Shonda Rhimes on "The Other Side of This Life"
Original airdate: 5/3/07
So I owe you an explanation. For this episode (for these two episodes, I should say). I owe you that. You’ve stuck with me through Season Three and now you want answers, damn it! You want an explanation.
You are preaching to the proverbial choir. If you were a preacher and I was a choir. Which…I’m not a choir cause I can’t sing but maybe you are actually a preacher and…rambling. The point is, when I watch TV and things happen like the Scooby Gang raises Buffy out of her scary grave or Felicity goes back in time or they take their sweet time telling me what those numbers mean over on Lost...I get a little nutty. I sometimes get irate. Because these are my shows. These are my people. These are my FRIENDS THESE WRITERS ARE MESSING WITH.
I don’t say this lightly. I am a hardcore TV watching fanatic. I was deprived of it as a kid. So now, as an adult, I am deep into it. I dig my TV. So when shows take leaps, I go a little out of my mind.
I go a little out of my mind, I shake my fist to the heavens, I tear at my hair and I ask the writing gods “WHY?!!!!”
I go all drama on my own ass and then I lie back down on the sofa and keep watching. Mainly because I’m lazy and shaking one’s fist to the heavens is exhausting. But also because I’m interested in seeing what happens next. And because the writers have asked me to leap and so I’m gonna leap with them.
Also because, now? Now I get it. I so totally get it. It’s freakin’ gotten.
Here’s what happened to me:
I was sitting in the editing room one day watching Mer and Burktina and the gang doing all the stuff they do. I love the editing room – it’s like this cocoon where I’m alone with the characters (and the editor) and it’s where I get a lot of my ideas. And for the first time ever since working on this show, I got an idea that was Grey’s Anatomy but…not Grey’s Anatomy. It was something else. It was Addison driving down the freeway with her hair blowing all over her face. So I started writing it down, this not Grey’s Anatomy idea. I started writing it down in secret because I knew Betsy and Shoots With No Script would very gently explain that I had lost my mind and then send in the guys with the strait jackets. Because we are very busy here at Greys. We don’t have time for non-Grey’s ideas. We are a hard-working people.
Except I had this idea and it had already worked its way under my skin and I had to write it down. Or else I’d get in one of those moods. Things happen when I’m in those moods. Things like Meredith drowning. And I love Mer and wanted to keep her away from the water. So I wrote it down. And I gave it to the studio and the network.
It became something. A script that was part-Grey’s, part something else. And then it became news around town and suddenly my tiny little written down something was being paid a lot of attention by the outside world. Next thing you know, they’re calling it a spinoff.
This episode, it’s NOT a spinoff. It’s Addison going down to LA to complete the story we’ve been laying out for her for two seasons. It’s the culmination of Meredith’s family story. It’s Burktina and the wedding and Izzie, Callie and George and that hideous triangle they are stuck in. It’s the beginning of the end of Season Three.
And I’m warning you now: the ride to the end of the season? You may want to buckle up and store your luggage in the overhead compartment because this ride is gonna be bumpy. I’ll explain more after the finale. I’ll talk about where we are headed in Season Four. Because I think Season Four is gonna rock. The fun is back in Season Four. But for right now, I guess I’ll just talk about the here and the now. About what is right in front of us.
So. Even though we took this detour down to Los Angeles, what I want to talk about is what happened in Seattle. To Meredith. To Cristina. To Izzie. Because things are not working out the way they planned. George is leaving for Mercy West and Izzie feels responsible. Cristina’s facing the fact that she’s going to have to compromise what she wants yet again for Burke. And Meredith…well, Meredith is losing another mother. Worse, she’s losing her father. And even worse than that, she may be losing Derek.
But my favorite moment is Alex. Who, when Ava asks him what happened to him that has made it so hard for him to connect, simply shrugs and says “Maybe I don’t remember.” He remembers. But he can’t face up to it. Not yet. Alex is the guy we know the least about and the one struggling the most. And I kinda love him for it. Because he wants to be a better guy – he’s just not sure he IS a better guy.
In this episode, our people in Seattle all hit a crossroads while our girl in Los Angeles finds a new road altogether. I’m hoping you like the new road. I’m hoping I get a chance to show you how good this road can be.
But for now, the detour is over. Now, we’ve got the last two episodes of this season to bring to you. Where we are going might make you shake your fists to the heavens and scream. But we are leaping. So, if your sofa is comfy, maybe you could lie back down and leap with us?