The Husband:

Whenever Grey’s Anatomy is in doubt, it always returns to one theme — family. In a lot of ways it’s the basis of this show, and it’s incredibly smart as a backup in case things get a little too wild at Seattle Grace. Because, with very few exceptions, those who become doctors are usually either following in their parents’ footsteps or they’re pressured into the field by the same people, and especially in the case of these residents, they often cannot escape their parents’ shadows no matter how hard they try.

While Callie deals with last week’s visit from her dad and his ultimatum that she either leave Seattle and her gay lover and move back to Miami or lose her trust, that parent hole is filled not once, not twice but thrice this week in various forms.

You still get breast implants, even if youre dying of skin cancer!

You still get breast implants, even if you're dying of skin cancer!

First up is Sharon Lawrence, done ruining everybody’s life over on Privileged (I swear I’ll get to a wrap-up on that show one day, especially if it gets renewed), showing up in all her crazy glory as Izzie’s ignorant trailer park mother. She’s completely baffled that she had to come all the way up to metropolitan Washington just to hear that he daughter simply has skin cancer — which she mistakenly equates as “just a mole” and not at all fatal like breast cancer — until Izzie lets her in on a few pretty well-known facts about tumors, the fact that the skin is indeed an organ, and that cancer spreads. To get her off Izzie’s back, Bailey comes in and tells the both of them that the cancer is disappearing, but once Ms. Lawrence is gone, informs Izzie that no matter how hard they try, this cancer doesn’t seem to be going away. The show did a good job of making Sharon Lawrence just annoying enough so that we appreciated her appearance but probably never want to see her again.

Meredith and Lexi, meanwhile, have some major family damage control ahead of them as their father, now out of rehab and dealing with his alcoholism, is trying to ask their forgiveness for all the horrible things he has done to both of them and their respective dead mothers. But this is too tough for Meredith, and so she takes out her aggression on the Case of the Week.

But what is this case of the week? Well, imagine a three-person family. Now imagine the father continually beating the mother and sometimes the under-ten-years-of-age daughter. Now imagine the daughter getting cut on the face and also watching her father break her mother’s arm, and then proceeding to grab his gun and shooting him 17 times. At the hospital, it doesn’t take long to figure out that the shooting wasn’t an accident, but the wife is such a pushover that she tries to get the daughter to apologize to the [slowly] recovering dad for her reaction, when she was just defending herself. Meredith can’t have this, not another woman in her life getting bullied around, and so she berates the mother for not standing up to the abuse and setting a good example for her daughter. Finally, the mother gathers the courage to say goodbye to the father forever, and that they would be too far away once he recovered for him to find them.

But Meredith’s outburst has consequences, and the Chief gets on her case for being unprofessional and getting her feelings involved in something that doesn’t concern her. This nearly leads to Meredith’s firing, but Derek has a one-on-one with the Chief and makes him painfully aware that he is treating Meredith not like an employee but as a daughter, as the Chief had a decades-long affair with Meredith’s mother, one that didn’t really lead to anything but confusion and emotional messiness.

I like how this episode dealt with the old GA notion of family. Not that it was great, because it was just a-okay. But at least it wasn’t like season 3 when it seemed that everybody’s parent was dying, first Meredith’s crazy mother, then Lexi’s mother, then George’s father, until it just seemed like cheap soap opera tactics. Unfortunately, the familial focus pushed the Owen-Cristina drama to the side to a point where even their emotional conversation at episode’s end, where Owen reveals that he’s been seeing a shrink to get to a place where he could be the right man for Cristina, didn’t really hold a lot of weight. Oh well, only two episodes to go, and it’s pretty damn clear that it’s all going to be about the Meredith-Derek wedding and Izzie’s cancer. Who knows if anything will get solved other than those two things. And who knows if George is going to be given any figment of a story this season.

But it’s season finale time on Private Practice, and they’ve got a doozy of a Moral Quandary with which to contend. (My wife is right; this show should absolutely be renamed Moral Quandary.) When two women have their embryos planted, Naomi makes the horrible discovery that they’re carrying each other’s babies, which at the very least is no good for the struggling practice. But even worse is that the embryo that belongs in Robin Weigert’s belly is her last egg and the last bit of sperm from her dead husband, and the woman carrying this last effort baby wants to terminate it as it doesn’t feel right, and doesn’t want Robin Weigert carrying her baby. For once, I’m with the decision to actually keep the damn babies where they are and not terminate, because they’re both going to come out anyway, and they’ll still be the baby you, non-Robin Weigert, wanted as a result of your money and your effort with this in vitro fertilization. You’ll still get the experience, you’ll still get the genetic connection, and you won’t fuck with Robin Weigert’s poor brain. Fortunately, the non-Robin Weigert finally comes to her senses and realizes how ridiculous she and her husband are being.

