English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: #GreysAnatomy

Grey’s Anatomy: More than just a show

One thing that has really stuck out about Grey’s Anatomy and Shonda Rhimes’s plot line for this show is that there is no fear in touching upon social issues or common stereotypes. These stereotypes include mass shootings, lgbqt, death penalty, working with people of different backgrounds, the morality of turning life support off, undocumented immigrants healthcare, interracial families, morality of having babies who you know will have mental or physical disabilities, alcoholism, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals/DREAM , honoring DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) requests if there is hope of recovery, etc. I even watched an interview of Ellen Pompeo (who plays the main character Meredith Grey) on the Ellen show where she starts tearing up in terms of how powerful this show is not only in terms of the free medical education they give but how it brings society together. There is one scene where an intern who wears a religious head scarf, takes of her scarf to patch up a bleeding patient and then she goes on to explain to her curious supervisor how her religion is all in favor of helping people. At that time all the viewers probably empathized and felt connected to her breaking the cultural stereotypes held and showing that all people are similar on the insides. In another scene, Derek has an African American child and gets stares from other parents. The viewers who have seen Derek from the beginning and how they adopted this child who needed someone and, in that moment, looked down upon those staring parents. However, perhaps those viewers were those very same parents who stared on. Greys Anatomy has a way of showing us how the stereotypes we hold seem so funny, unnecessary, and immature. I can say without a doubt that this show has helped me grow as an individual not only in terms of character but also in terms of medically. I make smarter choices for my own health and am more educated talking to others. For example, my friend is getting a pacemaker, and I was able to follow his doctor’s language and diagnosis and able to participate in a two way conversation. And as my last post, I want to say how grateful I was that this project helped me discover Grey’s.

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Dr. Dahlia Qadri removing her Hijab(Headwear) to help her patient.

Tense, Urgent, Fearful: the Truth of a Hospital’s Environment

(Topic 2)

The episode (and series) is written by Stacy McKee. That has been her primary achievement/occupation since Grey’s Anatomy is one of the longest running shows. She won the Writers Guild of America Award for Television: New Series. The dialogue is usually quick with the camera and dialogue shifting back and forth as the characters even break each other’s statements to start their own. This seems to create a sense of urgency and creates a tense and stressful environment. This is very much needed since it is the norm in hospitals where people need split-second decisions to save their lives and people dying is very common. Silence is usually used to allow the viewers to feel the finality and the depth of what has happened. This is usually after a death, an argument, someone leaving, or anything where there is a negative emotion to be felt. There are a lot of flashbacks usually either related to suffering in the past such as when Meredith Grey remembers how her mom neglected her or when April Kepner and Jackson Avery remember how their happy marriage turned out so badly or also happiness earlier on in life such as when Meredith Gray remembers how much she loved Derek Shepherd and how great their marriage was. The writing really seems to just capture the air and environment of a hospital, the urgency, the hope, the sadness, the desperation, the fear, and even the brightness of a fixed patient. The writer was perfect for the job and I believe is the rightful recipient of the Writers Guild of America Award for Television: New Series. Her writing has been instrumental in keeping viewers hooked for over 15 years with the same show as characters have come and gone. It’s the style of this show that has kept the viewers at bay.

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(Stacey McKee is pictured above)

Women Rocking at Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy, with no hesitation, knows how to break and make up your heart (at the same time) in a blink of an eye. In other words, you never know what to expect. However, although this may be true 99 percent of the times, there is one enormous exception: Gender representation in the show.

Grey’s Anatomy is a series that encourages inclusion of all gender and sexual orientation. With this, both men and women are represented as equally important. Nevertheless, it is vital to highlight that female to tend to be reinforce as a strong and dominant gender throughout the entire series. An example of this can be seen on the fact that almost all head of surgical departments are women (Arizona Robbins- head of pediatrics, Meredith Grey- Head of general surgery, Maggy Pierce- Head of cardiothoracic surgery, Miranda Bailey- Chief), and most of the scenes are focus on what goes around the life of each of this characters (meaning that yes, female gender does receive a bit more of representation in the show).

Meredith Grey- happy and successful (the mirror image of how all women should feel about theirselves) 

Additionally, the now 15 entire seasons show, has always been centered in Meredith Grey, the protagonist. This is important as little by little we’ve seen the rite of passage she has gone through to become a strong and “bad-ass” women. Since the beginning, Meredith felt that she was under the shadow of her famous mother and her successful lover, however, the producers have made a great job of allowing her to see that she is actually the sun of her own life and that she’s capable of everything, which is something all women should learn from and act upon it.

