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The Couples On Grey's Anatomy Could Benefit From Romance-Novel Plotting in Their Lives

Tina is not a crackpot. She just believes a little bosom-heaving and bodice-ripping could make even the sad love triangle work.

For every Meredith & Derek or Callie & Arizona that Grey's has produced, it has also, regrettably, given us an Izzie & George or Penny & Callie or Jackson & Stephanie. And that's just to name a few. Over thirteen seasons there have been a ton of couples on Grey's, and more of their stories have been duds than not.

But even with the good couples who have great onscreen chemistry, that spark that keeps us interested in them can sputter and die under the weight of bad story decisions.

I am not ashamed to admit that I read romance novels -- real ones, not Fifty Shades or Nicholas Sparks. And let me tell you, a good romance novelist can convince you in less than 400 pages that a woman can fall in love with a man who basically dies each morning and subsists on blood, or a sheik is obsessed with his poor orphan secretary whom he accidentally impregnated. This may sound absurd, but no matter how implausible or hokey the scenario, a good romance novelist can convince you that you just read the most romantic damn thing in your life.

Alex's stint in hell -- a.k.a. the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic -- notwithstanding, with little to no medical story as a ballast, this episode of Grey's relies a lot on the current couples and their relationship follies to carry a lot of the narrative. If you're going to take an episode or two where the drama relies on the romance, then the romance should be...dramatic.

Wait. Hear me out.

Take Meredith, Maggie, and Riggs. ("Please.") By all accounts this is a disaster of a "love" triangle. Maggie is awkwardly sidling around Riggs, who in turn is trying really hard to mack on Meredith, who is still rebuffing him. On the surface this isn't a bad scenario. But the execution is terrible. Meredith and Riggs have little to no onscreen chemistry; Maggie is just pitiful. And of course to keep this thing going, there has to be forward movement and some conflict to keep things spicy. The conflict is in this case is that Meredith assumes that Riggs sides with her against Owen on a medical decision that turns out poorly because of their "friendship." Riggs is offended that she'd question his integrity that way. This whole thing is rather tedious on paper. But in the hands of a romance novelist, this would be a true triangle. Riggs would be torn between the two women, attracted to Meredith by her aloofness and their shared loss, but also drawn to Maggie by her sweetness and warmth. Meredith would feel conflicted about her own feelings for Riggs and wanting to protect Maggie's feelings for real. Maggie would be pouring on the charm and keeping Riggs interested despite himself. And instead of wanting this to all just go away, we'd actually be made to care.

Or how about April and Jackson? Truthfully, April and Jackson are a poster couple for angsty romance. From the moment Jackson interrupted her wedding to April's surprise pregnancy after their divorce, their story has been pure Romance Novel 101. Even though I'm not a huge fan, their story worked. But that was then and this is now. And this latest iteration of them feels like they've run out of gas. These days, it's just baby, lack of sleep, and tepid stories about making coffee each morning because April is a good houseguest. In Romancelandia, there'd be a catalyst outside of the baby and awkwardness that makes them realize they want to go back with each other. A handsome young pediatrician who is great with both Harriet and April to make Jackson go all alpha, perhaps? Or Jackson would make an extravagantly thoughtful gesture like building a suite of rooms at his place that looks exactly like April's apartment, as a gesture that he wants his place to feels like it's hers too. Or maybe he just hires someone to help with the baby.

And wow! Nothing says bright shiny new marriage love like Amelia telling her new husband about the guy who aspirated on his own vomit while you were doing drugs. Or Owen sharing that he awakened choking his ex-wife in a PTSD fugue. Nooooo no no. You can't take a pair like Owen and Amelia -- who are, let's face it, the Thanksgiving leftovers of couples -- and give them downer dialogue like that. Given that she ran out on him on their wedding day, we need something to convince us they are in for the long haul. Romance novels, by their very definition, rely on convincing you that the couple can -- and should -- end up happily ever after. So as soon as novel Amelia starts questioning how well she knows her husband, novel Owen would seek to put her mind at ease, not wander around with a derp look on his face. He'd leave cute little heart-shaped notes scattered around with interesting little factoids about himself, like the first time he lost a tooth or that he failed his driver's license road test twice. Then he'd greet her with a little note that said they really do know each other…in their hearts!

And no, I am not a crackpot, but a good romance novelist would not even think about teasing us with Jo and DeLuca.

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