But this is the season finale, and you want to know how it ended, right? I’ll make it easy for you.

Dell: His baby mama comes back into town with their daughter demanding $10,000 for the child, but even when Sam gives Dell the money, Dell takes his child and shames the mother into not taking the money, something that would just wreck her drug-addled brain even more. And finally forgiven for his attitude over the past few weeks (and the mistake that led to the embryo switch), he is absolved and given back his patients and his midwivery.

Addison: Still trying not to get it on with Dr. Swingtown despite her attraction to him, she convinces him to stay with his wife, but right before his wife is to give birth, they have a near-fucking until both their pagers ring. As far as I could tell, their relationship is still up in the air, which is difficult especially now that his wife is starting to grow suspicious.

Pete: Finally wins Violet’s heart as she chooses him over Sheldon as her man, despite Sheldon’s marriage proposal.

Sam: Declares that he is still in love with Naomi.

Naomi: After much inner debating, she takes the job as director of Pacific Wellcare.

Charlotte: Is fired as director of Pacific Wellcare for, basically, not having a heart, which finally breaks this very strong woman.

Cooper: Is about to take care of a ready-to-burst Violet, when he gets the call from Charlotte that she desperately needs him now. He is unaware of the horror that is about to occur on the other side of that door to Violet’s house.

DOOM AWAITS YOU!!!!!

DOOM AWAITS YOU!!!!!

Violet: And what horror? It seems that that bit of insane psychology I bitched about a few weeks ago in re: Amanda Foreman’s character, the crazy lady who tried to continue on with her pregnancy despite the baby being dead inside of her, finally returned to bite everyone in the ass, as Ms. Foreman comes to Violet’s door, knocks her out with a quick syringe to the arm, and then proceeds to tell Violet that she stole her baby out of her and was gestating it herself. In short, Amanda Foreman gon’ cut that baby out of Violet. Violet, realizing that she is finally trapped at without question at the end of her life, tells Ms. Foreman how to give a C-section correctly, which while killing Violet, would save the child. And as the scalpel is about to cut into skin, the season ends.

Ahhhhh Private Practice. How shameless you are. And how shameless and fascinating and sad of a cliffhanger to go out on. We have at least four months to figure out what’s going to happen — I’m just gonna guess that come September, Pete or Sheldon is going to bust through that door and knock that bitch out, but it seems that you never know with Shonda Rhimes. I never grew tired of PP this year (while I did at least three times with GA), so that bodes well for this addictive trifle of a primetime soap. Do I realize that this show is pretty ridiculous and probably bad for my brain? Yes. But will I apologize for watching, nay, enjoying it? Hell naw.

Oh Shonda Rhimes, how will you try to hurt me next season?

The Husband:

We hit a hiatus, y’all, with this here Shonda Rhimes Land, a world of moral quandaries, career-threatening neuroses and, basically, patients behaving right on the edge between extreme human behavior and outright lunacy. Would we want it any other way?

I don’t know if it was the break, or the fact that I watched Grey’s Anatomy on a Friday night after a very long and confusing week at work, but I had an extremely tough time re-entering any of the various stories tossed my way. Every once in a while, something happens with a show like this or, say, Numb3rs or Criminal Minds or Castle, where things get so repetitive, in dialogue and/or stories, that I will catch myself near the end of a scene literally being unable to understand words that are coming out of the actors’ mouths, as if they aren’t saying words but are actually droning “manananananananabloobloobloo” on and on. At least with Criminal Minds, the show is so fast that if I come across one of these scenes, I only need to wait a few more seconds and the BAU team will be in a completely different location staring at some other unsub. But with this week’s GA, there were at least five scenes of brain gibberish, and I draw the line at three. The silly feud between Derek and Mark, especially, devolved into gibberish, as I stopped listening once they were bickering over an open body during surgery. Good one, guys.

And it’s not like the director was making sure I gave a shit, either, because he took a scene that could have been harrowing (a suicidal patient running amok in the hospital, and then running through a window and smashing the car below him) and made it the funniest scene of the week via godawful special effects, rendering what should have been a great stunt into a digital mess that clearly involved no actual human beings. Even the glass breaking was fake. Really? You can’t afford some goddamn candy glass? I can give you an actual address if you need some.

Haaaaaave . . . you met my lesbian lover?

Haaaaaave . . . you met my lesbian lover?

