Hit Show Rewind: Grey’s Anatomy

Written by David Oliver.

hit rewind

Beloved character deaths. Cast shake-ups. Secret affairs. Ten seasons.

Can you guess what I’m talking about?

If you haven’t yet, shame on you. Actually, it’s quite all right, I doubt many of you watch this anyway.

Grey’s Anatomy is the medical soap ER fans were craving. It had everything: an attractive, young cast, juicy storylines and clever writing.

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But between behind the scenes drama, a writer’s strike and some unforeseen storyline complications, the beloved drama has faltered along the way, some arguing it is well past its prime.

Let’s scrub into an episode from Grey’s past and remember why we I fell in love with this show in the first place.

“17 Seconds”

WHAT WAS BEFORE: Awkward elevator moments. Addison (Kate Walsh), Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) are stuck in an elevator. You could cut the tension with a scalpel. Addison plainly asks, “is there something going on?” Of course there is, you red-headed harlot. But it’s this awkwardness that made Grey’s that much more interesting: you didn’t know whose secret was going to come out next.

WHAT IT’S LIKE NOW: The elevator is still used, obviously, but less frequently as a plot device to trap characters together. It’s hard to believe, but the elevator wasn’t always just used for sex or doctor gunshot victims. Also can we just pause for a moment here and remember that time George (T.R. Knight) had to operate on someone in an elevator?

Photo Credit: ABC/Bob D'Amico
Photo Credit: ABC/Bob D’Amico

WHAT WAS BEFORE: Cliffhangers. If there’s a show that knows it’s cliffhangers, it’s Grey’s. From Addison’s “so you’re the woman who’s been screwing my husband,” to George and Izzie (Katherine Heigl) at heaven’s door, to the plane crash, these characters have seen it all. “17 Seconds” is no different – just as Izzie cuts Denny’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) LVAD wire and says “Burke (Isaiah Washington) will be here any minute,” we see Burke lying down in the parking lot because a gunman shot him – the same gunman responsible for many of the patients in the hospital, victims of this disgruntled restaurant employee. Where have we seen this plotline resurface? Classic Grey’s edge-of-your-seat moment. And this wasn’t even the season finale.

WHAT IT’S LIKE NOW: They’re still there, but this past season in particular the stakes didn’t feel anywhere near as high…until the finale bombshell where [SPOILER] Meredith has another half-sister, this time on her mother’s side. WHAT?! And apparently it’s been planned all along. This could either re-jigger the show or set off an annoying array of boring plots we’ve already seen. Though, so help me, if I fall in love with Margaret as much as I did Lexie and then they kill her off, I will personally have a twitter war with Shonda Rhimes that would rival any Twitter war known to man. You read it here first, folks.

WHAT WAS BEFORE: Kickass Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson). These interns used to call her the Nazi for a reason. Ruthless, meticulous, always angry – but a damn good surgeon. Certainly she softened after having a baby, but you could always count on her. This episode saw her have a lapse in judgment letting Izzie treat Denny, as Izzie is obviously too attached to her patient. It’s an honest mistake, and she couldn’t have known the chain of events that would transpire, but it makes me think about it in retrospect.

WHAT IT’S LIKE NOW: Honestly, I’ve lost respect for Dr. Bailey. She’s become a bumbling fool, letting co-workers walk all over her and had a ridiculous OCD storyline that had no relation to the character’s previous story arcs. Why wouldn’t she have gone off the deep end after the shooter in season six? Her PTSD would have ignited the OCD much sooner. Even before that, her patient waking up in the middle of surgery earlier that season would too have caused this. In an attempt to evolve the character, Grey’s took some huge missteps.

WHAT WAS BEFORE: Big, long speeches. Ever since “pick me, choose me, love me” became a thing, Grey’s always delivers when it comes to characters revealing the biggest parts of themselves in sweeping monologues or intense dialogue. This episode’s no different: Addison has a few loaded exchanges this episode that pack a punch. “The only people who don’t know Derek loves Meredith are Derek and Meredith” and “Because I’m not Meredith Grey” are basically the whole point of season two – to get Meredith and Derek back together because Addison is and has always been irrelevant to these two. To get that across in a few short sentences is a masterpiece in itself.

Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico
Photo Credit: Bob D’Amico

WHAT IT’S LIKE NOW: Thankfully, this hasn’t really changed at all. Meredith’s voiceovers continue, and particularly with Cristina’s (Sandra Oh) exit (Yes, dancing it out still exists, too), many characters had opportunities to express themselves. The cast and characters may change, but this part of the show’s writing shows no signs of stopping.

WHAT WAS BEFORE: George and Izzie. It’s hard to believe these characters even existed, frankly, considering how much has happened since both departed the show. But this episode was pretty centered around Izzie’s love for Denny and her radical risk to her career, while George’s rebound wtih Callie (Sara Ramirez) started heating up a little too fast for the 007 (too soon?).

WHAT IT’S LIKE NOW: New characters galore have come and gone, arguably filling the void for these once beloved characters. Hate to say it, but the show must go on – and has. And will probably never include either of them.

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