Let’s Play Doctor! – A Recap of Grey’s Anatomy’s “Almost Grown”

Remember when you were a kid, and you used to play doctor . . .  or teacher, or lawyer, or whatever “grown-up” job you happened to be coveting at the time? (For me, it was “firefighter,” but only because I really wanted my own Cute Red Firetruck . . . and, of course, those adorable Dalmations that always seemed to come with it. )

So, you’d put on your tiny lab coat, or hard hat, or your Mom’s suit jacket.  Then, you’d get up in front of your friends or parents, and bluster on with confidence, speaking precisely the way you thought a “grown-up” with that job would sound. 

 

But, eventually, you’d get bored playing dress-up, and go back to watching cartoons . . .

Well, that’s kind of what it felt like our Seattle Grace residents and attendings were doing this week: playing dress-up.  They were pretending to be more mature and responsible than they actually were.  They did this, knowing full well that, if they screwed up, couldn’t perform, or just plain got bored, the “real” grown-ups would be right behind them, waiting to pick up the pieces . . .

The only difference was that Seattle Grace isn’t some kid’s playroom, it’s a HOSPITAL.  And when the “kids” screw up, patients can . . . you know . . . die and stuff.

OOPS!

So, while I applauded the concept of “Residents Play Attendings Day,” and “Attendings Play Chief Day” as a teaching tool, it wouldn’t exactly inspire confidence in me, as a prospective hospital patient.  In other words . . . Seattle Grace?  You be sure to call me, the next time your hospital is “playing dress-up,” and I will try very hard not to become critically ill, on that day . . .

“Doctor McDoody, reporting for DUTY!”

My own personal reservations aside, SOME of our doctors fared quite well in their role-playing, while others seemed desperately in need of training wheels.   Grey’s fans?  Get out your trusty red pens, because it’s time to grade our “students” . . .

THE RESIDENTS

Alex Karev – B+

Good Ole’ Alex.  Here’s a guy who has AWFUL social skills, some serious issues, when it comes to dealing with authority figures, and is almost aggressively immature.  Yet, despite all of these things (or, perhaps, because, of them) he is positively AWESOME at dealing with kids . . .

Anyone else remember this scene?  Because I do . . . A LOT . . . especially at night . . . when I’m DREAMING . . .

Yet, despite Karev’s obvious talent for Pediatrics, his chosen specialty, at least, for now, is “Plastics.”   And why not?  “Plastics” is exactly the type of specialty people would associate with someone like Alex — someone who, on the surface, is shallow, superficial, and “just in it for the money;”  someone who wants to fondle boobies for a living; someone who looks like this . . .

(No offense to all you Plastic Surgeons out there, by the way.  I’m sure you are all really nice people.  Nice people . . . who are certainly smarter and more successful than I am, and, I suspect, better looking too . . .)

So, when Alex’s first case as “Faux Attending” is a Pediatric Breast Reduction, he’s understandably OVER THE MOON about it!  (It’s like a two-for-one special on Alex’s Specialties!)  As Alex is walking down that hospital corridor, envisioning his patient, he’s probably picturing some hot leggy 18-year old model-type, with boobs the size of watermelons . . . someone like Barbie . . . or Jessica Rabbit.

Instead, he gets This Guy . . .

Alex’s patient is 13-years old.  He suffers from a rare glandular problem, which produces an excess amount of estrogen in his system.  (His father suffers from the same condition, making it, presumably, genetic.)  The condition results in the teen having “man boobs,” which have nothing to do with his being out-of-shape, or overweight.  In fact, the patient is quite thin.

What’s unique about this case (aside from the obvious, of course), is that Alex’s patient is NOT the one who needs “managing.”  The teen is GUNG HO about the surgery!  He’s tired of being called Boobie, and having bras taped to his locker.  (Man, middle schoolers can be AWFUL, can’t they?)  He is about to start high school.  And he wants to do it, without having two large bulls eyes taped to his chest . . . literally.

But his parents are concerned.  They think he’s too young to have such major reconstructive surgery.  Furthermore, they don’t see the boobs as being any sort of hinderance to their son’s masculinity or teenage lifestyle.  (In other words, the boy’s parents . . . are TOTAL BOOBS, themselves.)