The only story that seemed to really be worth a damn this week was the reappearance of Hector Elizondo as Callie’s father. There to give George a piece of his mind for cheating on his daughter and thus ensuring their divorce, he is surprised to learn that while, yes, Callie has found a new partner, she is now a raging lesbian, going to town on Jessica Capshaw’s Arizona. This devolves into a Spanish language shouting match, as Hector gives his daughter an ultimatum – come home to Miami and do your practice there, or your gigantic trust fund is completely gone. Callie’s decision is tougher than one would expect, as her father has 100% paid for her entire education and has ensured that she would focus entirely on her career and never have to scrounge for cash. He even tries to bribe the Chief with a generous donation in order to remove Callie from Seattle Grace. But Callie’s a grown woman now, and no old-fashioned, archaic bigotry is going to let her give up somebody she truly loves.

At least on Private Practice, I was thrown some shameless ethical dilemmas. How big of a deal is it that a female high school teacher starts banging a 17-year-old student only a month away from becoming an adult? Hell, at least the dude wasn’t 14. What was the problem with this arrangement was that she was giving her lover some of the medication Sam prescribed for her, and said medication had a terrible effect on the boy/man, as he was allergic to sulfa. And as my wife is allergic to sulfa, I now have a general understanding of what external symptoms would arise if she was accidentally given it. Technically, she doesn’t have whatever disorder the dude had, but that was still a narsty enough rash all over his neck and chest that I will make sure to be very clear with any doctor in the future should my wife ever need to go to the emergency room, jeebus forbid.

(Wife’s note: Yes, I have had that nasty rash more than once as a child. It’s totally unfun. And, if I recall, the anti-rash medicine tastes like cat hair. Thanks for teaching my husband to inform the ER of drug allergies, Private Practice!)

But the major, central ethical dilemma arose when a woman, 20 weeks pregnant, came into St. Ambrose with a weak heart. Flanked on both sides by her diabetic husband and his brother (who is also the woman’s nurse), she refuses to listen to Addison’s suggestion to terminate the pregnancy, even though that would be the best solution. (Basically, at this point it’s either lose the baby and live to try again, or keep the baby and tempt fate with potentially dying later on if a new heart cannot come in on time.) But a day later, her husband turns up brain dead after overdosing on insulin, and just happens to have a heart and the proper blood type to save his wife. Now, let’s ignore the fact that, after Charlotte comes in with some CSI people and halts the transplant at least an hour to make sure that the husband did not commit suicide or that the nurse (who allegedly is in love with the woman) murdered him, it comes to light that the overdose was accidental. Because that’s too coincidental, and Addison knows it.

My issue is this: whether it was a suicide or a murder, having her dead husband’s heart inside of her body in order to save a fetus is just going to fuck with the woman’s brain even more, and will definitely affect the child as it grows into a mentally damaged teenager with abandonment issues. When I told my wife of this storyline, she had very strong words to say about the woman’s original choice to keep the child, so if she wants to write a follow-up after this post, that’ll take care of discussing this particular focus on the episode. But from a strictly psychological point, it pretty much seems like bad decisions all around.

(Wife’s note: All I’m going to say is to rehash something my husband said a few weeks ago in one of these Shonda Rhimes post. You can make another baby, but you can’t make another Jennifer Westfeldt.)

Yay!

Yay!

In other Oceanside Wellness news, Naomi is being tempted to leave the practice she started to work at a better funded practice with research teams and scientists by none other than actor James Morrison, having just blown up on 24 merely a couple months ago only to reconfigurate, T-1000 style, as somebody with the same goddamn first name (Bill), and Pete realizes that he has to break up with hot single mother Idina Menzel because Violet is soon to give birth, and no matter who the father turns out to be, Pete is going to have to be there both for Violet and the child. And so, unfortunately, Ms. Menzel’s stint on Private Practice comes to a close, but at least we Rentheads got to experience a little in-joke when Idina walks through Oceanside Wellness, and Taye Diggs turns and watches her, proclaiming, “I like her.”

The Husband:

So, here’s what went down: last Thursday, at some point during the work day, our power went out at our home briefly, coming back on some time during the afternoon. Our living room DVR handled the power failure admirably, getting back up to speed with all of our season passes and the TV grid. Our lower model bedroom DVR, however, I suppose needed to be actually turned on again (even though technically it can record when off), so it really screwed the pooch (oh noes! Pooch-screwing!) when it came to all those shows my wife does not watch. This would include Survivor, as well as ABC’s female-driven block of Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. So that’s why these reviews are going to come late, and perhaps in briefer form.

Sigh…the woes of technology.

But what’s been going down at Seattle Grace?

