Opinion: Let’s talk about drama

Ria Parikh | Staff Writer

Grey’s Anatomy just made history.

The much-loved show aired its 332nd episode on February 28, officially beating ER, and making it the longest running medical drama. Ever.

I am well aware that there are is a multitude of people who criticize the show, and rightfully so. It is no where close to being the most medically accurate medical drama out there, and many of the situations perceived as the norm happen extremely rarely in a hospital. Most people who know me know that I am planning to study English and Pre-med in college, so yes, the pre-med part of me feels slightly ashamed for watching Grey’s. However, the English part of me, and just the viewer part of me, is in love.

The character development in incredible. There is not one main character who is given the short end of the stick. While they might not add a whole lot to the plot, they are all humanized in somewhat of a novel way. It doesn’t feel like Meredith Grey and her one-dimensional sidekicks, but more so like an ensemble of developed, strong characters who make their own mark on their characterization of Grey’s as a whole. Although the situations are potentially the most uncomfortable we have ever watched, something as simple as the character development make the show very comforting. You feel like you know them, and that can be attributed to nothing more than the care the writers take in making sure that every character comes off as human.

The writing itself gives me chills. Every time, without fail, an episode opens and closes with a monologue that usually done by Meredith. Those are perhaps the most important seconds of the show, because they make the plot mean something. Usually, she takes the concept of science or medicine and relates it to an abstract universal concept in a way that either touches or haunts you depending on the episode. Because of just those few opening and closing lines, the show stays with people who have no interest in science or medicine whatsoever, and, in fact, have caused a number of people to develop one.

Let’s talk about drama. The show has a bad reputation because it is immediately linked to a trashy soap opera. But what is drama? Drama is literally defined as: “An exciting or emotional series of events or set of circumstances.” Aka, the drama is what makes the plot interesting. A show without drama is a boring show, where people probably sit around a lunch table and talk about the weather.

So yes, there is a lot of drama in Grey’s and I’m not ashamed to say that I enjoy it. But the difference is that despite the drama, the show never loses its heart. If you pay attention, you will realize that although the show has its fair share of superficial drama, a lot of it is emotionally driven. This late in the game, almost every doctor in the hospital is linked to another doctor in some type of way, and it becomes a story of people and their relationships, rather than a story about surgeons. Even with the patients, they tackle difficult issues, such as self-esteem, family relationships, self-advocacy, issues and situations that fans of the show have actually used to help themselves.

The drama is exciting because it’s new and introduces a story that the majority of viewers can connect to. But the difference is that the drama on Grey’s doesn’t distract from the main point, the different stories that parallel each other create the main point. Yes, Grey’s may not be as medically accurate as ER, but the writers are not afraid to tackle difficult, current topics and situations that most shows shy away from, and in some cases, choose instead to hide behind the magic of surgery.

Because of the characters, heart, and storytelling, most of the audience doesn’t care that the doctors would have lost their medical licenses by now, but they do care that every time Amelia Shepherd gets her heart broken, she can always count on her sister-in-law Meredith Grey and her half-sister-in-law Maggie Pierce to be there for her, despite the fact they may have fought in surgery that day. 

It’s not that other shows lack a heart, but because because Grey’s Anatomy prides themselves on their emotional impact, they create such a deep connection with a large audience that have caused it to beat every other medical drama, even ER.