Why I’m angry at Grey’s Anatomy

After discovering Grey’s Anatomy in 2014, I decided ten minutes into the first episode that I was more than happy to dedicate my life to it. Although the show first aired in 2005 meaning the original seasons look less polished, the storylines, writing, character development, and acting by the cast were near-perfection at some points. The show has one of the best representation in cast and characters that mainstream television has seen. Specifically, Calliope Torres, played by the outstanding Sara Ramirez, was the longest running LGBT character in television history, running from season six to the end of season twelve. However, it’s not a smooth sailing ship and I have noticed some things over the last couple of years that haven’t exactly been worth praising.


#1 Arizona Robbins and April Kepner’s exits

Arizona and April have always been fan favourites, so the announcement that the two would be leaving the show at the end of its fourteenth season was pretty shocking. Their exit caused so much upset that fans arranged for a plane to fly over the set of the show holding a banner which read “We love Sarah Drew & Jessica Capshaw”. Although fans were upset due to the loss of the characters, what really stung was that the fact that the news of their exit from the show was announced on March 8th, 2018 (International Women’s Day). With the excuse from the show’s producers being that Drew and Capshaw were asked to leave the show due to a lack of storylines, announcing the exit of two of the most influential and strong female characters on Grey’s on a day dedicated to empowering women didn’t exactly sit well with fans.


 #2 It took them 15 seasons to write their first openly male, gay character

Grey’s Anatomy has always been a very forward-thinking show and has consistently featured up-to-date and relevant storylines. However, it took the show’s writers fifteen seasons to finally write their first gay, male character. Although the show has had several female bisexual and lesbian characters, the lack of gay male characters has been noted for many seasons.

Grey’s has recently been part of the ‘Netflix effect’, essentially meaning that younger generations are finding and watching the older seasons on streaming services such as Netflix. This means that the show is having a massive impact on the younger generation and a large reason why people stick to the show is due to the realistic and personal characters. Therefore, the delay of having their first openly-gay male character does seem odd. Whatever their reasoning may be for waiting until now to introduce this character, online fans feel as though the show is ‘cashing in on homosexuality’ due to it being a massive part of the advertising campaign for the upcoming fifteenth season.


#3 Amelia Shepherd’s brain tumour

As Grey’s Anatomy is set in a hospital, it often feels as though physical health is another character. However, the show has been criticised for its lack of focus on mental health. This was specifically noted in the treatment of Amelia Shepherd’s character. Amelia starred in Grey’s Anatomy‘s spin-off Private Practice until its final season and eventually moved over to Grey’s Anatomy which was in its tenth season at the time. Her storylines centred around her long battle with drugs and alcohol which was featured on both shows. In the most recent season of the show, it was revealed that Amelia, who is a neurosurgeon, had a brain tumour. This tumour was said to have been impacting all of her decisions since her character was introduced, which I disagree with. Pinning Amelia’s struggle with addiction on a brain tumour seems extremely distasteful and almost a quick route to avoid a serious storyline regarding mental health.


#4 The lack of interesting couples

Grey’s will forever be recognised for the sheer number of couples that have been through the show. It is almost a never-ending list. However, the couples in the most recent seasons of the show seem to be built to fail. Going into season fifteen, there are only two couples – if you don’t count Maggie and Jackson who are very disliked due to them being siblings. This is a far cry from earlier seasons where it was almost impossible to keep up with who is dating whom. The lack of romance means that the show is missing a key element, therefore, feeling slightly empty. Basically, they really need to get some interesting couples going soon – aka bring back Calzona and Japril.


#5 Constantly pitting women against each other

Let’s be honest, Grey’s is built on love triangles. Over the years, the amount of love triangles there have been is ridiculous and practically every character has been involved in one. I noticed whilst watching the show, that the triangles which are heavily featured always involve two women and one man (Maggie/Meredith/Jackson, Meredith/Addison/Derek and Izzie/Callie/George are the most noticeable). Obviously, there are exceptions to this but almost all of them work around the idea of having women argue over a man, which to me seems extremely outdated. To consistently have so many love triangles which pit women against each other feels like an unnecessary storyline which makes it seem as though the writers are in desperate need of inspiration.


As a whole, Grey’s Anatomy has done some incredible things for empowering women and the representation of so many different types of personalities and characters. A piece of my heart will always be in Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, but it has missed the mark so many times, it’s almost hard to ignore. As it’s now on its fifteenth season, the show is definitely on a course to its ending, all we can do is hope that it is able to redeem itself after a couple of dry seasons and somehow manage to dig up some more Sleeping at Last covers to throw into the last five minutes of each episode. 


All images from google