The Grey's Anatomy cast poses for a picture.

(Image Courtesy of ABC)

Arts and Entertainment

Review: Why ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is inconceivably addictive

Believe me when I say it; there’s no escape from the black hole that is Grey’s Anatomy.
<a href="" target="_self">Teresa Kadapurath</a>

Teresa Kadapurath

May 4, 2022

Are you ready to experience the chaotic, emotional and occasionally irrational lives of the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy?” They made going solo to 8th grade formal seem like a minor inconvenience in comparison to removing an 80-pound tumor from a teenage girl or stitching the body of a man attacked by a mountain lion.

Believe me when I say it; there’s no escape from the black hole that is “Grey’s Anatomy.” But there’s one question I couldn’t help but wonder. Why is the show so addicting? Is it the wacky medical cases? The storyline? The cinematography?

After countless hours of binge-watching the fan-favorite I came to a conclusion. “Grey’s Anatomy” is so incredibly addictive because each episode teaches valuable life lessons through its most defining elements. Its inclusivity of real-time societal issues is what sets them apart from any competition. It’s why they are ranked number one.

To me, “Grey’s Anatomy” is no longer just a show; it’s a way of life. Even though I’m not interested in going into medicine or anything even remotely similar to it, I still feel inclined to watch these characters perform surgery after surgery every Thursday.

What is the reason for this? Each character teaches viewers valuable life lessons through their most distinguishing characteristics.

For instance, The main character Meredith Grey has survived a plane crash, witnessed her husband being shot, kept a bomb from going off, nearly drowned, grown-up without her father’s presence, dealt with miscarriage and lost her husband, sister, father and mother. It’s important to note that if you get too attached to a couple or a character on the show you’ll definitely end up sobbing or throwing things at the wall at a certain point. 

Ellen Pompeo, the actress who plays this lovely yet troubled soul, has consistently been just as brilliant in her role as Meredith Grey. Pompeo continues to impress us season after season, shaping herself into our favorite and most reliable surgeon. She inspires us to be as brave as Grey and lets us feel all of her emotions. She is the reason we all adore Dr. Grey. 

We all relate to “Grey’s Anatomy” in some way, as philosophical as that might sound. “Grey’s Anatomy” has had an effect on your life — whether you’re a hopeless fanatic or the best friend of a hopeless fanatic. “Grey’s Anatomy” has enthralled the interest of man, it’s a show pretty much anyone can relate to. Whether you’re a desperate adolescent clinging on to a relationship or an overworked physician who can relate to the show on a professional level. 

It’s important to note that Grey’s interns weren’t quite what we pictured when we think of surgeons. When we think about a surgeon we envision focused professionals who are completely developed and confident in their work in an emergency room or on an operating table, and who are never wrong about anything they do.

However, these ripoff medical professionals made countless errors. Izzie Stevens, the blonde surgical intern, would have spent serious time confined in prison. If not, at the very least be terminated if the insane events that took place in the show had actually occurred in real life.

Stevens had grown romantic feelings for Denny, her patient. Before she knew it she cut his “LVAD” (Left Ventricular Assist Device) in order to bring him to the top of the heart transplant list. As a result of Stevens’ actions, Denny developed a terminal illness, necessitating the heart being given to him before its original recipient. The conventional reaction of the watchers of the show was to subconsciously dismiss it as a simple illusion or a gimmick.

According to The Economic Times, Shonda Rhimes, the head writer of “Grey’s Anatomy,” revealed that the show would be inclined to tackle the relevant coronavirus crisis in the current 17th season.

“We’re going to address this pandemic for sure,” she said. “There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes.”

The writers have made wise choices about how it addresses topics that are socially significant as well as pertinent to a broader discussion at any given moment, while also remaining true to the show’s core values. The show’s current 17th season features a coronavirus-centric plot. They portray the devotion of frontline workers and the hundreds of thousands of lives lost due to COVID-19 in such a surreal way. 

The full impact of Grey’s ethnically and culturally diverse casting was somewhat tempered, however profoundly rooted in the show. 

“I’m in my early 30’s, and my friends and I don’t sit around and discuss race,” Rhimes said in a post-pilot interview. “We’re post-civil rights, post-feminist babies, and we take it for granted we live in a diverse world.”

“Grey’s Anatomy” never appeared as though it was meeting “race quotas” for the cast. According to The Hollywood Reporter when Rhimes was writing the pilot of Grey’s, she never specified what race she was looking for when it came to her envisioned characters during casting. 

The network powerhouse is known for its position as one of television’s most visible forms of racial and cultural inclusion. This is an act necessary in order to portray characters that concretely and sensibly question our preconceived ideas as to what people can and cannot do. A notion particularly true when it comes to LGBT issues.

The most visible example has been Callie Torres’ partnership with Arizona Robbins.  It’s important to note that LGBT visibility in the early 2000s was not as profound which is what makes this a crucial instance to the show’s morals of “breaking barriers.” 

Moreover, in the 11th season of the show, there had been an extremely telling scene in which four female surgeons in the hospital — including an African-American woman cardiac surgeon and a homosexual Latina orthopedic surgeon — explore why they feel sexism is working against them when they ask for higher pay, while their male counterparts never have to face such adversities.

These examples are the most timely, however, there have been a few crucial episodes where medical matters have ventured into more unconventional matters, such as the season six episode where the show discusses the clinical manifestations of the AIDS epidemic.

Apart from discussing relevant issues such as the coronavirus pandemic, the show’s most recent episode tackles the well-known Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality. The doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial assisted patients who were wounded in a Black Lives Matter rally. Meanwhile, Dr. Ngudu was at the hands of racial discrimination from law enforcement. 

Whether I was stranded on a desert island or crammed in a ramshackle apartment, I would hands down choose perhaps the most sought-after show of all time, the 16-year-old quirky medical drama over any of its younger, flashier, more highly lauded competition any day.

“Grey’s Anatomy” premiered in March 2005. To some, they believe anything so populist, so long-running, must have succumbed to an unavoidable decline in quality or relevance long ago. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Nothing is even comparable to the thrill of watching a show age in real-time. It’s exclusive to television.

“Grey’s Anatomy” has always been and will continue to be far better than it ought to be. It’s a thought-provoking medical drama that’s angst yet brings comfort to its viewers, the perfect combination.