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September 28, 2017

Grey’s Anatomy, Back Tonight, Faces Mixed Expectations

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A fair warning — this article doesn’t hold back any spoilers. If you’re not prepared to read about some of the biggest shocks of the show, this is your chance to turn back. 

There is nothing I hate more than when producers make terrible sequels to original movies or when TV shows drag on too long. Mean Girls 2 and 3? Terrible. The five millionth Bring It On movie? Weak. It’s sad. I love the original movie or series, and then am disappointed with the continuation. I wish that the producers stopped while they were ahead.

Yet, I never want Grey’s Anatomy to end. Season 14 comes back tonight, and I could not be more excited. I first started watching Grey’s in high school but never really got into it. Freshman year of Cornell, I got really sick and had to miss nine weeks of school. Sitting in the hospital bed, I decided to pick up Grey’s. It just felt fitting. I wanted to learn more about hospitals and being sick. Given that I am putting my science requirements off until senior year, Grey’s was naturally the best way to learn biology.

I was also drawn to Grey’s because there was so much there. Eleven seasons were already out when I began, and I had so much time. Catching up on Grey’s became my project.

It took me over a year to catch up, and I was able to watch season 13 weekly. Being so late to the Grey’s phenomenon, I already knew a lot of what would happen. Even though I knew certain characters would die, I wanted to see it for myself. It sucked, I cried, but I still watched the next episode. I was so attached to these characters, and they taught me so much when I was sick. I could not give up on them.

A lot of people around campus disagree, however. Eliza Hering ’20 told me that, “once Lexi and Mark died, it was really hard for me to emotionally cope. I tried to carry on. Once Derek died, I completely stopped watching. It was too hard. All of my favorite characters were gone.” Hering saw no reason to watch a show full of characters she did not know. Similarly, Celia Berman ’20 explained how she got tired of the show after nine seasons, and “especially since I heard that Derek died, I stopped. I usually don’t like it when they kill of main characters and could not bear to watch him go.”

Grey’s is still watched my many on campus, just not on time. Mara Basich-Pease ’19 watched all of Grey’s during her freshman year at Cornell. She explained that she “continued after Derek died, but hated that I could not binge-watch it anymore and had to wait a week between each episode. I lost interest during the week. It was annoying to watch it on the ABC app instead of Netflix because of the ads.” Sara Martin ’20 agreed completely: “I only watch when it eventually gets posted on Netflix. So I still haven’t seen Season 13, I plan to watch it, though I am still really mad about Derek’s death.” It seems that if Grey’s was posted on Netflix the week it came out, or even like House of Cards, the entire season at once, more people would watch it.

Yet, Grey’s still has its regular weekly viewers here on Cornell’s campus. Meredith Anderer ’20 reasoned “I made it this far. Even though I think it’s shitty now, I can’t stop watching. I’m committed.” Anderer feels like she has to continue watching, even if she is not intrigued by the plot. Caroline Markowitz ’18 also still watches Grey’s, yet, had no idea it was coming back until I told her: “Wait it’s coming back?!! I was kinda ready for it to be over but I can’t not watch I’ve been watching since eighth grade!” Many fans feel a commitment to the show.

Grey’s early seasons are so popular, but not their later seasons. In its heyday, Grey’s was great for a number of reasons. Firstly, the characters. Viewers grew to see the characters as their family, and people that loved and wanted to succeed. It became really hard for Grey’s fans to continue watching when all of their favorite characters besides Meredith were gone. Secondly, the riveting plots. Grey’s was always exhilarating, and had lots of mini-plots going on with patients with overarching plots for the hospital and characters. Everyone was hooked.

I am one of the few people I know that actually watched Season 13 and plans to watch Season 14. I believe that Shonda Rhimes worked to truly make last season different. Critics of Grey’s complain that every episode is more or less the same, but I believe that last season changed. The episode titled “You Can Look (But You’d Better Not Touch)” that premiered on January 26, 2017 was fantastic. Bailey, Arizona and Jo drive to a maximum security prison to work with a pregnant inmate. The episode is emotional, and exquisitely directed by Jann Turner. None of the episode occurs inside Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, or even includes Meredith. A lot of last season was different, including Meredith’s love interest.

Derek, Christina, Mark, George, Lexi and many of our favorite characters are no longer a part of the show. Therefore, there are millions of less viewers than there used to be. However, I still believe that “Grey’s Anatomy” is worth watching and it will be interesting to see what happens tonight when Season 14 premieres!

 

Becky Frank is a Junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at bfrank@cornellsun.com.