|Photo Credit(s): ABC|
For thirteen seasons, Grey’s Anatomy has been one of the must watch shows in the television industry. And while the show is still watchable in some aspects, it has gone downhill. Today, I write to you about the rise and fall of the show.
From the beginning, it seemed that everything fit. It was and still is one of the most diverse shows out there. Key staples included an Asian Jew in Christian Yang, a bisexual Latina in Callie Torres, and not one but two black chiefs of surgery in Richard Webber and Miranda Bailey. The cast dynamic worked for the majority of the seasons. When characters like Mark Sloan, Lexie Grey, Arizona Robbins and Addison Montgomery came into the fold, everything seemed to fit and flow smoothly. None of the interactions seemed forced. They were able to weave themselves into the canvas perfectly. In Mark and Lexie’s cases, it was to gain the approval of a family member/friend, and it took most of the season that they came on in order to gain that trust. While fitting in new cast members was a strength of the show, later on, it became a weakness.
The character development for most of the characters made sense given their arcs. Instead of the titular character Meredith Grey showing the most growth, that honor will be bestowed upon Alex Karev. In the beginning, he seemed like he was a jock with such high self-esteem. Failing his boards is one of the few things that humbled him and therefore gave him a small redemption arc. His friendship with Meredith and his time in pediatric surgery with Addison and Arizona had started his development into the good guy we know today. Like most people, he did fall off a few times and revert to his old behavior, but in the end, he cared about everybody too much to stay in that pattern forever. This was most evident in season 8, when he was late to take his boards due to consoling Morgan, who had lost her son. He eventually became Meredith’s person, and quite honestly, he’s a better person to Meredith than Christina was due to the fact that Karev at this stage of his life, is the saner one compared to the two.
In later seasons, while Grey’s did have some successes introducing some new blood into their cast with Jackson, April, Ben, Maggie and Amelia, the one area that they had failed in was developing the new intern class. Outside of Ben (Bailey’s husband), the two main interns that have been developed were Jo Wilson and Stephanie Edwards. The issue with Jo is that she comes off as a worse version of Meredith in the sense that she’s self-destructive and harms everybody around her.
Like Meredith this is not her fault, as they both have suffered trauma (Meredith emotionally from her mother, Jo physically from her husband). In the case of Jo, she hasn't learned from Meredith’s situation, in that honesty is the best policy. Her refusal to tell Karev about her previous marriage until this season 13, when she has been around for several seasons, for instance. This is something that would have prevented a lot of issues that had occurred this season. She was able to go to Karev regarding Jason earlier, but she wasn't able to go to him about her husband from prior? Alex could have protected her.
Instead of that, now Karev is in jail for defending her honor when DeLuca was the wrong target to begin with. The other member of the intern class that the show focuses on Stephanie Edwards. In terms of medicine, Stephanie is one of the best that exists. However, to succeed on this show, you need to have some sort of defining characteristic that isn't necessarily medicine related. She’s just kind of bland. No real sort of direction exists for her regarding the show. She just seems like she’s there. Even when they tried to flesh out her character, it just feels like she isn't really a part of the canvas. Even Murphy, the disgraced intern who came back and has re-established herself, feels a part of the show more than Edwards.
The interns aren't even the only characters that they've had an issue bringing to canvas. Maggie Pierce, the secret lovechild of Ellis Grey and Richard Webber, has been a staple of the show for two seasons. So far, she’s so sunny, even more so than Arizona pre-leg amputation. While positivity is great, the overly energetic vibe, does not work into he cast. At best, you can get by with Kepner/Robbins level of energy, even then they've mellowed out over the years. If she ever came back to Earth, she would be the one character I can see that can carry on the legacy of the show if Meredith decides to leave/pass away. She has so many untapped storyline potential, yet they’re limiting her to Riggs/DeLuca love trouble.
Speaking of Riggs (AKA USPA Shepherd), he’s another person that needs an overhaul, or just leave. I get that the purpose of him is to be somewhat of a Sloan to Hunt’s Shepherd. But in this case, the relationship with Grey isn't working. The chemistry isn't there, and the drama with Hunt’s sister isn't worth it to eep up the storyline. To me, the best case scenario is that he leaves and they bring back Hahn, who can cause problems with Webber and Robbins.
Finally we have Amelia, the young Shepherd. We've seen her come a long way from the Private Practice days. And while she is fresh on the canvas and her issues provide a good recurring storyline, her issue of lying rears its ugly head. Owen loves the truth, as evidenced by his failed relationship with Christina, where lies and hidden truths ruined their marriage. Owen is understanding, he would understand where Amelia is coming from regarding children and her past issues with pregnancy. Just tell the truth and things would be okay.
In terms of the show, this season falls flat compared to others. While it’s like Grey’s to start off slow and ending the season with the bang, this season feels different. This season feels like so much filler. Other than the ongoing Bailey versus Catherine Avery battle, this season has felt flat. I feel as if the season is trying to be too lighthearted compared with the Kepner/Avery awkwardness, Robbins finding a new love interest, and the triangle between Riggs/Pierce/Grey, compared to the darkness that season 11 and some parts of season 12.
The downfall of Grey’s seems to coincide with messing with the formula that works. Killing off fan favorites and replacing them with new blood so far hasn't worked with this new crop of talent. While the actors have tried their hardest, it doesn't compare with the golden era of the show from the beginning. Riggs isn't Derek, and no matter how much you try for him to be, it is not working. Alex can’t be paired with every woman that has some sort of issue, Self-combusting characters like Meredith, Amelia, and Jo should not going through combustion in this stage of their lives (more so Jo and Amelia more than anything). Either show some character growth, or bring back some previous characters to recreate the balance within the show.