Grey's Anatomy Round Table: Meet Penny

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We're back for another Grey's Anatomy  Round Table, and this time, we're focusing on the most awkward dinner party ever.

On Grey's Anatomy Season 12 Episode 5, Meredith was confronted with the doctor who couldn't save Derek, lashing out at Penny along with Ameia.

Join TV Fanatic writers Stacy Glanzman, Elizabeth Harlow and Amanda Steinmetz for a discussion of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."

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Do you think Meredith and Amelia's reactions to Penny were appropriate?

Stacy: They were both shocked. Meredith was obviously not expecting Penny to show up on her doorstep, and Amelia was understandably upset that Meredith didn't tell her. Meredith at least tried to be polite for most of the party. It was just a very uncomfortable situation.

Elizabeth: Yeah, shock is an appropriate reaction to that situation. And people in shock just don't react in rational, polite, or even expected ways, so the way it was written was really good. I especially liked the really low tones "swoosh swoosh swoosh" sound FX instead of music at the start – who hasn't experienced that blood-rushing, world-slowing feeling when an unexpected and upsetting event has occurred?

If anybody had inappropriate reactions, it was the guests, especially Jo, Stephanie, and Creepers, who watched like they were at a dinner theatre. Miss Manners says: when your host receives an upsetting shock such as the arrival of the doctor who had a part in her husbands death, you discretely excuse yourself and GO HOME.

Amanda: I think their reactions were true to their characters. Meredith tends to hold things in until they explode, while Amelia tends to unleash her emotions before thinking. I think Penny didn't know what to do in this situation. She should have excused herself, but I think she didn't know how to leave without telling Callie what had happened.

Were you surprised that Meredith told Penny to come to work at the hospital? And how do you feel about Penny coming on as a recurring character?

Stacy: From Meredith's perspective, yes I was surprised. I would have let her go on with her plan to be matched somewhere else. From a viewer perspective, I wasn't surprised at all. Of course she was going to stay. The writers didn't bring her back for one uncomfortable dinner party. As far as how I feel about it, I am not looking forward to her sticking around at all.

Elizabeth: I agree with what Stacy said. Of course the fact that she openly invited her to stay makes her behavior in the promo for next week bizarre.

Amanda: It wasn't surprising until I saw the promo for the next episode where Meredith acts like having Penny at the hospital is equivalent to having the black plague. Maybe Meredith thought she'd be okay with it in the moment she said it, but realizes she can't handle it next week.

Do you ever throw dinner parties for your friends?

Stacy: Not really. If I did they'd pretty much just be pizza and wine.

Elizabeth: My last roommates and I hosted annual Memorial Day BBQs and winter holiday cocktail parties. We never had anything approaching that level of drama though. My semi-pro tip for the sisters would have been to keep it simple and just pick up all the delicious appetizers from Costco, and since none of them can cook, hire a caterer or a personal chef. A lot of those services will even help you cheat and make it seem like you did everything on your own!

Amanda: No, and I'll only do it if people leave their drama at the door!

Was there anything that disappointed you about this episode?

Stacy: All of it? Honestly I was not a fan of this episode at all. Drunk Arizona hitting on Penny, Owen's awful confession, Meredith yelling at Amelia - who has just as much right to grieve for Derek as she does - it just all made me really uncomfortable. I've been really enjoying the season so far, but not this one.

Elizabeth: Okay, Stacy is right that Amelia has a right to grieve, but I want to share a little thing to explain why she was wrong to go at Meredith (and why Callie was wrong, and Penny). It's a little lengthy, but bear with me: Imagine a set of centric circles. The person who died, or who has cancer, or whatever terrible tragedy is going on is the center of those circles.

Everybody else in their community is on one of the outer rings – spouse on the first ring, then kids, then parents and siblings, then best friends, regular friends, colleagues....the rings spread out and out. Everyone is grieving or is upset, and that's fine. But you only get to dump your frustration and anger and crap out to the bigger circles. You never get to dump in.

Callie had no right to stop Amelia from questioning Penny (especially since she wasn't trying to stop it to protect Penny), Penny had NO right to dump all of her emotions on Meredith (at the hospital when he died or at the house after the party), and Amelia had no right to dump on Meredith. As for what I was most disappointed with: Jo. She's been a crappy friend, and is kind of whiny and narcissistic this season. Calling McCreepy (who just keeps on creepin' on) to get the Manchego for her was a total abuse of power. Also: why was Penny not using Uber like a normal person living in a large city in the modern era?

Amanda: I actually have to disagree with Stacy. I loved this episode. It's probably my favorite one of the season so far. I tend to enjoy episodes that gather the majority of the characters in one location. I also thought the way Ellen Pompeo played Meredith's emotions, from shock to range, were fantastic.

What was your favorite quote or scene from "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"?

Stacy: Alex's whole "it's either a 10 or a 1, whichever is worse" thing was funny.

Elizabeth: I liked the last Jackson/April scene. Both of them showed some growth there, and that's key for them moving ahead and growing stronger.

Amanda: I liked the whole sequence where Meredith was using the blender watch Penny interact with everyone. The whole situation was tense, and I was anxious to see what she was going to do.

Be sure to tune into Grey's Anatomy Season 12 Episode 6, and watch a preview below!

Ashley Bissette Sumerel was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in September 2017. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Grey's Anatomy Season 12 Episode 5 Quotes

Dr. Robbins, you're drunk. I don't think I've ever seen that. I like drunk Robbins.


Andrew: I don't know you either. Okay, but you're the one who shows up with the burning...
Maggie: Watch it.

  • Permalink: Watch it.
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