‘Anatomy’ on the cutting edge

Mary Squillace

The juxtaposition of red high heels against the sterile backdrop of a hospital room during the opening credits tells it all. From the first moments of the show’s unconventional title sequence, it is clear “Grey’s Anatomy” isn’t just another high-adrenaline doctor drama.

Sure, Seattle Grace Hospital -employer of surgical intern Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo)-provides its staff with its share of heart-pounding, race-against-time type challenges. But it also is the perfect venue for the lust and love triangles that audiences love to watch.

When the show (10 p.m. Sundays) first aired last March, viewers watched as Grey scrubbed in on her first surgeries, struggled to adjust to new roommates and succumbed to an illicit romance with Dr. Derek Shepard (Patrick Dempsey).

At the end of the season, her life became infinitely more complicated when Shepard’s wife, Addison (Kate Walsh), showed up. Now, alongside her peers and superiors, she continues to try to survive her complicated personal life while meeting the strenuous demands of the hospital.

Surprisingly, even set among illness and death, hilarity often ensues. The show’s witty dialogue, constant stream of zany patients and a number of humiliating (but humorous) situations keep the show from plummeting into the potentially depressing world of medical TV.

Likewise, “Grey’s Anatomy” satisfies by feeding the audience’s appetite for scandal with a steady diet of one-night stands, sexual tension and even a mysterious case of syphilis that strikes Seattle Grace.

The show also has to offer its ever-popular (and quotable) voiceover wisdom, which assigns each episode a theme that subtly unfolds across the characters’ various storylines. The brief monologues that air over the opening and closing of the show are both witty and salient. Here the viewer has the opportunity to identify with Grey and some of her sentiments -“Intimacy is a four-syllable word for, ‘here’s my heart and soul, please grind them into hamburger, and enjoy.”

But it’s more than Grey’s clever words of wisdom that have captivated so many viewers. The characters act as a virtual iron lung for the show, preserving its vibrancy with the way in which they complement and collide with each other.

So far, the cast has proven itself worthy of embodying the quirky and complex staff of Seattle Grace. Particularly notable performances have been given by Sandra Oh (who starred in last year’s “Sideways”) as the hilarious Cristina and T.R. Knight as the bumbling, but adorable, George O’Malley.

Pompeo also holds her own as the protagonist who suffers under the weight of her emotions but desperately tries to fulfill her professional aspirations.

Another defining feature on “Grey’s Anatomy” is its soundtrack. The ultra-dramatic compositions created out of heart-monitor beeps and shouts for cc’s of saline heard on shows like “E.R.” are used sparingly. Instead, episodes feature salient musical selections to accompany the action in order to heighten the show’s emotional effects.

Additionally, the performers featured on the show are hip independent artists. The official soundtrack features the likes of the Postal Service and Ben Lee.

“Grey’s Anatomy” is like a steady, hourlong morphine drip-effectively numbing the painful transition into a week of academics.

As one of the best shows on television, “Grey’s Anatomy” comes highly recommended.