133 Thoughts Our TV Editor Had While Watching Grey's Anatomy for the First Time

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133 Thoughts Our TV Editor Had While Watching <i>Grey's Anatomy</i> for the First Time

Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers from Grey’s Anatomy. Yes, all of it.

I should clarify at the outset that this was not, technically speaking, my first time ever watching Grey’s Anatomy. As I explained in my column on medical dramas from last September, I’d quit creator Shonda Rhimes’ career-making series in the spring of 2006, when the Denny Duquette subplot came to its inglorious conclusion, then, on the advice of Paste’s assistant TV editor and resident Grey’s expert Amy Amatangelo, leaped ahead 250 episodes or so to see where things stood. (Amy is my most trusted guide through my TV blind spots: She was also there every step of the way during my binge of Gilmore Girls.) Intrigued, and with Amy on speed dial, I decided to start Grey’s from the beginning, half expecting to drop out around Denny’s death once more. 15 seasons and (too) many tweets later, here are my unvarnished thoughts on the defining medical drama of our time, and one of the most influential series of any genre in the history of television. 133 of them.

1. I just want everyone to know that I’ve reached the episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Christina Ricci guests as a paramedic whose hand is preventing the mock WWII-era ordnance inside a guy’s chest cavity from exploding.

2. All the Times Grey’s Has Tried to Kill Meredith, Ranked

3. I could not have known this when I first saw it (since it hadn’t happened yet), but I got myself into a George/Meredith situation a while back and man am I feeling dragged!

4. For the record, I was the George. Put “I’m not here to chill!” on my freaking tombstone.

5. Decided to turn on Grey’s while folding laundry and now I’m casually sobbing over John Cho killing a young woman in a car accident

6. If The Cut ever asked me to do an “I Think About This a Lot” column, I’d write about the death of Denny Duquette.

7. I just got to the episode of Grey’s where Burke proposes to Christina and George proposes to Callie and I yelled “No!” at the screen in horror.


9. This little girl in the ferry episode is giving me such major Bad Seed vibes.

10. One thing I love about Grey’s is that it makes the most major emotional tumult in your own life seem manageable by comparison. (I had a rough week last week.)

11. If Izzy and George don’t end up together I am going to scream, and yes I am somehow this invested in an 11-year-old will they/won’t they situation from a primetime soap.

12. Amy tells me that it is genuinely shocking I don’t know how this turns out.

13. “There’s always gonna be a fish in a man’s penis, Chief.” —Dr. Miranda Bailey

14. Thinking about how little younger, straighter me could have predicted that older, gayer me would think this Private Practice backdoor pilot would be EXACTLY MY JAM.

15. Addison even develops a crush on the hot acupuncturist, this TV program wants to ruin my life.

16. This man just cut off his own frigging foot with a stolen chainsaw in the frigging ER.

17. “The little joys and tragedies that make you who you are have no place in my hospital.” —Dr. Miranda Bailey

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18. I waited this ENTIRE EPISODE for Seth Green’s carotid to burst on Grey’s and OH MY GOD IT WAS EVEN CRAZIER THAN I IMAGINED.

19. “If in the first act you have introduced a character with an exposed carotid, then in third act it must be blown up by flirtatious laughter.” —Shonda Rhimes [Editor’s note: This is not an actual quote.]

20. Lord today, Clea Duvall got attacked by a bear and has a part of her scalp flapping right off.

21. Hot gay soldiers are makin’ out on Grey’s!

22. Wow, I ship Hahn and Callie so hard.


24. I’m about halfway through Season Four and I am ready for Derek to die so I don’t have to watch one more minute of he and Meredith dithering.


26. I’m sure this 12-person kidney swap on Grey’s is going to go very smoothly.

27. Two words: Human! Pretzel!

28. These interns are performing appendectomies on each other, y’all.

29. I cannot believe they made Denny’s ghost into an entire subplot; I have to believe it means Izzy’s toast.

30. Pitch: Denny Duquette is the worst character in the history of television.


32. McDreamy vs. McSteamy! The McRumble!

33. Sharon Lawrence dressed as a high-school sophomore would be Isobel Stevens’ mother.

34. Derek got Meredith a solo surgery as a “wedding present.” This show is so fuckin’ corny. I love it.

35. Uh, so, I am SOBBING at this deathbed wedding switcheroo!!!!

36. Private O’Malley, reporting for duty.


38. I can count on one hand the number of times a TV episode has surprised me this much. My jaw is still on the floor.

39. I hereby pronounce Izzy’s wig ICONIC.

40. I have reached Kim Raver’s first episode of “Grey’s.” I am in way too deep!

41. Someone remind me what Katherine Heigl did to Shonda Rhimes to get Izzy written off Grey’s with this drawn out, disastrous hallucination / cancer / marriage / near-death / recovery / layoff / disappearance / demented science teacher / return / breakup / departure arc.


