Contrary to popular believe not all queer folk love musicals. I for one can only tolerate musicals in moderation and only if and when the setting and my mood deems it appropriate. People breaking into song for no apparent reason other than being in the throes of a Prozac overdose, creating a gay old distraction and/or when feeling particularly fabulous, usually catches me off guard and leaves me confused and reaching for my remote control. So you can imagine my surprise the other night when one of my favourite series on television (Grey’s Anatomy) decided to air their “musical” episode. Reflecting back on the trauma of having to sit through 42 minutes of musical medical melodrama, I could not help but wonder, am I a bad queer for not particularly liking their episode entitled “Song Beneath the Song”.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate all musicals or musical episodes of established television shows. My queerness is alive and well with my fondness of the gayest series on television that is Glee. Glee is, in my opinion, the only show on television where it is OK for its characters to sing and dance and the only musical series that does not make me want to vomit, pull my hair out and shatter my eardrums in utter frustration. Glee does not proclaim to be anything that it is not. You know it’s going to be corny, camp and the story line is going to be funny with a subtle positive message carried forth with song and dance. There’s no thinking involved on the part of the audience and Glee is like a nice power nap for your brain. But when a television show throws you a curve ball like Grey’s Anatomy did, it’s like a mental musical rape.
You see, I knew that Grey’s shot a musical episode but was secretly hoping I’d miss it. But being the loyal viewer that I am in this instance unfortunately I didn’t. I just wished I had some prior warning and could have been mentally prepared for it! It’s not that the episode totally sucked ass, but it was totally ridiculous. Whilst hubby was on the couch next to me sobbing through the majority of the 42 minutes of lyrical melodrama bullshit, I found myself giggling at the ludicrousness of the way it was done. I mean honestly! One of the main characters is on death’s door after flying through the windshield of her car and about to lose her baby. And whilst gravely injured I found it oddly inappropriate that in almost every scene people were breaking into song. The lyrics of their vocal gymnastics I also I felt was rather inappropriate for some of the context and at times also poorly executed. In the scene where the doctors were wheeling Torres to the operating theatre I could not help but wonder whether Torres was crying from the pain or the sound of her fellow actors’ voices as that was equally as painful.
I decided to force myself to finish watching the episode; after all I did want to know how things would pan out. As most of you know Carrie Torres and her baby survived. The final scene was the only scene in the whole episode that gave me goosebumps as Sara Ramirez (Callie Torres) gave a spectacular performance and has one hell of a good voice! I was a nanosecond away from squeezing out a tear of relieve, both at the happy ending and the fact that the episode was finally over. Please Grey’s Anatomy never ever do this to us again. It is very tricky for an established show, especially a drama to pull off a musical episode, and unfortunately, like so many others before, you failed!
Grey’s Anatomy definitely should not be submitting this episode “Song Beneath the Song” for an Emmy nomination as the episode was, in my opinion, a bust. Which is sad really. If you take away the singing and primarily look at the story line and performances of the actors in this episode, it was actually one of the strongest episodes of this season. This episode also saw the best performance I have seen in a while on Grey’s from Eric Dane who portrays Mark the anxious father-to-be. There also was some great dialog and a poignant scene between Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) in the elevator questioning the cruelty of the universe. Something we all at one point or another in our lives have done, but probably less dramatically and without song. All things considered one musical disaster will not put me off Grey’s Anatomy. I’m not sure what the producers of the show was drinking, snuffing or smoking when they concocted up this musical catastrophe playing off in Seattle Grace Hospital, but let’s hope it never happens again!
Till next time.