Thursday, December 13, 2012


Horrible Things That Have Happened to Doctors on "Grey's Anatomy" Since 2005

(spoilers, but not really, because Shonda will kill them all in the end, despite their weeping and clawing at life)

Meredith Grey: Meredith's mother, who was a chilly and neglectful parent, has Alzheimer's. Meredith falls in love with a handsome surgeon, Derek, who breaks her heart when he reveals that he has a very beautiful wife, Addison, who is an even better surgeon. Meredith has an unsatisfying reunion with her father, Thatcher, who has a new and better family now. Meredith acts out by sleeping with her friend George, but cries during sex and breaks his heart. Meredith's dog dies. Meredith falls briefly in love with a bomb technician, but he gets blown up. Meredith's mother briefly regains lucidity, just in time to tell Meredith what a disappointment she is as a surgeon. Meredith falls off a pier and nearly dies. Meredith wakes up to discover that her mother is dead. Meredith and Derek get back together. Meredith and Derek break up. Meredith and Derek are supposed to get married, but postpone it because their friend has a terminal brain tumor. Meredith's father's new wife dies, he blames Meredith and becomes an alcoholic. Meredith gives him part of her liver. Meredith has a miscarriage. Meredith has a "hostile uterus." Meredith is caught tampering with an Alzheimer's trial. Meredith is fired. Meredith has her adopted baby briefly taken away. Meredith watches her sister, who she now loves, die in a gruesome plane crash and cannot save her.

Cristina Yang: Cristina nearly dies from an ectopic pregnancy. Cristina's lover is shot in the arm, impeding his ability to be a surgeon. Cristina helps him cover it up, confesses, he breaks up with her. Cristina and her lover reunite, they plan a wedding, she does not want to get married. Cristina's lover leaves her at the altar. Cristina is injured by a falling icicle. Cristina begins dating and eventually marries a doctor with PTSD who tries to strangle her in his sleep. Cristina herself develops PTSD following a second hospital shooting and can no longer operate. Cristina is tricked into operating on her mentor's husband, who dies. Cristina has an abortion, which tears her marriage apart. Cristina's husband cheats on her. Cristina is in a gruesome plane crash and develops brief reactive psychosis.

Richard Webber: Richard's wife leaves him. Richard's ex-lover dies of Alzheimer's. Richard's wife miscarries his baby. Richard and his wife reunite and then separate. Richard starts drinking again. Richard and his wife reunite. Richard's wife develops Alzheimer's. Richard steps down as Chief of Surgery. Richard puts his wife in a home. Richard's wife falls in love with someone else. 

Derek Shepherd: Derek gets a divorce. Derek is sued for malpractice and becomes seriously depressed. Derek is shot and his girlfriend miscarries. Derek's father dies. Derek's new wife screws up his clinical trial. Derek is in a plane crash and his hand is mangled. Derek undergoes surgery to regain greater function, but his hand goes numb the first time he tries to operate.

Izzie Stevens: Izzie's boyfriend can't deal with her job, and dumps her. Izzie is taunted for being a former underwear model. Izzie's new boyfriend cheats on her. Izzie falls in love with a patient and destroys her career trying to save him, but he dies anyway. Izzie had given up a daughter for adoption as a teenager, Izzie's daughter arrives at the hospital suffering from leukemia. Izzie gives her some bone marrow. Izzie helps destroy her friend's marriage only to discover she and her friend are not sexually compatible. Izzie thinks she is seeing a ghost, but, in fact, has Stage IV metastatic melanoma which has spread to her brain. Izzie gets fired. Izzie's husband asks for a divorce.

Alex Karev: Alex gets syphilis. Alex fails his medical board exams. Alex experiences erectile dysfunction. Alex's girlfriend breaks up with him, they get back together, she dumps him for a dying patient. Alex falls in love with a different patient, but she eventually regains her memory and goes back to her husband and comes back and tells him she's pregnant but she's not really pregnant, just mentally ill. Alex and his girlfriend get back together, but then she discovers she has cancer. Alex and his girlfriend get married anyway, but then she gets fired and they break up. Alex gets shot by a patient's husband. Alex falls in love with someone new and turns down a job opportunity for her, which she then takes for herself, leaving him. Alex has to amputate his mentor's leg against her will. Alex's mentor blames him for everything.

George O'Malley: George kills his first patient. George gets syphilis. George has his heart broken by Meredith. George fails his intern exams. George's father dies of cancer and a leaking aortic valve. George elopes due to grief, cheats on his wife immediately, leaves her for another woman, breaks up with the other woman. George is hit by a bus, horribly disfigured, and then dies.

