Culture > Television

Grey's Anatomy

Television | ABC's newest hit features a group of surgical interns learning real-world education

Issue: "An evolving debate," May 21, 2005

Grey's Anatomy is another hit for ABC in this year of the dramas. The show is about a group of surgical interns fresh out of med school finishing their education in a grueling, high-pressure hospital residency.

The interns are variously arrogant, insecure, privileged, and conflicted. Central character Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) is the daughter of a noted surgeon now afflicted with Alzheimer's. Stealing her scenes is the hyper-competitive Christina Yang (Sandra Oh).

We watch them perform their first surgeries (rendered with the squirm-inducing realism now common in hospital shows). In one episode, the interns compete fiercely for the honor of taking out an appendix. A suture breaks, the patient starts bleeding internally, and is about to die. We share the intern's panic and humiliation as the supervising surgeon takes over to save a life.

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The interns joke about their patients, who suddenly become human when their lives are on the line. The supervising physicians are tough, even drill-sergeant-like. One has a sexual relationship with Dr. Grey. And this is where the show disappoints. In their off-hours, the interns are presented as stereotyped college students with impersonal sexual hook-ups, frat-house partying, and gossipy social climbing.

Grey's Anatomy does a good job presenting the transition from theoretical learning to real-world education. Christians will recognize the doctrine of vocation, watching these young people discover their talents and grow into their callings. But first they-and the TV moguls who can't resist pandering to the titillation-loving demographics-need to just grow up.

Gene Edward Veith
Gene Edward Veith


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