“Grey’s Anatomy”: the Show of Heartbreak and Thrills

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Grey’s Anatomy is a television series based around the lives of several new medical interns, residents, and attendants. This show aired on ABC and was known as a medical drama that gave their audience thrilling and heartwarming episodes. This phenomenal show gives us an inside on the main character, Meredith Grey, and a group of interns that quickly become her best friends and their journey through surgical residency and their upcoming friendships that they make with each other. It is filled with love affairs, rough friendships, and heart-wrenching deaths. In just fifteen seasons she loses her husband, best friends, mother, and many more important people in her life but that doesn’t stop her from pursuing her dream to become a surgeon.

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Since Grey’s Anatomy is a TV drama, the goal is to give the viewers a look on the characters’ lives to keep high ratings and for more people to enjoy. More specifically, the show is trying to prove that the characters are relatable to the audience and that the audience should care about the character’s life problems enough to feel they can live through the characters. Although it does not show exactly what it is like to become a surgeon, it does keep people interested in the insane drama and cliffhangers Shonda Rhimes gives us. As I searched for the official season one trailer of Grey’s Anatomy, I came across the one that aired 2005. It was a little lengthy at three minutes, but it introduced a trailer for a TV show that had never been aired.

Grey’s Anatomy was based off the famous book Gray’s Anatomy which was a book written in the 19th century and was the first human anatomy book. Even some of the episodes that were broadcasted had real medical cases. Such as, a living skin graft, three spleens and a rare diagnosis called situs inversus, and unusual twin pregnancy where the blood flow between fetuses is reversed, causing a malformation in one twin. Grey’s Anatomy writer, Shonda Rhimes, is also famous for her other shows that she has written on ABC called Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Private Practice, and lots more. Her thought on Grey’s Anatomy was different when she first started out. She had a fascination for surgical shows on the Discover Channel and wanted to originally name it Complications or a name as simple as Surgeons.

At the start of the one and only Grey’s Anatomy trailer it instantly shows the love connection between Meredith Grey and her attending, Derek Shepherd, who she did not know was going to be working at the same hospital as her and soon be one of her mentors. It shows both of them at a bar referring to themselves as a “girl in a bar” and “boy in a bar” which is where they met. It fades to them the next morning on Meredith’s living room floor where she quickly gets up and rushes to grab something to cover her up and escorts him to leave while giggling on what had happened the night before. Through the middle of the trailer it goes off with quick shots of the main characters and Meredith Grey narrating what is going on and how they got to be medical interns. She refers to surgery as a “game.” She also states how she is screwed because she doesn’t feel like she belongs in a setting where someone’s life is in her hands, but she quickly learns that she made the right choice when she saves a girl’s life that had an unknown tumor after having multiple surgeries. She also starts feeling better about her job as she meets Derek Shepherd at a bar the night before her first day as an intern. They hook-up, without realizing that he is going to be her boss, and then the next day she gets to work and finds out that she is one of her attendants. In the first minute, it gives us a clear image on where the show will be located (Seattle) and what the hospital looks like (Seattle Grace Hospital). They show us an overview of Seattle and the needle then quickly change the screen to the smaller hospital they will soon be working at. It gives us a lot of images of the operating room and people doing surgery on patients that the interns will have the privilege of watching and doing themselves. Although George O’Malley has the honor of doing the first surgery as an intern, he forgets what to do on one of the last steps and ends up killing the patient and lands the nickname “007”. Also known as “license to kill”, and that name carries on with him on the few seasons he appears on. Richard Webber, also known as the Chief of Surgery, is shown giving a tour to the new surgical interns into the operating room and proceeds to give them a speech about the difficulties of becoming a surgeon. He states that most will quit, some will go into an easier specialty, and the others will continue to outgrow their knowledge on medicine and helping people recover from illnesses that are removed or treated surgically. When they are giving us an image of the operating room it focuses on the five main interns that will be shown in the upcoming seasons. Cristina Yang, George O’Malley, Alex Karev, Izzie Stevens, and Meredith Grey are the five surgical interns that are going to all become good friends by not only living together but working all-nighters and teaming up to solve cases. Something unique about the beginning of every Grey’s Anatomy episode is that if something serious or tragic happens, the usual white screen that displays Grey’s Anatomy is either shattered, burned, or shows pictures of the person leaving. They did this for various reason like the episode where there was a bomb in a body cavity, Cristina Yang’s leaving, and Derek Shepherds death. Shonda Rhimes loves to bring emotion into every season and heartbreak to audiences so that way they come back to continue watching it to see what happens. She has been able to keep this show on and very popular for 13 years and she doesn’t plan on stopping now. I noticed that in the trailer that the videos and pictures of the character and hospital would change speed depending on the mood. If it was upbeat, it was going rather slow to be able to comprehend what was going on. If it was a dramatic, it was fast and hard to catch up with but still understandable. If it was sad, it was slow as well so you could see exactly what was going on and the drama that was going to arise.

The music changes constantly throughout the three-minute trailer. Ranging from upbeat music to the theme song to a romantic song to describe the complicated affairs and relationships in the show. There are many songs that are presented in the trailer that also aired on the television shows first episode. Such as, “Ready to Rise” by Vaughan Penn where it shows a quick glimpse of Meredith with her first patient when her patient suddenly starts having a seizure and she freezes, forgetting everything she has learned in medical school. She then sprints outside to puke in a bush because of all the stress she had from almost killing her first patient on her first day. It then proceeds to more upbeat song called “Into the Fire” by Thirteen Senses, when Meredith does a voiceover telling us why she wants to quit after four years of training to be a surgeon because she doesn’t think she can handle it like her mother did. The music displayed in this trailer gives the audience a clear image of the complications and drama that the characters experience in the show and try to grab their attention by using popular upbeat songs to motivate more viewers to continue watching to find out what happens with Meredith Grey and her fellow interns and attendant’s journeys through surgery.

Grey’s Anatomy utilizes ethos, pathos, and logos in all aspects. Ethos is used when it appeals to the characters by using attractive actors and actresses. For example, Derek Shepherd and his best friend, Mark Sloan are known as “McDreamy” and “McSteamy” due to the fact of their good looks and even have young girls and women having a debate on which one is more appealing to the eye. It also uses a professional setting and trusting feelings for the doctors to make them sound intelligent in diagnosing and treating patients. Pathos is applied for emotional appeals. It uses a lot of friendships and relationships. Some of them may not work out but they are trying to focus on true feelings about personal lives and how everything may or may not work out we would like them too. Logos was used to appeal to reason.

An argument that people could make about the trailer is that it was too long. Most television trailers don’t exceed two minutes and typically stick to 30 seconds to try and grab the audience’s attention and curiosity to watch the whole show. In my opinion, I believe it could have easily been five minutes and still interesting enough to make me want to watch the television show. The trailer had all the characters and settings to show me where the story was located. It also gave me a clear view on the drama and medical miracles they perform to give viewers cliffhangers and inspiration of medicine.

I hope after reading my rhetorical analysis about the season one Grey’s Anatomy trailer, I have encouraged you to begin to watch the heart-wrenching but cliffhanging television show airing on ABC. It isn’t always about affairs and surgery but it’s also about finding love and medical miracles. Although it is already fifteen seasons in, I can guarantee after watching the first season, you will never want to stop watching it and binge watch it on Netflix.   

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"Grey's Anatomy": The Show Of Heartbreak And Thrills. (2021, Apr 09). Retrieved January 28, 2023 , from

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