« Debora Cahn on "Blink"... | Main | Stacy McKee on "State of Love and Trust"... »

Joan Rater on "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked"...

Original Airdate: 1-21-10

It’s raining here in LA!  Raining! For days and days it’s been raining and it hardly ever rains here so we’re all just walking around cold and wet saying “How about this rain” a lot.  What does this have to do with tonight’s episode?  Nothing!  But I can’t talk about anything these days without first talking about the rain.  So … moving on …

Derek is now Chief!  Actually he’s just the interim Chief but the way he went about getting there is what I’d like to start with.  Richard is drinking again.  Richard is a recovering alcoholic who’s been sober a long time and the fact that he’s drinking again … Derek feels torn, between supporting his old friend and wanting to protect the hospital from a man who’s fallen off the wagon. At the beginning of the episode we see that Derek has realized that in order to be a friend to Richard, he has to go to the Board.   Because along with the drinking comes the lies and the poor judgment.  This is about more that just a friend who is struggling with sobriety, it’s about the hospital, people’s lives …  Meredith sees it differently.  She says the Chief was drinking but promised Meredith he would stop.  And she trusts him, he wouldn’t lie to her.  And, more importantly, she didn’t confide to Derek the surgeon about Richard's drinking, she confided to Derek her husband.  There have to be lines drawn, boundaries … and when Meredith screams, “Post it!”  Derek backs down.  The post it wins, so Derek her husband urges her to at least think about what’s best for the hospital.  

What I love about this scene, besides the fact that the actors played it brilliantly, is that it shows how they’ve matured.  This is a real grown-up argument.  Meredith isn’t running away, getting all dark and going to Cristina for help getting out of her marriage.  She’s staying and fighting.  Professional/personal boundaries are tricky to negotiate for couples who work together (I should know since my writing partner is also my husband, hi Tony) and Shonda really wanted to see our couples be couples this year.  Grow, mature, try to be happy.  We really want to show that struggle, that in the midst of the ugly argument, you can still love the person and find them sexy, which is why I loved it that Derek got all turned on by Meredith in the course of the argument.  

Now … the scene where Derek pours Richard a drink.  We talked about that scene a lot.  Derek doesn’t trust Richard and now Richard is going into a very difficult surgery and he’s bringing Meredith with him.  And promising her a procedure that Bailey says she’s not ready to do.  Derek can’t let that happen.  So he goes and confronts Richard.  Tempts him.  He pours the drink and dares Richard not to drink it.  It’s a little bit cruel, but Derek feels that it’s justified, in the scene where he asks Owen what he should do.  Owen gives him the go ahead, if someone’s fighting dirty, it’s okay to fight back dirty as long as you’re doing it for the greater good.  And when Derek leaves Richard’s office it’s like both he and Richard know Richard is powerless over the alcohol.  Derek is saying he sees Richard.  Richard may be able to fool Meredith, but Derek sees him.  And Derek now knows what he has to do.  He has to convince Meredith to go to the Board.  And so he tells her that if he becomes Chief he’ll hire back Izzie.  He makes her choose between Izzie and the Chief.  

And of course he knows that she’ll choose Izzie.  He’s playing a big game of chess and it’s like he just said checkmate.  It’s about doing the right thing.  It’s about ends justifying the means.  But it’s also about ambition.  

The theme of this episode was exposure but when I watched it being shot I realized it was really about ambition. Derek wants to be Chief; Meredith wants to do a procedure that she knows she isn’t ready for; Cristina wants Teddy to stay.  Years ago I was trying to be an actor and I remember one day in acting class we were talking about a character’s motivation and my acting teacher said there are really only two things that motivate people:  sex and ambition.   Every choice can be boiled down to one or the other. I remember being really struck by that and I’ve thought about it over the years, and in a way I believe it. I mean, of course we do things for other reasons -- we do things for our kids because we love them, and if you’re like me you do things out of guilt.  And for donuts.   But when Derek and Meredith lay in bed at the end of the episode and she says she understands why Derek did what he did, she doesn’t like it but she gets it.  She’s ambitious too.  It’s bittersweet and true.  I like that.  It was a crappy day.  She didn’t like what Derek did.  But she’s here, in bed, telling him.  She’s a grown up.  

