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Everything I Have To Say About the New Season of Grey’s Anatomy

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As a long-standing fan of Grey’s Anatomy, I ritualistically watch the show every year. When I found the show on Netflix, I was ready to binge. I was extremely surprised to find their newest season on Netflix, but it came bearing an even bigger surprise: the latest season took place in a COVID-19 setting. And man, I have a lot to say about it. If you haven’t already watched the season, disclaimer: this article contains SPOILERS!

Grey’s Anatomy haters often call the show unnecessarily emotional. On the contrary, I think it’s just the right amount of emotion. To be honest, I get pretty disappointed when the show doesn’t make me choke up. It makes you cry for all the right reasons, and I am here for it. They integrate social and political issues and add the human element appropriate to the time and setting. That’s precisely what makes Grey’s so unique.

This brings us to season 17, in 2020, an era of a pandemic along with economic and socio-political unrest. Episode one begins by introducing the COVID-19-impacted world we live in. Considering it’s a medical show filmed during the safer end of the pandemic, it was perfectly appropriate for the series to showcase the world under COVID-19. Unlike in the show YOU, where nothing added up and the pandemic was randomly mentioned just for the sake of saying it, Shonda Rhimes had plans.

Shonda Rhimes did an excellent job portraying the severity of the cases and the risks and problems faced in front-line care. There was adequate representation of the shortage of ventilators, PPE (personal protective equipment), and staff. It portrayed doctors and nurses working overtime and living in the hospital to protect their loved ones from their virus. And notably, they represented the impact of misinformation and careless mask users.

The portrayal of how bad the cases were, how hard medical front-line workers had to work and how these people had to risk their lives made me want to do my part in staying safe. In my own experience, my family living in China sent me information on the severity of the issue and hospital conditions, which drastically changed my viewpoint on COVID-19. So, when I watched this season, I felt it could shed light on the harsh realities of the pandemic that I think much of the population needed more awareness on.

While I would give the show an A for effort, I also found fundamental flaws that I wish I hadn’t.

In my opinion, the biggest let-down was the inconsistency with masks. I could get past the space helmet look-alike they’ve worn, since it at least helped maintain distance. But the fact that masks were worn based on convenience was disappointing. I tried to make general sense of when they did and did not wear their masks; they were more consistent with it at the beginning of the season, but that slowly deteriorated. I noticed how even some of the staff in the operating room weren’t wearing masks. In an operating room! That would have been a problem every other time, not just during the pandemic.

I understand that this is just a show and they are not really experts in the medical field. Still, Grey’s is probably one of the few shows in the medical genre that has been decently accurate with their information, obviously bearing in mind that it is still just a show. I am not an expert in the medical field so I can’t judge any of it, but if the rest of the Grey’s audience is anything like me, then they learn from this show. Portraying the virus as a severe medical concern but at the same time failing to portray a good example of how to behave in the situation sends a very wrong message to the people outside those doors.

I may have been too cautious following COVID-19 guidelines, however, I also felt that people in North America did not follow it closely enough. I was very hopeful that Grey’s would shed light on the issue and set an excellent precedent of staying precautious during a pandemic. Unfortunately, while the show did a good job raising awareness on the topic, they failed to set a strong example.

Sherlly Russel

Carleton '22

Your not so average, complicated, and multicultural brown girl. Born and raised in India, middle-school, and high school in china, university in Canada. Conversations about philosophy, cosmology, cross-culturalism, and religion are right up my alley!
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