What plot line do episode titles pertain to?

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Hi everyone, this is my first post, so bear w/me if i pressed something wrong! Anyway, my question: What do the titles of episodes really mean? Why are they named what they are? Obviously it's named relating to a theme of the episode, or perhaps the major plot line in the episode. That's probably a given. Wait...or maybe they just draw titles out of a hat?! :) j/k...But some of these titles I don't really get. Maybe it's cause I'm just a teenager. Some are obvious, like "Blizzard"..."Going Home"...etc. But then again, I've got quite an imagination so maybe what I think the titles mean really isn't what it was intended! :) I was wondering could some of you help me out? Some epi titles i don't get and probably won't ever figure out on my own are (no particular order!): "Sharp Relief", "Gut Reaction", "Shades of Grey", "Split Second", "Double Blind"...I really hope I don't sound dumb! Could someone help me out? Thanks!! :)

-- Emily (watchinger@home.com), July 22, 2000


Sharp Relief I have always associated with the Doug/Carol/Powell thing...Carol let Powell kiss her as a "sharp relief" from the relationship she was temporarily scared of with Doug. It was relieving to her at the same time it wasn't really what she wanted. And the way Doug is seeing it...she doesn't want the commitment that he is newly ready for, so in his eyes, for Carol, it is a "sharp relief". Did that make any sense? And then there is the Carter/Anna/Chase detox...Sharp Relief could refer to Chase's drug problem, Carter trying to detox him, not really knowing what he was getting into, and Anna showing up to relieve him and help him. I think this was also around the time when Jeanne was working w/ Scott Anspaugh. There was probably reference to that too.

I dont remember the plots to all of those shows, so I can't say much about them. I remember SHades of Grey was when Carter went broke after being taken off the trust. Gut Reaction I was a little confused about too, though I guess it could refer to Scott Anspaugh deciding not to do the risky treatment, and Jeanne supporting him even though she wanted him to do it, and Scott's health goes downhill from there...or Carter reacting to Gamma's comment about the trust and getting out of it...or Mark's speech to everyone at the banquet about being a family and helping him out through the year...or Carol having a "gut" feeling that Carter and Anna should be together (ha...okay, that last one was a little out there) ANyways, I've really enjoyed most of the titles of ER and I have analyzed them a lot sometimes.

-- Elaine (mrsclooney78@hotmail.com), July 23, 2000.

Thanks Elaine! I think your explanations are really good and they actually sound like what the writers intended the titles to mean! :) What about "Split Second" and "Double Blind"? And another title just came to me. "Ground Zero"...is that a phrase or a saying? Maybe it is but i haven't heard of that before! could anyone kindly, kindly tell me what they think it these mean? Thanks soooo much! ~Emily~ p.s. this is a great discussion forum! :)

-- Emily (watchinger@home.com), July 23, 2000.

I gotta type this quick, so here are some quickie answers refering to "Split Second" and Double Blind".

Split Second: refers to Mark and his interactions with Rachael. This title comes form his conversation with Zadro the paramedic. Zadro had just brought in a child, the same age of Rachael, who had been kicked in the chest during karate class. The child had been kicked in such a spot that the ribs collapse on the heart and longs, and for a "split second" the heart skips a beat, and then goes into v-fib. This is also refering to how things can happen in a split second. (anybody correct me if I'm wrong, I haven't seen this epi for a while)

Double Blind: this line came from Doug discussing how the hospital was doing a "double blind" medical experient on pain medication for fractures. I don't really know what a double blind study is, so I can't do any metaphor things with this title, although I'm pretty sure it ends up relating to the whole Doug/Ricky thing.


-- Amy (areinders@hotmail.com), July 23, 2000.

A double blind study refers to the fact that neither the doctor nor the patient know who's receiving the drug and who's receiving the placebo. That way there's no chance that the doctor will intentionally give the placebo to some and the drug to others. The only people who know who's getting what are the researhers compiling the data. In the episode "Double Blind", Doug tested the pill to make sure it was the actual drug and not the placebo that he was giving to Ricky.

-- Carin Haseltine (cdenisehaze@usa.net), July 23, 2000.

Ground Zero is also what they call the epicenter of an earthquake or the point of impact for a bombing. All the chaos just radiates out around the center but Ground Zero is where it all starts. I don't remember which episode was titled Ground Zero but I bet Cook County Hospital was probably the center of a very chaotic scene.

-- Linda (l.brown@mindspring.com), July 23, 2000.

Isn't it in "Gut Reaction" when Morganstern and Benton do the operation on the old surgeon and Morganstern freezes during the laprascopic surgery and Benton has to shove Morganstern out of the way and "crack the chest" of the patient? In the end, the man dies and Benton has to go through a resident review and is suspended before Morganstern finally admits his error.

Anyway, back to the meaning of "Gut Reaction" - weren't they operating on the guys' Hernia that was near his stomache (hence, the slang Gut)

-- Lolina (lolina_69@hotmail.com), July 24, 2000.

You are right about Gut Reaction - that is what happened in that eppy. Also, I think the ER writers tend to tie several storylines together with the title of an episode. Sometimes it seems like the titles represent a certain theme, sometimes they relate to certain storylines or something somebody says.

Like in "Be Still My Heart" that could have several links - one to the old lady that died and she said her husband always told her "be still my heart" and also the BLUE Valentine's Day cake they had at the party. I think the blue cake was symbolic of death and the way Carter and Lucy were getting ready to be stabbed. (a blue heart would be a lifeless heart, no blood flowing through it)

It's interesting the way they come up with the titles and tie them in to the storylines. I've noticed that ER is one of the few dramas that actually puts a title in each episode. I think other dramas title their episodes, too, but I don't ever remember seeing them put the title up on the screen.

(Also, in "Match Made in Heaven" that could be symbolic of the fact that Carter found out that Lucy matched with County General and it was kind of a match made in heaven, since she was dead.)

-- Melanie (msintn@hotmail.com), July 24, 2000.

"Shades of Gray" is also used when something isn't as clear-cut as it seems at first--not black and white. In this epi, it reflected many of the different story lines, like ER titles usually do. (Should Anna have performed the abortion? Should Kerry have gone through with it? Who should have had final say on what happened to Zoe's baby? Should Benton be punished for pushing his superior?)

-- joy (joygirl01@yahoo.com), July 24, 2000.

Wow...thanks for all these responses. They actually make things clearer for me now. And I agree that ER is one of those dramas that not only title their episodes, but let the viewers know, too. I think it's better that they do this because it's easier to refer to an episode by title (plus it's fun analysing them). The writers are very clever.

Thanks again everyone!

-- Emily (watchinger@home.com), July 24, 2000.

I have noticed that, especially on the latest TNT episodes, usually one of the characters says the title song in their dialogue.

-- cat (jcartersgirl@hotmail.com), July 26, 2000.

I think in Ground Zero they were reffering to Mark's problems after his attack and I think this was the episode where he lost control in a trauma after the patient became violent, and he was supposed to be the "Ground Zero" with all of the ER's other problems directly or indirectly relating to him.

-- Teddy (richarr@earthlink.net), June 17, 2001.

Split Second was when the karate teacher kicked the student in the chest, he hit him in just the right place on his chest and in the "split second" when the heartbeat resets itself, and in that instant if something hits the chest it will send the heart into fibrilation. That's what Mark told Zadro anyway.

-- Teddy (richarr@earthlink.net), August 08, 2001.

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