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'Grey's Anatomy' alt-reality episode: Does it rank among the classics?

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Vivian Zink/ABC

I don’t think it’d be inaccurate to say that last night’s alternate reality episode of Grey’s Anatomy was a strong effort.

There was enough activity that paralleled our normal reality to make it feel familiar (Callie had eyes for Arizona, Meredith and Derek were oddly connected), yet enough deviation to make it feel exciting, new, and just a little funny. (Meredith was engaged to ALEX?!) And who wouldn’t appreciate the macabre humor that hung over the hour? (Percy: “Someone shoot me now.” HA!)

Still, when compared to some of the great alternate reality episodes ever produced, where, exactly, does it rank, readers?

I guess the answer depends on what you seek from alternate reality episodes.

Immediately, I found myself comparing last night’s episode to that one episode of Smallville (Don’t look at me that way. I’m a CW girl; what can I say?) that showed what life would be like if Superman didn’t exist. The lessons in that one were a bit more overt than those in Grey’s. But I appreciated the value put in the idea — it was the one thing I felt that was missing from the Grey’s episode. Even after watching it, I’m not sure why we had to bring it up at all. (Some might say it was to lighten the air after the intense episode that came before the one we just watched, but I don’t think that’s excuse enough to remove us so drastically from the story.)

That small gripe aside, I enjoyed it, and would award it a strong B and a smiley face sticker. But a gold star? Probably not.

Such distinctions and awards are saved for alt-reality episodes produced by the likes of Friends. (Monica would appreciate the gold star I just mentioned in either reality — that I know.) Other strong performers in my book? Community, SupernaturalBuffy the Vampire Slayer, and The O.C. (I don’t count Fringe because that’s basically an alt-world SHOW. So it actually rules all the other alt-episodes in my TV kingdom.) I’d also give high marks to the Boy Meets World episode where Cory and Shawn imagined what it’d be like if they were never friends — but that’s mostly because I’ve referenced “Plays with Squirrels” so many times in my life that I’d feel like a fraud not to acknowledge it.

That’s just my take, readers. I want to know yours. Where would you rank the alt-reality episode of Grey’s? And which ones do you think top them all?

Read more:

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ recap: Bizarro Seattle Grace

What ‘What If?’ TV episodes would you like to see? 

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