43. Is that Sarah Paulson as Ellis Grey? THIS. IS. THE. TV. CONTENT. I. WANT.

44. My kingdom for a GIF of Miranda Bailey saying, “I keep my surgical field the way Gawd made it.”

45. Chief Derek Shepherd sucks.

46. I have reached the Grey’s Anatomy shooter-in-the-hospital episode, holy shitballs.

47. This episode is completely terrifying, my heart is in my throat and my stomach is in my toes.

48. I made it through the active shooter two-parter on Grey’s and I’m so relieved. (Also: genuinely surprised Derek didn’t die.)

49. It is a well-known rule of TV that every medical drama must do a documentary-style episode at some point, and I have arrived at the one on Grey’s.

50. I hate Owen Hunt so much.

51. Here I am minding my business during this Adele episode of Grey’s and Callie and Arizona get into a frigging car crash. Shonda Rhimes why do you want to hurt me?!

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52. Uhhhh so “Callie Might Die and Lose the Baby” is the focus of the Grey’s Anatomy MUSICAL EPISODE, what in the ever-loving fuck.


54. Nothing about Grey’s makes me happier than the fact that Miranda Bailey dates the hottest, sweetest, most generous men and has them wrapped around her little finger.

55. Hate it when a massive sinkhole opens up swallowing me and my estranged wife!

56. Shonda Rhimes has two words for y’all, and they are: PENIS. TRANSPLANT.

57. Cristina’s hair! Meredith Webber! Preppy Karev! The Grey’s Anatomy alternate universe episode is the greatest Christmas gift of all.

58. I am pretty much incurably single, so answer me this: Couples cannot possibly take as many baths together as Grey’s implies, right?

59. “So, do we have another lady, or is it just two lesbian moms and a widow at Seattle’s most romantic restaurant?” I love Arizona Robbins like she’s a member of my family.

60. Meredith Kepner’s sweaty pits Jesus-freak medical boards meltdown is the DEFINITION of ICONIC, thank u next!

61. Mark my words: I will never forgive Shonda Rhimes for this plane crash episode as long as I live.

62. I am at least glad that the writers, having written themselves into this corner, have to spend the rest of their lives writing themselves out of it.

63. Devastated the Cristina Yang / Mr. Feeney Grey’s spinoff never got off the ground.

64. Holy hot damn have we got a Neve Campbell guest arc or what?

65. I would die for Callie and Arizona, I just want that on the record.

66. Pretty convenient that Miranda just told her bridesmaids “wear a dress and don’t sit down” and they ended up in perfectly color-coordinated (but not matchy-matchy) crimson.

67. That said, having a woman perform surgery in her wedding dress is a true Shonda flex.


69. OMG, I think I finally figured out why it’s called Grey-Sloan and not Seattle Grace anymore.

70. Excuse me, where is the scammer dramedy Calliope and Julio Plantain?

71. PITCH: Why Owen Hunt Is the Dullest TV Series Regular of the 21st Century

72. They’re gonna buy this goddamn hospital!

73. Here’s something I didn’t expect: Seeing Meredith and McDreamy happily married in Season Nine is vastly more interesting to me than the will-they/won’t-they rollercoaster of the early seasons. (Yes, I am aware this doesn’t last. On “Grey’s,” nothing does.)

74. I know this is not the official title, but I’ve decided this storm/blackout episode is called “Hurricane Shonda”

75. This goofy-ass Season 10 Halloween episode (zombie, dead-eyed woman, wound full of maggots) confirms that I’m fully in the silly stage of my insane Grey’s binge.

76. I had a dream (premonition???) last night about how they’re going to get rid of Derek. I think I’ve officially begun to OD on Grey’s.

77. This “Callie goes to court” episode is a great example of how hard the major TV genres actually are to pull off: The best medical drama of the last 15 years can barely manage 42 minutes of mediocre (or worse) legal drama.

Avery Kepner Greys Thread.gif

78. OMG Avery standing up at Kepner’s wedding!!! (The fact that this show continues to fool me with age-old TV tropes is an embarrassment, but one I welcome.)


80. I just realized this must be Sandra Oh’s farewell arc and I’m already bereft.

81. Preston Burke lives!

82. Shonda couldn’t just let Cristina leave for Switzerland in peace. She had to write a mall bombing to go with it.

83. “You make me brave. OK, now we dance it out.” I have laughed and cried and shrieked so many times at Cristina and Meredith’s sequence of goodbyes I think it might constitute heart damage.

84. “The only thing you inherit in this family is Alzheimer’s.” I freaking LOVE this dark Meredith/Alex friendship.

