[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.]
In this, the two hour premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, season six, we open fully in mid-throttle from last season’s abusive cliffhanger where the Road Kill Bus Guy reveals his identity as “007”, aka Dr. George O’Malley, aka T.R. McHomo Pants Knight (who we all know is pulling the sickest David Caruso in thinking there’s life after NYPD Blue but whatever), and Dr. Izzie Stevens codes from a heart complication right after regaining her memory from neurosurgery to remove a tumor. *Pant* So anyways, things are just as batshit crazy and hella poignant as we left ‘em with incredibly high stakes that require us to vigilantly suspend that 4th wall of disbelief as hard as we can and the voiceover is telling us about the Kübler-Ross stages of grief so we know it’s going to be a really successful Grey’s Anatomy in the sense that we’ll get our ugly cry on.
So George is on the OR table looking all duck confit and we know he’s dunzo. Word spreads that bus guy who’s now on life support is George and the ripple effect in the hospital culminates in Dr. Callie Torez and her tranny eyebrows having a mondo panic attack that would be funny if we didn’t personally know them to be scary. For one second, Little Grey, aka Dr. Lexie Grey, aka Meredith’s little sister, aka McSteamy’s boo, says, “Wait that’s not George, his feet are too big.” Ergo, Bus Guy is too tall to be George, but then Callie goes in and verifies the freckle on George’s hand that looks like the state of Texas and we all get greenlit once again to settle into our respective stages of grief. And thank God.
It’s fully in the ecstatic throes of this maudlin shitstorm, that the dishy damaged ginger we know as Post Traumatic Stress disorder trauma surgeon Dr. Owen Hunt, aka the dude who’s in love with Dr. Cristina Yang, remembers that it’s “all about the medicine,” sacks the fuck up and goes, “Is he a donor?” They ask Callie to decide because she’s George’s ex-wife but we all know she’s gonna want to ask Izzie and we all know what Izzie, who we pretty much know is gonna wake up because we have the Internet, is gonna say. She’s gonna be all, “George would’ve wanted to donate it all,” because George, the dude who enlisted to preform surgeries in Iraq, the guy who’s heroic enough to jump in front of a bus to save this redheaded chick who’s exactly the same flavor of annoying as Lonely Girl 15, is a saint. And we know THAT because we know that every time an African-American Harper Avery award winning Cardiothoracic surgeon says “faggot” a saint gets his wings.
Then Martha Plimpton walks in with her kid Andy who’s been misdiagnosed a bunch of times with “growing pains,” which reminds us of Kirk Cameron (OOOOH SHOW ME THAT SMILE!) before reminding us that, “Holy shit this is Martha, ‘I used to bump uglies with River fucking Pheonix and hang out at the Viper Room when Johnny Depp wasn’t some French guy yet,’ Plimpton, and ‘Oh God she has mom hair! And has a teenage kid!'” and we feel old and get to cry some more but this time with less scrunching because wrinkles.
O’Malley’s mom comes in at around the point when my ducts dry up and then a trauma bus rolls up and Boating Accident Chick gets admitted. She’s followed by these slutbag Australian birds who rush in WITH HER ARMS rolled into some VD-riddled towels. Their names are JoJo and Jasmine, which are words that are obviously calibrated to sound the most brain-bleedingly wretched when uttered with an accent as vowel-butchery as an Australian one. Turns out, they’re not all friends just backpacking “traveling mates,” and the armless wonder, who also weirdly has red hair, is an English by the name of Clara. Now I’m a total magpie and distracted from the sorrow and ready for a snack.
Oh, but before that, there’s some major back-and-forth about whether they’re going to tell Izzie who DOES wake up that George is basically dead. And even though she already saw him in militia drag when she was coding, during her “walk into the light,” and should therefore instinctively know he’s dead, she’s sad and Make a Wish Foundationish in her giant eyes and little doo rag. Izzie gets on her iPhone and leaves dead George a voicemail and we all watch and maybe pat her hair a little. But, LO, fresh organs wait for no man, so they tell her and she makes the judgment we knew she would and UNOS, the DeBeers of organs, get to rummage in George’s bus-cudgeled cavities like a bargain basement jumble sale. Except it’s nice and Pay It Forwardy or maybe Will Smith’s Seven Poundy if I’d deigned to see that steaming hot mess.