Miranda Bailey: Miranda gives birth during a bomb scare without her husband, who was in a car accident. Miranda loses out on being Chief Resident. Miranda's son pulls a bookcase on himself and almost dies. Miranda's husband can't handle her schedule and blames her for the accident, they get a divorce. Miranda is trapped during a hospital shooting and has a friend die in her arms. Miranda suffers from PTSD following the incident.

Mark Sloan: Dead.

Lexie Grey: Dead.

Arizona Robbins: Lost leg.

Teddy Altman: Dead husband.

April Kepner: Lost virginity, went nuts, failed boards.

88 Comments / Post A Comment

A. Louise

Does Meredith fall in love with the bomb tech? I thought she fell in love / was dating the dog's vet, but then the dog dies, so naturally they have to break up, and isn't Meredith sick in the hospital when she dumps him? Oh goodness - this show.

Tag: "Shonda Rimes' unquenchable thirst for blood" has me not-so-successfully stifling giggles at my desk.

polka dots vs stripes

@A. Louise Yeah, she was in love with bomb tech too. He reappears in her purgatory scene after she falls off the pier? And yep, in love with the vet too. For someone who was **meant to be with** Dr McDreamy, she falls in love with an awful lot of other people...

Related story: When I watched the pilot for Friday Night Lights, I had immediate feelings of affection for Coach Taylor, but couldn't place them. His face and voice were so calming to me for (apparently) no reason. I IMDB'd (of course) and realized Eric Chandler was the bomb tech, which explained many of my feelings during that first watch.

Edit: Obviously I have trouble separating Coach Taylor from Kyle Chandler, the real life person. Oops.

Allie J

@A. Louise
I think she's just really taken by him, but who could blame her if she had fallen in love? He was played by Kyle "Coach Taylor" Chandler.

But yes, really, this show.

A. Louise

@polka dots vs stripes YES. Thank you.
The other highlight I failed to remember: the episode where everyone has alter egos and Meredith is super preppy and is engaged to a very dweeby Karev. KAREV.


Whoa, I've never seen Gray's Anatomy, but I think this is better.


@Kristen it's all on netflix. ive watched the first four seasons in the past week or so.

fata morgana

OMG, this is fantastic. Please do one for Private Practice too!


@fata morgana Everyone dates everyone and then Xander shows up and ruins everything for a while.


@fata morgana If I did things like LOL I would be LOLing all over my cube right now. Damn you, Xander!

raised amongst catalogs

Seattle there but for the Grace of God go I.


I'm embarrassed to admit how much more plausible it all seemed when I was watching it.

I did quit the show once George got blown up, however. That was just one horrible tradgedy too many.


@Trunchbull Meredith figuring out it was George was actually pretty sad/heart-wrenching/OMG.


@Nocs That was the worst. So many tears! But that is about where I stopped watching too.


@Trunchbull I love it when drama shows cram in as much soap-opera-quality plotline material as possible and try to make it seem important and dramatic (and plausible). Of course he had sex with her even though he's her half-brother! Of course there was a terrible boating accident and she's in a coma now!


@temporal_paradox Yeah, dead George/Ghost Denny was where I showed myself out, too.

V in the D@twitter

@Trunchbull George didn't get blown up. He got squished by a bus.

I keep trying to quit this show, but I've been saying that it has me in a Stockholm Syndrome grasp since the bomb in a body cavity episode. That was season 2. I've stopped trying to escape and am resigned to my fate.

every tomorrow@twitter

@Trunchbull The first like 3 seasons seemed totally plausible to me but I also watched them while recovering from surgery and hopped up on a shitload of opiates. I think it's probably relevant that I stopped enjoying the show at basically the exact moment I got off the pain meds.


@V in the D@twitter It's hard to stop, even now! But a couple weeks ago I was watching the new episode (all my favorite characters are gone, why do I even bother) and could not stop rolling my eyes at every line. Maybe it's finally time to move on.


Thank you for validating my decision to stop watching this show in 2007.


@sharkburp Yuuup. George slept with Izzie, despite no indications up to that point that they were attracted together, and I said, "FORGET IT."


@sharkburp this is exactly how I feel. I watched about two seasons before I realized that while I hated them all I didn't want to sit around watching implausibly awful things happen. Little did I know, it would get much, much worse.

Snood Mood

@meetapossum Me too! It was just so pointlessly out of character for both of them to suddenly be SUPER HOT for each other, I stopped watching.


