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Shonda Rhimes on Grey's Anatomy

Published September 26, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of ABC.
Grey's Anatomy Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy fans had to plod through some heavy stuff last year, even by TV drama standards. Series creator Shonda Rhimes stands by her show, but promises a new direction for the upcoming fourth season.

Season 4 of Grey's Anatomy

"I don't know if lighter is the right word," said Rhimes. "I think that the thing that I sort of came back to this season, sort of mandating with it, I wanted us to have a lot of fun. I felt like season three is a darker season. It just is. Meredith's mother dies. George's father dies. Meredith's stepmother dies. It was a blood bath and it was a necessary one but I want to get back to us enjoying it and having fun."

All of you who posted nasty comments about last year's episodes have made a difference. Rhimes took it all to heart. "Yeah, I read the blogs. I read the responses to the blogs on the writers' blog of Grey's Anatomy. We get sometimes tens of thousands of people writing in to say what they think. I read all of them and I take really seriously what the fans say. I kind of love that people feel this strongly about the show. What that means to me is that they are watching it and that they care about it and that they feel as emotionally connected to the characters as I do."

Still, she wasn't going to alter her plan midseason. "Do I feel like we went wrong at the end of the season? No. I felt like we took the journey that we started to take. I sort of said at the very beginning of the season we are going to start the season with Meredith helping Izzie out of her prom dress and we are going to end the season with Meredith helping Cristina out of her wedding dress. To me, it was the journey that we had planned to take all along. Yeah, it was a darker journey. It felt to me like the journey that these characters, after season two, really needed to take."

Some fans were especially upset about George and Izzy hooking up. Perhaps Rhimes will apply some of those feelings to the fallout explored in Season Four episodes. "Yeah, I understand it. I think when Meredith and Cristina and Alex find out, they are going to have some pretty vitriolic reactions as well. I think that's part of what makes it interesting. The characters are flawed. The characters are really human. I'm not necessarily saying that George and Izzie are the love story of the century. People make mistakes and perhaps this is a mistake. Perhaps it isn't. I think it's an interesting thing to explore when you decide that your best friend is your soul mate."

Even with all the real world controversy and on air frustrations, Rhimes feels her show remains in good standing. "I don't think we have to make up any ground. I feel like the characters are moving in the direction that the characters are moving. Yeah, it was a difficult season for us behind the scenes but I think creatively we moved in the direction that we planned to move. Damon Lindelof and I talk a lot about what he always tells me is the coming backlash and that it's here and it happens in any show. You can't be perfect all the time. There has to be a moment in which people disagree with where you're going creatively. If you're telling your stories well, they'll stick with you hopefully and watch us grow and change which I think is great. I think the fans feel really strongly about the characters. They have strong opinions."

Grey's Anatomy returns this fall to ABC.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of ABC.

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