.

Finally – a special mention of Meg, the Writer’s PA, who we all adore – in the way that only creatures in captivity can love the person who brings them food.  I’ve worked quite a few places, and I can honestly say that the single greatest benefit of working on a hit show is that Meg appears, at lunch time, with hot food and everything is as ordered. This may seem like a small thing, but for some reason in has proved impossible everywhere but here.  And when lunch doesn’t come, writers get cranky and they stop working.  They start talking about Nascar and our ex-whatevers, shopping, musicals and what we ate yesterday.  (Okay, not Nascar – but I’m doing what I can to butch up the writer image here.)   So thank God for Meg, who is great at many other things – but basically keeps Grey’s Anatomy up and running.

But I digress.  I figured I had some time.  I was just around to do… what exactly?  Nobody knew.  This is the truth about the “consulting” title.  Nobody knows what it is.  I think it has something to do with lunch.

But Shonda and company had other ideas.   Shonda’s first part of a two-part episode became a two-parter itself – Ferry Hell, one and two. The ones in which Meredith goes into the water and dies.  So Shonda suddenly had all this work to do and it turned out she had no IRON in her blood.  And very little blood in her blood.  Shonda needed help.  From a doctor most of all – but a little help from me on the side.  Which is how I came to co-write this episode of Grey's.   

And the fact that there are dead people in it is just a coincidence.  For those of you who fear I’m whispering in Shonda’s ear about the dark side and alternate realities and stuff – this was her thing, okay?  I’m here to write MEDICINE, people.  And sex.  And sexy medicine.

I was again – intimidated. It was a challenge to write and shoot for so many reasons.  Not in a digital-ferry-crashing-into-a-digital-dock way, but still…  This, again, wasn’t a typical Grey’s.  Half of it takes place…  where?  In Meredith’s head?  In Heaven?  We decided, for obvious reasons, not to get too specific.  And we knew Meredith had to go on a journey.  But, get it wrong and it’s “Touched by an Icy Blue Surgeon.” And Denny and Dylan?  I’m supposed to touch the sacredness of Denny and Dylan?  I think not.  All will agree that I basically punted that stuff.

But you know, Denny and Izzie at the end.  Shonda’s been talking about that since she pitched me the episode.  It was heart-breaking then, in my office with bad lighting…  So on it’s feet -- awesome.  But  I’ll let Shonda weigh in more on that favorite moment.

Back in Seattle Grace we struggled with going to such a dark place and finding the funny.  Not that we found a lot of funny.  If there’s a theme here – besides the search for Miracles -- it’s “death sucks.” 

For me, what emerged were the love stories.  Not just between Derek and Meredith, but between Cristina and Meredith.   That essential friendship.  Cristina walking out was something that was hotly debated here.  Apparently – that’s not good doctoring (I’m new!)  But it felt right.  If not now, when?  Meredith is Cristina’s person.  And Richard and Ellis…   That love coming to a definitive end.   There’s a lot of grief in all of this, but there’s great hope too.  It’s the lesson from “the other place” too.  We are who we love.

In any case - Shonda did all the heavy lifting.  She found the moments that sing for me,  that pull it all together.  I was still running around asking dumb things like “what’s an Attending?”  Then Adam Arkin, a wonderful actor in his own right, did an amazing job directing it.  And, as you’ll see – all the actors are in stunningly good form.  But aren’t they always?

Oh yeah – they are really that pretty.  That’s fun. 

So.  Thanks for letting me blog.  It really was a good call to get – “come hang at Grey’s.”  The people here are tremendous, and the show’s pretty damn fun to write when it isn’t trying to kill us all.  I hope to stick around, at least until somebody tells me what an Attending is. 

***and the agent weeps***

Comments

mmr

Fantastic episode-- way to end the arc!

Chelsea G

Best Show....great ending. I think I am speechless (which is a first). Thank Gosh everything turned out the way that it did.

denise

yay, first post! great episode.

Liz

Great episode -I have never cried so hard at a TV show in my life haha. Congratualtions!

Beth

That episode had me bawling. Well, bawling in the way that I bawl, which is silent bawling. But, nonetheless, I was crying.