I stopped watching right around when Meredith fell off the pier, so this was a nice way to catch up on all of the gruesome horror and disappointments I've missed.


@Ophelia I made it through the fall off the pier, but bailed at the end of that story when she meets her dead dog and Denny at that hospital in the sky and then decides not to die when she passes her mother in the hallway and the mom dies instead.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Ophelia Yes! Thank you. All of my college roommates were like, "Oh no, Rose, you have to keep watching! It gets so good!" and I was all, "Nope, that was a tidy end to a horrible show, thanks."


@runlolorun And wasn't the whole issue that she didn't want to live enough and that's why she was dying, so Cristina had to yell in her ear for a while? And yeah, that weird hospital/purgatory. I really doubt that Dead Denny would have cared enough to hang around and give her deathadvide. Same for that dog. Turned off show, never to return.


I remember watching this with my friends in 2nd year and getting shushed a whole lot for talking too much not during commercial breaks. God, such a philistine, I am.

Also I checked back in for one of the Cristina and crazy husband abortion episodes and CHECKED RIGHT THE FUCK OUT AGAIN.


I only saw the pilot and decided it wasnt for me, but this synopsis is definitely for me. All the cray and none of the grey.


This. Is. Amazing.

I watched "Grey's Anatomy" on Netflix for quite a while, but I had to stop after Meredith's near-drowning episode in which she was in that "purgatory" with dead patients. Remember the girl who was impaled and kept bleeding and screaming even in death?

Every time she screamed, I grew surer and surer that I couldn't handle this show anymore.


I stopped at the end of Season 4. On the one hand, I'm more interested to pick it up again now that I know that they kill off Lexie, ugh. (Retconning in little sisters never ends well, amirite?) On the other hand, McSteamy!??!? NOOOOOOOOO!!!11!!!!1!


I hope Sandra Oh is really rich now.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Lucienne Whenever I get mad at her for still being on this show (because I think she's so, so great), I picture the scene from "Under the Tuscan Sun" where she's dancing with her little baby in the countryside and it makes me feel better. (Also, remember how Addison is her lesbian partner - also a doctor - who leaves her when she's nine months preggo?! The hits keep coming.)



Also, Lord help me, I still watch this show. Why?

Damp Squid

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher UGH the ghost sex. That's when I checkec out *shudder*


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Doctor Hunt!!!


I just want to pretend that the show ended after season 3 with Meredith and Cristina leaving all the bullshit behind to go be amazing BFF doctors in Boston.

polka dots vs stripes

I am worried Nashville is going to end up like GA, where the first 3 or 4 years were somewhat stretched but generally passable drama but then it goes downhill real quick from there.

I will check back in 8-10 years to see what Hairpin has to say about it!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@polka dots vs stripes Tammi Taylor would never let that happen.


You forgot Cristina's stint as a waitress!


@Slutface Doesn't count as a horrible thing because of the clothes.


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher That denim vest! MeOW!


Majoring in literature doesn't look like such a bad career move after all!

Erika Dickenson@twitter

The funny part is there is a lot that's still missed in this summary - first thing that comes to mind is the whole hospital shooter (which was briefly mentioned), Derek getting shot, Cristina having to perform emergency surgery at gunpoint... Ah, this show is so good and so bad at the same time...

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I'll be real, I stopped watching Grey's when Meredith didn't drown in the episode with the ferry accident. She was a drain on my soul, and she's not even real.


And this is why I stopped watching after Season 2. Once it becomes obvious that everyone will sleep with everyone else without sufficient infusions of new blood it becomes Melrose Place with scrubs.


My roommates and I used to watch this every Thursday with lemon drop martinis and guacamole and chips. I think the vodka really helped it feel more plausible.


@PDubs This sounds like an awesome tradition. This show really does go down better with alcohol.


A few years ago the hospital I worked in went on lockdown for a shooting in the building. I posted on Facebook to let my friends and family know that I was OK and briefly explained the situation. One friend promptly replied with "That's just like what happened on 'Gray's Anatomy'!" We don't talk much anymore.


@area@twitter I have a friend who, no matter how many times I've told her that I don't want Grey's or Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars or WHATEVER (not a holier-than-thou kind of not watching, more of a I-don't-have-a-TV-and-I'm-not-interested-enough-to-Netflix-it way), occasionally sends me texts about the shows she is watching, ie, "OMG, I cannot BELIEVE Serena just DID that!" And I'm all, "Who is Serena?"

