Back in August my husband was away for several weeks in a row for various reasons, so I had a lot of time on my own to watch television. We typically watch most of our tv shows together unless there is something that only one of us wants to watch. At the time I wasn’t currently binge watching any old shows so I was looking for something to binge watch that I knew he wouldn’t care about. I finally decided on Grey’s Anatomy, which I had never watched before.
I didn’t have anything particularly against Grey’s Anatomy. I’m all for soapy drama. However, back in the day when Grey’s started I was in graduate school and working full time, so there wasn’t a whole lot of room in my life for a lot of television watching. Also back in ye olden times the only way we had to watch something if we weren’t home to watch it live was to record it on a VCR (kids ask your parents). I had a few long running shows I would do that for to keep up, but I certainly wasn’t trying to add any new tv to my life at that point. Then by the time I might have realistically started watching the show it was already so many seasons in. Then the number just kept growing exponentially larger and it seemed like a Herculean task to even think about watching the show. But apparently with 14 seasons streaming I decided now was the time to finally dig in. Now please enjoy my stream of consciousness ramblings on my thoughts about the show.
It’s kind of funny watching a show which for such a long time was so very much talked about. I knew so many characters and plot points before even ever watching an episode of the show. Of course some of those things played out slightly differently than I imagined them based on what I knew. I also didn’t know about how the timing of some things happened particularly in relation to characters leaving based on knowing the actors had left the show. For instance I thought Sandra Oh had left the show well before season 10. I thought when Cristina went to work at the Mayo Clinic that was her exit, but she was on the show for 2 more seasons. I also thought it was another year or two before Patrick Dempsey left the show.
It’s also weird the characters I knew about versus those I didn’t. Literally in the first season I thought Alex must not be on the show for that long because I don’t ever remember hearing about him. I couldn’t have been more wrong about that since he’s one of the few original cast members still around. I guess because he for the longest time at least during the hey day of the show never had any good romantic pairings. Plus he was a big jerk in the first 5 seasons so I don’t think anyone was rooting for him to get together with Izzie when they did, which would probably have been the one pairing I might have heard about. I do really like his character development though. I really like when long running shows allow their characters to grow. I loved him as a peds surgeon and his relationship with Arizona as his mentor. I also really love Alex and Jo together (although do not get me started on the stupid season 13 story line where he beats up DeLuca). She is the first good romantic partner they have ever given him in all the seasons of this show. I’ve never liked Elizabeth Reaser as an actress so making her some crazy patient Alex falls in love with was a particularly unpleasant plot.
With the show having been on so long it’s also kind of funny how even though I watched it in a four month time span the characters that left in the first half of the show seem so distant to me. I barely remember they were there compared to characters who joined later but stuck around longer. Even though they were there for five seasons it seems like Izzie and George were barely even on the show at this point. Also by the way I’m still kind of mad that they never really became a thing. I liked them as a couple and was annoyed when they finally got together only to be like oh maybe we’re not actually attracted to each other. That was dumb. I always thought maybe they would come back around because I thought George, not Denny and all that stupidness both before and after he died and definitely not Alex, was her OTP.
The early season relationships were definitely much better than most of anything that has happened in the last 5 seasons. Those early seasons had such intensity and emotion with the couples you were rooting to get together that the show hasn’t had in a long time. I’m guessing partly because as time goes on the characters are already paired up, so it’s harder to do that without making it feel forced which it very much does now. It’s like they have to automatically put together the few single characters left even if there’s no chemistry. See the current season where Meredith apparently has to be either with DeLuca or Linc. Before I caught up to this season I kept seeing things about Meredith and DeLuca before I even knew who DeLuca was. Then when he joined the cast I was like what? He’s a baby. That’s who they’re going to pair Meredith up with? Then we got to this season and I was still like I do not see this at all, but then they started offering Linc as an alternative and they sort of forced me to get on the DeLuca train because if I have to choose between the two of them there’s no contest. At least Linc finally cut his ugly surfer bro hair. They also seem to rush characters into relationships now instead of letting there be a nice slow burn that builds up over time.