It’s around this time that newly single Dr. Miranda Bailey goes dead inside because that’s the stage she’s in. The, “I cared too much and now I feel like pulling all my hair out and administering tequila enemas to myself,” phase of grief. We’re maybe grateful for this because there’s just too much going on for an impassioned, melisma Bailey speech.
Then, the hospital board members of Seattle Grace approach Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd (who I swear to God gets his own special diffusing lights but not the good ones like Oprah ’cause he always looks blurry), about becoming chief of surgery because they’re staging a coup against Dr. Webber who’s the current chief because Seattle Grace is ranked 12th as a teaching hospital now instead of whatever it was that they used to be somethingsomething exposition for future somethings.
The Australian chicks take off. In fact, these whores don’t just cut and run, they run to BURNING MAN. This means that not only are they totally bad people, they’re douchebags and you HOPE they run into Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in his Green Man costume and he shoots them in their assfaces with Frank’s gun during some drug freakout because who needs ‘em?
Yang orders Lexie to be moral support to Boating Accident Girl who she calls “Ceviche.” This is hysterical. Lexie does what she’s told, because, well, she’s Lexie and what else are we gonna have her do when the actress who plays her is so obviously pregnant and needs to constantly stand behind stuff. And OH SNAP Meredith is totally pregnant too, but we try to ignore all that and don’t do such a good job.
Then, we are rewarded with a totally hot scene with Yang and Dr. Ginge making out but abstaining from sex because he needs to get over his war trauma and get to a place where he won’t try to strangle Cristina in her sleep. Until they get there, they can’t do the dirty and it’s like a Stephanie Meyer book and awesome.
McDreamy goes to the Chief and tells him there’s trouble abrewing and is all, “What are you gonna do?!!!” and the chief’s all, “Bacdafucup,” and Dr. Shepherds eyes get droopy. Lexie finds out ceviche’s name is Clara and Clara doesn’t want to tell her mum what’s happened so Lexie starts writing emails to her mum as dictated by Clara and blablalblabla this storyline isn’t interesting when we’re not being mad that there’s Australians.
Then, we’re at the funeral. And it’s sad but also exciting because everyone looks insanely dishy in their funeral gear and by “everyone” we mean the guys because, let’s face it, after Heigl lost her hair, the chicks on this show are just less hot than the dudes. During the service Izzie covers her mouth and has to leave because she’s too overcome with emotion.
Dr. Alex Karev, who last season married Izzie, goes to her because he knows Izzie and George were besties. Then, Mer and Cristina follow and the gang’s all here and then we realize that Izzie is not crying but in fact guffaw-laughing her ass off because, man, the writing had to get absurd to encloak all the off-set drama. They all have a good cackle and we try not to think about how Meredith’s laugh is this totally scary high-pitched, otherworldly thing that we’re pretty sure is summoning demons onto our plane.
Lexie is upset and crying and feeling like a “bad friend” because she thinks that on some level she must’ve been mad at George because he didn’t think she was “hot” when she thought he was “hot.” This is so eyeroll and totally gross because it was implausible when Callie and Lexie “thought” George was “hot” because we, as audience members, CAN SEE. Then, FORREALS-hot Mark Sloan (who weirdly only sued Gawker for a paltry million for airing his sex tape with Noxzema McVehicular Homicide Pants), wants to know if George was “hung” which is basically the nicest send-off writers can give a television actor. Especially when dude has a head like a tuber.
Plimpton’s kid is back and it’s not growing pains and he needs a 3D MRI scan that costs $5,000 but his insurance is bullshit. The chief is super concerned about the board and doesn’t let the newish hot lesbian pediatric surgeon Dr. Arizona Robbins (who we try not to think about as being Steven Spielberg’s kid) do the procedure.
Callie is up for a job as an attending but chief says, “There’s no job” and they have this huge fight and Callie quits and storms out calling herself a “superstar” and “a god” and goes to Mercy West and we think, “Deuces lady, we were meh on you anyways.”
