It all started with two strangers in a bar. Eleven years (and twelve seasons) ago, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) began her surgical internship at Seattle Grace hospital, the day after unwittingly having a one night stand with one of the new attending physicians, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) – a neurosurgery god, accurately dubbed “McDreamy.” Since then we have followed an ever evolving cast of characters through the unequivocal peaks and the gutting lows of their personal lives and careers – and it’s been a heck of a ride. One of the most binge-worthy shows around, it had it all – humor, lovable characters, nail-biting twists and heart-breaking storylines - and, in true medical drama fashion, plenty of bizarre surgeries.
But has Grey’s Anatomy surpassed its best years? Is it finally time for Shonda Rhimes to hang up the stethoscope and let our beloved characters rest before she makes any more of a mess?
Here’s Screen Rant’s list of 11 Reasons Grey's Anatomy Must End. Of course, there will be SPOILERS ahead for anyone uninitiated into Seattle Grace's ongoing drama.
11 The original cast is all but gone
While it's natural for a show to evolve as its characters and plot do, as well as its actors’ careers, it is still pretty tricky to keep a show as lovable as it once was when the majority of its leading faces are no longer on the screen.
From the original nine or so main characters, we’re left with just four – Meredith, Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.), Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) and Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson). We’ve seen two separate new classes of interns – which makes sense in terms of story-telling, but is quite grating when each group is shoved under our noses as the newest crop of protagonists.
10 They're running out of ways to almost-kill Meredith
It seems to be Shonda Rhimes’ go-to storyline. So far, Meredith has been stuck in a body cavity holding a bomb, almost drowned by falling off a dock, stood up to an armed gunman (where she even said the phrase “shoot me”), been exposed to toxic blood, been in a plane crash, had a C-section in a power outage, and, most recently, she was brutally beaten by a mentally ill patient.
It’s getting to the point where every major plot point surrounds a character – usually Meredith – in some sort of near-death situation. It’s not only emotionally exhausting; it’s also getting old.
9 The relationships are no longer believable
Much akin to the finale of How I Met Your Mother, the new plotlines are destroying friendships in which viewers have invested literally years of their lives. The main gripe here is with Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), who – based on Meredith being the "love of her life," would absolutely and immediately have rushed to Meredith’s side upon hearing that her husband had died.
Due to Oh’s inability to return to the show, however, this didn’t happen, and it was totally unbelievable. Instead, Meredith gets to live the high life in Zurich, where the show's writers sent her packing at the end of the tenth season.
8 All the best couples have broken up
After spending several seasons shipping a particular couple and feeling every twist and turn of the broken path that leads them to each other, it’s understandable to feel a deep connection with a relationship – even a fictional one. While Cristina and Burke (Isaiah Washington) were easy to move on from, relationships like Meredith and Derek, Cristina and Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) are all examples of couples we adored, who were ripped from each other – and ever since, no one else will be good enough.
But in all of these cases, they appear to have been split up so ruthlessly that there is no hope of reconciliation, which makes it desperately painful to watch.
7 The characters are getting less likable
This point particularly relates to our narrator and protagonist, Meredith. When the series began she was damaged and awkward, or as she put it, “dark and twisty” – which made her totally relatable. She was pretty much all of us at one point or another, and it made her a great character to watch. What also made her character perfect was the way she bounced off of her polar-opposite friends – the ever bubbly Izzy (Katherine Heigl) and the adorable George (T.R. Knight), for example.
These days, she’s just whiney and arrogant – admittedly, we probably would be too if we’d been through (and overcome) what she’s been through, but that’s not what the audience wants to see. It’s not fun to watch anymore, and it has overthrown the delicate drama/comedy balance that the show had in its golden years.
6 It's too difficult to keep the plot fresh
When a show has been running for as long as Grey’s has, it’s easy for the writers to run out of ideas. Whereas in real life, drama happens sporadically, TV series have to keep it flowing, or they won't be a good watch. When the show is following an abundance of characters, there’s really only so much ground to cover before the show starts repeating itself.
