10 things I love about Grey’s Anatomy

Published on Express Tribune Blogs

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I was never really fond of medical dramas, but after a friend’s recommendation, I started watching Grey’s Anatomy and was instantly hooked to the show.

With the seventh season currently being aired on ABC (which several of my friends follow religiously on the internet), here’s a list of ten things I love about the show:

1. The play of words: Dialogues were the first thing I liked about Grey’s. Emotional, funny, close to life – many strike a chord and are easy to recall (‘the truth freakin’ hurts’). Hence, apart from following the seasons, I have been an active user of Addicted to Grey’s Anatomy application (quotes section) on Facebook.

2. Meredith Grey: Played by Ellen Pompeo, she is pretty and vulnerable. You feel like protecting her and at times, knocking some sense into her. Emotionally distressed most of the time (in her ‘dark, twisted corner’), she is still more lovable and consistent than Christina, Izzie and the other characters.

3. Derek Shepherd: Even though several people who I’ve asked, like Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) more, particularly in seasons five and six, my personal favourite remains Derek (Patrick Dempsey). The Chief of Surgery in the sixth season and Meredith’s husband, he is the kind of guy you would trust and want to be with.

4. Life is one long song: According to Mark Kimson of The Guardian, Grey’s Anatomy has popularised the “songtage” or musical montage segments. The music gives the necessary breathing space to viewers, amidst all the drama, while generating positive publicity for the tracks used. I am not a regular listener of English albums but began enjoying The Fray‘s “How to Save a Life” after I heard it on the show.

5. There is no solution for life and death, save to enjoy the interval: It is wonderful how humour is entwined with the serious medical cases and life-and-death situations depicted, especially in the first few seasons. The characters continuously compare what is happening in their troubled personal or love lives with the pain and suffering they witness every day at the hospital. They frequently laugh at each other and at themselves, enjoying mundane things.

6. Unpredictability: It’s generally hard to guess what is going to happen next: whether a certain patient will survive or not; a couple might break up or that bomb inside a patient’s body might just explode! I often find myself sitting on the edge of the couch, actually praying for things to turn out right.

7. The Mc-nicknames – Dr Derek Shepherd (McDreamy) and Dr Mark Sloan (McSteamy) are nicknamed by Meredith’s circle of friends based on their good looks and attitude. These add an interesting and fun element to the show.

8. Unique medical cases: Even though I can barely watch the surgeries and blood often shown, some of the cases are quite interesting and inform you about a number of rare diseases and ailments. They make you shudder but you still want to know how the doctors are going to find a cure. I’ve seen several people, on their way to becoming doctors, follow the show closely.

9. The ‘soap’ factor: Despite the continuous portrayal of disease and death, this American drama retains the soap opera quality of inconsistency, in terms of storyline, death of characters no longer wanted on the show, the continuous back-and-forth in Meredith and Derek’s relationship and even changes in sexual orientation of characters – If nothing else these aspects help one remember that it is only drama!

10. Seattle Grace: This fictional hospital, based in Seattle in the show, seems to be full of cute and highly competent surgeons, apart from having a handsome, large building and state-of-the-art technology. No wonder there is a Facebook group called ‘If I Ever Need Surgery – Take me to Seattle Grace Please.’

Nowhere to go

Published on Aaj TV Blog

If you live in Karachi, how many times have you found yourself wondering about where to go to have some fun? On numerous occasions you find yourself telling enthusiastic foreign guests that there is not much to see really.

Apart from the not-so-clean beach, Jinnah’s mausoleum (which is not really a picnic spot) and the countless eating out places (many of which are extremely over-priced), there are very few places that provide entertainment to the common Karachiite.

A select few venture to the small number of poor-quality cinema houses present in the city. Karachi Cineplex is one exception as far as quality is concerned but it is not affordable for everyone or large enough and is also perceived as too distant from many areas of the city.

There are bowling places like Arena and Area 51, game arcades like Sindbad and adventure/amusement parks like Fun Land, Hill Park, Safari Park and Aladdin Park. But they are very few in number and several of these hangouts are not well-maintained. They are opened up with a lot of fervour and many people initially visit them. But after every few years, many of the rides stop functioning, the parks become a little less green and the undernourished animals start disappearing from the already dismal Karachi Zoo.

Shopping malls like Park Towers, The Forum and City Centre have opened up but apart from branded stores and some branded, musical activities, they do not offer very much although cinemas could easily have been constructed within them, along the lines of multiplexes in other big cities of the world. Even experiential retail concepts can be adopted for the sake of consumers.

Apart from shopping, the much-hyped French Beach is also a disappointment. The only difference one finds from the other beaches is that it is clean. There are no facilities or even palm trees.

What I find lacking in the few places that do exist is tastefulness and ideas that will help make these places more fun. I remember visiting Juhu Beach in Mumbai. Even though it was not very clean, it used to have crazy rides and chaat shops; a place where the common man sat on simple mattresses, savoured delicious pau bhaji and enjoyed the sunset. It only took some imagination to put these things up in an organized manner. One did not need to hunt for someone selling tea and snacks, and for a clean place to sit.

I also enjoyed my brief sojourn in Dubai, a city which is often criticised for being too artificial. Everything there is man-made no doubt but at least they have worked hard to make it into something noteworthy. Apart from the amazing architecture, even malls there offer something more: from Spanish dances to ice skating at Emirates Mall; a walk through history at Ibn-e-Batuta Mall and so on. Of course, there too, affordability is an issue.

Locally, not much effort is made to link culture and entertainment. Sindh has a very rich culture and so does Karachi, which is home to so many different communities. But our cultural heritage is not highlighted in any significant manner. Diversity goes unappreciated. Arts are ignored or still seen as elitist. Few know of or are willing to pay to attend theatrical productions.

Only corporate-sponsored events and fashion shows are well-attended, and not everyone is invited. People wander aimlessly at B2B exhibitions at Karachi Expo Centre when the entry is free. Many Karachiites are left wondering how to spend their time away from the idiot box and the fast food deals that empty their wallets much too quickly and only satisfy their taste buds.