Recently I’ve been hooked on reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, thanks to one of the Sky channels repeating the show from the very beginning, one episode a day.
Now that the show has been around for 10 years and many of the original cast have left, it’s fascinating to look back and see what the characters were like at the beginning and how they’ve changed over the years.
But watching the old episodes has also thrown up a few surprises, some annoyances, and made me look at some of the characters in a new way.
*WARNING* There are plenty of spoilers here, but mostly covering old storylines.
The Burke/Cristina relationship
Despite being held up as one of the key love affairs in the show, watching this back it’s clear just how passive/aggressive Burke’s attitude to Yang was. Not only was she younger and a junior employee, but she was his student, which meant he held most of the power. And he used that to push and cajole her into doing whatever he wanted, even if it meant encouraging her to become someone that she wasn’t.
It wasn’t enough that they make their relationship official, it had to become public, jeopardising her place in the hospital. Then Burke pushed Cristina to move in with him. When he proposed, she was reluctant, but agreed to a small wedding, which grew and grew as he organised an elaborate church ceremony.
But just as she’d finally overcome her doubts and agreed to everything he wanted, he decided to leave her at the altar.
Granted this might have been different if Isaiah Washington hadn’t been fired from the show, but how would Burke and Cristina have ended up? No doubt he would have guilted her into having children and giving up or reducing her surgical career.
The sad thing is that most of the blame for this relationship’s failure is laid at Cristina’s emotionally detached door. Look at Derek after the abandoned wedding, commenting that what Yang could give Burke wasn’t enough, but she loved him ‘as much as she knew how’.
Nice guy George
George O’Malley, everyone’s favourite intern and all round nice guy, is actually a bit of a dick.
He’s prone to throwing a strop whenever anything doesn’t go his way and always acts like the victim. Look how he behaved after his disastrous night with Meredith, when she burst into tears immediately after sleeping with him. He openly ignores her for days, yet later admits that he knew she was vulnerable and still took advantage.
Then there’s Callie. George never really treated her well; perhaps he wanted to love her, but she was the salve that helped him to get over Meredith and his dad’s death. He always allowed himself to be swayed by Izzy’s dislike of her. Then he cheated.
Not cool, Georgie, not cool.
The arrogance of Dr. Bailey
Although initially known as The Nazi, Bailey has always been regarded as a brilliant doctor and a popular character on the show. Yet looking back another thread starts to emerge, one where she often takes a superior attitude to other doctors, attacking them whenever they don’t agree to do things her way. And God forbid anyone questions her judgement, or she doesn’t receive an accolade, like Chief Resident.
In the most recent series she wouldn’t even join in the celebrations after Cristina received a prestigious award nomination, because she was jealous.
The trouble with Izzy
She started the programme as the ideal woman: hot, self-assured, compassionate. A great doctor.
As the years passed, we saw a darker side to Izzy, who became insecure in her own abilities in the face of Meredith and Cristina’s success. Izzy always had a righteous streak, forcing her opinions on other people, such as the pregnant teen she convinced to have her baby adopted.
But it was in her most righteous moments that Izzy caused the most pain. When her heart patient fiancé narrowly missed out on a donor organ, she played God, cutting his LVAD wire to make him sicker and steal the heart. After taking a dislike to best friend George’s new wife Callie, Izzy decided she was in love with him and stole him away. Days later, with no spark in the bedroom, their relationship fizzled out. Jealous of Cristina’s dedication to cardio, Izzy began to compete with her for surgeries, despite knowing that she didn’t have the same passion for the field.
Then after he nursed her through cancer, Izzy disappeared, leaving husband Alex to foot her giant medical bills.
Meredith and becoming ‘extraordinary’
Although the programme is named after her, Meredith has lost her way over the years. Despite her early promise and illustrious lineage, she just couldn’t compete with Cristina when it came to surgical talent.
Yet she always denied this, lashing out and blaming Yang when threatened.
Despite the sometimes unpleasant character quirks, I still love Grey’s: it’s one of those shows that I can binge watch for hours at a time. But it won’t be the same without Sandra Oh, who I’ve come to appreciate so much more over the last few seasons, especially since her relationship with Owen.
If only they were destined to be together. Sigh.