With fifteen seasons under its belt, Grey’s Anatomy has long cemented its place in the history of television. The was a massive success from 2005 to 2010, and even after it hasn’t remained the talk of the town, the show has remained on-air. Grey’s Anatomy was unlike already established medical dramas like ER in that it focused mainly on one person and then slowly moved around to others in her vicinity. The heart of the show, though, has remained with Meredith Grey and she is the main character through and through.
But the show has had a very wide range of characters for you to choose from and all these people have had storylines of their own. Most of the stories people have liked or disliked haven’t had anything to do with Meredith as the large supporting cast has taken center stage on a variety of occasions. These storylines change as the characters change; the show has only four main characters from Season 1 remaining. With so many plotlines to choose from, fans have a lot of different opinions over which ones are best and which are worst. Make no mistake, though, there have been many bad stories on the show, although good ones have such a big impact that people are willing to forget the bad ones.
Still, it helps to recall the plotlines that you never really liked and compare how the show has changed because of those storylines. This is why we’ve compiled this list for you to choose from.
Here are 13 Storylines That Hurt Grey’s Anatomy (And 12 That Saved It).
25 Hurt: George and Meredith hooking up
In the first and second seasons, George was madly in love with Meredith. It got to the point that he looked to sweep in and play the hero for her when she was reeling from separation with Derek. George should’ve known there was no future with her at least during this time, but he still made a move and it resulted in an awful exchange that ended with Meredith crying and George walking out.
After this, the George and Meredith relationship was never like what it used to be. The former friendship was gone permanently.
24 Saved: Meredith and Derek fall in love
The show would never have worked out in the first place had the Meredith and Derek love story not been in place. It was the only storyline worth following in Season 1, and the huge blow up in success starting from Season 2 had been possible because people tuned into see what was up with these two.
Their romance was such that it lasted all the way till Season 11, and never got tiring even once. Had the actor not left the show, Meredith and Derek would still have been together.
23 Hurt: Meredith and Derek's unfaithful habits
Derek and Meredith’s love began technically because Derek was with someone else other than his wife, but the marriage was over already so it doesn’t count as being unfaithful. What did count as infidelity was when these two hooked up in the Season 2 finale.
Up until that point, their love was pure in a way that you wouldn’t consider them as bad people, but after they were involved in being unfaithful, a certain level of likability was taken away from them. It would’ve been better had Derek left Addison before this angle came to pass.
22 Saved: George becoming Preston's protege
George’s lack of success in surgery earlier on paved the way for ridicule, especially at the hands of Alex, but this was negated once he became an able doctor in stressful conditions. George was able to successfully complete surgery in an elevator, that was overlooked by Preston Burke.
Starting from then, Preston and George developed a teacher-student relationship and this was only made better thanks to the superb chemistry they had. It made us more invested in both George and Burke and gave the two characters someone to rely on.
21 Hurt: Preston Burke leaving
Due to an on-set altercation between actors, the Preston Burke character was written out at the end of Season 3. While it’s understandable why real-life events influenced the show, it still damaged Grey’s Anatomy just a bit.
The Preston Burke character was someone who was complex, and often, his stories involved a lot of twists and turns in both his personal life and life as a doctor. Burke leaving also thrust Cristina into unfamiliar territory and we were unsure what to make of her for all of Season 4.
20 Saved: Preston and Cristina complex love story
Unlike the other love stories going on, Cristina and Preston’s story was far more complex. It had to do with both characters being incredibly guarded in personality, and we saw each of them become different versions of themselves from Season 1 to Season 3.
Something always had to give for these two, and in the end, it appeared as if Preston had changed so much for Cristina only for her not to be as invested as he was. It was a fascinating display of character development that was bettered because of the chemistry between the two.
19 Hurt: Jane Doe storyline
Alex’s storylines had been flooded with Izzie by Season 3 and the show needed something different for him. And so, in came the Jane Doe storyline that stuck around for way too long. She was introduced near the end of Season 3 and remained till the end of Season 4.
