Grey’s Anatomy 7.18 “Song Beneath the Song” Review

Lauren DiMascio April 1, 2011 38

So Grey’s fans, that was the big Grey’s Anatomy musical event that we’ve all been waiting for! I’m anxious to hear what you all think!

Let me first say that Sara Ramirez’s voice is spectacular! It’s no surprise given she is a Tony award winner, but having not heard her sing before (with the exception of our previews of this episode) her pipes were pretty phenomenal. Kevin McKidd (Owen) and Chandra Wilson (Bailey) also did some nice vocal gymnastics last night. The rest of the cast left a little to be desired but ah well not everyone can be an actor and a singer. I guess, that’s what auto tune is for.

That being said…I should tell you that I didn’t particularly enjoy the music in tonight’s episode. I found it was rather distracting and felt out of place with the intensity of the storyline.

If this was a regular episode of Grey’s, I would be singing it’s praises and my Kleenex box would have been empty by the episode’s end. These types of stories are what Grey’s does best. As Alex said in the episode, Seattle Grace Mercy West is more like ‘Seattle Grace Mercy Death.’It’s this reason why the audience is so wrapped up in these characters, especially in this 7th season which has been stronger than most.

However, with all the out of place singing, I found I couldn’t be as invested as I would have liked in the story. It often seemed the cast was just singing to sing. There was no purpose or reason.

The gist of the episode is supposed to be that Callie’s soul is processing what’s going on around her through music. Though if this is the case why did Chyler Leigh’s character (Lexie) sing ‘Breathe’to Mark?

Of course there were some scenes, with dialogue, that were quite heartbreaking and powerful, particularly those with Mark and Arizona. When their baby was born and Arizona was attempting to get a heartbeat, I was glued to the TV.

As for the performances, it was very much hit or miss. Though it didn’t fit in with the rest of the episode ‘Running on Sunshine’was an adorably great time AND Alex sang a whole verse! It was hard not to laugh and smile as many of the show’s couples danced around. I also enjoyed Henry (guest star Scott Foley) getting in on the musical action.

‘Chasing cars’also seemed appropriate as the opener when Callie was rushed to the OR as did ‘How to Save a Life” when all the doctors were in fact, saving Callie’s life. I could have done without the rest.

Callie looks to be in for a long recovery from her injuries, as does her baby so it seems this will be the focus of the last four episodes of the season. Per the preview for new episodes, it seems she will be on her way to recovery… I hope we can say the same for her baby.

Some additional thoughts:

  • It was nice to see Addison back at Seattle Grace! I miss her!
  • Teddy telling Cristina she can’t teach her anymore was a bit dramatic especially since the procedure she did saved Callie’s life.
  • Lexie taking Jackson’s hand at the end of the episode was sweet.

Now it’s your turn! What did you think about the musical event? Was it distracting? Did you think it tied in well with the story? Where there any performances you just loved? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

  • http://leftovertoast.tumblr.com Hartono

    it was great! but i did have some problems with it. i kinda felt like i was watching an episode of glee and the songs sometimes removed all seriousness implied in this episode. but i really love the songs though! incredible talent these people have. maybe it would be nice to see what it would be like in and outside Callie's head, like what was actually happening when they were singing. overall, i thought it was a really good episode cause it's different and definitely a risk taker.

  • milaxx

    I may be in the minority, but I liked it.

  • Sara

    I actually really enjoyed the episode. I guess it really depends on your personality. Within the first five minutes I was balling like a baby. The minute Chasing Cars was being sung was when I broke down. I found every time they started to sing, it felt so much more heart-wrenching to me, but I can understand how it wouldn't be like that for others. I love the idea that they pretty much only sang songs that were featured on the show, especially Chasing Cars, How to Save a Life and Breathe. I can pinpoint the exact moment each of those songs played on the show. Would have loved to hear Eric Danes and Ellen Pompeo sing a little bit more but I'm pretty happy with this episode. See, I watch Glee and I didn't find it to be the same at all. Glee, for me, is a feel good TV show, one that's supposed to make you smile. This episode was meant to make you feel hurt and for me it did just that. Was nice to see Callies inner struggle with waking up and what she's seeing around her.

