Grey’s Anatomy has shown insane levels of longevity as far as the history of television is concerned. The show is now in its fifteenth season and has no signs of cancellation or an upcoming series finale. It has attained invincible status like Supernatural where only the main character’s departure will spell a definite end. Seattle Grace has turned into Seattle Grace Mercy West, which then turned into Grey Sloan Memorial. Across all these years we’ve seen characters come and go, with only a handful of originals left.
Suffice to say, Grey’s Anatomy is like a habit or a part of life for many now. If you’re a little older like us you’ll even recall how Grey’s Anatomy craze had initially struck the consumer base. This was because of the effective storytelling of the show. In the last fifteen years, Grey’s Anatomy has delivered a number of thrills, laughter, and a whole lot of tears. A sizable portion of them have been top notch; most of them were from the show’s first seasons.
We still remember moments like Meredith and Derek finally becoming a permanent couple, the post-it wedding, Burke walking out on Cristina, Alex and Izzie’s wedding, George O’ Malley’s growth, and a whole slew of instant classic songs as part of the soundtrack. But there have been many hits and misses which the show doesn’t want us to remember. It achieves this forgetting factor by barely ever mentioning the storyline or glossing over it entirely. Fans haven’t always been entertained and some stories have even caused downright anger.
Here are 22 Storylines Grey’s Anatomy Wants Us To Forget.
Before she played homewrecker with the Callie-George marriage, Izzie had been one of the most likable characters around. After she and George thankfully broke up, Izzie went back to her former personality. After she got married to Alex in a very sweet episode, everyone thought their wedded bliss was about to start.
Unfortunately, Katherine Heigl left the show and so did Izzie. All of a sudden, Izzie started blaming Alex for her problems and then bailed without reason or notice. Her flightiness was too over-the-top and not handled well. She then basically disappeared and to this day only mentioned in a negative light.
Almost a decade ago, Grey’s Anatomy stopped being the critical and rating juggernaut it had been for around five years. In order to lure some of the fanbase and attention back, showrunners decided upon a gimmick episode – where everyone sang.
This was all too sitcom-esque to be taken seriously, although the show did achieve its mission of standing out among the competition that night. Now that all has been said and done (or sung and done), the one-off singing episode just doesn’t seem like a great idea. If there ever was a ‘jumping of the shark’ episode for Grey’s Anatomy, this one would be it.
Everyone wanted to forget this character; it wasn’t just the showrunners. Mark had been engaging in way too much debauchery for it to be believable that the guy didn’t have a couple of toddlers running around without his knowledge. Cue, Sloan Riley.
Not only was her name silly (her father’s surname), the girl herself was a pain to be around. She was full of herself, brash, and plain annoying. No one had wanted to see Mark with a full-grown daughter, and because of this, no one had the stomach to tolerate Sloan for long. Add in the fact the girl was pregnant and the angle just seemed too soapy for anyone’s liking.
If there was a most “Err...what?” moment on the show, then this would take the prize and run with it by a mile. A ghost version of Denny appeared midway through Season 5 and served as Izzie’s personal bestie.
This relationship was then taken to the next level when she engaged with him in, uh, let’s just call it ‘extracurricular activities’. It was weird enough seeing Denny in a supernatural way, and even more so when he was doing stuff with Izzie – a living person. As it turned out, he was supposed to be a hallucination caused by her tumor.
Characterization is almost always set in stone as episodes progress and an individual character’s traits are understood by then. This is why we have characters that are nothing like how they used to be when they were initially introduced. April Kepner fits this trope very well. Although she did retain the rather high-strung tendencies she had, April mellowed down quite a bit compared to her original personality.
When she was introduced, she was totally neurotic and annoying. Her Christianity was inconsistent, with her principles to be close with a man not made such a big deal out of at first, only to then become her chief personality trait.
When George was first introduced, the most striking part about him was his deep feelings for Meredith. Throughout the first two seasons, George was infatuated from a distance with Meredith, who seemed like an unattainable reward for his struggles.
