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Bill Harper on "Something's Gotta Give"...

Original Airdate: 11-11-10

Once in a while, here in the Writer’s room, if we’re stuck on a problem or need a new idea, someone will yell:  “Everyone think of three good ideas in the next three minutes -- GO!”  And we all stop talking and start squinting or staring into space as we think really hard and the room starts to smell like burnt toast, and then, “Time’s up!”  And we go around the room and we have to say what we came up with.  And this game pretty much always works.  We always come up with something.  Why?  Because we had to.   Because pressure – even fake pressure – pushes your brain into survival mode, causes you to think differently, move differently and become very creative, because the stakes have suddenly become life-or-death.  Which is why I was a little surprised to learn we’d never done “Pressure” as a theme in six-plus seasons.  I mean, these doctors have life-and–death stakes every day.  So we were interested in what extra pressures we could put on these doctors, but even more interested in what happens when all the pressure is taken off. 

Like when you…say… quit your job. 

So, yes, let’s talk about Cristina first…. She left the hospital, under what might have been the worst possible circumstances:  not in a panic or a fit of anger – these are conditions you can get over -- but with a clear-headed decision that surgery is just not what she wants to do.  Which is more frightening, because it means she might never come back.  What’s even scarier for Cristina is the question of what she will do now.  Now that the thing she’s been working toward, preparing for, eating, sleeping and breathing for all of her adult life is suddenly off the table.  Here, she’s clearly avoiding the question, as she grasps at any and every notion that crosses her path -- from haircuts to housewares.  Anything to keep from looking at the real question:  “What do I do now?” 

Callie’s in a similar boat, trying to picture what her life will be after losing the one person she really wanted to spend it with.  And it appears she’s as undecided as Cristina, as she spends the whole day trying to put a good face -- and a decent hairstyle – on the situation.  But what Cristina says is true: we’ve rarely seen Callie when she wasn’t in a relationship.  And in the end, she just can’t do it; Callie turns to her friend Mark and tells him she doesn’t want to be alone without someone else.  I love those moments, when their friendship becomes a life raft. 

Cristina’s departure is putting pressure on other people too:  Meredith heard last week that she’s at least partially responsible for Cristina’s troubles; Derek feels a debt to her that he doesn’t begin to know how to repay; Owen wants the girl he met back, for her own sake as much as his; and Teddy (thanks in part to Derek’s misdirected frustration) worries that she could have done more. 

So when the Emir arrives, it puts these three in a little political pressure cooker, where the stakes are higher because so many people have a vested interest in the outcome of their work.   As the politicos argue about who’s at fault and what’s the best way to save their leader,  our doctors have to air their own agendas, point their fingers of blame, and figure out between them the best way to save Cristina.  Meredith and Derek clearly disagree, and I think it’s really surprising when he goes behind Mer’s back to steal Cristina away.  It’s almost a betrayal.  I would say it was a betrayal if I didn’t believe that he was helping Cristina for Meredith’s sake, too.  That he wants her to have her friend back.   It’ll be interesting to see if Mer sees it that way.

Alex is under his own kind of pressure, the pressure to take care of his family, which we learn about only at the end of the night.  And looking back on his day with that bit of knowledge, you can see how it informed every decision he made.   He’s so furious with himself for abandoning his family, when he fights to for a way to save the little girl from a possibly failed liver transplant; he’s trying to go the extra mile for someone, after leaving his family to fend for themselves.   And then poor April:  she basically tells him what he so needs to hear, that he’s okay, that he’s a basically good person, and he reaches out for some kind of connection, some kind of solace.   But he’s in such an angry, hateful place, he’s inexcusably horrible to her.  And he knows it, in that moment.   He knows it at the party, too, where he wants to apologize.  When Jackson hits him, he takes the first punch as a sort of penance – he wants to pay the debt.  The fight could stop there.  But Jackson’s in a whole other place.... 

