Go…Going…Grey’s Gone….

Greys-Anatomy-Promo-Picture-04262013-01

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going” – something to this effect was written at the Fitness First gym in Ambience Mall Gurgaon that was my favourite haunt during my few years in Gurgaon. Strangely, with the end of Grey’s Anatomy Season 9 around the corner, this is what I found myself thinking last week. What is the correlation between Fitness First and Grey’s Anatomy I asked myself? Nothing- nothing at all. The only thread in common was the word “habit”. So, if I was to modify the above line and apply it to Grey’s Anatomy, I would say something like – “Novelty and quality is what got me started. Habit is what kept me going”. Not that the quality nose dived so drastically over the seasons but by the end of season 9, it was sheer habit that kept me turning to the telly at 10pm like clockwork. Experts say that it take about 21 days for a new habit to form and become deeply engrained. No wonder then, that after a yearlong telecast, Grey’s became a serious habit, almost an addiction.

If I can trust my memory, it was sometime last August or September that Grey’s Anatomy premiered on Star World. Except for a 2-month gap in March- April, 2013, when it went off the air on Star World and Zee Cafe had not started airing Season 7, 10 pm on weeknights was a time slot that was taken, no matter what. This time, however, I realised that the vacuum I faced at 10pm after the Season 9 finale was qualitatively much different from the one I did in March. In March, it felt as if a part of my daily life had been taken away- an inalienable part without which life seemed empty. Grey’s Anatomy and the trials and tribulations of the doctors and patients of Seattle Grace were as much a part of my life as my own friends. Viewing their life was a respite from the monotony of mine. And I put it all very succinctly in my post at that time (http://madwomanintheatticblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/life-post-greys-anatomy/)

This time however,a part of me was almost glad that it was over simply because the pain, suffering and the never ending tragedy that the lives of these doctors seemed to be all about had become a little too overwhelming for me. Outside a Shakespearean tragedy, Grey’s Anatomy seems one place where Gods are always angry with the mortals. I can very well imagine Richard Webber or Bailey uttering the Bard’s famous lines while reflecting on the fate of their own lot –

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods;
They kill us for their sport

Is there a single character in the series who has not seen unwarranted pain and misery? Perhaps not. In fact Season 9 has ended with nothing but a series of mishaps, the only ray of hope being the new born of Grey and Derek. Rest all, is well, brooding dark – more than the storm that was unleashed in all its fury. Richard, having already lost his wife, may well be battling for his own; Owen-Yang are yet again at crossroads; Torres- Arizona, having been through enough already, may not be able to survive Arizona’s betrayal; Karev and Jo may or may not become a couple; April may just break off her engagement realising her feelings for Jackson- there never is a happy ending to any of the seasons is there?

Perhaps this is Shonda Rhimes’ way of keeping her audience on tenterhooks and may be it does work. The fate of these star-crossed doctors has had millions waiting for more with bated breath. Am I too one of those? In a way yes- I am eager to watch Season 10. But wouldn’t it be infinitely more pleasant if the clouds would clear, the sun would shine and the beloved doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital would have a normal life- not a life bereft of pain and misfortune for that is not possible. But a life where tragedy doesn’t reign supreme. Shakespeare may be more renowned for his tragedies but his comedies are no less. In any case, Grey’s world is not a world of Shakespearean tragedy- why try so hard to make it one?

 

 

All the Grey’s Women

 

Watching Grey’s Anatomy the other day, it suddenly struck me that the most interesting characters in the series were not the men but the women. Whether it seems so to me because, being a woman myself, I can identify more with them ,or is it really so, I can’t say for sure. But when I did get down to thinking about it, I realised that this was the case with not only Grey’s Anatomy but even the series I have religiously followed earlier- namely Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives. Exceptions are there is the form of sitcoms like “Friends” or “Two and a Half Men” and some series like “White Collar” but when it comes to the immensely popular series, it is the women who are the scene stealers . Even in “Castle”, it is Castle’s partner cum love interest, Kate who is the more interesting of the two.

A recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy dedicated to the male characters is what made me really sit back and take notice. So far it was the women who were always the centre of attention. The men figured only in relation to the women. As far as I can remember, this was the only episode focussing solely on the men and the functioning of the male mind. Was it so because, in the light of the recent debacles in the personal lives of Meredith and Yang where both were deserted by their respective husbands at a time of crisis, the makers saw a need to give an insight into the men’s inner life, almost explain them as it were?

Ever since Meredith messed up Derek’s clinical trial and Derek just failed to see why she would do something so blatantly “wrong”( incidentally I could almost instinctively understand Meredith’s reasons), I have been wondering about this immense gap between the Martians and Venusians. Anyone who has been following the series religiously will, to my mind, also understand Meredith’s reasons- the overbearing guilt of a good woman’s life and marriage ruined because of her mother, a guilt that aggravates manifold when in one of her memory lapses, and one of the most poignant moments, Adele mistakes Meredith for Ellis and asks Ellis to return her husband . That she would try and give this woman a few years of marital bliss in the sunset of her life, isn’t so difficult to understand is it? Understand. Not accept or agree let alone forgive – just understand. Rest all follows. Derek sadly fails to understand the woman he has loved more than his life so to speak. Quite to the contrary he starts wondering if he can spend his life with a woman, who to his mind cannot distinguish between right and wrong.

Yang on the other hand, battling a crisis of her own, just understands. Just as Meredith understands Yang’s dilemma. There are no explanations, no judgements- only silent understanding. And with that understanding comes the confidence, the trust that, come what may in life, no matter how you may fall, how you may err, there is someone who will understand you and stand by you no matter what. Yang may not agree with Meredith’s decision to interfere with the trial; Meredith, desperate for a baby, would most likely not have agreed with Yang’s decision to terminate the pregnancy. Nevertheless both of them understand and stand by each other when their own husbands fail to do so. They truly are each other’s “person”. Or if I might say so, soul mates.

That men and women are wired differently, we have heard often. Women it would seem have a much rich inner life- not only do they not block out whatever is going on in their minds, they talk, they share, they cry if need be- they reach out howsoever they can. Perhaps that’s why they make for more interesting characters to base a series on. Things are not always in black and white- there are shades of grey, and often more than fifty shades of grey. Meredith, Yang, Izzie- none of them see things as black and white. All of them have erred, almost unpardonably in the male eye. But they have followed their heart, their conscience and emerged much stronger as persons and as friends to each other. The men, on the other hand, don’t share, don’t communicate much and fail to understand the women in their lives. That doesn’t make them “bad” or anything of the sort- just different. All that they do to come to terms with the unsettling on goings of their lives is to hammer it out, literally. All hands on Derek’s deck seems to be the guiding motto. That they do a crappy job of it is besides the point.

The whole concept of a “soul mate” always had me wondering. Can there really be a “soul mate”- someone who really knows you, understands you? Considering how we bulldoze our way through life, hardly ever pausing to take out the time to know ourselves, expecting that someone else will “know” us seems too much to ask. Yes there are people we meet with whom we bond, who understand us and vice versa, almost instinctively. And strangely this person is more likely to be a member of the same sex rather than the opposite sex. Not that there is anything wrong with the men or women- they are just different. There may be no dearth of love, of affection, of caring. Just of understanding and that too at a crucial moment. What Yang is to Meredith or Miranda is to Carrie, neither Derek nor Big can be to them. Should that make one despair? Or make one cynical about man-woman relationships? May be. Or perhaps it should give you a reason to celebrate- that one’s true soul mate can only be one’s own self. Others, both men and women, are your co passengers in the journey of life, who even when they don’t mean to or want to, will let you down as also give you unexpected joy at the moments you least expect it. Such is life. So seize the day, take out take out time to befriend yourself for you are the only constant in your life. And as you do so, be more understanding of the people in your life- they need it far more than you can ever imagine.

