Let me just start off by saying that I’ve been a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy from the very beginning. I haven’t missed a single episode since the day this series began and I’ll probably continue to watch until the day it goes off the air. And I’ve been watching daytime soaps since before Luke and Laura’s hook-up in the disco. So when I say that Grey’s Anatomy needs to move into a daytime slot, it’s not without some knowledge of both genres.
Reason number one: To much drama and tragedy
Yes, I get that Grey’s Anatomy is a prime time drama and, as such, there needs to be a certain amount of tragedy and controversy to keep things interesting. However, this group of doctors and interns has got to be the unluckiest group of people I’ve ever seen.
Meredith drowns, Izzy gets cancer, George is hit and dragged by a bus, Meredith donates a kidney, Alex is shot, Christina has to operate with a gun to her head – after she was nailed by an icicle – Owen tries to strangle Christina, Derek is shot, Meredith can’t get pregnant, Christina suffers PTSD, and now Callie is in a near fatal car accident. And those are just the events that stand out most in my mind at the moment.
In other prime time medical dramas the action generally focuses on a patient from outside with some mysterious disease. The doctors and nurses do have lives that go on in the background but the main attraction is the drama surrounding this week’s mystery patient.
Look at House for example. Each week we see House and his team solve some medical mystery with drama and flair, and in the background we get to watch their personal lives unfold. Not so with Grey’s Anatomy. Grey’s Anatomy more closely resembles General Hospital where the main focus is on the core group of characters – originally the doctors and nurses – and what’s going on in their lives.
We seldom, if ever, see a patient at General Hospital who isn’t one of the existing, core group of characters. The same can be said for Grey’s Anatomy. Neither hospital ever treats a ‘real’ patient. One wonders how either hospital can afford to stay open. Maybe that’s why the main characters are always getting shot or suffering from some mysterious disease. The hospital has to do something to make money.
Reason number two: Too much romance, heartbreak and sex
They’re on, they’re off, they’re on, they’re off. If the writers of Grey’s hadn’t finally allowed Meredith and Derek to get married I probably would have quit watching the show just because it made me nauseous watching these 2 go back and forth every week. But the ups and downs between Meredith and Derek is just one example of too much romance and heartbreak.
Christina hooks up with Burke, finally accepts his proposal, then leaves him standing at the altar. She spends a few months feeling sorry for herself then hooks up with the new ER doc who just happens to appear as she’s being skewered by an icicle. They fight, they make up, they fight, they make up, they get married, they fight some more, etc.
Alex, at first, is the master of sex with no commitment. Then he marries Izzy, stands by her through her bout with cancer, Izzy leaves him so he divorces here, goes after a few other interns and now he’s interested in one of the doctors. Bailey is married, divorced, dedicated to her career and sleeping with a nurse. And Teddy still can’t get over Owen, even though she’s married to a patient. Yes, a real patient does finally walk through the doors of Seattle Grace and Teddy has to marry him!
And let’s not forget all of the sex in the elevator, the supply closet and the different time-out rooms scattered all over the hospital.
Again, the writers of Grey’s Anatomy keep the focus constantly on the main characters and their romantic relationships. It’s as if these people think of nothing throughout their workday except where their next orgasm is going to come from. Knowing this, it’s no wonder they have so few actual patients. I wouldn’t want them operating on me, either.
New people, from outside the hospital, seldom enter the picture and when they do, they’re quickly sucked into some kind of romantic relationship with another hospital employee. Just look at what happened to Denny, Dr. Stark and Henry. Their lives were changed forever once they entered Seattle Grace, and Denny even died.
Now, compare this to the last episode of any soap opera you watched. It’s almost a given that when you turn on your favorite daytime soap opera at least one character is either going to be having sex in someone’s bed, plotting to get someone into their bed or divorcing someone because they caught someone else in their bed. Change the name above the door and you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between General Hospital in Port Charles and Seattle Grace in Washington state.
The characters in House on the other hand, do have relationships – with people from outside the hospital, and conducted outside the hospital. These relationships may be part of the story but they’re secondary, not the main focus. The characters in House actually step out into the real world and take advantage of all it has to offer.
Reason number three: Everybody is pretty
In daytime soaps, everybody is pretty. They all wear designer evening gowns and thousands of dollars worth of gold and diamonds to the hospital fund raisers, they all wake up in the morning with perfect hair and makeup and no one gets sweaty during sex. In fact, most of them roll out of bed after a roll in the hay, slip back into their Armani suit and head back to the office for an afternoon meeting.
Now, compare that to Grey’s Anatomy. Couples have sex in supply closets, empty hospital rooms and elevators and then walk out, looking fresh as a daisy, and head for the operating room. We’ve seen just about everyone walk out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel, we’ve seen them all in scrubs and face masks and we’ve seen them all in the middle of a 36 hour shift and everyone always looks sexy. Even Izzy managed to look sexy while she was dealing with cancer.
In the first episode of’ Grey’s Anatomy we were introduced to a group of young, fresh-faced, dedicated professionals who were out to become the best doctors they could be. Each of them was focused on their education and career, not on finding someone to marry. We learned things from them – how hospitals work, what it’s like to be an intern and work those long, grueling hours.
By the end of this most recent episode, each character on Grey’s is now in a serious relationship. Every. Single. One. And all we really see of hospital life is how these characters are not able to separate their personal lives from their work lives.
This last musical episode of Grey’s was bad enough, but what’s next for Seattle Grace? They’ve basically given up practicing medicine on anyone but themselves and everyone has someone to love now. Maybe a secret love-child hidden in Derek’s past? Will a mafia connection have something to do with the break up between Izzy and Alex? And what about Alex’s loony girlfriend? Maybe she’ll reappear as her evil twin and kidnap one of the babies from the nursery.
Whatever the writers have up their sleeves I’m sure it will be interesting and exciting. But, just like the daytime soap operas, it will concentrate on the romantic lives of the main characters. It has to. They’ve painted themselves into a corner and there’s no other direction to go unless the writers want to leave a whole bunch of balls up in the air. And because of that, Grey’s Anatomy might be in some serious trouble.
No other television program places so much of the focus on the romantic relationships of the main characters to the exclusion of everything and everyone else in the real world. No other prime time program, that is. And there’s a reason that daytime soaps stick to their daytime slots – that’s when the people most interested in romance-type TV shows are home to watch them.
But there’s also a reason that daytime soaps are slowly fading from sight. Maybe it’s time to re-think your game plan, Seattle Grace. Maybe consider accepting a few patients from the outside world so you can pay the bills and keep the doors open?
Yeah, might be a good idea.Powered by Sidelines