Now, Jackson – it’s not clear who’s putting the pressure on Jackson.  It’s true, he has been making a lot of mistakes in the last few months, and he’s been a little tightly wound.  Maybe while we’ve been concentrating on our other doctors’ healing, we’ve not noticed that Jackson might not be as together as he appears.  But is it, as Lexie suggests, paranoia?  Maybe he’s the only one putting the pressure on himself?  Really, it doesn’t matter -- when that sort of stress builds up, it just needs any little excuse to let it blow.    Alex’s cruel treatment of April, who Jackson sees – rightly or wrongly -- as his last surviving ally, is enough.  He can’t control himself.  This could be the relief valve he needed to get better, since the shooting.  Or it might be the tip of the iceberg…  We’ll see. 

Before we go, I want to say a word about Dr. Stark.   Stark is a rare presence – he represents a type of attending surgeon we Grey’s writers have heard about many times in our research:  Not incompetent, not evil, just complacent.  Lazy.  Arrogant, and self-satisfied.  Just the opposite of our Seattle Grace/Mercy West Attendings.    In a lesser actor’s hands Stark could come off as just a villain.  But played by as intelligent, collaborative and hilarious an actor as Peter MacNicol, you get a really complicated human being, and that’s actually makes him way scarier.   We could not have been more thrilled with this bit of casting.  We’ve all been a huge fans of Peter MacNicol, and he’s been terrific to have on the set. 

Well, that’s it for now, thanks again for watching, and reading.  And come back here next week, when Zoanne Clack will be telling you about her episode which features, among other things, Miranda Bailey like you have never seen her before.  Ever.  Really.  

Comments

Sara

Are you bored with Meredith and Derek? This is a real question. No jokes. Just a simple yes or no. Personally, I think it's a yes because I can't seem to think of any other reason why we don't see them. Yeah, yeah, I know THEY ARE TOGETHER FOREVER. Shonda tweets it all the time but it means nothing if we don't actually get to SEE them together. I loved watching Cristina and Derek on the roof talking about their houses but something was really bugging me about it and then I realized, we have never seen MerDer have a moment like this. Just them, together sitting down talking about THEIR future home. I just want simple domestic moments between them. Or if you don't want to do that, please just show them actually being a couple outside of their bedroom. Ellen and Patrick have amazing chemistry, I don't know why you don't use it. Please, please, I'm begging you, give us something more than 'blink and you miss' scenes. After watching for 6 years, I don't think it's to much to ask.

Enforce

Ok, so I stayed up just waiting for your blog. This, THIS is the best episode this season so far. And that means a lot considering I'm a Calzona fan and we had no Arizona tonight. But wow, you guys keep outdoing yourselves. Loved the Callie and Cristina interaction. Can we have more of that please? It's like that friendship was never really explored or realized while they were roommates and the thing is that Callie and Cristina get each other. I mean, Sandra and Sara are just hilarious together. Avery tonight rocked! Loved that OR scene. He totally owned it.Going after Karev for hurting April was genius. I was literally cheering. And you managed the impossible, I actually feel bad for April. And I LOVED seeing Teddy take charge and rock that surgery and be all Desert Storm Barbie. And Alex. Wow! First I rooted for him when he came up with the ping pong ball idea. Then I got totally outraged when he did what he did to April and then he broke my heart with the story about his family. And Mark..Well, he's Mark. You can just have him stand there looking hot and I'll love him. But it was awesome the way he was concerned about Cristina not being there. Oh yeah you also managed to make me dislike Peter McNichol which is big since I really like him. Wow, you are a genius. If she comes back, can you write the epi when Arizona comes back? Pretty please? Because the way their break up was botched up last week it needs some really good fixing. Her return has to be epic. Unless ya'll decide to leave Arizona in Africa for a while and bring on Portia as Callie's new love interest. That would work too... Ok, so this is another episode I HAVE got to buy as soon as it's available on iTunes.

Enforce

Oh yeah, one more thing... More scenes outside the hospital. That is really working for the show this season. It breaks up the monotony.

ella

I love the new Peads Attending, and loved that Alex found another way to be an excellent surgeon. I also loved how concerned he was about his solution working, regardless of who got credit for it.

