About a month ago, I asked an open question: What makes "Grey's Anatomy" so appealing? Most straight women I know have a special place in their heart for the show, and the comments I got backed that up. But the supporters of the show showed that support in a peculiar way: By couching it in a defense of the show's declining quality. Most of the people who praised the show did so with several qualifications.Teresa listed her top five reasons for liking the show, but also said: "...but it's gotten a little more Melrose Place-ish and less slapstick. It was a bit funnier in the ep when Ellen Pompeo was on painkillers running her mouth." Mike said: "It is (relatively) smartly written and it is humorous (in a ha ha hmm, but not a HA HA HA sort of way). ... I really liked last season untill the last couple of episodes, when the show became a lot more soapish, a trend which has continued into this season. Now everyone is sleeping with everyone else and it's getting a little tired." Katie said that "it beats watching 'Deal or No Deal.'" This is true, but also a bit misleading, since getting groped by Zed and the Gimp beats watching "Deal or No Deal." Seriously, it's a game of no skill where people scream at briefcases for an hour. But that's a mystery for another time. Caitlin compared the show to Clooney-era "ER," stating that "'Grey's' has three doctors who hit Clooney-ish levels of attractiveness (at least for my friends and I) in Patrick Dempsey, Isaiah Washington, and Eric Dane's characters." But she went on to offer a well-reasoned defense of the show:
"As others have noted above, the characters are flawed enough to be relatable, and the episode-to-episode writing and plot arcs are strong enough to make watching our McDoctors something more than a guilty pleasure. And while we all wish Ellen Pompeo would eat some food, already, Sara Ramirez has a relatable figure and gets to sleep with hot doctors. Even though the female character we wind up annoyed by the most is Ellen Pompeo's, others (including Sandra Oh's and Chandra Wilson's) are strong enough to keep us from dwelling on Meredith Grey's flaws. In short, not a perfect TV show (I am a Veronica Mars fan, so I've experienced perfection), but for my girls and I, the pluses by far outweigh the negatives, and that level of quality is definitely enough to keep us in love with it. I can see how some guys might not reap the same level of enjoyment from that formula (and I know some girls who don't), but overall it is one of my favorites these days."
I appreciate that. (And not least because, by praising "Veronica Mars," Caitlin became my new best friend.) But that was about the best response I got. Christina compared the show's fandom to a sorority, saying that:
"You can easily relate to whichever girl reminds you of you (the smart one, the damaged one, the pretty one, the slutty one) and you can lust after the guy that is most to your liking (the hot one, the other hot one, the other hot one, or the cute/nebbish one) and pick your favorite line to repeat over and over and make your headline on myspace."
"Hot guys" seemed to be theme that occured most often in the comment thread. Probably my favorite response was Brenda's, who assumed that my use of "girls" was meant to be condescending. Brenda, I can assure you, it wasn't meant to be a slight. I also sometimes use "guys" instead of "men." Sometimes I call my sister "kid." That's right; I won't even use a gender-specific noun. That's how mean I can get. It happens. But anyway, Brenda said something that caught on my brain:
"The tone of total mystification at its success -- 'I just don't understand what all those womenfolk see in those sexy doctors scored to non-threatening indie music' -- is a little disingenuous and a lot superior. The appeal of Grey's Anatomy is much less confusing than Jackass's, or the WWE's."
Really? The success of "Jackass" isn't confusing at all, at least to anyone who's even seen a group of 12-year-old boys running around a park or basketball court trying to kill each other. But by comparing the two, are you somehow implying that "Grey's Anatomy" appeals to the simplistic, juvenile part in women that corresponds to whatever male neurons get all wonky over "Jackass"? Anyone can feel free to answer that question, and these: 1. Most of the comments I got last time seemed to say that the show used to be better but has since devolved into an extreme soap opera. Is there any truth to that? 2. Again, most of the comments last time carried an air of "Okay, it's not great, but it's good." Is the show just a guilty pleasure? If so, is there anything wrong with admitting that? I've got plenty of guilty pleasures. Do you really need this show to be Good, or is it okay if it's just good fun? 3. Is the show now worse than it used to be? If so, what could make it better? And if it is getting worse, what keeps you watching? Like I said, the questions are open for anybody to answer. Don't forget to sign your name if you're posting anonymously. Also, any personal attacks lobbed in my direction should also try to include some legitimate discussion of the show in question. Gotta stay on topic, people. Thanks.