In general, not only Grey’s Anatomy, but Shonda Rhymes as a whole, does a great job in exhibiting female gender as strong, important, and powerful as male. Knowing this, we shall not take this representation slightly, we should reflect on it and try to act based on the things we’ve learned from it.

Dr. Model in Grey’s Anatomy

One of the major aspects of Grey’s Anatomy is that it features a female lead who is independent and intelligent. This in itself is a move towards equality in television. In episode 4 “No Man’s Land”, gender issues over capability and appearance come starkly into focus.

There has long been a divide between men and women on their expectations of what should or shouldn’t be done. The “double standard” is continually debated on and talked about. Some people don’t think that it’s real or anything to be concerned with. The writers of Grey’s Anatomy took a very definitive stance on this issue in episode 4. One of the interns, Izzie, is attending a middle-aged man who needs a biopsy for his prostate cancer. The man refuses for her to be near him during his surgery or even to attend to him because he has seen her photos in a modeling campaign. It turns out that he is attracted to her and didn’t want Izzie to see his prostate surgery. This reasoning is reasonable in some ways, especially since it is the patient’s choice. However, the other interns treating Izzie differently due to her photos is presented in a different way.

One of the pictures of Izzie modeling that was posted on the elevator doors.

Alex, a male intern, posts Izzie’s pictures all around the locker room and calls her “Dr. Model”. Izzie, however, retaliates by saying that due to those pictures she was able to graduate debt free. There is certainly the implication, also, that if one of the male interns were to have a similar set of photos or something sexual in nature published about him, it would have been applauded. For Izzie however, being both attractive and a surgical intern is seen as an impossibility.

Grey’s Anatomy has taken on a strong position on this issue. They make it out that Izzie should be celebrated both for her medical achievements and for being able to do what she had to in order to graduate without debt. It is clear from the show that femininity can be seen as a sexual thing without being demeaning to women. Gender should have no role in determining capability or in deciding which options should be open to different people.

Dead Patients Aren’t Just Organs

This week, I saw the 3rd episode of Grey’s Anatomy. As with each episode, the show was arguing a couple of things. The first thing it argued was the behavior of men towards women. For example, in the same episode, one of Meredith’s patients tried to hit on her as well as her co-intern Alex Karev, as well as Derek Shepard. With Alex, the way he approached Meredith was very rude which causes me to believe that the episode tried to show the receiving end of the interaction and make the audience realize that it was disrespectful.

Another thing that the episode tried to argue was that dead patients are still human beings. For example, when Cristina was talking to the family of a brain-dead patient about harvesting his organs, she talked about the patient like it was a dead pile of organs that they could use on other patients. The episode shows the reaction of the family and makes the audience realize that even though a patient might be dead, they still have family and a life where people cared for them and that it’s important to think about that as well.

The second theme closely relates to the show because the show is based on the lives of many patients, many of which end up not making it. This realization that each patient has a family and a life, causes the audience of the show to be able to connect with each patient to actually feel sorry when each patient passes away in the future of the show. This also puts the audience in the shoes of the doctors, making them realize that each patient, alive or dead, is still a human beings and not just a pile of organs. Even the connection that Izzie forms with the patient strengthens this point because it shows that even though a patient may be brain dead, they’re still alive inside.

This patient hits on Meredith as she’s trying to look at his wound

Decisions… Decisions in Grey’s Anatomy

Every episode of Grey’s Anatomy shares a common thread that ties the whole episode together. In some specific episodes, however, the commonality is a theme or concept usually concerning debates within the medical world. Episode 4 “Save Me” really delves into the foggy part of the medicine as it concerns ethics and a patient’s choice.

Doctors and surgeons are tasked with helping the sick to the best of their ability and to “do no harm” according to the Hippocratic Oath. Then comes the question of whether a medical professional should perform a procedure that might do harm, if that is the patient’s choice.

Ultimately, the patient has the last word.

The topic of abortion is one of the most common dividing arguments. On one hand there is the health of the mother especially if the birth is going to have complications, but also, there’s an unborn life that can’t speak for itself. As Cristina meets a woman who wants to keep her baby even though it will kill her, she can’t understand this mentality as she is trying to save lives. In another situation, Alex, another intern, is tasked with helping a girl who needs a heart valve replacement. However, due to her religion, she won’t let them put a pig’s valve inside her.

Throughout the episode, the interns and patients go back and forth. The interns know that at the end of the day, decisions are ultimately up to the patient, yet this doesn’t stop them from wanting to convince the other party to save themselves. In both the situation of the abortion and the heart valve, both patients inevitably concluded to have treatment (though the girl settled on a cow heart valve).

