“Grey’s Anatomy”: time to scrub out


Ciara Whimbush

Entertainment news outlets post updates on the status of “Grey’s Anatomy” whenever they arise. Since the announcement for season 19 on January 10, fans flock to these news sites to receive the latest details on their favorite medical drama. The articles shown above discuss which main characters will return, the new cast of interns joining and an emphasis on Ellen Pompeo’s reduced role in the show moving forward. The major changes occurring make the popular show unrecognizable, and further creates a disconnect from the inception of the show. A program should not stay on air when its core components start to change and fade away, “Grey’s Anatomy” included.

Ciara Whimbush, Reporter

 When the ABC medical drama, “Grey’s Anatomy” first premiered March 27, 2005, audiences around the world immediately tuned into the trials and triumphs of the surgeons and patients at the fictional Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital. For the past 17 years, the smash hit created by Shonda Rhimes aired 400 episodes. The “Grey’s Anatomy” universe also features two spin-offs, “Private Practice” and “Station 19”. Due to the program’s mainstream success, fans started to speculate when the show reached its end. With the titular character Meredith Grey, played by Ellen Pompeo, taking more of a backseat role in the 19th season, the beloved show should receive a curtain call sooner than later.

At the beginning of “Grey’s Anatomy’s” run, the starting cast featured characters that audiences instantly fell in love with. The show saw its first main cast departure in the character George O’Malley when T.R Knight stepped away from the program in 2009; with the subsequent death of his character to follow. Whether through death, divorce or other various forms of disarray, the majority of the principal cast left the show, leaving only three remaining original characters to head into the 19th season. These characters include Pompeo, Chaundra Wilson and James Pickens Jr, who play Miranda Bailey and Richard Weber respectively. The presence of original characters continues to dwindle with Pompeo only appearing in eight episodes next season, as she takes on a role in an upcoming untitled Hulu original series. With the center of “Grey’s” appearing less in the show, it gives minimal incentive to view the program with such a core part seen less frequently.

      With the addition of five new interns to the cast roster, veteran cast member Kevin McKidd said the new season could reflect the earlier days of the series. With the first group of interns embarking on the journey of their first year as doctors, fans can draw parallels between the inception of “Grey’s Anatomy” and its new generation. However, as the program delves further into the 21st century, longtime fans of the Thursday night hit do not feel the connection they once held with the show in its days of the early 2000s. 

     “I personally don’t believe that [‘Grey’s Anatomy’] should continue after season 19. Although I love the show, it’s been stretched out too long, most of the original characters have either died or left, and there is not much more to add to the plot,” sophomore Maya Daniel said.

    “Grey’s Anatomy” reigns as the longest-running medical drama on television. In 2019, it also earned the title of ABC’s longest-running program when the 332nd episode aired on February 28 of that year.  

          On the other hand, fans of the show may appreciate the longevity and consistency “Grey’s Anatomy” provides. With each season comes a 22-episode arc that fans can rely on for a weekly dose of escapism, waiting at the edge of their seats for the next episode seven days later. Rhimes even stated that the trajectory of “Grey’s Anatomy” could become that of a soap opera continuing on for years and years to come. The idea, while plausible, might cause negative emotions for spectators of the show that prefer the humble beginnings of “Grey’s”.

“[From] what I’ve seen, it is kind of slowing down from what it used to be. It used to really focus on the medical aspect of it, and the stories with the drama, but I think they’re straying from the original [plot]. I think they are trying to create a new image for the show, so in the future, it is not going to be the same as it used to be. Not completely different, because it still has the essence of it, but it is not gonna be the same.” magnet junior Simri Martinez says. 

While “Grey’s Anatomy” changed the face of network television, it, unfortunately, must come to an end. With the show’s progression causing it to lose its core elements, future episodes may erase the rest of what remains.