"Grey's Anatomy" Is Not The Same Show
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"Grey's Anatomy" Isn't The Same Show Anymore, And I Don't Know How To Feel About It

How do fans cope with a constantly changing favorite show?

"Grey's Anatomy" Isn't The Same Show Anymore, And I Don't Know How To Feel About It

It seems as if ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" is one of the most popular TV shows of our time. Those who watch it either love it or love to hate it, and many others dismiss it as unrealistic, overly dramatic, or "soapy."

One thing is clear, though: with a revolving door of cast changes and an endless stream of dramatic plots, history's longest-running medical drama looks completely different than it once did.

The title character, Meredith Grey, is introduced in the first season alongside her intern peers, Drs. Alex Karev, George O'Malley, Izzie Stevens, and Cristina Yang. These five interns, affectionately referred to by the fandom as "M.A.G.I.C," are thrown into the frightening, unfamiliar world of Seattle Grace Hospital, where they are no longer students but doctors, responsible for keeping vulnerable patients alive.

The midseason introduction of "Grey's" was a smash hit. Something about the combination of these terrified, clueless interns and their complicated romantic and personal issues quickly became endearing and addicting for fans. Meredith's one-night stand, who becomes her boyfriend, turns out to be her superior at her new job and also, *surprise,* is married! Her competition and coworkers also become her roommates (George and Izzie), best friend (Cristina), or least favorite people (Alex). Her mother, once a renowned surgeon, is secretly in a facility because of her early-onset Alzheimer's. And that's just the beginning.


What started as a dramatic show about love and the scary feeling that you don't know what you're doing has now become the story of a woman and her coworkers who have loved, lost, learned, and succeeded within the four walls of their Seattle hospital. It's not just about one doctor, it's about all of these doctors, and that's wonderful.

In my favorite era of "Grey's" history, Season 6-7, Meredith and Derek have just gotten married and are trying to have a child. Lexie and Mark are in an on-again, off-again situation. Callie, Arizona, and Mark enter a tri-parent situation together. The hospital has recently merged with another hospital, Mercy West, to create "Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital," adding extra competitive surgeons and lots of additional drama.

It's been fifteen seasons, and we're looking at a completely different cast of characters and a completely different story. Now, Meredith is a widowed mother and a renowned surgeon herself. She owns the hospital, now named "Grey+Sloan Memorial." Three of her original coworkers, Drs. Yang, Stevens, and O'Malley, have left the hospital one way or another. Only Dr. Karev remains as her peer, and right now, he's a respected pediatric surgeon, currently serving as interim chief of surgery. He's recently married and extremely happy.

The only other original characters still on the show are Dr. Bailey and Dr. Webber. Over the years, countless main characters have joined and subsequently left the show, breaking all of our hearts in the process. One of the former "Mercy West'ers" is now dating Meredith's sister and helping his mother through a painful, cancerous tumor. Dr. Bailey is struggling with stress, especially because of her husband's involvement as a firefighter.

It's not the same show. It's not the same plot or the same characters.

How do we, as fans, cope with the evolution of our show? It's still around, but not in the same form. A lot of the pieces we loved are gone. Some fans have stopped watching the show altogether. Others continue to watch, but hate pretty much all of it.

My strategy is a bit different. I try to separate it from itself, to see it as two or more independent shows, or different eras of the same show. The first few seasons (1-3) are M.A.G.I.C.'s journey through their intern year. This is as close as it gets to "Classic Grey's." Seasons 4-8 are what I internally refer to as "middle years' Grey's."

The show really hits its stride here, introducing and developing many characters and relationships that would later become fan favorites. Meredith and her peers are starting to decide on their specialties and training interns of their own. Sadly, this is also where major characters start to leave and not come back. Seasons 9-11 are the "transition years," showing the evolution of Seattle Grace Mercy West into Grey+Sloan Memorial. By this point, many favorite characters (George, Izzie, Mark, Lexie, Addison, etc.) have left Seattle or died.

The remaining doctors are coping with many forms of loss and transitioning into their lives in the aftermath of several tragedies. At the end of Season 11, Derek dies, a major turning point. In Season 12, Meredith emerges as a newly widowed woman. She's going solo, struggling with the loss of the love of her life and being a single mother to their three children. Soon, a new sisterhood emerges. Meredith bonds with her late husband's sister and the surprise second half-sister that appears to work at Grey+Sloan.

And with that, we're pretty much up to date. Modern "Grey's Anatomy" is "Solo Meredith" Grey's. All her original "people" have left her, and she's on her own--but still surrounded by people she loves.

Have I loved every single plot that "Grey's" has offered us over the years? Definitely not. Am I happy with everything "Grey's" is doing with the show right now? Nope. I could do without the Jackson/Maggie relationship, I think Meredith ought to just date Link and be done with it, and I miss all my favorite departed characters (April, Arizona, LEXIE, Mark...) so much.

But at this point, in continuing to watch the show, I'm more interested in Teddy, Owen, and Amelia's new, strange family set-up. I'm rooting for Link, and I'm eagerly waiting for more great Jolex storylines. And I'm hoping (perhaps in vain) for any sort of reunion episode that'll bring some old favorites back. I'm watching, even though the quality has declined, because at this point, I'm in too deep, and I've gotta see what happens.

It's not the same show. So I'm focusing on the parts of this current "Grey's" era that I like, remembering the parts I miss and trying to stay positive. I may not love everything the writers have done with the newest seasons of the show, but I'm commiserating with my fellow fans as we scroll back to rewatch our favorite parts. That's what Netflix is for, after all.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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