Grey's Anatomy might be considered one of the most progressive shows on TV today, but this wasn't always the case. The hit medical drama premiered on ABC in 2004, so, understandably, some of the earlier episodes are quite dated. An impressive aspect of Grey's Anatomy is the fact that it did always try to be progressive.
But of course, times have changed since the early 2000s, and older Grey's episodes don't look quite as innovative as the once did. The show has been ahead of its time since the beginning, but nevertheless, it still has some episodes that simply did not get better with age. Let's take a look through 10 Grey's episodes that aged really poorly.
9 A Hard Day's Night (Season 1, Episode 1)
Season 1 of Grey's Anatomy is enjoyable to rewatch purely based on the fact that it is nostalgia-evoking for several long-time fans. A significant contributing factor to the series' massive success is the fact that it was so relatable and contemporary back when it first premiered. Nowadays, it looks really dated. That is especially true for Grey's series premiere "A Hard Day's Night." The episode was innovated back in the day, but now, over a decade later, it feels pretty cheesy.
8 Shake Your Groove Thing (Season 1, Episode 5)
"Shake Your Groove Thing" is mainly remembered for the storyline where Meredith believes she has made an error during assisting a surgery and frets that she may be sued for this. That part of the episode was very intriguing and well-written, but that's not all there is to "Shake Your Groove Thing."
Throughout season 1—before George begins dating Callie and hardcore crushing on Meredith—Izzie and pretty much everyone else is constantly speculating that George is gay. What makes this entire recurring "joke" all the more insensitive, is the fact that T.R. Knight, the actor who portrayed George, was closeted at this time, so the whole thing couldn't have been very fun for him.
Who's Zoomin' Who? (Season 1, Episode 9)
This episode again puts poor George O'Malley at the butt of an embarrassing joke when a syphilis outbreak spreads throughout Seattle Grace. George is one of the first victims of the disease, along with Alex and a few other unfortunate nurses and doctors.
But this episode's subject matter isn't even what makes this episode show its age—in fact, the whole syphilis storyline is still actually pretty funny. What makes this episode look pretty bad now, however, is the introduction and treatment of Addison. She did a bad thing, and the way she's treated in this episode and many to follow will not let viewers forget it.
7 Damage Case (Season 2, Episode 24)
The majority of the Grey's fanbase swooned over Meredith and Derek's famous romance and still to this day regards the relationship as one of the best on TV. McDreamy could not have been more dreamy when he was first introduced in Grey's Anatomy. But as time went on, the charm of this character slowly began to wane.
Season 2 was a turbulent one for Meredith and her relationship with Derek, as, early on, Derek chooses to be with Addison instead of Meredith. In an attempt to move on from her rather heartbreaking break-up with Derek, Meredith does sleep around a bit, but with good reason to. Derek doesn't see it that way, though, and in "Damage Cas," he shows a less-than-dreamy and frankly completely ugly side when belittling Meredith for her methods of moving on.
6 Where The Boys Are (Season 3, Episode 7)
This episode appears dated now on account of two of the major storylines it featured. "Where The Boys Are" features several of the men from Seattle Grace as they go on a camping trip in the woods. Joe—the guy from Joe's bar—attends, and he brings along his boyfriend, Walter. This is handled fairly well, for the most part, aside from a few insensitive comments that make the episode show its age.
The second major storyline featured Meredith and Mark working together on a gender reassignment surgery. To deal with what was then considered a controversial topic is one of the things we love about Grey's Anatomy. Keeping in mind that this episode aired back in 2006, they handled a transgender character with a good amount of respect, but some of the lines just prove to be victims of the early 2000s mindset.
5 The Midnight Hour (Season 5, Episode 9)
"The Midnight Hour" is known today as one of the most controversial episodes of Grey's Anatomy. It has garnered this status not because of any cultural, social, or political insensitivity, but because of one particular scene that sparked a significant backlash.
In season 5, Izzie had begun to suffer symptoms of what she would later discover was malignant melanoma. In this episode, Izzie didn't know what was happening to her yet, so, when she started seeing Denny's ghost everywhere, she kind of just went along with it. And then she proceeded to have some extremely cringeworthy ghost-sex with him. This episode was so badly received that some fans even stopped watching because it all felt so wrong.
4 Sympathy For The Devil (Season 5, Episode 12)
"Sympathy For The Devil" deals with some pretty heavy topics such as the death sentence in prison. A patient who's in a critical state is admitted to Seattle Grace, and it's revealed that he's actually a prisoner who's currently on death row.
Meredith, Derek, and Cristina clash over what to do with him, and the storyline presents a rift between Meredith and Derek. The episode is another prime example of the fact that the MerDer relationship wasn't perfect all of the time, and Derek could definitely be anything but dreamy sometimes.
3 Now or Never (Season 5, Episode 24)
"Now Or Never" is one of the series' more well-known episodes, mostly due to the fact that it was one of the series' most tragic and heartbreaking episodes. Actor T.R. Knight decided to leave Grey's Anatomy in season 5, so this finale heralded his death.
George was a beloved character, and seeing him go was very difficult for several fans. But nevertheless, Grey's did not hold back from giving sweet George O'Malley one of the most brutal deaths on the show. George infamously gets hit—or rather mauled—by a bus, and by the time he's brought to Seattle Grace, he's so mutilated that no one even recognizes him until he's dead. This just seemed disrespectful to such a well-loved character, and having George's closest friends treat him as "John Doe who got hit by a bus" for the better part of the episode, just felt wrong.
2 I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked (Season 6, Episode 12)
Grey's Anatomy's original beloved cast of characters had begun to dwindle by the time season 6 rolled around. After a very public fight with showrunner Shonda Rhimes, Katherine Heigl left the show and took Izzie Stevens with her. "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" marked Izzie's last appearance, and many fans believe that the quality of Grey's has seriously decreased since this beloved doctor's departure.
1 Holidaze (Season 6, Episode 10)
This episode covers Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. That's a lot to cover in one episode, so understandably, there's quite a bit going on in "Holidaze." Season 6 was already widely disliked for Izzie Stevens-related issues, but to make everything worse, this episode introduces Sloan, Mark's estranged teenage daughter.
A lot of unfortunate stuff happens in this episode, and Sloan presenting a rift in Mark and Lexie's relationship is just one example. Understandably, "Holidaze" is not considered a fan-favorite today.