To me, this episode showed more clearly than any other, the stance of the show’s writers. “Save Me” is saying that doctor must respect their patients wishes, but that the best treatment plan is the one that will elongate someone’s life, and that these kinds of decisions shouldn’t be based on morality or religious views. This kind of conversation is really big in the medical world and political world at the moment with things like STEM cell research, assisted suicide and abortion. Even for a medical show, that’s a really heavy theme to put into a 45-minute episode.

Gender Inequalities don’t Exist in the Eyes of Science

I think one thing I really enjoy about Grey’s Anatomy is that it touches upon stereotypes and how they exist to a certain degree but also shows that people aren’t defined or restricted by those stereotypes and they are capable of so much more. For example, Meredith Grey, the main character, is shown as needing of her husband’s protective care at sometimes, but also the television show shows how she has gone through a rough upbringing from separated parents and a mother who neglected her and how it has made her tough and brave. In general, there is a good spread of women and men on the show in terms of doctors, patients, and other actors which is an accurate representation of the medical world where there is no gender inequality in the eyes of science. Both genders are shown as equals, with equal potential in terms of career growth or medically surviving their issue based no whether they are doctors and nurses or patients, respectively. There is also an equal balance of male and female characters in the forefront and outskirts of the show. Additionally, in terms of reactions, males and females are shown as generally reacting in the same ways, even with men generally being thought as “tougher” in the confines of the hospital where terrible medical news is dropped regularly, both genders have equally upset reactions. Another wonderful thing about this show is that it touches upon social issues and shows general perceptions and then changes them in a lowkey manner. Yes, disable, mentally ill, overweight, medically serious patients come in all the time, and the television show shows how nurses and doctors can be snarky and judgmental behind the patients’ backs. But, the show doesn’t stop there; the show then goes on to give the whole story and shows the patient as a whole person who is more than just their medical condition and how they deserve to be treated as such. The show also comfortably shows both straight and LBGQT couples.

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The show has a good mix of both gender characters.

Grey’s Anatomy is all about YOLO

Grey’s Anatomy can often be a quite emotionally packed television show, playing with ones emotions as people die left and right. As someone who is not generally a “cry-er”, I can attest to this fact. I think this has been done to send a clear message to the viewers that life is short and to make the best of it and don’t live with any regrets.

Whether it was Meredith drowning causing her lover to realize he wasn’t there for her, or Izzy’s patient and fiancée dying, or the chief trying to get back with his divorced wife only to find she had moved on, this show constantly shows how short and unexpected life can be. Even despite the overwhelming emotions felt by viewers, they come back and watch because this message is so true and important in their lives.

Over and over, a scenario repeats where a doctor gets worked up with fixing and saving a patient only to have them flatline on the Emergency Room table. It influences their personal lives as they realize that life is too short to hold a grudge against a loved one or to not speak to a friend or even to not tell someone how much they love them. In fact, that is one of the worst pains humans can feel: the pain of “what if” or “what could have been”, the fear of the uncertainty. The hospital is the perfect place to enforce this theme because of not only the deaths but also the fact that these doctors and nurses have less time for personal lives and so the theme of living life to the fullest is further emphasized by the fact that these individuals have shorter amounts of time to pursue their passions.

The recurring theme that the characters keep facing- YOLO (You only live once)

The Quick Cuts and Cinematography Choices in Grey’s Anatomy

The cinematography and filming style across the first season of Grey’s anatomy is uniform. In the third episode, particularly, the same themes are evident. Since there are so many plot lines occurring throughout Greys, there are many, many quick scene cuts. Everything is shot in the hospital and makes use of a very blue and gray kind of color scheme. Additionally, foreground shots create a more relationship-oriented feel.

This episode takes place during a dangerous bike race that sends many people into the hospital. The interns take the chance to argue with one another over who will be able to deal with the nastiest injuries. Because of this particular plot line, shots are quick and cut in and out of each other. Therefore, the opening sequence being a long shot of Meredith in her house (not the hospital) makes it all the more impactful. This contributes to the differentiation between Meredith’s life as a surgical intern and her personal life, particularly her relationship with Derek.

After the first scene in Meredith’s house, Grey’s transitions to the typical quick sequences in the hospital. As the interns hurry to deal with the excess of patients, the cinematography style tends to also hurry through the different shots. A consistent thread throughout these quick scenes is the color scheme.

All the interns wear blue scrubs. The intendings and surgeons also wear different shades of blue. The hospital walls are a dusky blue shade of white/gray. The stark whites definitely fit into the realm of a hospital. Blue is also thought to be a calming color. It helps to create a consistency of cool colors and continuity throughout the changing scenes.

