Grand Rounds: Dissecting Grey's Anatomy: White Wedding

Welcome to Grand Rounds: Dissecting Grey's Anatomy, a roundtable on Grey's Anatomy featuring Snarky's Machine, Everett Maroon, Redlami, and s.e. smith. This week's Grand Rounds is hosted by the fantastic Snarky's Machine. Without further ado, let's begin!

Miranda Bailey (as a member of the wedding party) at the altar in a lovely purple gown, looking excited and nervous.

Snarky's Machine: Fluff first: What did you think of the wedding dresses? Was confused by Callie's sleeves, but overall thought they both looked wonderful.

Redlami: Callie had the more traditional dress, complete with the veil which I don't think was selected just to mollify her mom. This made sense to me, since Callie said she's always dreamed of being a bride. Arizona's dress was a bit more modern but I agree both were tasteful and gorgeous.

s.e. smith: I liked the flowers in Arizona's hair.

Everett Maroon: I liked the dress, and apparently Grey's was onto something, because I just went to a lesbian commitment ceremony in Seattle last weekend, and one of the brides had that dress on! Just in blue. And Callie's hair looked really good the whole episode, if I may mention that.

Snarky's Machine: Privilege fail seemed to be the name of the game in this episode. Even Bailey managed to erase the real concerns of folks who are unable to legally marry in a cloud of well-meaning woo woo. What did you think of how the marriage equality was explored on this episode? What do you think the purpose of juxtaposing Callie and Arizona's wedding versus Meredith and Derek's rush job at city hall?

Redlami: When Bailey popped in to deliver the mind-changing monologue I thought for a moment I was watching a David E. Kelly show. I understood the message to be that MerDer's legal marriage between a man and woman, done in haste without wedding dresses or rings or lots of friends, was actually less traditional in many ways than Callie and Arizona's gay marriage. That marriage comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, just like people. The two brides atop the wedding cake was a nice, if overused, touch.

s.e. smith: I think that a lot of folks want to position themselves as "allies" by focusing on support for marriage equality, like this is the only thing that matters to LGBetc folks, and this episode really reminded me of privileged self-flagellation at its finest. Wake me up when you're done Making Statements, Grey's, and you're reading to talk about issues like homeless queer youth or the rape of trans women.

Everett Maroon: So they're in some rush to do adoption paperwork and they just have to take that moment to go to city hall? That's pretty shitty in my book. Plus, people never get a same-day appointment to get hitched, so I don't buy it, and I don't buy the yawning delivery of the judge. In all of the shit things that justices of the peace have to go through, the marriage stuff is generally a high point, so I think they're a bit off the mark on that exchange. But hey, nice way for Derek to squeak in and get half ownership of Meredith's house, since Washington is a common property state. I only bring this up because I think it's a strange erasure—at the same time we're focusing on the right to get married in terms of how important it feels for the people involved, we really missed out on considering some of the ramifications, legal and otherwise. The whole marriage thing felt rushed to me, especially as it's only been what, three episodes since Arizona even proposed?

Doctors Yang and Hunt at the wedding, looking fancy.

Snarky's Machine: Meredith and Derek's adoption of Zola seems all systems go, do you think Grey's has offered the viewer thoughtful analysis with regard to adoption, trans-racial adoption or infertility? Do you think it was intentional to show Derek and Meredith as the white saviors of this child, (which Derek looked completely adorable holding) without commentary?

Redlami: Ooh look, someone left a healthy, well-fed brown baby lying around, let's take her home, it will easily make us forget our efforts to have a baby. Really? At least the paperwork mountain wasn't soft-pedaled. But I suspect this neat little solution to MerDer's baby quest will turn out to be ill-conceived, entered into under the cloud of Meredith's secret manipulation of the Alzheimer's trials.

s.e. smith: Um, no. There was nothing thoughtful about this. "Can't have a baby? Adopt a tragic black child from Africa!" There's a huge discussion going on right now about transracial and transcultural adoption and Grey's just rode roughshod over that. Maybe there will be some nuance in coming episodes (like, yes, maybe the White Savior positioning was intentional and the show will tease that out more), but I suspect Zola is going to go the way of all children as plot devices; show up in a few episodes, and then never be heard from again.

Everett Maroon: Derek did look really cute with the little one, who is herself amazingly adorable. But the rush to the justice's desk only heightens that there was no time for thinking behind this move, and in this way, Derek's push echoes Meredith's ethical lapse in switching the injections for Adele last week; they're both just reacting to gut emotions without considering the consequences of their actions. There are so many layers just in adopting, and then there are issues with supporting a child of a different race, not to mention a child thousands of miles from her birthplace and relatives and culture. But hey, she's cute. Shepherd should call up Madonna and Ms. Jolie and swap advice for future potential neural care.