What else … oh yeah, Cristina.  Cristina blurts out that she’d choose surgery over Owen.  Which, let’s face it, is very Cristina.  When we were first discussing this story we had a knock down drag out fight in the writers’ room – if you had to choose your love or your art, which would you choose?  And some of us came down on the Cristina side, and some of us came down on the Izzie side – that in the end love is all that matters.  Cristina felt in that moment, faced with Teddy leaving, that she couldn’t have both, she had to choose.  And she chose surgery.  Because it’s who she is.  And without surgery, without becoming the absolute best surgeon she can be, Cristina feels that she would cease to be herself.  It’s only in that moment in the surgery on the opera singer when Teddy chooses to risk his life in order to save his art that Cristina realizes that for all of her shock and judgment, Teddy gets her.  And Cristina is unwilling to keep apologizing for who she is.  

And when Cristina challenges her, Teddy goes and gets drunk.  And spills her guts to Owen.  I love that Teddy never liked Beth, Owen’s former fiancé.  Teddy telling Owen what Cristina said, that Cristina was willing to trade him for Teddy … I love Teddy in that scene, she loves Owen, she knows he wants a family someday and he’s with a person that will always choose her work over love.  And she needs Owen to know … the Owen/Teddy/Cristina triangle is so interesting – Cristina loves Owen, but she also loves Teddy, Teddy loves Owen, Owen loves Teddy but is in love with Cristina … it’s cool to watch these characters struggle with all the conflicting feelings …

And speaking of struggle … Alex and Izzie.  He tells her he’s done.  Izzie getting the clean scan back gives Alex the freedom to leave.  Because he never would have left her when she was sick, he’s a good guy.  And I’m not saying that Alex ever consciously thought, I can’t leave her while she’ s sick, but now that she’s not, now that she seems like she’s going to get better, it just comes to him.  He deserves more.  He’s a good guy and he deserves more.  We talked about the fact that Alex grew up in a pretty dysfunctional family and he was probably in a lot of bad relationships where he wasn’t a good guy, so he had come to believe it.  But loving Izzie showed him that he can be good, is good.  So it was a little gift.  And when he tells Izzie he’s done, he’s not bitter or angry, he’s just done.  Justin Chambers plays Alex and there’s not a sweeter guy on the planet so it’s always been funny to me how well he plays an asshole.  But I like that we get to see more depth in Alex.  

Callie getting the chicken pox and being isolated and itchy is stolen from Shonda’s life.  She told us this hilarious story of being quarantined in college with chicken pox and almost losing her mind.  Be careful what you say in the writer’s room cause it will end up on TV … I love Arizona lying about having had the chicken pox and you don’t really hate her for lying because you can tell she really cares about Callie and she just doesn’t want the sexy part of their relationship to be over.  She’s not sure she’s ready for itchy scabs and whining … and thank God for Mark who gets in bed with Callie and rubs away her pain.  

And how about just when Lexie feels relieved because both she and Mark cheated and now they’re even – except that Mark doesn’t see it that way, he can’t believe she cheated … he’s all worried about his daughter and Lexie was having sex with someone else!  Of course so was he, but that’s not the same thing … 

Okay people, I have to go.  I could ramble on and on but it’s stopped raining and I need to dash back to the writers’ room before it starts up again.  We’re working on the final bunch of episodes for the season and they are good …  so GOOD … yep they are GOOD!  But I can’t tell you, so whatever.  I can tell you though that the next episode was written by the talented and very pregnant Stacy McKee …  and that we get to see Derek’s first day as interim Chief … 

 So stay tuned … and stay dry.  

Comments

Lisa

I'm so so sorry for you, but this episode was so poorly written.

Meredith and Derek couldn't be more out of character, but hey, I'm like a dog here, you have deprived us from them having a storyline and screentime, that sadly, I'll take whatever you give, as pathetic, out of character and poorly written as it is.

Where was Mark this episode?

Priya

I love the Christina/Teddy/Owen love triangle. I find the whole thing really sexy. It's kind of a new approach to a played out senario. Also, loved seeing some Calzona affection for once. I thought it was really sweet, actually. I myself have always been a hardcore Callie/Mark shipper, so it was lovely to see some interaction on their part as well. I love all of their scenes together.

Angela

A-FREAKIN-MEN!!! Alex finally stood up to Izzie and told her he deserved to be treated better. I had been waiting so long for Alex to realize he's a good guy and worthy of better.

Thank you.

22

Tonight’s episode hit home in so many ways it's crazy..I feel like someone was taking notes from my life and then writing this.

Mina

Wow! This episode was awesome! Back to what made grey's a hit! Redemption from last week's fiasco. I still dislike Teddy and her story line, but what a way to regain my attention! Keep it up!

