300

300 is a lot. Like a lot of anything. 300 bananas, 300 cars, 300 people…it’s a big number. Can you imagine 300 43 minute tv episodes? Well the cast of Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t have to, they’re airing their 300th next week. They’ve come so far from a mid season pilot that aired after Desperate Housewives with the pitching phrase “Sex in the surgery”. They’ve become an anthem that launched Shonda Rhimes into becoming a household name.

Shonda has accomplished so much over the years including a fight for stronger diversity platforms in film and television both on and off screen, and these wouldn’t be possible without the stepping stones Grey’s Anatomy gave her to reach such a large amount of people. She’s claimed Thursdays on ABC as TGIT, Thank God It’s Thursday. She owns the night with three shows that rotate in and out depending on the season along with smaller short lived series from her production company, Shondaland.

I myself am personally grateful to the cast and crew, as I’ve written here previously. (To read any of those works just go to my TV tab or Grey’s Anatomy). I owe them so much, and they’ve taught me over the years which what I wanted to cover when writing this. I’m a Television Student and a lot of times we’re told to say our favorite TV show as a ice breaker every semester. Every semester I say Grey’s Anatomy and get a few quiet stares, a sigh, a “Is that still on?”- yes it’s still on and celebrating 300 episodes Tiffany what have you accomplished in your day besides making me feel bad?

Recently as GA has resurfaced as a cult classic phenomenon as teens binge the show on netflix there is an overall consensus that GA isn’t “that good” or is just something “teen girls watch” and I want to break that down a little bit. 300 episodes worth of monologue inspiration for every bad day is already number one reason why it’s so amazing. But what makes GA so unique is that yes it has lasted forever, and the reason is because it is so overwhelmingly personal and that it has reached the point where it isn’t trying to fit any formulas to make the ratings rise, or fill a quota the network wants for award shows. In fact they haven’t been nominated for any outstanding acting awards besides guest arcs for years, and they don’t care. They don’t need to because the loyalty to the show is so strong that even when you’re pissed off at a storyline you’ll record it and watch it anyway. Or you’ll watch parts of it. You’re addicted to Grey’s Anatomy, and you know what

It’s OKAY.

As a society we need to stop looking down on what brings young women joy especially a program like GA that combines diverse storylines and lifestyles including the longest running LGBTQ Character on TV which was Callie Torres before Sara Ramirez left. Young women have found strength and a place in GA. A lot of TV that is marketed for a young teen audience focuses on school, drama, relationships, and not many young women are seeing them looking at careers. Something that GA has started is a wave of young nurses or surgeons who went into the medical field because of the show. GA next to ER is one of the most technically correct medical shows ever to be shown on screen. They have doctors on set that are watching them film and teaching actors how to hold instruments. Young girls are watching these highly complex procedures sandwiched between drama and romance and it’s fueling their search in what they want to do with their lives. “If she can see it, she can be it” is a slogan often used by guest star Geena Davis who runs The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media that GA takes to its heart. Women are surgeons, nurses,  paramedics, they’re patients, they’re mothers, they’re sisters, they’re rounded human beings who don’t rely on love interests to keep them going. These women have watched 300 episodes of surgery and they’ve become invested in it. Shonda created a movement.

They don’t just want their Mcdreamy’s, they want their Harper Avery’s.

 What GA has also inspired is a love for TV and creation, through their dedication to showing the fans how their favorite episodes are filmed such as the musical event or any of the stand alone episodes including “Sound of Silence”. GA also works hard to allow their cast to learn and grow in the business, leading to cast members like Chandra Wilson, Kevin Mckidd, Ellen Pompeo, and Debbie Allen to direct a number of episodes. Not to mention that half of them are women, two are of color. That diversity extends to the writing room where more than half the staff are women, and just recently in season 14 two episodes in a row were written and directed by women. Having women cultivate a show that is so influential on young girls is one of the most important issues this industry needs to tackle, and they’re doing it.

November 9th we don’t just celebrate 300 episodes, we celebrate 300 storylines, 300 surgeries, 300 elevator kisses, 300 monologues that give you clarity to life (thanks Ellen Pompeo, please do a motivational audio book),  300 catch phrases; SERIOUSLY, 300 lives saved…we celebrate a lifestyle and an impact that’s still blossoming. It doesn’t need awards or fancy things. It’s always going to be there. Like an old friend.

and we owe it to the cast and crew to celebrate this monumental moment because of all that they’ve unlocked and achieved for the industry. While GA is still working and learning as we all are to be as fully progressive as we can be when being creators, they’ve made tremendous strides and are committed to them. From Shonda’s blind casting to the recent episode Ellen Pompeo directed she specifically made sure that there were nurses wearing hijabs, and they even had minor speaking roles. Obviously we all want more, perhaps a hibaji intern but it’s a continuing stride for them that they want to make. So I know I will be celebrating the 300th to my fullest because I want to celebrate not only the content but the team behind it because 14 years of content is so beautiful. The inclusion and atmosphere they have created with Shondaland is something I could only dream of being a part of.