Cristina gets all responsible-like, even going against the wishes of some of her elders, when she learns of a patient that would have been getting out of the hospital just fine had the hospital’s oldest attending surgeon not made a careless mistake. But who is this surgeon? Why, it’s Faye Dunaway. Where the hell has she been all this time? Judging from her appearance, underground amidst the rock creatures in The Descent. Now, I’m not normally the type of person to really call out somebody’s appearance, but oh man has Faye Dunaway fallen, looking like whatever reanimated zombie the world has been trying to pass off as Peter O’Toole for the last decade. Going back into surgery, Cristina mouths off at Faye and gets tossed, but Cristina is able to present the case to the Chief that Faye is just too old-fashioned, unwilling and unable to use the newest medical technology, to continue working at Seattle Grace, and she’s right. A weird guest appearance that at least gave Cristina less whininess and more chutzpah.

Izzie finds out that the newly fired Sadie may have accidentally mixed up Izzie’s medical reports, giving her the anemia diagnosis and a poor woman a death note of cancer. And so the Izzie mystery continues. Until some real news comes through about Katherine Heigl and whether or not she’s actually leaving the show, I’m going to ignore all that hubbub and just say that while this is-Izzie-sick storyline has been going on for a very long time, I don’t consider it boring by any means. What happens when a talented doctor becomes ill herself, and how does it affect her work? This are good questions to ask, and spending a season dealing with the answers is definitely compelling.

Dr. Bailey continues her interest in pediatrics, and so she spends the entire episode obsessing about letters of recommendation, becoming quite pissed that, when pressed for time, the Chief merely gives Dr. Bailey a form letter, describing her as a “fine doctor.”

“I am Dr. Bailey. I am better than ‘fine.'” — Bailey

When she finally goes head-to-head with the Chief, who is already embroiled with both the Faye Dunaway situation and the scalpel Mexican standoff (more on that later), he admonishes her for not going along with his plans for Dr. Bailey to replace him as Chief somewhere down the line, and asking for his help for her to get a job in a field he does not want for her. Every single bit of Bailey’s story is wonderful and wonderfully acted, and it’s still the biggest crime ever that Katherine Heigl has an Emmy over the outstanding Chandra Wilson.

Seriously, yall, wheres my damn Emmy?

Seriously, ya'll, where's my damn Emmy?

Derek and Sloan get into a fistfight about Lexie-banging.

Okay, so the big three-episode story finishes here, as Jennifer Westfeldt went into seizures last we saw her, mixed with mirror syndrome and her unborn baby’s health and all the stuff that was going wrong in her brain. (I’m just going to say this now. I think losing one’s ability to make sense as far as language is concerned may be the most terrifying thing I can think of to happen to a brain. It may not be the worst, but goddamn is it scary for somebody like me who relies on words.) (The Wife seconds this opinion.) As she is to go into surgery once again, her husband Ben Shenkman gives them very specific instructions to save his wife over his baby.

“We can make another baby. We can’t make another her.”

During the surgery, Westfeldt keeps having small strokes, so Derek has to make the harrowing decision to take out her temporal lobe to keep her alive. When this doesn’t work, he decides that he wants to take out the frontal lobe, too, but Addison (yes, she’s still up in Seattle) says that would be creating a monster and not a human, and that she needs to do an emergency C-section and take out the premature baby right now. Doing this surgery, however, would take away the blood in the body needed to power the brain, which would kill Westfeldt. As Addy and Derek both stand over the body holding scalpels and telling each other to stand down, Karev has to bring the Chief in, who of course goes with Addy’s plan. Westfeldt dead, Shenkman takes his grief out on Derek, calling him a murderer for all he had done, and for the entire staff choosing the baby over his wife. At least the baby is alive, douche.

[catching breath] This show has been getting wilder and more complicated by the week (I didn’t even mention much about Lexie, or Callie’s continued lesbo-confusion), but I will agree that this was one of the best episodes in a long time. Previously I’ve complained that the show hasn’t been honest with us about their three-episode arcs, but that does not mean I don’t like them. I’d just prefer to know when they are happening, so I can prepare by brain for them. It’s frustrating when you think you’re at the end of the story, only to have something drastic happen and the episode ending with a “to be continued…” so I can understand people’s problems with these arcs, but I’ll be damned if they weren’t quite good.

Lesson: Never trust Melissa George.

After all that madness, nothing on Private Practice could even come close to something as gripping down at Oceanside Wellness, so let’s just get through them quickly.

