When Girls Collide

Izzie, meanwhile, got the other dose of silliness for the evening: the ailing deer, brought in by an adorably pleading boy. Having already lost her interns' respect, she was faced with whether to pull out all the legit medical stops to save Bambi. Which, of course, is also George's sometime nickname. Excuse me, Doctor, can you help me? I've been hit over the head with the personal resonance of this plotline….

We'll get back to Bambi and Izzie's undying love in a minute, though. First, let's talk ''internally decapitated'' guy, who not only gave Lexie a lot of important running around to do but also hit us even harder over the head with metaphorical significance. See, there was still ''no sign of Burke,'' as Cristina kept pointing out until Derek finally broke the news that her erstwhile fiancé had handed in a resignation letter two weeks back. And when Decapitated Dude's wife showed up, Cristina told her, ''This could be the last time you see him alive.'' Then there was an extensively schmaltzy scene in which the Dude blinked ''I love you'' (three blinks!) to his wife and kids before finally going into his (ultimately successful, yay!) surgery. But, hey, I like my medicine with a touch of schmaltz, and it does go down easier with prickly Cristina on the scene.

Schmaltzier still? That aforementioned George and Izzie nonsense. Here's how it went down: They ran into each other in the stairwell. They had a moody blowup about whatever. It ended with Izzie crying, ''I am Bambi, George. I'm all alone in the forest, George, and my mother's been shot by a hunter. And where are you?'' Okay. So. Problems: 1. Do I have to reiterate the entire world's objections to George and Izzie together? The entire lack of chemical foundation for this silly affair? No? Good. 2. Is she really Bambi? Is she really all alone in the forest, even symbolically? Has her mother really been shot? Last premiere, I'd buy it. This one, not so much. 3. Did anyone else think of the vastly superior When Harry Met Sally ''I am the dog'' speech here? (''If anyone is the dog, Harry, you are the dog.'') 4. Seriously?

And speaking of overwrought nonsense, I'm now officially pulling for Steamy and Dreamy to work it out and be friends again just so the Dreamster can get some testosterone back in his life. Because I can't have him moping around saying impossibly She's Just Not That Into You-baiting rationalizations like ''She panics, she wants this, she doesn't know how to have this, and it's not her fault.'' Darling, every girl who has ever dated a bad boy has uttered a variation on this exact sentence. Oh, so troubled, so scared, the love we have is too overwhelming! True or not, you dump her and ignore her — only way she's going to come begging back. Trust me, she will. Though usually not until you have a new, much-better-for-you-but-kinda-boring love interest and you're feeling generally good about your life.

Anyway. One development I really did dig was the Lexie-George friendship that sparked in the nursery. Still smarting from her McBeal act earlier, I was skeptical when she was all, ''It's like a cute festival in here!'' while looking at all the babies. But then she gave that speech about how she meant to go to Mass Gen for her internship but had to come back to Seattle when her mom died, and how all her plans got screwed too so George could cut the moping. ''You delivered a baby today,'' she said, ''so stop feeling sorry for yourself.'' Word. And George, bless him, gracefully accepted the attitude adjustment. ''You are kind of awesome,'' he replied. Then Lexie really won me over with her response: ''I know.'' Even better? The amazed looks on those sweet, innocent little interns' faces later in the locker room when Lexie bragged about George's first-day exploits and made it clear she'd keep his secret that this was his second first day as an intern.

Sure, there were no world-rocking plot twists this fourth (!) season premiere, unless you count Meredith and Derek's obviously-not-going-to-stick breakup (why bother?) and George's final-scene declaration of love to Izzie (I'm in denial). But if I did tell Grey's Anatomy that it's at least still kind of (a little bit) awesome, it would say, ''I know.'' And that's what I love best about it.

What do you think? Which plotlines were too schmaltzy, which left you cold, and which were just right?

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Originally posted Sep 28, 2007