Has “Grey’s Anatomy” Jumped The Shark?

I can usually ride along with the sillier aspects of GREY’S ANATOMY, much the same way I willingly suspend my disbelief and accept CSI techs getting DNA results back in 20 minutes, questioning witnesses, carrying guns, and driving chrome-plated Hummers.  But the season finale of GREY was just too much. 

An article in today’s LA Times analyzes the more outrageous aspects of the story.  Izzie, one of the regular characters, falls in love with Denny, a potential heart-transplant patient, and goes to outrageous lengths to make sure he receives a donor heart:

Izzie then deliberately cuts the pump lines of Denny’s heart’s left
ventricular-assisting device. Emergency cases get priority, and his
deteriorating condition will move him up the transplant list.  But Izzie’s disconnection of Denny’s assistance device (which initially
caused the heart to stop) ultimately leads to his kidney failure.  The other surgical interns learn what is happening, but they don’t report Izzie’s behavior to the supervising resident.

the truth comes out, the chief of surgery acknowledges that the
hospital’s accreditation may be in jeopardy, but he takes no action and
Izzie quits on her own. Because of his worsening heart failure, Denny receives the heart that was intended for the other recipient, but dies afterward.

All of this strained believability to the breaking point. Nobody was behaving in a realistic way in a realistic world…yet we aren’t being asked to believe it’s a fantasy world…we’re supposed to accept that it’s real. In other words, this isn’t James Bond, Harry Potter, or  the X-Men, where you know going in the rules of the real world simply don’t apply. The doctors in GREY are supposed to be real interns in a real hospital in the real world. But you’d never know watching the finale:

A prospective heart transplant patient would never sign a Do Not
Resuscitate order — surgeons would not operate on such a patient
because resuscitation may be necessary at any point. Second, if a heart assistance pump were disconnected, a loud alarm would sound.  Third,
interns could never monitor a sick heart patient for such a prolonged
period of time without intervention by at least a nurse, if not a more
senior physician. In the show, the interns watch Denny’s heart stop,
resuscitate him, give him emergency medication — all without
observation or intervention. In real life, such a stunt would be cause
for Izzie’s immediate arrest for attempted murder; the other interns
would likely be kicked out of the residency program.

The upshot, according to common sense and the LA Times:

In fact, the only truly believable scene is the correct use of
phenobarbital to put Dr. Meredith Grey’s dog to sleep because of
incurable bone cancer.

13 thoughts on “Has “Grey’s Anatomy” Jumped The Shark?”

  1. To answer your question – yes!
    I sat there and watched the whole thing (while shaking my head and rolling my eyes – massive headache later.) I was aided in my attempt by my trusty Tivo. When the suspension of belief became too much, I just fast fowarded through the mess.
    What really concerns me, however, is that I was with some people the next day who raved about the realism of the episode, and said they were in tears. I, too, was in tears, but of laughter.

  2. Any show that feels it necessary to make a season finale into THREE HOURS is obviously trying to suck the money out of the advertisers before it is too late.
    That show jumped the shark when George fell in love with the girl who lives in the basement of the hospital.

  3. Is this really any less beleivable then the woman who’s heart caught on fire and she lived? The patient who was stolen from another ward and then tuned out to be a man with a fetus growing inside of him? Burke admiting to leaving a towel in a woman with no reprecussions?
    My favorite, the fact that Alex has made more mistakes then anyone else, has poor test scores and is in a constant state of telling his bosses to go fuck themselves. Why is he still around in this “competetive program?”
    The season finale is no more or less beleivable then any other episode of Grey’s. I think that people are just getting a little sick of the show.

  4. The only Grey’s Anatomy I’ve watched was the one with the bomb, but that was just as unbelievable as everything else. They’re doing all these crazy things for ratings and it is why they moved it to compete for ABC. If wild and outlandish things didn’t happen then nobody would watch it.

  5. Getting a little sick of the show? Are you kidding? I think the show is bigger than ever. I have a feeling they may have a few Emmy awards coming their way soon.
    As for the believability of certain aspects of the show. I say, be prepared to suspend belief with anything that you see on television. By the way, did you guys notice that almost all of the medical dramas had some sort of storyine that involved a shooting in their season finales?