Let’s dance it out to 300!

Christina Yang Dance GIF - ChristinaYang Dance GreysAnatomy GIFs

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TV saved my life last fall

This post is going to be deeply personal for me, I just want to preface. I may cover topics such as implied sexual harassment, and mental health so I want to warn readers that I will try my best as to not be overtly detailed as to cause triggers. But I will let you know I do cover those topics. Also I have omitted names, as well as some other fine details because they’re too sensitive or not in my place to speak of.

So I started my first year of college last year. This drastically impacted me being across the country from home, being in a large city, and being alone from all my friends. It’s no surprise I felt depressed at times, or I struggled with opening myself up to making new friends. But something that really hindered this was my living situation at the time. I’ve opened up to close friends who know exactly what happened as I told them in real time because some of what I witnessed or lived through is quite honestly something so bizarre and unspoken about it could be a tv pilot.

But I do want to say that in that time Television was my solace. I had several moments inside my apartment where I did not feel safe. It was during this time that I sought out using the tv as a distraction. Thing is I would binge 30 Rock, and eventually completed the series last fall because it was all my distracted mind could focus on. That and Grey’s Anatomy. Which I had finished the year before and can basically recite like the back of my hand.

Now when I say I didn’t feel safe in my apartment you have to understand some things.

First, I shared a bedroom and a bunk bed with another girl. I was on the top bunk. She over the time spent in our room was a terrible roommate. And no it wasn’t that she was just loud. There’s really no excuse for doing laundry only twice from August 31st to October 28th. She would let her hamper overflow to the point where she began to leave laundry on her bed, she never put away clean clothes so they laid with the soiled ones, and then it became a large pile that stacked all the way up to our window sill. Once I climbed out of bed and found she had thrown a thong onto my chair. This was not all though of course it couldn’t be.

I told you I wasn’t safe.

See as the laundry accumulated, she had also moved out of our room. She began sleeping in our living room next to the couch on the floor, which she littered with instant noodles and chocolate pudding cups. She did not tell us why.  I, being a shy and timid person, had not really interacted with her much. Through all this she had boyfriend troubles so every few nights we all pitched in and did damage control for her emotionally. So as things progressed she just grew angry and agitated, coming back home from spending the night at her boyfriend’s dorm and slamming the bedroom door as she came in while I ‘slept’ (or pretended to be asleep so she wouldn’t talk to me). Throughout this time she had been coming in and out with her boyfriend through the days and there were a lot of moments where they had sex in the bathroom and we all could hear it. There wasn’t so much of a group text to let us know to leave. I was locked out of my bedroom without my phone once. But then she broke up with this boyfriend. There was a period of time where she would bring home random guys.

There is nothing wrong with a woman having a lot of sexual interaction, but when it puts other girls at risk that’s where it’s a problem. Not only was my roommate putting herself in danger with a stranger, she put us in danger as well. One such time when she was agitated if I remember correctly, I did what any logical person would have done. I went to the room next to mine, closed the door, sat on the floor with my other roommates and I made them watch the Grey’s Anatomy pilot.

Watching the pilot made me feel so at peace in a time where I did not know what was going to happen to me. I think what made such an impact on me was that I was watching characters who didn’t have a firm grasp on life as I did in that moment. They felt lost, they felt unsure of the world they had just stepped foot in and so did I. We felt safe for 43 minutes.

Then the random guys brought alcohol into the mix as well. So the girl I shared a bedroom with would bring men we both did not know home, while intoxicated and underage, and not tell any of us. I guess I slept through a few nights where my other roommate walked some of the men out of the apartment in the middle of the night because this girl was too drunk. So as this was happening I was sleeping.

I can not tell this story without mentioning that she sexually harassed my other roommate while drunk however that story is not mine to tell but I will say my story comes back into this because she and I discussed it a few days after.

I felt guilty over it because that was one night when this girl came home very drunk, crying and she eventually called her mom and she was very loud. It was 11 or 12 at night and I had an 8:30 the next morning so I closed our door, and tried to block out the noise. That was when the harassment occurred and I wish that I hadn’t shut down and knew what to do in the situation but I didn’t.

