Eleven years ago today, television was experiencing a phenomenon. A relative newcomer had created a show about a hospital. The show had a difference though, the main character was a female intern. In a male dominated world, this was indeed a milestone. The audience could journey with the intern on her journey as she became a surgeon. But instead of the doctor being a God as portrayed in the past, the surgeons all had flaws. More than that though, these young interns grew to be a family.
None of these actors were really known. They weren’t household names. They were actors who had done guest roles and movies through their careers. But by the time the hour had ended, everyone was wondering who they were. You wanted to care about them and you wanted them to succeed. Ellen Pompeo had the unenviable task of playing the lead character, Meredith Grey. She wasn’t a typical heroine with the perfect life, it was far from perfect. Her mother was a world class surgeon who was now suffering from Alzheimer’s , her father left them because her mother had been having an affair. She had come home from Dartmouth. (Shonda Rhimes alma mater) to Seattle to do her internship at the hospital where her mother worked.
Here is Meredith visiting her mother (Kate Burton) in the nursing home. Ellis was a pioneer in surgery and had discouraged her daughter in following in her footsteps. Kate Burton would return many times in flashbacks and today is in a recurring role on Rhimes other series “Scandal” as Lady Libery herself Sally Langston.
This was the start of the adventure and also the beginning of one of the greatest romances on television. Meredith had woke up after a night at the Emerald Bar and Grill with a naked man in her mother’s living room. It turned out that the man who she slept with was going to be her boss. Meredith went out of her way to avoid Derek, but to no avail. In fact , Derek would be the surgeon she assisted on her first surgery. The two surgeons would operate on a young beauty queen who was having grand mal seizures. It would be an experience that she would describe as “I don’t understand why people take drugs.” She knew that she was in the right place and in this hospital she would find the man of her dreams.
Patrick Dempsey had become a heart throb thanks to Grey’s . He would come to be known as McDreamy. Sadly though, Derek would be in a car accident and then Dempsey would exit the show amidst protests.
Friendships would also form from these interns. Meredith would find the sister she never had . Cristina would find more than a friend. The two would pool their talents to solve the medical puzzle that Derek had presented them. The audience would also be introduced to the staff or attendings. They would be the talented surgeons that would teach the young interns to believe in their talents. In time, they would be their mothers and fathers. A few of the attendings would also find romance from their interns and that tradition continues to this day. The interns would gain a mother figure with Miranda Bailey who turned out to be worse than her bite. This caused her to earn the nickname “The Nazi”.
Chandra Wilson was cast as Dr Miranda Bailey . Bailey was tough but wanted her babies to learn and also to work together. This was hard because she usually pit them against each other and in those early days , they had to fight for surgeries.
Today twelve seasons have passed, Izzy is gone, George is dead, and Cristina is living her dream in Switzerland as the head of a cardio unit of a hospital. These two are the only interns left . Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) now is an owner of the hospital and head of surgery . Alex(Justin Chambers) is a world class peds surgeon . They have been through so much and just like the song says. “They are still standing.”