  • Sam accidentally calls his new girlfriend Naomi.
  • Archer, now recovered from his brain parasites, goes back to being a complete man-whore and cheats on Naomi, who is technically his girlfriend. Addison finds out and tells Naomi, and it’s sadness abound.
  • Violet and Sheldon decide to co-run a group therapy session of married couples, and in dealing with all the lunacy of the various couples (with varied success), they grow closer while also learning of some of their major differences, information that will be useful when she gives birth to her own child. No word on whose baby it is yet. Or I missed something. I didn’t, did I?
  • Charlotte is still angry about boyfriend Cooper moving in with Violet to help her take her of her unborn child, and Cooper is still right to support his friend. No progress is made.
  • Anyanka from Buffy and Sgt. Scream from Over There give birth to a baby who is genetically both male and female, and although they are informed that in these cases, only 30% of the children affected by this end up identifying as male, Sgt. Scream’s machismo gets in the way, and he is certain that the baby must become his beloved Matthew that he has been dreaming about for so long. Addy and Naomi argue over this, but Addy makes the final decision, in the OR, to not make the baby male, for it would just be wrong to make the decision so early. Sgt. Scream leaves Oceanside Wellness in a huff, not wanting to deal with a “freak baby,” but Naomi, now pissed and on the warpath after hearing that Archer is cheating on her, goes to his workplace (he’s a cook) and chews him out for being so myopic. Sgt. Scream comes back and loves on the baby as much as he can, for he knows that had he not, he would suffer at the hands of the vengeance demon Anyanka. Had they gone with assigning the child to being a male, just fast-forward 13 years and you have this week’s episode of House.
  • Continuing my plea for ABC to be honest with us viewers, I can’t help but point out that this Private Practice episode was not a crossover, but just a regular episode. So we had more like a 2.5-week crossover, and I can’t help but think that people who were watching PP over the last couple weeks may have been very let down by this episode.

Lesson: All babies need love, even if your stupid male pride is telling you otherwise.

The Husband:

Almost the entirety of last week’s Grey’s Anatomy-Private Practice crossover took place at Seattle Grace, so let’s get the miniscule amount of what went down at Oceanside Wellness out of the way:

  • Charlotte is still mad at Cooper for moving in with the pregnant Violet, because the one thing she doesn’t totally have from Cooper is an emotional investment, which Violet is getting in spades.
  • Violet is not being very honest with Pete about her feelings, and that makes Pete sad.
  • The care center is thrown for a loop when a new mother comes in with her nearly drowned baby, and everyone quickly realizes that something may be very off about her. They chalk it up to lack of sleep, but soon discover that the woman is suffering from postpartum psychosis, and that she herself had attempted to half-assedly drown her baby just to make the crying stop for a bit. She stopped herself from going through with it, though, and with some help from Oceanside as well as a supportive husband, gives the whole baby-raising thing another shot.

But now let’s reeeeeeeeewind and get into Seattle Grace. What kind of shenanigans are going down in the good state of Washington?

  • Dr. Owen Hunt comes face-to-face with his past when terminal cancer patient (Sam Anderson of Angel and Lost, perhaps suffering from a combination of death-by-vampire-massacre and the time-travel sickness) turns out to be the father of his former fiancée, who is also at the hospital. Much to Cristina’s dismay, she learns that they Owen and this other woman were way into each other, until one day he shot the woman a two-line e-mail (which I don’t believe was ever spoken to us) breaking up with her and disappearing for good. But he hasn’t been honest with her since then either, because she has still been worried sick about his time in Iraq, not realizing he’s back in the states and working, nursing some PTSD, and has found another woman. C’est triste.
  • Izzie doesn’t want to think about whatever it is that’s going on in her brain to make her see ghosts that are telling her she’s gonna die, and she’s not happy about the interns being all dumb and impulsive, so she sets up a day-long race with them involving fake bodies, how to set up surgeries, diagnoses, etc., with the winner (Lexie, no surprise there) getting to scrub in on some very cool surgeries. Unfortunately, this test exposes Sadie for what she is – street-smart but not very book-smart, stubborn, and a danger to her patients. After a terrifying fight with her old friend Meredith, Sadie realizes that she is simply not right for Seattle Grace, and leaves to that fabled parking lot, never to return. (I assume, that is.)

    This whole brain worms thing worked out a lot better on Futurama.

    This whole brain worms thing worked out a lot better on Futurama.

