Hey, cutie. Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our April issue. If you like what you see, you should probably snag a hard copy ASAP. Bye!
When I started watching Grey’s Anatomy in February 2020, the show was merely something to look at while I ate Thai food. Then the news got bad, then very bad, then, somehow, worse—and I realized I was lucky I had 17 seasons and counting of Meredith Grey & Co to go.
Of course, I am not the inventor of the idea that hundreds of low-stakes “dramatic” episodes can be an emotional salve, nor is this theory unique to This Moment (it’s likely you know or *are* someone who has watched a therapeutic amount of Bones or House or Law & Order at some point). But I am its fiercest devotee bc watching TV has kept me tethered to my sanity this year. When your world—or in this case, the entire world—is upended or in flux, sometimes the one thing you can count on is that you watched an episode (or two or seven) yesterday… and today you will too.
There’s also just something restorative about falling into plotlines that most people stopped talking about 10 years ago. While everyone else binged and feverishly meme-ified Tiger King, I was still, culturally, in 2009. It was calmer there. And for obvious reasons, it has been soothing to watch brilliant doctors cure sick people who, apparently, have incredible health insurance.
It’s not just about escapism though. Long-running shows can be a source of emotional growth. (And also, IMO, even… preventative care.) Grey’s started in 2005, a time when the hottest name for a guy was “Derek” and low-rise jeans ran rampant. It was also a time of rigid ideas about gender and casual sexual harassment (Meredith faced the latter, like, once per episode). Later installments, by contrast, are progressive and inspiring—and my friend Jose points out, “Everyone thinks it’s just a show about horny surgeons, but actually, it’s about how, over the course of nearly two decades, a toxic workplace run by bad men can become an inclusive workplace run by powerful women.”
Meredith has gone from a surgical intern with a drinking problem and exactly none of her shit together to an acclaimed surgeon with a life she loves. As corny as it sounds, in a year when it’s felt like my life’s been on hold, I’ve become more confident in taking charge of my own issues by watching Meredith figure out hers.
Maybe Grey’s, specifically, isn’t for you because [racks brain] you don’t enjoy watching very attractive people constantly talk about performing a “lap chole.” But please: Find a show with more than 10 seasons and let it work its therapeutic wonders. There is nothing I can recommend more. Except, of course, actual therapy.
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