When he did reveal his feelings to her, it led to one of the worst sequences we’ve seen on the show. The pair never had any chemistry, but their friendship was forever fractured after this incident. Although George’s reluctance to talk to Meredith because of feeling used was an interesting arc, it didn’t matter in the overall storyline, and we were left with a bad occurrence between them that could never be erased. That is until he was run over by a bus.
Siblings caught up in love triangles always make for the worst storylines. Grey’s Anatomy played with this scenario very recently. Meredith hadn’t been part of the whole dating scene for a long time thanks to her marriage with Derek. When she was finally free to date we found her in a love triangle with Maggie and Nathan Riggs.
It never worked out because everything seemed so forced. If it were a real-life scenario, everything could’ve been resolved by a simple talk between the sisters, but the show presented it all like such a big problem that you couldn’t help but roll your eyes at the cliche. Now that Riggs is gone, so is this humdrum storyline.
Seeing that Izzie was going to be busy with that pathetic love angle with George, it cleared up Alex for a storyline of his own at the end of Season 3. By this point, Alex was already a low-key Mark Sloan when it came to the ladies and having him pursue one person exclusively wasn’t a bad option. The bad part came when the story he was put into was with a Jane Doe who would then go by the name of Ava.
Ava was clearly very disturbed; her relationship with her husband was always undefined and Alex was left in the middle very awkwardly. She then disappeared completely by the end of Season 4.
Sadie Harris was introduced with a bang as an old friend of Meredith’s in Season 5. She was suddenly placed in an important role by having Cristina Yang be jealous of her and with Sadie forming a fast friendship with Lexie Grey. Sadie was given another possibility when she was shown flirting with Callie. Ultimately, nothing came out of any of these angles.
The character’s motivations were never made clear and it was too obvious she was being forcefully placed in all these important scenarios. Her flighty personality wasn’t becoming either and Sadie left this exact way too when she quit the hospital to go out gallivanting, never to be heard from again.
Katherine Heigl herself deemed this angle as a plot point done just to get ratings when the storyline had transpired. The actress even rescinded her Emmy nomination, feeling the material wasn’t good enough to justify being honored.
Although this decision came back to haunt Katherine, she was never alone about she felt. The fandom never once considered George and Izzie as a couple because the two were what people of today would call “Friendship Goals”. It was a perfectly platonic, dare we call it brother-sister type relationship, before it was turned romantic. Once it became clear no one was buying them as a couple, they were quickly broken up and hardly ever mentioned as having been an item.
When Derek was on a break from Meredith, he began dating Nurse Rose. This was a point of contention for Meredith, who was being a very unreasonable and confused character at that time. Rose wasn’t really a bad person but she was obviously just a placeholder.
When Derek finally decided to dump Rose in favor of Meredith, there was a little unnecessary drama involved. In teasers for upcoming episodes, it was made to seem as if she had fallen pregnant by Derek’s child – which turned out to be false. Unfortunately, somehow Derek came out looking like a bit of a jerk because of how he dumped the poor nurse.
Before Callie, there hadn’t been any gay or lesbian characters in Grey’s Anatomy, so her transition was one met with welcome. However, her first love interest turned out to be Erica Hahn. Hahn wasn’t a particularly likable character but she did serve her purpose well enough in Season 4.
For some reason, the showrunners didn’t feel like Callie and Erica were really convincing as a couple and the angle was very quickly dropped, with Erica even exiting the show. But the idea of Callie being part of the community stuck and writers then brought another love interest for her into the fray. After that, it was made to appear as if Arizona was Callie’s first female love interest.
Owen was the perennial good guy of the show for most of his stay. It has diminished somewhat in recent times and the beginning of this has to be when he was unfaithful to his wife Cristina. Even though the two of them were having problems at the time, caused by Cristina's pregnancy, it doesn't justify doing something so hurtful to your wife.
Once this event took place, even loyal Owen fans found it hard to defend their man as he went past a strong principle of faithfulness. Now that Owen and Cristina are history, the storyline makes him seem untrustworthy and unsympathetic.
While Owen did reclaim that likability factor of his eventually, Arizona never managed to regain hers after her own unfaithful angle. Hilarie Burton is probably a very nice person, but the girl’s got a real case of the crazy eyes. This instantly told us she was bad news when she stepped in between Callie and Arizona in Season 9.