85. “The carousel never stops turning.” —Ellis/Meredith Grey

86. Millie Bobby Brown sighting!

87. Derek Shepherd: Once a cheater, always a cheater.

88. In a sense, Derek Shepherd suffers the slowest death in TV history. I’ve known something terrible was going to happen to him for YEARS

89. If this turns out to be a Jack Pearson situation I’m writing a letter.

90. “JACK PEARSON AIN’T GOT SHIT ON ME!” – Derek Shepherd

91. Lord today, they made this man narrate his own death at Podunk General.

92. “If I lay here/ If I just lay here / Would you lie with me / And just forget the world.” This farewell/flashback montage has me in tears!

93. Dr. DeLuca!

94. “I’m qualified to tell you how you’ll survive.” —Meredith Grey, the unluckiest woman on television

95. It took 11 seasons, but Miranda Bailey finally made chief of surgery.

96. Silver flood!

97. “Perfect Penny killed my husband” might be the darkest sentence Meredith has ever uttered, and that’s against some stiff competition.

98. The defining feature of late Grey’s is its use of awful acoustic covers of Top 40 hits at profoundly inopportune moments.

99. WHOMST is this Aussie with the arms?!

100. This episode where Meredith gets attacked by the patient is BEYOND intense. Credit to Shonda for finding new ways to fuck me up 12 seasons in!

101. I have just learned that this episode was directed by Denzel Washington.

102. Whew, this episode where Bailey suspends Ben for that botched C-section is a real life-ruiner.

103. Objecting to the lawyer’s question from the witness stand in this Torres/Robbins custody battle is Peak Miranda Bailey.

104. This sleep-hallucination-in-the-OR episode might be the first truly unwatchable hour of “Grey’s,” for me. Can I survive the last 17 minutes?

105. Ah, I see what’s going on. Cheap way to sneak in a random scene of Meredith telling her kids Derek is dead, like 52 episodes later.

106. Meredith’s voicemail to Alex: “There were five of us. And now it’s just you and I.” This show never, ever, ever leans out of its long game. Respect.

107. Honestly, I am questioning my friendship with Amy Amatangelo since she never told me about Dana Brody as a pregnant prisoner on Grey’s.

108. Uhhhhhhh, there’s a woman wrapped head to toe in razor wire, what the fuck?

Meredith Greys Thread.gif

109. In a completely unsurprising development, Meredith Grey has 6 friends, an archenemy, and a love interest after approximately 12 minutes aboard this plane that’s flying straight into a violent storm.

110. Update: Meredith is draining a brain bleed in row 14 while Riggs is trying to revive a man with pulmonary hypertension in the galley. Natch.

111. Edwards just SET A MAN ON FIRE to save herself and a random child.

112. So… it turns out that was not the worst thing to happen in the episode.

113. “Fire in the hospital trumps rapist on the loose” might be the most Grey’s line ever uttered.

114. Five months and 293 episodes later, I have arrived at the Season 14 premiere—the episode I looked at for my column on medical dramas, and which inspired my binge.

115. Conrad Hilton as Big Avery makes too much sense.

116. Amelia Shepherd has been on this show for three seasons and the first time I cared about her is when she got this massive brain tumor.

117. That said, I’m not sure Amelia is the character I wanted to spend a Diving Bell and the Butterfly episode with.

118. “Gun in the vagina” is a stretch even for this nuthouse.

119. DeLuca’s sister hooking up with all of his roommates is the funniest thing.

120. EXCUSE ME, this Baby George / Baby Cristina / Baby Izzy episode!

121. Making it to Meredith winning the Harper Avery in the Baby Interns episode with the ghost of her mother looking down from the gallery feels like an initiation rite: I have entered the rarefied air of Grey’s stans.

122. “I haven’t slept because you penetrate me every five minutes” is an actual line of dialogue from the Emmy-winning program Grey’s Anatomy.

123. Jo having the chance to remove abusive asshole Mr. Shue’s life support has me feeling a certain… glee.

124. One of the great tragedies of Grey’s is that Karev’s personality improves at the same rate his looks decline.

125. Like, this Alex/Jo flashback episode is really getting the waterworks going.

126. Arizona accidentally handing out pot cookies at a major press conference is an all-timer Grey’s scenario.

127. Me when Chris Carmack shows up as an “ortho god”: Welcome to Grey-Sloan Memorial, bitch!

128. Also I am LIVING for this gay docs subplot.

129. I knew they were gonna bone in this ambulance! Representation, baby!

130. Current status: Emotional at Debbie Allen dancing to Diana Ross in the surgical theatre.

131. “Abercrombie & Stitch” is a worthy successor to “McDreamy & McSteamy,” nickname-wise.

132. I identify so closely with Glasses that my Grey’s T-shirt would read, “I met someone, and he’s hot, and he’s confident, and he likes me.”

133. I’m pleased to report that I will now be watching Grey’s live for the first time since 2006: After 332 episodes in less than 6 months, I’m all caught up.

The 333rd episode of Grey’s Anatomy airs tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Matt Brennan is the TV editor of Paste Magazine. He tweets about what he’s watching @thefilmgoer.

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