Amanda, the girl who George saved is also dead inside. She sits on the bus stop by the hospital, like, every day and it creeps everyone out. Then it’s Clara’s turn to go dead inside. She doesn’t want to live with a prosthetic leg and marginalized arm use and calls Lexie a “sschtuuupid bitch” in her British accent.
Mark Sloan moves across the hall from Callie, who lives across the street from Seattle Grace, and we get to see him in the shower looking like a Kohler bathroom fixtures ad because man, that dude is cut like an Olympic swimmer but actually good-looking in the face unlike Michael Phelps who looks chromosome-ish.
Chief gets into a fender bender on his way to his really important board meeting, mashes his ankle, and gets sent to Mercy West and damn, there’s Callie again. Chief grills an intern about how Mercy West works and Arizona sends Plimpton to Callie who she knows will give her kid the MRI scan at Mercy West because they’re enmeshed in Sapphic love but nothing shows up on the films.
Cristina and Owen are going to couples therapy with Dr. Wyatt (who was awesome in that HBO show Carnival and I defy you if you think it sucked. DEFY.) and they’re communicating and doing extremely well blablablbalbala no sex.
Alex is freaked out about Izzie being dead for a second and getting cancer sauce on him and every time she implores him to just, “talk to her,” he gets that glint of sadism in his eyes and blablablalbalba no cancer sex. Meredith and Derek are sexing allover the place because they’re newlyweds and smug as shit about it.
We find out what’s wrong with Martha Plimpton’s kid and it’s great and Derek performs microsurgery, which we learn has microtools, which reminds us of micromachines and makes us feel old. Izzie also gets good news, she’s on the mend, but Clara is refusing physical therapy because they’ve fitted her with this weird fake leg that has a tiny, baby Cabbage Patch kid foot on it and you figure if the big toe is really important for balance why’d they make this foot so small? It looks really difficult and not unlike watching someone trying to walk on a dreidel.
Then, Mer and Izzie are talking outside. It’s at this point that Izzie sees Amanda sitting on the bus stop. Izzie loses her goddamned mind because, Damn, if this Munchausen-by-proxy-bitch-who’s-so-lonely-and-pathetic-that-she’s-succubussing-all-this-attention-and-sympathy-and-affirmation-from-George-getting-smeared-on-the-blacktop is gonna try to call the wambulance when Izzie had STAGE FOUR MELANOMA AND LIVED. She basically threatens the chick and we’re reminded of how Izzie grew up in a trailer park with a trashy mom and how she’s eminem and says folksy things like, “I’m gonna kick your ass from here till Monday!” Then, we look down at her shirt that has macrame on it and tilt our heads.
Clara learns to walk and Lexie moves in with Dr. Sloan and Alex Karev and Izzie have a showdown about the lack of sex and communication. Karev has that super Karevvy breakdown where he cries like a girl and talks about being scared and the voiceover comes on so we know the show’s over and it’s just like how in the Baby Sitters Club log, everyone got to write a part in their POV, and the entire cast gets to say a line about grief as long as THEY’RE THE ONE HOLDING THE FUCKING TALKING STICK and everyone finally gets to cry.
George’s locker gets cleaned out. Then, we figure out why we had to even be inside Mercy West at all since it’s so Shelbyville to Seattle Grace’s Springfield. It’s because there’s a big meeting and the chief announces they’re MERGING AND THAT NOT EVERYONE WILL HAVE A JOB and it’s not about Kübler-Ross anymore and it’s totally Maslow’s Hierarchy, and we hope the people who we want to vote off the island will I’M TALKING TO YOU CALLIE.
All tolled, a damn good Grey’s. And even though in our hearts we know this show is completely manipulative and tosses us around in a truly excruciating manner, we’re grateful it exists. Because unlike cutting or tightening an Opus Dei leg thingie (mmm… albino Paul Bettany thigh meat…) this doesn’t have to be a secret shame or solo sport and we can get good and emo and talk about it to our girlfriends who are like, “cool girls,” and not like, “wack girls.” Also, we love the hotface and ringing in your ears you get RIGHT BEFORE everyone’s period aligns.