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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.

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Thanks JDC! I will have to rewatch for sure. Do you have answers of why there was no one on the floor that Bailey was on? How come it was just the 3 of them? Did I miss something else?

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@ nelson The reason the SWAT didn't locate Mr. Clark before Richard was because Mr. Clark went to the room where his wife was unplugged and Richard witnessed that. Richard has also been "to hell and back" so he can relate to practically anyone who is showing their darker side. That is why he was able to help Derek out in season 5 when he threw his ring at Meredith. Also the SWAT went from the bottom floor up to isolate the shooter. This is why we see them scrambling around checking room to room. Mr. Clark's wife's room happened to be on one of the higher floors which is just a coincidence. The reason that Mr. Clark made it into the OR when Meredith and April were sitting in the scrub room is simple. There are two entries to an OR, the scrub room and the other door which is used for the patient and other surgeons coming in for information on the patient surgery, etc. You see an entry like this every episode. Like Cristina walked in through the entry and put a mask on to speak with Teddy and that is when she refused to scrub in which is why Owen went after her exiting through that entry. You also saw Derek use it when he came in to inform Jackson about the shooter. The scrub room is actually only used for the surgeons who are going to be operating since they need a sterile environment to clean up. Meredith temporarily dieing in season 3 is considered a medical miracle. Remember what Richard said that episode? Something along the line of "people have attempted this for four hours straight, let's not give up". That isn't an exact quote but I remember something familiar about four hours of attempts that he said. If the brain does not get oxygen for 5 minutes straight it is likely that brain damage will begin. Is it possible that through CPR, a pacemaker, medical drugs, etc. could of provided the body with sufficient blood/oxygen flow while they rose her temperature? Yes it is possible, but VERY unlikely. Izzy's experience with Denny and hallucinating. How many of us have actually had a tumor that gave hallucinations? I don't think anyone reading this comments is likely to have had one or will never have one. So I can't say for sure if that is possible or not. The brain is very powerful and intelligent though. If the brain can supply a large amount of dopamine in the frontal cortex (a believed cause of schizophrenia) and provide hallucinations then I don't see why it isn't possible. It might be far-fetched that she was able to touch/smell him. I'm studying to enter med school and go into neurology/neurosurgery so this show really appeals to me on multiple levels. Just keep in mind that at least 80% of Grey's is fact and the other 20% is stretched for dramatic reasons. 20 percent of the reason I watch this show is because of the medical cases which are interesting even if they are fabricated. 30 percent is for the interesting story lines and sacrifices they make as doctors. And 50 percent is because I can relate to Derek/Meredith on a real life basis which is why I'm obsessed with their relationship even if it is fictional. I have 4 sisters, I'm going into neurology/neurosurgery, I was abandoned by my father, etc.

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I still like it. Nothing wrong with it. I love it. I hated the days of Burke.

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I love GA. From the pilot to the season 6 finale.
I get that some storylines are better than others, but still, most of them didn´t bother me... And the SL that really bothered me in the beggining where explained at some point (aka Ghost sex) or the Cris / Teddy / Owen triangule, which I only got in the episode before the finale. (when Owen said that he didn´t know what he felt for Teddy because it was all tangled up with what happend in the desert. It really made sense to me!!) The lack of reality doesn´t bother me. It´s a TV show. A drama show. The finale would´t be that dramatic if the swat team got the shooter in the beggining. We would´t see Derek "dying", or Owen getting all "if you hurt her, i´ll kill you"... It´s for the sake of drama. It´s not reality, it´s not a documentary, it´s not a CSI or other police show. Soooo, it really doesnt bother me.... So, I´m bitting my nails waiting for season 7, because I know it will be as freacking good as the other 6 seasons.

Krixpix

I think that this season was really good...I fell in love with Grey's Anatomy from the first moment and I'm still...So why not accept the changes?? Our own lives change by the minute and we're not through with it!! I hope they continue to deliver more exciting episodes, like they have done so far...And if the actors decide to move on from Grey's just wish them well,not hate...

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I miss old grey's so bad...
I couldnt stop laughing about the Addi and Izzie storylines, twisted Mar and Cristina, Man whore Mark, i miss that SO bad.
What's special about the series, is that any episode of it, makes me say a huge WOW eventually.
my WOW's just turned smaller with each season :( i miss season 2 dammit.

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I agree with both sides. There are far-fetched moments and you either decided it's too much or to keep on watching. My husband used to watch the show with me - until Merideth "died" in the water. He couldn't get beyond the far-fetched storyline, but I could. It's b/c I focus on the character relations and he focused on the storyline. I had so many storyline questions on the finale - about the SWAT, why the cheif could find the shooter and SWAT couldn't, how did the shooter get into that OR room - wasn't there only one way in and Merideth sat on the floor by the door - ect. But the relationships of the characters were AMAZING! I cried big tears with Charles died, and I didn't even like his character. (oh, how come there was NO ONE else on that floor - that was something that bugged me - a whole hospital floor and only 3 people were on it?) I loved the Bacon line from Alex. So many wonderful layers. So I can see both sides. I really hope that season 7 continues with the main characters and continues on to the glory days!

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@smileygen
OK, lets look closer in the future. Lexie told Alex she loves him, even played Izzie for him to make him feel better. As "a good girl, relatively speaking" (mama Sheppard) she will never break up with Alex now he is seriously wounded. Alex does not remember anything, he was delirious. Mark is suffering, looking longingly at Lexie. How do we solve this?
My idea: Mrs. Sheppard comes to see Derek. Mark tells her about his troubles. She has a word with Lexie and understands her dilemma. She goes to see Alex and explains it to him so that he breaks up with Lexie (with his traditional tenderness). Mark and Lexie have road open and the plot for little Lexie Sloan is ready... :-) :-)

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I think Derek's 4th sister should be called Jenna :) Just because..... a lot of fanfics have Jenna as the name of one of the Sheperd sisters...( other than Nancy and Kathleen). Also, I'm really hoping for a McBaby for real next season, or if not, in season 8. It'll be a beautiful girl who bring her parents so much joy, and they are going to make sure that she knows about the big brother that she never got to know.. :)

Smileyglen

Can we give Derek's fourth sister a name:
We have Nancy she an OB/GYN, Kathleen is a shrink and Amelia is in Private Practice as a Neuro surgeon. How about Bridget Shepherd she's a GP, she didn't want to be a surgeon, she just wanted a small practice with her husband he's a GP too and spend time with her children, Darryl Nothman is her husband(he doesn't like Mark, he's known Mark just as long as Derek, but Mark hurt Darryl's sister when they were in high school, maybe Mark just dumps her for Samantha Riley on the night of the prom or something very unforgiveable like that, and Mark's like get over it man that was like 20 years ago I'm a different person now, Darryl is steadfast and just won't back down, he can't forgive Mark because of his loyalty to his sister.)

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
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