Exclusive: Grey's Anatomy Boss Hints at 2nd Musical Event, Teases Mer's 'Weakest Moment'

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the past six months, you know that Grey’s Anatomy is about to go where few shows have gone before — headfirst into the risky television institution known as the musical episode. To mark the occasion, Shonda Rhimes — aka the the fearless architect behind the much-hyped hour (Thursday 9/8c) — shared with TVLine her most pleasant surprise while shooting the episode, floats the possibility of a sequel and previews the Mer moment that’s been a long time coming.

TVLINE | When you embarked on this musical adventure, did you ever think, “This is either going to be an unqualified success or an all-out disaster”?
I did think that this could really suck. But I fought the network so hard for it that you have to put on some bravado and just go forward.

TVLINE | Any ground rules going in?
I didn’t want any jazz hands happening in my hospital. There are some shows that can really pull that off — the big Broadway thing. Our musical style is very set and very clear. And to do a musical episode, it had to lie within our musical style. And if it didn’t, it was just going to feel ridiculous.

TVLINE | Are you happy with the finished product?
I’m really pleased with it. It’s the first musical I’ve ever written. It’s the first musical episode we’ve ever done. I always say that Grey’s Anatomy is like the craziest graduate school I ever went to for learning how to work on television. Are there things I’d do differently? Absolutely. But in a lot of ways I wouldn’t do anything differently.

TVLINE | What would you do differently?
We discovered later than I would’ve liked that some people who claimed they couldn’t sing could really sing. And I probably would’ve played that up more. Played with more voices.

TVLINE | Who surprised you?
Justin Chambers really surprised me. He has an amazing voice. Chyler Leigh has an amazing voice. I think the only singing she had done prior to this was to her children. And Ellen Pompeo. Ellen’s voice is really pure and true, and she was so sure that she couldn’t sing and she really can.

TVLINE | Would you ever attempt this again on Grey’s or maybe Private Practice?
I really want to see Ellen sing [“Portions For Foxes”] by Rilo Kiley, which was the very first song we ever had in the pilot. I’ve already been saying I want to do it again. It was really tough on everybody though. We’ve been working on the episode since September. Everything from rehearsals to recording, it was a really difficult episode. I don’t know if we’ll ever do it again, but I already want to.

TVLINE | The crisis involving Callie obviously is at the heart of the episode, but the previews suggest it’s also an emotional hour for Meredith.
She’s been really tough this entire time about her own fertility issues. She’s been really stoic and strong and fairly positive about it. This is her weakest moment when she feels the randomness of the world.

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  1. Julie says:

    Love the way she totally ignores Private Practice when asked whether she would like to do it again on Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice.

  2. Ingmar says:

    From what I have heard the music they sing and the voices are amazing. Especially Ellen Pompeo, Jessica Capshaw and Chyler Leigh.

  3. Vince says:

    She doesn’t sound very optimistic and it scares me a little! On the other hand, the songs I’ve heard are great so I guess I’ll watch and decide then! I will still love Grey either way!

  4. bonita says:

    shut up shonda.

  5. Denise says:

    Good move Shonda! Releasing this may save her from getting 200 “WHAT ABOUT ELLEN?” raging, ranting tweets from the ever angry Mer-MerDer contingent.

  6. Babygate says:

    I downloaded the music from iTunes last night and I listened to it twice before going to bed and on my way to school today. I am so completely impressed. The harmonies on songs like Grace are gorgeous, inspiring, masterful! And the big surprise for me was Justin Chambers singing in ‘Running on Sunshine”. What a rockstar! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Justin is amazing!!! Chyler really does have a beautiful, beautiful voice that made me cry and I was completely taken aback by how good Ellen Pompeo and Jessica Capshaw sound. These people can do anything! And Chandra’s rendition of ‘Wait’ is like a lullaby, so sweet. And of course, Sara is just phenomenal. I am completely impressed. Best tracks? Running on Sunshine and Grace. People need to get these songs, seriously. I am all for another music event!

  7. RP says:

    Augh I can’t believe they didn’t do Portions for Foxes in this one. Love Rilo Kiley and it’s an iconic Grey’s song. I guess it didn’t fit the theme. :(

  8. Becca says:

    Ugh. Am I the only one who hates her? I’m not particularly optimistic about this episode. I’ll probably end up watching the final half an hour of CSI.

