When Grey’s Anatomy made the choice to ax Isaiah Washington from the show, they didn’t have a backup plan for the gaping hole he would leave behind. Perhaps this is why, in the few short weeks that the show has returned without him, the show seems to have at last jumped the shark. Jumping the shark, if you’ll recall, is the term given by the website jumptheshark.com for television shows that altered their storyline enough so as to render the show unwatchable. Jumping the shark refers specifically to the Happy Days episode where the Fonz literally jumped the shark. That was the beginning of the end.
It’s possible that Grey’s Anatomy has finally hit that point with the absurd wedding scene between Dr. Burke (Washington) and Christina (Sandra Oh) that caused Dr. Burke to supposedly leave the hospital because he couldn’t stand working side-by- side with a woman who couldn’t give it all up for a man.
Unfortunately, that storyline never made much sense. Christina WAS giving it all up, compromising more than ever before. After all of the years we got to know Burke, how jealous he was, how traditional he was, how accepting of Christina, warts and all, he was, it hardly seems likely he would turn tail and run from the grand prize.
Now that he’s gone, the characters are bumping into each other in all sorts of silly ways. Top of the list of improbability is the sudden union of Izzie (Katherine Heigl) and George (TR Knight). It’s not even a straight/gay issue; it’s a character issue. The only reason Izzie even wants George is that she’s a bitch! That move is something we women are all too familiar with: pretty girl has a goofy guy as a best friend. Goofy guy finally moves on and gets a woman to love him, and suddenly pretty girl has to have him back. This has only made Izzie impossible to like at best, psychotic-seeming at worst. Meanwhile, poor Callie (Sarah Ramirez) has to suffer competition with someone like Izzie. No one can win against someone like Izzie.
As if that weren’t bad enough, we’re supposed to believe that Callie, who has just been made Chief Resident, is going to choose this particular time in her life to have a baby? Have the writers of the show been smoking crack? Either way, Callie is the only character worthy of our sympathy. George and Izzie have become an unlikable, selfish, idiotic pair.
Meanwhile, the Meredith (Ellen Pompeo)/McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey) storyline chunders along, with McDreamy lamenting on occasion how hard Meredith is to love because she trusts no one. Meredith is a sad figure, to be sure, and there’s really no hating her. But it would be nice if she had something to do other than whine about her upbringing and break up, and get back together, and break up, with McDreamy.
I don’t really want to rehash whether Washington was a homophobe or not – maybe that was the case and maybe he should have been bumped from the show – but his character’s demise has left the show wanting. Thinking they could just pick up the pieces and get on with it was a mistake. Washington brought tension and excitement to the set. He was a serious character on a show full of silly ones. Hopefully they have some other surprises up their sleeves than Izzie and George being a couple. They need a new doctor on the scene, perhaps to fill the gap that Washington left. He wasn’t picked at random; his character was a necessary ingredient to the show’s success.
In the meantime, I’ll be there on Thursday nights until I just can’t take it anymore. After all, I was one of the few who hung on to Happy Days long after the Fonz jumped the shark.