Sharon Lan ENG 104 Terry Bening 22 May 2012 The Anatomy of Grey When times get tough and the only way to survive is to keep fighting, there are two choices: either you sink or you swim. At least that’s the mentality that belongs to the young, soon-to-be medical doctors in the 2005 TV series Grey’s Anatomy.
Already having 8 seasons of surgical miracles, everlasting camaraderies, problematic love triangles, and life-threatening decisions, Grey’s Anatomy portrays a “dramedy” which focuses on a highly intellectual group of interns, residents, and attendings that strive to one-up each other in order to rank as the best, save the lives of patients, and keep the reputation of Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital. Nonetheless, many of the characters constantly struggle to keep up with these responsibilities because of the difficulties in keeping their personal and professional lives apart.
Of this group of surgeons, Grey’s Anatomy mainly revolves its plotline around the main character and protagonist Meredith Grey who is initially introduced as a young intern who is consistently expected to live up to her mother’s legacy. The show also introduces Isobel Stevens, Derek Shepard, Preston Burke, her mother Ellis Grey and many of the other doctors that Meredith works with. Ellis Grey, who was a world-renowned surgeon, never believed that Meredith had the capability of being good enough to succeed as a surgeon.
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Trying to deviate away from only being known as “Ellis Grey’s daughter”, Meredith, throughout the series, continues to find her strengths and weaknesses as she proves to herself and everyone else that she can ultimately become an even greater surgeon than her mother was. Grey’s Anatomy is truly an inspiring television drama that serves as a positive influence among its viewers. By illustrating the realities of life, this show motivates others to cling onto hope in times of desperation, to see mistakes as a part of life, to forgive and forget, and lastly to deal with life’s unexpected surprises.
Grey’s Anatomy has a positive influence among its viewers because it essentially portrays that anybody can get through their hardships with the right amount of hope. Dr. Isobel Stevens in the episode “A Change Is Gonna Come” states, “It's not childish to hold on to hope. It's actually hard, very, very, hard. ” In the show another one of Meredith’s coworkers, Dr. Isobel Stevens, also known as Izzie, represents one of the biggest believers of hope on Grey’s Anatomy.
After she discovers that she’s diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic melanoma, which is a common form of skin cancer, Izzie switches from being a doctor at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital to being a patient with only a 5% chance of surviving with her condition. However, knowing that her survival rate was slim, Izzie worked up the courage to ask Dr. Derek Shepard, head of neurosurgery, to operate on her tumor and in the end her surgery was a success.
Another example of how hope is seen in this show is when Meredith Grey is accidently pushed off the ledge into the ocean and struggles to reach the surface of the water yet tries to drown at the same time. Meredith’s mother, Ellis Grey quotes in the episode “Some Kind of Miracle”, “I raised you to be an extraordinary human being, imagine my disappointment when I wake up after 5 years and discover that you’re no more than ordinary. ” With her mother’s harsh words continually repeating in her head, Meredith initially gives up and loses hope.
While flat lining in the hospital, Meredith wakes up in her “afterlife” and discovers that her mother only called her ordinary so that she would always try to be the best. In the scene of the afterlife, her mother tells Meredith to “keep going” and reassures her that she’s “anything but ordinary”. Ultimately Meredith regains her hope and uses the reassuring words from her mother to find her breath. Grey’s Anatomy shows that in times of desperation and hardships, all you need to do is cling onto hope. The show also illustrates the truth of realities by portraying that mistakes are simply a part of life.
Exemplifying in the show that mistakes happen, Dr. Izzie Stevens follows her instincts and cuts Denny Duquette’s (a patient she fell in love with) LVAD wire with intent to move him up the heart donor list. At first with his condition, Denny is moved up the list; however, his condition quickly begins to worsen which causes him to die. Ultimately regretting what she had done, Izzie blames herself for what had happened to the man she loved. In addition, another example representing that mistakes are a part of life is shown when Dr. Derek Shepard made an honest mistake in surgery resulting in the death of a man’s wife.
In the episode “An Honest Mistake” the husband snaps at Derek quoting, “Stop saying you’re sorry, you killed her, you’re a murderer... ” Being accused for an accidental mistake, Derek ultimately decides to take a leave from being a doctor because he discovers that the number of the patients he’s saved was significantly lower than the lives he killed unintentionally. Grey’s Anatomy displays that no matter how hard we try to avoid them, mistakes are simply just a part of life. “We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today's possibility under tomorrow's rug until we can't anymore.
Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin meant. That knowing is better than wondering… And that even the biggest failure, even the worst most intractable mistake, beats the hell out of not trying” (Meredith Grey in “If Tomorrow Never Comes”). Grey’s Anatomy also teaches a valuable lesson to forgive and forget the people who have done us wrong. In some episodes, specifically “The Heart of the Matter”, we can see not only betrayal among friends but also among family; however, the show portrays that in the end, wrongdoings are ultimately forgiven.
Meredith’s relationship with her father, Thatcher Grey, was torn apart when he walked out of her life when she was 5 years old. Having no respect for her, he slaps Meredith in front of her coworkers because of a complication in surgery that led to the death of her stepmother. Only seeming to come back for medical needs, Thatcher one day comes to the hospital begging Meredith to donate a portion of her liver to him because his alcoholism makes him unable to be put on the donor list.
The show ultimately shows that having the strength to forgive people who have done us wrong and forget the past is one of the realities in life that we must face. Meredith eventually agrees to help her father out and essentially releases all the grudges that she had. “Forgive and forget…When someone hurts us, we want to hurt them back. When someone wrongs use we want to be right. Without forgiveness old scores are never settled, old wounds never heal and the most we can hope for is that one day we’ll be lucky enough to forget…” (Meredith Grey).
Last but not least, Grey’s Anatomy professes that life has a way of steering us in directions that we don’t want to take, but the only way to react to life’s unexpected surprises is to deal with them. In the episode “Deny, Deny, Deny”, Meredith Grey quotes, “Sometimes reality has a way of sneaking up and biting us in the ass. ” The whole show portrays a message that the most ironic and unforeseen situations can happen to just about anybody. Ellis Grey’s life, along with everybody’s lives, was altered when they found out that the world’s most renowned surgeon had Alzheimer’s and could no longer share her medical knowledge.
Furthermore, after being shot in his arm, Dr. Preston Burke, known as the countries most prestigious cardiothoracic surgeon, discovered that his injury caused a hand tremor, which causes his hand to shake thus making him unsteady to perform surgery. In the end, his condition led him to take an absence of leave from being a doctor and ultimately his life steered onto a different path. "Bones break. Organs burst. Flesh tears. We can sew the flesh, repair the damage, [and] ease the pain. But when life breaks down, when we break down, there's no science, no hard and fast rules. We just have to feel our way through. Meredith Grey mentions in the episode “Here Comes the Flood”, that life can throw anything at us and the only way to survive through it is to deal with it. All in all, Grey’s Anatomy serves as a positive impact on society in which it teaches us about the realities of life. This inspiring show portrays that having enough hope and faith will help us survive during tough times and it also motivates viewers to view mistakes as lessons to be learned. Through all the hardships of life, the show also demonstrates the importance of forgiveness and to never to give up no matter what direction life takes us.
Grey’s Anatomy illustrates the truths of life by implying that we shouldn’t always expect happy endings and easy pathways because the people that endure through the toughest struggles are the ones who are the happiest. Works Cited Grey, E. (Performer) (2007). Some kind of miracle [Television series episode]. In Rhimes, S. (Executive Producer), Grey’s Anatomy. Stevens, I. (Performer) (2007). A change is gonna come [Television series episode]. In Rhimes, S. (Executive Producer), Gre'ys Anatomy. The Mark Gordon Company. Grey, M. (Performer) (2005).
Deny,deny,deny [Television series episode]. In Rhimes, S. (Executive Producer), Gre'ys Anatomy. The Mark Gordon Company. Grey, M. (Performer) (2008). Here comes the flood [Television series episode]. In Rhimes, S. (Executive Producer), Gre'ys Anatomy. The Mark Gordon Company. Shepard, D. (Performer) (2009). An honest mistake [Television series episode]. In Rhimes, S. (Executive Producer), Grey’s Anatomy. The Mark Gordon Company. Stevens, I. (Performer) (2007). A change is gonna come [Television series episode]. In Rhimes, S. (Executive Producer), Grey’s Anatomy. The Mark Gordon Company.
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