But will we ever - ever?! - hear more then 30 seconds about his family? Why show him be so upset about it if we never get to see or even hear about it?

Loved the Alex/Meredith scene at the end, and the Chief/Bailey scene at the end of the episode.

Loved Cristina's scenes in the mall, too. LOL at her buying furniture by the room. That was classic Cristina. I miss her, and hope she's back soon.

I also enjoyed seeing Owen working with Teddy. I like Teddy when she's being a kick ass surgeon. Same with Meredith: I'm looking forward to seeing her work with Alex next week.

Andrea

I'm upset. I understand Callie and Arizona are having a bump (huge bump) in the road or whatever but I'm just tired of Callie having the intimacy and closeness with Mark and not her own girlfriend. I mean Mark leaning in super close to her in a dark corner on a couch at Christina's house warming party? Whenever Arizona and Callie are at some gathering together there's never that closeness. There's a stiff arm on a shoulder with a foot between them. There are many other instances but I'm not going to list them because I'm not angry anymore, I actually give up. Just do Callie and Mark together already. And if you do and then put Callie and Arizona back together, I won't even want or like it anymore. If your goal was to make people like Callie better with Mark, good job, this Callie/Arizona fan sees they work better. It's been shoved down our throats. BLAH. I've watched Grey's since episode one and I'm not one of those people that will say "I'll stop watching if you do this blah blah." Because I won't, I love this show. You're just diluting a couple I've fallen in love with. So much so I don't see it bouncing back, and if it does and still lacks the passion, intimacy and closeness it recently had, I'll have no idea why. Sidebar: Derek being there for Christina in the right way for Christina is really lovely to see.

nyla

First off, Peter MacNicol is so great.
Alex is all kinds of amazing and Arizona has mentored him well. It was nice to learn even more about Alex and his family life. The guy has a lot of layers - and I love how he can open up to Mer :)

Cristina and Callie are made of win!! It's been awhile since we've seen some quality time with them, and they are hilarious! (SR and SO are so so so so so fantastic!)
SaRa's/Callie's new hair looks great!

Let me take this moment to THANK you - Shonda and the writers - for next week's Mark and Callie super-sexy scene. Even if it's just that 2 seconds from the promo, it's wonderful. Those two are HOTness personified, and have one of the very best relationships on the show. So Bless you, all of you, for giving that little nugget of gold (even if it doesn't end up going anywhere).

Jamie

Oh I see, so Derrek ONCE AGAIN not telling Mer something big...(like he had a wife, like he's kissed a nurse) is for Mer's benefit? Him again not telling his WIFE? Oh , okay..I'm buying that. NOT. I wish, how I wish, I could have seen ALL this season so far, half the time you spent on Der/Cris scenes tonight 4 MerDer. I never see MerDer together anymore. It's like Cris is married to Owen, Teddy and Der, while Mer just continues to be lied to (but for her own good right? lol (still not buying that) and disregarded. Poor Meredith. One would almost forget her husband was shot right in front of her, she miscarried and may never be able to have a child, took in all the "stays" friends around and her and has no clear person to mentor her like Cris and Alex have had in her quest to be a surgeon. Let me guess, Cris, not Mer will get to be on Der's clinical trial right? ugh:/ Again, poor Meredith. When is one of the writers gonna look out for her? and jut so you know..I miss MerDer as a married couple. I miss them so much. Will we ever see more than 5 seconds of them in an ep again...EVER?

MRR

Good episode. I went into the episode assuming I wasn't going to enjoy it, because honestly, although I've been watching the show since the beginning, Jessica Capshaw has become my reason for staying tuned in. Not sure how many episodes she'll be missing, but if the next few episodes with her gone go as well as this one, the wait won't feel too long. I hope.

Looking forward to see what goes on with Mark and Callie next week. I love them as friends, a couple, whatever. I just love them.

