Has Grey's Anatomy Jumped the Shark?

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Depending on your point of view, the Season Six finale of Grey's Anatomy was either one of the show's all-time best or a sign of just how far it's fallen from its glory years.

Below, two of our staff writers explore these opposing viewpoints as we head into the summer: Has Grey's Anatomy jumped the shark - and are its best days behind it?

YES by M.L. House

I fell in love with Grey's Anatomy because it was a drama based around a number of well-written characters. Over the last couple of seasons, however, it's devolved into a melodrama based around a number of lazily concocted gimmicks.

I miss the days when story ines were built around heartbreak, affairs, deaths and births. Stuff that happened all the time to regular, flawed people.

But consider the events that have taken place of the last few years:

Izzie Stevens, Denny Duquette
  • Viewers watched some strange version of Meredith (and the bomb squad tech) in heaven.
  • Izzie operated on a deer.
  • Instead of sending George off to Iraq, the character was suddenly killed off in a blatant ratings ploy.
  • Denny returned as a ghost (and gave Izzie an orgasm!).
  • A crazed gunman wandered around the halls of Seattle Grace, murdering numerous people in cold blood, while the SWAT team chilled outside.

Do most shows decrease in quality as seasons go by? Yes. It can be difficult to come up with fresh material, I understand. But Shonda Rhimes told us repeatedly over the years that Grey's was a show that focused on layered characters and their interactions with one another.

This simply isn't true anymore.

It's now a show that glides by on unique medical cases each week; avoids any real personal or relationship development among its doctors; and then throws in some "game-changing" event to mask the fact that nothing actually happened during the season.

I'm not buying it. I'm not letting this manipulation blind me to the the sloppy, lazy writing that now plagues the series I used to get so excited for every Thursday night.

I really miss that Grey's Anatomy.

NO by L.J. Gibbs

My eyes rolled a little when I read the Grey's Anatomy spoilers about someone shooting up the hospital, but my skepticism eroded about two minutes into the episode.

From the moment I saw Gary Clark roaming the halls of Seattle Grace, I got the chills, borderline petrified with fear - not for me, but for fictional TV characters I love.

If you feel that way, that's a sign of consistently excellent writing.

You won't find any argument to the notion that multiple shootings, a live bomb in a body cavity, and various afterlife visits and hallucinations are far-fetched. They are.

To dismiss a work of fiction based on this misses the point, however. By doing so, one discredits characters' relationships and story lines as they pertain to the drama.

Did you not shed a tear for Meredith's miscarriage? Were you not moved by Cristina stepping in to save Derek? Terrified right along with Bailey as she cowered in fear?

Surprised, but a little touched by Lexie declaring her love for Alex? Praying that Derek, then Richard, would disarm the shooter before the body count rose any higher?

Mrs. Shepherd Picture

The memorable scenes and performances from last week's Grey's Anatomy were so numerous, I had to edit them down to a dozen in my review of the season finale.

This wasn't due to the fact that bullets were flying. It was because of complex characters we've watched develop over years, and how they responded to this adversity.

Our surgeons are brilliant and flawed, McDreamy and imperfect, dark and twisty, bright and shiny. Extreme circumstances can often make them the most fun to watch.

Empirical evidence backs me up - 16,788,000 people watched the season finale, a number most shows never attain, let alone retain five whole years after their debut.

On a smaller scale, TV Fanatic's weekly Grey's Anatomy fan reaction poll has never been as overwhelmingly positive as last Friday's. No surprise - it was gripping TV.

One more number for you: 124. That's the number of Grey's Anatomy episodes I've seen to date. Most of them pretty good if not great. That alone is quite the feat.

Do some of them stretch the limits of believability a bit? Absolutely.

But the characters are always at the center of whatever drama is introduced, and it's compelling. I just hope they can keep this cast together for years to come.

What do you think? Are Grey's Anatomy's best days behind it?

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


I think it's inevitable for a show to decline in quality over the years. But, I would rather the show go out on top than to continue into something that isn't watchable. I'll give you an example. The X-files should have ended at Season 7, but they decided to get a new cast and go 9 seasons. The quality of the show took a severe downturn. I didn't even buy Season 8 or 9 of the X-files on DVD. It's a hard thing to tell. Because some shows can go as long as season 9 and still be good. Look at Law and Order, ER, or CSI. However, with both Ellen and Patrick likely to leave after Season 8 than I think it should end at Season 8. Shonda could try putting Lexie Grey in Meredith's spot. But, it's like putting Laurence Fishburne in Willaim Petersen's spot on CSI. I probably won't buy CSI beyond Season 9. And, if Patrick and Ellen leave I'll probably stop watching. I think Shonda should announce that Season 8 is the last season. I don't want to see the end of Grey's, but I don't want to watch Grey's at its worst. I say end after Season 8!


