Please Singing Surgeons, Never Sing Again

Grey’s Anatomy‘s much-hyped music event was a clear reminder of why I hate Grey’s Anatomy. It was completely over-the-top, unnecessary, and just a contrived ratings ploy. The episode made Glee look like Masterpiece Theater.

Sara Ramirez in the Grey's Anatomy music event.

Grey’s Anatomy‘s much-hyped music event was a clear reminder of why I hate Grey’s Anatomy. It was completely over-the-top, unnecessary, and just a contrived ratings ploy. The episode made Glee look like Masterpiece Theater.

Television shows have incorporated musical numbers or tackled musical episodes before. Some – ScrubsBuffyGlee,How I Met Your Mother – have proven how this format can be successful. Others (7th Heaven) were a clear sign that the show had really, really jumped the shark. Grey’s Anatomy falls somewhere in the middle, where if it wasn’t for the saving presence of Ramirez throughout the episode.

The “music event” (we sure as hell can’t call it a musical) was framed as Callie’s out-of-body experience as she suffered from traumatic injuries following a car crash. As Callie struggles to comprehend the extent of her trauma, her mind goes elsewhere and she begins to sing. She witnesses her colleagues meagerly bust out some tunes. Songs that have become synonymous with Grey’s over the years were performed by the cast to limited success. Not even giving Callie (played by Tony Award winning actress Sara Ramirez) most of the solos couldn’t save the episode from itself.

I can’t even begin to really describe how certain songs made me feel like I was in worse shock than the character suffering from massive head trauma, internal bleeding, and preterm labor.  “Running on Sunshine,” for instance, split the episode with a weird sex montage. Because you know that’s what all the other characters are doing when their dear friend Callie is dying. It trivialized what was happening to a beloved character. (I could also have done without Franco from Rescue Me and that dude who was married to Jennifer Garner singing.) The episode ended with every cast member belting out a few lines of “How to Save a Life”. (So shocking.) I imagine this was intended to be the ensemble show stopper. But between the singing, the dialogue and all the action going around, it was mostly just a confusing mess of noise and made the episode’s actual plot hard to follow.

It is really a shame that Grey’s Anatomy producer Shondra Rhimes felt that this musical episode was necessary. Now in its seventh season, Grey’s has been reinvigorated (although it is telling that it took a shooting rampage to get there). In many ways, the show feels like early Grey’s Anatomy, when the soap opera dramatics didn’t cause constant eye-rolling. Instead, last night’s episode encompasses exactly why Grey’s melodramatic schtick has gotten old. Is there it really necessary every patient to a landmark medical case? Are there no other medical personnel in the entire hospital than these surgeons? And do these doctors ever date anyone outside of the hospital? The constant recycling of these aspects makes Grey’s Anatomy an insult to every great medical drama that has preceded it.

What gets me the most is that I could have easily suspended my disbelief for one musical number – Ramirez’s powerful rendition of “The Story“. I’ve done it before for other shows. “Wild World,” performed in the series 1 finale of Skins, proves that any television show can incorporate an impromptu musical number that is moving and memorable without trivializing anything.

In Grey’s Anatomy attempt to do what it always does – something that is shocking, great and never been done before – it just made a mess of itself. Maybe next time Grey’s should try doing the opposite – simplicity with a slight touch of melodrama – and leave the bad musical numbers to kids on Glee.

Skins (US) Recap: Teachers Aren’t Grown Ups

Ah, penultimate episode of Skins, I never thought you would arrive. Seriously. After the major hype the American adaptation of Skins received, I fully expected this show to have been given a firm boot or be severely reedited. Am I glad? Yes, because after tonight I don’t have to care about what happen during this season for quite some time. I’m looking forward to most story lines being wrapped up and very ready for Tony Snyder to never grace my television screen again.

But first things first, the penultimate episode, all about teacher Tina, did something Skins has never done before: let the episode take place from the perspective of an adult. Or in the case of Tina, a 23-year-old woman who is sleeping with a 17-year-old boy and someone who hardly considers herself a grown-up. Was it a success? Well, let’s get into it and find out.

"If I just sit here and pretend to grade these papers, no one will know that I just slept with my student in a tree house."

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Skins (US) Recap: High in the Wild

It is hard to believe but we have passed the midpoint of the first season of MTV’s Skins experiment. The show has had its ups and downs as the pieces come together. If you made to choice to stick with and not overwhelmingly compare this series to the UK version, then you probably have been pleasantly surprised. (If you haven’t read The New Yorker’s recent review of Skins, do so now.)

Monday’s episode focused on Abbud, played by Ron Mustafaa. So far Abbud has been the series most peripheral character, the  human equivalent of a lapdog. Abbud can be overly energetic, a bit sexually depraved, sometimes Chris’ sidekick, and another straight boy yearning for Tea Marvelli. And sometimes, he prays to Allah. Abbud also makes some shocking discoveries about his friends.

The call of the wild doesn't really help Abbud

Let’s get into it.

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Skins (UK) Recap: Keep it Simple

I have jokingly referred to Liv as Jal 2.0, but after last night’s episode I quickly realized that Liv is no Jal. She is stuck somewhere between her family’s expectations, her best friend’s deception, and her desire for someone to care about her.

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Skins (US) Recap: Break the Cycle, Stanley

Something pretty awesome happened on MTV last night. There were two successive episodes of Skins that were pretty good. Skins is really starting to find its groove, which is awesome for us viewers.

It was Stanley’s episode. He’s the quiet and sensitive yin to Tony’s yang. After a series of events that lead Stanley to face a judge, he begins to see how manipulative and calculating Tony is. There were some hilarious moments (Michelle’s girl fight with Tabitha) and some real character development (Cadie).  Let’s get into it.

What's beneath those golden locks Stanley?

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