Hey Gabblers. We’ve got the writer’s blog for the season finale. Read below to see Debora Cahn’s take on Unaccompanied Minor.
It’s the finale. The FINALE! Shonda asked me to write the finale! How great is that???
Last year, she wrote the finale herself. She pulled a machine gun out of her mental arsenal and mowed down half the cast. Derek. Alex. A bunch of cast members whose names we no longer remember. Why? Because they’re dead. She killed them. A couple years ago she asked me if I would write the Private Practice finale. I said no. She said, “You get to kill off a beloved cast member.” I said, “I’m in.” The year before, I’d written the Grey’s finale. Cakewalk. Why? George got hit by a bus. Oh, and Izzie, coding on the table as the final voice over rolls. Nothing’s easier for a writer than killing beloved cast members. It’s dramatic. It’s emotional. It’s like a lollipop, covered in a martini that doesn’t give you a hangover, covered in a bright sunshiny day that isn’t giving you skin cancer because of the magic. You know what you can’t do the year after your boss kills off a bunch of people in the finale? Kill off anyone. You can’t do anything the year after a mass murder. There’s no topping a mass murder. So we decided not to. No flood. No fire. No smallpox outbreak. No Lexie gets caught in a well while saving conjoined twin babies. No seven patients all snarled together after driving their hang-gliders into the electrical wires. No 15 simultaneous organ transplants. No surgery at all. You’ll notice, we never went into the OR in this episode. We never watched anyone have a meaningful conversation in a surgical mask. Nobody coded. Nobody charged anything to 200 and yelled CLEAR.
So what’s left, when you take away carnage, and the death of our loved ones?
Sorry. It’s all we had left.
Seriously, it’s an interesting challenge, when you’ve started writing a show that’s focused on the lives of young single people, and then you get them into relationships, and some of the relationships manage to stand the test of time, and they eventually tie the knot, in a church, or on a post-it… suddenly you’ve got a show about married people. How did that happen? We were all having such a good time. And now this. Meredith and Cristina, of all people. Married. They grew up, our little girls. But of course, they didn’t. As some of us learned in recent years, just because you’re married, and shacked up, and the waiter in the restaurant calls you “ma’am” (what the f*@# is that about?) it doesn’t mean you’ve figured out how to be a partner. There’s an awful vertigo that sets in when women who were raised to be strong, and independent, and decisive, learn that they’re no longer supposed to make their decisions alone. They’re supposed to consult someone else. Hear their opinion. Consider it. And sometimes bend to it. It’s a nightmare. We were raised to do the opposite. Generations of our foremothers fought tooth and nail, so we could make our own decisions. And we’re still supposed to consult someone else? What the hell? And so Cristina. Making a terrible decision. Alone. The decision itself is a problem, obviously, but that wasn’t our focus, cause we’d all seen that one on Lifetime. Our focus was how she was making the decision. Where Owen was in the decision. What did it tell us about her marriage. Her partnership. Her ability to include someone else in her life, even at this most devastating time. Ultimately, she couldn’t. We can all slot ourselves into predictable spots on the political spectrum, but none of the bumper stickers prepare us for deciding with someone else. Everything that makes Cristina a great surgeon makes her a terrible partner. And that just sucks.
Meredith. Different hair color. Same story. She made a unilateral decision. She had to – he never would have understood. He sees the world in black and white, and she… well, with that last name and everything… So she made a decision. And she made it alone. And then when it all hit the fan, she still believed if she contained the information, she’d contain the damage, so she didn’t tell him what was going on. And so he disappears. At an extremely inconvenient time. It’s all her worst fears realized. She’s got a baby she never thought she was capable of mothering. And she’s alone. But that’s the world she created.
The writer of last night’s episode, Debora Cahn, has posted a blog entry about “Not Responsible. Check it out below:
Debora Cahn on “Not Responsible”…
Original Airdate: 2-24-11
Ms. Debbie Allen directed my episode. Ms. Debbie Allen. I have been fortunate to work with a lot of incredibly talented people in my life, and some quite famous, but lord in heaven… Ms. Debbie Allen! I was interested in show business at a young age. Theatre mostly — enough that I spell it theatre instead of theater, which only means I was pretentious as a 13 year old. In any event, I saw the movie “Fame” when I was impressionable, and Ms. Debbie Allen’s infamous line is forever emblazoned in my mind. So we’re trying to have a production meeting and she’s asking me a question, and I’m kind of zoned out cause here’s what’s running in my head: ”You want fame? Well fame costs. And right here’s where you start paying. In sweat.” Over and over and over again. So not only am I star-struck, but I’m acting like a moron, cause I can’t answer a simple question, cause I didn’t really hear it, all I heard was… you get the idea. That, and I have no idea what to call her. I can’t call her Debbie. That’s too disrespectful. To call her Ms. Debbie Allen seems a bit much, even though every time I think of her, that’s what I think — never Debbie — never Ms. Allen. Ms. Debbie Allen. So I end up not calling her anything. ”Hey! Hi!” That kind of thing. So it ends up sounding like I’ve forgotten her name. Add to that the fact that what we’re talking about is… Kyle’s bump. Poor little Kyle, not only is his mom drifting away, her brain riddled with Alzheimer’s, he has a bump on his neck. There was much debate about Kyle’s bump. If the bump is too big, the parents look