The Grey's Anatomy Musical Event: Was It Perfect Harmony, Or a Bit Off-Key?

[The following story contains spoilers from this Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.]

Can Chyler Leigh sing every week?

That was one of my main takeaways from the Grey’s Anatomy Music Event, which sought to merge medical drama with (spoiler alert!) music.

The hour picked up instantly with the car crash that closed last week’s episode, deployed airbags and all. While Arizona summoned help, we saw Callie (bear with me here) “exist outside of her injured self” to survey the damage and then segue into the night’s first song, Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.” That number was delivered as the distraught Seattle Grace team greeted the ambulance carrying Callie and (relatively unscathed) Arizona, with characters taking turns with the tune.

By and large, that was the pattern for the episode. Set up a sequence of drama, introduce a song, then let the doctors have at sections of lyrics — not actually singing there in the OR, mind you, but setting a mood and at times underscoring a theme with the sung words.

I’m not here to detail the song list, or who sang what. In addition to Leigh, Kevin McKidd, no surprise, reminded us of his dulcet tones. Ellen Pompeo’s pipes were pleasant enough. Kim Raver… listened well to Scott Foley.

Filed under Whoa!: Justin Chambers’ rockin’ style seemed short-changed, time-wise. (Rachael Taylor, meanwhile, made for a fine music video-caliber writher.)

Sara Ramirez’s vocal stylings were, of course, stellar and on par with what we want from a Tony winner. I want to think that her closing number — a performance of “The Story” that started slow and built into a robust, plaintive and melodious bid for mercy — somehow qualifies for a Grammy and Emmy in one fell swoop. (Someone check the rule book on that.)

When all was sung and done, here are the story points that were covered:

* Mark and Arizona made peace, with him recanting a very angry and pointed outburst lobbed at his baby mama’s lady love upon her arrival at the hospital. “You’re not nothing,” he mea culpa’d. “We have a kid together. You’re a mom; I’m a dad.”

* Jackson tried to cut bait and get out of his “thing” with Lexie while the gettin’ was good, having seen her react to Mark throughout the drama: “I’m not the sort of guy who waits around for a girl still in love with someone else.” Lexie, though, waved him back to her side, saying, “Let’s go home.” Aww.

* Teddy severed her teacher-student relationship with Cristina — zzzzz. Cristina and Owen, like, totally went at it – !!!!!!!

But beyond Callie’s “wake-up” song at the end there, the most moving moment had Meredith breaking down (as Shonda Rhimes previewed for us) as she admitted to being “jealous of Callie, because she got pregnant without trying. And we try. The universe says, ‘Screw you, Meredith,’ and gives Callie a kid… and then puts her through a windshield. What the hell is going on?!”

Derek sought to soothe his Post-It wife with the words, “I will make sure we have a baby, one way or another.” And you believed him.


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. josh fr NYC says:

    This was a colossal DISASTER! This show is melodrama at its best, and the singing just took it over the top. The majority of the cast looked like they knew it was bad and hated having to do it. There should be no thoughts of doing this again!

  2. Tara Linda Wortman says:

    Sara Ramirez was terrific and a few others were pretty good. Then they should have not had people sing who can’t. The idea of having Callie sing while she was hurt is great. Some of the other songs could be placed better. Finally I think the ways scenes ended could have been cut differently, which is why people had the reactions posted. It was a mistake letting us see what was coming, took all the drama out of the ending.

  3. Brenda says:

    I just watched the episode this afternoon and thought it was a great story, but a lot of the singing was somewhat distracting. The distraction didn’t have anything to do with whether the singing was good or bad, but it was so random and out there for me to understand at times. I think it had partly to do with the types of songs that were used. Yes, it was a serious story, but it just seemed odd as well.

  4. Kim says:

    Terrible!! I kept thinking it was just 1 scene so I would change channels but when I switched back they were still singing. If that’s all the better the writers can come up with fire them. This is an adult drama not a show for teenagers. They turned this episode that could have been heart wrenching into a light hearted farce. If this is the new direction of the show I’m done.

  5. Deiidra says:

    As a Gleek, I was pretty impressed with how the music played with the storyline but most of all and most importantly 2 words…Sara Ramirez!!!!! I had never heard her sing before and I was blown away throughout the show at her vocal ability. And The Story…The Story had me on my phone looking for it to download. It was so beautiful. Her voice and the power behind it had me in tears. It’s now my ringtone when my honey calls. BRAVA SARA, BRAVA!!!!!

  6. Tina says:

    The singing worked when Callie did it because she was unconscious and it was a creative way for her to communicate what she was feeling and going through. That being said, when the rest broke out in song during normal dialogue, it took away from the severity of the moment and was just too much.

  7. regie says:

    I thought it was a pretty solid episode, although there were parts I would rather not have seen.

    And it being billed the “music event”, it was rightly so that the music and Sara Ramirez has the spotlight (which she totally deserves), I’m a little bit surprised by the lack of mention of some of the best acting performances of the night.

