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Has Grey's Anatomy Jumped the Shark?

by at . Comments

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.

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I personally cannot understand AT ALL how some of you call season 6 the best season yet? I think it was by far the worst. I loved all of seasons 1-5, my favorites probably being 2 and 3. However, I understand a lot changed in this season like with Izzie leaving which was totally out of character, and I loved the finale (for the most part mostly because of the acting) as well as the Demi Lovato episode which makes me think that season 7 is potentially promising. The way they focused on the characters in the finale seemed vintage Grey's. It also made me like characters that I didn't previously like... such as Teddy and Charles. Here is to season 7. :)

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Ha! Sorry to double post but the typos below are driving me crazy! I meant to say "We didn't see for sure IF SWAT went through those rooms after Bailey, Percy, and Mandy Moore left." In the last sentence of paragraph one, there should of been a comma between Bailey and Percy. I should of said "two" reasons instead of three as well. Anyways, I wanted to reply to TDS. @ TDS I completely agree with you. I felt the earlier seasons were about how the "fab 5" developed relationships with one another and other characters. It couldn't stay the same though since some characters have become more significant such as Derek (sorry he's my favorite character), Richard, and Bailey for example. Also there are only 3 left instead of 5 as you mentioned. I think Shonda would of eventually had to include others, but I don't think the new additions are holding up to their expectations. I mean Arizona, Callie, Owen, and Teddy are good characters. I think Arizona and Callie are in their own world. Owen/Teddy only have that love triangle story line which is supposedly solved since Shonda said Owen chose Cristina. Now we just have to watch it get played out. I think next season has a lot going for it though. Finally MerDer have a major storyline which is about time since season 6 they haven't really had one besides Richard drinking which blew over rather quickly. We also have the Lexi/Alex/Mark love triangle which I hope will not be a repeat of the Cristina triangle. Lexi better choose Mark... she clearly loves him. Alex is strong like Meredith, he can handle it.

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@ nelson Bailey, Percy, and Mandy Moore's character were instructed by Bailey to pretend to be dead and/or hide. When we see Bailey looking out the small window in the door, there are medical personnel fleeing. I didn't see any patients fleeing. Now once again they stretched it to be a coincidence for drama reasons. So Mr. Clark went into their room, this is where it is a coincidence for drama, and discovered all three of them. We didn't see for sure of SWAT went through those rooms after Bailey, Percy, and Mandy Moore left. Although, Bailey was attempting to move Percy. There are three reasons for why SWAT didn't interact with Bailey/Percy/Mandy Moore before Percy had died: -When they left the room they could of gone further away from the stairs when they were going towards the elevator. Remember, the elevators were turned off to help isolate the shooter so SWAT was using the stairs at this time. By the time they got to Bailey Percy had died. -It is also possible that the time lines for the other story lines such as Derek being operated on, and Owen/Teddy fleeing with their patient don't match up to the time line for Bailey meaning that perhaps Percy only lived for 10-15 minutes. Which is believable since the bullet went through and through seeing as Bailey had to compress the wound on two different sides to stop bleeding. Percy kept bleeding even as he was being dragged down the hallway. So Percy probably died within 10-15 minutes with the abundant bleeding. Do you understand how Grey's is mostly factual but uses coincidences to stretch for drama? Pertaining to fact, Percy should of died within around 10 minutes seeing the flow of blood could not be compressed in the body. I'm sure the dragging across the floor only injured him more as he grunted in pain down the hallway. In the Grey's Anatomy time line, each season is roughly a year in length. Meaning we probably see 1-3 episodes linked together which happened in possibly 1-2 days, or we see 5 different episodes which cover a period of 6 months. A perfect example is in season 3 when Mark told Derek he was mad because he could of spent the last year with Meredith instead of Addison. This means that season 2 was around 1 year in length according to the series time line. In our own lives, aren't there periods where there is nothing significant going on, but within 2 months there are 2 days of chaos? This is why I feel the show is being realistic to some extent.

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I love GA from go to whoa and for me, some epis suck, some are ho-hum and some are brilliant. I'll admit to fast forwarding epis across all seasons (yes I have dvd collection and online access) but let's face it, life isn't lived on a "high" all the time (and neither is life as a GA fan). I hope the opening epis of S7 will be of collective healing so that we fans can experience the healing process as well. Finally, just a little moan - I am quickly tiring of Sloan - I wish he'd grow up, and SOON. Much love GA fans!!

