From the blog

TV Writing I Love: Grey’s Anatomy

Since I won’t shut about the writing in this show, I figured this a good place for me to start a new series of posts I’m going to be doing about TV and movie writing that I love.

Yes, I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. Yes, I’ve been watching it since Season 1. Why? The writing. OMG the writing. And the characters, of course. And the fact that they use so many awesome lady directors (Debbie Allen and Krista Vernoff, I’m looking at you!).

But did I mention the writing? This show tackles topics that are so important, and it does so with respect and humor. (If you’ve read my book A House for Keeping, you know that humor makes my world go round.)

Grey’s is getting a ton of much-deserved press right now for an episode they did in Season 15 called “Silent All These Years,” written by the incomparable Elisabeth Finch. I could easily spend this entire post adding to the glowing praise being heaped on this episode: It deals with rape in the most visceral, brutally honest, respectful way I’ve ever seen on TV (obviously, this episode is not a comedy, and trigger warning, it’s really real).

But this isn’t the episode I want to talk about.

I want to talk about another episode by Elisabeth Finch. I’ve been talking about it for A YEAR. The episode is called “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper.”

In the episode, Miranda Bailey, the chief of surgery at her own hospital, winds up at a different hospital when she’s having a heart attack. But when she tells them she’s having a heart attack . . .

They. Don’t. Believe. Her.

She’s the F***NG CHIEF OF SURGERY at a prestigious hospital, but they STILL don’t believe her. Because she’s a woman. Strike two: she’s a woman of color. Strike three: she’s had a history OCD. Bottom line, it didn’t matter that she was a top doctor. As a lady, obviously she was just being emotional and needed a Xanax to calm her poor lady nerves.

As a result, she nearly dies.

People, I’m not going to lie. I yelled at the TV like a crazy person during this episode. I bounced up and down on the couch like it was a hot tin roof, and I was trying not to burn my ass.

Then I told every person I had dinner with for the next month about the episode. It’s over a year later, and I’m still bringing it up in conversation.

At this point you might be thinking, “Yo, dude, you might want to lay off the caffeine. Also, why? I mean, it’s just a TV show.”

Nuh uh.

They got it right.

This episode shows what it’s like—in real life—to be a woman with a serious medical issue and deal with the medical establishment. Not all of the medical establishment, thank the hospital gods, but enough of it to make life extra sucky.

If you’re a woman, there’s an excellent chance your doctor won’t believe you. Seriously, the freaking U.S. government’s official women’s health website flat out warns women to expect this, saying:

“If your doctor doesn’t take your symptoms seriously or tells you they are stress-related or in your head, see another doctor.”

I’ve written previously about living with autoimmune disease and talked a little about how this “Aw, it’s all in your head, honey” thing happened to me. When I saw the “Reaper” episode, well . . . it’s hard to express what it’s like to see your experience represented so accurately, to see such a public forum put a spotlight on an injustice that you know so many people are experiencing, but that doesn’t get talked about. I’m not in precisely the same boat as Bailey, but I experienced this same bullshit. Seeing Grey’s tackle the subject, well it rocked my world. IMHO, this episode should be required watching for every doctor.

And this isn’t a one-off event. I think this is the same thing that Finch has done with “Silent All These Years.” She turned the spotlight on rape in a way that’s breathtaking, heartbreaking, and earthshaking.

So yup, I’m still watching Grey’s. I’m not saying every episode is perfect, but there’s some seriously yummy goodness from the writers each season and that keeps me showing up.

What about you? Do you have a favorite Grey’s episode? Does any of the writing speak to you?

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