Ah, Grey’s Anatomy. As is the case with Desperate Housewives, it seems that this show is in a bit of a holding pattern until sweeps. Nonetheless, this episode should be fun because the theme is lies, LIES!
As the episode opens, Meredith, fresh from her win at the Miss Optimism USA pageant, says that doctors are trained from the start to be skeptical, since patients lie all the time. In fact, it’s best to assume that every patient is a liar til proven honest. Great, I was just telling my friend this morning how Seattle Grace Hospital could use a good dose of FASCISM.Meredith and Cristina meet in the observation gallery overlooking the O.R., and each asks the other why she isn’t prepping for rounds. They both claim “no reason,” which in SGH code means “I’m crampy and sexually frustrated, so I’ve turned into a lying bitch.” Meredith goes on about how society indoctrinates us that the truth is good and lying is bad. Meredith claims she’s waiting for Dr. He-Shepherd; Cristina says she’s avoiding Dr. Burke. Then she realizes in shock that Meredith has taken to calling her erstwhile surgical paramour “Dr. McDreamy” again.
Next, Dr. He-Shepherd is poking Meredith—in the arm, you cretins—because they need to do some family-history bloodwork for Ellis Grey’s Alzheimer’s clinical trial. The two share some lusty glances and verbal innuendos over the vials of blood—Billy Bob Thornton really WOULD love this show. Afterward, the awkwardness between Meredith and Cristina continues, as both can tell that they’re hiding things from each other.
George and Izzie show up at the hospital with Meredith’s infernal dog, enraged because the thing just peed on Izzie’s bed and chewed up George’s My Little Pony collection. George says he’s had it up to his corset with the dog, so either it goes or he goes—Meredith has to decide. Never one to be selfish or anything, Meredith hesitates to answer. This pisses George off even more, so he shouts that he’s moving out. Forthwith!
A patient checks into the E.R. with three fingers severed, bemoaning the fact that he’s a guitarist and this will kill his livelihood. Whatever man, if a blind guy like Jamie Foxx can play piano, you sure as hell can play guitar with stumps. The patient—who appears to be the love child of a torrid three-way between Steve Buscemi, Christopher Reeve, and Matt LeBlanc—is really worried about getting the fingers reattached. After all, they did it for John Bobbit, right? Yeah, but look where his career went from there—these days he can’t even get a talk show on Fox News.
Dr. He-Shepherd says the cuts are pretty clean but a long recovery and physical therapy will be necessary. Worse, the patient will have to quit smoking because it constricts the blood vessels and could cause the reattached fingers to fall off. “Not to mention,” Izzie chimes in, “every time you smoke, Jesus kills a kitten!” Cristina, ever the compassionate bedside companion, adds that the fingers wouldn’t just fall off but would first turn black and necrotic, sort of like Eartha Kitt.
George, meanwhile, is saddled with a hip replacement patient who refuses to leave the hospital. He is terrified of this woman, which is understandable because she looks like Ed Koch in full Norma Desmond makeup for the third national tour of Sunset Boulevard.
“Georgie, I’m ready for my closeup. GEORGIE!!!!!!”
In keeping with the Broadway drag queen theme, the patient will not stop singing. Upon learning that George’s last name is O’Malley, she goes on about how much she loves the Irish—they have a certain sparkle and swagger, not to mention charming elfin hands. It turns out the woman has a spot reserved at a nursing home but doesn’t want to leave the hospital until a room at her daughter’s house is ready for her to move into. Given the theme of episode I bet she’s a LIARESS.
Alex receives the results of his medical boards in the mail but is afraid to open them. He’s assigned a patient who has persistent hiccups but doesn’t speak English, so all communication has to pass through a translator who looks like something out of Pokemon. The patient may have a perforated esophagus, because it turns out she’s a competitive eater—ooh, ripped from the headlines, albeit the 2004 headlines. This makes Alex smile downstairs because he likes competitive eating almost as much as competitive STD-dissemination. Alex and the patient flirt a bit via the interpreter, who turns out to be a LYING interpreter, as revealed through innovative use of subtitles. A true technical triumph.
