It's Time

08.16.13

Pull the Plug on 'Grey's Anatomy'

Sandra Oh rattled fans when she announced that she’ll be leaving ABC's hit drama after Season 10. Anna Brand on why ABC should take her cue and just end the series already.

A Grey’s Anatomy without Sandra Oh’s fan-favorite doc, Cristina Yang? Oh, my.

Without Cristina Yang, who’s going to call the bull? Who’s going to deliver witty one-liners? Who’s going to take a stand against the allure of the McMen? Most importantly, who’s going to inhale candy and hot dogs and do so elegantly? The answer is no one.

Oh announced this week that after 10 seasons on the hit ABC drama, she’s officially hanging up her scrubs. There’s no need to sugarcoat the situation. There isn’t going to be any “filling her shoes,” no “where do we go from heres.” There’s only one next move for Grey’s Anatomy: ABC needs to take Sandra Oh’s cue and pull the plug.

The thought of Grey’s without Cristina Yang is sad and unsettling. She’s one of the show’s original stars and its backbone. There’s no denying Oh’s departure will be extremely problematic for ABC’s once-flagship series—a series that’s been on an unpredictable ratings ride ever since Scandal topped it at one point last season. ABC is soldiering on with the series, even though, with the loss of Oh, it will be on creative life support. Even if it manages to survive without her…should it?

Oh’s departure almost poetically follows her character’s narrative. She’s deliberately crafting the perfect end to Yang’s story. Cristina Yang was never a team player. Professionally, she was always more concerned about being the standout intern, doctor—whateverno matter who she was leaving behind, rather than grow as a team. Now, Oh seems to be following Yang’s lead. She reportedly broke the news to her co-stars at a table reading for the show’s 200th episode, stating “I really feel like I gave it my all and I feel ready to let her go.”

It’s time for ABC to let go, too.

Grey’s Anatomy, heading into its tenth season, has become Mad Libs-esque: X person hit by X resulting in X limb hanging off only to then become the love interest of X until X finds out X is actually an X and then everyone hugs and Bailey says something X. Shonda Rhimes, the show’s creator, has developed a formula that’s been able to keep fans emotionally attached for a decade, but has the well run dry on Grey's? At the very least, it’s a formula that’s losing interest of its core stars–which is never a good sign.

Even Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd, would be A-OK with the series coming to an end. While talking about his hopes for the show’s series finale, he said, “Gosh. I hope it’s not something traumatic like another plane crash or somebody getting run over by a bus. I think [life will] sort of just go on. I think it would just go out very simply—and leave it open for the movie.”

Not only does Grey’s not seem to have total support from its core cast, continuing on only tarnishes the legacy of a series that was once great. After all, Grey’s is the series that gifted us with a smoldering Season 2 Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and still has us shaking from that chilling bomb episode.

Grey’s has run its course. And there’s no doubt it’s tired. (That bizarre musical episode is proof enough.) It’s managed to skate by because (for the most part) everyone we started off with has stuck with the show. Sadly, that is not the case anymore. It’s time to be real: Instead of crafting ways to continue without Cristina Yang, ABC must swallow its pride and let Grey’s go out with a bit of (Seattle) grace.