I'm also curious to see if there will be any continuation with that April/Alex storyline. I felt so bad for April! Right when I started to like Alex, he went and pulled that. His story at the end about his family did nothing for me. Everyone has problems, but that doesn't excuse treating people like that.

As cute as that last Lexie/Jackson scene was, I hope they stay just friends.

And just for the record, this current cast is perfect. I like some characters more than others, but this is definitely the best group so far.

Kiki

Callie and Cristina at the mall were a hoot. Awesome. Would have love to have at least one C/O scene.
Peter MacNicol was fantastic. Great get for you guys.
And anyone else hoping Teddy would leave with the Secret Service dude? I'm still waiting for her to disappear into the parking lot of doom.

Jamie

Wait, so Callie and Cris are going to be best friends now too? So no more Cris and Mer? Seriously, is there anything else you're gonna take from Mer now? It's just getting horrible and downright painful to watch what you put the lead Grey through anymore. You can stop now please? thanks.

westwood

I know you'll give us Callie and Arizona back. There's too much invested in it not to. I just hate to see how the integrity of Callie's character will be tarnished next week. Although it may be worth it if Eric Dane takes his shirt off..

Erica

A little disconcerted about next week's promo....hoping that Cris doesn't do anything that will jeopardize her relationship with Owen...

This episode was good. Loving this season so far. Please don't screw with C/O :-)

Ally

I really loved this episode for the Cristina scenes. She rocked the episode, and it was hilarious and yet... kinda creepy. And I thought her scenes with Derek were wonderful. Her and Callie were also a highlight, I enjoyed all of their scenes.

I also really liked that Jackson stood up for April like that. The way he comforted her the second he saw she was upset was very sweet. I think there's a lot of potential for a great friendship there, and even something more if you all decide to go there. She needs someone that truly cares about her, and so does he. Alex was just cruel here and I don't think anything excuses that. He's had a very hard life and no one denies that, but his behaviour was uncalled for and it's been like that on and off since day 1.

What I wasn't a fan of was the direction you took Mark and Callie. I think one of the best decisions the writers ever made was to have these two become best friends. In my opinion they have the best friendship on the show. They understand each other because they're similar and they listen to each other, and they care about each other a lot, clearly. It's very sweet. But the hints in this episode (and the promo for the next ep) made me angry. Why toy with such a great friendship for the sake of drama? I think it's completely unrealistic for these two to all of a sudden lose the platonic relationship they formed and dive right back into something sexual because they're lonely. You could have made them do anything else; hang out on the couch and drink wine out of the bottle! That worked well before. But I feel like their friendship is being taken for granted here.

Also, I don't like the drama created between Arizona and Callie. There are plenty of ways to incorporate drama into that relationship without more break-ups. It was so out of the blue. I realize they'll get back together eventually but, really, we've had a lot of this breaking up/getting back together business with other couples.

Which leads me to Lexie and Mark. They, to me, were a stroke of genius on the part of the writers. Completely unexpected, because honestly, who saw that one coming? But it saved Mark from being a perpetual manwhore and it gave Lexie a dose of maturity and sanity (though I love her insane ramblings). Every single person I've talked to about Grey's agrees that Mark and Lexie were a rare ray of sunshine on this show; and as much as I love the dark and twisty, and I think you all do a great job at it, we do need some happy. Mark and Lexie were flawless at this. They both need to grow up still, yes, but the way they were handled in season 6 just felt... cruel. Unnecessarily so. And this season has just been a bit harsh on Mark/Lexie fans. We get hope with Mark talking of proposing (bad idea but still shows how much he cares) and then it gets torn down by Lexie telling him to leave her alone; then Lexie comes to her senses and heads to Mark's place but whoops, he's hooking up with Derek's sister; nothing becomes of any of that for some reason, and then yay, they have a happy episode where they actually interact for once, and then next episode it seems like they don't talk to each other anymore. Lexie/Jackson and Mark/Callie is hinted at and... guh. Whyyyy? If I knew for sure there was a happy ending in sight, I'd be less annoyed by all this. But I don't know anymore, and I think it's a huge waste of a great relationship if you guys don't get them back together. No one else on the show has made either of them light up the way they do with each other. That's special and shouldn't be wasted!

