The Anatomy of Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy is a series in the USA which began its journey as one of the most famous medical dramas in 2004. Since then, this series has scaled an immense stature of fame, love, critical appreciation and intense audience anticipation. It began airing in India in 2005 and has ever since developed a very loyal support base (I refuse to use the word ‘fan’ as it is a very demeaning connotation for the word admirer).

The series began as a filler for the time slot after Desperate Housewives was aired on ABC. Only five episodes had been aired and the serial began drawing rave reviews from the critics and masses alike. Seeing this, the executives at ABC decided to take it seriously and brought about an end to the series within the first nine episodes in the first season. Plans began drawing up to give it a big fall opening for the second season. With its second season rolling, the series received a warm welcome and subsequently was elevated to the super bowl timing of 9 pm on Thursdays, a very significant time slot where studio executives pitch in their best to counter the sports season. Since then it has seen very high ratings through to the end of the fourth season, a season marred by the Hollywood Writer’s Strike.

The series has been conceptualised by Shonda Rimes, whose last significant work was writing the award winning television-film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge based on the story of the first acclaimed black actress of the same name who won an Academy nomination during the colour sighted 60s. She also wrote the spin off Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice starring Kate Walsh who was a series regular on Grey’s Anatomy. She also co-produces the series and is a prolific writer with an acute sense of how to bring about emotional well being and upheavals in the characters and the audiences alike. She volunteered as a candy striper in hospitals during her college days in Dartmouth used those experiences to embellish the medical side of the drama.

The drama revolves around the character of Dr. Meredith Gray, daughter of an award winning surgeon who expects her to be extraordinary, a resident at the Seattle Grace Hospital. She is a complicated character encased between her estranged father and over expectant mother. She has constant romantic liaisons with the hospital attending, Dr. Derek Shephard who is a neurosurgeon with an open ending. Meredith is ably played by Ellen Pompeo while the neurosurgeon is played by the very handsome Patrick Dempsey who is lovingly referred to as Dr. Mc-Dreamy both in the series and by the audience.

The supporting characters have all very significant roles. They include the over emotional surgical resident Dr. Izzie Stevens, played by the Emmy Award winner Katherine Heigl. The very dynamic, intelligent, driven and focused resident, Dr. Cristina Yang is played by Golden Globe Award and SAG Award winning actress Sandra Oh, who also has credible roles in the Oscar winning movie Sideways and Under the Tuscan Sun. Dr. Alex Karev is another intern who is the resident bad boy and is ably played by former model Justin Chambers. Dr. George O’ Malley is another first year intern played by T.R. Knight. The chief resident, Dr. Miranda Bailey is played by Chandra Wilson who has also won a SAG Award for her portrayal of the hardcore yet sensitive resident. Other cast members include Sara Ramirez as Dr. Callie Torrres, the orthopedic surgeon, Brooke Smith as Dr. Erica Hahn, the cardiothoracic head, Eric Dane as Dr. Mark Sloan (Dr. Mc-steamy for the cast mates and audiences alike) and James Pickens Jr. as the Chief of Surgery, Dr. Mark Webber.

The plots are driven and very fast paced with an equal importance given to every member of the cast to display their abundant talent through streamlined sub-plots. What is remarkable is that the writers of the show have constantly amalgamated medical issues with the personal concerns of the doctors with rich finesse. Very rarely medical events get overshadowed by personal drama of the characters. Episodes which have continuations in parts are especially gripping in their conclusions.

The series has been felicitated with numerous awards for individual acting capacities, to ensemble performances to finally winning the award for the best drama series at numerous functions. Adding to these slew of awards are numerous nominations which have come its way.

I highly recommend that young people to watch this series. It is gripping and fertile in its stories. This makes it an intense and intelligent watch. One only wishes if such dramas were replicated in India with equal excellence…..

Sayan S. Das

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