Grey's Anatomy, Other Shows Utilize Voiceover Narration

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As the anonymous narrator on ABC's Pushing Daisies often says, "The facts are these." The number of TV shows with voiceover narration has risen in recent years.

Exhibit A: Meredith Grey quotes.

While the writers' strike may temporarily halt the yapping from characters across various TV shows, it's a trend that appears to have staying power.

New series beginning this autumn with lots more narratives, according to the Ventura County Star, include Pushing Daisies and The CW's Aliens in America and Gossip Girl. These shows join veterans My Name is Earl, How I Met Your Mother, Everybody Hates Chris, Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs, etc.

A Happy Meredith

Meredith Grey has narrated Grey's Anatomy since its 2005 inception, with some notable exceptions, in which other characters have narrated specific episodes.

Of course, Desperate Housewives, made omniscient narration a popular device in 2004 with dead Mary Alice telling us tales of Wisteria Lane from the beyond.

"It clearly worked in literature forever, and I think there are ways to use it intelligently" in TV, NBC Entertainment Co-Chairman Ben Silverman said.

He brought up the many funny Sex and the City quotes over the years as a use of narration as a device of "relaying the humor back to the audience. I think within the comedy, those voices are great ways to connect to the audience."

On the flip side, CBS has few, if any, narrated series. CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said she has concerns about its effect on viewers.

"I'm not a fan of voice-over narration. A lot of times it co-opts an audience's ability to follow the action of the story by having somebody tell them what to feel, what to think," she said in July. "I like it when it counterpoints what's going on. You have to be really sensitive as to how and when and where you use it."

Andy Dehnart, the writer and editor of, thinks that the rise of reality TV shows in recent years has been a major instigator.

"Because reality shows only have real footage to work with, sometimes in order to craft a narrative arc, you have to substitute with a narrator to connect scenes that otherwise might not have film to connect," he said. "Some reality shows overuse this, so you're being reminded of things you're actually seeing on the screen."

Continue reading in the Ventura County Star ...

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


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Arizona: Oh my God! I mean, I understand why you're into her. She's hot. Wait, she likes you?
Nathan: What? I mean, I'm going to try not to be offended at that.
Arizona: No, no, no. It's just that Derek was--Derek was epic for her. They were the great love story. I mean, that girl's heart beat for Derek Shepherd. It never occurred to me that she would ever be with anyone else. He was perfect. He was everything. That man turned her world. It...I spooked you. Don't be spooked.

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)