  • Kate

    I thought that it was fantastic! I was curious how they were going to pull this off but I think thay did it very well. It was more moving for me than a regual episode, sometime music say so much more than just words. Great job Grey's on a very risky venture!

  • Stacee

    I hated this episode!!!! This could have and should have been a very emotional and touching episode but was turned into a joke with all the singing. Yes I think Sara has a fantasic voice, but this was not the place to display it. I couldn't believe that the writers, producers and actors thought that this was a good idea while filimg this mess. The musical aspect took all of the serious drama out of this episode and I found myself giggling at the poor performances (mostly Lil Grey's rendition of Breath, she should stick to acting). I have been a loyal fan of Grey's even through the not so great seasons but this may have forever ended our relationship. This episode was beyond corny and I am beyond disappointed!

  • Peggy

    It was horrible! It jumped the shark big time. Sara was fantastic but this was not the time or place.

  • Colette

    I loved this episode and especially loved Chasing Cars How to Save a Life and Breathe. I was very moved and it kept me on the edge of my seat. A couple songs were a bit unessecary but still i loved the whole thing

  • Rory

    I was excited to see the episode and I loved Sara Ramirez singing. But as a musical theatre major I didn't understand the logic behind doing a musical episode. It seemed very "Glee" like and it seemed very off. The reason people break out into song in a musical is because the emotion is so strong that it can only be expressed theough music. They picked on of the most emtional episodes of the season to do the musical episode but the songs didn't really inhance the emotion. On the show they usually perform the scenes overtop of the music like in the final sequences of each episode but when people are performing songs they tried to do scenes and dialogue during the song. This DOESN'T work and if they were going to commit to singing they should commit. Chandra Wilson and Kevin McKidd were also spectacular but I found Chyler Leigh’s voice to sound really autotuned. All in all I'm glad they tried this and I hope they do it again…but just better next time.

  • Sandra

    I never have liked musicals and I found that the music breaks took away from the energy and excitement of the show that I was looking forward to. I actually found it rather difficult to even enjoy this episode.

    This episode was made for half the Grey's fans who enjoy musicals but for those of us who don't may have changed the channel or just chose not to watch it.

  • Moncher

    Wow that was bad. Although I consider myself a fan I didn't know last nights show was going to be a musical and I'm not it would have made a difference. To put it another way 10min in I started searching the web for Grey's and 'jump the shark'. I can appreciate the creator and cast wanting to explore other creative avenues but it came across more like creative masturbation than a gift for the viewers/fans.

  • http://lifeinacrazyhouse.blogspot.com jennifer

    I thought it was kind of a rip off of an old scrubs episode. The singing was good but i think the show would have been better without it

  • Rob

    I loved it. I can only imagine what it took to act around music playing for the cast since the songs were lipsynced. It was a standout television moment worth of an Emmy. For the record, yes there were some amazing standout singers. The rest did fine for what they were asked to do. I didn't wince once due to "pitch issues." :D

  • Meghan

    I thought it was the WORST episode EVER!! It was uncomfortable throughout the whole thing! It was terrible! I couldn't pay attention or really be emotionally involved. If they had killed Callie off, I wouldn't of been upset. It was bad!!! All my friends on facebook agree. Agh! I hope they do better from now on! This could have been a really good episode!

  • Sheila

    A little over the top if you ask me…..and you did.

    I would have liked it much more had it just been Sara/Callie singing. I like what you said about "her sould sorting through what was happening".

    Perfect description of what it should have been.

    However the ending was great with Sara's last song….very moving, I loved the way it ended….I just don't want to see McSteamy singing.

    Not sure I can ever look at him the same way now.

  • ellen

    Fabulous–Have watched the episode twice and Sara/Callie's scene singing The Story, about four times.(Hope she makes a CD) –She sang The Story much better than it's writer. The episode was a bit surreal but thought it was a great change of pace and liked it a lot –would not have worked though, if the music had fallen flat. I would call it a brave success.

