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.