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Grey’s Anatomy Tag

Yes, Shonda Rhimes’s new ABC drama Off the Map, is essentially Grey’s Anatomy in the jungle. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Sometimes, romantic melodrama set against the life and death stakes of a hospital can be just what you need when curling up with a pint of ice cream. Unfortunately, Off the Map isn’t even up to par for the comparison.

Set in a vague village in South America, medicine takes on a whole new identity. More off-the-cuff than procedural, the doctors that have been working there are doing the best they can with limited resources to keep their community healthy. It’s not easy, and isn’t for the faint of heart. Enter a new team of eager doctors looking to forget their pasts and make a difference in the world.

Lily (Wonderfall’s Caroline Dhavernas) is a go-getter, already nicknamed the Girl Scout for her preparedness for her new adventure. And it pays off when on her first day she gets to accompany the hot, older doctor, Ben (Martin Henderson), rescuing an injured tourist stuck on a zip line above a deep canyon. Of course, Lily comes with her own baggage, apparently still mourning the loss of her fiancé, which forced her to take time off from her residency. Although, as she helps her patient say goodbye to his recently deceased wife, she also finds some closer of her own and is ready to start anew.

Tommy (Friday Night Lights’s Zach Gilford) is a cocky plastic surgeon who is more concerned with the beaches than humanitarianism. Pissing off his bosses on the first day, he’s sent on a house call to visit a woman who has been in treatment for tuberculosis. When he arrives, he finds the woman dead, and her husband and two children deathly ill with the disease. The father refuses treatment, for himself and his children, and Tommy must face his own pride in order to convince the man to save his family.

The year 2010 wasn’t necessarily the most groundbreaking in television, but it certainly wasn’t one that will soon be forgotten. With hit cable dramas like Mad Men, the farewell to one of the most innovative series in the past decade, Lost, and an obsession with singing sensations on Glee, there was unquestionably a lot to talk about at the water cooler. Take a look back at the year with some of my favorites.

Best Drama: Breaking Bad (AMC)

This was not an easy category to choose a winner. With great character dramas like Friday Night Lights, fantastic writing on shows like Mad Men, and edge-of-your-seat dramas like Sons of Anarchy, I ultimately landed on the show that encompasses all three: Breaking Bad. Bryan Cranston is superb as Walt, the humble chemistry teacher and family man that starts cooking meth to pay for his cancer treatments, and over time becomes the morally ambiguous big bad that we love watching so much. At his right hand is the underrated Aaron Paul as Jesse, the crass and profane former student that introduces him to this world. Each episode has an underlying slow simmer, a tension that builds over time into an explosive, and often bloody, final few minutes. Only Breaking Bad could base an entire hour of television on the idea that there is a fly loose in the lab, and turn it into a compelling mesh of breaking points, motivations, and secrets. Walt always has his identity and life on the line, running from the DEA, creepy Mexican twins, and the truth. I just hope he keeps on running; I’m hooked for the rest of his journey.

Best Comedy: Community (NBC)

Community stands out as best comedy this year because of its innovation. From the action-spoof hit episode “Modern Warfare” that featured a paintball game that goes awry on the community college’s campus, the show had a new identity. Following up with spoofs of gangster films, space expeditions, zombie epidemics, and a Claymation new Christmas classic, it quickly became the cleverest comedy on the air. TV for TV people, chock full of pop culture references, delivered by a diverse and strong cast, hopefully this show will rise beyond cult status and get the attention it deserves.

GreysAnatomyGrey’s Anatomy: The Complete Fifth Season (2009, ABC Studios/Buena Vista)
purchase from Amazon: DVD

Instead of lamenting on the things that were wrong with the fifth season of Grey’s Anatomy, such as the sudden dismissal of Brooke Smith and her character Erica Hahn, the complete misuse of the talented Melissa George and the brilliant Mary McConnell, the ongoing storyline with Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the dead fiancé of Katherine Heigl’s Izzie, who showed up as a ghost/hallucination, and the complete lack of any storyline involving T.R. Knight, one of the original cast members and at one time the heart of the series, I’d like to point out three high points of season five.

The first is the addition of Kevin McKidd playing Dr. Owen Hunt, a former Army trauma surgeon who joined the staff at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital and quickly became one of the most compelling characters on Grey’s Anatomy. To be blunt: Owen is fucked up. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has recurring nightmares from his service in the war in Iraq. Owen is a wreck of a man whose only means of survival is immersing himself in the job. When he finally begins to connect with someone, Dr. Christina Yang (Sandra Oh), he screws that up by choking her in the middle of the night while suffering from a particularly horrible night terror. McKidd is so remarkable in his role that it’s a crime that he was not nominated for an Emmy this year. Sandra Oh deservedly received a nomination this year, yet a majority of the quality work she gave us in this season was with McKidd. I sometimes question why I stick with Grey’s Anatomy and McKidd is one reason I’ll keep it on my DVR. Owen is, flat out, the most authentic character on this show and it is solely because of McKidd’s work.

parlour_to_parlour

Back in February of 2008, I was covering a show at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco for West Coast Performer Magazine. I had a friend helping out with photos, and second on the bill was another friend, none other than Chris Robley. Following Chris’ set, I was expecting a full band called Correatown, but what I got instead was a solo acoustic set by one Angela Correa.

Performing either with a band or solo, Angela Correa is Correatown, and as she told stories and exchanged jokes and banter with the audience in between songs at my first Correatown show — even pausing to acknowledge the medium sized red ball bouncing between members of the audience — Angela proved she was much more than just a singer/songwriter/guitarist with some fortunate connections.

sanders[1]As music’s retail presence withers, MTV and VH1 turn ever further from music video programming, and radio continues hacking away at itself, searching for the one vital organ that will finally bring about its own richly deserved death, we’ve been increasing our coverage of artists who find success with alternative methods, either via Internet outreach, or innovative commercial deals, or — in the case of singer/songwriter Sanders Bohlke, “a manager, a booking agent, and a lawyer, but that’s about it.”