When Ellis gave Meredith a hug and said, "You are anything but ordinary", I lost it. It was ridiculous how many of us were crying in the basement as we watched Grey's.

Cristina was excellent in this episode..."This is, like, two dollars worth of Sudoku".

I enjoy the lighthearted moments. It makes all the pain discussed in the episode that much easier to bear.

When Denny talked about flashes of the people you love, it was heartbreaking. That sounds like something I never want to go through. I'm still feeling pangs in my heart. I cried when he and Izzie felt each other.

I really wanted Addison and Alex to work out, but I'm hoping for some threesome drama so I can still get my Addisex fix. Maddison is hot, but Addisex is better....

I think that's a good way to end this. I really enjoyed this episode. It was amazing.

Julie

It was WONDERFUL! I loved everything about it!

The moments of funny comments between Dylan and Denny, seeing Doc.....the perfect bit of levity after 2 heavy episodes!

And Derek curled up in bed with Mer at the end....I can go to sleep tonight knowing everything is right in the world.

THANKS for an AMAZING show!

kammommy

Beyond awesome. So great every single second. The story, the actors, everything. Loved it all. Thank you.

kutrina

thanks for posting so quick.
i watched the show and i was just about in tears every time, then a comerical would come on and i would gather myself.

how many people out there can say they have a good friend like christina and mer do? that one person who is "there persson" I feal like i have that in my husband,
I was also very tuched by the cuddling that Derek did with mer, it showed he cared.
And what addison said at the end about how Derek was never like that with her, it shows what an affair can do to a marrage, and how most cant survive. I wish that Derek and addison would get bcak together i really do, becouse i feal that marrage is something to work on, BUT Derek is growing, and being that man that we all know he can be and be there for Mer in her hard times....

thank you once again for writing so fast!

Carrie Jo

The ending was fairly predictable but it was such an awesome show. It made me kick myself for not becoming addicted to this show sooner.

Margaret Fisher

I just want to say that this episode was amazing. Even though it was heartbreaking, I loved that there was still some comedy inside. Plus, I LOVE Denny! Thank you so much for writing this episode!

karen in WI

Dear Marti,
May you be called upon more often. All of the creativity that sits on board with Shonda is brilliant.
It can only get better.
Having been in the dark recesses where you all took Meredith, to see her Mom, to feel that. To know that exact instant in time when one truly does decide whether to quit or to continue. Brilliant.
Denny & Izzie. How many of us that have loved ones that are dead, how many of us have had a moment like that. A smell, a thought, a brushing of air, only to think of that departed loved one?
So many layers..
Mark 60 DAYS? Way to go. It worked all of it worked.
Jane Doe! None of us are exempt of that happening. All we need do is remember the times we live in.
Thank you ..sir!
Thank you Shonda & Crew & the Cast.
Made a grey Thursday bright for me.
Thank you.
with sincerity always,
karen in WI

Shelly

I hate to say this because I'm such a fan of the show, but the story line of whether Meredith was going to live or die was disappointing. This has been done too many times in television history and is just tired and old. Sorry. That said, it was great to see Denny and the "bomb guy!"

irene

I am so terribly heartbroken.
For the past two weeks, I have been ill with the flu/bronchitis/cold/congestion/everything else under the sun that can clog up my sinuses and make me cough as though I'm dying.
I've survived the days waiting for Thursday, waiting for Grey's.
And now I'm all cried out and even more stuffy than I was one hour ago.

But, all is forgiven because tonight's episode was fantastic. It goes in my Top 10 Fave Grey's Episode List.

The Izzie & Denny thing - GOSH, I AM JUST SOOOOO HEARTBROKEN. I CAN NOT GET OVER THEM. I WANT THEM TO BE TOGETHER AND IT IS SO MUCH MORE PAINFUL BECAUSE ... THEY CAN'T BE. OBVIOUSLY, BECAUSE DENNY'S IN THE "AFTERLIFE" WHILE IZZIE IS STILL ... NOT THE NOW-LIFE. It's tremendously distressing how sad it is that two people who love each other so much (and have viewers who want to see them together sooo badly) can't be together - and it's even ore depressing to realize that in real life, it works that way too. Sometimes, life just doesn't always work out for the best...
But like Izzie said, its about believing that we survive that wills us to actually survive.