 

Grey’s Back

G's Ana..vl b back

Yay!! It’s back..good ol’ Grey’s Anatomy that is. Okay  it’s been on air since almost a month now so this post is maybe somewhat late. There is however a reason for it. Unlike its departure, which despite months of warning, seemed abrupt, Grey’s return did not feel like home immediately. For starters, while I am grateful to Zee Cafe for bringing it back, the channel itself leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not HD which after continuous HD viewing makes the screen look a bit blurred. Yeah I should remember the days of disturbed Doordarshan transmissions when one of us would hang on the antenna like a monkey while the other guided this person hanging on the pole from inside- “Move left..no, no. Not so much. Voice is gone..now picture is gone..move back..yeah that’s it” Can anyone recall those days of DD terror? Well I guess I should remember those days and not complain but what can I say? Technology has spoilt me. To top that there was this silly ticker at the bottom of the screen flashing messages from the audience as the aam junta celebrated Grey’s return. Was it just me or did anyone else find that ticker irritating as well? Thankfully it was just for a day. But the long ad breaks are here to stay. Anyways having grumbled and complained enough about Zee Cafe, the fact remains that I am glad it’s back, though I would have been more glad if Star World had brought it back!

After almost a month of Grey coming back to restore sanity to my universe, here I am once again writing about it. So how does it feel to be back at Seattle Grace Mercy West, or Death, as Alex Karev sardonically pointed out? Yeah it feels like home..finally. A home that was taken away from you, and is not exactly as you left it, but is home nevertheless. What with Derek Mc Dreamy zipping around recklessly and all other doctors at various stages of PTSD, I was wondering if Season 6 was going to start on yet another tragic note.

Which brings me to a question that has been bothering me since Season 6 started – isn’t there way too much tragedy in the series? Yes it is based in a hospital and revolves around the lives of surgeons so death and tragedy are inevitable. But I’m talking about their personal lives. Is so much of pain and tragedy really required in the personal lives of these people? I can’t think of a single character whose life is bereft of what often feels like uncalled for tragedy. It’s not only Meredith who has her shares of heartbreaks, what with Derek vacillating between her and Addison ( anyone who knows about the forthcoming seasons also knows that she is headed for more trouble on Derek front apart from her fertility issues) and after a troubled, neglected childhood loses her mother, but all seem like children of misfortune. Not that Derek has had it easy- having had his father shot to death in front of his eyes, growing up in a houseful of sisters, finding your wife cheating with your best friend- not an easy past to let go off undoubtedly. Yang lost her father young and is left stranded on the altar by Burke; Izzie has grown up in a trailer, paid her way through medical school by modelling in lingerie ads, loses the love of her life Denny, is struck by cancer, marries Karev and eventually flee the scene. Karev himself has battled abusive father and a crazy mother. A girlfriend who goes nuts and a wife who deserts him are the cherry on his sundae of woes. Sloan for all his rakish ways and exterior is hit by misfortunes as well, the latest being Callie, pregnant with his child, being in a life threatening accident. Callie herself has weathered an impulsive marriage, a cheating husband, a realisation of her being a lesbian( heterosexual actually), her lesbian partner abandoning her and now when things do seem to be working out for her, albeit in a twisted way, she’s in an awful accident. So it goes on and on and I can carry on recounting each character’s tale of woes ad infinitum. Thankfully I don’t see so much never ending pain, misery and drama in lives of those around me. And to think of it we are just at Season 6 Season 7 right now. Season 10  Season 9 is apparently being aired in USA. By then, I fear half the cast might be knocked off, apparently for no better reason but to give the series required angst and twists.

Do I like it any less for all these tragedies? Strangely, not quite. The mishaps keep me hoping that nothing untoward happens while somewhere in the back of my mind I know that it’s just a matter of time before tragedy strikes yet again. I still love watching the “twisted sisters”, their bonding being something I missed even between Carrie and her friends in “Sex and the City”. Perhaps being face to face with death in its various avatars 24×7 makes us value what we have even more. And when I think of it, this perhaps is the reason that the tragic vein runs throughout the series – as if to reinforce, time and again the “carpe diem” theme that has run in literature since Horace. Yes let us all “seize the day” – that is what Grey’s Anatomy seems to be telling us. And that is what I tell myself- Zee Cafe, for all its shortcoming, will soon stop airing Grey’s Anatomy. So my dear, seize the day and enjoy it while it’s there for who has seen tomorrow – there maybe yet another “One Tree Hill” to suffer!