 And when the boy’s mother learns that Alex, and not Dr. Sloan, will be performing the surgery, she decides immediately to take her child home.  So, Alex, knowing the MAJOR ass kicking this poor kid is about to take, the minute he takes off his shirt for Freshman gym, immediately rushes to Mommy and Daddy (a.k.a. Arizona and Sloan) for help.

(And it was this initial decisiveness, and this alone, that kept Alex from getting an A in my book.)

However, just as the boy’s parents are signing his discharge papers, Alex performs a Hail Mary!

In his own, special, very blunt way, Alex tells the kid’s mother, in no uncertain terms, why her son should be entitled to make his own choice, regarding getting the surgery.  Alex also explains what will likely happen to the kid, if he is not allowed to do so. 

Ultimately, as a result of Alex’s Tough Love, the boy’s parents relent.  And Alex performs the breast reduction surgery, flawlessly.

Well played, Dr. Evil Spawn! :)

Meredith Grey – A -

 

Initially, Meredith and Jackson shared a patient, during their “Attending for a Day” game.  She was an older patient, who required SERIOUS brain surgery.  She also had a very ornery partner, who, as it turns out, was rightfully skeptical of Meredith’s and Jackson’s surgical capabilities.  Said girlfriend was also a former teacher . . . and probably the MEANEST teacher her students ever had!

“Don’t sass me, Young Lady, or I will have you expelled so fast, your head will spin!”

Since both “Faux Attendings” couldn’t both carve up the lady’s noggin, Derek decided to engage the pair  in a little “friendly competition,” to determine which candidate was more worthy of wielding a scalpel.

Weirdly enough, the competition involved “egg carving,” which, I guess, is a cross between pumpkin carving . . .

 . . . and that ridiculous “Egg Baby” assignment that they make teens complete in High School Health Class . . .

EGG BROKEN  = FAIL?  I guess nothing preaches abstinence like punishing teens for an “accidental hatching.”

Meredith, hustled by Jackson’s hotness “Scrambled Eggs” routine . . .

. . .  becomes overconfident.  She, therefore, does a piss poor job on her egg carving . . .

“Don’t look at me, I’m HIDEOUS!”

As a result, Meredith loses the opportunity to conduct the solo brain surgery. 

Given that information alone, you may be wondering why she received such a high grade from me.  Well, you see, while the first brain surgery was going on, Lexie called on Meredith to perform another emergency surgery, one which she ultimately completed ALL BY HERSELF, and completely WITHOUT DEREK’S help or supervision. 

Of course, at the time, Lexie didn’t know her patient neeeded brain surgery.   So, it was up to Meredith to diagnose the patient first, which she did, in a matter of seconds, thus saving the patient’s life.  The surgery went swimmingly, which is why Meredith is our top scoring resident, today!  You GO GIRL!

Now, Jackson on the other hand . . .

Jackson Avery – C -

What an EGG HEAD!

The only reason Jackson didn’t get an F today, was because he’s a TOTAL Edward Scissorhands, when it comes to carving eggs.

He also looks like this . . .

That being said, Jackson really sucked the big one, this week!  First he completely botched the brain surgery, forcing Derek to step in and save the day at the last minute.  Then, until Derek stopped him, he was going to TELL THE PATIENT about it, which would have, not only freaked her out, but would have probably resulted in a major lawsuit against Seattle Grace.  And we all KNOW what happened the last time they had a law suit on their hands . . .

April Kepner – C+

We can’t really blame April for doing pretty much exactly what was expected of her . . . no more . . . no less.  But we can blame her for an obvious lack of confidence, and a seeming inability to think for herself.  She was also rather annoying, this week.  And, surely, we can blame her for that.

In April’s defense, she didn’t really get much in the way of guidance on her case.  (Although, wasn’t that kind of the point of this whole excercise?)  After all, for a good three-quarters of the episode, April’s “partner,” Cristina, seemed so quiet and disaffected, the patient in question, thought she was autistic . . .

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, END THIS SUPER-FRUSTRATING PTSD STORYLINE NOW!!!!

April’s and Cristina’s patient is a sweet and refreshingly optimistic older man, who is facing down certain death, if he doesn’t get a lung transplant, ASAP.

