Shonda Rhimes Is the Queen of TV & That's How She Did It

I am sure you’ve already heard about Shonda Rhimes, or at least, about Shondaland’s TV shows. “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Scandal”, “How to Get Away With Murder” and the new addition, “The Catch”, are part of the TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday) marathon and are a huge success around the world. 

However, how this woman made it to the high level of having FOUR TV SHOWS on air at the same time? And don’t forget about 6 seasons of Private Practice (the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off), of course!

“The Year of Yes”

So you want to know all of Shonda’s secrets? It is easy: she wrote a book about it. Not about the success itself, but how she started and then became one badass hitmakers producer. And she started saying yes.

Shonda Rhimes begins her biography calling herself a compulsive liar and explains how someone offered her a job to write fiction. Basically, to write a story that doesn’t exist is to lie, so of course she could not turn it down.

“Grey’s Anatomy” was her first experience and look where it got her: the show is already renewed for its 14th season. Also, she became the first black woman in Hollywood to create and producer a top 10 series with “Grey's”. Does it make her amazing or not?

“Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” is an instant New York Times bestseller from the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder shares how saying YES changed her life.

With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. And then, over Thanksgiving dinner, her sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

“Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person” is available at bookshops for R$ 39,90.

Thank God It’s Thursday

If it is Thursday, Shonda is the main queen. ABC gave the producer the prime time of Thursday night and made a weekly Shondaland marathon. “I know it's an incredible amount of trust that's being placed on me, I get that. But I'm not really thinking about, ‘Oh, I'm the Thursday queen’”, Rhimes told the Times. "Uh, no. I'm thinking, ‘Grey's’ has to be good, ‘Scandal’ has to be good, and ‘Murder’ has to be damn good”, she added. 

Are you ready to to make your way through Shondaland? I must warn you: prepare yourself!

Women’s rule

First things first: her shows are all about women. Meredith Grey, Olivia Pope, Addison Montgomery, Annalise Keating and Alice Vaughan can explain it better. Yes, the main characters are all female – and, by the way, they rock! Let’s go the introductions.

Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), was introduced as a surgical intern at Seattle Grace Hospital who slept with her resident, Derek Shepherd. Thirteen seasons later, she becomes the Chief of General Surgery at Grey-Sloan Memorial (same hospital, different name), a widow and mother of three. “Grey’s Anatomy” mixes everyday drama in a hospital already full of drama. But who doesn’t love a little bit (of a lot) of drama, right? It also has many other amazing female characters: Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), April Kepner (Sarah Drew), Catherine Avery (Debbie Allen), Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw), Callie Torres (Sara Ramírez), Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh)… 

Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh), is a “Private Practice” and “Grey’s Anatomy” character. She’s a neonatal surgeon with certifications in both Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Maternal and Fetal Medicine. At Grey’s, she appeared in the first season as Derek Shepherd's wife and worked at Seattle Grace for two whole seasons. After that, she decided to move to Los Angeles and work at the Oceanside Wellness Group with her friends – and that is when “Private Practice” begins.

Scandal’s Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), is a Washington, D.C.-based crisis manager who runs her own firm, Pope & Associates, that is specialized in political situations. Olivia takes on the biggest scandals of the era, all the while trying to hide her forbidden love affair with Fitzgerald Grant, the President of the United States, which has recently become public. The show is in the 6th season and got renewed for the 7th.

Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) seemed to have a perfect life and was respected for being a great lawyer and a great criminal law professor, whom her students both fear and admire. However, when her husband is murdered and her students seemed to be involved, her life turns upside down. The most amazing thing about “How to Get Away With Murder” is that the whole show is a big plot twist. Even after three seasons, if you think you know something, think twice. Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King), Bonnie Winterbottom (Liza Weil) and Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) are other female characters that rules the show. Besides that, Viola Davis won an Emmy for her performance. Do you want a better reason than that to watch it? I don’t think so.

Alice Vaughan (Mireille Enos) is a wildly successful high-end, corporate, private investigator who owns and runs Anderson/Vaughan Investigations with her best friend and business partner, Valerie Anderson ( Rose Rollins). Alice is brilliant, intuitive and analytical, absolutely fearless and madly in love with – and about to marry – Christopher Hall, a wealthy venture capitalist – whom she'll discover is not quite the man he seems to be. “The Catch” is already in it’s second season.

There’s more

Besides the amazing women, Shonda is a pioneer in terms of diversity within her casts be it racially or gender. LGBT characters and interactional relationships are part of Rhimes’ TV world as much as real life. When asked by a fan why her shows featured so many gay characters she said: “Because I believe everyone should get to see themselves reflected on TV”. 

Also A LOT of people dies. All the time. Anytime. There’s always a surprise shocking death of a character you learned to love. Rule number #1 to watch a Shondaland TV show: don’t get attached.

Super-successful Script Recipe

In the recipe you add:

- 1 tablespoon of scandal

- 2 cups of plot twist 

- 4 cups of drama 

- ½ bunch of death, affairs and really fast dialogues

- Alcohol to taste

Now you just have to mix it up!