I’ll have to admit that, TV-critic triage being the necessity that it is, I haven’t watched Grey’s Anatomy regularly for a couple seasons. So while the musical episode last night, “Song Beneath the Song,” was a good chance for me to catch up and an interesting curiosity, I can’t really review it in the context of the show’s arc, which is the important thing. As a “musical event” in itself, though… well, that was, um, something.
I probably could have gotten used to the device of the cast (not all of them with, shall we say, musical theater stage presence) bursting into song, even if I didn’t love the jukebox-musical choices (e.g., Jesus Jackson’s “Running on Sunshine,” above). But one of my issues with “Song” was that it didn’t really commit to a musical approach. Sometimes the musical device was an outgrowth of Callie’s brain trauma, except when it wasn’t. Sometimes the episode was staged like a musical, and other times, it simply used the cover songs the way Grey’s has always used its soundtrack, to slather emotion on top of already emotional moments. (At some points, characters delivered dialogue over their own singing, which was odd.)
Musical episodes have become a reasonable common stunt (to say nothing of TV musicals like Glee and the failed Viva Laughlin), and at this point you really need to either go big—like Joss Whedon did, commiting to an entire episode’s worth of songs for “Once More with Feeling”—or go home. To me, “Song” was just odd enough to feel awkward, without being enough of a creative departure to really invigorate the show. Then again, it might have worked better for me if I were more invested in the ongoing storylines, so I’ll ask the regular Grey’s viewers in Tuned Inland: how did it sound to your ear?