The question at hand is whether the patient is healthy enough to even be deemed a viable transplant candidate.  He has a host of medical problems, including possible renal failure and a fungal infection.  He also lacks a strong family support system.

April is confused as to what to do about this patient.  And so she makes her “scared, confused, and slightly annoyed face,” which may very well be the only facial expression the character has in her arsenal . . .

So, April asks Cristina what she should do.  Cristina tells April that she should convene a board panel, to determine whether the patient should be on the transplant list.  So, April convenes a panel.  But she doesn’t know what to say to the board. 

So, she asks Cristina AGAIN!  Cristina tells her that, if Teddy thought the patient was a viable candidate, she probably would have already convened a panel.  Therefore, Teddy probably thinks the patient is not a good transplant candidate.  So, April tells the panel the patient is a bad candidate because .  . . umm . . . ummm . . . because  . . . he  . . . um . . . is old . . . and ummm . . . has uh. . . no family and friends . . . and ummm . . . is sick . . . and ummm . . . will uh . . . probably like die anyway . .  . or . . . something.

OK . . . now I’m scared, confused and slightly annoyed . . . 

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the Future of Medicine!

Christina Yang – C

Cristina spent most of the episode wandering around dazedly like some sort of PTSD zombie (kind of like she has been for five episodes now).  However, unlike the patient in her care, SHE is (relatively) young, healthy, financially solvent, and actually HAS a support system. 

Specifically, Cristina has Meredith to bolster her confidence.  She has the Chief, Derek, and Teddy to give her the tough love, she so desperately needs now.  And she has her husband, Owen, to hold her, and tell her, “No matter what happens today, you and I are going home together.”

She also has this patient, who, inexplicably, sees something in Cristina that NONE OF US FANS have seen in her for five episodes now: namely, hope.  “Please don’t let me die.  I WANT TO LIVE!”  The patient pleads to a seemingly disaffected Cristina.

And so, at the very last minute, Cristina, like Alex before her, performs a Hail Mary!

She tells the skeptical panel that she has seen 27 transplant cases, and, in all of them, the will to live was the most important factor in the patient’s survival.  Healthwise, this patient may be borderline, but his will to live is strong.  “So, if you give this patient lungs, they will not go to waste, because he will LIVE,” concludes Cristina.

And the board AGREES, because they agree to put the Loveable Old Guy, on the lung transplant list. 

“You were a surgeon today, Yang,” says Teddy (These were the b*tchy doctor’s only kind words the ENTIRE episode, by the way).

And then, Cristina does something she hasn’t done in five episodes . . . she SMILES!

Please LORD, let this be the start of a new trend . . .

Lexie – A -

Poor Lexie!  She is the hospital’s ONLY third-year resident.  Everyone else, apparently is either a fourth-year or an intern.  (Man this hospital is POOR!  Maybe they should spend that “MILLION DOLLARS” hiring some new doctors.)

So, instead of being “Attending for a Day,” Lexie got to be “Everybody’s B*tch.”  But, she was REALLY good at it!  Lexie did everybody’s grunt work flawlessly.  She memorized her patient’s charts.  And, perhaps most importantly, she knew enough to call for help, when she had gotten in over her head.  In other words, this third-year kicked most of the fourth-year’s ASSES! *cough Avery, April, Cristina cough*

You go, GIRL!

THE ATTENDINGS

If you thought the residents did a BAD JOB of playing attendings . . . well, the attendings, did an EVEN WORSE job playing “Chief.”

“Heck, I could have told you that was going to happen!  I was a Bad Chief for an ENTIRE SEASON!”

Apparently, Seattle Grace, which (1) dropped in the rankings from 1 to 13 two seasons ago, and hasn’t come back since; (2) had to cut half its staff last season, because it was so POOR; (3) had to merge with another hospital last season, because it was so POOR; (4) lost 12 doctors in a freak shooting; and (5) has, recently, become known as the hospital you go to when you want to “be shot to death by psychos,” now has a surplus of . . .

“ONE MILLION DOLLARS!”

Yeah . . . I didn’t understand it either .  . .

Nevertheless, the Chief wanted each Attending to explain to him why his or her department should get the money.  As for the presentations, themselves?  Well, let’s just say they were . . . interesting.

Mark Sloan . . .

