As Katherine Heigl does the press conference rag, trumpeting her pleasure at being back on set while Grey’s Anatomy begins filming season six, I can’t help feeling there’s something wrong with this picture.
Does anyone else remember when Grey’s was good? There was a time the patients were more than tools used to prop up a mirror in which Derek Shepherd could see himself and “learn a lesson” (not that he ever seems to learn anything). Izzie wasn’t psycho, Cristina’s emotions were a mere flicker of a change in Sandra Oh’s expression, Alex didn’t cry like he’s the lost Winchester brother.
This last season seemed like it was finally getting back onto its old track, the trouble being that all the good stories were going to the new kids. Derek’s breakdown had me yawning, I have trouble buying Meredith Grey in the same sentence as marriage, the Alex/Izzie storyline was painfully saccharine and, as much as I was surprised by the twist on the George storyline, there’s no way to relate it to the non-Grey’s watching world without everyone bursting, understandably, into laughter.
Grey’s used to walk a line that, although occasionally veering too far into melodrama, still managed to make it work. Now it works too hard to serve its supersized cast, Heigl in particular, and succeeds only in undermining them. When you end the season suggesting you might kill off two of your leads and your audience’s reaction is “At last,” it’s time to rethink what you’re doing.
I, for one, was relieved to hear Shonda Rimes freed T.R. Knight of his contract, but to keep Katie Heigl on-board? Fail, ABC. The time to let Heigl go was long ago, way back before Izzie started hallucinating Jeffrey Dean Morgan getting his Ghost on, with Shonda Rimes insisting it wasn’t a tumor only to have little Lexie Grey turn around and announce it was a tumor. Katie Heigl might not be ready to leave the golden parachute Grey’s provides in case her film career flops, but we’re more than ready to see her go.