    • jules says:

      I’m with you on this one. She keeps trying to say that the episode is about Meredith, when Mer has been on a background the whole season. I can’t stand Callie anymore, and I don’t exactly love musicals. Guess my hour will go to CBS today.

      • Cinders says:

        She never said the episode was about Meredith. Everyone knows the episode is about Callie’s accident but because of the accident, Meredith finally has that breakdown regarding her own fertility issues.

    • Fiona says:

      I too agree with you. She’s only speaking out talking about Ellen Pompeo as damage control. She’s done nothing but rave over Sara Ramirez forever so now it’s time to calm the Mer/EP masses. She’s so insincere and transparent. I can’t stand Shonda.

  9. Ben says:

    Ah, Shonda bashing, never does it fail to annoy. Can’t wait until tonight, the sneaks peaks look great. For me this is the best season (on the whole) since season 4, the others had great final quarters, but the rest were average with a few good episodes. Yes, there has been a little too much Calzona, and as a Mark/Lexie fan I’m a tad annoyed about them breaking up again, but it’s been a great season so far.

    • Rachel says:

      ITA. I think it’s just knee-jerk reaction at this point. Shonda speaks, someone grouses, no matter what it is she says. I’m excited for this episode, I’m excited to see this group of actors make a real effort to try something new, and I’m excited to see if they pull it off. So far I’ve liked what I’ve heard.

  10. Guy says:

    Can’t wait for tonight. I feel this is going to be a great Grey’s Anatomy moment. I have heard some of the music and it sounds very good indeed.

  11. chris says:

    this should be good, i’ve seen some musicals that work, the scrubs episode being my favorite musical episode

  12. G says:

    I for one cant wait for tonight!
    I know Grey’s is getting some stick lately, and at times I agree, for me this season is lacking in two things…. the talent and chemistry of Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey! I am looking forward to seeing Meredith finally give in to her feelings tonight, and hope its the start of some great season 7 material for MerDer as i have missed them so much!
    I wont give up on greys, and ABC if you read these comments then PLEASE get our couple back in front!

    thanks x

  13. Kristen says:

    So, I’ve been sitting here thinking “what could happen to make Meredith lose it like that”. I understand that she has fertility issues, but really … what?
    My guess, Callie loses the baby and her uterus and can’t have children ever again. A big debate takes place and it gets to Meredith, b/c she thinks of how hard it’ll be for Callie if she can’t ever have children again, and then reflects on the chance that she may never have children again.
    Who agrees?

    • Babygate says:

      I think the baby lives and Meredith’s break down has to do with an accumulation of things. Cristina lost her baby. She lost her baby and now she’s dealing with infertility problems and then tonight she’ll be dealing with Callie and the possibility of her losing her baby. It’s like the SG gods don’t want their doctors to reproduce. lol. But basically, I just think that Callie’s experience is going to be cathartic for Meredith.

  14. Kelly says:

    I’m looking forward to Chyler singing tonight

  15. chloe says:

    watching it now. It is SOOOOOOO bad.

    • amber says:

      agree agree agree. i feel embarassed for them and i hate to feel way for people.

    • dan says:

      This is painful to watch. Really, really bad.

    • Zein says:

      Horrible… skipped through the songs, the singing was off- key horrible to hear.. if theres another episode like this ill probably stop watching the show! please please DON’T do this again, i love this show been a huge fan since season 1, please DO NOT do this again!!!

  16. Donna says:

    STOP the singing. Yes, they can all sing but it doesn’t belong in this TV show. I have watch Grey’s from the 1st season. I love it.
    But the singing ruins the show and it was very hard to watch. Please don’t do this again.

  17. Meg says:

    Seriously, they can all sing…but this is painful! They Jumped the Shark!

  18. Joanna says:

    This was terrible! Why does everyone feel the need to jump on the Glee bandwagon? Anybody remember Cop Rock & how awful that was? Well this was worse. I’ve watched every episode of Grey’s & love the show but can say without a doubt this was the worst episode ever. Please leave the singing to Glee & American Idol. Don’t ruin this show by EVER doing this again!!!

  19. Abril says:

    Yes, it was really bad…I get what they were trying to do, but they shouldn’t be bursting in to song like that. Let them sing and it can be the background music or something….Had to fast forward through it is was too cheesey.

