Who says we aren't completely fair here at DVD Verdict? To do this review justice, Judge Bryan Pope brings in an expert witness—his lovely wife, Erin. That's right, you get to peek behind the curtain into Bryan's domestic life!
Our reviews of Grey's Anatomy: Season One (published March 15th, 2006), Grey's Anatomy: Season Three (published September 5th, 2007), Grey's Anatomy: Season Four (published September 18th, 2008), Grey's Anatomy: Season Four (Blu-ray) (published September 29th, 2008), Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season (published September 21st, 2009), Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Sixth Season (published October 4th, 2010), and Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Seventh Season (published October 19th, 2011) are also available.
I make one mistake with this scalpel and this man's dead. My husband, he makes mistakes at his job all the time. As far as I know he's never killed anyone, but I have, and you will. And Alex did. You don't have to like Alex or care about him. But you have to damn well be on his side.
Season Two was a very good year for Grey's Anatomy, ending with a whopping 11 Emmy nods. And even though it walked home empty-handed, it can still hold its chin high knowing it's a runaway hit that picks up speed with each passing week.
Since Grey is one of the more polarizing shows on television—let's face it: most guys would label this a chick show without hesitation—I thought it only fair to invite my lovely wife, Erin, to engage in a little point/counterpoint discussion of her favorite show.
Let the battle of the sexes begin.
Facts of the Case
Grey's Anatomy: Season Two, which follows the personal and professional lives of five surgical interns at fictional Seattle Grace hospital, includes 27 episodes spread over six discs.
• "Enough is Enough"
• "Make Me Lose Control"
• "Deny, Deny, Deny"
• "Bring the Pain"
• "Something to Talk About"
• "Let It Be"
• "Thanks for the Memories"
• "Much Too Much"
• "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"
• "Begin the Begin"
• "Tell Me Sweet Little Lies"
• "Break On Through"
• "As We Know It"
• "What Have I Done to Deserve This?"
• "Band-Aid Covers the Bullet Hole"
• "The Name of the Game"
• "Blues for Sister Someone"
• "Damage Case"
• "17 Seconds"
• "Losing My Religion"
He said: Let's get the bad out of the way first, shall we? I mean, I don't fault creator Shonda Rhimes for wanting to keep Grey's Anatomy light on its toes. The hotdog-eating throwdown between Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), George O'Malley (T.R. Knight) and Alex Karev (Justin Chambers)? I nearly busted a gut. But don't you think Grey's sometimes suffers from a terminal case of the cutes? It was funny when Cristina Yang secured her place in television history by dubbing Patrick Dempsey's Derek Shepherd "McDreamy." But that was sooooo season one. This year, seems everyone on Seattle Grace's payroll is borrowing the moniker. And to make things worse, now we have --
She said: "McSteamy." Yeah, I know. But you're getting ahead of yourself. We'll get to him when Season Three comes out.
Now, about Derek. Unlike you, I like McDreamy, right down to his nickname. I think it's his sensitive eyes. And the great hair.
He said: You don't think that's a wee bit superficial?
She said: So what? If you can look past the hype, gossip (on-set smackdowns!) and nicknames, I think even you have to admit that Grey's is even more addictive this time around than it was during its freshman year. It's a primetime pleasure with enough quotable dialogue and snappy acting to keep it just this side of guilty.
He said: Fine, I admit it. But we like it for different reasons. You enjoy the whole Meredith/Derek dynamic, but I find it tiresome. He may be a brilliant neurosurgeon, but he's also a spineless, beady-eyed wuss—McWimpy, anyone? So you can understand my trepidation when we popped in this season two set.
She said: Yes, but I knew you'd be pleasantly surprised. Not by Derek --
He said: Still a wimp.
She said:—but by his cheating wife, Addison, who instantly becomes a major player this season. She could have so easily been the monster we were expecting, but instead she's a confident, intelligent and extremely warm woman. And I love her nickname, the "She-Shepherd."
He said: Very, very true. Kate Walsh (so great as girlfriend Nicki on The Drew Carey Show) breathes new life into the show. Her mere presence generates enough conflict to keep four shows spinning. And she's the most independent, clear-headed character since Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson, the show's ace in the hole). No doubt about it, Rhimes is starting to show a real gift for sidestepping our expectations.
She said: Like with the whole Yang/Burke storyline. During the first season, I was convinced Burke (Isaiah Washington) was all scalpel, no soul. But season two unlocked a human, even spiritual side, and I love the way it's at odds with Cristina's by-the-book pragmatism. Her prickly persona was played strictly for laughs last season, but now it's a major driving force in both hers and Burke's life. Well done, Rhimes.
He said: Burke totally grew a heart during hiatus. The dude has layers! I think his and Cristina's relationship is far more interesting than the soap opera Derek and Meredith are trudging through.
Cristina has an acerbic wit, no doubt ("Liquor is like oxygen to a WASP"), but it's Katherine Heigl's Izzie Stevens who runs off with some of this season's best lines (On why she helps sexist jerk Alex pass his medical boards: "Because it's what Jesus would freaking do!"). Man, this entire show is spiritual!
