Alex Karev was Grey's Anatomy's underdog when the series first premiered in 2005. Shonda Rhimes originally wrote the series to focus on four main interns (Meredith, Cristina, Izzie, and George) rather than what would eventually become five with the introduction of Alex Karev. This character was created because the show needed a lovable jackass, so that's exactly what they got with Alex. He wasn't included in the better part of filming for the pilot episode, and was later edited into some significant scenes.
Today, Alex is definitely regarded as one of the best decisions Shonda Rhimes ever made for the series. He has won over the hearts of the vast majority of the Grey's Anatomy fanbase, and viewers are thankful that he is one of the few remaining original cast members to still star in the series.
Alex Karev's wittiness and sarcastic snark are some of his best features, so let's take a look at 10 quotes from him that are totally relatable.
10 'I CAN'T LOSE YOU'
"I can't lose you, I won't survive and that's your fault. You made me love you, you made me let you in." Alex's relationship with Izzie Stevens is perhaps one of the most notable to come out of Grey's Anatomy. It's been over a decade since Izzie's departure from the show, and fans are still mourning this beloved romance today.
Alex said the above quote at a particularly dark, heartbreaking time in the series; when Izzie was going through treatment for her stage four melanoma. Alex rarely expresses his emotions articulately, so to hear him speak so deeply from the heart was an unforgettable moment.
9 'I TELL THE TRUTH, IT'S THE ONE THING I GOT GOING FOR ME'
"Maybe I'm a pig. Maybe I'm an ass. Maybe I'm a vermin like everybody says, but I tell the truth. It's the one thing I got going for me." In the beginning, Alex Karev was indeed an a**, but what made him redeemable was the fact that he didn't try to hide it; he owned up to it without hesitation.
Alex's candor and unabashed truthfulness have always been some of his best qualities, true to his word.
8 'I'VE HAD TOO MUCH CRAZY FOR ONE LIFETIME'
Early on in Grey's, an unfortunate trend in Alex's life was introduced. Seemingly, mental illness ran in his family, and during his childhood, he was afflicted with taking care of his ailing mother and brother — after his father abandoned them.
In the third season of the series, Alex saved a pregnant woman who was severely injured during the infamous ferry boat accident. This woman turned out to be quite mentally ill, and Alex would go on to have a trying time looking after her. Following Izzie's departure from Seattle Grace, Alex stated, "I've had too much crazy for one lifetime."
7 'I ALWAYS SCREW MYSELF OUT OF EVERYTHING GOOD'
Another rather tragic trend in Alex's life was the fact that he almost inevitably did "screw himself out of anything good." This was more-so something that would frequently happen in the earlier seasons before he met Jo and while he was going through all the drama with Izzie and Rebecca.
A nice aspect of Alex's evolution is that he has come a long way from the person he used to be, and he's no longer the guy who screwed himself out of everything good.
6 'I'M PISSED OFF ALL THE TIME'
Alex's relationship with Meredith has become one of the most significant focal points of the series, especially following Cristina's departure in season 10. Even as early as Grey's second season, Alex and Meredith identified with each other enough that they felt they could confide in one another more than they could with anyone else
This quote is a good example of that, and the fact that Alex and Meredith never hide anything from each other — they always share exactly what their feeling, but usually only with each other. "I know, ok? I'm being an ass. I can't help it. I'm pissed off all the time, so much I can't even breathe."
5 'I'M NOT GOOD AT RELATIONSHIPS OR TALKING ABOUT STUPID FEELINGS'
Above is probably one of Alex Karev's most relatable statements. He openly admits to not being the kind of person who has the ability to wax poetic about emotions. Many of the characters—specifically Meredith— give big, compelling speeches. Compared to them, Alex feels more real.
4 'SHUT UP'
Probably the thing Alex says most on the show is "shut up". His snark has notably faded since the beginning of the series, but he is still, of course, Alex Karev. Snark and sarcasm are a given with this character, and Alex's signature "shut up" stays true to his personality.
3 'YOU JUST DON'T GIVE UP'
"You just don't give up. It's lame. You're not a quitter, that's not who you are." Alex and George had a very tense relationship for as long as they knew each other.
Alex came down pretty hard on George, and the two just proved to be incompatible. But their differences didn't stop Alex from giving the above pep-talk when George contemplated quitting his career.
2 'AT THE END OF THE DAY, ALL THAT MATTERS IS WHAT YOU THINK'
"The point is, it doesn't matter what the rest of us think. At the end of the day, all that matters is what you think." This is perhaps one of the most inspiring quotes to come out of the entire series. Alex has always been a no-nonsense kind of guy, but that doesn't mean that he's gruff.
He has a true sense of what's right and wrong, and the above quote perfectly captures that.
1 'TRAUMA ALWAYS LEAVES A SCAR'
"Doesn’t matter how tough we are. Trauma always leaves a scar," Alex says. "It follows us home. It changes our lives. Trauma messes everybody up but maybe that’s the point. All the pain and the fear and the crap, maybe going through all that is what keeps us moving forward." He ends it with, "It’s what pushes us. Maybe we have to get a little messed up before we can step up."
This line is probably the closest Alex has ever come to giving a big motivational speech. Since he is one of the most taciturn characters on the show, this speech holds even more weight and is completely unforgettable.