Does the name “Denny Duquette” mean anything to you? How about the quote, “He’s not the sun, you are.” or the phrase “wedding vow Post-It”? If you vigorously nodded your head in response to these three questions, welcome, kindred sister. This is a safe space for the both of us, a corner of the internet where it’s not only okay but also welcome to ask the following question: Is this weird? I still watch Grey’s Anatomy on Thursdays at 8pm.
Of course, the answer is complicated, because yes, in 2019, it most certainly is weird to tune into a show at the time it actually airs on television sets, instead of binge-watching it on a streaming platform. It’s weird to feel so much affection for said show, which is now entering its SIXTEENTH season, while also admitting (within trusted circles) that at least half of these seasons have been thoroughly mediocre. It’s weird to adore a cast that has drastically evolved more times than Meredith Gray has been in a plane crash (an ever-so-slightly unrealistic number). It’s weird to feel a tingle of bone-deep comfort during the signature intro music, a mere snippet of the full song that used to play at the beginning of every episode during the earlier seasons (“Nobody knows where they might end up/ Nobody knows”) <– I have chills.
Watching it now reminds me of being in ninth grade, when I first started the show. I had also just started at a boarding school, and my eagerness to make friends was promptly facilitated by weekly common room gatherings to witness Mer, Der, and the rest of the Seattle Grace Hospital crew engage in various shenanigans. We bonded over the eternal debate (McDreamy vs. McVet?) and the revelation that Doctor Bailey was all bark and no bite. We were all charmed by Christina Yang and annoyed by George. We collectively gasped when Derek’s wife showed up in the Season 1 finale, and were collectively perplexed when she turned out to be a lovely person (yes, I did watch all six seasons of her spin-off, Private Practice). We all found “dark and twisty” Meredith equal parts infuriating and endearing, naturally.
Is it weird that I’m still thoroughly entertained by all of it? That I’ve rewatched the entire series multiple times? That I feel a deep sense of nostalgia whenever I do? Perhaps. But like I said, this is a safe space, and if you, too, still watch Grey’s Anatomy, then I’m sure you understand my impulse behind watching it: not because it’s prestige television, but because it’s the adult-appropriate, entertainment equivalent of a kid’s blankie. It’s warm apple pie. Staying inside on a snowy day. The smell of my mom’s neck. Comforting, in every sense of the word.
I credit Shonda Rhimes’s signature approach to the plot of each episode and her talent for writing characters that are the perfect mix of “complicated” and “easy to digest.” I’m addicted to how soothing it is, and to the predictability of the emotional rollercoaster that plays out season after season, making you chuckle when a character does something that is sooooo them and making you cry when they have yet another near-death experience, or spew an impassioned, impromptu speech about humanity (happens like every other episode).
Today, season 16 premieres on ABC, and I’m thrilled to report that Rhimes has already signed on for a 17th season to follow. I plan to keep watching for as long as Meredith keeps saving lives and making questionable decisions. How about you?
Graphics by Dasha Faires.