  20. Gina says:

    I have loved this show from the 1st season, but this was really bad. Yes, the voices and music are great, but it was awkward, painful to watch and very corny. PLEASE DON’T do this again. This is a drama, not a musical, opera or GLEE. Don’t mess with perfection.

  21. Elaine says:

    I thought it was an awesome episode. Out of the box…grabbed me from the beginning. Great music selections.

  22. Mandy says:

    I liked it. Didn’t love it, but liked it. Alot of talented voices on the show. I was surprised by the singing from Justin Chambers, he is good.
    Arizona and Callie are my fav characters, so I have loved this season so far.
    I liked how the Arizona and Mark situation is playing out. I was surprised at their argument of Callie vs. Baby. I would have thought they would have taken opposite sides…

  23. Hana says:

    Why turn a perfectly fine series into this? If we wanted to watch glee, we would be watching glee, not Grey’s. I really really did not like what they have done with this episode. I love the music selection, but not sung by “doctors” ; they should have just left it in the background. It’s horrible!!!

  24. Sheryl says:

    Please don’t do this again! Gray’s Anatomy is a medical drama, not Glee! I like the songs and some of the actors do have good voices, but the singing was a major distraction from the story. Please don’t ruin one of my favorite shows by trying to turn it into a musical.

  25. Emily says:

    There’s a time and place for singing and dancing. A smart, sexy, medical drama is not it!

  26. natasha says:

    It was one episode and it wasn’t that bad. I hate that people are saying they are jumping on the glee bandwagon. Music has been an important part of Greys since the beginning. More than once I would hear a song in the backround that would stay with me. That show has made some songs what they are and that they were using the songs from the first three seasons was genious, not corny. It fit the episode, but the musical should be a one time thing.

  27. marie-line says:

    im so happy for to can listen the songs by all my favourites friend sof greys anatomy,i couldnt to wait, its so marvell th emusical episode, allprotagonist of this show ar emarvellous.im sohappy for to sharing,photos,videos,episodes….with all my beautifull and sweet friends.i wish for all my friend sof greys anatomy happy weeks, 10000rose sand sunshiny days,all my friendship of france.very soon i buying dvd season 7 .i hav ealready the 6 firts season,its genius,im so great,big kisses.

  28. reshell says:

    It was the worst episode I have EVER seen. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS AGAIN! You can’t even hear the cast talking because of the music!

  29. Mary says:

    I think it was by far the corniest thing I’ve ever seen and it totally ruined the episode. If I want to watch a musical, I’ll watch Glee, which, by the way, I’ve never even bothered to watch. I love music but i dont want TV turning into theater. I watch Greys because it is a mendical drama, not a musical. Different isn’t always better.

  30. Ify says:

    WORST EPISODE EVER!!! This is the stupidest idea they have ever had. Why are all these shows trying to copy Glee?! They have had plenty of success with the drama, why must they do such travesty. I love grey’s but this made me hate my life. Please, no more…

  31. April L says:

    I absolutely LOVED this episode!!!! I was shocked that Justin Chambers could sing like that and Chyler Leigh’s voice is still with me.
    All that aside, Shanda Rhimes is not making this show into Glee… Please stop overreacting. I realize not everyone watches that show (I do) but I can’t beleive that fans of Grey’s Anatomy can’t suspend reality like they have for tons of other story lines (Izzie having sex with dead Denny, “Half-dead” Mer being led around the hospital and sees her totally dead Mom, Dead George in Army uniform meeting Izzie in her hospital prom dress at the elevator) and just see this episode as something different. Seriously people. Seriously.

    • AJW says:

      I am so glad to see that so many people disliked it. I was afraid it would get rave reviews and they would keep doing it. I agree that music can really make the show- when it’s background music. When you have a powerful scene accompanied by a powerful background song it does really enhance the emotion of the scene. But when the people delivering the lines all of a sudden bust out into song it’s distracting, and to me, it took away from how emotionally provoking this episode should have been. The next time they do this will be the last time I watch this show. Not to mention I am not a Cali fan and not looking forward to her being the main focal point of the next few episodes. She is, by far, my least favorite character on this show-always has been.

  32. becca says:

    worst episode ever, cheesy and didnt belong in greys anatomy, they took a sad episode and just cheesed it up, and it looked like they wrote the screenplay AROUND the songs, hence the random bit when callie sing walking on sunshine just after the most depressing half. maybe pushing hard for a musical episode wasnt very clever. it was awful and i could hardly watch.