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'Grey's Anatomy': Paranoid schizophrenic meets paranoid residents

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At the end of last week's season premiere episode of "Grey's Anatomy," Chief of Surgery Webber announced that Seattle Grace would be merging with its rival hospital, Mercy West, to ease financial strain caused by the recession. The shake-up has put everyone's job at risk, and the ensuing panic means there's no more time for sex in the on-call room as everyone fights for employment.

Thursday's paranoia-themed episode, "I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watchin' Me," certainly had some high points ... but where there are peaks, there are always valleys.

The Good...

"Aliens have impregnated my mother!"  Any episode that can successfully work in a line like that is fantastic in my book.  But in all seriousness, Lexie's patience and attention to Tom, the paranoid schizophrenic (guest star James Frain), was a high point in this episode.  When Lexie manages to sort out the jumble of facts and statistics crammed into her photographic memory, she emerges as charmingly compassionate and highly intelligent.

There were some great comedic moments this week, which is a nice change of pace after last week's two-hour sob-fest. Taking Christina out of her comfort zone always brings the laughs, but partnering her up with bubbly pediatric surgeon Arizona Roberts this week was genius. Christina Yang with a pink teddy bear pinned to her scrubs was hilarious, and I cracked up when she bitterly stole the last chocolate pudding from her 9-year-old patient.

Though the humor was refreshing, I really loved when, at the end of a hectic day, Izzie paused and remembered that her best friend is dead. The friendship between the original characters is the foundation of "Grey's Anatomy."  That's what keeps viewers invested in the show through even the craziest story lines -- like Denny hallucinations and deer surgery.  I'm glad George's absence is still having an impact; it feels real.

The Bad...

There was not enough Callie in this episode!  I definitely missed Dr. Torres. Her no-nonsense approach to medicine and blunt humor would have been a nice contrast to the panic-ridden chaos at Seattle Grace.  I hope they find a way to keep her involved despite her choice to leave the hospital.

The special effects on "Grey's Anatomy" are usually amazing.  Remember last season's episode with the guy who only had half a face? That was incredible work. But when McSteamy was re-attaching the baby's arm in Thursday night's episode, he might as well have been operating on a teddy bear!   The prop-master could have swung by the Grove and picked up an American Girl doll that looked more realistic than that "baby."

Has the Chief been getting on anyone else's nerves this season?  His refusal to discuss any of his decisions with his colleagues is making him come off as selfish and a little bit power-hungry. Sending out "you're fired!" e-mails is pretty cold and impersonal too. Maybe Derek should have taken his job after all. Plus, the Chief fired the syphilis nurse! How could he fire the syph nurse?  She's a part of "Grey's Anatomy" history!  She will be missed.

WigAnd The Ugly.

Yikes! Izzie's lopsided, plastic-y red wig was quite an eyesore.  I winced every time she came on screen.

I was happy when she finally asked the scrub nurse to take the wig off to reveal her "peach-fuzz chemo hair."  Izzie's character has always been praised for her lingerie-model good looks.  Now, as she manages her cancer, she represents a whole new kind of beauty -- the beauty in strength and survival.  I hope they continue to showcase that!


Time to take it to the comments...

Let me know what you think of the jobs that the Chief has cut so far.  Did you enjoy Christina's brief trip to the pediatric wing? What do you think of how Lexie attended to Tom and his mother? Are you still missing George? And what'd you think of Izzie's new look? 

Sound off below and check back next week to discuss the next round of layoffs.

--Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)

Photos: Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt manages hospital chaos; Katherine Heigl as Izzie Stevens. Credit: ABC

 
Comments () | Archives (17)

I completely agree I miss Calli Torres... She needed more sences, Two time in the entire show is not enough for a die hard Sara Ramirez fan like me. Calli has become essential, because of her quick wit and the diversity that she brings to the cast... CALLI CALLI CALLI...

Okay enough, I agree Izzie should continue to showcase her beauty in Strength & Survival!