    Chandra Wilson when she pulled herself together in Chasing Cars, and when Bailey grabbed Callie’s hand. Chyler (Breathe was good, lipsynching to it bad) when Lexie sat by Callie in the OR, and her eyes in How to Save a Life. And finally, that of Jessica Capshaw. Man, she hit it out of the ballpark. Sara may own the singing, but Jessica totally shone with her emotional portrayal of Arizona.

    If for nothing else, it was a good hour of television.

  8. wishihadntseenit says:

    The MOST painful and wretched hour of TV ever! Seriously bad. Seriously.

  9. Karen says:

    No fan who has stayed through coma Meredith getting advice from dead mommy, Denny and blown up EMT guy, and a season’s worth of ghost sex has any business of accusing this show of jumping the shark. This was an interesting, frequently very enjoyable but flawed experiment with good music, not at all like Glee. I had no problem with a one-off episode shaking things up and could suspend disbelief based on the fact that it was coming from the out of body Callie point of view (see coma Meredith comment above.)

    For me, the standout (other than Sara who is amazing) was Kevin McKidd — sexy rocktar voice indeed. I could have used more of his How We Operate in the context of a scene w/Cristina. And don’t get me started on the hot hot hot Owen Cristina kitchen fantasy sequence and Owen backing Cristina as she rocked the surgery. (Please can Teddy leave now?) Enjoyed singing by Chyler, Chandra and Justin as well. As for the others, they get props for putting themselves out there and taking a risk when asked.

    Low points were the overly heavy focus on the Callie Arizona couple for the 6th or 7th episode in a row (if the writer had been smart, they would have told a few other stories this spring if they wanted to make people appreciate the heavy focus on CA this epi.) This couple has never worked for me (no chemistry, always either bickering or cheesily cutesy) and my irritation with them, especially Arizona, has now hit the breaking point.

    Glad Meredith was able to let some of her frustration out in the elevator.

  10. Sandy says:

    Why are people comparing this episode to Glee? There have been musical episodes for years before Glee…

  11. ana muller says:

    I was very skeptical about this episode, but I have to admit it was surprisingly good! Which only confirms that Shonda Rhimes is a genius, because you HAVE to be brilliant to make something that sounds as lame as a grey’s anatomy musical episode work! My only complaint is that I would have liked to hear Ellen Pompeo and Justin Chambers sing a lot more, they were so good. And did Patrick Dempsey even sing? Because he should have!

  12. amy324 says:

    I LOVE LOVE Loved it. I had goosebumps the whole time. Watching again now.

  13. Nitpicker says:

    “While Arizona summoned help, we saw Callie (bear with me here) “exist outside of her injured self” to survey the damage and then segue into the night’s first song, Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.”

    Correction – the first song Callie sings is “Nobody Knows” by Dido aka Greys Anatomy theme song.

    What worked for me was some of the singing was quite beautiful. What didn’t work is that it was not well integrated into the show. And it was a blatant Scrubs ripoff – not the first time grey’s has ripped off Scrubs.

  14. Sade says:

    This was absolutely awful! Like watching a film where the background music is too loud so you have to turn up the sound in an attempt to hear the dialogue.

    The CAM baby storyline is crap and Shonda has obviously lost the plot if she thinks the viewers are enjoying it. Please bring back Greys Anatomy as I have had more than enough of the Torres and her Vagina show.

  15. Alice says:

    A lot of mixed feelings. I didn’t like that they chose to use songs that had already featured prominently in other episodes of the show, like Denny’s death; they’ve already become a huge part of the Grey’s canon, and recycling them felt cheap somehow. They also had the inevitable problem with all musicals where the music draws away from the dramatic impact of the storytelling. Callie being so horribly injured should have been a gut-wrenching hour, but instead the most poignant moment went to Meredith and Derek in the elevator.

    On an up note though, the singing was really great on average. Sara Ramirez was amazing as always (wish they’d let her rip out a few more high notes), Chyler Leigh and Kevin McKidd rocked it, and Justin Chambers was a welcome surprise. I was a little surprised they didn’t have Patrick Dempsey sing, especially when those with weaker voices like Pompeo, Capshaw, and Raver got to chime in. Anyway, not great, but not a total failure. Next time maybe they could work some singing in a little more naturally, like a karaoke night at Joe’s.

  16. S says:

    I think it was cheesy. A musical just doesnt suit this show. Sorry.

  17. Jas says:

    The whole thing about this episode was awesome! I loved every bit of it! Those of you that didnt liked it are way off base with the whole reason for the songs and what the purpose was behind Shonda. All of the songs were created in callis mind as she lay in coma, including the sexy love scenes were all a part of her mind and not what was really going on with the other characters. She had just been telling Arizona how she wanted what the other coulples had and so she was dreaming about it all…. Every song wasfrom Callies point of view. The only words out of Callies mouth from the ambulance were ” music” …. She was hearing music… Thus the start of her musical journey out of body experience!
    I especially loved callie, owen and mirandas singing. Kevin mckidd can really sing!
    I have watched this episode several times now and catch things i missed from the first time i hope you all win awards from this episode because you deserve it!

  18. ajxdbsxd jdxb says:

    Weirdest piece of turd I’ve seen in ages. Worse than Glee!