Grey’s Anatomy’s “What Is It About Men” Falls Flat in its Opportunity to Let the Men Shine

This last week’s Grey’s Anatomy episode, “What Is It About Men”, well, focused on the men of the show. Especially how men have feelings too, even though they’re not expressed the same way that women express them. However, despite this claim, Grey’s perpetuates every stereotypical display of male emotion, leaving behind what could have been a riveting episode.

The show begins with Derek asserting that men do, in fact, have feelings; however, they just don’t like to show it. Oh, okay. As if we haven’t heard that in every single piece of media. Cue the montage of the men of Grey’s in normative guy acts such as Derek walking away when Meredith tries to reconcile with him.

Other than successfully introducing the episode, that beginning was just about the most interesting segment of this episode, mostly because that’s all we see of them women. After the introductory sequence, we only see them from afar, as subjects of the men’s problems. The rest of it goes downhill from there, walking the audience through the most mundane and least dramatic episode ever aired on Grey’s. 

There were some very typical displays of male emotion. Shepherd takes out his frustration of losing Meredith on Karev and bans him from his service, Avery is frustrated that Sloan won’t let him perform any of his surgeries, and Hunt is just frustrated about Cristina and the pressures of being Chief. And what do they do about this as progressive men of the 21st century? They don’t talk out their emotions to each other in a civilized environment. No, in fact, the only way that they can talk about their emotions is when they’re in manliness isn’t questioned at all–when they’re gathered at Derek’s new house in the middle of nowhere, hammering out their emotions on his deck.

Really, ABC? Your portrayal of men’s emotions is quite two-dimensional. In fact, the entire episode was flat.

I think it’s funny how after 7 seasons of well-written scripts, the writers suddenly draw a blank when presented with a fully-male cast. I mean, even most of the patients were male! Oh dear, what do we do? Men can’t possibly show the extent of emotion and drama that women create. It’s funny how usually the male characters are so different in their personalities, but when faced with how they show emotions, they all fade into the same mould that men have always been shown.

Now I don’t mean that men suddenly have to take on “effeminate” displays of emotion. I get that we’re different. But we should encourage the different kinds of displays of instead of categorizing them as male or female. We each have our ways of expression emotion, but our biological sex should not determine whether or not this is acceptable in society. This is definitely another example of how social construction has been a limitation–sometimes even for men.

Maybe the audience of Grey’s Anatomy have been spoiled with overly dramatic episodes that such an uneventful one leaves us craving more. However, I believe that just because half the cast is missing, doesn’t mean that we couldn’t have had a more satisfying and equally-dramatic episode. They’ve made do with far less cast members before.


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