Contains Grey’s Anatomy spoilers, but only for past seasons. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but my guess would be it’s miserable.
About once a year, I decide that it’s time to re-watch Grey’s Anatomy. It’s usually around autumn, when the show is due to return and I’ve somehow managed to forget everything about a series I’ve watched umpteen times and don’t even think is all that great. I mean, let’s be honest here – Grey’s Anatomy is no ER. But that’s precisely why it makes for such great re-watching fodder; you don’t really need to pay attention to it, so you can knit, or hold a conversation, or have a bit of a nap and it doesn’t really matter. You’re probably only missing some pretty doctors and overwrought tragedy.
And so, with it now being autumn once more, and with my Sky box showing me Grey’s Anatomy on its homepage, I was about to go in for the annual rewatch – mostly because I miss Cristina Yang. But then I realised something.
Re-watching Grey’s Anatomy right now would be the SINGLE WORST PLAN OF ALL TIME.
For I am almost six months pregnant. And being almost six months pregnant makes you quite sensitive to things that are on TV. I can’t cope with anything where bad things happen to children, or animals, or anyone except the very worst of guys. I cry at the Pedigree Dentastix advert because I find the concept of a dog not being able to tell you that it has toothache to be so very, very upsetting. I avoid the news. I’m spending most of my time in the nice, safe world of Gilmore Girls, where you know everything is going to be just lovely in the end. And so a drama series set in a hospital, where bad things are going to happen to nice people by the very definition of the premise, is in and of itself not a great plan.
And yet, it’s not the relentless run of bad things that happens in Grey’s Anatomy that stops me. Because, let’s be honest here – so much of the show is so absolutely ridiculous that it’s impossible to get too emotionally involved in it. If a real-life hospital had suffered a bomb scare, and a mass shooting, and been destroyed by a storm, and had umpteen of its best doctors die or be injured in a plane crash, then nobody would ever actually work there. It’s just asking to have an untimely death soundtracked by some mildly irritating jangly indie. Frankly, it’s the doctors’ own fault for not running screaming into the night years ago.
So no, it’s not the constant drama that stops me watching. It’s one very specific angle of the drama that’s finally killed my apparently endless capability to re-watch. And it is this:
Grey’s Anatomy hates pregnant women.
I may be wrong on this one (after all, I do spend a lot of my ‘watching’ time sleeping), but I can’t think of a single mother-to-be who’s been afforded a straightforward pregnancy and birth during the course of the show. Dr Bailey’s husband was in a car crash on the way to the hospital. Callie was thrown through a windshield and had to deliver her baby incredibly early (the moral here seems to be to stay away from cars.) Meredith gave birth in a storm and bled so much she nearly died. April first had a baby with a rare and fatal condition, and then had to endure a makeshift caesarian on a kitchen table. Arizona spent almost an entire season operating on unborn babies with a variety of horrible conditions, and didn’t manage to save all of them.
None of this is good. None of it is reassuring. And none of it is what I want to watch while I’m growing my own human.
Sure, some of it is kind of necessary because of the plot they’ve decided to follow; it’s hard to have someone training up as a superstar neonatal surgeon without talking about babies who have something wrong with them. And my earlier statement about it being an idiotic choice to go to a hospital where only bad things happen stands as well. But does it have to be quite so relentless? Can’t there just be one baby born with nothing more than the average amount of yelling and swearing and general grimness? Can’t it let me believe just for a minute that perhaps my own pregnancy won’t end in a pool of blood and misery? Please?
But then, that would be going against the very nature of Grey’s Anatomy. It is not a show built on happiness. It is a show built on being ‘dark and twisty’ and making horrible things happen to seemingly nice people. It has a higher body count than your average murder mystery, and when people aren’t dying, their relationships are. So of course life isn’t allowed to start in an uncomplicated way; all life in Grey’s is difficult and complicated and full of pain. And soundtracked by mildly annoying jangly indie.
So no, I won’t be re-watching Grey’s Anatomy this year. Instead I’ll stay safely in Stars Hollow, where babies have no issues. Because all the issues there belong to the pretty, pretty men.