Bedside manner assumes a whole new meaning on ABC’s doctor dramedy Grey’s Anatomy — what with interns babysitting severed penises, elevators doubling as boudoirs, syphilis running rampant among the staff, and the whole series opening with a crucial one-night stand. Add narration that’s more Carrie Bradshaw than Baudelaire (”By the time the pain of not doing a thing gets worse than the fear of doing it, it can feel like…a giant tumor”) and you’ve got Sex and the City for the stethoscope set. (Patrick Dempsey’s Dr. McDreamy may as well be code for Mr. Big.) The always-awed Meredith Grey (Renée Zellweger doppelgänger Ellen Pompeo) and a stock supporting cast — asexual lug, callous cad, blond bombshell, and nakedly ambitious go-getter (Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh) — beguilingly bear the panic and pitfalls of the surgical intern experience. Even with outrageous cases typical of every prime-time hospital series (a guy shoots seven nails into his head, a tumor tops 50 pounds), Season One manages, with snark and sex appeal, to save itself from wonky patient-of-the-week sentimentality (sorry, ER).
The DVD extras further play up the sauciness: A hysterical gag trailer advertises the show in artsy black and white with French subtitles (think Masculin-Féminin meets Scrubs), and on their commentary, creator Shonda Rhimes and director Peter Horton praise Pompeo’s vomiting skills. In a behind-the-scenes doc, cast and crew fawn over the medical consultants whose hands perform surgeries (on cow parts) for the camera, and gush that the characters are ”people you wanna hang out with.” And the outtakes hold some cheap charms, like Meredith playing surgical assistant to her Alzheimer’s-afflicted ex-doc mom (Kate Burton) during teatime — with a spoon serving as a scalpel. Get that lady a scone, stat!