Over the past week, I caught up with old friends – Meredith Grey & Co. I don’t quite recall why I quit hanging out with them but it felt so good to catch up on their lives and their drama. Shondaland warmly welcomed me to Seasons 11 and 12 with warmth and understanding as I navigated through episodes of sheer drama. There is no other word for it, except, Drama. It’s messy, fun and unnerving as each character’s life unfolds in highly scripted yet effective Drama. There! I said it again but that is expected from someone who is known for that kind of television. Don’t get me wrong when I say that kind of television because that would be hypocrisy – I am in the midst of Season 12 as I write this and I am itching to get home to complete the season so yes, I have to admit, it’s good TV. Good TV can be characterized in many different ways. While some may prefer serious stuff (for instance, Homeland which got ridiculous and long-winded in Season 5), others prefer sitcoms (I do!), few others like legal drama (say, Boston Legal – good stuff!) but some prefer good old-fashioned high-strung Drama. Grey’s Anatomy currently in its 13th season epitomizes Drama (I have got to stop using this word!). It has everything – adventure, romance, comedy (kind of), action, all the quintessential elements required to make a TV show but here’s where Grey’s strikes a marked departure from other shows and enters the Hall of Fame of TV shows. It milks human emotions, plain and simple. It makes you realize that life is messy and that people are messier and that’s just okay.
While this may seem cliché and Shonda has the disastrous but wildly popular Scandal to prove that she can’t get normal human emotions right all the time, she has hit it out of the park with Grey’s. Having said that, the level of tragedies that happen to each character, particularly, the iconic Meredith Grey, are too high and prove that Shonda sometimes loses the plot and that this is just pure fiction to be watched and forgotten. Some parts of Grey’s however do stick with you as they represent the utter fallibility of humans in their different human roles, as a doctor, as a wife, as a mother and as a friend. Not to forget, sometimes, life actually hands you lemons. Actually, in the case of Grey’s, it’s raining lemons and bombs and debris and stuff. It borders on the ridiculous when Meredith Grey gets attacked by a patient in Season 12 making you wonder whether Shonda & Co. were lucid when they made that episode. I mean, they just killed her husband last season but that also makes Mer super-human as she bears the brunt of just about everything and the others just sort-of revolve around her with their own lives while pacifying her and taking care of her almost non-existent three children. The other thing is that the show sometimes is too damn obvious! Mer’s 3rd child is born a year after her husband dies! Reincarnation! although the kid is then named after her dead Mom who tried killing herself. The carousel has to stop turning somewhere, Shonda (Grey’s aficionados will get this one!).
One of the good things about Grey’s is that it also targets social issues – gun violence, racism, LGBT rights, PTSD among other issues. It’s an impressive and tall list of issues and the resolution of such issues is always idealism or a naturally spoken sermon by one of the characters. So, for instance, the issue of gun violence is shown in the context of kids being exposed to guns and misfiring the same while playing. It showcases remorse, guilt and concludes with a mixed message on banning guns. This depiction of social issues can also be seen in the somewhat-dark-yet-superficially-light You’re the Worst which recently aired its master episode on PTSD. It reinforces the point of the television which although is pure entertainment material has a greater role to play in disseminating the right kind of message. A marked contrast from pure-entertainment shows like Big Bang Theory which in its own way is educational, the evolution of shows like Grey’s is a welcome change in the world of air-headed and nonsensical television. It’s time that Hindi television took a cue from this development and stopped airing of shows of human beings turning into bumble bees and birthing devils.
I love Grey’s. It’s not exactly your dose of light and funny but in the real world of grown-ups, it is like your supportive blanket. It reminds you that life can be so much worse (Meredith Grey’s many attempts to die) but that it can also be equally beautiful. It’s important to rise every single day with that knowledge and while we may pulled by the dregs of the past we need to carry them forward because without it we wouldn’t be who we are today – messed up, confused, indecisive, selfish, insecure, hurt but at the same time wise, bold, fearless, independent, happy, calm but, most importantly, ourselves.
There! I ended the post like a typical Grey’s episode.