Grey’s Anatomy: An Ideal Drama

By Aidan O’Leary

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For my second blog I chose to write about Grey’s Anatomy. Grey’s Anatomy is an American medical television series drama that premiered on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) as a mid-season replacement on March 27th, 2005. The show focuses on the fictional lives of surgical interns, residents, and attending physicians and their relationships and personal lives as well as their development into seasoned doctors. There are many ups and downs in the show, heart crushing and heart warming episodes, but that is what you get with a drama. Medical dramas seems to include the most amount of drama because they deal with life and death, and when dealing with life and death nothing in between stays a secret or remains out of play. Grey’s in my opinion is a successful show and has aired for many seasons because there is endless drama that can be created within the Hospital and within the lives of the surgeons, surgical interns, residents and attending physicians. It is a set up that has been duplicated in many different TV shows, such as House, E.R., and Scrubs. These are just a few examples of other shows that involve drama and take place within a hospital that have also been successful.

I watched episode 18 of season 5. During this episode Izzie is a resident, which is a higher level of doctor above intern. Izzie is currently teaching a group of interns about the ins and outs of being an intern and what it will take to become a resident and future surgeon, which she hopes to become. Izzie takes the interns to the clinic where minor hospital issues take place. At the clinic Izzie has the interns run blood tests. Izzie herself has been having hallucinations of her dead fiancé, and she feels as if he is real, she thinks she can physically touch him. She has kept this to herself, but it seems to be skeptical as to why these hallucinations are taking place. Because she is skeptical and thinks that something might be wrong with her, she sees an opportunity to teach the interns how to take blood from a patients arm, and volunteers for them to take blood from hers and then instructs the interns to run tests on her and the patients blood samples.

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The tests then come back, and the interns make a huge mistake by accidentally swapping the two blood samples. The interns find that Izzie’s blood shows that she has melanoma, or skin cancer, that has spread to her lungs and brain, which is the reason for Izzie’s hallucinations. However they relay this information to the other patient in the clinic, not Izzie, because of the mistake. The blood from the other patient showed anemia, which causes thin blood and easy bruising, so this is what Izzie thinks she has. A week goes by and the patient who thinks she has cancer comes back to the hospital and complains that after $80,000 dollars spent on medical treatment she has found out that she has anemia and not cancer.

After the patient complains, Izzie puts the pieces together and realizes it was her blood that showed cancer. Izzie then tests her own blood again and gives herself an MRI. After doing so she concludes that she does in fact have cancer but decides to withhold this information from her interns. She does this to test them. She takes them into a room and puts up the screenings of the MRI and asks them “What is wrong with patient X?” The interns first suggest that there is nothing wrong, and that Izzie is fooling them, but on the third try they realize that “Patient X” AKA Izzie, has stage 4 melanoma that has spread to the lungs and brain. The interns then figure out that “Patient X” has a 5% chance of living. Not knowing that it is Izzie who is sick, they start to joke around about how the patient is a goner, and one inters says, “If I was her I’d take a nice long vacation.” Izzie does not inform them until the next episode that she is “Patient X.”

To add to the drama of this episode, at basically the same time, surgeon Derek Shepherd, also know as “McDreamy” leaves the hospital because he messed up what he thought, and also told to patient was a “easy brain surgery.” The surgery however turned out to be anything but easy for him. After the initial surgery the patient came out without the ability to talk. Shepherd then went back in to fix the problem and ended up killing the patient. To further add to the drama, the patient he killed was a pregnant woman, the baby died as well. As a result, Shepherd was too depressed to come back into work. In later episodes he began drinking, grew a beard, and lost control as he stayed at his place, which oddly is a cabin located remotely in the woods.

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The drama of this episode stems from two problems, Izzie’s cancer and Shepherd’s patients brain problem, as well as two mistakes: the interns swapping of blood samples and Shepherd’s mishaps during what he called an easy brain surgery. The drama that surrounded these problems and mistakes were Izzie’s hallucinations of her dead husband, the intern’s lack of sympathy and the pregnancy of the woman Shepherd feels as if he killed. This episode is a good example of the many different options for drama a show such as Grey’s Anatomy creates. Also, because of the large cast that Grey’s has, there is more insight for drama within each characters personal and professional life. The ups and downs, trials and tribulations that take place in Grey’s creates strong relationships between the characters as well as more problems and tension. This deepens the drama and seems to make viewers feel more attached and intrigued by the show.


One thought on “Grey’s Anatomy: An Ideal Drama

  1. I remember watching this episode of Greys Anatomy and how obvious it was to the audience that Izzy was Patient X but that the characters themselves didn’t. This depicts exactly the type of drama that surrounds Greys Anatomy and I think you did a very good job of explaining this specific episode and how the drama of one character easily involves other characters. One aspect that I love about Greys is that there is more than one conflict going on at a time in the show, which you exemplified by talking about Derek Shephard’s mishap with the brain surgery. In class the other day we talked about there are many different types of dramas that draw in certain viewers, and you did a very good job of describing this type of drama! Is there a specific name for this drama??

    Good job overall!

    -Kelly Hartlage


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