THE BLOG
05/26/2007 03:37 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Case Against the Grey's Anatomy Spinoff

You know what TV totally does not need more of? Shows about women with fabulous careers who spend at least seven hours of every workday dithering about their dysfunctional relationships, having inappropriate makeout sessions with inappropriate coworkers, and occasionally hearing imaginary voices that have something or other to do with a latish-blooming desire for a baby.

Whoops! Too late. The new Grey's Anatomy spinoff -- which is still untitled, but I think Addy McBeal ­sounds about right -- is exactly that kind of show. Gorgeous, professionally-competent-yet-emotionally-stunted lead? Check. Equally gorgeous coworkers, all of whom suffer from both romantic problems and an inability to talk about anything but said problems? Check. Dancing baby? Well, not exactly -- but have you met the talking elevator?

There's really no way around it: Thursday's two-hour special -- which sandwiched the goings-on with the gang at Seattle Grace between scenes of the formerly icy Addison Montgomery fleeing to L.A., where two of her med-school friends have opened a fancy-pants clinic that's perched on Santa Monica's shores and conveniently in need of an OB-GYN -- was toe-curlingly bad. Addison's character in the new series is clearly supposed to be an L.A. edition of Meredith Grey -- doubting, yearning, self-consciously "quirky," and self-obsessed. But has Shonda Rhimes, creator of both GA and the new series, forgotten that what made Addison so arresting in the first place was that she was none of those things?

When she breezed into the Seattle Grace lobby at the close of season one, with her impeccable wardrobe and alarmingly chiseled jawline, Addison was a self-aware villainess, a woman coded as a bitch who was more faceted than that epithet normally allows. Even as she became a regular character, she never gave away too much of herself -- needless to say, a refreshing contrast to the oversharing practiced elsewhere in the hospital by Meredith and Izzie. As with Miranda Bailey, it was possible to understand more about Addison from what she didn't say than what she did.

No more. If the pilot was any indication, we can expect more of the following from the new series: Addison freaking out in elevators, Addison telling complete strangers about her infertility, Addison ogling a shirtless (and, frankly, neckless) surfer/receptionist, and Addison willingly making out with an alternative-medicine practitioner whose smoothest line is "I'm going to kiss you with tongue." And that's not even factoring in her cohorts at the clinic, each of whom has a career that is, you know, ironically at odds with their romantic lives. (The therapist has issues? The pediatrician needs to grow up? You don't say!)

Those of us who watch Grey's Anatomy have come to believe, if not always love, the characters and their foibles. Can we really be expected to start all over with a new crew? Worse, though, is the fact that if this thing gets picked up -- and, really, why wouldn't it? -- there will be no escape from these whiny new kids. At least at Seattle Grace, there were some genuine medical thrills to be had, even if most of them ended up as elaborate, bloody metaphors for the interpersonal relationships of the hospital's staff. For every silly, deeply unsubtle GA plot point involving a killer penis-dwelling fish or a swallowed gaggle of doll heads, there's a truly affecting moment in which the hospital setting -- with its unmoving, seen-it-all gravitas -- plays just as big a part as the characters. What are the odds of a ferryboat disaster, bomb-in-body-cavity incident, or actual train wreck breaking up the overheated banter of the Oceanside... clinic? Wellness center? Who cares?

Shonda Rhimes, I beg you: Make this spinoff stop. Stay in gloomy Seattle. Make us forget we ever saw Addison Montgomery giggle over a man. Stop promoting the already overpromoted idea that professional women are sad and incomplete without babies. Focus on more episodes involving killer penis-fish. And never, ever do anything like this to Bailey.