The story was pretty lame as well with the Jane Doe character constantly changing her names and showing up with a different backstory. Alex also came across as some weirdo who was attracted to someone with severe mental illness.
18 Saved: Alex and Izzie first breakup
When Alex and Izzie first got together, it looked something of an opposites attracting situation. It was engaging to watch and the show ran with it for a while, but it was always going to blow up as Alex was never going to change so soon.
Ultimately, it helped the show because Izzie could move onto getting together with Denny and we saw the first instance where Alex took to actually caring about something other than physical pleasure as he began having unrequited feelings for Izzie.
17 Hurt: George and Izzie getting together
On the other end of the stick, we have the worst story Grey’s Anatomy has come up with. At the end of Season 3, the showrunner had the awful idea of having George be unfaithful to his wife with Izzie of all people. This was expanded upon in Season 4 and culminated with everyone coming to their senses, with the two never hooking up again.
After this angle was over, it was made to seem like George and Izzie had never been together at all. The bad thing was that these two were never really close after that.
16 Saved: Alex and Izzie getting together the second time
Like we mentioned before, Alex needed to grow up to deserve Izzie once more and that is exactly what he did. By this point, Izzie had also been immature with wanting to be with George and had finished things with him and was available.
We got the storyline where Izzie had cancer, but this brought out the best from Alex. He would become a doting love interest who ended up marrying a person that had a very minor shot at living. It showed us why Alex and Izzie is a love story people still talk about.
15 Hurt: George's relationship with Callie
Some people might like Callie, but this writer feels she was always just a very ‘Blah’ character. The show could have gone on just fine without her and she didn’t contribute much to it. When she was introduced in Season 2, she was even more boring than she was later on.
Her sole purpose seemed to be to fill the role of love interest for George. She wasn’t very engaging either and the relationship with George had no fire. It was no wonder he regretted their marriage instantly as she and George really weren’t very compatible.
14 Saved: Denny and Izzie falling in love
Izzie became a standout character due to her love angle with Denny. She had had a brief flirtation with him when he had initially visited the hospital, but this turned into true love when he returned once more. This time around, she had a hard time keeping the feelings at bay, and you could argue that emotionally she was with him while still actually dating Alex.
Denny’s passing led to further characterization for Izzie, and she was at her best when she was with Denny.
13 Hurt: Arizona losing her leg
Arizona was a terrible character even before she lost her leg, but after the event happened, she became even more insufferable. She began blaming Callie for what happened to her, and would give into the charms of another visiting doctor near the end of Season 9.
While Arizona had fooled a lot of the viewers with her fake cheerfulness, her true vindictive personality was exposed after thing angle; this wasn’t a good thing. After being unfaithful to Callie, whatever Arizona did after that had this event hanging over it. So, it’s a good thing she’s gone now.
12 Saved: Mark and Derek becoming friends
When Mark was first introduced on the show, he was built up to be the bad boy who might snag Meredith away from Derek. Thankfully, this idea never progressed, and after Addison left, Mark set his sights on regaining Derek.
Although he had initially claimed he had come to Seattle for Addison, Mark admitted he had actually come for Derek. This sentimental line won Derek back and he and Mark became best pals once more. Their chemistry was such that just a few scenes together would convince you that they had been best friends for decades.
11 Hurt: Teddy and Owen love story
This angle is still ongoing and we aren’t big fans. Teddy’s plot from Season 6 to Season 8 had her dealing with Owen’s unrequited love for her and this was thankfully swerved at that time. Unfortunately, the show returned to this story and made Teddy a main character again.
This time around, she and Owen consummated the relationship and she became pregnant with his child. It’s a silly storyline that had no place back then, and has no place now either. We’ll just have to see how this plays out; knowing Owen’s history, it won’t end well.
10 Saved: Addison and Alex attraction
Midway through Season 3, the novelty of seeing Addison with Mark had worn off while Izzie was busy in her storyline with George. This left Alex and Addison open to one another and the result was them hooking up.
This was preceded with some definite attraction from both sides and it was fun to see two people who were very open with physicality trying to keep it down because they weren’t sure how to act upon it. Alex ended things before they could begin so Addison could move to Private Practice, but the angle was intriguing while it lasted.
9 Hurt: George's passing
Throughout Season 5, George had absolutely nothing to do. His only storyline had been becoming a Resident and once that was accomplished he had no plotlines to show for himself. George would meander about in one scene and into another, before the finale gave us his demise.
Once he was gone, we realized the original group of interns really had needed George’s presence; he was the good guy of the group and this niceness was missing from the others. George would’ve been interesting to see with the new crop of characters, but this can only be an imagined scenario.
8 Saved: Meredith and Derek remaining married
Every couple we’ve seen on Grey’s Anatomy has broken up. It’s gotten ridiculous to the point that many viewers have stopped watching the show because they know sooner or later these couples will break up, thereby making the storylines moot.
The one couple that did last till the end, though, was Meredith and Derek. The show needed this stability to give us that one couple we could hold onto in times of crisis. They were a great example of real troubles and sticking with each other through thick and thin.
7 Hurt: Izzie's departure
The show has gone on longer without Izzie than it did with her. However, it’s not been a better one since she’s left as Alex is still hung up on her. This only shows us that she and Alex could have had a lot of storylines to go had the actress not departed.
Izzie’s departure also meant the second of the original interns left and we needed to accustom ourselves with new characters. The manner with which she left was also awfully done as Izzie didn’t have the characterization of someone who would just leave at the drop of a hat.
6 Saved: Richard's issues
Most of Richard’s storylines have been with him messing up relationships with wives, or something to do with his affair with Meredith’s mother. It’s kind of ridiculous how every woman this guy has ever loved ends up dying.
Richard, however, had a great angle where he was addicted to consumption. This was organically done as well seeing that he was having marriage problems and work stress, meaning a lot of people could relate to his struggles. The arc also made us more interested in Richard than before because we wanted to see how he would get out of this predicament.
5 Hurt: Callie and Arizona’s many breakups
It got really ridiculous how these two would be on and off so many times over the course of the show. Literally, the ending of their time on the show had them being on again once more (facepalm). They could never decide if they were compatible, and when they tried to be compatible some issue would arise and they would act like children.
The show needed to know whether these two should’ve ended up together or not rather than having them breaking up so many times. From last we saw them, it seems they are together… for now.
4 Saved: Cristina’s departure method
Before Cristina’s departure, we had seen characters leave in a variety of ways: some were shot, some were run over by buses, some had planes dropped on them, among other calamities. Cristina’s departure, though, was very maturely handled.
The best part was her, and the viewers, having closure with her storyline with Preston Burke. Cristina didn’t leave with any drama, rather she left by fulfilling her characterization, and that was to be her own person. She didn’t need any man to make her happy, she had her own achievements to stand upon.
3 Hurt: Jackson and April breakup
If there’s one couple whose breakup we won’t forgive Grey’s Anatomy for, it’s these two. They had a great friendship going on for a couple of seasons before it made perfect sense to pair them together. We all wanted them to get married, which they did, only to break up.
Still, that angle wasn’t the worst and there was hope they would get remarried eventually. April did get married, but not to Jackson. It looks like they will never be together again as April has left and Jackson is in an awful relationship with Maggie.
2 Saved: Mark and Lexie’s love story
Before Season 5, Mark has spent a couple years just loitering about and hooking up with women all the time. This changed when he was paired with Lexie and we had a great couple on our hands. They were both very loose people, so it made sense they would get together; their chemistry spoke for itself.
In the end, even their departures made sense as, though they perished, they were together in a spiritual sense. Their love story had a lot of twists and turns, but it was all worth it in the end.
1 Hurt: Derek’s passing
All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately so did McDreamy. We could never have had enough of Derek’s charming personality, but once the actor wanted out his passing was a given. He and Meredith had had some marital problems, and we knew just when it would seem things were getting better, they would be brought to a halt.
Since Derek has gone, Meredith has never had a stable love interest. Even if she does find someone, he could never replace the presence of McDreamy.
What is your favorite storyline from Grey's Anatomy? Let us know in the comments!