Krista Vernoff on "Holidaze"...
Original Airdate: 11-19-09
“Do not waste yourself in rejection; do not bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I read that today in a friend's Facebook status update. Yes, I was Facebook lurking as a means of procrastination just like I was tweeting as a means of procrastination. And yes, Shonda did publicly tweet-reprimand me, which I took with a grain of salt seeing as she had tweeted 20 times in the prior ten minutes.
What was my point here?
Oh, the Emerson quote.
It made me pause.
It made me breathe.
For a brief moment, I was overcome with gratitude, not only for Emerson’s wise words, but for people who take the time to tweet and facebook-post inspirational quotes that get me to pause the incessant cycle of thoughts that spiral through my brain every day.
"Do not bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good."
Doesn't it make you breathe a little differently, just for a minute? That quote is my gift to you today, just as it was a gift to me. And seeing as the theme of tonight's episode was Gifts, it seems appropriate. You know what the biggest gift of tonight's episode was?
Sara Ramirez singing Silent Night a capella while Chandra Wilson acts her ass off at the dinner table. Moments like that, gifts like that...
They make me love my job even more. In my lifetime, I have never seen a more powerful performer than Sara Ramirez when she sings live. I hope someday you get to see her, but until then, this was a little taste. It was Shonda's stroke of genius -- her little Christmas gift to me, I like to think, although really, she probably intended it as a gift to all of you. Still, I am grateful. The other gift of this scene is that I got to write Bailey's words and put them on television. Those words were important to me. Without getting too personal, I will admit that there are some things going on in my life that mirror some of the things going on in Bailey’s life. If you’ve read this blog before, you know that we writers frequently cull from our personal lives to come up with the stories we tell on the show each week. (As I write this, Joan Rater is in the writer’s room, dramatically performing some of her favorite moments of life with Tony Phelan – and our writer’s assistant Austin is frantically trying to keep pace and write it all down. And Bill Harper is doing funny accents, which is really neither here nor there.) My point is, I tend to rape and pillage my own life to bring you drama every week. In this episode, for example, when the girl talks about hiking the Inca Trail? That’s because I hiked the Inca Trail, so I know how to describe it. (I’m averse to research so anytime I can just write what I know, I choose to.) And when Bailey defends her decision to leave a marriage that was no longer feeding her soul? That was no longer an example she wanted to set for her young child? I’m not getting too personal here, but I’m saying, I was happy to be able to put those words on TV. Bailey doesn’t need to be berated by her dad, see? Cause Bailey? Beats the crap out of herself way harder than anyone else ever could. But it was nice, the way her Dad came around in the end. And I think he was right that Bailey should’ve called and told him about her divorce.
Okay, what else can I tell you? I’d like to give you behind the scenes tidbits from the shooting of the episode, but I had the damn flu the whole time it was shooting so I was barely there. Oh! I know! Let’s talk about the fact that we did a holiday episode without Izzie! The Twitterers have been berating us for weeks – how COULD you, they ask? Izzie LOVES the holidays! To you, I say, dude… I know. I feel your pain. I wrote the last holiday episode. I remember vividly when Izzie helped Alex study for his exams because, “It’s what JESUS would freakin’ DO!” I remember when she and George and Meredith lay beneath the Christmas tree, soaking in the lights. I missed her like crazy in this episode and you know who else missed her? Even though he didn’t talk about it? Alex. That’s why he wouldn’t sing Christmas carols in the surgery. That’s why he didn’t show up for dinner at Meredith’s. It breaks my heart, the way she left him, and that she didn’t show up for the holidays. I think he thought she might. Because Izzie LOVES the holidays. But she didn’t and yeah, it sucks.
But we’re not barking about the bad, we’re chanting the beauty so let’s talk about the Chief/Arizona/Owen Christmas jam! I have to admit, I have never loved dailies more, ever. I must have watched them sing that song for 20 minutes straight. Those dailies were truly a gift during my flu-ridden misery. They lifted my whole heart up and made it feel all floaty and giddy for hours. I hope the scene did the same for you. And since we’re chanting the good… Can we talk about the hot hot hot HOT Owen Cristina kissing??? Oh my God, I’m like a fan girl, I can’t help it. And how ‘bout the scene where Owen whispers into Teddy’s mouth, “I’m in love with Cristina.” I wrote it. I pictured it. But when I saw it? I seriously threw up a little in my mouth. It was SO brutal – and what was so brutal is that Owen didn’t mean to be brutal. He clearly loves them both. Which is…impossible. And devastating. And BRUTAL. I mean it – how could Teddy not love him? Playing guitar one minute, torturedly whispering into her mouth the next… How that will all play out, I do not know. I mean it, I don’t know. We’re a little behind in the writer’s room. But I’m as excited as you are to see how it all goes down!
There’s so much more in this episode – Mark Sloan becoming the sexiest Grandpa on TV and Meredith making a deal with the devil and Arizona and Derek and Mark paying their own hard-earned money to save the life of a very sick little boy. It made my heart happy, that story. And so did the story of the woman living without a heart for all that time and surviving. Both of those were our gift to you, to send you into the holiday season with hope and optimism. My friend Peter called me today and when I said, “How are you?” He said, “I’m trying, actively, to renew my faith and my hope and my joy and my optimism. They’ve all gone missing, which is not okay with me.” I love Peter. I love that when his faith goes missing, he doesn’t sit and feel sorry for himself. He goes turning over rocks and stones, looking for it. He prays and he calls friends and he says out loud what he’s feeling. Which, in itself, demonstrates that his faith is not as far away as he imagines. That’s the feeling I hope this episode left you with. That miracles are possible…That a simple song can lift your spirits…. That speaking your truth, or opening your checkbook, or offering a simple apology or making an attempt to understand another’s point of view can turn your whole day or your whole year around. That life doesn’t always happen the way we hope or plan but that that doesn’t matter. How we greet what life throws our way is all that matters. “Do not waste yourself in rejection; do not bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.” Happy Thanksgiving. And Merry Christmas. And May There Be Peace on Earth.