The interpreter is also the patient’s “eating coach”—one can only guess what that relationship entails—and says that the patient has to compete that afternoon in the “Taste of Seattle” contest. Just think, a whole afternoon of Dungeness crab frappuccinos! Dr. Bailey digs in her heels with the expected “mhmmm son she ain’t competing for shit” response. Meanwhile, the head nurse on the hip-replacement case is pissed at Dr. Webber for all the extra work and lack of resources the nurses have been dealing with ever since he capped the interns’ weeks at 80 hours.
Dr. Bailey suddenly has a bout of early contractions. Don’t you love five-week pregnancies? They make for great television. Anyway, she goes into Dr. She-Shepherd’s for a sonogram, and it turns out the baby is FUGLY, like a mini Walter Matthau.
“I’m putting my career on hold for THAT? Oh hell no.”
Although Dr. Bailey’s contractions prove to be a false alarm, early labor is probably a sign that her body is telling her to slow down. Dr. She-Shepherd tells Izzie to keep an eye on Dr. Bailey. Izzie, who seems dangerously undermedicated this week, responds with disdain.
The patient assigned to Meredith and Dr. Burke had her tricuspid valve replaced three years ago but is having problems with it again. But this woman is so crazily, smotheringly in love with her husband—no really, like Fatal Attraction was a pleasant memory—that she really couldn’t give two shits about her own health. What’s worse, she looks like Nia Vardalos after about twenty more years of heavy souvlaki consumption. Opa opa! Meredith believes the woman is high on drugs, but Dr. Burke says the patient doesn’t strike him as a liar. Meredith isn’t convinced, since she doesn’t believe anybody could really be that happy.
Dr. He-Shepherd chides Cristina for being too harsh on the finger patient, what with her talk of necrosis. He says she’s not compassionate enough, to which Cristina retorts OH SNAP that Meredith is just barely back on her feet and Dr. He-Shepherd is already playing his Dreamy McDreamsalot mind games with her again. Cristina says he might want to try a little truth-telling for once. Oh Cristina, Cristina, such truth-telling is unpossible in an episode all about LIES. Clearly you didn’t read the script.
George, meanwhile, has settled nicely into his role as Norma Desmond’s houseboy. Dr. Webber admits that this diva patient handled him as well—she’s so demanding that their only way out is to pawn her off on some other department at SGH. So George tries to get her transferred to the department he knows the least about—gynecology. Izzie pops in and asks for an update about the dog. George insists he’s moving out, and when the diva patient hears this she can’t believe that a woman would choose a dog over George. Um it’s probably because Meredith was thinking she doesn’t want FREAKISHLY HUGE-HEADED CHILDREN.
Since the writers of this episode are clearly on crack, the next scene they insert is, of course, an IMPROMPTU HOT DOG EATING CONTEST in the always pleasant SGH semi-outdoor cafeteria. Cristina, Alex, and George sit down with a pile of hot dogs on each of their plates. George snaps at Meredith for breaking his concentration since he’s “in the zone.” Yeah, maybe the pansy zone. Anyway, the contest starts, and the visuals are best left intact:
“Hmm, I usually prefer a little more girth.”
“Don’t get your hopes up, this kind of thing costs extra.”
Just relax your throat
Cristina follows the time-tested technique of eating all the dogs first and then wetting the buns, if you know what I mean. After a lot of unpleasant wolfing down by all three contestants, Cristina wins. OF COURSE the Asian girl would win. It’s like my third-grade piano competitions all over again. Izzie and Meredith pay little attention to the contest but instead argue over the flyers they’re plastering all over the hospital about the dog—specifically, whether they should lie and say the dog is a good dog or tell the truth and admit it’s SATAN.
