There are TV fans, says staff writer Maria Elena Fernandez in Friday's L.A. Times, and then there are Grey's Anatomy fans.
"Patrick Dempsey, when he nearly kisses Meredith, it's like nearly kissing me." said Jacki Moore, 37, a mother of two in Burbank, Calif. "I've gone to a few of the fan sites and I look for pictures, and I Google his name to see if anything comes up. I'm ready to put a poster up on my wall."
Karyn McQueen, a 23-year old business student, feels the same way about Patrick Dempsey's handsome character, Derek Shepherd.
"I just feel like I can relate a lot to Meredith and I'm rooting for the underdog, but, oh, I'm a McDreamy fan," she said. "I want him and Meredith to be together. You see the way he looks at her. He really does love her."
Grey's Anatomy has progressed from hit show to pop-culture sensation. It's beating the CSI juggernaut in the coveted 18-49 demographic for the entire season, and twice has garnered a larger audience than its Wisteria Lane lead-in (Desperate Housewives) when both shows aired original episodes.
The fictional surgical world of Seattle Grace Hospital has quickly spread in popularity across America. A cross between the drama of ER and the camaraderie of Friends, with a little female empowerment (a la Sex and the City), makes for a final product that fans can't get enough of.
"What I find interesting is that there are some people out there who take the show very seriously," said Shonda Rhimes, the show's creator. "But then I think about how strongly I felt about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and how emotional I was about what happened to those characters."
With an average of 20 million viewers, Grey's Anatomy is the fifth-ranked show in all of prime-time television, according to Nielsen Media Research. Its audience is 67 percent female, 11 percent black and 6 percent Hispanic, and the show is the fourth-most "upscale" (defined as drawing viewers who earn $100,000 or more) on all of TV.
Even when ABC pre-empts the show for other programming, such as the Academy Awards, fans get their fix on fan sites (such as this one), or by watching past episodes again, courtesy of TiVo and/or DVRs. [WARNING: Shameless Plug Alert!] So, as long as you're on one of said fan sites now, be sure to check out the latest Grey's Anatomy quotes, plus peruse our recently-added galleries of the show's characters and the talented actors who play them!