Grey's Anatomy

How Grey’s Anatomy Became My Family

“You still watch Grey’s Anatomy? Why?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this phrase over the course of the past couple of years. Because the show has managed to thrive for such a long period of time (it will soon become the longest running medical drama ever), it has become “cool” to hate on Grey’s. People automatically assume it’s not worth watching anymore, oblivious to the fact that it’s still an immensely powerful show. I watch (and love) all the prestige shows on TV: The Handmaid’s Tale, Big Littles Lies, Killing Eve, etc…. and let me tell you, as impressive as they all are, none carry the emotional weight and gravitas that Grey’s Anatomy has so perfectly curated over the course of 15 seasons.

Here are the ways Grey’s has become an integral part of my life:

It helped me overcome the loss of my parents.

Believe it or not, the ABC drama has outlived both my parents. It’s mindboggling to me that when the show premiered, both my parents were still here. Unfortunately, my father passed away in season two, and my mother passed away in season eight. Both of them had cancer, and we all know how traumatic that is on a family. I watched both wither away because of the disease, and Grey’s was there for me the whole way through. Unsurprisingly, watching (and crying through) a medical show proved to be an extremely therapeutic outlet; it allowed me to unpack a lot of issues since we lived in a hospital for such an extended period of time. I could relate to a lot of the situations (no not the plane crashes and shootings), and this helped me grieve my horrifying losses.

Sometimes, I still flash back to my parents’ ordeals. Sequences with patients saying their final goodbyes to their loved ones hit me particularly hard, but I always feel better after letting it all out. And hey, if you count the hours, I’ve probably spent more time with Meredith and co than with my own parents. Can you imagine the bond that I’ve forged with these characters?

It helped me through unemployment and anxiety.

At the start of season 13, I left my corporate job after a whole lot of hell and started experiencing bouts of anxiety sprinkled into an existential crisis. Grey’s brought me a lot of comfort during that time because it was one of the few shows I was still inspired to write about. When your life is changing, having things you can rely on (like Grey’s returning every September for a new season and sticking around until May) is extremely reassuring.

When Grey’s does end for good, it will be an enormous loss. It’s not comparable to a human loss of course, but there will certainly be a void in my life nonetheless. I felt similar emptiness when other favorites (Friends, Buffy, Alias, Desperate Housewives) came to an end. But Grey’s has outlived them all in terms of seasons (and emotional weight), and that makes me dread the eventual series finale. And the next time someone judges you for “still” watching Grey’s Anatomy? Own it – because there’s nothing to be ashamed of!

4 comments

  1. Wow, Nad. It moves me to know how much Grey’s Anatomy means to you. Out of the shows I’ve seen in my life, there are less than a handful which has meant that much to me.

      1. Doctor Who and Six Feet Under come to mind. While developing meaningful connections with characters on those shows, I’ve learned many lessons about life from them as well.

  2. Such a great read, thank you for writing this! I think I feel similarly about Grey’s even if I’m somewhat struggling to catch up on this latest season. It’s crazy how this one show can mean so much to so many people. I wish we were at a point where I can say I still watch Grey’s without getting a “are you serious?” look.

    To me, a show that’s had a very similar impact on my life is Gilmore Girls. That show just OOZES warmth, it’s impossible not to feel something from watching it.

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