Inside, a hospital administrator shows Dr. Webber a letter from the nurses complaining about their increased workload. She says that he has to hire more nurses—just please not any with syphilis. The competitive-eater patient, meanwhile, has been diagnosed with a tear in the lining of her esophagus. Though it can be fixed surgically, she can’t enter the Taste of Seattle competition that afternoon. In fact, Dr. Bailey recommends that she stop competing altogether. The patient’s coach asks for some privacy to convey the news to the patient; Dr. Bailey suspects he’ll translate falsely so the patient won’t know the real diagnosis.
Missing finger guy, meanwhile, has invited his entire band into his room, and they’re all smoking. Cristina continues her total disregard for bedside manner and judges the hell out of the patient’s smoking habit. Whatever Cristina, at least he didn’t get KNOCKED UP OUT OF WEDLOCK. When the patient realizes Cristina doubts his ability to quit smoking, he plunges into deep despair, such are her powers of suggestion.
George’s ploy proves unsuccessful, as the gynecologists return his diva patient back to the surgical wing. Now she says she has a fever, which she uses as an excuse to hit on George blatantly. First gays, now old trannies—everybody hits on this guy except, alas, the one, lone, winsome, anorexic object of his desire. It’s just like Old School, only starring… oh wait, Ellen Pompeo.
Even though the toxicology tests come back negative, Meredith still can’t believe the lovey-dovey heart valve patient isn’t on drugs. Though this is standard Meredith cynicism, the patient admittedly is giddier than Star Jones at the Popeye’s factory outlet. Dr. Burke, for his part, is pretty giddy himself and asks Meredith whether she’d like to come over for dinner with him and Cristina. So that lying dragon lady Cristina DID move in with him. AHA.
Speaking of Cristina, Dr. He-Shepherd berates her in the elevator for being so judgmental toward the fingerless patient. In yet another technical coup, this scene is shot in handheld, Ã la 28 Days Later. Soon we’ll have a Steadicam homage to Stanley Kubrick, then perhaps a Marc Chagall-inspired dream sequence. Anyway, Dr. Filet-o-Dreaminess says Cristina should apologize to the patient and restore his confidence in NicoDerm CQ, since his recovery is as much mental as physical. But she gets the attitude again, smacks Dr. He-Shepherd down for lying to Meredith, and storms out.
After summoning one of the hospital translators, Alex discovers that the tricky eating coach snuck out of the hospital with his trainee/patient so she could go compete. Cristina, meanwhile, apologizes to her fingerless patient for her earlier harshness and apparently feels so bad that she lets the guy outside for a cigarette. Dr. He-Shepherd is so pissed about this that he won’t let her even assist in the surgery.
Cristina admits to Meredith that she did sorta dupe Dr. Burke into thinking she’d moved in but kept her old apartment without telling him. This is totally implausible, since Dr. Burke is so fastidious that he would’ve not only helped move Cristina out himself but probably repainted and disinfected her entire apartment with Clorox. I love it when the writers know their own characters so well!
The giddy valve patient tells Meredith she’s gorgeous and should smile more. Well good luck with that, lady. In private, the patient’s husband admits that his wife can be exhausting—she’s so in love that he thinks something is wrong, since the honeymoon period should have ended long ago. After this chat, Meredith emerges as not only a liaress but a FORGERESS to boot, signing Dr. Burke’s signature to authorize yet another drug test on the patient, since she still isn’t convinced by the results of the first one.
Dr. Bailey receives word that her competitive-eater patient collapsed at the Taste of Seattle contest—nobody said those frappuccinos go down easy—and is back at the hospital puking up blood. Phew, it’s been like three weeks since our last bloody vomiting incident, and I was starting to miss it. During the surgery to repair the esophagus, Dr. Bailey starts having contractions and officially enters the wacky world of preterm labor. Dr. Webber forces her to leave the O.R. and go home.
