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'Grey's Anatomy': high school dramas relived

November 16, 2007 | 12:14 pm

Grey

It is to be hoped that the writers and producers settle their differences quickly, if for no other reason than that "Grey's Anatomy" is getting good again. While it is far too easy for fans to read things into any sort of change on such a clacked-about show, there does seem to be a relationship between the complaints of last season and the developments of this. So maybe those interactive network websites aren't just for show after all.

First there was the introduction of Dr. Erica Hahn (Brooke Smith) to the permanent staff. Competitive and combative, Hahn cut through a lot of the treacle build-up from last season, making comments that could have come right from America's exasperated living rooms and giving us reason to hope that some of the women might just remember they are doctors, not high school drama queens.

Last night took the theme of self-examination one step further, with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) informing us that a hospital can, at times, seem like nothing so much as high school. No kidding. A few minutes later, Bailey (Chandra Wilson), the new chief resident, read everyone the riot act, pointing out that the locker room was for changing, "not crying," and that the on-call room should not be used for anything requiring a locked door. "Grow up," she told Izzie (Katherine Heigl), busy whispering about her fizzling romance with George, and thousands cheered.

An accident involving high school students and their teacher made for some interesting medicine but, more important,  was a way to deconstruct some of the irritation aspects of the staff/show. Derek (Patrick Dempsey) gets busted for cliquishness by a nurse who has worked with him dozens of times without him so much as learning her name. Bailey, our tough-talking Bailey, is reduced to a flirting mewling mess by a former classmate who was the object of her unrequited love. For my money, any episode's success is directly proportionate to the amount of time Wilson is on-screen.

For another show, an episode seeing the cast through the lens of high school would be a nice break from the routine; for "Grey's," it is a smart, entertaining and almost heroic way of acknowledging complaints about the decreasing maturity levels of the characters and giving everyone a chance to step back, breathe and perhaps start again. Including Izzie and George (T.R. Knight), who have finally acknowledged that they are better friends than lovers. Though viewers may not quite be ready to forgive all the hours wasted on that silly and doomed relationship, it is a relief to know that finally we are all on, if not the same page, then at least the same planet.

(Photo courtesy ABC)