  • A good chunk of Oceanside Wellness is now at Seattle Grace tending to Archer Montgomery’s brain parasites (more on that later), so we get some sweet Addison, Naomi and Sam disrupting the natural order of SG with their own relationship problems. Addison is amused to find that Sloan was also sucked into dating another Grey (just as Derek left Addison for Meredith) and isn’t the lame lothario he once was, and that Archer’s reign of emotional destruction knows no boundaries. Sam does have a terrible asthma attack at SG, but it turns out to merely be a misunderstanding with Dr. Bailey with his newly refilled inhaler, with Bailey not knowing that he was allergic to corn-based inhalers. His joyful reaction to this news (and that his illness was not related to a continued emotional connection to Naomi) was the best thing about the episode.
  • Derek tends to a pregnant Jennifer Westfeldt and her accidentally run-over-with-a-car husband Ben Shenkman, who has had to wait for the operation on her brain (aneurysms = bad) because Derek has had to tend to the parasites in Archer’s brain. Finally, though, she gets her surgery (although the questions involving whether or not to put a pregnant woman under anesthesia for surgery seems to have been glossed over if I’m not mistaken) but when she tries to speak post-surgery, the words aren’t coming out quite right (or aren’t the right words at all) and goes into a seizure. To be continued.

    But I cant die! I have Jon Hamm to live for!

    But I can't die! I have Jon Hamm to live for!

Okay, now, Archer gets by okay as Derek, despite hating his ex-brother-in-law with a fervent passion (which is to say, a passionate passion) and despising his snarky neurologist ways, get all dem bugs out of his brain. While Derek finally tends to Jon Hamm’s John Hamm, Archer takes a look at his CT scan and tells all the Oceanside Wellness people that there are still some problems left, and that he could die at any minute. He then tells Sloan of having slept with several of his girlfriends in the past and also having wrecked his car, just so he could get all of these items off his chest before he dies, until Derek comes in, looks at the files, and says that Archer is perfectly fine and is simply being an ass.

[Tries to catch breath] So yeah, that’s part 2 of the cross-over. A whole lot of crazy is going down, and we have yet another week of cross-over next week. While I dig the stories, I wish they had told us up front that the GA-PP event would be over three weeks (at least, I assume it’ll stop at week 3) so my mind could have been better prepared. Besides, much of the emotional issues involved with the marriage of both shows have been dealt with, so I’m not sure how much they have left for next week. But hey, I’m not a television writer (well, not yet), and I’m sure there’s something kick-ass in store for next week. At least the three-episode-arc patient story is being done by some sweet character actors much beloved by me, so that’s not too shabby.

The Husband:

Far more likely by coincidence than by design, Thursday night’s two-hour block of Shonda Rhimes messing with your emotions dealt with the same issues for its entire running time — to what distance should a doctor follow their Hippocratic oath, do they have the ability or even the right to choose who to help in times of crisis, and the amount of creepiness Joel Grey emanates? Okay, that last one was only during Private Practice, but seriously, he has become progressively creepier each year ever since winning both a Tony and an Oscar for his role as the Emcee in Cabaret. (See his appearances on Buffy and this week’s PP for further evidence.)

On Grey’s Anatomy the show decided to finish off its three-episode Eric Stoltz-versus-that-kid-with-major-liver-and-bowel-problems, picking up right where the last episode left off — that is, with Stoltz using Meredith’s advice to make himself completely brain-dead by smashing his noggin on the headboard. Meredith and Miranda reluctantly decide to not page Derek immediately, but Cristina comes in and makes the call for them. Derek, upon being paged, is extremely upset with Meredith for waiting so long and thus ignoring her duties as a doctor, even if a dead Stoltz means sweet new organs for Jackson the sick dying boy. As Derek operates on Stoltz’s brain, Miranda comes in and tells Derek that against her better judgment, it’s her duty to tell him to stop operating on the death row serial killer, only to finally relent when Derek poses to her the ultimate question — is he a surgeon or an executioner.

Stoltz now saved, he tries to save face by telling Meredith that this was all a set-up to ruin her career, which she wisely does not believe. Despite this, though, she accepts his invitation to be present at his execution, and upon seeing his useless body be destroyed — chock full of useful organs she could have harvested for better purposes — she goes home and completely collapses emotionally in front of Derek. Their fight and ethical conflict unresolved, Derek learns to accept Meredith for what she is, especially since Mama Tyne Daly gave over a ring for him to give to Meredith when the time was right. In addition, Derek finds a way to unite Meredith and Cristina again after several long and obnoxious weeks of them giving each other the silent treatment, allowing Cristina to be a proper best friend and console Meredith’s woes far better than Derek, presumably because he’s a man, could ever hope.

But what of Jackson? Well, there’s another brain-dead man in the hospital, having just been the victim of a horrible car accident, whose wife simply can’t pull the plug, but just as Jackson is about to die, the brain-dead man’s organs finally come in, thus saving the day once and for all. I look forward to a Dr. Miranda Bailey who’s once again very sure of herself and her skills as a doctor, because having her act like Meredith was really starting to wear on me. There’s only room for one Meredith on this show, Chandra Wilson, and her name’s the title of the show.

