Grey’s Anatomy: Why Can’t I marry a Surgeon?

March 16, 2009

owen-and-cristina_454x3261Grey’s Anatomy, the ABC hit drama kicked off it’s fifth season in February this year, latching on to the series’ popularity. Amidst the tears, I found myself reluctantly admitting that for once, I have become a veritable obsessive-monster when it  concerns TV programmes. Previously, I found my addiction shopping and spending money- which is the only upside I have discovered as pertaining my spending so much time with the TV. It appears that my savings have been increasing steadily, which is definitely a good sign.

But back to Grey’s, I was hooked on to the show (unfortunately) during my exam period. And seeing that my major is communications, watching a medical drama did nothing to help in my studies, except serve as a motivation- finish three chapters and I get to watch half an episode. Thank God, since the ending of the school term, I have been religiously watching the drama, managing to finish seasons one to four within a few weeks (Imagine how much money I have saved!!).

Season One starts off with the main character Meredith Grey, who the show was named for. The title Grey’s Anatomy, is actually the spoof of a famous medical textbook, Gray’s Anatomy. Meredith, a recent med-school graduate is ready to kick-start her Internship year.

Note; Doctors in training have to complete a year of internship at a ‘teaching hospital’, like NUH, before moving on to 5 years of Residency, where they continue to learn about surgery/medicine, and following that choosing a speciality, be it Neurology, Cardiothorasics, Dermatology, OBGYN, Trauma surgery, or General surgery.

SO, Meredith is up to start her internship year at Seattle Grace Hospital, Seattle’s best teaching hospital- but not before a fling the night before her first day. She woke up, feeling horrid, no doubt an effect from all the tequila the night before, and not even remembering the name of the guy she slept with.

And here comes twist number 1. The mysterious fling she had turns out to be her boss. To be very honest, I was ready to bury a hole in my couch and stuff my head in on her behalf.

derekAnd even as she corners him in a stairwell and insists that their relationship is merely to be professional and nothing else, he blatantly insists otherwise, and this sets the tone for the entire season, their skanky scandals, coupled with professional backstabbing and witty medical banter. Of course, Grey’s would truly be a bore if not for my very own favorite character, Dr. Cristina Yang, played by the ever youthful Sandra Oh. I first saw Sandra in her potayal of Principle Gupta in Princess Diaries, the teeny-bopper movie staring Anne Hathaway ( Ella Enchanted, Get Smart, Bride Wars), Julie Andrews (Sound of Music, Enchanted) and Heather Matazzaro. She was awarded only a small role in the box office Disney movie, as opposed to her current (and rather meaty role) as the Hospital’s top intern.


It’s quite interesting really, when one looks into Sandra’s portrayal of Cristina. Cristina’s history is as such: Born to a Korean family, she was raised in the wealthy suburbs of Beverly Hills and was seemingly the genius of her class. She has multiple qualifications to her name including a M.D from Stanford University (an Ivy League) at the same time, graduating top of her class for said M.D and a PhD from Berkeley. When she came to Seattle Grace Hospital, she was intent on becoming the top intern of her year (again, this comes with perks, the top intern will be awarded a solo surgery at the end of their residency.) She also comes from a broken family; her dad died when she was 9. She converted to being a Jew when her mother remarried a Jewish man. Despite her family’s religion, she believes only in medicine and has said more than once that she is a strong atheist.


Her spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof become a problem when she enters into a relationship with her boss and fellow doctor, Preston Burke, who in this story, is a world class Cardiothorasics surgeon (meaning he deals with hearts.) He is Cristina’s complete opposite, a God-fearing, Christmas-celebrating, spiritual man. One of the most pressing situations that Cristina found herself in, was upon moving in with Burke, he approached her and said “Lets decorate our Christmas tree together.” Decorating of Christmas trees to Cristina is distinctively foreign, since being Jewish, she doesn’t celebrate the holiday, and secondly, because she does not care for spirituality, has not thought of Christmas beyond dinners and presents.

She however, overcomes a change when she sees a young patient rejecting a newly transplanted heart. The nine-year-old boy, Justin, was ‘refusing to live’ with his new heart, at the same time refusing to believe in the ‘Christmas Values’ his mother keeps shoving down his throat. After the successful transplant, Justin’s condition does not improve, causing his mother to be teary with panic. Cristina, seeing this, sits down during the middle of the night to talk to an asleep Justin. She tells him that even though she doesn’t believe in Santa, she believes in medicine, and it is the faith that keeps her going. She learned from Burke that faith, be it in a spiritual manner or simply in yourself is the key to ‘Greatness’.

Throughout seasons one and two, Cristina and Burke battle their differences and even try going out on a date, discovering during the date that they had nothing in common, and that Cristina was extremely hard to know. However, the couple battle their differences and Cristina accepts Burke’s marriage proposal.

And here comes twist number 2: Burke, who has been THE most attentive, understanding, sensitive boyfriend, leaves Cristina at the altar.


And Burke’s reason? He feels that Cristina isn’t happy for the marriage, and he feels that he forced her into it.

Frankly, I think it’s a stupid line. And more to the point, I rather think that they wrote Burke out of the story because the actor that plays him, Isaiah Washington, was caught in some disagreement with his fellow cast members. If it was for that reason, and that reason alone that Burke left poor Cristina at the altar, that would make a lot more sense. Anything else would just be total and complete poppycock.

So I forgive Burke for being such an ass to Cristina, because in my eyes, it is the producers’ fault for having to write Burke out in such an abrupt manner. But very quickly, here comes twist number 3!!

Are you guys ready for this? *drumrolls*


Introducing Major Owen Hunt!! Kevin McKidd is the newest addition to the Grey’s cast, playing kickass-hardcore trauma surgeon Owen Hunt. Dr. Hunt was first a surgeon in the field, and made his debut appearance in season five (now showing), saving a man’s life by shoving a pen casing into his throat (from the outside) to help him breathe. Hunt was written into the show mainly as a love interest for Cristina to replace Burke. This is because much of Cristina’s character development comes from how she grows to being a person, as opposed to just as a world class surgeon.


Many would recognize McKidd from his movie Made of Honor also starring Patrick Dempsey (who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd and Meredith’s love interest in Grey’s). McKidd played the role of the burly scottish suitor Colin McMurray (A DUKE! No less!) to quirky Michelle Monaghan‘s Hannah. Dempsey, who acted as Hannah’s best friend was also McKidd’s on screen love rival. One wonders if it was thanks to the chemistry on ‘Made of Honor’ that made the producers cast McKidd again as Dempsey’s rival on Grey’s. Although this time, Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd has no qualms whatsoever in the love affair, Dr. Shepherd quickly finds himself in competition with Owen Hunt to see who is the better doctor.

With so many eye-candies on Grey’s, it’s no wonder that I have since started dreaming about becoming a doctor. Would you believe it that I actually went as far as to research the medical procedures that took place in the show? But then again, marrying a surgeon, as beautiful as that dream would be to come true, would mean living with a man who has a good reason to keep odd hours. I’m not sure about how the Singapore system works, but in Grey’s, most doctors work 24 hours, and are on call for the next 24, they sleep when they can, wherever they can. Still, one has those medical perks to look forward to. Imagine never needing to pay medical bills! Hurrah for companies that offer medical perks!

I’m off to continue my drama chase for season five of Grey’s– Taa!!

hugs, Gwendoline 🙂


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