This show and Private Practice (aka Grey's Anatomy II) are both crappy shows that revolve around a bunch of flat characters who occasionally go of on somewhat poignant melodramatic rants about their personal lives and the constant tragedies that befall their patients. I save my 42 to 43 minutes for something else.


i love grey's anatomy, especially the first 4 seasons but then when the show started losing its original characters beginning from Burke,Addison then George and finally Izzie, i feel that something unique bout this show is lost by losing those characters. However, the show is still very exciting and catches my attention right away. I wish all the characters would reunite again even if its for just one episode


@Tilley Victims that I saw and counted totalled 10 - 7 Dead and 3 wounded
1 Reed Adamson - Dead
2 Alex Karev - Wounded
3 Nurse at Nurses Station - Dead
5 Security Guards x 2 - Dead
7 Doctors x 2 - Dead
8 Charles Percy - Dead
9 Derek Shepherd - Wounded
10 Owen Hunt - Wounded 10 victims not counting Gary Clark who was wounded by SWAT and later maybe killed by his own hand?


I don't think that GA has jumped the shark per se. What has happened to the show is the inevitable...the same thing that happens to all shows after they have been on the air for 5-6 years...they start to lose some of the original actors/characters and that always causes a major shift in the show's direction, they bring on new characters that some viewers might not take too kindly to because they have become so attached to the original characters and are resistant to change, some of the stories start to seem repetitive especially relationship-wise since everybody has hooked up with everybody at some point or the other, and eventually the cast gets so big that there is not enough room for everyone to get their fair share of airtime which eventually starts pissing off the loyal fans. I still think the writers have it in them to produce a quality show...the show that the viewers fell in love with...they just need to remember what made them successful in the first place and try to stick with that instead of experimenting too much. I personally enjoyed season 6 right up until the "Give Peace a Chance" episode which I loved. After that, I thought it started to go downhill a bit with the focus being taken off the core cast and too much airtime being spent on characters that I didn't particularly care about...Teddy/Owen and their past, Sloane Sloan and her baby, April and her obsession with Derek, etc. I think the writers need to stick to focusing on the core cast and the relationships that made the show popular in the first place and keep everyone else on the periphery. And for the love of all that is good and pure...stop with the rushed reunions and sudden declarations of love that come from out of nowhere...that we need to read the writer's blog to understand the characters' motivations for what they are doing. Unless it happens onscreen...it doesn't really happen for the viewer!


wow, it's amazing to read everybody's comments, which are mostly positive. however, there's one thing I can't understand. there are some people trying to question whether the show is realistic or not. that simply misses the point, because, as carolina said, this is just FICTION. expecting it to be 100% life-like would be vague. you can't simply sit in front of the tv to watch "not interesting medical cases" "non-intrigued relationships" "exaggerated drama" and etc. anyway, I can't wait for season 7, 8, 9 or 10 or whatever. as long as it's a matter of life and death, as long as it's sometimes-intimidatingly-exxaggerated-drama, as long as it's awe-inspiring acting, I'm in like I've always been in. I've been watching season 3 and 4 again again these days, GA is the thing.


Just asking, but how high was the body count at the end of 6.24? I saw Adamson, Percy, two annonymous bodies in light blue scrubs checked, a nurse, two security guards. So was it seven? (I don't count Clark)


@Rachel, You're right on about the great actors and all different shapes, colors and sizes! That may be my favorite thing about Grey's -- it's just about the only place on television where women bigger than a Size 4 are considered desirable.


Grey's Anatomy is still the best show on TV. Actually, it is the only show that I even care to watch. I love Grey's. I love the characters, the writing, the actors, the casting, the storylines--everything. The actors are great to watch. They are all amazingly attractive and come in all shapes, colors and sizes which I love. I absolutely hate watching a show full of skinny women--boring. Grey's is quirky at times, serious, dramatic, funny, romantic. I see medical storylines that I later hear in the news. Thank you, thank you Shonda Rhimes. I look forward to Thursday nights and even suffer through the commercials.


I still say it jumped shark when Addison left. And I still say since Lexie's probably going to get back with Mark, and that leaves April and Teddy available, it's time Alex followed Addison. Just sayin.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

Burke was- He took something from me. He took little pieces of me, little pieces over time, so small I didn't even notice, you know? He wanted me to be something I wasn't, and I made myself into what he wanted. One day I was me Cristina Yang, and then suddenly I was lying for him, and jeopardizing my career, and agreeing to be married and wearing a ring, and being a bride. Until I was standing there in a wedding dress with no eyebrows, and I wasn't Cristina Yang anymore. And even then, I would've married him. I would have. I lost myself for a long time. And now that I'm finally me again, I can't. I love you. I love you more than I loved Burke. I love you. And that scares the crap out of me because when you asked me to ignore Teddy's page, you took a piece of me, and I let you. And that will never happen again.