  • Bailey

    I believe the parts where there is singing is being told from Callie's soul (as she mentioned in the opening dialogue) POV. This would explain that she is seeing these things happening via song. When she is first brought in the only dialogue she speaks is Music. All of her other dialogue til the end is via song, and that following dialogue was after her soul returned to its owner. Perhaps she is seeing Lexie sing to Mark (Breathe) while going to comfort Mark because its her soul's perception of how their interaction (which has been nil up til now) should go. My assumption was always that they aren't really singing it is only Callie's soul that see's that so if were seeing or hearing it its via her POV. Under that pretense its easier to digest the various amounts of songs going on. While I agree some songs seemed distracting I still think they fit when you place them under Callie's souls' POV. Thus the flashback to the car, but in the clouds as Derek & Meredith are withdrawing the sedation. The closer she gets to awake, we are back to the reality of Callie being a very critical patient. It takes a little latitude to watch, but in the end I was thoroughly entertained but also totally blown away by Sara Ramirez. The storyline itself I also enjoyed and my tissue box did end up empty.

  • Jas

    I loved it! Loved hearing the fantastic voices of Sara and Kevin. It was fun and tense at the same time and i enjoyed that it was totally different from the norm. I didnt mind the music but they could have chosen lyrics that fit in better with what was going on, like the how to save a life song fit in. But the song with kevin and sara together was awesome and Chandra, dont want to leave her out, was great but i already knew she knew how to sing! Love it when they do a special episode like this that is wildly different from normal. Where can they go next!

    I am a loyal fan!

  • Claudy

    I agree with you that there were way too many songs.

    How To Save A Life, Chasing Cars, and The Story would've done it.

    I miss Addie on Grey's too, but KW's talent was completely wasted in this ep. I mean it was over-the-top contrived to bring Addie in (what, Lucy bails in face of an emergency? And SGH has no other competent OB?), then we saw her for what, two seconds? In the end she wasn't the one to get the baby breathing, anyway.

    I have to say, Owen's How We Operate caught me completely off guard. I almost choked on my food.

  • Claudy

    Oh and when would SR give Jackson a break and stop fooling the poor bloke around. We all know that she wants Mark and Lexie together so just go with it already. I'm sure Jackson would've appreciated not having to waste his time.

  • Erin

    I liked the episode it was intense and had good drama, the stuff Grey's is known for but at the same time I agree with others when they say the singing was distracting at times. It worked when Callie was around (the beginning, during her scenes with Arizona in the ICU) but other parts it was somewhat out of place.Overall it was a nice attempt at trying something new.

  • Jessie

    An hour of my life I will never get back.

  • gLeNNa

    I don't care what anyone says, this was a fantastic episode . Callie in tremendous pain, shock, she is screaming inside and scared but the brain trauma makes her see and hear strange things. Kudos to the writers for taking a risk and doing something different.  Grey's is noted for shocking us and they did it again. I cried, I laughed and I was totally blown away by the voices. We see actors, we never think of them as singers too. It was DEF not Glee-ish to me. Glee is funny and uplifting, this episode makes you think of your own mortality and what can happen to us in a blink of an eye.

     

  • Alicia

    I have been watching Grey's from the beginning, am a longtime fan of musical theater, and also a fan of Glee. Sara Ramirez has an exceptional voice, and her communicating through song while her regular "voice" was silenced by injury was a beautiful choice by the producers. And then Owen Hunt has to break out in song while staring into Callie's eyes, rolling her gurney down the hospital hallway! I actually laughed out loud and turned the episode off because I thought it was so preposterous.

    As many critics and fans have pointed out, Grey's has figured out how to do medical drama involving the characters of the show very well. By killing George 2 (?) seasons ago, they manage to bring all the shows longtime fans to the edge of their seat every time a major disaster is imminent. I was ready for a heart-wrenching, dramatic episode with serious plot progress (especially between Arizona and Mark) but instead, it turned into "Let's Sing Romantic Top 40 While We Operate." Seriously?? Come now, Grey's Anatomy. You know better than that. While airing this episode may serve to bring the show back into the mainstream dialogue (all press is good press and what not) I think it winds up coming across as desperate pandering for attention. I hope the producers walk away from this episode with a "never again" attitude, recognizing that medical high drama and Top 40 really shouldn't mix.

  • Dionne

    Ok, it was different and I walked away from the television a couple of times due to the excessive singing.  Yes there is musical talent among the characters but I was more interested in watching the story unveil minus the melodies.  I loved the songs but couldn't they have been included between scenes.  I never got totally drawn into the show because it just took away from the drama.  Actually I am in agreement with many of the comments comparing this episode to "Glee".  I say stick to the story line or you may end up losing some loyal fans.  What's next: "Dancing with the Doctors?"

