*Plays How to Save a Life on repeat*
Grey’s Anatomy, the holy grail of medical dramas on TV. It’s been on our TV screens for the past thirteen years, and it’s still one of the most binge-worthy shows ever. Ever. If you’re mad on Grey’s, have a read and see how much you really know about what goes on behind the scenes at Grey-Sloan Memorial.
10. Shonda Rhimes created the show after a doctor admitted how difficult it was to shave her legs in the hospital shower
Yes, you read that right. In an interview with Oprah, Shonda Rhimes, (the creator of Grey’s Anatomy/Scandal/How to Get Away with Murder – yes, she’s obviously a genius!) discussed how a doctor once told her that it was a nightmare to shave in the hospital shower.
At least they have a legitimate excuse not to shave their legs…
They use this as a recurring theme throughout the show, often using it to make a point of how the doctors have little time for themselves. Rhimes said that ‘I thought about the fact that it was the only time and place this woman might have to shave her legs. That’s how hard the work is.”
Who could forget Izzie’s meltdown in Season 4?
9. Diversity was (and still is) a key factor in the show’s creation
Shonda Rhimes – the creator of Grey’s (and Scandal/How to Get Away with Murder – she’s obviously a genius!) – wanted to make a statement. Rhimes stated; ‘I was making a television show that I wanted to watch and part of that was putting people of all colours in it so that you saw people like you on television.’ Rhimes’ aim was to essentially have a cast that wasn’t predominantly Caucasian and rightly so.
Shonda Rhimes and the one and only Meredith Grey (I mean, Ellen Pompeo…) at the ABC press day in 2015.
Grey’s Anatomy is unusual (unfortunately) in the way that it practises ‘colour blind casting’ – this essentially means that race and ethnicity have absolutely no influence on the casting of a character. A case in point is the infamous Miranda Bailey – Rhimes originally imagined her as a ‘tiny blonde with curls’ – but Chandra Wilson auditioned, and the rest is history.
8. The blood and guts you see (often) on Grey’s are actually real… sort of.
According to Sarah Drew (who portrays the lovely April Kepner), the show uses bovine organs. Eww. Apparently cows organs are often used, as are lambs’ brains for the neurosurgery scenes. She stated that ‘the smell is repulsive and makes us all gag’. Rather her than me…
I’m just as disgusted as you April…
The blood you see is also a pretty disgusting combination of red jello (jelly to us Brits), real blood, and wait for it – chicken fat. So, all in all, and in the words of Sarah Drew ‘It’s pretty gross’.
7. Isaiah Washington (who played Dr. Burke) practiced his surgeries for real!
According to Shonda Rhimes, Isaiah took his role extremely seriously and decided to shadow real-life doctors in order to prepare. In Rhimes’ interview with Oprah she said that ‘Isaiah Washington learns all his surgeries before he performs them on TV’.
*Nods* “Yes I am crazy for learning all the surgeries for a fictional television show”
Rhimes’ also stated that; ‘Scarily enough, I think if he stopped at an accident on the street, he’d know exactly what to do. He has pulled shifts at hospitals where he follows the surgeons around for 48 hours.’ That is some serious dedication guys.
6. Grey’s Anatomy has had some controversial exits from the show…
Yep, it’s not always sunny in Seattle. Just like in any workplace, there’s always a bit of drama, and Grey-Sloan Memorial is no exception. First up, Katherine Heigl (who played Izzie) rejected her own Emmy nomination because she believed that ‘I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination’… awkward! This burn in combination with apparently ‘being difficult’ on set led to her departure. In an interview with Oprah, Shonda said of Heigl ‘when someone shows you who they are, believe them’. Ouch…
Heigl’s career is said to have ‘imploded’ after her departure from Grey’s
Isaiah Washington also famously exited the show when he allegedly called his fellow co-star T.R. Knight (the lovely George), a homophobic slur behind the scenes. He was politely asked ‘not to return’. Washington has since said he was fired due to racism, but the majority find that difficult to believe. Either way, he was rarely mentioned again, and we don’t miss him.
5. Negan was in Grey’s Anatomy!
Negan, the character we all love to hate in The Walking Dead was actually a really important character in Grey’s back in Season 2. Jeffrey Dean Morgan played Denny Duquette, Jr. a heart patient who fell in love with Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl). His character is a far cry from Negan, as instead of being a crazy Lucille-wielding madman (albeit a rather hunky one), he’s a very kind and gentle soul on Grey’s.
I guess he’s cute… but I’m definitely on Team Negan!
Denny later passed away (sob), but left Izzie $8.7 million dollars which she used to open the Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic – which is mentioned all the time on the show today.
4. Grey’s Anatomy, wasn’t always Grey’s Anatomy
It’s hard to believe, because Meredith Grey is the central character of the show – but it wasn’t always going to be called this. According to Kate Walsh (who played Addison Montgomery), titles that floated about were ‘Doctors’ (makes sense), ‘Surgeons’ (also makes a lot of sense) – but they finally – thank goodness – settled on Grey’s Anatomy.
The title is also a clever play-on-words as there is real-life medical textbook called ‘Gray’s Anatomy’, published in 1858 by Henry Gray. Incredibly, it is still used today to teach medical students.
3. Only four original cast members remain
After being on our screens for the past thirteen years, it’s unsurprising that there are only a few of the original cast members remaining – no matter how sad that makes us. Cristina Yang, I’m looking at you. Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey), Justin Chambers (Alex Karev), Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey) and James Pickens, Jr. (Richard Webber) are the only actors that have been in every season since 2005.
Both Ellen and Justin have appeared in all 323 episodes, with Chandra and James only one episode behind on 322. Ellen Pompeo and Shonda Rhimes have agreed that once Ellen has had enough, there will be no more Grey’s Anatomy (sob!). Pleaseeee Ellen, don’t ever leave!
2. The infamous Meredith voiceovers are important
You know them, the calming voiceovers that begin each episode – well they’re not just to kill time. They’re important features of the episodes, as they set the narrative for the upcoming storyline and often rehash what has happened in previous episodes. Other episodes have been narrated by other cast members, mostly by Sarah Drew (April).
There are FAR too many amazing quotes to choose from.
There’s a great theory about what else the narratives mean – but it’s an emotional one, so get ready. According to Natalie Abrams, a solid theory is that Meredith is actually reciting her life as a doctor, to her children. But wait! The reason she is doing so is because (just like her Mother), she is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Theoretically, the idea is that many of the events that occurred in the halls of Grey-Sloan Memorial were exaggerated and remembered differently, accounting for much of the storylines endings. If it’s true, then I’m not sure how I feel about this!
1. Grey’s Anatomy is a record-breaker
Yes, that’s right. Because fans cannot get enough of the show, Grey’s was renewed for a fifteenth season this year, making it the longest running drama on the ABC network, and the seventh longest running drama – ever. With well over 300 episodes to date, we can only hope that it continues!
But it’s not just the number of seasons that’s breaking records. Ellen Pompeo is currently the highest paid actress to star in a TV drama, raking in – wait for it – $575 THOUSAND dollars an episode. An EPISODE. Absolutely crazy! She’s overtaken Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey, who currently earn $500,000 per episode for Game of Thrones – and now earns a comfortable $20 million a year. That’ll do, eh?