Kiki

I'm not sure why anyone loves Teddy. She's done nothing but think about herself since she arrived. If she really loves Owen and respects Cristina, why is she putting her nose where is doesn't belong? She's spineless and immature. Being drunk is no excuse for being nasty. Boo hoo - Owen didn't pick her. Sorry Teddy, he found someone better than you. Teddy needs to accept it and move on. And how the heck did she ever meet Beth? That doesn't make any sense! I'm not sure how you can redeem this character. This contrived drama-inducing triangle has become ridiculous and more Jr. High than anything adult. Are there really no other Cardio-gods in Seattle or in the continental US?

Kudos to KMK and SO for taking ordinary and making it extraordinary. They are amazing as always and just magic to watch. You'll be hard pressed to find two actors with that kind of chemistry.

Holly

Thank you.......I loved every minute of this episode.

Anne

I appreciated your notes on the episode you succeeded in what you described and it helps me understand it more.

I may be wrong but I kind of expected more from the Chief. I had hoped he
would be responsible and not make others make decisions for him. If
he has a problem and he admitted it the board would likely pay for him
to go to rehab and keep his job open. To continue to allow the hospital
to operate in a state of chaos is wrong on so many levels from practical
to morale of all those you supposedly lead.

I approved of Derek's actions re: Chief up until he gave Meredith a choice
outside surgery. He could have made a better case by telling her
about all the things going wrong in the hospital and the lack of
leadership. He used her feelings for a friend to
get her onside for his actions. He is right the best thing was for the Chief to have
to get help. I don't agree with Meredith that Derek did it for his own agenda. While he may benefit as Interim Chief he did it for the greater good. But it was at tough call like he discussed with Owen.

Meredith was an enabler for the Chief and she was the only
one that could have had an honest talk with him and
encouraged him to get help. But she wanted to believe
him and think that it was all okay so there was nothing to talk about right? She helped him unknowingly deceive the whole hospital and board. I think upon
reflection she will realize this and I hope she and Derek
can talk about this and clear the air and move back
to normal life for them. She should have told Derek
about Izzie.

Mark and Callie moments were touching and fun.

Alex breaking up with Izzie was touching - he was right - he deserves someone who will stay.

I know Izzie really hurt Meredith with her comments - it may no longer be home but that doesn't mean she
shouldn't care about those she was like family with.
So it may not be home but Meredith and Christina
and yes even Alex are like her family and you may not
like them much at times but they are there for you.

Christina - well no one should have to choose between love and work. I'm glad Owen came back to see her.

Bailey was amazing and I wished she had found
out about the chief but then again she will be crushed
at his behavior towards her and others,
appalled that it went on so long and yet still hopeful for him.
She would have made him get help. Try resisting her!

I was happy with all the onscreen Meredith and Derek
but not the way it turned out at the end - I would have
liked a bit more discussion. I think the way it was left
was a bit simple. But they are angry now and hopefully
can talk about this more. Loved the Postit stuff and most of the hospital interaction. You are right they have matured and I like seeing that as they work towards being a couple. Working and living together would be challenging.

Jen

Seriously, the best O/C scene this season. You have to love Owen fighting for what he believes in and the for the woman he loves. My heart was breaking when he told Cris that she made him sad. So happy these two are finally talking. There love story is epic. Forget the silly triangle stuff and let Kevin and Sandra be magical every week. They never fail to hit it out of the park.

Asha

Just one request of you writers and Shonda: Please please please make Jackson Avery a regular cast member! He really fits in well with Mer, Cris and Alex. Also that little smile Jackson gave Cristina? I just about melted. Those two are hot together and have awesome chemistry.

As for the triangle of doom? No,sorry, I don't find it interesting. Just FF through it all. Teddy is one pathetic sad sack of a character. She and Owen should get together and go back to Iraq. That will leave Cristina and Jackson to have some fun.

Kelly

The highlight of the episode was the phenomenal performances by Justin Chambers, Chyler Leigh, Patrick Dempsey and James Pickens,JR. Lexie and Alex have become the two standout characters of the past two years. Bailey&Derek are best team. More please.

Otherwise the episode was disappointing. I'm not feeling or buying the Mark's daughter storyline. I hope it's over soon and Mark gets Lexie back. I am sad that Lexie was written out of character to sleep with Alex or not be able to handle a career and family life when taking care of Thatcher and helping Mer and George showed otherwise. I am even more disappointed in Mark's I can't even look at you crap. Maybe Lexie was perfect in his eyes but that's no excuse. She shouldn't feel bad. Lexie never asked him to choice and that girl really is only his biologically. Here's hoping Grey's fix the awesome pairing of Mark and Lexie who were the only couple caring and wrapped up in each other instead of drama.

Kelly

Thanks for doing a blog and going into detail about the characters, couples and process.

Justin Chambers rocks and Alex is wonderful. He does deserve more and better.