In smaller, less relevant and more trivial stories, Lexie, upon getting some good lovin’ in the on-call room, accidentally breaks Sloan’s penis (penis fracture OH NOES!) and has a very tough time trying to keep the secret from her fellow interns that she’s Sloan’s new lover. After throwing hissy fits at all of them for butting into other people’s business, Sadie takes the fall for her and claims that she is the Penis Fracturer (a.k.a. either a really sweet new Vertigo comics supervillain or a really bad Quentin Tarantino character.) At the same time, Cristina and Owen come to an understanding about their relationship, that they both have a fuckload of their own issues to deal with, and that dealing with them together might not be such a bad idea.

Ah…but over in Izzieland, Izzie and Denny’s story culminates in what is probably the most frustrating conversation on television in a good long while, all boiling down to the true reason why Denny has been haunting her — he’s not “here for her,” but he’s “here for her.” What is obnoxious and cryptic becomes not-so-apparent to a regular viewer (and somebody who’s not the show’s writers acting like they’re all clever), but the gist, from what I can gather, is that Denny has been around in order to escort Izzie into heaven, which makes her realize that she’s sick.

Seriously, no one likes you. Thats why Ive got to get you off this fucking show so you can continue to make shitty romantic comedies.

Seriously, no one likes you. That's why I've got to get you off this fucking show so you can continue to make shitty romantic comedies.

Oh, you’re sick? Really? We could have told you that very thing six episodes ago. Is that the only reason Denny was around? Because I wasn’t hating their stories so much as simply confused by it, but now it just seems so completely patronizing and kind of a waste of everybody’s time. Now he promised that he’s going away, though, so we can now finally deal with what the hell is actually ailing Izzie.

Lesson: If Jeffrey Dean Morgan starts following you around, punch that bitch in the face, because he’s actually the Grim Reaper and specializes in frustrating you to death until you’re enough of a corpse to be brought into the afterworld.

On Private Practice, Addison FINALLLLLLLLLY breaks up with S.W.A.T. Guy after becoming guilty about her kiss with Dr. Wyatt Lockhart — S.W.A.T. Guy’s mental torture upon her really didn’t help, either. This finally frees her up to be more of an adult character, something this show struggled to achieve in its first season, even if she is pining over yet another immature douchebag (Wyatt). It’s funny that the most stable man she’s ever been with is ex-husband Derek Shepherd, and she fucked that relationship up by having an affair with Sloan. Actually, that’s not funny. That’s actually very depressing, because even as Grey’s and PP fluctuate and quality, I will always be terribly attached to Dr. Addison Montgomery. Me and my redheads.

No matter how big PP could try to be this week, it couldn’t really match up to the amount of drama over on Grey’s, so what’s the use in even getting in-depth with any of the  stories? A surrogate mother comes in to give birth to her child — there are so many damn surrogate mother stories on this show that I’m not entirely sure if this is a character we’ve already seen or just yet another pregnant woman — only to find that the baby itself was very ill with something to the effect of a diaphragmatic hernia. The new parents, afraid for the child’s health, decide to not, in fact, accept the baby, leaving the worried birth mother in a very tough position. She accepts taking care of the baby, but then the parents think twice about their decision and now want it back, only to not be allowed to. Blah blah blah…the surrogate mother finally decides to give them the baby, which is good because, as my wife pointed out, you might want the baby to grow up with somebody who actually has health insurance.

As for Joel Grey, he’s an old queen who is suffering from pancreatic cancer, so he invites Pete over to basically help him die. It’s against Pete’s oath to allow him to kill himself, though, but he’s not sure of his position, because that tharrrr Emcee is in a whole lot of pain. He calls Sam over, who berates him for even considering helping Joel Grey die, but then they both decide to just kind of keep quiet about it. Pete returns to the hospital, steals some morphine, and gives it to Joel Grey, who uses it to finally die. Case closed.

But what’s going on with the personal lives of Oceanside Wellness? Well, Violet finds out that she is pregnant — she’s had a tough time with the concept, considering she’s been raped once and had three abortions — so it’s especially tough when she’s unsure of who the father is, Pete or Sheldon. Rough times. As for Cooper and Charlotte, she proposes to him and decides to elope in Vegas, but after reluctantly saying yes, Cooper decides that Charlotte deserves her wedding to be the best day of her life, even if she can no longer have her father walk her down the aisle. They’re a surprisingly sweet couple, and it doesn’t hurt that she is absolutely “slammin'” — to use a description my sophomore year roommate used quite a bit — when unclothed, which on this show is quite often.

