Grey’s Anatomyis a rerun tonight, but if you absolutely, positively cannot handle a Thursday sans new MerDer drama or heavy-handed metaphors (his face is like their relationship! her disease is like…their relationship!), then maybe the GA video game is for you. Yes, indeed, the Seattle Grace shenanigans have been turned into a game. Well, “game.” It’s more like a SIMS-produced episode of the show with little flash diversions interspersed in the action. Well, “action.” I’ve seen comas more invigorating than this.
Yeah, Grey’s Anatomy: The Video Game is superhumanly dull, and you control so little of the action it hardly feels like a game at all. Ostensibly, you pick the characters’ actions — Meredith wants to kiss Derek; should she just go for it, or play hard to get? No, really. But it seemed like no matter what I chose (Alex should be honest! Izzie should be bold!), the story progressed the same way, whether that was through honesty or boldness or not. I was even more disappointed with the lame-o surgery parts. Other than the really biological sound effects, the surgery was basically Dark Cut, sans irony.
As strenuously unfun as the game itself is, it did help me clarify some issues I’ve had with Grey’s over the years, namely that most obstacles the characters face are static and self-imposed, and almost every episode includes a part where I shout “get some therapy!” Hmm, I can’t be committed to my relationship because I’m afraid of being hurt. Get! Some! Therapy! I’m so scarred by my lousy childhood that I act like a butthead — but deep down, I just want to feel loved. Get some therapy, Alex! I use sex as a way to avoid intimacy. Sloane, get thee to a shrink! Daddy issues, grief issues, sexual identity issues, a rocky marriage, chronic self-doubt — all together now, PopWatchers: Get some therapy. So I have the game to thank for making it abundantly clear that the characters on Grey’s can be dangerously simplistic (one of the game-lets instructs players to “avoid love, collect cold [ness]”). It’s that lack of depth that stunts character development, which is one thing that holds Grey’s back from greatness (and sometimes from just goodness).