I agree that the friendship between the original characters is what has kept this show going. Its also why i think the show is at risk right now. George, who was the friendship glue is gone ( I agree with the hope you expressed last week that he not reappear a la Denny). Also, the dismall season premiere is beinng followed by a story line that risks diluting those relationships. I hope we don't get a bunch of new characters out of Mercy. I'm just not sure where the "core" relationships for this season are going to come from. I should look forward to finding out but for some reason I am actually dreading it.

Nice article. hmmmm. Well, I don't think it was one of the better episodes (however, for any of you Grey's AND Private Practice fans-- Private really surpassed this Grey's episode in terms of the writing this week.)
In terms of the pending layoffs, I frankly feel like it is more of a downer than I need. You can't pick up the paper without reading about layoffs etc-- I am trying to escape on Thursday night!! Not that the healthcare industry is without its woes- I realize that but I found the show a tad more stressful than I liked. These days, all sorts of beloved characters are getting killed or written out of shows-- I guess it is the reality shows' influence on the escapist tv-- but I want to escape sometimes -and count on certain characters being around next week! Oh well. Am sorry about syph nurse too. There are no real nurse regulars on this show-- kind of strange for a show about an industry which couldn't survive without them. I have always liked the Chief's character-- but I think they could be writing in more empathy for him regarding the layoffs. Anyone who has ever had to fire someone, let alone as many as they are asking him to do, could also garner a bit more sympathy than they asked for us last night...
I liked the paranoid schizophrenic storyline-- it was good to see mental health issues put out there (walking around the streets of NY, it is hard to avoid!). I thought Lexie played the role fine but I could seriously have done without the idiotic searching for Tom behind anesthesia carts and laundry bins in the hallway scene. My first thought was why are they making her look like such an idiot-- she is supposed to have some smarts to be a physician!
Still miss George but think it was smart that they referred to him. Cristina as a pediatrician was humorous-- seeing her try to survive as a touchy- feely, warm kid-loving doc was amusing. Wig story didn't do much for me. Katherine Heigl would be gorgeous bald-- it was frankly just a dumb aside (But I did like the Stepford wife line!). I do like Izzie struggling to "live with her cancer" and continue living. It's a good life lesson.

Um...how can you in good conscience put anything in this disjointed, hackneyed episode as "the good?" I didn't think Grey's could top last week's groaner, but it did!

Don't you people realize that the show is being written by trained seals at this point? Throw in some catch-phrases, have a Cristina Yang evil/grumpy moment, add a weird surgery or two, make the residents cartoonishly fight over surgeries (can you imagine walking into a hospital and seeing surgeons screaming, "No, the severed arm is mine!"), have Bailey act tough, demeaning, and sanctimonious and voila, you have an episode!

How could we, as an audience, feel any emotional impact when 75% of the interns were let go, when last season they were shown time and again to be cartoonishly incompetent? And did anyone really shed a tear when VD nurse got the axe?

And Carina, did you really write, "The friendship between the original characters is the foundation of "Grey's Anatomy." That's what keeps viewers invested in the show through even the craziest story lines -- like Denny hallucinations and deer surgery. I'm glad George's absence is still having an impact; it feels real?"

Were we watching the same show? A throwaway line by Izzie at the end of an utterly disjointed episode counts as a "real impact" to you?

I would actually argue that the foundation friendship of the characters has gotten increasingly distant as the show has gotten older. It was the same problem "Sex and the City" had. It started out as a good show, but by the end of it, the characters were just racing each other to the next snarky one-liner and the heart of the show was gone.

That's what is happening with Grey's....and it was solidified last week when the main characters were actually laughing at George's funeral.

Believe it or not, I used to like this show, right up until Izzie killed Denny, and the writers decided that little things like "having characters act in a consistent manner," "showing real human relationships," and "any sense of reality or reason whatsoever" didn't matter anymore.

It's been a horrific crapfest ever since then...and amazingly...it keeps getting worse.