So the victim and I were talking about what happened and about reporting her when she tells me that the girl had been bragging to her the night before about having sex in her bunk with a random guy while I slept.

I couldn’t sleep for weeks. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t feel safe, my privacy had been violated. The worst part of all of that is that I do not know exactly what occurred and I do not know if I myself was touched by them at any point in time. My sense of self was so out of place from then because I truly do not know. I woke up clothed that is all knew.

We eventually reported her and that was when my other roommate and I began to binge Grey’s Anatomy together because it was something that took our mind off of what was happening. Suddenly we were afraid to come home at times we knew she was there.  The process of deciding to report her and to who was a messy blur. I remember hiding at our starbucks around the corner and then in our lobby until I knew she wasn’t there.

But once it came to the time where the sexual harassment offices got involved I did not report, although my roommate reported and then I went with her to follow up meetings with officials to verify her story with my own. It was because of this that the biggest incident happened.

I was sitting, doing homework on a Thursday afternoon where I didn’t have class. Everyone was having class. Or so I thought. She had been taken into the title ix offices and told of the accusations against her. I got a phone call from her that I stupidly picked up.

I heard “Why are you lying,” and I automatically responded by saying that it wasn’t me filing a claim against her that it was the other roommate and it was confidential so I could not discuss the case with her before hanging up.

I felt my heart racing to the point of I felt faint. My face was blushed, I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks. I had no choice, I didn’t know when she was coming home. I did NOT want to see her. I felt in danger. I closed my laptop. I sent an email to my RA, I told her I didn’t feel safe and I also let my other roommate know. She asked me to come to her room. At this point I felt very weak. My heart was pounding in my ears, I felt the need to pack everything up because every bad thing I could think of raced through my head. What if she came back and broke my camera? My laptop? What if she stole my clothes? What if she…what if she-?

I eventually grabbed my purse and made my way down the hall. I knocked on my RA’s door. While I waited the elevator dinged multiple times, and each time I jumped with panic that it was this girl coming back to our apartment. Once inside my RA’s room she led me to her couch while she went to make a phone call to her adviser to tell her the situation.

I found myself on her couch watching whatever she had turned the TV to.

It was Grey’s Anatomy.

I didn’t touch anything, I didn’t even realize until my heart had slowed down and I heard that voice that made my days so much better.

Grey’s Anatomy actually saved my life. Hearing just the familiar voice of Meredith Grey that I had developed a connection to over 13 seasons actually ended my panic attack. At that moment nothing mattered. I watched for those five minutes before my RA came back in and talked to me. Those five minutes took me away from the emotional hell I had been living in for weeks. It took me to a hospital where I knew everyone’s name, and I didn’t feel at fear for what could happen to me. That’s all that mattered. Grey’s Anatomy made me feel safe. I will always be in debt to Shonda Rhimes, and to the cast, to Ellen Pompeo- for making a show so full of heart that it became the light in my dark.

and to my RA for  having it on. She didn’t know. She was catching up on some studying with it on as background noise when I came to her. TV transcends itself by being such a staple we live on and for me it was such a sign. TV came to me when I needed it the most. I needed it for an escape and it provided that. I don’t know what would have happened had it not been playing when I came over because it was such a terrifying situation. This girl was also bipolar and off her medication and had been for weeks. Her behavior was erratic and extreme which made me fear for my safety a lot and knowing she was angry at me led me to a lot of anxious thoughts.

Now that she’s gone, Grey’s doesn’t leave our TV often. After having binged the entire show my roommate promptly started again. It’s on when we eat, it’s on while we study- it brings peace to us because we had to make our apartment our safe space again. We didn’t move out, she did. But the places where she hurt us were still there.

“When something bad happens there’s always a handful of beautiful things that come out of it “- Ellen Pompeo

I write this because I was just diagnosed with anxiety/depression and I made a promise to myself. If Greys can last this long, why can’t I? Obviously my livelihood does not depend on the show but understanding that I have over 300 options of episodes to calm me down during the worst of times is comforting. It is time that I stop blaming myself, or questioning why this happened to me but to put myself forward to not be prisoner to my anxiety anymore. So what, something bad happened to me but I found beauty in how I was saved.

“What’s broken can be mended, what’s hurt can be healed. No matter how dark it gets, the sun’s gonna rise again”- Meredith Grey.

TV will always be there next year too.

It’ll be there and it’ll be safe.

tea: wildberry zinger