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Nov. 18, 2005

Doctors without boundaries

by Elena Pinsky, Page Editor
On Sunday nights, "Grey's Anatomy" is the perfect show to end to any weekend, one last indulgence before a taxing week ahead. Airing right after "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy" adds serious weight to the ABC Sunday night lineup, making it one of the most highly viewed shows on broadcast television. In fact, according to Nielson Media, the medical hit averages around 18 millions viewers each week, and it's no surprise that so many are tuning in.

Set in Seattle Grace Hospital, in Seattle, WA, the show, narrated by the longing and lovelorn Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), follows the personal and professional stories of the surgical interns of the hospital. What's great about "Grey's Anatomy" is that these interns are capable and knowledgeable in the operating room and engaging in the hallways. They are smart, but not so smart that we lose interest when the surgery is over. We want to know what they do on their rare days off.

It's exactly this type of emotional attachment to the characters that keeps viewers coming back for more. The average medical drama paints a picture of the protagonists as workaholics whose lives are boxed in by the confinements of their office buildings. The typical romantic sitcom follows a couple of airhead hussies who sport one-dimensional grins as they prance around in pursuit of men. "Grey's Anatomy" has achieved a delicate balance, matching medical sensibility with overt sexuality worthy of nominating the cast of the title of hottest surgeons on primetime.

What's best about "Grey's Anatomy," though, is its cast of characters; each one is lovable and multifaceted. First, take Meredith. The fuel for the drama of the present season is the fallout from her much-gossiped about affair with her boss, dark and handsome attending surgeon Derek Shepherd, aka "McDreamy" (Patrick Dempsey). Their relationship ended last season when Meredith found out that Dr. Shepherd was married. Before you say it, McDreamy is not really a bad guy. He left his wife when he found her in bed with his best friend.

It's hard to argue with the fact that Sandra Oh, as the endearingly sarcastic and bitingly pessimistic Cristina Yang, routinely gives the best performance on the show. She, too, is in a relationship with an attending surgeon, Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington), a relationship that seems that it will not survive outside the walls of the hospital.

The supporting cast is exceedingly praiseworthy as well. Viewers are instantly drawn to the innocent and awkward George O'Malley (T.R. Knight) and the sweet and confused Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl), both of whom are roommates of Meredith. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) is the wisecracking tough-love head of interns who has the recent medical school graduates wincing and wishing they had opted for less time-consuming and emotionally-wearing careers.

There's one element of the show that hasn't been mentioned yet: the patients. This is a hospital, after all. The writers manage to make each patient relatable, despite the ten minutes, if that, of total screen time devoted to any given patient's story in an hour-long episode.

I am not ashamed to admit that the final scene of every show, Meredith's bittersweet voiceover paired with a heartfelt musical selection, usually makes me teary. Some may argue that the romances overshadow the medical elements of the show. But if I really cared that much about the surgery, I'd flip on the Discovery Health Channel. I watch for the interactions and relationships between the characters. Forget "Anatomy"; I'd rather study chemistry.



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  • lele lover on November 20, 2005 at 12:39 PM
    Elena you are so creative and wonderful and that title of yours is awfully clever.
  • !! on November 22, 2005 at 1:20 PM
    Grey's Anatomy makes my LIFE. I love Burke and want to marry him.
  • kt on November 23, 2005 at 10:46 PM
    best show ever, i love george!
  • lover on November 28, 2005 at 1:04 PM
    greys anatomy makes me love sundays!!! i want to hug all of them.
  • ewww on January 6, 2006 at 1:57 PM
    Greys Anatomy is so bad. Why not watch some of the more well made medical dramas, like House, or Nip Tuck.
  • <3 on January 10, 2006 at 7:27 PM
    it's a lovable show, and in a completely different category than house and nip tuck--it's a medical romance comedy that's actually enjoyable to watch
  • raxiboj (View Email) on April 24, 2006 at 2:23 AM
    hey!! :D i think doctors without boundaries is doing a great job with the helping in india.... GOOD JOB ! =D
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