And who should show up at the end of the episode nailing Naomi in the middle of an office but Addison’s brother Grant Show, fresh off the cancellation of the dearly departed Swingtown. I know he’s a major focus in the upcoming Grey’sPP crossover, so be prepared for some major awesomeness.

Lesson: If Joel Grey offers you a bowl of what looks like something covered in sugar, don’t take it. It’s actually a ground up concoction of suicide pills.

Are you sure you dont want any? Its really good pudding!

Are you sure you don't want any? It's really good pudding!

Another quickie while we race through our TiVo, which deleted some precious final episodes of The Shield because an episode of What Not to Wear recorded for 2421 minutes. That so far is the best argument I can think of against continuing to record What Not to Wear . . .

The Husband:

After last season finished, I heard that Shonda Rhimes was going to be making some pretty heavy changes to the show in order to make sure that it could hit numbers as big as those that went with the series pilot, or maybe even better than that. Then the s2 premiere came around (which I had missed due to DVR conflicts and a faulty ABC.com player), and many viewers and bloggers said that the show did, indeed, improve over much of the hokum of s1. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to viewing it two weeks late, I have to say…not much is different. Not really. It’s better, yes, but I seem to be missing the “big difference” to which everyone was referring.

Private Practice
has sort of written itself into a corner. On the one hand, it’s an ensemble show with some great actors (Diggs, McDonald and Walsh especially) and owes it to us as a prime-time dramedy soap to explore their lives in interesting ways. Problem is, the first season could not find anything of interest to deal with outside of the Diggs/McDonald love-and-hate relationship, and some goofy pining for McDonald from VMars‘ Piz. On the other hand, it’s a medical show, and in order to focus on the cases, you have to move away from the ensemble’s core. Problem is, the cases weren’t especially good in s1. (Except for the preteen with an STD. That was good.) So now, the show has to realign its balance while understanding that a.) the ensemble needs to be more interesting and less whiney and b.) the medical cases need to be better.

So far with the s2 premiere, they worked very hard on b.) — even going so far as to have a character say that the Oceanside Wellness Clinic needs to take on more cases, echoing the cries of millions of viewers — by shifting very aggressively away from a.). I think that’s what people are responding to, that there is less crazy adult shenanigans happening on the show, but all that really means to me is that the comedy has been toned down and that before long we’ll be right back into Amy Brenneman‘s whining.

A precarious show this one is. Why do I watch it? I see glimmers of goodness, I like Walsh as an actress and Addison as a character both, the ensemble is top-notch and it’s good to have a little injection of television estrogen after watching something like, say, Criminal Minds.

This, my friends, is why you think ahead and save your babys cord blood.

This, my friends, is why you think ahead and save your baby's cord blood.

This week the two cases really got me motivated for the series, because finally they truly did something new for this particular show — they directly affected the ensemble’s plots and not the other way around. In the first case, McDonald’s Naomi had made a very impulsive and desperate decision by accepting nearly $100,000 —which would help the money-hemorrhaging clinic — and implanting a baby in a woman. Why? Because that woman’s young son is dying from Leukemia and needs the baby’s umbilical cord to survive. Unfortunately, the son is dying, so the woman wants to induce labor three months early before he dies. After Addison and Naomi argue over ethics, the woman finally breaks her own water by puncturing herself with a knitting needle. (OH NOES!) Naomi’s decision gets her demoted in the clinic by her own ex-husband, and now she feels she can no longer trust Addison for tattling on her.

The second case involves a young teenager who wants condoms from Cooper since he is going to have sex with his girlfriend. However, due to doctor-patient confidentiality to the boy’s parents, he cannot tell the teenager that he was born HIV-positive and definitely should not have sex with this girl, and due to doctor-patient confidentiality to the boy, he cannot tell the boy’s parents about their son’s horniness. When the kid finally learns about his disease, he drops a bomb — the two already had sex. (DOUBLE OH NOES!) It got Cooper thinking about his intense promiscuity, and made him think that maybe he should take the torrid affair he is currently having with KaDee Strickland and turn it into a full-fledged relationship.

PP isn’t particularly great, but I like it enough to watch on our bedroom’s DVR right before I fall asleep. I’ll do better this season to not TiNo the crap out of it (which last year got so bad that I just deleted the eps and caught them all on DVD in one day only a couple weeks ago) and I will still hold out hope that in the future, the show could potentially be great. No promises, though. Shonda has been known to screw the pooch on multiple occasions.