Arizona had already been mean to Callie all season, for some reason blaming Callie for the loss of her own limb. Now, being unfaithful to her partner was the last straw. Here on out, Arizona was always seen as unlikable, despite whatever the show tried to present to make us think otherwise.
Grey’s Anatomy always rushes its characters out of the picture when their time on the show is up, and does so by ruining set storylines. This was strikingly obvious in Arizona and Callie’s departures when Callie was shown to all of a sudden be head over heels with Penny, and left Seattle to be with her.
When Arizona’s time was up, Callie’s big relationship with Penny was broken up casually offscreen and she was suddenly into Arizona all over again, despite the drama that had unfolded between the two. It’s clear the show wants us to forget Penny and consider Callie and Arizona as endgame.
Leah was perhaps an even worse character than Arizona was. She never found a place of her own upon her introduction in Season 9 and no one was sad to see her go. She did return in a hastily put together angle with Arizona that never went anywhere. It seems Arizona just likes a big dose of the ladies as we’ve seen her in many one-off relationships that don’t amount to anything.
Seeing that no one liked Leah in the first place, the angle was scrapped rather unceremoniously and has no bearing at all now. So everyone’s time was basically wasted.
Jackson and April’s relationship was one of the few that just instantly clicked. They were best friends before their romance was cemented and when it did become official everyone loved it. Of course, they needed a dramatic angle and this was presented when they lost their child.
However, the handling of the scenario was awful and ended up making April the bad guy. This situation never recovered and the characters never found the point where they could be together. It’s a shame how everything ended. April went back to her first fiancé, who was never as good for her as Jackson was.
One of the few potential romances on which the trigger was never pulled was the Teddy-Owen angle. This was, in fact, a great idea as it made it certain that few friendships are supposed to be just friendships. Teddy even left the show abruptly, but with a firm goodbye to Owen that felt like the character was given a good send off.
Unfortunately, the friendship has perished in favor of pregnancy drama in the current season. Now the show wants us to believe there was always a good chance of a relationship between the two even though it was the opposite in the earlier seasons.
Bailey’s never had the best storylines. Her role has mainly been to act as a strong supporting character rather than having her own arcs. When she has had her own stories, they haven’t been the most memorable. Take, for instance, the OCD angle we found her in.
Out of nowhere, Bailey was shown with a case of OCD that interrupted her surgery work. This just seemed a rehash of earlier plots like Derek’s fear of returning to surgery or Burke’s hand tremor. The idea never quite set in.
When McSteamy was first shown, he was adamantly into Addison. Mark’s one sole purpose to come to Seattle had been to win back the one that got away, even if it meant further jeopardizing his friendship with Derek.
Once Addison skedaddled, Mark was suddenly all over Derek and the friendship they had lost. Afterward, he even admitted to Derek he only came to Seattle to get him back rather than Addison, which made no sense considering he never really made an effort to make up with Derek previously. His infatuation was Addison was removed and the show did its best to make us forget it too.
Arizona’s cluttered relationship history was stamped in by Dr. Minnick. With Callie gone, Arizona was given another love interest to be mean to, and Minnick came into the fold. In what was another forced love angle, Minnick never took off with anyone and her relationship with Arizona never had any substance.
With Arizona already heading toward her final times on the show, Minnick was given the boot beforehand when she quickly departed without so much as a goodbye to Arizona. To be fair, Arizona being treated like that was something the character deserved, but we didn’t deserve to be bored by this story.
Now that Derek has passed away, everything about him and Meredith has been etched in stone. Looking back now, the show wants us to think they were the most perfect couple to have ever graced our screens.
However, when you really look back, you’ll recall the two weren’t all that loyal to one another. Although broken up, Meredith didn’t take long to enter a string of one-off dalliances with random men to get over Derek. Derek, too, engaged in quick relationships in the interim. The two were pretty active physically with others before getting married, which is something the show doesn’t want us to remember.
Which storylines do you think Grey's Anatomy should have totally forgotten about? Let us know in the comments!