When I started watching I wasn’t sure I would make it through all 14 seasons that were available at the time. I knew there were plenty of points where people jumped ship on the show. I know the whole Denny/Izzie ghost sex story line was something that did a lot of people in back in the day. It’s funny to me now because yeah season 5 for most shows would be a point where they were running out of ideas and the show would be nearing the end of it’s run, but in this case it was only 1/3 of the way to where we are now. Even though there’s not that heady excitement of the first half of the seasons, I still mostly enjoy the show. I think binge watching it certainly helped because the story lines that I hated I could get through in a day or two of watching even though it sometimes felt like a slog as opposed to it dragging on for half a year. There was a whole stretch in the middle seasons where I came to dread the season finale because there would always be some giant disaster befalling the people of the hospital that would then result in people having various forms of PTSD that we had to watch them deal with for half a season, which just felt so tiresome. Had I been watching some of those seasons in real time I’m not sure I would have kept with the show. I certainly would have dropped it in season 13 when the aforementioned Alex beating up DeLuca story dragged on for the entire season not to mention that they were obviously trying to save money by doing all these special episodes that only starred one or two cast members doing something outside the hospital. That season was probably the lowest of the low for me.
Now that I’m caught up to season 15 in real time I’m definitely not loving the show the way I did in the first half of its run, nor am I even loving it as much as I did 3 or 4 seasons ago, but at this point it sounds like season 16 will probably be it’s last if Ellen Pompeo sticks to her guns about leaving after her contract is up, so I feel like I should just finish it out. Watching in real time is going to be a whole different experience though, and I think it may be harder to hang on since there aren’t many characters left that I like that much.
Callie and Arizona have always been my favorite characters. I always loved their relationship, and probably my favorite part of the whole series was their little trio as parents with Mark before he died even though I never had much use for him before that. I was super bummed when they broke up. Penny was a super drip of a character and I never bought that she would be the grand love of Callie’s life. I was even sadder when Arizona left at the end of last season even though they intimated that she was going to go to New York and get back together with Callie. The way they wrote that was just kind of dumb because a. Penny’s fellowship was only supposed to be a year, so why couldn’t she and Callie just tough it out or why didn’t they come back when the year was up? Also if Callie and Penny broke up as was suggested when Arizona was leaving why would Callie stay in New York instead of coming back to Seattle to be near Sofia? I know it’s all predicated on the actresses leaving the show and then wanting to belatedly give the viewer some closure on their relationship, but it just bugs me that my favorite characters never got to have a proper happily ever after. I am super missing having at least one of them around this season now that both Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw have left the show.
All along the way there have been new characters I have liked and others that haven’t done much for me. I laugh at myself because after 9 seasons later I still say Mercy Westers are the worst like the characters did in the season where Seattle Grace and Mercy West merged. They got rid of a lot of those characters fairly quickly which was fine by me, but I never really cared that much for Jackson or April. Jackson has just always been boring in my opinion, and the actor’s accent makes it sound like he’s mumbling all the time. April I always found to be annoying. I can’t say I’m missing having her around this season. Jo was the only one I ever really cared about from her class of interns. I’ve like a few other people who have come in along the way like Teddy. I’m glad she’s back this season even though I kind of like where Amelia and Owen are in their relationship. That’s really the only story I care about so far this season. In general Amelia kind of annoys me though as does Maggie because neither of them ever shuts up. They just ramble on all of the time. It was part of my problem with April too. Just shut up for a minute. It’s like the writers decided all the female characters should have verbal diarrhea because obviously that’s how women are. The new interns aren’t doing much for me this season either. I know they’re supposed to be green and not really know what they’re doing, but apparently the writers think the only way to make them interesting is to make them grossly incompetent at everything.
Anyway, as I’m finally nearing the end of this ridiculously long post I feel like I probably need to talk about Meredith and Derek since their relationship was so much the heart of show for so long. Meredith and Cristina too I suppose. Certainly their will they or won’t they was such a driver of what made this show tick in the beginning. It was a really well done love triangle with Addison and all of Meredith’s relationship issues. By the time Patrick Dempsey left the show I wasn’t so much sorry to see him go though. Derek had become kind of a jerk by that point in the show, and I don’t really miss him. However, I can’t really picture Meredith with anyone else at this point. Derek was her one great love, and with the time the show probably has left there is no way they can develop a relationship for her that will ever rival what she had with Derek and I wish they wouldn’t even try. Just let her be happy with her kids and her work.
I don’t know if anyone reading this actually made it this far, but I’m super glad I finally watched Grey’s Anatomy because I really did love it. I have spent the last four months of my life obsessively watching it and now that I’m all caught up I’m not really sure what to do. It’s still on so it’s not quite the same feeling of loss that I normally get when I finish with a long running show, but there’s definitely a little hole in my heart for all the characters I loved that have already come and gone.