OK, let me just start by saying that I loved this episode. Loved. It. “What Is It About Men?” proved to be a delight from beginning to end, a self-contained outing that reminded me of what drew me to Grey’s Anatomy so long ago. This is the GA I’ve been missing of late. The GA that’s fizzy, frothy, and fun. The GA that’s packed with sly humor and hilarious one-liners while grounded in solid drama. The GA that’s not mired in contrived angst but, instead, is rooted in complicated relationships which take many twists and turns. The Grey’s Anatomy that’s disproportionately populated with gorgeous guys who, despite this, still struggle with disappointment, frustration, and anger. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt uplifted after finishing this show.  Here are the lessons I learned from this episode.

Men Are All About the Action

Wasn’t it Yoda who said there is no trying? Do or do not? Something like that? Owen is trying to adjust to being the new Chief, while longing for the action of his former job as Head of Trauma. Richard is transitioning to no longer being the Chief and struggling to get a meaningful case (“This is my Sexy Zombie Nurse!”). Alex is trying in vain to log required hours in other specialty areas and write a research paper, when his heart lies in pediatric surgery. Avery so desperately wants the chance to actually cut that he’ll cozy up to Shepherd in Neuro rather than press his luck with Sloan in Plastics. And as Derek said in his voice over, while men are perfectly capable of talking about their feelings, much of the time they choose not to, preferring to hammer nails and cut lumber to openly emoting.

Men are Itching for a Fight

Particularly when there’s a woman involved. There’s an undercurrent running through the Sloan/Avery mentor/mentee relationship and her name is Lexie. Likewise, Ben and Eli didn’t like each other much in the first place, but now that Ben knows that Eli’s dating Bailey? Oh, man, it’s ON!

And Yet They Have Each Others Backs

Richard bailed out Karev with Mayfield in 22 (with quite the payoff, I might add). Avery saved him (hmmm…not a good week for Alex) in the underwear fiasco. Sloan stepped up in teaching Avery, but knocked him down a peg or two to stand up for Derek, his BFF. And they say that women have convoluted relationships?

Men are Adorable with Babies

Mark is never going to be my favorite, but he’s rocking it as Sofia’s dad. Rocking. It. As for Owen?  Be still my heart. How could Shonda be so cruel as to give us Owen “Badass” Hunt looking so gosh darn cute with Sofia so soon after Cristina’s abortion? Kill me now. And in a related aside, I told you that this baby drama isn’t over yet. Foreshadowing much?  Why not just drop the anvil on our heads? But I digress.

Hail to the Chief

Jaw squeezing aside (I’m not sure that was in character, still mulling that one over in my mind…) how awesome (and HOT) was it for Owen to not only deck the unruly ER patient but also refuse to apologize for doing what was both right and necessary? I *heart* Chief Hunt. Then there’s Richard, who’s feeling the joy! After years of indifference on my part, he is my new favorite character. Best part? He corrected the residents a few times (not the Chief anymore, blah blah blah) before finally assuming his role of elder statesman. Once you’re the president, you’re always the president. Indeed.  

Ah! Bromance!

I loved how as the episode progressed, our men kept returning to Derek’s deck. Each time the group got larger and each time more layers of their struggles rose to the surface. There was lots of humor in these scenes. I loved it when Owen wordlessly handed Avery the power saw or when Derek told Owen he has $100 riding on Owen lasting at least six months as Chief, so “Buck up!” Yet underneath the seemingly superficial interactions lay a world of hurts and we’re mindful to remember that men aren’t nearly as tough as they would sometimes have us believe. They face the same pressures women do (careers, marriages, children, expectations, failures, compromises) without having the same outlets to release those pressures. It’s acceptable for a woman to feel overwhelmed.  In a man it’s perceived as weakness. Women are allowed to be devastated to the point of feeling undone. Men get no such luxury. So good for them in taking solace in each other.  Men need their buddies and their projects. Even when those projects result in a deck that isn’t level and they have to start all over again.  

The next all-new episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “Love, Loss, and Legacy”, airs Thursday, October 13 on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Photo AlbumGrey’s Anatomy – 8.04 – “What Is It About Men”

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV