This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I am a huge fan of the stereotypically dense, nighttime soap opera genre of television shows. Grey’s Anatomy falls into this category and for the last decade (has it really been that long?) it’s been a personal routine to tune in to the newest episode every Thursday night. It is difficult to say whether I still watch it due to habit or enthusiasm for the show, though I suspect it’s more likely the former.
It would take more than a few paragraphs to sum up what has occurred over the course of the show. For those who know nothing about the soap opera that is Grey’s Anatomy, the storyline follows a group of surgeons that work in a hospital. Though that is clearly stating the obvious, it’s really the main thing one needs to know when watching the show.
Each episode opens with a thought-inducing monologue by the show’s namesake, Meredith Grey. Although each season has a general plotline, these monologues usually set the theme for the particular episode. Grey’s Anatomy also has a heavy romantic presence, one that usually overshadows the fact that these are supposedly professional surgeons working in an esteemed hospital. They actually operate on people while worrying about their love lives – I can’t be the only one that finds that problematic. These surgeons, it is important to note, tend to die as frequently as they fall in/out of love and lust. Seriously, they drop like flies. All romance and death aside, the show never fails to bring a hefty serving of drama to the table each week – ranging from hospital shootings and plane crashes to difficulties with post-traumatic stress disorder and the adoption process. It’s dramatic to say the least.
In the season 9 finale, we saw Meredith Grey and her surgeon cronies dealing with some extraordinarily tough issues. The hospital was bought out by a group of its own surgeons who have virtually no management experience. On top of that, there’s a serious raging storm and a fatal bus crash, all while the hospital has no power. There’s always some sort of debilitating disaster on a Grey’s season finale.
A primary issue that exists within the show is that there’s no real substance and the characters are very superficial. It’s based around the fact that the surgical attendings and interns are all egomaniacs that know they are intelligent and fairly attractive. The plot of the show suffers substantially due to this setback and continuously struggles to add ‘depth’ to the characters. This flaw is often apparent in overly dramatized situations and unrealistic social and hospital-related disasters. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the writers’ imaginative talent (that is one thing they definitely don’t lack), but it could simply be accounted for the fact that they need to keep ratings up and over the top relationships and catastrophes seem to achieve that.
Another matter that was previously mentioned and needs to be brought up again is Meredith Grey’s opening and closing monologues. When I was 16 years old and watching the show religiously, I felt that her deep, philosophical statements about love, fear, life, abandonment, and so on were the most inspiring and relatable things I had ever heard. Five years later, I cringe a little when I hear them and find them to be extremely cliché. Perhaps that’s simply a matter of personal opinion.
There is a multitude of pressing questions for the upcoming season premiere, such as who actually comes up with some of the ridiculous names for the characters. In all seriousness, Grey’s is entering its tenth season, which is certainly no mean feat for a network television series. But it also means that it’s been ten years of ideas, and Shonda Rhimes is surely running out of them fast. Will this be the last season of Grey’s Anatomy? I hope so – it’s time to pull the plug before the show ruins itself. That being said, I will be tuning in September 26 at 9PM to see for myself.