Grey’s Anatomy, the show that premiered in March of 2005 as a mid-season replacement turned into the original ABC juggernaut and the beginning of the Shonda Rhimes dynasty (It’s Shonda Rhimes’ world and we just live in it). Now, in its tenth year and 11th season, the show is now the backbone to ABC’s TGIT line-up and has become a cultural phenomenon. While ratings have gone down since those 20 million viewers an episode numbers in the 1st season (in its defense, no show gets those numbers anymore), the show is still getting great live numbers, and even better ones when you add in streaming and DVR viewing. 10 years old and the show is still kicking. However, the show is gaining new ground and new fans…under 18.
Netflix, while originating as the go-to place to rent or stream movies, it has become the go-to place to binge watch your favorite TV shows. As America’s newest pastime has become marathon-ing as much TV as possible (I once did all 64 episodes of Veronica Mars in 25 days and I was so proud of myself. It felt like I had won the Revolutionary War.), tweens, teens and college students have gained Netflix accounts (or friend’s Netflix accounts, and you know who you are) to watch TV in their spare time/time they should be studying (Guilty).
While teen shows, like Gossip Girl, are finding a new audience with all 6 seasons of the show on the site, the biggest movement I’ve ever seen come out of the binge-watching generation is Grey’s Anatomy. With 10 seasons on the streaming platform, in full, and one airing on television currently, teens are eating up the program in heavy doses. Shonda Rhimes recently heard about the movement and tweeted her quick thoughts.
Lots of teen fans who recently discovered #GreysAnatomy. From what I can surmise,10 season binge-watch a whole diff experience. Intriguing.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) February 4, 2015
I thought it was just a scenario around me, with fellow high schoolers and college students grabbing on to Shonda’s fantastic dialogue and juicy plotlines, but apparently, it has taken the nation by storm.
For me, I joined the club around August 2014. I stopped a while back, to binge another show, but I am on Season 5, Episode 2 and ready to dive back into the world of Seattle Grace hospital. I jumped on the Meredith Grey train after my love for Scandal blossomed into something close to crazy. I loved the fast paced dialogue, the blink-and-you’ll-miss wit and humor, and the characters with enough issues that you just want to hug ‘em.
I started the show and became hooked. The relationship between McDreamy and Meredith was crazy and enthralling enough, then add in Addison. Oh, and McSteamy. Don’t forget that weird George thing. Throw in Christina Yang and Bailey, Izzie’s craziness with patients, and Callie, and you have yourself a fun, scary, heart-pounding, gut-wrenching character drama that just happens to be set in a hospital.
As far as my discussions with fellow Grey’s binge watchers go, they feel the same way. They love the relationships that weave in and out throughout the hospital, facing every doctor or resident in the face at least once. They also love how the patients become involved in the story, whether it be for one episode, or a season long arc (pregnant lady on the ferry turned into SO MUCH MORE than I expected). Yang and Bailey’s sense of humor added helps make the show not too serious. All of that mixed together creates a show you could keep watching for months on end.
It also creates an obsession that has traversed all social media. Fan accounts on Tumblr and Twitter, just posting funny posts that can showcase your obsession with a simple retweet or reblog. The amount of pictures of Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey that come across my timeline daily is crazy. Teens have begun to worship and adore this show in the same way people first were attracted to it back in 2005.
I hope I’m able to catch up by September, to be able to watch Season 12 live. Chances are, Season 12 won’t be the last, either, as the ratings are still showing up. As these teens across the country catch up just like me, declaring their viewing achievements on twitter (without even mentioning the show, but everyone knows), I expect that viewership to increase even more. And just think, once they are caught up with Grey’s, they have 7 seasons of Private Practice to catch up on. Paging Dr. Grey, all ages are here to stay. Now, DANCE IT OUT.
(In a complete side note, I had a friend call me the other day freaking out over Season 11 Episode 10’s opening voice over from Meredith. She discussed in her opening words about the Maine Hermit, a man who lived in the woods for almost 30 years with no human interaction. The craziness being that the hermit she discussed is my 2nd cousin. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!?)