STUDIO: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
MSRP: $36.99
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 740 minutes
New Docs on the Block
On the Set With Patrick and Eric
Good Medicine: Favorite Scenes
Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy: Unaired Scenes
In Stitches: Season 4 Outtakes
One Quick Cut
Commentaries on three episodes with cast and crew

The Pitch


The Humans

Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, T.R. Knight, Chandra Wilson, Sara Ramirez, Eric Dane, Brooke Smith, James Pickens, Jr.

The Nutshell

At Seattle Grace Hospital, patient care is the most important thing…except for which doctor is banging which.  The lives and careers of five interns, headed up by the neurotic Meredith Grey (Pompeo), intertwine and frequently get tangled into pretzels as they make their way through the medical program on their way to becoming residents.  Not to be outdone, the attendings, including Grey’s on-again-off-again-on-again-off-again-on-again-off-again boyfriend, Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd, frequently find themselves just as twisted up, usually because of the interns.

Man, those DVD Easter Eggs are worth hunting for…

The Lowdown

Grey’s Anatomy is a show that the wife got me watching a couple of years ago.  At first I fought it, but then I came to realize that the show hooks you and reels you in like a trout.  A lot of what makes the show work is what ER had going for it longer than I care to remember ago in that the doctors’ relationships are just as unusual as the cases that they treat.  There’s more bed-hopping in this show than a couple of Larry Flynt productions.  The problem is, however, that eventually you know one relationship is going to have to go through a torturous break up for the next to get going.  So as fun as the show can be, it’s also a relationship time bomb.  In the case of the lead characters, Grey and Shepherd, that’s an IED that’s gone off about a half a dozen times by now.

The general levels of testosterone on the show at any given time.

Meredith Grey often comes off like the half-sister of Ally McBeal.  Both in that Pompeo looks a little like Flockhart, and her character is a neurotic mess of McBealean proportions.  Issues with her legendary surgeon mother, who got a quickie case of Alzheimers, so that she forgot she was distant to Meredith to begin with, and Meredith’s father, who left the family to start a new one, have turned Meredith into a needy, clingy mass of angst that’s afraid to pull the trigger on any relationship.  Through circumstances that were her fault, and some that weren’t – being that Derek was still married when their relationship began – MerDer has gone from white hot to stone cold and back again a couple of times.  The will-they-or-won’t-they, do-they-or-don’t-they has been run into the ground and is still an ongoing question.

“What do you think, McDreamy?”
“How about we get McNaked in the McLinenCloset after the McSurgery?”

There isn’t much relief in the relationship department with any of the other characters either.  Chief of them being George (Knight) and Izzie (Heigl), both with each other and separately.  First of all, George had a crush on Meredith forever.  When he finally got the balls to tell her, she was an emotional wreck from various things, including Derek.  The consummation of their relationship was a disaster and Meredith cried in bed, telling George he didn’t have to stop.  But there’s nothing like severe emotional distress punctuated by tears to kill the mood.

Then George gets into a relationship with orthopedic surgeon Callie (Ramirez) and marries her, even though he knew he was developing feelings for Izzie.  He then cheats on Callie with Izzie, effectively blowing that marriage out of the water before it even gets started.  Of course then show creator Shonda Rhimes had to put the skids on that unpopular relationship by saying that George and Izzie have no chemistry in bed, no matter how many times they bone, so they go their separate ways.

“Considering what show we’re on, and that we’re in bed together, aren’t we supposed to be getting freaky?”
“We’re waiting for Sweeps, remember?”

Of course Izzie had her own issues independent of George.  She had banged fellow intern Alex Karev (Chambers) for a while, but realized that he’s a distant and emotionally unavailable prick.  So then she started an ill-advised relationship with heart patient Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who eventually proposed and then died right after a heart transplant that went unexpectedly bad.  Then she gloms onto George and you know how that relationship ended.

The most complex character and the actor doing, I think, the best work on the show is Sandra Oh as the manically-driven Cristina Yang.  Yang is just as neurotic as Meredith in her own way, being obsessed with being the best surgeon at the hospital, and having started a relationship with former cast member Isaiah Washington’s Preston Burke, who was a heart surgeon.  They got engaged, then he left her at the alter because he knew she didn’t love him as much as he loved her, although she never would admit it.  When she found out, Yang collapsed crying, not because of being jilted, but out of relief, because she knew it as well as he did.  This season, she has to spend a significant amount of time getting her groove back as a surgeon, which gave Oh the chance to do some of her best work on the show to date.