Anyway -
thank you for an awesome, and so totally needed dosage of Denny & Izzie-ness. I really needed it.

<3

Amanda

I have to say that I was somewhat skeptical about this episode, but it really turned out to be beautiful and moving. Thanks so much Grey's for making television that much better.


And it doesn't hurt that Denny and Dylan were back... not to mention Doc!

x.

Oh my gosh. I've been waiting for your post all night long. FIRST. It's my first first.

Tonight's episode was amazing. I was so touched by the Meredith/Ellis and teared up at the Izzie/Denny moment at the end.

Thank you for a great episode!

Shonna

**passes a kleenex to the agent**
Weep away.

There was no shark in that water, and the relief is palpable.

Denny MacPerfect and Izzie - well, that's my favorite moment in the series apart from Burktina doing the boogaloo in their bungalo(apartment, yes, but bungalo sounds better, doesn't it?)

Devastating episode, but in the best possible way - my own grandmother passed of alzheimer's, and Chief worded the loss perfectly. Thank you for giving him the words.

As for Buffy....Buffy who? Never was much of a fan, sorry to say, worked with the bloke who was Xander's stunt double for a time at Cirque du Soleil and through him met a fair amount of the cast but never really clicked with that series - yet there's something about THIS series that has *it*. Whatever *it* is, this show has *it*. Look at all of these people, me included, who posts to the blogs after each episode, frantic to tell you all how we feel about what we've just experienced through your hard work - if nothing else, your work touches many more thousands of people every day - more who don't post, or who don't know they can read your thoughts on each episode here.....many who wish they could have ten minutes alone with Shonda and the writers to pick your collective brains or perhaps more like me who'd just love to sit down over a hot cuppa (coffee or tea perhaps) with the cast, crew, writers - the entire GA TEAM and just.....bask in the energy. It's vital and it draws people in - there's a magic in what you all have in this show - thank you for that - and for the twists and turns that make this show what it is. Please please please keep up the excellent work. And thanks for shooting the shark!

belle

What an amazing episode. I'm so glad you didn't kill Merideth. And I've never been such as Cristina fan, as I am right now. Bravo!
Just don't haul Mer off to the looney bin yet - let us have some Mer/Der time! :)

Kelly

Lovely episode, Marti - full of small moments of perfection.

your blog sucks and so did this three part episode. it was all too predictable.

Laurie

STUPID!! Totally jumping the shark people. I bet after this three part mess the number of viewers drops...immensely. Don't stray from the formula it worked!!!!!

Ashley

Amazing episode, I don't think I took a breath of air the entire episode, sympathy for Meredith of course. :) I LOVE this show!!!!!

Elizabeth in Seattle

First comment, woo hoo!

I gotta say, I usually watch Grey's while at work..but today, I oculd tell that the subject matter would be too complex for me to fully digest while just mostly paying attention. So it's sitting on my Tivo right now and I just have to hope that when I get home tonight, I can watch it instead of paying attention to my cat and boyfriend.

I love this blog, though. Very thought provoking and insightfukl - especially for a girl who *never* gets the bigger picture or the subtexts that are so obvious to people smarter than I am.

Whitney M.

I loved this episode, and thank you marti for helping shonda!!

Cristina Salazar

Oh my god, thanks for amazing tv!! I really really love this blog. You really allow fans to get inside the characters... So thanks!!

By the way, you don't have idea what kind of stress you put me up to past 3 weeks... I'm so happy right now to see Mer fine.

LOVE

Cris

Lesley

That was such a brilliant episdoe...pure Grey's. All the scenes with Denny and Dylan and Meredith and everyone (even Doc!) in her head were perfect. And Patrick Dempsey and Sandra Oh gave exceptional performances, they were so heartbroken.

The only complaint I have is about Meredith waking up so quickly...come on, really! No coma, no brain problems, just pull the tube out and she's all better. Seriously?!

Nevertheless, it was an amazing ep, definitely the best this season and maybe even the best episode [so far! :)].

The comments to this entry are closed.