Jewish Journal

Really, Grey’s Anatomy?

by Rabbi Robin Podolsky

February 6, 2013 | 6:39 pm

Really?  Venal Jews, what a twist, did you think that up all by yourselves?  Or is this some sort of double back-flip attempt at irony or controversy trolling?  Or are you really that oblivious?

Thing is, Grey’s Anatomy is one of my favorite must-watch shows.  I so want to keep it that.  I love a show in which the primary relationship is a friendship between women.  I love that one of the women, the eponymous Grey, started out all “dark and twisty inside” and actually got better and is in a strong marriage with a decent guy and is a pregnant mother and actually became more and more interesting as she grew more and more healthy.  Speaking of Jews, I love that the other woman, Cristina Yang—my favorite TV Jewess (stepfather, family conversion, etc.), is unapologetically driven by her passion for excellence at medicine, no matter who she marries or has sex with.  I love that the other anchor couple who ground the show are lesbians who are given individual personalities and story lines—most recently, one of them, the perky one, had a leg amputated and she was a far, far distance from the perk for a long, long time.

Yes, with Cristina’s Jewishness, with Callie and Arizona’s lesbian marriage, with Meredith and Derek’s adoptive parenting, Grey’s has mostly managed to get past the obvious.  Which is why I find it disheartening and frustrating that, with a story line about budget cuts at the hospital where all these people work, we have been given stereotypically venal Jews.

(And the story line is a ridiculous set-up anyway.  The budget crisis was precipitated by a lawsuit won by the very doctors who are furious at the budget cuts.  Their award was so large that all they would have to do is settle for half of it, walk away independently wealthy and still save the hospital.)

The Jews decide to close the ER.  The Jews decide to standardize all medical procedures and the doctor with the very most Jewish name loudly shares his opinion that ‘patients don’t matter’ when there is a bottom line to consider  The Jews are not, it turns out, trying to save the hospital at all, but to spiff it up for a new buyer, because they are Selling Out.

Oh, Shonda, please don’t live up to your name.  You’re better than this.

While we’re in the vicinity of the subject: why can’t Cristina ever find a Jewish guy?  (Oh, I know, what are the odds of her finding a Jewish doctor at a hospital?  But you’re creative, you could think of a way.)

Currently, she’s still hanging around with (shagging) her very Gentile ex-husband who pushed her into a quick marriage while she was suffering with PTSD ( it was a shooting, yada); tried to bully her into going through with a pregnancy she did not want; threw her abortion up to her at a party with their friends after promising to be supportive about it; and, finally, had sex with someone else while they were married.

C’mon.  No, a strong Jewish woman like Yang does not need an Alpha male to ‘match’ her, nor do we need to see her punished for normative behavior among doctors of the testosterone persuasion.  Why can’t she get a cool, intricate, soulful, roguishly charming, gentle Jewy Jewish guy from LA or New York (no not a muscular paratrooper from Tel Aviv), who grew up with strong women and knows how to appreciate them?  If you must traffic in stereotypes, how about one of the good ones?

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Rabbi Robin Podolsky is an Educator at Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock.  Before she became a rabbi, she worked as a press secretary to an elected official, a...

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