Monday, May 7, 2012


Normally I don't read the comment threads attached to various reviews and recaps I read online. I don't mind learning what various critics and columnists may think about a particular episode, but I don't want to be influenced any farther than that when it comes to the posts I may write about the same subject.

But then I read this in the Entertainment Weekly recap of the latest episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' ("Let The Bad Times Roll"):

In Cristina's neck of the woods, she found herself sitting opposite none other than Mr. Feeny. (Well, technically, it was guest star William Daniels -- but let me have my moment.)

It didn't surprise me - I've found a lot of online reviewers nowadays suffer from amnesia when it comes to any television program that was broadcast before 1990. It should have obvious to anyone who writes about the medium with any authority that Daniels was supposed to suggest that he was appearing as Dr. Mark Craig from the classic crossover series 'St. Elsewhere'!

So before I scribbled out my own castigating comment, I decided to surf the responses - using "Craig" as my search term so I wouldn't have to read all the dreck about the sex scene in the bathroom, the dying old friend, and Meredith's vomit marathon. (As you can see, I wasn't entirely successful.)

And thankfully, most EW readers rallied to the cause:

Note to reviewer. It may not have been nice for Christina to be yelling at Mr, Feeny but in a past life, he was a doctor as well. Please check out a classic show: St. Elsewhere.
Jeff Geller

I did love that William Daniels was one of the examiners. Not because of Boy Meets World - I never watched that show - but because of his years on St. Elsewhere.


Actually, Christina was being tested by Dr. Mark Craig from St. Elsewhere. And William Daniels did a wonderful job with the verbal smackdown at the early end to the exam.


Yeah, it kinda makes me sad seeing all the references to Mr. Feeny everywhere when Daniels portrayed what I assume to be TVs original Cardio God.


Having William Daniels as an examiner was a classy nod to St. Elsewhere, the first "realistic" hospital show that paved the way for ER and Grey's. I'm only sorry Daniels didn't get a chance to answer to "Dr. Craig" one more time.


Thank heaven someone else is old enough to understand the beauty of the casting of William Daniels. Dr. Craig was St. Elsewhere's Christina! The same kind of arrogant, ambitious, talented doctor that we love/hate with Christina.


Even if the recapper didn't pick up on the obvious reference to the two-time winner of the Cushing Left Anterior Decending Artery award winner, some EW editor should have set the young buck straight. It would be like Don Knotts guesting on some series and referring to him as the landlord on Three's Company, instead of Deputy Barney Fife.


I agree. Yeah--the "Boy Meets World" reference(s) by EW staff is cute (and a fair pop-cultural callback) but this is "Grey's Anatomy", Christina Yang and Dr. MARK CRAIG from "ST. ELSEWHERE"...i.e. the most appropriate stunt casting of the entire series! Focusing on the Mr. Feeny aspect more than acknowledging the pure awesomeness of this historic television cardio god connection is *almost* like the young Twitter twits in Twitterverse questioning the significance of a Johnny Depp cameo in the new "21 Jumpstreet".


St. Elsewhere ended almost 25 years ago and the cast of the show are not primarily remembered for their roles on it. Considering 18-49 is the demographic both shows aimed for the VAST majority of people watching Grey's would have been too young or not even alive to watch it. Referencing Mr. Feeny isn't being disrespectful to the in joke about St. Elsewhere. Most viewers know Mr. Feeny and most would never have heard of Dr. Craig. It was a great connection to make for those who got it, it is just that it is a very dated reference.

The importance of William Daniels was not that he was Mr. Feeney -- but that he played Dr. Mark Craig in St. Elsewhere and was chief of cardiology.
Fan of St. Elsewhere

I think the intelligence and irony of his casting is lost of probably 80% of Grey's viewership. St. Elsewhere was on between 1982-1988, most of the viewers weren't even born yet, or were old enough to appreciate a show like that.

Seeing William Daniels (one of my favorite actors from St. Elsewhere) made my night. Ed Begley Jr. (Erhlich) should've made a cameo!

AND OH MY GOD....before everyone attacks me, I know he was also on St. Elsewhere. Doesn't mean I can't have some love for Mr. Feeny.


I can't believe you didn't recognize that the Doctor who was testing Cristina was none other than arrogant surgeon Mark Craig, from the 1980s show St. Elsewhere. Google him . . . I'll wait . . .

St. Elsewhere went off the air in 1988 (I googled). I can guarantee I was not watching hospital dramas when I was 10. I guarantee there are a lot of younger viewers that have never watched that show and know him best as Mr. Feeny. I'm not even that young, I'm 34 but the first hospital drama I watched was ER in 94.

Exactly! I was 5 when it went off the air. All these grumpy OLD ppl commenting today

Sad for you. I'm two years younger than you and distinctly remember St. Elsewhere watching. Great show! You missed out.

Absolute casting genius to have William Daniels play an examiner for Christina's cardiac boards. He is supposed to be a respected heart surgeon (hence running Christina's board examination). Daniels played Dr. Craig on St. Elsewhere, who was a, wait for it, heart surgeon!! The fact that the recapper focused on his stint on 'Boy Meets World' shows us the writer's depth. Oy.
BQuick, BConcise, BSeated

Cristina's interrogator was not Mr. Feeny. It was Dr. Mark Craig from St. Elegius Hospital in Boston. And it was always perfectly all right to be rude to Dr. Craig. He was an obnoxious surgeon--the generational equivalent of Cristina Yang--and when people were rude to him it made him a better man. Oh, I hope Shonda brings William Daniels back next season, as Dr. Craig! He and Cristina are a riot together!

I hope they bring him back as a patient who specifically asks for Yang because "in my 25 years of board certifications, you're the first person not to back down when you were right. Cardiac surgery is war. What you did took balls the size of cannons. That's why I want you on this procedure."

The minute Mr. Feeny showed up, I paused the show and did Eric's Feeny call. Might have scared my neighbors a little, but so worth it.

NO! NO! NO! That wasn't Mr Feeny! That was Dr. Mark Craig from St Eligius Hospital in Boston, developer of the Craig 9000 artificial heart and two-time winner of the Cushing Left Anterior Descending Artery award.

Get it right, Ehrlich!


Mr. Feeney. Really? How about Dr. Mark Craig, cocky Dr from hell from St. Elsewhere? Does that make a little more sense?
I Didn't Think I Was THAT Old!

William Daniels played the one of the top doctors in Boston on St. Elsewhere years ago and I don't know who Mr. Feeney is but as soon as I saw him I figured that was why they chose him for the role, because he has "MD" credibility with lots of folks who remember the series ( as I do!) Whatever reason they chose him, it was a pleasure to see him again -- he's a fabulous actor

I salute everybody who tried to set the record straight, especially RockGolf. 

Down with the Feenyians!


1 comment:

Robert Wronski said...

And that's why the "My Little Pony" blog got 2000 hits in two days whereas my next highest viewed blog has had 250 over the entire length of time since it's been posted.

The TVCU recognizes it as a cross with St. Elsewhere.