As well as being tiresome for the viewers, it’s also exhausting to see the characters go through so much without letting up – it’s pretty clear that Shonda is the kind of person to take the ladder out of the swimming pool on The Sims. The only chance we do get to see our favorite characters happy is right before something horrific happens to them…
Let’s face it; there is no Grey’s Anatomy without Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd. We’ve seen him from the very beginning; we fell in love with him right alongside Meredith. We saw his initial divorce, his budding romance with Meredith, the post-it wedding, his very own confrontation with death – and he was ripped away from us - and so very crudely.
Honestly, if you start to look back over the MerDer relationship, the grief is almost unbearable. It’s understandable that sometimes actors leave, and Shonda has stated that his death was the only way to go as he never would have left Meredith voluntarily – but he deserved so much more, and since he's been gone, the show has felt completely empty.
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Grey’s Anatomy, when we were still so emotionally fragile from the loss of Mark (Eric Dane) and Lexie (Chyler Leigh) – yes, it still hurts.
4 It's being written like a Soap Opera
When Grey’s Anatomy first began, it was a perfect balance of shocking and funny. Much like ER and House, it found a sweet spot somewhere in the Venn diagram of medical intrigue, relationships and relatability.
But that dynamic has shifted dramatically over the past few seasons, seeing far more focus on the less-interesting relationships - i.e. Dr Webber and Catherine Avery (Debbie Allen) – as well as random instances of casual sex and increasingly over-the-top storylines. It’s starting to feel more like a day time soap than a prime time drama. Where’s the grit?
3 The characters are inconsistent
Originally dubbed "The Nazi," Dr. Miranda Bailey is one of the few characters to have survived the plethora of plagues, terrorism and natural disasters to hit Seattle Grace/Seattle Grace Mercy West/Grey Sloane Memorial. Despite opening a clinic which soon disappeared from the script (is it still open? Who knows!), Bailey has still found time to be a mentor to the residents. However, a recent season saw her suddenly struggling with OCD after a patient fell ill under her care. Not that OCD isn’t a real and often devastating mental illness, and of course mental illness can affect anyone, but its onset was so sudden and such a huge reaction to something that Bailey would have been prepared for, that it was just completely out of character.
It was the sort of thing that she would have pulled her interns up on – one potential mistake in hundreds of surgeries. In addition to this, Arizona cheating on Callie was a huge twist in her personality – she had always been trustworthy and brutally honest about everything, and her cheating – and in such a thoughtless way – was totally contrary to the Arizona Robbins we knew.
2 April Kepner is literally just the worst
When April Kepner (Sarah Drew) first showed up in Grey’s it was easy to feel sympathy for her. She had the "little girl" persona of someone who wasn’t sure how the big wide world worked. She was mocked for her ultra-Christian beliefs (including abstinence until marriage) but she stuck by them anyway, and that was admirable.
That was, until she started making a huge fuss over finding Jackson (Jesse Williams) attractive and ultimately losing her virginity to him. And this was despite managing to find a super nice paramedic who also wanted to remain abstinent until marriage, who just so happened to work for the same hospital (what are the chances!?)! Sure, everyone makes mistakes, but the mess she managed to make out of it was infuriating. On top of that, her "wide-eyed, innocent little girl" persona very quickly turned in to an "entitled, needy little girl" persona. She is just the worst.
1 The filler characters keep getting roped in to main storylines
As previously mentioned, the vast majority of the original cast have left, and their places have been filled with new classes of interns and other side characters. However, these side characters seem to get written in to major storylines without much thought to their background or helping us to empathize with them – it seems they’re just there to fill a space in a plotline that would have been written without them anyway.
For example, Stephanie Edwards (Jerikka Hinton) was thrown into a very lopsided love-triangle with April and Jackson, in what felt like a very clunky way to try and keep them apart just a little while longer. Perhaps the reason all of these secondary characters are getting tied up in the script is something to do with the fact that all of the leading actors have jumped ship before the show becomes unwatchable...?
Can you think of any other reasons that Grey's Anatomy just has to go? Let us know in the comments!