WHEN YOUR MAIN CHARACTER LAGS THE PACK - Complications Ensue
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Has anyone else noticed how much less interesting Meredith Gray is than anyone else on Gray's Anatomy? In the last episode, she was the whiny wallflower wondering whether "Dr. McDreamy" would pick her, while an ER filled up with train wreck cases -- limb re-attachments, unsuccessful operations, surprise fatalities. She even had to call herself vapid and self-involved so at least we'd know the writers know.

What do you do when your main character seems the least interesting character? Time to take the character off on a tangent. I guess that's what Rob Lowe was looking for when he ankled The West Wing. (That, and a lot more money...) Meredith could have had any of the plot lines handed out to supposedly secondary characters: Christina Yang's pregnancy, Alex's failure as a doctor. Or she could go somewhere new. As it is, she needs a new story. Some reason to question her goal of being a doctor. Some obstacles to whatever it is she wants.

Right now her mom has been conveniently shuffled off to a nursing home. What if mom got better enough that she wanted to move back home with Meredith? Or, what if Meredith makes a serious medical mistake (perhaps out of warmheartedness) that for once actually has some ramifications for her?

Right now she seems to be the safest, lowest-stakes, lowest-jeopardy character in the bunch. And that is nowhere to be on a show.

5 Comments:

She's definitely my least favorite character on the show. And I really hate her voice-overs, even in this latest episode. I doubt she'll go the way of Rob Lowe, though. For starters, she's the title character, and it'd mess things up a bit. And secondly, the show's a hit, and I suppose part of that must be because of her.

By Blogger Jeff, at 11:03 AM  

I think you get this sort of problem on episodic TV because the main character is the only character who has to get lots of screen time in every episode.

I mean, nobody notices if Dr. Karev or Dr. Bailey only has five minutes of screen time in an episode, but Meredith's got to be the focus of every episode. That's hard to pull off. (If she weren't the title character, she wouldn't have had much more than that this week.)

Another problem is that your leads have to be empathic to your audience. Part of what makes Sandra Oh's character so interesting also puts up a wall between her an the audience's empathy. Although "House" seems to pull that sort of thing off with the title character, it's harder to do.

Lastly, the great problem with episodic TV: fear of moving too quickly. Sometimes it seems like they have no choice but to slow down their character arcs to the extreme (resulting in dull moments) because they don't want to resolve everything by halfway through the season.

What's intersting to me about "Grey's" is that I really like the show despite the obvious flaws like the sometimes tedious VOs, the cheesy musical montages (every episode has at least one, almost always at about quarter-til) and the way-too-obvious metaphoric connection between the patient-of-the-week and Meredith's problem-of-the-week.

Despite all that, it's a "don't miss" show for me. And it can't just be because Ellen Pompeo is HAWT! :)

By Blogger Hotspur, at 12:41 PM  

I was thinking the exact same thing, and I've only just started watching the show. I constantly had to ask my wife, "is she supposed to be the center of the show?" She bored the hell out of me.

By Blogger Lawrence, at 4:46 AM  

Meredith had so much more at stake, and so much more to deal with in Seasons One and Two. This year, it's as if the writers feel guilty giving her good story lines, and are working to beef up the characters around her. But Meredith is why I started watching Grey's in the first place. I really identified with her. This season she's just been wasted, so far. But I think the tide is going to turn for her in a very big way, very soon. But my fingers are bound(my lips would be sealed, but I don't type with those!)

By Blogger Real History Lisa, at 5:33 PM  

This season's Greys (2007) has been a real dud for me, and I've almost lost complete interest in the show. I feel like it will get pulled next season. Do people still care about Gray's? I think they do but they haven't realized that they infact have lost interest too. hehe. Everyone is flat this season. And what the heck did they do to Izzy's character! Some really bad dialog, and really lame story lines for her, and super annoying personality this season. Has anyone else noticed that? I don't know maybe it changed but, like I said I lost interest and I stopped watching the show! It just seems like things happen but then they are resolved so easily. ie Gray dieing then waking up completely fine. And the story lines are all SO DRAMATIC (not really though) and then it gets resolved so easily and the worst part is probably that it doesn't even move the show's story forward ...theres always this feeling we're right back where we started after each dramatic episode.........annoying and pointless. Totally cool if the characters were still interesting......but alas--not really.

By Blogger AllyBOBally, at 4:03 PM  

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