Nicole

When Jackson says he has no friends, did he forget that Meredith took him into her home or did the writer's forget that tonight? I didn't like Jackson feeling sorry for himself much tonight and forgetting the reason he has a place to sleep at night is due to a FRIEND named Meredith. Time for his character to show some gratitude and get over himself already.

coalways

Loved Peter MacNicol and yeah - total ass. I loved the Cris and Callie scenes. So funny. I am really hoping we get Cristina's mojo back like stat! It was very interesting to see the concern for Dr. Yang though. We don't often see that perspective so it's nice to see how well respected she is at SGMW.

I agree that we could have had one scene with Owen and Cris. And I would have to disagree with some posts above suggesting that we are not getting the interactions between MerDer. They were kinda of "awesome married mature couple" today - making out, talking about real stuff and working it out. I am not liking the promo for next week - it looks like there may be some O/C friction and Cristina bartending? Hmmm? A bit ridonk! But I'm just going to ride it out with you awesome writers and keep the GA/OC faith. Great job.

Amy R

Considering that there were no meredith and christina interaction or meredith and derek scenes for longer than 2 minutes..this episode was still good. Alex's confession that he was the jerk who cant stand to be there was just so touching..Finally more Patrick Dempsey.That brought a BIG smile on my face...also u actually managed to make me tolerate April and Teddy..Thats huge.Bailey's right..she needs a win so much right now..just hope she gets one soon.
And finally Cristina and Callie's day out...that was so much fun. both of them are in a dark place and neither knows what to do next that was so perfect...Just hope u get Cristina back to the hospital...she needs to get back in a OR already..
Thanks for a great episode....

chimmy

Can I please request the focus being put back on the main couple of the show? I plead with you writers, more Mer/Der scenes. All these blink and miss scenes for them is just so annoying. This is getting so disconcerting now and I am beginning to just want to not watch live anymore so I can ff through. Is the HOUSE going to ever make an appearance? Are we ever going to see MD try for a baby at all? We probably have just a year and a half left with Ellen and Patick and you guys are not utilizing their chemistry together. I miss the earlier days of GA.

I'm loving Callie and Mark and I do believe they make a much interesting couple than Arizona and Callie. I say YAY MALLIE.

joan

OMG!!! i so agree with Ally! please stop teasing us and giving us false hopes when it comes to mark and lexie's relationship. we suffered enough already!!! last week's episode just made me so happy, they actually had a couple of good and fun scenes together.and now, u guys ruined it..again! oh and its just the beginning,next week's episode, really? mark and callie, making out?! come on!!! i know its ok to move in with ur best friend but please, dont ruin d friendship by going back to being "friends with benefits"!
all im saying is that there will be a lot of people waiting for mark and lexie to get back together, it just doesn't make sense forthem to be apart!

Jenna

Hmm...I'm not sure where to start this week.
1)I love seeing Christina and Calli being friends. Their friendship is very different than Meredith and Christina and it's fun. (Love Calli's hair!)
2)I always love Mer and Alex as friends too. Season 2, Thanksgiving episode with the guys in the 20 year garden, the scene when Alex reveals that he failed his boards...that's still one of my all time favorite scenes on the show. Love them together on screen. Fantastic.
3) Alex and April...brutal
but great. Alex has been handed crap so many times...he IS Meredith from 3 years ago as was once said.
4) Derek and Christina- I really like seeing them together and being friends. I think Derek was right on the money telling Mer not to go to her yet. He's been there. He hit her ring into the woods! Loved that scene of the two of them talking about the floor.
5) Please don't do Calli and Mark as a couple :( I usually don't do requests like this but I LOVE them as friends. I don't want to see that become all couply. He loves Lexi! She loves Arizona!
6) Meredith and Derek, I loved the little glimpse of them trying to find time together. I would love to see them more together, that's been missing a teesny bit for me this season so far. I want to see their house, will it everrrr be done? :) I vote for more.
7) Avery. I'm not loving him this season. Show us the underlying issues and let us know him, or keep his storylines light and small. I don't like this inbetween! I want to love him like I did last season but he's annoying me a little...I don't know him and it's going too slow!

