I’ve spent what most people would consider an unhealthy amount of time this summer catching up on one of my old, guilty viewing pleasures, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.
It started out innocently, sometime back in July, with me coming across a random episode showing on TV one afternoon after work. I was spending the summer at mum and her boyfriend’s house, a consequence of having acquired a summer job in the area, while they were blissfully sailing along the coast of Denmark.
Only a short way into the episode, I realised that what I was watching was by some coincidence the very episode following the last episode I ever watched, before I decided to quit watching while the show could arguably have been said to still have some integrity, some years ago. Nostalgia welled up like it can only do in someone as ridiculously sentimental as myself, and this nostalgia, encouraged by the fact that I was spending the summer alone in a big, empty house, miles away from any of my friends, set off a rather over-indulging new pastime. Since then, I’ve spent a worrying amount of time catching up on the ever more far-fetched and clichéd plots, the arguments and the sobfests through the seasons (yes, that’s a plural) previously unwatched of this melodramatic yet strangely entertaining show.
For those unfamiliar with the show, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ follows surgical intern Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and her colleagues through their trials and tribulations during their years of training at Seattle Grace Training Hospital.
First of all, this show has won its fair share of awards, and been nominated for a huge amount as well, including dozens of Emmys. Sandra Oh, who plays my favourite character on the show, Grey’s narcissistic and sarcastic best friend Cristina Yang, was Emmy-nominated for her role five years in a row. I sincerely enjoyed the show when it first aired in 2005. I’ve always been a sucker for dramas, even a dose of melodrama, and the show was witty and sassy, with sufficiently interesting characters to keep me hooked.
There’s only so much that can realistically happen in a person’s life in the course of a few years. Obviously, this conflicts with the interests of TV show developers, as everyday drama on screen wears thin quickly, and writers have to come up with new and interesting plot lines to keep their viewers. A few shows make it through many seasons with their integrity (more or less) intact – i. e. ‘Sopranos’ (completed after 6 seasons) and ‘Six Feet Under’ (completed after 5 seasons, with arguably the most successful ending to a TV show ever). I wish more shows would quit while they’re ahead. However, more often than not, the show is watered out and features increasingly desperate and rather absurd measures (‘Lost’, anyone?) to try to keep viewer numbers up.
If it were up to me, I would have pulled the plug at the end of season 4, which is when I originally stopped watching the show. All the original characters were there, and the season finale would have brought a nice conclusion to the series. Season 5 and 6 hold up reasonably well, but by season 7 and lastly 8, there’s not much left to be excited about or inspired by. All the couples have split up and gotten back together at least once – and often more -, and they’ve all been through more traumatic experiences individually and collectively than that of all their patients added up. Car crashes, cancer, Alzheimers, flooding, a hospital merging and a shooting are among the extremely unfortunate – not to mention unlikely – events that have befallen the doctors over the years. And this isn’t the end of it. Even though by the end of season 8 they have all completed their internships and residencies, passed their board exams and finally become attendings, putting an end to the original concept of the show, the season ends on a cliffhanger – more unbelievable than ever – and promises yet another season, which will start airing in the U.S. by the end of this month. Sigh.
Will I still end up watching the last season? Probably. Addictive personality, me?
Have you ever found yourself addicted to a series despite its lack in quality? Which one was it and what drew you in?