 . . . argued for a state-of-the-art Plastic Surgery facility, the money earned from which could be used to build a state-of-the-art Burn Victim Unit.  Now, this wasn’t necessarily a bad idea. 

What was BAD, was Sloan’s explanation as to why this would be good for the hospital.  In short, Sloan told the Chief that he should get $1 million dollars, so that he can throw himself into his work.  This way, he can forget about the fact that he’s not getting laid regularly, anymore . . .

SERIOUSLY?

Grade: C

Callie Torres . . .

Had Callie dressed like THIS to her presentation, the Chief might have taken her more seriously . . .

. . . who spent the whole day using immature tactics to psych out her “friends” about their presentations, spent hers talking about what a “Bad Lesbian” she is, and how much better of a lesbian Arizona is than her.  Honestly, I don’t even remember what idea she pitched . . .

Grade: F

Teddy Altman . . .

 . . . spent half the meeting with her nose buried in her note cards, mumbling on and on about stem cell research (Zzzzzzzzzzzz).  She spent the other half of the meeting bad mouthing her colleagues, and their respective specialties.

She also, apparently, forgot to brush her hair, before the meeting.  B*tches never prosper, Teddy!

Grade: D

Arizona Robbins . . .

 . . . spent so much time tossing around tissues, and promising that she wasn’t going to cry, that I can’t even remember how she planned to use the money to save the “Tiny Humans.”  And, honestly, who out there doesn’t think it’s “important to care for Tiny Humans?”

Aside from HIM . . .

How can ANYONE flub up a presentation, who’s sole purpose is to reiterate something with which EVERYONE ALREADY AGREES?

Grade: C-

Derek Shepard . . .

 . . . fared slightly better, by appealing to the Chief’s love for Meredith’s mother, and his paternal relationship with Meredith, herself.  Derek wants to use the money toward research of a cure for Alzheimers. 

 I liked what Derek said about real cures coming, not from pure science, but from indiviual doctors, and their belief in the futures of much-loved prospective patients, like Meredith. 

What I didn’t like, was that Derek’s plan was just a teensy bit selfish.  I also  didn’t like that Meredith misplaces her keys once, and forgets what day of the week it is (after working 13-hour shifts EVERY DAY, getting four hours of sleep a night, and literally spending 24-7 with ALL THE PEOPLE SHE WORKS WITH) and genius Dr. Derek immediately assumes the early 30-something has Alzheimers . . .

Derek . . . it’s called “BEING TIRED,” get used to it . . .

Grade: B -

Miranda Bailey . . .

 . . .immediately recognized this whole “Surplus Thing” for the Crock of Sh*t it really was.  And so, she suggested spending money on realistic day-to-day things the hospital actually needed: the replacement of broken and out-of-date machines, and a new nurse on the night shift. 

Chief Webber, who is often known for having his head up his ass in the clouds, chastized Bailey for her lack of creativity.  Yet, I thought she had the best (certainly, the most practical) plan out of EVERYBODY!

Grade: A

Owen Hunt . . .

 . . . was clearly the emotional favorite of the evening.  His discussion of The Shooting, and how a number of the lives lost could have been saved, had the doctors’ on staff received Trauma Training (most notably the initially maligned, but posthumously loved, Dr. Percy . . .)

 . . . undoubtedly brought tears to the eyes of many Grey’s fans.  And, perhaps, psychologically, receiving such training would be cathartic for the doctors at the hospital.  If nothing else, it would provide them with confidence of knowing that, if such a catastrophe were to happen again, they would have the tools necessary to handle it. 

So, I understand why Owen ultimately won the grant . . .

 And yet, I can’t help but wonder if this is the best use for money that the struggling hospital so DESPERATELY needs for other things (like a Night Nurse and new medical equipment).  

Don’t get me wrong, The Shooting was certainly awful.  Yet, what are the chances really of lightning striking twice in the same place?

Then again, this is Seattle.  And, if we’ve learned anything, during the past seven seasons, it’s that this hospital tends to be a really magnet for All that is Stormy and Electric!

Grade: A -

Here’s hoping that Chief Webber’s ominous prophecy, at the end of the episode, that “there are about to be some major changes [at this hospital]” doesn’t signify the coming of yet another Major Storm . . . 

[www.juliekushner.com]

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