Dr. Burke is displeased but forgiving when he finds out Meredith forged his signature. Though crazyhappylady’s drug tests are negative again, her serotonin levels are through the roof, which Nobel laureate Burke immediately pegs as a rare carcinoid tumor in the woman’s lung. Apparently these things cause valve failure, asthma, and elevated serotonin levels all at once. A veritable gold mine for ABC screenwriters! So Meredith was right after all—nobody is really that happy, the patient’s body was just lying to her mind. The woman’s husband wants to know how soon they can cure her—i.e., return her to the crippling depression of her dumpy, middle-aged years spent languishing in suburbia—and they say later that day. He’s elated.
George foists his hip-replacement lady on a new doctor, with whom she immediately starts flirting. But not long afterward, the woman’s daughter arrives at the hospital, and we learn that the old lady has told an elaborate string of lies to avoid going to the old folks’ home. Commence the emotional interlude of the episode, in which the woman admits that she’s elderly but that she’s afraid she’ll truly become OLD old if she goes to a nursing home. George gives her comfort and succor. Especially succor.
The theme music from Rudy starts to play as the old woman encourages George to go balls-out against Meredith’s dog, fight for what’s his, start playing with G.I. Joes instead of Barbies—in short, stand up to Meredith’s abomination and bitchery. George kisses the woman’s hand, turns into a frog, and swaggers out of the room. Meanwhile, in the O.R., the foundation for next week’s drama is laid as a nurse interrupts Dr. Webber with notice that the nurses are going on strike in ten days. Ooooh, I’m hoping for a cameo by Michael Bloomberg calling the strike an outrage and telling those shiksa bitches to get back to work.
Alex has still not opened the envelope with the results from his boards and asks Izzie to open them instead. Big surprise, he passed his boards. There seems to be a little mild, rekindled chemistry between Izzie and Alex—apparently she’s already totally forgotten about Nicolas Downey Jr. from last week.
Cristina checks in on the severed-finger patient, and the reattachment seems to have gone well. Dr. He-Shepherd approaches Cristina and says (read: LIES) that he’s just trying to be nice to Meredith, not pulling his McDreamy McMasculine charms on her. Cristina is totally unconvinced but keeps her mouth shut this time. Meanwhile, Dr. She-Shepherd, the clear screentime loser of this episode, sends Dr. Bailey home for bed rest until the baby arrives. Dr. Bailey reminds all her minions that yea, though she be pregnant and homebound, her great lidless eye still sees all.
Cristina caves and says she’ll come clean to Dr. Burke about her apartment if that’s what Meredith wants. But Meredith says no, she should wait. Meredith admits that she herself lied about Dr. He-Shepherd, that they’re not just friends, at least not to her. Then George and Meredith have a moment in the intern locker room. George delivers a lengthy verbal beatdown, saying that he understands Meredith’s had a shitty time with Dr. He-Shepherd but that she doesn’t get to treat him like crap, like a dog, like WORSE THAN A DOG, he just wants to be SEEN FOR THE HUMAN THAT HE IS, could she just have a little COMPASSION FOR GOD’S SAKE, etc. I’m not sure what the writers were thinking, or maybe I’m just an asshole, but this scene comes across as wildly overblown. It’s nice to see Meredith get called out once in a while, but George makes a mountain out of a molehill, and the whole thing just seems overdramatic.
As the episode closes, Cristina and Dr. Burke cuddle in bed, where she has a guilty look on her face befitting the mendacious hussy that she is. Meredith, George, and Izzie show up at the Shepherds’ trailer, where Meredith hands over the dog to Dr. She-Shepherd. Ah, I love it when a bitch hands over a bitch to another bitch. Only at the last minute does Meredith tell Dr. He-Shepherd that the dog chews everything, hates cats, isn’t housebroken, and voted Republican in the last election. The two share some more semi-meaningful looks before Dr. He-Shepherd says he’s just being nice, that his recent kindnesses and doe-eyed glances don’t really mean anything. As Meredith walks away, he gets a pained look on his face indicating that all the words he just said were LIES.
Like the last couple episodes, I don’t think this was the best—it was all over the place and sort of totally boring. However, I think they’re probably just treading water a little bit in preparation for big developments in the not-so-distant future. Rumors abound that someone is leaving the show. Bets?