Friday, May 21, 2010

Aghast at Grey's Anatomy final episode

I understand what the producers of Grey's Anatomy were trying to do during their season finale May 19, but their good intentions were over-shadowed by what some might consider over-the-line offensive.

That said, the actors deserve high praise for their work. The portrayal of their characters was stellar because it was so believable. We responded to the terror they were living through. They were believable and credible, and nearly all should win Emmys for their performances.

The story itself was a very good one, which done properly could have been historic in the annals of dramatic television. But it wasn't. Instead it relied on over-the-top graphic violence. I feel a little betrayed by that. Are good ratings reliant upon violence over substance?

While evoking emotional responses in the viewers was probably their goal, producers may have gotten more than they bargained for.

I for one, and I can only speak for myself, watch television shows like Grey's Anatomy, as a respite from reality. A little reality is good because it makes a show believable. But in my mind, Grey's Anatomy's final episode took this way too far. To me, the show was a little too real, mirroring the fears that already exist in our society. An emotionally-damaged man going berserk on his wife's doctors is a far too possible and frightening scenario. It is neither something I want to think about nor something I want to see in my weekly television viewing lineup.

If I wanted to see pints of blood oozing from victims of gunshot wounds, smeared all over the floor, furniture, and clothing, I'd watch the 6 o'clock news. But even they don't show the act of shooting a likable little nurse in the head at point-blank range while she bleeds out on the floor. I watch TV to escape that the knowledge that such violence occurs in streets all across the country. I choose to avoid that kind of violence in the movie theater.

Furthermore, the last thing I wanted to see was the death and injury of characters I've invested years in getting to know that I've admittedly grown fond of. After all, isn't it the intention of a television drama to produce believable and lovable characters? Grey's Anatomy accomplished that. But then to slaughter them before our eyes caused undue personal distress in what was an otherwise great show.

Was all that graphic violence really necessary to carry out the plot? I don't think so. Case-in-point: one of the best scenes was when the shooter was taken out either by the S.W.A.T. team or his own hand, off-camera. We knew what happened. It was odd that he was the only character we didn't see shot, since his death was the one we could have easily coped with. Our sense of justice would have been satisfied since he caused all the carnage to the characters we care about.

Another thing that was totally wrong with this final episode was that at the moment of the highest drama, there was yet another cut away to a commercial. The plethora of ads during this show seemed excessive and appeared at awkward times--more so than usual.

I will at least give credit that the show did end on an emotional high note, bringing couples together who had drifted apart. After the horror they and we witnessed, it was refreshing to see couples who had lost their way, reunite.That was believable.

I will still watch Grey's Anatomy, and I look forward to next season. But, due to the insensibility thrust upon the viewing audience, don't be surprised if there are some who just don't go back.