|Grey's Anatomy: Season Two (2005)
Starring: Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, T.R. Knight, Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr., Isaiah Washington, Patrick Dempsey, Kate Walsh, Sara Ramirez
It’s really no surprise that “Grey’s Anatomy” has become one of the most-watched shows on television. Following an impressive midseason debut at the front-end of 2005, the medical drama quickly developed into the guilty pleasure of choice for women 18-49, and though it’s not exactly original programming (think the high-stakes medicine of “ER” mixed with the quirky antics of “Scrubs”), the series never fails to deliver a well-balanced serving of drama and comedy. The isolated connection to the medical series also hasn’t escaped the eye of “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence, who referenced the show in a recent episode of the comedy:
Elliot: JD, I really don't wanna do this. Can't we just go home, put on our PJs and watch "Grey's Anatomy"?
JD: Oh, I do love that show. It's like they've been watching our lives and then just put it on TV.
Okay, so they’re not exactly the same. “Scrubs” tends to display more serious medical cases, while “Grey’s Anatomy” chooses to go a little wackier (like a teenage hermaphrodite, a pair of strangers impaled face-to-face on a metal pole, a girl that has spontaneous orgasms, and a “pregnant” male patient who’s really just growing a stomach tumor with hair and teeth), but they definitely radiate a similar spirit. Of course, the medicine on the show never plays much of a major role other than to advance the various conflicts between characters, with the exception of guest star Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a desperate heart transplant patient who gets in the middle of the budding relationship between Alex (Justin Chambers) and Izzie (Katherine Heigl).
With Addison (Kate Walsh) back in town, Derek (Patrick Dempsey) decides to give their marriage a second chance, while Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) gets the shaft romantically. In return, Meredith sleeps with George (T.R. Knight), which inconsequentially ruins their friendship, and George finally finds someone (Sara Ramirez) who actually cares about him. In the meantime, Christina (Sandra Oh) juggles a relationship with Dr. Burke (Isaiah Washington) while simultaneously dealing with the loss of her baby, and Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) gives birth to one of her own. Even the Chief of Surgery (James Pickens Jr.) has a few skeletons in his closet, namely the unearthing of his twenty-year-old affair with Meredith’s mother, Ellis Grey (Kate Burton).
It’s quite over the top, but it’s fun to watch as it all unravels. Apart from the usual drama that takes place throughout the season, the midseason two-part cliffhanger (titled “It’s the End of the World” and “As We Know It,” respectively) is especially ridiculous. Centered around a Code Black (which is shorthand for “There’s a fucking bomb in the hospital”) initiated when a patient arrives with a homemade WWII bomb lodged in his body cavity, the episode only gets crazier with each passing minute. Within only a few hours (and in the same building where a bomb could explode at any moment), Bailey is forced into labor, her husband is delivered to the OR for emergency brain surgery, Alex and Izzie have sex for the first time, and Dr. Webber suffers a panic attack. Of course, you could hardly call this a bad episode with an amazing guest star like Christina Ricci as the rookie paramedic who arrives with her arm in the man’s body. Carrying most of the emotional load, Ricci is an amazing addition to an already fantastic cast. It’s just too bad she wasn’t nominated for any Emmy, because maybe then we could have forgiven the casting director for giving Chris O’Donnell another acting gig.
The entire second season is finally available to own in a six-disc DVD box set (just in time for the season three premiere), and while it wasn’t as big of an issue the first time around, it’s simply inexcusable that they’ve fallen short in the special features department yet again. Featuring cast/crew commentaries on only five of the twenty-seven episodes, none of them are even very insightful, let alone interesting, while the inclusion of four extended episodes seems absolutely pointless. Why not just include the deleted material along with all of the other unaired scenes? The rest of the extras (located on disc six and including nineteen deleted scenes) aren’t much better, either. Cast members answer fan questions (“The Doctors Are In”), James Pickens Jr. gives a tour of the set, Jimmy Kimmel interviews the cast, and Chandra Wilson discusses her character (“The Softer Side of Dr. Bailey”), but there’s nothing particularly special about any of the included features.
Fortunately, the same can’t be said of the medical drama. This is great television, no matter which way you cut it, and with fan-favorite “Scrubs” poised to leave the air after its upcoming season, this may be the perfect time to discover the next great doctor show. Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is it.