By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood September 26, 2011 at 2:18AM
I know that at times Grey's Anatomy seems like a tortured soap opera. But I also know that I would take that soap opera any day over some of the other crap on TV, and that is because Shonda Rhimes and her team continue to push the envelope in so many ways.
In this week's premiere, the show actually depicted a person having an abortion. And it used the word abortion. TV usually makes it seem like abortion doesn't really exist because we never see it happening on TV, or when it could potentially happen the woman has a miscarriage to save her from having to make this horrible decision. But it is real. According to the Guttmacher Institute in 2008, there were 19.6 abortions for every 1,000 women aged 15-44. So it exists and happens every day.
And according to Guttmacher nearly half the pregnancies are unintended. Cristina Yang played brilliantly as always by Sandra Oh has one of those pregnancies. She's always known she didn't want kids (when do you see women like that on TV?) and she gets pregnant and her husband really wants the kid. He says that she will be a great mom and that things will change but the problem is still that she does not want a kid. And this could kill her marriage and she feels guilty but she still does not want the kid.
And Shonda Rhimes allows this issue to be explored. It throws out the selfish question, but doesn't back down and take the easy TV answer and have her change her mind because that's what TV usually does and we need to have a happy TV ending. Anyone who watches the show knows the Christina Yang would be a terrible mom. It's just not in her DNA. The show also allows Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) to describe to Cristina's husband what it is like being the child of a woman who did not want kids. And that scene is brutal.
That is not to say that Rhimes doesn't put some other great examples of motherhood on the show. She is helping to redefine family (along with the idiot sexist, but not homophobic, dudes who write Modern Family - could they make any more episodes about Sophia Vergara's boobs?) She's got the blended family of two lesbians -- Callie and Arizona -- creating a family with Mark Sloan, the baby daddy. All are gaga over their new baby and they are trying to make a different type of family work. And she's also got Meredith and Derek adopting a daughter from daughter from Africa all the while their marriage is imploding.
And that was just the first two hours of the season. Hope the rest of the season holds up.