Okay, it's cost-benefit analysis time. On the good side of the ledger for the premiere:
- Yang and Karev as mentors. Both could occasionally be grating when they were talking down to their fellow interns, but they have genuine reason to condescend to the newbies, and Oh and Chambers and the writers are clearly enjoying this arrangement.
- Bailey and the Chief. Shonda actually came up with a semi-reasonable reason for Miranda to not get the chief resident job (never mind that I think Callie was originally established as a year behind Miranda, and if I'm right, that she shouldn't be eligible for the job) and one that was a celebration of Bailey's awesomeness rather than an attempt to take her down a peg. (As opposed to the character assassination happening to Callie, but more on that below.)
- Lexie Grey. Yes, she's still being written as Meredith circa season one in an attempt to make us like her, but I didn't mind the manipulation, if only because there are so few characters left on this show to like.
- Izzie as a mentor. So, whatever, they reinstated her as a surgeon after her complete break from reality at the end of season two, but if there's a doctor on this show who should be forced to repeat their intern year -- if only to prevent them from being allowed to influence younger doctors -- it's Izzie, not George. And, of course, she proves her unfitness for this role with her first patient of the day. Speaking of which...
- Izzie saves a deer. No. Not cute, not character-illuminating. Just dumb. Seattle's a reasonable-sized city that I'm sure has at least one animal hospital. Why did no one -- whether the grouchy interns or the kid's dad -- ever once utter the phrase, "Can't we just call a vet?"
- Callie as punching bag. Hey, remember when Callie was cool? Remember when she rocked three different surgeries in the same afternoon, when she was so outgoing and full of life and confidence? Can't have that, can we? So now the character exists entirely so the writers can dump on her, in a devolution far worse than anything that's being done to Addison on the spin-off. Did Shonda catch Sara Ramirez flirting with Denny Duquette or something? I just don't get it, and it pains me to watch any scene with Callie in it.
- George still loves Izzie. Speaking of someone not getting it... ugh.
- Meredith/McDreamy break-up sex. In my post about "The Office," I talk about how bringing together two Unresolved Sexual Tension characters doesn't have to be the end of a show. I guess that's easier on a comedy where the couple in question aren't the stars, much harder on a romantic drama where the title character's involved. Not that I ever cared that much about this duo (which I recognize puts me in the minority of the viewership), but these constant break-ups and reunions are as silly as if Shonda had just kept them apart for three seasons before letting them kiss.
- Did I mention that Izzie saved a deer, and that she and George still love each other?
- George as undercover intern. I get that Lexie's trying to do him a solid by keeping his secret, but I didn't even think it was supposed to be a secret until about halfway through the episode. Shouldn't the other interns know something's up by how friendly the residents treat George compared to the rest of them? This story has nowhere to go but another humiliating moment for George, wherein he will no doubt blow up at Callie and go running into fair Izzie's arms once and for all.
- The Seattle Grace attending shortage. George had to deliver a baby because Addison (who was always apparently the hospital's only OB/GYN) is gone, McSteamy had to reattach an arm because Callie was stuck on paperwork (and because the writers never have enough genuine plastic surgery cases for him), and I shudder to think about what's going to happen the next time they get a heart patient. I'm not saying the show needs more new characters, what with the 16 new interns and all, but I miss Burke, off-screen homophobia and all, and I really miss Addison, even though a faded copy of her has her own show.
What did everybody else think?