Friday, November 7, 2008

Why I Despise Izzie Stevens...

I love Grey's Anatomy. It's gone through some growing pains over the past three seasons but I've never had an urge to stop watching. I find it compelling. The writing is good. I care about the characters, well, most of them, anyway.

Ok, so there are flaws, most evident in the slightly self-indulgent grandiose Ferry Disaster episodes. Those were bad. Meredith seeing dead people was not something to which Grey's should have resorted. I know some people dislike Meredith. I, however, love Meredith because in all her dark twistiness, she's layered. She has issues but she knows it. She makes an attempt to confront those issues. Both the writing for the character and the actress, Ellen Pompeo, make her a very three dimensional character.

The rest of the cast also adds to the quality of the show. Chandra Wilson deserves her own mention because she's awesome. Her portrayal of Miranda Bailey should be winning Emmys every year because every year, she gets better and more brilliant.

The only character I don't like is Izzie Stevens. And I have tried. Oh, have I tried.

I find myself actually wanting to smack her, to tell her to shut her self-righteous trap and butt the hell out quite often. I find myself wondering how she always manages to find redemption even though she commits horribly selfish acts and delivers tongue lashings to the people who don't deserve them.

I suppose some might say that it's the sign of a good show that I have such a strong reaction to the character. I suppose it is. I just don't think the show means for me to hate Izzie. I think I'm supposed to like her. I just can't. She lectures everyone when they screw up, treats them like dirt for making a mistake and yet when she does it, she's forgiven.

Take last night's episode, for example. I've been waiting SO long for Dr. Hahn to find out that Izzie stole a heart for her beloved Denny from a man with two kids who had been waiting a while for it. Denny didn't want the heart, he only let Izzie cut his LVAD wire and steal the heart because she had a breakdown in front of him about how she NEEDED him to live because she'd die without him, blah-blah-how-romantic-blah. Even her empassioned speech to Denny was selfish. Not "I need you to live because I want you to be happy, I want you to have a chance to run again and live a life without being reliant on heart machines" but "I need you to live because I cannot survive without you".

Denny only gave in because Denny was a good guy. He didn't condone her to steal the heart because he wanted to live, only because he couldn't bear to see her in such pain. I liked Denny. He could have done SO much better than Izzie.

And so Izzie stole a heart. And though she was suspended and lectured and put on probation, she wasn't fired. She was let off the hook because she was an intern, because her superiors didn't stop her when they saw her falling for Denny, because she deserved another chance to learn from her mistake.

I'm not saying people don't deserve chances but I do think Seattle Grace should be watching Izzie more closely. Since the Denny Debacle, she's done some pretty awful stuff. She slept with George and then claimed to fall in love with him, splitting up a marriage that could have been good, if a little rocky at times. Not only did she condone George cheating on his wife but she acted like a prize witch to Callie, said wife of George. Never did Izzie try to get to know Callie, to find out why George liked her.

Then there was the deer. Izzie took her new interns and had them save a deer. No one seemed to find out about this or do anything about this.

And then there's the emotional involvement. For example, the case in which Bailey was doing the domino kidney surgery. Izzie was working with a father-son pair. They were having issues and Izzie decided to get involved. She didn't try to find out why the son disliked his father, why the son had reservations about giving his father a piece of himself. Instead, she immediately jumped in, assumed the son was wrong and acted extremely unprofessional. As usual.

I HATE how she lectures everyone on their faults and yet, no one cares. I HATE how she's always trying to make Meredith and Cristina accept her as one of them and yet she's constantly judges them for things she doesn't agree with. (Anyone remember the episode where she found out about Meredith and Derek and she kept, self-righteously (of course) saying "karma" over and over. Again, shut up, Izzie and mind your own business). She wants to be friends with them but when they try to reach out to them, she doesn't reach back. Last night, for example, Meredith tried to talk to her about Denny and be a friend and Izzie pushed her away. Again.

I was hoping that Hahn would do more than yell at the chief about Izzie. I was hoping she'd do...something. I don't know what, honestly. I just wanted someone to yank Izzie up, pull her out of her Denny-laced brooding and hold her truly responsible. Ok, so we heard her say "it was my fault". Yet she wasn't paralyzed because of her guilt, she was paralyzed because of Denny. She was unable to help the poor guy she stole the heart from because she kept feeling the pain again of Denny's death. Naturally, in the end, she came through, yelling at the guy to survive, which worked. It seemed like she did it so she could move past Denny, not because she wanted to help the guy who was there because she'd stolen the heart that could have saved his life.

Some of it is the writing for the character. Some of it is because I just don't like her. Some of it is Katherine Heigl. She just doesn't seem to like Izzie much herself. You can almost tell she's not happy with what she has to do on screen. A good actor can take any role and make it good even if they don't like what their character does. Sarah Michelle Geller's portrayal of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a prime example. Buffy could be extremely self-righteous and unlikeable but she was still the heroine and in the end, you always rooted for her. Kristin Bell is another example. She shines on Heroes even when her role is beyond silly. She was fantastic as Veronica Mars even when she wasn't doing very likeable things. Lauren Graham as Lorelie Gilmore is probably the best example yet. Loralie could be selfish, petty, rude and childish and yet I always loved her anyway, just as everyone else on the show did.

I'm not saying Katherine isn't a good actress. She has her moments though I'm not with the group that thinks are Izzie-histronics are good (her "Do this for me!" speech to Denny being the best example); to me they are overdone. I like her when she's a little realistically nuts, like the episode where she goes nuts about Christmas and in which she, Meredith, George and Doc, the dog, end the episode lying beneath the tree. I like Izzie then.

But lately, those moments are few and I find myself hoping that Katherine Heigl pisses off the writers again so Shonda gets rid of her She prides herself of being blunt and outspoken but when it comes down to it, she really should think before she opens her mouth in public.

I do hate that Dr. Hahn is gone because ABC doesn't like to show lesbians on TV. They just made her interesting. They just made it possible for SOMEONE to hold Izzie Stevens accountable for her selfishness. I like that Dr. Hahn fought for her patients. In a few episodes, Brooke Smith has made me like her slightly mean, very condescending, newly gay character with some short but strong moments on screen. Four seasons into Greys and I still despise Izzie.

I'll miss Dr. Hahn when she was just getting interesting. Perhaps the network can order Shonda to fire Katherine next and then, finally, they could stop making poor Jeffrey Dean Morgan who plays Denny come on screen for a few saintly moments.

I liked Denny when he was alive. Dead, he's just annoying. Then again, that's probably Izzie's fault.

1 comment:

  1. From reading your description I think you see what you want to see rather than what actually happens due to your dislike of the character. Izzie generally gets treated pretty poorly, particularly by Alex. I find her one of the most likeable and interesting characters and she has good empathy with her patients. Heigl does an excellent job - particularly last night and even did well with some awful storylines last season. But then thats what makes a show interesting..everyone has different opinions :)