not just distracted, but horribly irresponsible — not what we’re going for. If the bump is too small, how will Meredith see it? She is, after all, a little compromised in the vision department. If it’s too big, how will we NOT see it in the first scene, where we don’t want to see it? Should he wear a jacket? A scarf? Maybe he goes to private school and wears a dorky uniform, with a coat and tie, and in the first scene, tie’s on, and in the second scene, he LOOSENS the tie, revealing the medium sized bump. But what if the dorky uniform is too dorky? The poor kid has to sing “I Walk the Line” to his mother, we should preserve whatever cool he’s got left. We had easily five separate conversations about the bump. Meetings. About the bump. And here I am thinking “I’m WASTING Ms. Debbie Allen’s time, her talent, I shouldn’t be giving her a kid with a bump, I should change the character to a child who dances. A dance prodigy! And he distracts his mother from her creeping dementia by DANCING! A subtle combination of ballet and modern dance and krump!” (Krump — a word I know because I watch “So You Think You Can Dance” — a show on which Ms. Debbie Allen is a guest judge!) I’ve reworked the character in my head — in the middle of the production meeting. It is WAY too late to change the character to a dance prodigy. The role has been cast, with an adorable young man who can SING. Not dance. He was hired for his ability to sing Johnny Cash to his mother. Not for his krumping. But there I am, imagining the radical number Ms. Debbie Allen will choreograph for my episode, and I’ve missed yet ANOTHER question she’s asking me. I’m giving her the blank silence again. Cause I have no idea what she said. AGAIN. She’s trying to hard to move the conversation off the bump. And she can’t. Because she can’t get me to answer the simplest question. I assume it was simple. I have no idea. I didn’t hear it. So now, Ms. Debbie Allen thinks I have Asperger’s. And we’re still on the bump. I can’t tell you anything about the episode. I can’t remember anything about the episode. All I know is Ms. Debbie Allen directed it.
Here’s the Writer’s Blog for this week’s episode 6.17: Push by Deborah Cahn! ENJOY!
Dating. Dating is a lot of things. Fun. Exhilarating. Exciting. Breathtaking.
Occasionally, maybe. But usually it’s miserable. It’s a freakshow. A slog. Punishment for killing children in a past life, perhaps. It sucks. Your heart, your hopes, your dreams, all projected onto some hapless wretch on the other side of the table, who’s using the drink menu to pick his teeth. I remember thinking maybe I could type up a little cheat sheet, with answers to the questions I’d already answered 800 times… “One brother, one sister.” “Connecticut.” “Scorpio.” But no. You can’t short circuit the process. You just gotta go through it.
Dating is best left to the young. The young and the optimistic, who can ride their optimism through the countless dinners at Italian restaurants required to zero in on a life partner. Unfortunately, the young ain’t the ones doing it anymore. Grown men and women, people who waved goodbye to their twenties long ago, are dating. They’re divorced. Or they wanted to focus on their careers before they worried about marriage and family. They’re grown ups, and they’re sitting in Italian restaurants across the land, talking about their childhoods, and their rock climbing, and how they wish they had more time to cook.
Mark Sloan. Miranda Bailey. These are not people who ever thought they’d have to have the conversation over pasta. Bailey married young. Dating for her was milkshakes in high school. Movies. Bowling. And Mark… well, we know what it was for Mark. It was a lot of women, over a lot of years, and it was, shall we say, aerobic. So all this crap about getting to know each other, and figuring out how to get close to a perfect stranger is baffling. Bailey’s forgotten all the rules. Mark never knew them in the first place. It’s a nightmare.
Now, if you have to date, you should date Jason George. He’s the amazing and terribly hot actor who plays Ben, and the fact is, while I have great sympathy for grown women who have to start dating after years of marriage, it’s not easy to muster up all that much sympathy for Bailey when she’s dating freaking Jason George. But I try. And Mark, well, him I really do feel sorry for, because this isn’t his thing. He’s a ragingly confident man. But he’s never had to play this game. He’s never trolled for a wife before, he’s trolled for… you know… but not for the mother of his children. And yet he goes for it. He tries. He’s so earnest. And so nervous. And nobody believes him. Teddy can’t imagine that he’s someone you take seriously. So nothing makes me happier than seeing him, at the end of the episode, just melt her with talk of an aggressively unromantic lunch date. He grows. He wins. And he deserves to. Bailey? She wins too. Jason George is cooking her dinner. And kissing her. That’s the definition of a win win situation. I guess that’s the moral of the story. Dating sucks, but if you can survive it, sometimes nice things happen after.
Did you notice in the credits that Chandra Wilson directed this episode? Miranda Bailey on-screen, and the director off-screen. She’s a freaking rock star. Literally, because she sings like god’s trying to prove something. But also because she acts and directs all at the same time – the woman directed her own on-screen kiss. She’s incredible. There’s nothing, NOTHING, she can’t do. It’s intimidating, is the fact of the matter.
I want to talk about Callie for a minute, and how lovely it is that she’s suddenly the one who has her act together. She’s the grown up. She’s not the freak, sleeping in the basement and getting her heart slammed. She’s the authority. Mark wants her help. Bailey wants her advice. And she’s good at it. It’s lovely. For the three seconds before Arizona tells her that they don’t have the same vision of the future. But until then… it’s so nice. I’m so happy for her. She’s suddenly at peace in her own skin.