How to Write Good Drama
Subtitle: Thanks Shonda
For as much as I enjoy certain Canadian actors, I'm sorry but Grey's Anatomy will always be the absolute best medical drama on TV.
Why you ask?
Because of all the medical dramas on television, it's the one that's the most mature, has grown the most, and by mature I mean that it parallels what we go through in real life as opposed to just showing skin for ratings. Even when we see the ridiculous medical cases it still doesn't lose the message of humanity that each and every episode manages to express. I'm gonna be honest with you, I'm in my 30s I didn't spend my 20s pining for a man, worried about my biological clock or anything else the television says that we should be doing during that formative decade. I married one of my best friends from college (remember, Hot Roommate) not because I was desperate for a man but because we clicked and we figured out that we had the same goals in life. Seemed only natural that we could spend the rest of our lives together and 13 years as a couple and 10 years of marriage later we figured we made a pretty damn good choice.
Yet most shows on television make me feel like something is wrong with me. Evidently, I should've spent my 20s sleeping around, trying to figure out who is with who, bed hopping with my friends, or trying to cut other people's throats for a high-powered career all before the age of forty because I'm a woman and no one wants a woman who is not in her twenties, a size two, and squeaks when she giggles. Don't get me wrong, my career's in education and trust me I saw a lot of teachers sleeping with anything that moved and cutting anyone's throats to get ahead in our field but it just wasn't something that ever appealed to me. I just like being nice to other people and I just wanted to do my job.
And that's where Grey's Anatomy comes in because I honestly have to say the Meredith Grey is one of my favorite female characters ever on television. Number one she's not perfect. Yes Ellen Pompeo is thin but she's not by any stretch of the imagination a typical on TV beauty, in fact, in my opinion she looks kind of like everyone else, pretty but no Scarlett Johansen. Her background story is sad, but not horribly sad; she didn't live on the streets, she wasn't destitute, but she did have a strange and strained relationship with her parents. Not that my mother was a famous professional but the parallels between our lives are the same, or enough to hold my interest. Meredith does the best she can through school; she's not quite the number one in her class, she might not even be the number two, but she's good and she does have talent so she's stuck somewhere in the top middle. Again I can totally relate to that, in everything I do I always encounter that person that's just a wee bit better and likes to rub that little bit in my face. Meredith finds a job and meets the demand of romance, of course since most modern television has to be about who's hooking up with who rather than just actual real life. Mer falls for married Dr. Sheppard and there's that whole love affair mess, but the story solves itself rather quickly by modern TV standards, with a post it note wedding no less (How empowering!!) That said and done, Meredith and Derek(Dr. Sheppard) fall comfortably into a relationship together that I love because while it's steamy and romantic at times, most of the time they're just best friends who can bounce ideas off of each other and have fights like NORMAL couples, and not stupid dramatic 'You looked at your ex and now I toss my hair in frustration bullshit.' Not to mention the coparenting that they're doing now is not only hilarious but I feel like someone has a hidden camera in me & Hot Roomate's house and putting it on TV.
Outside of Meredith's relationship is her role in society which so few shows take the time to really examine. Meredith is questioning her role as a mother; she wants to be a better mother than her own but she also doesn't want to lose herself in motherhood as I have seen so many women do. It's something I face every day; I'd like to work myself up to a career in the Department of Education but I also want to be a good mom to my kids so it's a tough balance. Meredith has also reached a point in her life where she is starting to see differences between her idea of success and the ideas of success that some of her close friends and even family members or pseudo-family may have that's causing a different kind of conflict, one that doesn't involve whining and romance but instead involves a true self-examination.
This season Meredith is truly understanding what it is to become a mother and watching herself turn into her own, which is her greatest fear. I think that's the greatest year of a lot of us who may have had a different mother/daughter relationship. Am my own person or my becoming the person that made me? Watching Meredith and Christina's relationship fall apart this season as well is heart-wrentching but life, as we choose to go down different paths, but makes a point I think a lot of mature adults can appreciate. As the show has progressed, we see a different Meredith, not some love struck intern but an adult and one who's trying to figure out what it really is to be Meredith Grey.
It's for that reason alone I'm watching the show, to be honest, I'm not even paying attention to the rest of the bed hopping and boo-bho is so-and-so gonna get with so-and-so. I think we need more shows like that on TV and just more of this type of story in all media experience. I love escapism, don't get me wrong, Daniel Jackson is my escape every night of the week from the stress of life but when I do want to watch a real-life drama I want to watch a real-life drama and most people are not sleeping with everyone they work with and just because a couple hits a rough patch they don't just get a divorce and move on to another character. I'm not kidding myself, I know that Grey's does a little of that to keep the ratings for the people who cannot go beyond 'coupling' in their entertainment, but Meredith Grey's story is real life and I applaud the writers for making sure to include that in the story, hell, make it the main story. It's a story of how we fight to be better than our parents, how we fight because none of us is ever number one, that we are never the best and we can only be the best we can be, how we fight for our family and we start to lose ourselves because of that family and how we fight to get ourselves back.
I've got to say I love her and I will watch the show until Meredith Grey is either no longer on it, which considering it's named after her I don't see that happening until it's canceled.
Anyway just my thoughts but Shonda Rimes thank you for making every Thursday for me entertaining and enlightening.