Overall a good episode. Keep them coming! :)

Evelyn

Once again, there was very little if any Meredith and Derek. I realize you can't focus on them every week, but it would be nice if 7 freaking episodes into the season they had more than 20 seconds and episode. They haven't had a real storyline since s5. Do you realize that? Do you understand that fans have been waiting and waiting and waiting for something to happen. And yet nothing every materializes. I understand you have to focus on all of your boring newbie characters like April, Jackson and Teddy that NO ONE CARES ABOUT. I get that. But, how about a little mer/der. Seriously writers. What the heck?

Katie

i'm really bothered by the fact that derek went behind mer's back to talk to her best friend on the roof of a building with a bottle of wine all night. topic of conversation doesn't matter, if i was meredith i would feel incredibly betrayed. the derek-cristina stuff is really starting to bother me. and i feel like he's betraying meredith especially after how cristina treated meredith last week.

while meredith is upset about cristina's harsh words, derek is taking her side and trying to make cristina feel better? uhm, derek isn't cristina's husband, he's meredith's, not that you'd know that from watching this show because they never see each other or if they do they talk for 10 seconds and get interrupted.

meredith saved derek's life. sure cristina performed the surgery, but the fact is, cristina would've left him on that catwalk if meredith hadn't thrown her aside and gone after him. so where's derek now when mer needs him?

the meredith and derek relationship has been so poorly explored and underwritten this season. derek taking cristina's side over mer's makes me feel ill.

i didn't even dislike this episode, i actually really loved the mer/alex interaction and i liked lexie being a little rebel. peter macnicol (the biscuit) was great.

and yet i walked away with a really horrible feeling in my gut like meredith is about to get sucker punched by her husband and her best friend. and its a cheap shot.

MDLove

Poor Alex. So glad that nothing happen with April. Thank god, with their scene I wanted to vomit.

Loved the Meredith and Alex scene. I adore their scene. More of them together. They are like a mirror to each other.

I am not comfortable with Cristina and Derek bonding, that scene it felt almost romantic with wine etc. Did we ever saw MERDER like this, talking about their house and just be together? NO! I am really dissapointed about the lack of MerDer and Meredith. She's the Grey and we barely see her anymore other than a few lines and just be there.

Juliet

i don't care how secure in a relationship you are, if you and your best friend have been fighting and then your husband takes her side and starts spending all his time with her, something weird is going on.

no way would meredith be okay with derek and cristina hanging out all the time without her. that is incredibly odd and i dont see how you can justify it.

David

haha meredith loses everything doesn't she? why don't you just kill her off so you can stop all the torture?


her baby, nearly her husband, her best friend, her husbands loyalty.


nice to see GREY's Anatomy is all about cristina without any concern for meredith.

Sabrina

Are you ever going to explore Meredith's pain and what she went through? Cristina may did the surgery but it was Meredith the one who went on the catwalk, risking her life, she had to push Cristina, if it was for her they would have never left and Derek would've bleed to death! It feels like you brushed Meredith's finale story aside and never dealt with anything. Like the miscarriage. Nothing about it anymore. It's like MerDer lost a BOOK not a BABY.

And now no more MerDer moments. It's like Cris/Der are the new BFF's and Mer is once again left out and deal with things on her own, since her husband is too busy hanging out with her bestfriend, not to mention the time they are going to spend together during the clinical trail.

Is Meredith going to have some big storyline other just being THERE? She's the Grey in Grey's anatomy. I am sick and tired that we don't see her anymore and nothing is focused on her, and we never saw MerDer kissing or just talk. I was jealous over the CD moment because we never saw MerDer just talk about their future together. So sad. :(

I am looking foward from the promos for the Alex/Mer scenes and for Mark and Callie.

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