“Pick me, choose me, love me,” the words Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) shouted at Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) in season 2 episode 5 of GREY’S ANATOMY, and that is exactly what I did! I picked GREY’S because I heard nothing but good things, I chose GREY’S because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, and I love GREY’S because it’s brilliant, character driven, and on point week after week!
I started watching GREY’S ANATOMY during the 5th season; the finale was the first episode I watched. It was the episode where Meredith identifies George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) as the John Doe, and Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) almost dies. The day after I watched the finale I ran to the nearest Blockbuster (I understand how ancient that makes me sound) and I rented the first season. To say I binge watched it is an understatement, I watched the entire season in a day, and the next morning I was back at blockbuster bright and early to get season two. Out of all the shows I have seen in my life I have never felt so connected to characters before like I did to the characters on this show. I wanted to know what happened to them, what made them the way they are, who influenced them, what they’re thinking; I wanted to know it all.
There is only one person to blame for all of this. One person to blame for my sleepless nights obsessing over horrifying cliff hangers, one person to blame for my crying over characters deaths, and one person to blame for controlling my Thursday nights for the last five years. The person that all of my blame is directed at is the incredibly gifted Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes didn’t just create a show about doctors who have a tendency to spend more time in the on call room than they do in the ER. She created a show where no character is the same; each character is so different from the next. She created characters such as Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) who is, for lack of a better word an ass. Karev is so condescending in those early seasons and at times ever borderlines inappropriate, but when he began working in Pediatrics alongside Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) we saw a softer side to him. We saw compassion, something we weren’t really used to seeing from him. We grew to love him and feel for him, we saw all that he went through and were proud of him for maintaining the amount of composure he’s kept throughout all of it.
Another reason why the ABC hit maker ruined my life, two words Lexie Grey. (Chyler Leigh) Leigh’s character was so young, and promising. To watch her go was probably the hardest TV death I have ever seen, for a while I had to boycott one of my favorite shows. I didn’t watch the next couple episodes after that. (Obviously about two weeks later I caved and watched them.) Rhimes creates these characters that whether you want to or not you grow attached to, and when you lose one of them it’s hard. You feel like a friend that you see once a week is now gone forever, you invited this character into your house every week at the same time, and you’ve become used to them being there and comfortable knowing they will always be, and then one day, they are not there, and it feels strange.
Tragedy has struck the Seattle Grace an unusual amount of times, and yet each time it hits just as hard. The show never slows down, goes off its tracks, or strays from the structure the viewers are used to. It’s consistent but yet always changing, which is a great trait in a television show. No one episode is the same, from season to season there are these intense cliffhangers and somehow after all the seasons they still feel fresh and exciting. From “Drowning on Dry Land” to “Death and All His Friends,” arguably two of the most jaw dropping episodes, they are so different but still maintain that immense level of surprise and fear. It’s a true testament to how fantastic of a producer she is, that she can churn out these phenomenal episodes week after week, all while juggling other shows that she produces and writes for at the same time
Now that I have spent the majority of this article complaining about the accomplished producer/writer, I will say some things that maybe won’t make her want to go and kill off some of my favorite characters anytime soon (stay away from Karev and Robbins.) When I decided I wanted to pursue the terrifying, riveting, and impossible world of television there weren’t many producers I had found that I felt I looked up to. Sure, I of course have a long list of people now but back when I was still in high school it was difficult for me to pick someone in particular. That was until I discovered Ms.Shonda Rhimes, she not only gave me the perfect example of what a fantastic and assertive producer should be, but she also showed me how to create characters that matter, and a show that matters. To this day I will reference her as my biggest influence, she is such a gift to the television world and we are extremely lucky to have her. So even though she occasionally may kill off our favorite characters or even break up the couples we root for, she still created all of them, she still created this entire world that is Seattle Grace (Seattle Grace Mercy West, or Grey Sloane Memorial Hospital, I can’t keep track) without her we wouldn’t have the characters we love so much and we wouldn’t experience the heart breaks that we do, because of this wonderful show. So next time you want to tweet her how much she ruined your life by killing off your favorite character remember, she created that character, so maybe you might want to thank her instead.
Victoria Nelli loves TV so much that she is paying $30,000 a year to learn about it in College. When she’s not learning about TV she enjoys writing about her favorite shows, interviewing anyone in the industry that will let her, and ranting about how underrated Parks and Recreation is. She is very much aware of her Netflix addiction, and no she will not be seeking help anytime soon. You can follow her on Twitter @VictoriaNelli