I have been watching this series on 8TV for the past few Wednesday nights. It starts just about the time I get home from doing locum after work. I watch it from my bathroom while I prepare for bed. How? Yeah, I got this nifty little turn-table that I got for a song in Parkson Grand some time ago where I can place my little 14” TV on and I can conveniently turned it to face the toilet door. Cool eh?
So, as I brush my teeth, scrub my face (it’s a ritual every Wednesdays), shower and dry myself, I watched this show about a bunch of surgical interns working in the emergency department in a hospital. I know I sound rather vague here, simply because I don’t know any of the characters very well. It’s not exactly a show that endears to you, even after a couple of episodes, unlike LOST or DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES.
Well, for one, I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, especially Dr Meredith Grey (played by Ellen Pompeo), whose name features in the title of the show, a clever take on the classical anatomy book by GRAY….a book which everyone respects, everyone probably has a copy but no one reads….except maybe for a few anatomy fanatics or an anatomy lecturer…same thing if you ask me). I would certainly like Dr Grey a lot more if only her voice isn’t so raspy and soft. It sounds like a 6 year old speaking with a mouthful of cotton candy.
Still, after a while, the show grows on you. I actually find myself looking forward to watching it. Most of the stuff shown was really nothing new actually. Been there, done that. It’s been a long time since I was an intern.
They struggled in the show, grappling with many issues whether medical or otherwise. They struggled with unreasonable demands placed on them by their superiors and their patients. They struggle with their conscience sometimes. They learn to trust in their instincts sometimes. Yeah, been there, done that.
Like the in episode last week for instance, Dr Cristina Yang (played by Sandra Oh…btw, she just won an award for her acting at the Golden Globe) could not accept the fact that her patient chose to continue with her pregnancy knowing well that her decision would mean she will die of breast cancer as she could not be given chemotherapy. She felt that the patient’s decision was wrong. I was like that once. I felt that as a doctor, my job was to treat and heal. I could not understand why some people deliberately refused to be treated. Dr Yang was protrayed as a hardened intern, at least in her heart. I suspect she has built a wall of resilience around her to help her cope with the every day human tragedies she sees around her. I think she has very little emotion, unless of course when she is bedding Burke (Isaiah Washington), the senior surgeon there. They are a couple, you know, often making out in the doctor’s changing room. Doesn’t happen in real life…not that I know of anyway.
With years comes wisdom. Just as in the show, that patient simply chose to give life to a newborn baby, forsaking the little extension of her life by chemotherapy. She knew that when she is gone, her husband and her precious child would have many wonderful years ahead of them and they will always have beautiful memories of her. It’s not hard to understand how the child would feel in the future, knowing that his or her mum gave her life for him/her.
There’s a lesson to be learnt everyday, even in a sometimes cheesy TV show. Actually this show joins the ranks of other medical shows like Chicago Hope, ER, Saint Elsewhere and others, in that the doctors are surgeons. Somehow surgeons get all the glory. I guess it’s more exciting filming blood and gore and how a surgeon saves the day by donning a surgical mask and gown and starts operating away. Physicians in contrast are rather low key in TV shows. You must understand it’s hard to film a 14 day course of antibiotics and patients getting well… gradually. You can’t fit that into a one hour show.
Frankly, I like HOUSE more. It stands out like a sore thumb because it features a physician (and a brilliant one, mind you). It’s also because I don’t like any of the surgeons in GREY’S ANATOMY. Actually, I don’t know many likeable surgeons in real life either (I am going to get crucified for this statement!).
But then again, we are not here to be likeable. We are here to do a job. And do it well we will.