Lexie and Mark didn't cheat. They were broken up. Mark is being self righteous. And Sloan Riley is annoying and needs to leave asap.

Dee

Great episode!!!!

carmen

I hope Teddy gets the point. I don't want Owen and Cristina to be the perfect couple and never fight but I do want them together. Don't do the whole Burke thing where they fooled us into thinking that he and Cristina were going to be together and he leaves her. I like Owen for Cristina...they are both willing to do so much for each other. Cris also loves her job so it's hard for her to see the other perspective I truly hope Owen opened her eyes.

Chrissy

I don't get how Owen loves Cristina? This is so stupid. I feel like i'm wacthing Gossip Girl in a hospital.

JK

Owen loves both of them? WHAT? did i miss something? ughh just bring back burke and let those two army losers leave/

Cardio GOD

I love Owen and Cristina! But if Owen does anything stupid with Teddy, I would hate hate HATE him. I already intenseley dislike Teddy. She really needs her own man, or a hobby.

Kristan H

"Be careful what you say in the writer’s room cause it will end up on TV..."

Haha, yeah. Basically be careful what you say around any writer. It will end up in writing (fictionalized or otherwise) somewhere.

Good episode. I thought the theme was great, 'cause it's not an easy debate. Even now I don't know where I stand on it -- I think it's really hard to tell until you're actually faced with the decision.

I *was* disappointed in Meredith for pulling the Post-It on Derek, but then again Derek's been so self-righteous lately... :P No but seriously, everything fit the ambitions of the characters (like you said) so even though I didn't like their actions, I believed them.

Can't wait for the coming eps!

Angela

I think it's pretty clear now that Owen doesn't love Teddy (and to be honest, she's not really very lovable). He's said over and over again that he's in love with Cristina. Can we move on already? This triangle thing is getting a little old.
Perhaps the writers could focus on the PTSD storyline that they built up last season and that suddenly ended in episode 1 this season...
Loved KMK and SO in this episode. SO really is one of the big reasons why GA stays afloat.

B

I'm over here in Arizona and we're getting your rain. And are supposed to continue getting it through Saturday afternoon. We haven't had this much rain since monsoons last summer. But enough about the weather.

I was very uncomfortable watching this episode, but at the same time, I thought it was great - so very human. I loved all the conflicting feelings, and the honesty, and that pretty much everyone was acting like a grown-up when for so long they've been high-school kids with scalpels. I LOVE that Meredith and Derek are grown up together, and I love seeing how they work through things, and still stick together, especially after being rocky for so long.

I thought the whole love vs. art/gift/talent question was really interesting, but what a horrible choice to have to make. I wish you had commented on Owen being obviously wounded by what Teddy told him, but then not giving up, and telling Cristina he wouldn't accept her giving up on their relationship, because they do matter. And she gave in, at least a little, so I'm very interested to see where that all goes.

Re: Mark: well, he's a great friend to Callie - always has been - but he still was not grown up re: Lexie. Yes, his daughter was in trouble, but he and Lexie had broken up, and his double standard just made me sigh. He was ready to abandon everything and move to L.A., but Lexie is wrong for also seeking comfort? Hah.

Oh how I love Alex Karev. I was knocked over when he said he was done, and that he deserved better, even though he loves Izzie. Woo Hoo for that. Izzie has been all over the bloody place and it feels like she still has a lot of growing up to do, never knowing what she wants, bouncing all over the place and from man to man and expecting people to go along with whatever she wants. I hope she does stay away. Anyway - Alex has had to take care of basket cases and to pick up after others for too long, so again hooray for him for realizing he deserves better, and that he is a good man, and I hope now he will find a good relationship with someone (but someone new, OK? I don't think he fits with the Mercy-West resident ... sorry, I forget her name). But, at the same time, don't let him lose all of his edge, because it's part of what makes him Alex.

Oh, and what about the Chief? What will happen to him, and how is Adele dealing with his drinking? I can't see Derek as Chief. The Chief is the Chief, and I'm very sad that he's drinking again. I hope losing his position will be his wake-up call.

Anyway - thanks for a terrific, thought-provoking episode!

Shannon

I want to thank both of you for writing such an amazing episode. It was painful and poignant and honest and funny.

Arizona is my all time favorite tv character and I just adore the chemistry between her and Callie. The on call room scene managed to be hot and sexy and sweet and hilarious all wrapped up in one. And I like seeing how Arizona's established tendency (character flaw) to panic in the moment causes her to lie but then leads her to a deeper understanding of her relationship with Callie. She might panic initially at times, but she acknowledges and learns and grows from her own mistakes while still being human (cough, didn't come clean to Callie, cough). Too perfect Arizona would not continue to be so darn interesting. Jessica Capshaw and Sara Ramirez for the win in this episode!