I bring this up because one time, out of f'ing NOWHERE, I get a text that just says, "Holy shit, they are shooting up the hospital!" So I am immediately texting back, "Oh my god, are you okay? Where are you? Why are you at the hospital? WHAT IS GOING ON?" And I am seriously panicked. She responds with, "Aren't you watching GREY'S?!?" Seriously so pissed.


@TheSkyGirl Yes. This. I understand and enjoy fantasy and escapism, but I have trouble making goofy small talk about it when I'm trying to figure out if someone I know has been hurt or killed.

Homestar Runner

@TheSkyGirl Plus, on a completely shallow note...hey, some of us watch on DVR! Thanks for the uninvited spoilers!

(also she is terrible for making you think she was in actual danger. Sorry about that)


I love this show! Clearly it is all ridiculous but I laugh, I cry and I keep coming back to it every Thursday night.


@khaleesi Oh yeah. I still watch too! I've made it this far with these characters; might as well stand by them for however long it's all going to play out.

honey cowl

@Nocs And it is soooooo good this season!


@khaleesi Same here. There is always the occasional flat-out ridiculous episode, but usually I enjoy the show. The nice thing is that even if one character's storyline is getting weird, another one is usually having a good storyline, so it balances out and works. I will watch it until the end.


@Minx here here!


Wow, it looks like we all quit watching right around the same time, huh? I did just mainline the first season of Scandal, and reading all this junk at once has made me realize that the niggling things that bothered me about the show were really just Shonda-itis. She has some weird ideas about what's normal, that lady.


@sophia_h I don't think she cares a lot about what's normal, but more about what makes people keep watching TV? I mean, I would like to watch a show about hospital people doing realistic hospital things (suitably edited to take out the lengthy waiting for results etc) but I suspect I'm in a minority.

honey cowl

I have never quit watching & will never quit watching. Grey's Anatomy = my life.


@LaurenF amen


@LaurenF Glad to see there are others like me! I just rewatched the entire season on Netflix (bedrest suuuuucks), and my husband walked in during the hospital shootout and said "Wait, where's the doctor that got fired for being homophobic?" and I said "That's Dr. Burke and that was multiple seasons ago" and he said "They've had more than one shooting at that hospital?!" and then he didn't stop laughing. I may file for divorce.

honey cowl

@dk If he doesn't love Grey's he doesn't deserve you. xxx


I like that at least the characters acknowledge it. Yang calls it "Seattle Grace Mercy Death".

The other thing about Shonda Rimes shows that drives me nuts is how they're always treating each other. I mean, I have friends who work in medicine, and yes, they'll get prescriptions from the doctors, and I'll let my EMT friends examine me if it seems necessary, but I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to do surgery on your best friend.


Where is Callie?? She is my favorite, I think.

I kind of like how completely insane this show is - it's like a soap opera with good dialogue and better/hotter actors. And the catharsis is great. Pretty much every episode I am guaranteed to at least tear up. Also I just watched the episode where Addison goes to LA and they essentially create a completely new show, and I was so glad to get back to the "real" people in Seattle, so.


@highfivesforall Callie Torres: Made fun of by Meredith and Izzie. Fails at being chief resident. Is cheated on by George with Izzie. George is run over by a truck. Is dumped by first girlfriend for not being gay enough. Is disinherited by her parents for being gay. Is left by Arizona for "Africa." When Callie proposes to Arizona, she gets in a car accident and almost dies and almost miscarries her baby. Arizona is in a plane crash and Callie has to order her leg amputation. Arizona blames Callie. Callie's best friend Mark dies in the plane crash.

Did I forget anything?


@LooseBaggyMonster Yay! Thanks! Mark was also her babydaddy, and Arizona was pretty pissed when she got back that Callie had slept with him. But other than that, I think so!

Summer Somewhere

I work in a hospital in Seattle with residents and it's fun to watch the show and make fun of how awfully and inaccurately they portray both elements. Oh and it's also fun to laugh at the one dramatic speech in each show where a character repeats the same thing three times. Repeats the same thing three times. Repeats the same thing three times!

Sandra Oh is my favorite and too good for the show. Callie is a close second.

My friend calls Grey's Anatomy emotional porn - it's good for when you haven't cried in a while, and you really need to, but you need a jumpstart.

honey cowl

@Summer Somewhere

Oh I knowwwww (about the Seattle thing, not the medical thing (I was an English major)). I love how they have the ONE shot of the Space Needle from above, flying in from Queen Anne. And where is Derek's mystical woods house/trailer place? On the peninsula?? And we're supposed to believe they commute to the hill from there?!

