While fans of ‘Jericho’ and ‘Veronica Mars’ are demanding more episodes of their favorite series from the shows’ respective networks, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ fans are demanding better episodes and storylines from the writers of the show. While season 2 of the hit ABC series served to draw in millions of devoted fans, season 3 seems to have let many of those fans down. Ferry crashes, visits to the afterlife, infidelity, parents dying and so much more filled the season that appears to be getting more and more like a soap opera than a drama series.
Granted, when it comes to shows like ‘Grey’s,’ there is a fine line between soap opera and primetime drama series but the writers did prove in the first and second season that the show could find a good balance of drama and quality storytelling. This season it feels as though the writers have been dragging our favorite characters through so many different sub-plots and storylines that the heart of the series has gotten lost. Many of the fans (myself included) are beginning to lose faith in the writers’ abilities to deliver the same quality episodes that aired in season 2.
Once upon a time, when a show started sinking, fans had two options: jump ship or cringe as they watched the band play on as the ship went down. We’re in the age of the internet though and TV fans are eager to rise up in full force and make themselves heard when they’re unhappy.
We received an email, forwarded to us from a fan of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, which basically unloads what many fans of the series are feeling about the third season of ‘Grey’s’. I had not intended to post the letter in its entirety here because its very long but when trying to find excerpts from it, I found that there was nothing I felt could be left out. I’d credit the person who wrote it but I don’t have their name. I invite them to email me if they would like me to include their name in the article. (See update below)
The writer is inviting fans of the show who agree that the series has gone downhill to go to www.greyswriters.com and post a comment expressing their thoughts on this season as well as their hopes that they will bring the series back to greatness when it returns in the fall.
“To Whom It May Concern:
This is an open letter requesting assistance, an SOS if you will, to SAVE OUR SHOW - Grey's Anatomy. We have lost faith in the producers and writers of what once was a wildly entertaining program. Through what we can only interpret as their arrogance and ignorance, the writers and producers have lost sight of the essential ingredients that made up a creative, high class, well acted, extraordinary primetime television program.
Grey's Anatomy, as we have known and loved it, is dying. A major fan revolt is taking place. We are deeply concerned that the producers and writers may not heed this warning before it is too late. There is a real risk that Season four will see a dramatic loss of Grey's Anatomy's viewing audience.
For the most part, fans are not upset because they do not like the story line. Rather we are concerned that Grey's Anatomy has lost its heart and soul. It no longer reflects the quirky, inventive, refreshing brilliance of the first two seasons, but rather has become as dark and twisty as one of its major characters.
We have lost faith in the writers. In blogs and podcasts, they have asked fans to hang in there and make the leap to season four. They have made promises regarding story lines that have not been delivered, and because they have done this so often, now fans have lost faith that they can or will deliver on any new declarations.
The loss of faith in the writers also extends to the inconsistency and incongruous nature of many of the major characters. Over time we have gotten to know the characters well, but many are no longer recognizable. Having characters behave one way in one episode and then a completely different way in the next is not only frustrating, but also points to lazy writing. Viewers lose both loyalty to the character and respect for the writers. Fans will only tolerate such poor characterization for a short time before they simply turn off the program. Even loyal fans will not stay tuned when they see the characters they know and love turned into schizophrenic marionettes.
As loyal viewers, we also are concerned that rather than challenging us to think about social issues, the program is degrading the importance of many of the desired norms in our society. Marriage, fidelity and pregnancy are trivialized. Such a depiction of the institution of marriage and the responsibility of pregnancy does not reflect normal society or reality. Of further concern, Shonda Rhimes' comment in her most recent podcast that women "cannot have it all" is patronizing to ALL women and the antithesis of the current state of society.
Perhaps our greatest concern is the latest ABC Grey's Anatomy writer's blog, in which Ms. Rhimes states that she has burned the show and the story lines to the ground in order to start again from scratch. Ms. Rhimes is taking the easy way out. Either she is spread too thin or is no longer capable of writing the minute detail required for the continued growth that should be expected in all the core characters, specifically Meredith or Derek. Increasingly she has come to rely on the blogs and podcasts to explain what is happening between the characters because what we see on the screen often leaves viewers baffled. A cynic might even believe that she waits to see the reaction of the audience, then uses the blog and podcast to offer explanations designed to placate fans, as well as empty platitudes and promises asking us to trust her to make it right. Because she fails to deliver, fans are quickly losing faith in her and the show. We will not watch next season if she persists in this direction. In addition, our disappointment in this season is so great that we will not buy the season three DVD. The season can only be described as pathetic with momentary glimpses of the old show that we love.
We also believe that Ms. Rhimes' decision to burn the show to the ground may mean she has "backed herself in to a corner" with regard to the series' plot lines. On several occasions, she has introduced a new character, but by the time he or she has completed the task of advancing the story or filling in gaps from the past, she has fallen in love with the character or actor. This leads to needless and often destructive changes in the planned story line and/or other characters' basic traits or behavior. In doing so, she is treating her viewers as morons and has bastardized the characters we love. And regarding the season three finale, does the term "Deus ex machina" ring any bells?
Ms. Rhimes states in her blog, "I did my level best to burn it all down this season, to burn it to the ground so that we can have a place to build from next season." Perhaps we can also offer her a word of warning about "burning" Meredith and Derek's relationship with it. That relationship and the onscreen chemistry between Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey are what first attracted many viewers to this program. Burn them and you cook your goose - the one that lays your golden eggs. And if we are faced with another Meredith/Derek/McWhoever triangle next season, I think we all may have a little McVomit in our mouths. Boring! Been there, done that to death.
If you believe that this letter is the hysterical whimsy of a few disgruntled fans, we would like to refer you to the ABC Grey's Anatomy Writer's Blog comments at www.greyswriters.com/.
In essence, we are asking you to please exert whatever pressure possible on the producers and writers of Grey's Anatomy before they lose the viewers who have made it the number one show on primetime television. We want our uniquely quirky and refreshing television program back, please.”
Update (6/8/2007) - Thanks to an email from one of the people who contributed to the above letter, I now have the source. The above letter was a group-effort, written by some of the posters at ABC’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ message board - Specifically, the people who post in the “New Spoilers” thread. – Nice work, guys!
The fans have spoken. Your move, Shonda.
Do you agree that Grey's Anatomy has gone downhill?