Is It Time for ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to Hang Up Its Scrub Cap?

When the show you love is no longer the show you fell in love with.
November 12, 2017
6 mins read

“Pick me. Choose me. Love me.” The famous words said by titular character Meredith Grey have never lost their impact. For over a decade, “Grey’s Anatomy” has welcomed fans into its hospital, allowing them to witness medical miracles, heartbreaks and dance parties. Fans watched the evolution of principal characters from their days as eager interns to the practiced doctors they are now. It is a show that has turned corners and broke stereotypes. It is a show that has shocked and delighted. It is a show that has stood the test of time. However, it is no longer the show I fell in love with.

The OG “Grey’s Anatomy” followed the lives of five interns navigating their first year at Seattle Grace Hospital: Meredith Grey, Alex Karev, George O’Malley, Izzie Stevens and Cristina Yang. They were their own nucleus family, with the same problems all families have. Except they have eighty-hour work weeks. And have sex in on-call rooms. A lot.

Over the course of fourteen seasons, there is bound to be drama. Fans were outraged when Addison Montgomery, Derek Shepard’s unfaithful wife, showed up in the hospital lobby claiming Derek as hers. We sobbed at the sheer desperation in Izzie’s voice when pulling that all too famous LVAD wire on her fiancé Denny Duquette. We held our breaths watching Meredith stick her hand into a detonated bomb cavity, laughed nostalgically whenever Cristina and Meredith had to “dance it out” and were shook uncontrollably with the realization that 007 (George O’Malley) was John Doe. It was moments like these and much more that had audiences on the edge of their seats, waiting and hoping for what would come next.

The original interns: George, Izzie, Alex, Cristina and Meredith (Image via Odyssey)

However, it wasn’t just the scandals that held our attention (though they certainly helped), but the complexity of each relationship—platonic or otherwise. “Grey’s” introduced the idea of being somebody’s person. The friendship between Cristina and Meredith, often referred to as the Twisted Sisters, was a love so relatable and unwavering. It was the love of these characters that kept people returning week after week, year after year. Fans are invested in these characters, they have put in the time and the effort, they have grown up alongside these doctors. Fans have stuck around out of loyalty to them, but the relationships we love are no longer a part of this love fest.

Everybody’s leaving and everybody’s dying” should be the slogan of “Grey’s Anatomy.” At first, it was a respectable amount of death, as it added to the drama and followed the themes of life. I could understand firing Izzie (I didn’t like her anyway). I was hurt over George, but again could move past the pain. I had to take a hiatus from “Grey’s” when Lexie Grey (Meredith’s half-sister) and Mark Sloan (McSteamy) died from injuries in the infamous plane crash of 2012, but I eventually got right back on that operating table. I could even forgive Derek getting hit by that semi. What I could not handle was Cristina leaving the show after Season 10. The writers left her alive, thank god, but the show quickly declined after her departure. It felt like an entirely different show. Nothing was the same. The dynamics were off, the wit was gone, and from then on, things spiraled fast.

A snapshot of Cristina Yang during her final episode appearance (Image via The Hollywood Reporter)

New characters were introduced, sisters to be exact. Meredith’s sisters. Amelia Shepard, who had a few guest spot appearances, became a regular fixture. And while she has an entertaining personality, any confidence or interest I might have had for her quickly vanished when she decided to date Owen Hunt. Yes, Owen Hunt. The man you continuously want happy but can never picture with anyone but Cristina. And then there is Maggie Pierce, the new cardiothoracic surgeon, who just so happens to be Richard Webber and Ellis Grey’s love child. We saw that coming. It may have taken ten years and various “the one that got away” references, but we finally made it. Well, Maggie has no personality. She is dead weight on the show. Yet Arizona Robbins, a character who is compassionate and funny and interesting to watch, has fallen by the wayside.

The storylines on the show in seasons eleven to thirteen have been predictable and unnecessary. Meredith tries to move on with a new guy, Nathan Riggs, but isn’t invested and he has his own monogrammed set of baggage. The back and forth routine grates on the nerves. And speaking of back and forth, the ongoing Japril struggles (the pairing of Jackson Avery and April Kepner) is so upsetting that I am getting an ulcer writing about it. However, nothing, and I mean nothing, weighs as heavily as the departure of OG character Callie Torres. All the characters we love, all the characters fans rooted for are gone. It’s mac without the cheese and at this point, I would not be surprised if they killed off Meredith herself.

If anyone had asked me a month ago, I would have told them, albeit reluctantly, that yes, it is time for “Grey’s Anatomy” to hang up its scrub cap. However, out of loyalty and curiosity, I watched the Season 14 premiere. And you know what happened? It felt like “Grey’s” again. Tensions are still high in the Shepard-Hunt marriage, Arizona has her mojo back, and Teddy Altman returns in a long-awaited reunion! Things are looking up for “Grey’s,” and I feel excited watching it again. I can only hope for it to continue, that the life that was breathed back into the show does not run out. One can only hope that “the carousel never stops turning.”

Allie DiGennaro, Emerson College

Writer Profile

Allie DiGennaro

Emerson College
Writing, Literature & Publishing

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