Summer Somewhere

@LaurenF What about the amazing sunny view they have from that one hospital skybridge of rolling brown hills with no trees? And how they have that view on one end but they are ALSO next to the Space Needle in the middle of Queen Anne? And how it's never overcast during the day but everything is always drenched at night? And when it rains, it's always at a key emotional moment, and always really hard, and often signified by thunder?! And there isn't nearly enough North Face/REI going on in people's outerwear.


I think Derek's house is believable for a fancy surgeon living on one of the islands (plus lots of doctors live out there and commute in on the ferry), although the lack of development around there is kind of ridiculous, as if Bellingham broke off the top of the state and drifted down near Mercer Island.


@Summer Somewhere Now that you've mentioned that, I can't wait to notice it tonight. Tonight. TONIGHT.

And I will admit to totally using Grey's as emotional porn in that exact way - even though the episode was a little weird, the singing one always does it for me. Sing, Owen! Sing! Even though I hate you.

Summer Somewhere

@dk I cry every time someone dies. Even if I hated them (Lexie). I'm easily manipulated.


@Summer Somewhere Oh, totally. Every death scene gets me. Even the annoying blonde impaled girl from the train. But especially the "Mark Sloane 1968-2012" title card at the end of that episode HOLY FUCK I can't believe they killed him off.


@Summer Somewhere I was banned from watching the show while I was pregnant because I wouldn't stop crying over any Addison/baby storyline. My husband once walked into the room during the first few minutes of an episode and gave me a look, so I said "There are no babies in this episode!" and JUST THEN they cut to the final plotline in the episode, with Addison saying something about "the fetus's heart is growing outside his body" and my husband just picked up the remote, turned off the tv, and left the room. SO MANY EMOTIONS on that show, good lord.

Summer Somewhere

@dk OH MY GOD the Mark Sloane episode. Didn't we already know he was dead? And then they jerked us around with him being all cheerful? I loved him so much and his nontraditional family. :( :(

Living My Best Life Far Away from the Hairpin!

@Summer Somewhere "And there isn't nearly enough North Face/REI going on in people's outerwear." LOL at that (also Arcteryx, Marmot, et al). I've only ever seen the pilot episode, but several people I've met from other countries have been like, "Augh, you're from Seattle? Grey's Anatomy! <3 <3" So then I feel the pressure to pretend I'm familiar with it, and I have to feel bad about breaking it to them that Seattle Grace is NOT A REAL HOSPITAL so I've never been there.

Summer Somewhere

@Katzen-party If you watched the show you would probably break their hearts telling them about how wrong it is. That's what I would do. I'm kind of a parade-rainer.


As someone who only watched the first three seasons, this is a lot of stuff to take in. Mark dies? Bailey gets divorced? What?


I used to live with three women who all watched and would have their friends over to watch it, so I'd join in sometimes. The wine and apps were fun, but it was really hard for me not to scream, "REALLY?! REALLY?! MORE TERRIBLE THINGS ARE HAPPENING TO THESE PEOPLE. JUST... ALSONEOJHNCHFO NO!"

I mean, I watched Lost so I don't need a show to be believable, but this out of control. And although I'm all about Shonda Rhimes' policy of casting her shows, they're all so incredibly melodramatic.


I stopped watching after the 2nd season, which makes it easier for me to pretend that George got syphilis directly from Alex.


I pretty much jumped ferry boat when George died, but I like re-watching the first seasons, it reminds me of what my life was like eight years ago. However, as someone who has watched an embarrassing amount of ER reruns I can't really justify my lack of patience with the high drama plot lines. Mark Green died of Brain cancer and then they brought him back in flash backs years and years later! Or the Episode where both Carter and Lucy are stabbed?


If I recall correctly, while the show has been on for 9 seasons (and I've watched all of them, damn it), the events have actually only taken place in about 6 years or so. Like, the interns didn't finish their first year until the end of Season 3, and then a couple of the season premieres take place immediately after events of the season finale (instead of real-time). It just makes it all even more insane.

PS I love this show and I will never give up on it.

279th District Court

I have a ridiculously huge soft spot for this show because I have watched it with several groups of people that I love over the years, and I spent Season 3 bawling helplessly about my father's death via the proxy of these fictional characters. And then Callie Torres discovered her bisexual idenity just as I was doing the same. So yeah, I will probably forgive it all its sins for all time.

But even so, the ghost sex sent me headed for the hills, only to check in a few years later when I started watching with grad school friends and lots of wine.


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