“You guys got cute nicknames:  McDreamy…McSteamy…I want one.”
“How about McBlackGuy”
“Edgy.  Let’s go with it.”

The rest of the cast, including Chandra Wilson as chief resident Miranda Bailey, James Picken, Jr. as Chief Richard Webber and Eric Dane as the manwhore plastic surgeon Mark “McSteamy” Sloan are also good.  So the issue isn’t casting or writing with Grey’s, it’s just which doomed relationship are you going to have to slog through to get to the good stuff, even though the relationships frequently are the good stuff.

Season 4 dealt with a number of ongoing issues, including George having failed his resident test and having to redo his internship all over again while all of his colleagues and friends had gone on to residency.  Yang was dealing with the fallout over being dumped by Burke and where to go from there, and Meredith, with all of her other issues, has to deal with her half-sister, Lexie (the cutely hot Chyler Leigh), with whom she wants nothing to do, coming into the program as an intern.  But some of the characters, especially Karev, have got to get something new going for themselves, because they’re starting to tread water.

“Yep.  You are definitely gay, T.R.  No doubt about it.”
“I tried to tell you, Katherine…”

When the show isn’t focusing on the hot topic relationshiop of the moment, the doctors actually manage to see a patient or two.  In “”Love/Addiction,” the dctors treat the victims of an apartment building explosion.  In “The Heart of The Matter,” the Chief has to treat his niece once again, as she’s dying of cancer.  He also has to deal with the fact that she wants to end her treatments and let the cancer win.

“Kung Fu Fighting” has the doctors treating two competing brides-to-be whose refusal for treatment due to stipulations of their dream wedding competition threaten their lives.  “Crash Into Me” is a two-parter where the doctors have to try to save the lives of victims of an ambulance crash.  “Lay Your Hands on Me” finds a faith healer who needs emergency surgery foregoing her treatment but mysteriously healing other patients in the hospital.  And in the season finale, “Freedom”, Meredith and Derek continue a so-far unsuccessful clinical trial for a brain tumor viral treatment on a couple who bonded during a previous treatment that only one will end up surviving.  Meanwhile, the rest of the doctors struggle to save a dipshit teen who laid in a block of quick drying cement on a dare to impress a girl.

Oliver’s Note: This is for Eileen, for all her hard work on the site.  Straight from my private collec-  uh, the special features disc…

Grey’s Anatomy is clearly targeted at women, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make a good watch for guys.  The writing, characters and medical cases are all clever and you can’t help but get drawn in.  But I think that if the relationships continue to overwhelm the storytelling, it could start to trend downward for this very successful show.  Grey’s isn’t quite like ER, where eventually there was a revolving door of cast members.  The show can’t afford to lose the core group and eventually they’re going to run out of hookup combos.  In the meantime, though, Grey’s Anatomy is a fun and often engrossing show.

The Package

The episodes look good in widescreen, which is pretty much becoming mandatory these days, which is a good thing of course.  They’re offered in Dolby Digital and have optional English, French and Spanish subtitles.  New Docs on the Block is an eight-minute spotlight on cast addtions to the show in Season 4: Dr. Lexi Grey (Leigh), Dr. Erica Hahn (Brooke Smith) and Nurse Rose (Lauren Stamile).  Their stories are explored and the cast members auditioned.  On the Set With Parick and Eric is a five-minute piece on the camaraderie of both Patrick and Eric and their characters, McDreamy and McSteamy.  Good Medicine: Favorite Scenes is a 14-minute featurette featuring interviews with the cast about their favorite scenes of the season and showing them. 

Technically, this shot is from Season 1.  Any objections?  Didn’t think so.

Dissecting Grey’s Anatomy is 12 minutes of unaired scenes.  I much prefer having the scenes on the discs with the episodes rather than bunched together so it’s easier to keep them in context.  In Stitches: Season 4 Outtakes is four minutes of the guffaws and blown takes.  One Quick Cut
is nice little feature where they recap the entire history of the show in four minutes.  Funny how Isaiah washington wasn’t in it at all though.  Finally, there are commentaries on select episodes, with some of them being expanded to include scenes not previously shown.  On Disc 1, Chyler Leigh and associate producer Karin Gleason speak on the episode “A Change Is Gonna Come.”  Disc 2 has commentary by Lauren Stamile and executive producer / director Rob Corn on the episode “Forever Young.”  And Disc 4 features Sandra Oh and director Julie Anne Robinson on the episode “The Becoming.” 

7.5 out of 10