When they were interns, watching them fight over surgeries was amusing, because it came from a real place: they were young doctors trying to prove themselves...but they're freaking residents now...and they're still fighting over surgeries?

Izzie's "hair"! Yikes is RIGHT. And I always thought it was impossible for Katherine Heigl to look unattractive.

(Though, okay, she's still stunning even with the scary hair.)

I have never missed an episode, but if they continue to be like this one, I think it will give me a good excuse to catach up on my sleep...ridiculous schizophrenic storyline - please! Equally ridiculous storylines for Christina and for Lexie. The Chief just completely turned around, perhaps he is schizophrenic? Boring, didn't hold together for me. If this is what the new merger storylines will be like, I am going to have to find another show to watch. Sorry!!! So disappointed and not liking it.

I love the style this is written in! Very creative take on a review, spot-on observations, and a consistently intelligent overview of this show. I love it.

I thought the show was well done again last night. Christina's bear imitation was hilarious. I also thought the facial expressions of Meredith and Christina over Izzie's red wig were perfect. I love it when there is humor on this show.

I just wish the last scene - the baseball scene could have been a little longer. It was so nice seeing the characters outside of the hospital. I hope there are more scenes like this.

Thank heavens they are letting McDreamy be just that this year. I am really looking forward to next week's episode when Meredith has to make a big choice about her father.

Callie is my least favorite charactor, so I don't miss her, but I miss Georgel.

Ever since that fateful ER episode where Carter and Lucy were stabbed, schizophrenic patients in medical shows make me nervous, I must admit. I liked how the paranoia was a sort of theme here, though, and I definitely agree on Lexie being a highpoint in this episode!

I miss George a lot, though, so, yeah, I was definitely glad to see his loss acknowledged... and Izzie taking off her wig was a great moment.

I really loved this review - loved how it picked out the best and worst moments.

Last night was the first full episode of Greys' Anatomy I've ever watched. To an outsider, it seemed over the top and ridiculously melodramatic, with dialogue and actions that came across as written, not natural. When the cancer patient doctor's boyfriend interrupted her during surgery and made a scene, it was laughably unrealistic. Watching the show reinforced my non television-watching habits.

Kevin McKidd was by far the best thing in this episode - I'm always rivited when he's on screen - the all too brief scenes between him and Cristina were wonderful -- I feel like I'm actually watching a good show when they're on. Too much Lexie and don't even get me started on irritating Izzie.

Thanks for your comments, everyone! Burgundy, I agree that the episode did feel a bit disjointed; I think the writers were trying to tell too many stories at once and the episode suffered for it . I disagree that Izzie's line about George was a throwaway line though - since a few months have passed since his death, I didn't expect sadness to be a constant shadow, but more of an occasional reminder... a sadness that hits when you least expect it.

KT, Christina's bear impression cracked me up! That bear sounded like a gruff, bitter, pack-a-day smoker.

Totally agree on Izzie's hair! They coulda done that better. They coulda done a lot better, man, the show used to be so good.

Digging your review style by the by.

WHO was the actress that played the paranoid schizophrenic's mother????

Debbie, her name is Adrienne Barbeau.

I don't understand why Mercy West and Seattle Grace hospitals have to merge. We already have enough doctors on screen as it is, now they add a whole new hospital to the mix? It's really annoying. I'm going to compare this to a soap opera. Okay, on soaps, there are numerous characters who end up either in the front-burner or back-burner. A lot of times, the back-burner people just slowly disappear or die (like George did). I think it's completely unfair to the original cast: Izzie, Alex, George, Meredith, and Christina...to make people slowly disappear in the backburner or die off. I understand if someone wants to leave the show for new adventures in their career, but they should get a great ending storyline. I feel George was robbed of his storyline. I agree with the other posters (and what Izzie used to say), George was the glue that held everyone together. Now it kinda feels like their all disconnected. I want Grey's to be like it used to.


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