Snarky's Machine: How well do you think Callie's interactions with Mark, Mrs. Torres and Arizona were handled? Do you think the writers did a good job exploring the relationships and their effects on Callie?

Redlami: I appreciated that the respectful presentation of the religious objection: Callie's mom wants to see her daughter in heaven. And that this wasn't enough to trump her dad's needing to be there to dance with his daughter. Also, parental objection was presented as just one more wedding problem, right up there with Arizona's wanting some time to grieve for her brother. Nice touch, getting Mark to be the one to offer the shoulder for her to cry on. I'm glad Arizona is warming up to Mark, seeing as how he's stubbornly refusing to blend into the background. One of the only lol-worthy moments in the episode was Mark looking for the right place to stand during the rehearsal, and Callie's dad's brushoff ("call me your father-in-law one more time and I'll deck you.")

s.e. smith: What a conveniently pat storyline in an episode with both hands in the cookie jar, looking for goodies! Yes, folks, the parents of some LGBQT people don't accept them and sometimes do mean things like being angry about their weddings (or sending them to straight camp, or kicking them out of the house, or disowning them, or beating them, or killing them). Wow, it's almost like marriage equality does not, in fact, fix everything, despite the show's lip service moralizing episodes about how if only gay people could get married, they'd have child custody and bedside visitation rights!

Everett Maroon: I'm complaining about tonight's episode, I know, but this whole set of interactions was really the low for me. So there's been no progress to understand Callie after the whole father-daughter heart-to-heart in the middle of last season? Really? Why would the mother even show up if she was so opposed to her hell child? How could these feelings have gone untouched for so long? I didn't buy it, but then again, I walked out of the theater during The Birdcage for the same unbelievability reasons. No, not all families come around, or come around quickly, to something like teh gay, but Callie almost died a few months ago in the universe of the show. I'd presume her mother would have either gotten over her homophobia by now, or been hammering Callie with "this is your second chance to be straight again before you die," in which case, the conversation would be over before the parents were to meet each other on the wedding weekend. It was just awfully done, but the actors did a good job with a crappy setup.

Snarky's Machine: For nearly seven seasons Cristina was the shoo-in for Chief Resident, but now everyone—including Avery—has emerged as a front runner. Any predictions? I predicted Alex or April earlier in the season.

Redlami: I predict Teddy's going to go bye-bye with Andrew, leaving an opening which Richard will fill with a field promotion of Cristina to head of cardio-thoracic surgery. This would solve several problems: Owen wouldn't have to pass over his wife (who the coming attractions suggest is going on a sex strike to protest her professional neglect), and someone more suited than Cristina could be selected to ride herd over the misbehaving residents. Stark's surprise recommendation of the maize-porridge cooking April notwithstanding, I'm still holding out for Alex.

s.e. smith: Earlier in the season I said I thought it might be Alex, and I'm sticking to it!

Everett Maroon: Let me just start with wow Teddy, thanks for explaining the chilliness, I get it. And I loved Dr. Stark's ex parte conversation with Dr. Hunt on behalf of April. I think it's going to her, and I think it should, because whereas all of the other residents are looking for glory and stepping up in order to be the chief rez, she's doing it because it's her philosophy as a doctor. But I will never count Cristina out of anything.

Callie and Arizona hold hands at the altar, gazing at each other. Bailey is in the background

See you next week with "I Will Survive"!

About your bloggers:

Snarky's Machine is the founder of the pop culture site I Fry Mine in Butter.

Everett Maroon is a Seattle-based writer, focusing on popular culture commentary, speculative fiction, and memoir. His interests include the interrelationships of characters on Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Bailey, behind-the-scenes politics, and Dr. Bailey.

s.e. smith is a cantankerous, cat-wearing, pop culture-loving, pants-eschewing philistine from the wilds of Northern California with a compendium of largely useless random knowledge and a typewriter that doesn't know when to quit. smith writes at this ain't livin'.

Redlami turns numbers into stories and is the resident tech geek at I Fry Mine in Butter.

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Comments

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highlighting straight privilege

I took the juxtaposition of the two weddings to be a way of highlighting straight privilege: Derek and Meredith don't really want to do it and treat it as just a formality, since their post-it is the real thing to them; it is a means to an end in the adoption procedure. By contrast, the scenes with Callie and her mother make clear that even though Callie and Arizona really want to get married, there is a lot of heartbreak involved and, despite Bailey's efforts (and I agree with Snarky's Machine here), what they get is a ceremony that is, yes, lovely, but does not involve some important people Callie wanted there: her mother and a minister/priest to go with the mother. I also didn't get whether, in the GA universe, Callie and Arizona's wedding will be legally valid in the way that Meredith and Derek's will be.
I discovered this periodic discussion of the show quite recently, but I enjoy reading it, thanks!