Why I Can't Give Up On Grey's Anatomy

It was about five years ago that I first discovered the magic that is Grey's Anatomy. 

I knew about the show for a long time, but considering I was hopelessly addicted to Hannah Montana when the first season premiered, I never bothered to watch it.

Finally, after a lot of coaxing from my friends and adamant proclamations that it was just so amazing, I decided to give it a shot. At this point, there were already 10 seasons on Netflix, which seemed like quite a time commitment. But it also served as the perfect way to distract myself from the mountains of homework I had looming in front of me.

I was immediately hooked. The show was an intricate web of absolutely fascinating storylines. In each new episode, the doctors would focus on a particular patient or case—adding an almost crime-show level of intrigue—but those storylines were also smartly interspersed with scenes that advanced the character's personal lives and gave the viewers  more insight into their individual struggles and personalities.

A genuine testament to how amazing the show is, it wasn't until Season 9 that things started to fall apart. After eight years of amazing television, the stories started to feel especially clunky and unrealistic. It was almost as though they'd thrown every possible problem at the doctors, and they had no choice but to dig in to their outlandish storylines.

Not only that, but the characters also had to be forced out of their normal patterns to accommodate more hospital drama. Some of my favorite characters left the hospital or were killed off, including those who captured the heart and soul of the show: Cristina Yang, Derek Shepherd and Callie Torres—to name a few.

Cristina and Meredith on Grey's Anatomy

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)

Season Nine started a slow descent downhill, bringing us to where we are currently—right in the middle of Season 15. Suffice it to say, the current Grey's Anatomy very vaguely resembles the Grey's Anatomy of 14 years ago.

Instead of iconic couples and swoon-worthy relationships, viewers are left with unimaginative pairings that often leave us cringing. Many of our favorite characters have been filtered off the show, only to be replaced with boring personalities who never last very long anyway. The patients' problems have become increasingly unrealistic, and the endless string of traumatic hospital events now have us rolling our eyes where we once would've been reaching for a tissue box.

Grey's Anatomy: Jackson and April run away on April's wedding day

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)

And yet, I simply can't give up on Grey's Anatomy. Year after year, I find myself setting my DVR or keeping my Thursday nights free, all so I can see what's happening at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. But if the show has become so genuinely terrible, why do I keep sacrificing my free time to watch it? I'll tell you.

First, and most importantly, I feel a dramatic sense of loyalty to these characters. Even though I haven't watched the show nearly as long as some other people, I've still invested quite a bit of time in their storylines. I've watched them go through happy moments and cried during their endless drama.

These characters are designed to be so human, with incredibly relatable flaws and vulnerabilities. The ability to so clearly see their side of things, and to genuinely understand what they're going through, creates an annoying emotional bond that's hard to walk away from. It's almost like staying in contact with an old friend—you know you're on totally different pages now, but you can't help checking in every now and then.

Grey's Anatomy: Callie and Arizona smiling at each other

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)

Secondly, the show has almost become comedically dramatic. The characters have a different sense of themselves, partly due to the fact that the writers acknowledge how ridiculous the plots are, and partly because the actors themselves have become increasingly comfortable in the roles. Instead of a show that has me sobbing in despair every episode, I can now tune in to chuckle at the outlandish plots and make sure my favorite characters are still doing okay.

Which brings me to my last point—at this stage I just need to know where all the characters end up. It's been nearly 15 seasons—I have to see their stories through to the end. If that means suffering through a couple more years of rolling my eyes at the TV screen, and wishing for better days at Grey Sloan, so be it.

grey's anatomy - meredith and derek

(Grey's Anatomy via ABC)

I can't give up on Grey's Anatomy because Shonda Rhimes has built a world that feels like a second home. Watching the show feels frustrating and pointless, but it also feels relaxing and familiar. I'll stay to committed to the end, if only because I just can't bring myself to prematurely say goodbye to these characters I've come to know and love.



Thankfully, fourteen years of TV has given us plenty of amazing, meme-worthy content. Click  HERE for 20 Grey's Anatomy memes that are both painful and hilarious.