All the characters wear shades of blue.

Also, the director makes use of foreground shots all throughout this episode, along with the others. Such as, when Izzie and Cristina are discussing how to deal with a brain-dead patient, as Izzie talks to Cristina, the side of Izzie’s face is close to the camera and blurred out. This creates an atmosphere of connections and relationships in such a stark environment. The cinematography techniques in this episode are consistent throughout, except for the opening with long shots in Meredith’s home.

The Subconscious Effects of Visuals

(Topic #3)

Although I was a bit reluctant when I started watching Grey’s Anatomy, I have been absolutely hooked. To be honest, I finished a season and a half in one night! Grey’s Anatomy is shot in Seattle at the Seattle Grace Hospital. It is a lesser known fact that Seattle has, statistically, the most suicides in a year in any US city. This may seem like a random fact but it is actually very important to setting the tone in this show. Research shows that because it rains so often in Seattle and because the sky is often grey, it causes Seattle citizens to subconsciously feel gloomier. And coincidentally enough, the main character’s name is Grey. This setting factors in to allow the viewer to share the gloomy and scary reality of working at a hospital: the 48 hour shifts, the helplessness of losing one’s patient who you were talking to just an hour ago, breaking the news to family, giving up social life, etc. Furthermore, the doctors wear shades of dull blues to add to the melancholy and serious vibe at the hospital. However, whenever there is a scene where a patient miraculous defeats the odds and survives the background colors are always noticeably more vibrant and brighter. It’s amazing how a simple play of colors can affect the viewers’ experiences so greatly. Generally, the show has longer cuts, especially during medical procedures to show how the tedious the work can get. For example, they removed a 20-pound tumor and the long cut showed how difficult and uncomfortable it was for intern doctors to hold up the tumor while surgeons operated. In these specific scenarios, quick cuts would undermine the amount of diligence and patience required from these doctors.

Above are the somber colors typical of the normal day at the Seattle Grace Hospital (SGH).

An Awesome Review of the First Episode of Grey’s Anatomy

I will focus this blog post on the first episode of Season 1 of Grey’s Anatomy. Shonda Rhimes is credited with writing this episode. She’s also written episodes for “Scandal”, “The Writers’ Room”, “Private Practice”, “Gilded Lilys”, “A corazón abierto”, “Off the Map”, “Inside the Box”, and “Seattle Grace: Message of Hope”. The first episode’s dialogue is structured much like other TV shows, the characters in the episode have conversions between them as the plot gets revealed to the viewers. The dialogue in Grey’s Anatomy is very informal. That is, the characters talk between themselves in a way that is easy for an average person to understand. However, some parts of their dialogue include medical terminology that an average person might not know. I for example, didn’t know much of the medical terms that were exchanged between the characters. However, the medical terms are explained to patients and their families such that the viewers can also understand the plot. Throughout the episode, there are multiple moments in which Meredith’s voiceover is played to the viewers. Funnily enough, the voice over played at the beginning of the episode wasn’t originally part of the episode, but Rhimes said that “In the editing room, it felt like a piece was missing, so we added it”. The voice over is used as a way of explaining and revealing Meredith’s thoughts to the viewers without Meredith directly saying them to anyone. It reveals Meredith’s stress and anxiety throughout the episode and strengthens the connection between Meredith and the viewers. Silence is also used in the episode at times of panic. Well, not silence exactly but background music which overtakes the audio from the episode. For example, during one of the surgeries in the episode, the characters struggle to help a dying patient and the song “Life Is Short” by Butterfly Voucher is played overtaking the audio in the episode. The happy vibe of the song is a complete contrast to the mood of the episode. There are no literary allusions that stand out. What does stand out about the writing is how the episode was able to portray the difficulties of being an intern at a hospital so well to the viewers.

Image from Grey’s Anatomy season 1, episode 1

Insight into the Writing of Grey’s Anatomy

In the second episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “The First Cut is the Deepest”, the writing styles that were present in the first episode come more into play. As it is a show taking place almost entirely within the confines of a hospital, much of the dialogue is brusque and to the point, contributing to the overall atmosphere.

The writer, Shonda Rimes, obviously did her homework into medical jargon and the appropriate terms for procedures and injuries. Despite the professional terminology being a major part of all spoken interactions, this doesn’t take away the enjoyment from a viewer (like me) who has no idea what glomerulonephritis is (after Googling, it’s a kidney disease).

This is how I feel after hearing all the doctor talk.