Speaking of Heigl, she turns in a startlingly painful performance in a story arc about Denny, a heart transplant candidate, that unfolds during the season's second half. Knight's George also gets to shine, particularly when he meets big and beautiful orthopedic surgeon Callie (Sara Ramirez) --
She said: Who is just wonderful. I think it's refreshing for a show to acknowledge that a woman can be plus-size and still be attractive and sexual. Most women don't look like Twiggy. Which brings us to Ellen Pompeo. You know, a lot of people don't like her Meredith Grey. They think she's a whiny, neurotic mess. You?
He said: Whiny, no. But a neurotic mess? Absolutely. But wouldn't that describe most of us? I still think she provides a solid, appealing anchor for the show.
She said: And her "You don't get to call me a whore" speech to Derek? Classic! It's hard to approve of the many self-destructive decisions she makes this season, but her saving grace is that she accepts full responsibility for them. She's intelligent, sympathetic and real.
He said: Exactly! I'm telling you, she carries this huge show on her wispy little shoulders with the greatest of ease. And Grey's Anatomy is huge. It's also neatly constructed, with stories that click neatly together with just the right amount of surprises to have you eagerly jumping from one episode to the next. We plowed through this set in, what, five nights?
I will say that watching them in quick succession drew my attention to some sloppy writing, particularly during Meredith's cringe-worthy voiceovers ("Pain you just have to fight through, because the truth is you can't outrun it, and life always makes more."). And they used the phrase "At the end of the day" no fewer than three times. Seriously.
She said: Seriously? You mean you actually kept count? Well, Meredith's monologues don't bother me, but Grey's could do with fewer oddball medical cases. Season Two gave us chronic blushing, chronic orgasms, and chronic erections. A little excessive, don't you think?
He said: It also served up emergencies that verged on insulting in their heavy-handed symbolism. At the same time that Derek has to choose between Meredith and Addison, he has to choose which life he's going to save when two people are impaled together during a train wreck? Okay already, we get it. It's about choices.
But if the parade of freakish maladies and injuries gets a little out of hand, at least Grey's populates its guest roles with an impressive, eclectic lineup of lesser known actors who make the material sing with performances that are sometimes hilariously broad, and other times touchingly nuanced. My favorite visitors to Seattle Grace this season were Rosanna Arquette (a scary hellcat as a self-abusing convicted killer), Natalie Cole, Helen Slater, Laurie Metcalf, Lauren Tom (amusingly nonplussed for a woman whose novelist husband ingested his failed novel), and June Lockhart.
She said: And don't forget Curtis Armstrong (still Booger after all these years).
He said: You know, Christina Ricci may have scored an Emmy nod as a panicked medic in the series' two-part, post-Superbowl nailbiter, but it's the always excellent Frances Fisher who wins my kudos as a Southern mama trying to hold her family together as she watches her daughter die.
She said: And there's the secret to why Grey's works. Rhimes' show may observe its characters with mild bemusement, but it wears its heart on its scrubs. It sees a surgical intern's life as a metaphor for life: Messy and full of mistakes, but redeemed by the occasional win. And, at the end of the day, you learn, you forgive, and you grow.
He said: I couldn't agree more. Seriously.
Buena Vista brings Grey's Anatomy: Season Two to DVD in a package that matches Season One's quality both in presentation and extras. Each episode is presented in its original widescreen format (1.78:1 anamorphic), and the picture is sharp and flawless. Four episodes have extended running times ("Thanks for the Memories," "It's the End of the World," "What Have I Done to Deserve This" and "Losing My Religion"). The score includes much more percussion this time around, giving the Dolby 5.1 Surround a better workout than the Season One set. The package includes English subtitles.
Five episodes include running commentaries:
All commentaries are worth a listen, and the variety of distinct voices is welcome, but, as with the season one set, the commentaries featuring Rimes are the strongest. She doesn't waste a moment, and touches on the smallest aspects that fans have tittered about on Internet message boards for months ("We use 'seriously' a lot on this show.").
"The Doctors Are In" runs just over 13 minutes and gives cast members a chance to respond to fan mail. Kate Walsh graciously steps in to answer the mostly softball questions ("If things don't work out with McDreamy, who would you like to see your character hook up with?") with some assistance from Justin Chambers and Jim Pickens. Several key cast members are noticeably absent, including Pompeo and Oh.
The seven-minute "The Softer Side of Dr. Bailey" proves exactly how remarkable an actress Chandra Wilson is. The gentle, sweet-natured Wilson is the polar opposite of Bailey, making her transformation into the Nazi all the more impressive. "Creating 'Pink Mist': Anatomy of a Special Effect" shows how the effects crew pulled off the shocking finale of "As We Know It."
Perhaps the most unusual extra is a wicked little clip from Jimmy Kimmel Live featuring Heigle, Pickens and Wilson. Kimmel takes a break from interviewing the cast of Grey's so he can squeeze in an animal segment, including an encounter with an allegedly venomous snake. What happens next will have you scratching your ahead. Special bonus: Check out the reaction from his studio audience.
Finally, the set includes deleted scenes and a tour of the Seattle Grace set.
Addictive, enthralling and enormously entertaining. Whether you're a he or a she, Grey's Anatomy is worth adding to your collection.
[In unison] Not guilty!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Buena Vista
• Commentary on select episodes
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