I first heard Bohlke’s work when I was working on my interview with One Life to Live music supervisor Paul Glass. Though our discussion focused mainly on the artists Glass has booked to perform on the series (a list that will expand to include Lionel Richie in September), Glass also uses a fair amount of songs for the show’s ever-popular musical montages. Most of them are by artists who, if they aren’t exactly established, still have some kind of label backing, but that changed when Bohlke’s “The Weight of Us” popped up on One Life‘s May 22 episode:

rescuemeRescue Me

OK, I’m finally ready to proclaim what a lot of you already have: the FX network’s Tuesday night show Rescue Me is stunningly brilliant. It’s a good thing, too, because the setting for the show—a New York firehouse post-9/11 attacks—deserves the kind of great writing it has.

Blame my late public announcement on coming late to the Denis Leary/Peter Tolan-anchored firefighter drama, but thanks to the miracle of Hulu.com—a friend second only to a DVR box for any tragically over-scheduled house like mine—I’m finally caught up.

I honestly don’t think there’s a better drama on television right now, but that in itself is a miracle of sorts: the last couple of years of this five-season show were less than stellar. But after the writers’ strike and a reduced number of episodes in a season, Rescue Me is streamlined and sharp enough to reapply for that “Best Drama on TV” status.

Viewers need look no further than the last episode, where 9/11 firefighter widow Sheila Keefe (played by Callie Thorne) nailed a mouthful of inspired monologue in one freaking take. Yeah, five minutes in one take. It was, in a word, incredible.

The personal trials and tribulations within the show’s plot continue to thicken: Tommy Gavin (Leary) returns to Ground Zero and the back pain that Sean Garrity (Steven Pasquale) is experiencing turns out to be more than he bargained for/expected and Genevieve’s perspectives on the terrorist attacks push Gavin over the edge. Rescue Me airs tomorrow night and if you’re not watching it, you’re due to miss a five-alarm fire.

jonkate8-7168011Jon & Kate Plus … Date?: Can’t help but start with the worst first. If there’s one thing that’s certain in the world of entertainment, it’s the love of a good old-fashioned scandal. Only this time, really not that surprising or scandalous — it’s just too bad. Pure as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet, the reality TV version of Eight Is Enough, the Gosselins from TLC’s Jon & Kate Plus 8, are now embroiled in a “cheating” hullabaloo of sorts.

For those not yet in the loop on this one, husband Jon was apparently caught partying late with a woman who wasn’t his wife and (shock!) that’s set off a firestorm of public opinion. It was a bad judgment call that’s awakened all the perfect parents out in TV land, all of whom now feel free to psychoanalyze the real human beings in this delicate situation. The Gosselins’ site doesn’t say much, but the blog Gosselins Without Pity (ouch!) is hot to trot (natch) about this story.

The bottom line? Look, having eight kids so close together in age, and all in a goldfish bowl to boot, has got to be traumatic. Both these parents are “stress cases” who, once upon a time, thought a reality TV show was a good idea. They’ve made their money, scored their book deals and traded up in the lifestyle category (and then some). But if you look at them closely these last couple of seasons, they’re pretty miserable (watch the body language). Jon and Kate are a lost couple, working their way around each other (despite the cameras) and it’s obvious.

They don’t need a television show or the money, they need counseling and their kids.

basementsongs

31gsbdhdwcl_sl500_aa240_1My father was admitted into the hospital this week complaining of chest pains; because he’d had bypass surgery in 1992, the doctors were very concerned about the condition of his heart. Let me tell you that as a 71-year-old man, he’s a strong and stubborn as he was when I was growing up. My updates came from my mother, who called me from her cell phone, and in her voice was the same tension and impatience she’s always had with doctors; years of nursing experience will do that to you. My parents have been married for 46 years and as they get older I’ve come to appreciate the tough times they endured, and how strong their love is. I didn’t always think that way. It wasn’t until my father’s heart surgery in ’92 that I really saw how much they do care for each other.

Looking at their relationship, I can’t help but think about my own marriage to Julie. I hope that when Sophie and Jacob reflect on their childhood, they’ll have good recollections of how much their dad loved their mom. Julie and I laugh and kid each other, we’re always hugging and kissing, and we are always there to comfort one another during the troubling times. At times I shake my head when I pause to think about the 15 years we’ve been married. That number seems like a long time, and yet it’s flitted by as a feather in the wind. Like a feather, there have been moments when we’re very high and the joy of life carries us along — and then there are those days when the wind has calmed and the feather lays on the ground, waiting for something to come along and carry us onward.

Music has always been a way in which we’ve bonded. We share our musical tastes and turn one another on to artists and sounds that we might not have otherwise listened to. I forced Springsteen upon her (she’s a big fan now, just ask her) and she brought into my world many beautiful female singers such as Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin and Bonnie Raitt. More recently, she has fallen in love with the music of Brandi Carlile. Okay, maybe not all of her music, but one song, “Tragedy,” which was featured in a heartbreaking episode of Grey’s Anatomy a couple of seasons ago. On this song Carlile sings like an open wound, so sad and passionate; it’s chilling. I sought out more of Carlile’s music and came across her 2007 album, The Story. It’s a CD of bluesy, polished rock that bears the rootsy trademark of its producer, T-Bone Burnett. Among the songs, the title track immediately spoke to me on musical and emotional levels.