[Mary H.K. Choi is the founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Missbehave magazine and currently writes for TheAwl. She will be bringing her love of superhero comic books and action movies to bear on this season of Grey's Anatomy, which is neither, admittedly, a superhero comic book nor an action movie.]
Remember when Meredith Grey was a boozy slut? I thought it was refreshing when a super-mainstream show had a super-smart protagonist who coped with a deranged mother by getting faced and catching Strange all the time. Like it was her job. I mean, obviously it was a medical show so there was all sorts of very dramatic things happening but you couldn’t even see the main chick’s face most of the time it was so covered by lonely-lady dirty hair. Meredith Grey looked like she’d smell faintly of pee.
Anyway, I miss that.
In this, the third episode of season six of Grey’s Anatomy, we get the seductive and delicious topic of octogenarian erectile dysfunction, Meredith and Lexie Grey’s dad Thatcher busting his thirsty, alcoholic liver, and an African-American couple that you know from jump street is going to get tragedized upon because they’re lovely, young, supportive, and the guy has cancer and also cancers to be Izzie’s first cancer case cancer from cancering cancer.
Not to be all, formulaic horror movie about calling how the “nameless black guy gets it” because, to be fair, this show’s an imdb Benetton ad, but yeah, from the second this guy gurneys in, he may as well know who shot Kennedy, how to pull off cold fusion, and the cross street for the subterranean Opus Dei citadel where Putin houses his transexual lover and their fourteen adopted filipino children because he is dunzo. Dead meat walking.
Everyone’s hair has grown at least an inch since the last episode which is weird and also luxurious and Izzie’s pixie do still looks cute except now it’s got the 8 trillion-dollar Sally Hershberger razor coif thing going which everybody’s knows is not what you want for the base locks that you get back from chemo. That hair’s the first pancake.
Izzie and Alex are still living in McDreamy’s trailer because, as we find out in the show, THEY MAKE LESS THAN $30,000 A YEAR [Hold up: Is it true that a surgery resident in a major metropolitan hospital only makes that much???] and no matter how al fresco chic, buffalo plaid, Marfa-Texas-is-the-bee’s-knees! they wanna be about it, and no matter how many extra Sham Wows they get for free with their order for calling now, it’s still a mobile home and disgusting. Alex even goes to work with a TICK ON HIS NECK. Plus, there’s a bear and to escape Alex has to throw it a 10 oz steak that Izzie’s been marinating for three days. Which is massively tragic because the girl can cook like a wife should.
So Thatcher comes in all woozy and Big Grey’s all judgypants because she’s married and in therapy and it’s so like this Korean proverb that says frogs don’t know they were once tadpoles. Meredith’s being a hardcore frog who knows not the tadpoleage from whence she came and is sneering at her old man for drinking again even though he’s been sober for a couple months. Then he pukes cirrhosis sludge blood and we all know that he’s gonna have to get cut.
Meredith is bummed because Thatch, who abandoned her when she was a child but was ever-present in Lexie’s life, is admitted and going to need a transplant and she doesn’t want her dad at her place of employ because her husband, best friend, sister, dead mother’s former lover all go there already and her dad on top of that is a bit much. Thatch hasn’t been sober for the year UNOS requires recipients to be if they’re gonna get a donor liver so Lexie gets tested and, of course, isn’t a match. This has Meredith running around not making eye contact with the Grey who WASN’T cold ditched by daddy because she knows Lexie and her moist dog eyes are going to BESEEEEEECH her to give her papa some of her liver and she doesn’t want to go there.
The silverfox with the frowning penis wants Sloan to rig him with an AMS 700 pump because he met a lovely woman in the assisted-living facility. This is where we try not to think about the alarming rate of venereal disease amongst people who call condoms “French letters” and we, and Cristina Yang who gets suckered into the job, get to learn that in order to “activate the launch sequence” you have to squeeze the nutsack. Nutsack that is swaddled in scrotum skin that has SEEN WARS. But she’s wearing gloves and is professional about it. Oldest profession in the BOOK if you’re picking up what I’m putting down! Wakka Wakka.
This where a small paragraph about Callie and her dull girlfriend would go but I don’t care about them and they’re boring but, yeah, plot point, Callie gets a job at the newly merged Seattle Mercy West Grace Whatever as an attending.
The lovely black couple has been dating for 8 years because the cancer guy hasn’t wanted to pop the question and saddle his wife with a dying man. He’s secretly stowed the ring in his “mouth guard case” because he either plays sports or because fate is so cruel he has orthodontic problems on top of everything else. They cut him up and his insides are all stuck together with scar tissue and tumors. Dr. Ginger Hotguy closes him back up like he’s kicking dirt under the rug and playing it off because his insides are inoperable and fluffy-white like he’s already been taxidermied (hello foreshadowing) but Izzie wants to convince him to get the surgery because she SURVIVED.
Lexie pulls Meredith’s medical files and she’s a match and we know, especially because Ellen Pompeo’s unborn child is practically crowning, that we are a sisters-are-doing-it-for-themselves speech away from Meredith giving her deadbeat dad part of her liver so she can “heal” for a couple episodes even if Thatcher has to give her a speech of his own about contrition.
And then we remember that one poignantly uncomfortable tear-jerkerish episode seasons ago where the estranged Thatcher comes over to Meredith’s house for a getting-to-know-you dinner and fixes the screen door that was janky. A door she had dismissed as always weird but in fact had been jury-rigged BY HER FATHER so that a little girl Meredith, so many years ago, wouldn’t get her fingers stuck in it. Tell me that isn’t some dancing on your daddy’s feet electra complex cuteness right there?
Lovely black guy dies like we knew he would. Izzie is shook by immortality not being hers to transmit at will. Flame-tressed love god of triage beats himself up about letting Izzie convince his patient to get the surgery and then, Izzie, to the dead guy’s sobbing girlfriend of damn-near a decade, says she should go home and open the case where he kept his mouth guard.
OK. I get how this is the gift of knowledge, like, so this lady while tossing out/craigslisting her deceased boyfriend’s belongings wouldn’t accidentally dispose of jewelry and so she could know that at the end of all day’s, her boyfriend DID love her enough to wife her. But I’m squarely in the WTF camp on this. Wouldn’t closure be way quicker if you could cry-hate-fuck dudes with the thought that your boyfriend, even after 8 years, even after KNOWING he had ZERO other prospects because he was little more than a sentient, blinking tumor, was a withholding commitment-phobic creep? Yey or nay? Me, I think Izzie should be stopped. It’s been long enough since she went half way across the styx and got Charon to row her ass back. It’s time for her to go.