Day 14 - Grey's Anatomy and Master Fantasies

Once again, Grey's Anatomy. What a well-developed, perfectly sculpted nightmare. Like all shows focused on the delivery of catharsis, Grey's Anatomy rests on a few master fantasies. The first is that men and women think and want the same. We all "think" with our emotions. Specifically, emotional explosions are the only path to resolution. And in this show, each and every resolution leads the characters closer to monogamy and marriage. Now, it isn't comfortable for the viewer to admit to wanting such things; after all,they're looked down on for being too traditional, too regressive in an age where selfish freedom is the ultimate state. To make the medicine go down a little smoother, the characters talk about sex almost constantly. By doing so, the show waves the progressive flag while offering basic titillation, in the end treating sex as anything but natural and normal. The fact that everyone's a doctor supports another illusion: emotional explosions are not obstacles to focus and rationality. The show takes it a bit further, suggesting that constant drama has no impact on the brain and body whatsoever. Everyone goes back to life-saving as if their exhausting childishness is just a natural part of high achieving. The second master fantasy is that fighting/arguing is the only path to resolution, so the audience can rest easy in their imperfect or even disastrous relationships. 

Again with the contrast: There is no master fantasy to be found in the great shows (Madmen, Sopranos, The Wire). The characters themselves might have fantasies and delusions, but the show and its dramas are nuanced. They cover all facets, from all points of view as the human comic tragedy plays out. 

You'll only receive email when The Barnacle publishes a new post

More from The Barnacle