The writing style of the episode reminds me of reading a poem where the poet chooses not to use enjambment, instead having punctuation after every thought. That being said, the chopped articulation and quick speaking matches the pace of work that goes on in a hospital, especially for interns and in the OR. The choice to use this type of language was obviously very purposeful on Rimes’s part as it evokes the feeling of being in the scene along with Meredith and the other interns on a long shift.

Along with brief and to the point language, comes many quick scene cuts. The writing style of the episode actually helps to draw a thread through the entire (relatively scattered) plotline. In this specific episode, Meredith began by contemplating lines with her voiceover saying, “it’s all about lines”. Subsequently, she went on, throughout the episode, to discuss, whether in her head or out loud, the different types of lines that must be drawn. Through the idea of drawing a line, the episode touched on her relationship with Derek, her boss who she slept with and now wants a professional relationship with, figuring out a roommate situation and even tied in her fellow intern’s duty– having to suture wounds the whole day. The episode concludes with taking the line idea in a new way: stepping through boundaries and over lines to be able to accomplish more.

After watching two full episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, I have a lot of respect for a writer like Rimes who likely spent time in a hospital to write these scripts and for also having the wherewithal to draw a cohesive “line” throughout scenes that would otherwise be at odds with one another. This level of writing is part of what’s making me want to watch the whole season in one sitting!


First Time I’ve ever been excited for an English Class… ever

Hey everyone! I’m Tanishq Sandhu from Dacula, GA. I’m here at Georgia Tech as a Computer Engineering major hoping to graduate by 2022. This is my first English course at Georgia Tech and I’m beyond excited for this semester. Yes, watching Netflix may be one reason I am so excited butthe main reason is that this English course is more aligned with incorporating modern ways of communicating such as tweeting, blogging, etc. This makes the class seem more relevant and thus makes it more engaging as compared to the typical high school English courses that stress writing essays repetitively. Even in this class I came in with a fear, because that is the impression I have from high school- writing until your hands can barely function any longer. I enjoy electronic and verbal communication with friends (talking, texting, and meeting up), but I struggle slightly with verbal communication with strangers such as giving speeches or striking up a conversation with someone I do not know and so this semester I want to practice this skill around campus by talking to new faces. Not only this, but I also hope to look for a leadership position where I get lots of practice working with new faces and talking in front larger groups. I honestly haven’t watch TV on a consistent basis since before high school started. With the increase in work, and decrease in free time, watching a television show became a rare commodity for me. I have chosen Grey’s Anatomy, a drama show about the relationships of a group of doctors at a Seattle hospital, simply because many of my friends in high school had recommended it and it is on the list of shows for this assignment. Now, I’ll have an excuse to watch it without feeling guilty about wasting time. Wow, I really love this class.


Grey’s Anatomy is known for its plot twists; many characters who are come to be favored by the viewers unexpectedly pass away.

A Brief Introduction to Caroline Turner

Hey! I’m Caroline. I’m a Global Economics and Modern Language major, planning *fingers crossed* to graduate in 2022.

This is me being totally stress free pre-college.

While I haven’t taken an English class at Tech, I took both AP Lit and AP Lang in high school which were both mainly composed of timed writings about weird poetry samples. These kinds of writings are not the most fun, but at this point, I think I can type up a relatively well crafted and grammatically correct essay. With all the practice I’ve had writing, from the alphabet in kindergarten to research papers in high school, I somehow still enjoy it. I’ve always wanted to write fiction, but my writing talent lies mainly in professional and scientific writing.

Verbal communication is pretty much the opposite of written, but I don’t have an issue with one on one oral communication. Verbal communication, however, also includes public speaking. Public speaking generally goes one way or another for me. I participated in research fairs in high school, and I did great with those. One the other hand, in class presentations are another beast. The most efficient way to become a better presenter is to give lots of presentations. I’m hoping (nervously hoping) that this English class pushes me out of my comfort zone and into being a more eloquent speaker.


In terms of the television half of our class’s theme, Television and Feminism, I don’t have much background with TV. I like watching HGTV just as much as the next person, and I do own every copy of Monk on DVD. However, I’ve always been more of a reader. I actually didn’t learn how to read even simple words until 2nd grade, but from then on, I have constantly been updating my personal library. I just prefer to imagine characters and settings in my head rather than having them presented to me.

This is my main reasoning as to why reading > television.

Since I don’t have much experience with TV shows, I asked my roommate which show was the best from the provided list, and she suggested Grey’s Anatomy. I’m trusting her judgement, and I’ll be watching Grey’s Anatomy this semester. From what I understand, it’s a medical drama about a female doctor and her colleagues within a hospital in Seattle. Obviously, I only know the basics, and I’m excited to jump into the show with no preapprehensions!

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