    • Cal

      The comparisons to Glee are ridiculous. Glee is a singing show  not a drama. Greys is a medical drama that did one singing show. and has sustained an audience forever.

      Lately, Glee has lost it's charm.  It has too many guest stars and stupid theme shows that have detracted from what made it good…the main characters.

      It would make more sense to compare Glee to all the shows it copied like High School Musical and Fame, which were both better.

      Glee also won't be around for eight seasons like Grey's.

  • Maxine Brand

    I am a huge broadway musical fan and an equally devoted fan of Glee.  I told my husband only minutes before the episode that it would be difficult to have another show that delivers music the way Glee does.  And this episode validated my theory.  Grey's has its own personality that has attracted its fans over the years.  This was a travesty in my opinion.  I would never watch another episode if it included music.  It took away the power of the performances and diminished the impact of the scenes.  For me it was the worst, even though the voices were strong.  Just not my cup of tea and I don't like tea either.

  • m

    I really liked this episode. It had me in tears at different times throughout the show. I watched the whole show and then saw the beginning of it again and realized how much was put into this episode from beginning to end.

  • Cal

    Of course Sara is amazing and the rest of the cast seemed to hold their own as far as the singing. I think Chyler has a great voice but also didn't think they needed to have her sing the entire song while  a character like Arizona, who was key to the story had a duet cut short. She was great for not being a trained singer. Check out Universe and U on Itunes if you get the chance.

  • Tracy

    Hated it

  • http://tvovermind.com Lauren

    Thanks for all the great comments everyone!!! It's been really interesting to read what you all thought about the episode!! It seems we are firmly in two camps (Loved it! or Hate it!) which is similar to what i've seen with reactions on twitter and other recaps and reviews!!!

    Don't forget to check back for previews and reviews of Grey's when it returns later this month!! :)

  • Lynda In Oregon

    Teddy telling Cristina she can't teach her anymore was a bit dramatic especially since the procedure she did saved Callie's life.

    'Scuse me? I only watched it once (no TiVo), but I thought the procedure did NOT work as planned and that was why they had to take the baby — so they could continue to treat Cally's injuries with techniques that would have otherwise harmed the baby even more than delivering her at that early stage.  Did I misunderstand what was going on in that scene?

  • betty

    Loved the whole episode from start to finish….Callie (Sara Ramirez's) voice was wonderful.  The rest of the cast worked well when they sang together….

  • Holly

    Thought it was absolutely brilliant! Was pleasantly surprised at how well the characters sang. I have to admit I thought it was going to be corny at first, but the singing actually made me MORE emotionally invested in the story. I was crying throughout the whole episode. When Callie sang "The Story" at the end… wow! Niagra Falls! Great job Grey's you never fail to deliver amazing shows! Fan for life!

  • Bob

    Terrible … worst episode ever! I had to leave the room a few times … just could not take any more. If they ever try that stunt again I will cease to be a fan of Grey's Anatomy!

  • Shirah

    Absolutely loved it!  Have watched it twice & will again.  My husband  I agree that it was a refreshing & entertaining change of pace—drama + music–what's not to love!  Was deeply moved, especially by "The Story".  Will continue to be a Grey's fan.

  • Brittany

    Recently, I have been re-watching the seasons from the beginning and have noted that a good number of the songs used in 'Song Beneath the Song' were actually used in previous episodes during extremely earth shattering moments. Like, "How We Operate" was used in Season 2, when Burke gets shot and they are operating on his shoulder and at the same time, Bailey and Haun are attempting to save Denny Duquette.

    In another episode in Season 2(the specifics escape me at the moment), I noted that "Universe & U" was the song of choice and "Breathe" was also in this season. It's just something to be considered.

     

    Were the songs purely coincidental? Or were they chosen because of their previous meaning/ potentially foreshadowing for the remainder of Season 7 and other future episodes of Grey's Anatomy.

     

    Again, just a thought.

  • bmw

    best episode ever…loved all of the songs Callie sang..I listen to them on my ipod every day at work..it gets me through the day..

  • Name

    It was okay I think Lexi sucks at singing and eh needs to get with mark and Avery needs to get with April so she can rI’d of her sexual frustration already