Hey Gabblers – here’s the writer blog for 7.13. Please discuss below.
Mark Wilding on “Don’t Deceive Me (Please Don’t Go)”…
Original Airdate: 2-3-11
I’ve tried acting once in my life. I managed to snag the lead role in my high school’s production of “The Admirable Crichton.” I played an English butler who’s treated very poorly by the upper class British family who employs him — particularly by the family’s three daughters. Eventually the family gets stranded on a desert island. The three daughters all fall in love with Crichton on the island because he’s very take charge and very handy and saves everyone’s lives (he’s also VERY good-looking). In the end Crichton has to decide whether or not to signal to a passing ship that the family is stranded. The daughters beg him not to — they love their new life AND him — but Crichton does the right and proper thing and sends up the signal flares even though it means returning to his life as the family’s dutiful butler.
It’s a great play and I got the role because I could do a passable English accent and I was tall. It wasn’t because I could actually ACT. Because I couldn’t. I SUCKED. I could never get over a case of stage fright. My performance was wooden. And I squinted the whole time because my drama teacher didn’t want me to wear my glasses. If I’d been in the audience I would’ve booed me off the stage. Or at least asked for my money back. Which is probably why, today, I really admire actors. Acting is NOT easy. It is hard. We have a dozen wonderful actors on the show — our regulars. Week in and week out they bring Grey’s to life in fun, surprising ways. But a lot of times a story line will succeed or fail depending on our guest stars. I was lucky enough to get FANTASTIC guest stars for this episode and I want to acknowledge each of them.
The first great acting performance for my episode was turned in by Angela Paton. She played Martha, the woman who came in to get a quadruple bypass. She also played the hotel proprietor in “Groundhog Day”. She was wonderful in the episode, a perfect foil in the battle between Cristina and Jackson to do her heart grafts. She went from funny in the first scene to heartbreaking in the pre-op scene where she wonders if she should go through with the heart surgery. I love it when she got ANGRY at the thought of being a possible burden to her kids. That wasn’t written. That was the actor really, truly bringing the words to life in a surprising, believable way. As for the story itself — when Cristina convinces Martha to have the operation, I think she’s doing it from a place of real compassion. She’s not just doing it so she can perform a surgery she hasn’t performed before. In that sense, I think Cristina has grown since the shooting at the hospital. She’s a little more empathetic. After all, she knows what it is to be really and truly scared now.
Three more guest actors who were just plain excellent were L. Scott Caldwell, Harrison Page and Hugh Holub. They played, respectively, Daniel’s wife, Daniel, and Victoria’s husband. The scene where a confused, frightened Daniel is demanding to see Victoria required pitch perfect acting and Harrison delivered and then some. All of the actors’ performances combined to create an underlying sadness to the story that I was seeking from the first moment we started discussions about it in the writers’ room.
I’m glad that the show is once again tackling Alzheimer’s. It’s a theme that we always come back to. The reason, of course, is that early onset Alzheimer’s led to the premature death of Meredith’s mother. The question is will that genetic craps roll be passed on to Meredith? Will she end up like Ellis? It’s what drives Meredith to get on the trial and, as Alex tells Derek in his very Alex way — “Your wife is the only person twisted enough to handle this crap.”