Finally, I am so grateful to Shonda and all of the writers at Grey's for portraying the universality of the issues same sex couples face. We're really no different. We love, we laugh, we goof, we lie, we fail, we learn, we grow, we cuddle, we have sex. I doubt you all fully realize how meaningful and powerful this storyline is for those of us so used to never, ever seeing ourselves reflected back on the tv screen. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are rock stars.

lothiriell

I know Lex used a bad choice of words, but Mark here is really mean too , he told her he would never choose her and she was drunk, he wasn't. He chose to have sex while his daughter was in danger ... he is no angel. Hope they will be back 2gether !

Gaby

OWEN AND CRISTINA <3 WOW. Everything about those character's scenes.

So far this season Owen hadn't been making me too happy. He'd been so clueless about everything and in the face of what he was first introduced as it was painful to watch but this- This was the character I fell in love with when he was introduced. Total bad a** again.

The hoarding away of hospital equipment? WIN. The Bromance between Owen & Derek? WIN. Twisted sisters?? LOL. Owen's .... lager and whiskey? Oh, yess. Kevin McKidd's sucker-punched hurt expression? So freaking powerful. Gosh, Owen I love you so much again.

And Cristina. Well, Cristina is always so full of amazing-ness and is always beautiful to watch but Cristina's reaction to Owen when he came to find her at the end? SO, SO PERFECT (Yes, all caps are required). My couple, my reason for watching Grey's, I had missed them so and last night they were back in that one minute scene.

Other points: Callie and Mark's scene tonight was incredibly lovely. Alex, oh Alex, I love you. Though, to be honest even when I thought I was over Izzie's character, I was totally feeling her this episode.

Good job you guys. This and the Rashomon style episodes have been my favorite so far.

Miami Fan

Have not commented here in a while, but you wrote a good blog. Thank you for making it mostly about the show tonight.

I'm a MerDer fan. Watch for them most of all. I get it, what you said about Derek's decisions and agree overall.

However, the last scene with them in bed, I'm afraid I did not see the same things you did. What I saw in that last scene, and perception of me as the viewer is my reality, is that clearly the laws of post it did not prevail by the end of their day.

Ms. Rhimes and you as writers wants us to accept the post it wedding. But, it's very difficult when the husband and wife don't act like they are indeed married and committed to those "vows" ; the ones where they will love each other even when they hate each other; what a wasted opportunity at the end for that sentiment to have prevailed.

Oh well, we are now used to disappointment.

"I said it was their wedding day," not that they would get married; we don't do babies on grey's; Meredith's confronting Derek about not wanting her crappy babies was just a comment, not an indication she wants any with him.

You see, you give us fabulous scenes and make us believe in that love of Meredith and Derek that Rose spoke about, then we hear these other comments. We saw a candle house, I have come to hate, because...Meredith stood at the place where their home would be and spoke of the room where "our kids" will play, but that was just a casual meaningless comment. So... we've leapt, and keep getting disappointed.

But, as I said before, good blog, and as the show ended, I thought, excellently written, just not enthusiastic about how some of the characters are behaving.


Not sure this will be posted, as the last comment I made, was also expressing being disillusioned and it was not posted.

Mike

Tonight proved exactly what is wrong with this season, in the best way. It was the best episode so far this year.. at least top 2. Everything that has been missing was put into tonights show.

First of all, Izzie. I have this terrible feeling that soon she'll be gone for good, but Katherine really proved her worth tonight. Seeing the original interns together is what this show is about... watching them struggle with their lives and each other (more Meredith / Christina scenes, please!). Meredith, Christina, Izzie and Alex should still be the MAIN characters.

Reed and Charlie need to go. Don't even explain it, just stop freakin' showing them. They're annoying, poorly cast, and add ZERO. Check the fan response. The cast is over-crowded, and all they do is take time from the character we care about.

Tonight had a great balance, like Grey's used to - medical, professional, funny, sad.. it was what Grey's used to be (by 'used to', I mean as recent as the last half of season 5 - BRILLIANT). I think the most obvious problem is the bloated cast. PLEASE stop adding new characters. Arizon and Owen were still new and interesting, and now Teddy is being turned into a regular? (FYI, fans don't like her anymore.. she got old FAST).

What always worked best was Meredith & the original interns at the center, with their friends and co-workers as the subplots. Right now, it feels like there is no one holding the cast together - we just have a giant hospital of doctors. So lets get back to the people that matter.

If tonight was any indication, I'm excited for the rest of the season.

The comments to this entry are closed.