  6. I’m working on a high-concept medical drama about radiologists. They’ll sit around in the reading room dictating. On occasion, I’ll have them order films stat. It will be titled, ‘Everybody Loves X-rays’.
    It will be a companion show to my spin-off concept involving dermatologists. Sometimes there will be a bad reaction to Retin-A. That one will be titled “Skin Deep”

  7. Lee:
    I have a credible idea for a series about medical interns called “The Periodic Table of Eloise.” I’ve done all of the up-front work like writing and thinking. All you have to do is use some of your connections to help me get it on the air.
    We both could make buckets and buckets of money. It’s the deal of a lifetime. Respond in comments if interested.

  8. Allegedly, some random vet posted on the Grey’s blog they even got the dog killin’ wrong. The random vet said something like, “The medical facts in your vet story were so inaccurate I can’t help but wonder how factual your human medicine is. And, it seemed so real…”
    Sorry LA Times writer guy. They just plain got it all wrong.
    I used to think the show was mildly amusing. I now think it insipid. I heard that Jim Parriott left the show over “creative differences” with Shonda. I’m guessing his stance was: Let’s make the show good…

  9. Grey’s Anatomy arrived on the scene already wearing the swim trunks and leather jacket, circled the shark numerous times each excruciating week, and did, indeed make a terrific jump at the season finale.

  10. I have read all the posts on this page. I am going to say this. I understand that not all of Grey’s Anatomy is factual and it appears to be nothing but a soap opera! I dont care! Grey’s Anatomy is one of the most interesting tv shows out there! I am a huge fan of both Grey’s and CSI. I will say this on the CSI thing…CSI never gives a time frame. For all we know it is over a months time on a case all crushed into an hour episode. It is obvious that you would never get results back as fast as it appears. I dont believe that they do either. I believe that they work on a case for weeks but you never know because they never show how long it take. I want to say one more thing about the TV shows on right now. There are alot of unfactual tv shows and movies out there today. TV shows are on the air to entertain and amuse! What good would the show be if Burke had gotten fired for the cloth left inside the lady or Alex getting the boot. Most tv is unrealistic! Hardley any of it is 100 percent factual. (maybe the documentaries)We should all know this. Why harp on one of the hottest tv shows on right now!? Its a soap opera, yes! A very good one in my opinion! The season finale was also very good! Not realistic, but good!

  11. I think that people are taking this a little bit to seriously. Shonda Rhimes has said many times that while most of their medical cases are based on real life events, the show isn’t about the medicine. It uses the medical cases to reiterate the ‘theme’ of that show. (An example is the vegetable pregnant women in the finale allowed Addison to lead into the “Because I’m not Mereith Grey” speach.
    Also, you assume that TV fans are ignorant. We know that it isn’t 100% accurate. ou think anyone would want to watch an hour long show about real interns? We aren’t studying to be doctors, we want to be entertained. Even ‘reality TV’ edits what really happened to appear more dramatic or entertaining, so what’s wrong with tweeking a TV show? I think you guys are being overly critical because of the hype of the show.
    No, I don’t actually believe that in real life any of the stuff they get away with would be handled the same way. But in that same respect, No, I wouldn’t watch the show if they DID handle it like that.
    The show isn’t being advertised as reality TV is it? Nope. It’s a DRAMA series. D-R-A-M-A.
    Chill out, guys. Take two of these and call me in the morning.

  12. Dude. Tele-vision. If you want real life, go creepily hang around in hospital waiting rooms and earvesdrop.
    Yeah, it’s unbelievable. But it’s cute. It’s funny. It’s an hour of my life when I don’t have to think about anything. The people are pretty. Smeh.
    I agree it’s worrying when people think it’s realistic… but hey, let’s just hope natural selection holds true.
    Have to say, the idea for the series about radiologists? Everyone loves x-rays? I dig it. Can we do one about MRIs too?


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