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i think greys is still amazing. there have been some changes but change is good. the fab 5 were wonderful but it is not the writers fault that 2 have had to leave. they had to make the best of the situation. and they have. plus the series has always focused on those five but there are only so many storylines you can do with just those characters. they are all growing up and finding and dealing with love and other issues. i think it has changed in a good way. and the finale. i have been wanting them to do an episode like this for forever. i think it is awesome how they are exploring new ideas and things that dont normally happen or you dont expect to happen.
i personally cannot wait for season 7. i am really excited.

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i just want to say, THANK YOU JDC.

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TDS: EXCELLENT post. It's EXACTLY how I feel about GA. Thank you so much!!!

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I don't know if the show has jumped the shark, I can only say what my experience is. I originally watched the show because of the Fab 5. I liked some better than others but I loved their dynamic and the fact that they stood by each other. They were all so different and handled the stress of their lives so differently but still became friends. I don't really like medical shows or soapy dramas, but for some reason these 5 characters struck a chord with me and I wanted to know more about them and follow them on their journey. I still watch, but not live and not with the enthusiasm that I used to and here are my reasons: The Fab 5 is now the Fab 3 and they are no longer the center of the show. The show used to revolve around a group of interns struggling through medical school and romance. Now there are so many characters that have no connection to the group as a whole. Owen really only interacts with Cristina (except when Mer is threatening him), Teddy and Callie have nothing to do with Mer or Alex, AZ mentors Alex but really doesn't interact with Mer or Cristina. They teach sometimes, but usually they are connected through some stupid love triangle. There was a time when all of the non-Fab 5 characters taught all the interns and bonded with them through friendship and/or romance. Now they have separate storylines and are so disconnected from one another. On nearly every message board I read, the lunch scenes between Mer/Cris/Alex are highlights of the show, but they are rare these days. I feel like the stories that I have been waiting to see never come, I understand the need for new characters, but there is still so much about the originals that we don't know. It took 6 seasons to find out that Alex has siblings (and that was wrapped up in one episode and Alex had 3 whole scenes with his brother) and 5 to find out that Derek's father was murdered. I want to know more about Cristina's family and Mark's family. Once I feel that these stories have been told, then I may feel better about exploring Owen and AZ and Teddy. But there is still so much to learn about the originals and so much of what I want to see happens off screen and I have to read the Writers Blog to see what I missed. That is because there are too many characters. I am no longer willing to get invested in any of the romantic relationships. I was a fan of Alex/Izzie, Cristina/Burke and to some degree Cristina/Owen. All of those relationships either ended due to backstage drama or one or both characters was made so unlikeable as to make me hate the relationship. I thought that when Alex and Izzie got back together they would work on their trust issues, etc. Instead we got a triangle with a dead guy and then cancer, death, resurrection and cruel abandonment and I ended up despising Izzie. I loved the Owen that they introduced, but then came the ridiculous triangle with Teddy and now I want Cristina as far away from him as possible. We have been told that Mer/Der are together forever, but what if you don't care about Mer/Der? Why would you invest your emotions and time into these characters knowing that they are going to be miserable for most of the season? Every couple on this show, except Mer/Der and I guess now Callie/AZ has been broken up or become unlikeable, IMO. Even the Mer/Der back and forth went on for so long that most of my friends who shipped them stopped caring. I think that Shonda believes that as long as they end up together everything will be fine. Unfortunately, if the journey to the end is awful, then I won't care when we finally get there. Again, I watch the show and still enjoy some parts of it, but I find myself fast forwarding through as much or more of it than I actually watch these days. I can't speak for anyone else's experience, but this is mine.

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i cannot wait til' season 7. i would love some juicy storylines! ideas...
1) Meredith and Derek baby issues
2) Christina gets serious with surgeries, maybe something happening with her and Jackson?
3) The Lexie/Alex/Mark triangle. I hope she sleeps with both, gets pregnant and there is a who's the daddy thing.
4) Derek as cheif + cheif issues.
5) Mark as a slut. It's his natural form, and makes good tv.
6) Teddy without the Owen drama.
7) April maybe trying to make a move on Derek?
8) Alex.Alex.Alex. His family, Izzie issues, Lexie, etc. I just love Alex, always have always will!

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JDC- wow, I love your post! :)

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)

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.

Meredith