* AbsenteeActor: Katherine Heigl in Season 6, by her own request. After appearing sporadically throughout the first half of the season, she was credited for six episodes she wasn't in before she finally decided she truly wasn't coming back.
* ActorAllusion: Quite a bit:
** Jo Wilson, played by Creator/CamillaLuddington, whose StarMakingRole was as [[UsefulNotes/TheBritishRoyalFamily Kate Middleton]], is referred to as "Princess" by Alex.
** In the 9th season opener, Arizona begs to keep her leg rather than have it amputated, in Series/IntoTheWest, Creator/JessicaCapshaw played Rachel Wheeler, who died on the operating table while having her leg amputated.
* ActorSharedBackground:
** Arizona's father's military patriotism and belief in being a good person correlates very well with this very wiki's MilitarySuperHero entry description of (any many well known characterisations of) Creator/StevenSpielberg -- actress Creator/JessicaCapshaw's real life stepfather. He's also a very proud UsefulNotes/{{Arizona}} native, perhaps where the name inspiration came from.
** Owen being of Scottish background as his actor, Creator/KevinMcKidd, is very Scottish.
* CaliforniaDoubling: The show is filmed in Los Angeles, except for a few episodes in Season 14, when they actually did film in Seattle and around the Puget Sound area.
* TheCastShowoff:
** Dr. Bailey (played by former Broadway actress Chandra Wilson) sings "God Bless the Child" to her baby son in a season 3 episode.
** The season 7 musical episode gives almost everyone a chance to sing, but naturally the episode centers around the other Broadway veteran in the cast, Sara Ramirez (Callie). However, Kevin [=McKidd=] (Owen) and Lexie (Chyler Leigh) also get very impressive solos -- both have sideline music careers, as well ([=McKidd=] in Scottish folk and Leigh with East of Eli). At the concert version, most of the parts were sung by Ramirez and [=McKidd=], regardless of the episode's version.
** In the season 6 Christmas episode, Owen ([=McKidd=]) plays the guitar while Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) sings "Baby It's Cold Outside", and they are actually really good. Additionally, one of the pieces of background music is Sara Ramirez' version of "Silent Night", just to upstage them.
* ColorblindCasting: How the show casts a bunch of its characters, specific examples:
** Cristina's surname was changed to Yang to seem more racially accurate when Sandra Oh was cast.
** The season 6 intake: Teddy, Charlie, and Reed who all have gender bender names (Teddy made short for Theodora and Charlie for Charles when they were cast).
** The season 14 intake: All the interns who aren't Levi "Glasses" Schmitt: Sam, Casey, Taryn, and the other two. Leads to the realization that Andrew [=DeLuca=] could have been bi if whoever they cast as Sam was male (they weren't, Sam was made short for Samantha); also Casey is (and is played by) a trans man (Alex Blue Davis) which makes this practice of the shows super for representation.
** The same if presumably done for the spin-offs, with character names like Dell (''Private Practice'', male), Andy and Vic (''Station 19'', female).
* ContractualImmortality:
** Notably averted by Isaiah Washington, who plays Dr. Burke. Washington was fired from the set for making homophobic comments towards T.R. Knight (George O'Malley), who is gay in real life. This was worked into the script: [[spoiler:Burke leaves Cristina at the altar and doesn't even have the guts to come back to get his own things, sending his mother in his stead]].
** Season 5 ended with two characters ([[spoiler:George and Izzie]]) on the brink of death. During the summer hiatus, it became common knowledge that one of those actors ([[spoiler:George's]]) has not had their contract renewed... and sure enough, when Season 6 picked back up, that character had died.
** The previews for season 8's finale promised that one of six doctors would die in a plane crash. Since the actors for Meredith, Derek, Cristina, and Mark were all confirmed to have contract renewals prior, that meant only Lexie or Arizona could fit this. [[spoiler: It turned out to be the former]].
*** ZigZagged two episodes later when one of the renewed-contract characters ([[spoiler:specifically, Mark]]) checked out after only two more episodes.
* DirectedByCastMember:
** Creator/KevinMcKidd, Chandra Wilson, Creator/EllenPompeo and Debbie Allen have all spent time behind the camera ([=McKidd=] the most, he's directed episodes from 2011 to the present).
** Sarah Drew directed the mini-series spin-off "B-Team".
* ExecutiveMeddling:
** There were originally four core interns, but producers felt that another male intern should be added. Enter Alex, who had to be both digitally added to the pilot and required new scenes to be filmed. Considering Alex is one of the most beloved characters on the show, it is an example of this trope turning out well.
** Cristina's miscarriage in Season 2 was supposed to be an abortion but was changed due to this. However, she did go through with an abortion in Season 8.
** Budget cuts for Season 9 were partly to blame for [[spoiler: the loss of three regular characters]].
* FakeAmerican:
** Jo Wilson is played by an English actress.
** Kevin [=McKidd=] is Scottish--and not just a polite Edinburger, either. You know the kid in ''Disney/{{Brave}}'' with the [[WhatTheHellIsThatAccent incomprehensible Doric accent]]? That would be him.
** And Cristina is played by Canadian Sandra Oh.
* ForeignRemake: Received one in Colombia's 2010 ''A corazón abierto'' (Open Heart), featuring the same premise with María Alejandra (Meredith) starting work at the hospital where her famous and now Alzheimer's-afflicted worked and making friends with other new doctors Cristina, Jorge, Isabel, and Augusto (Alex). Colombian!Derek is called Andrés.
* HideYourPregnancy:
** The reasoning behind Meredith's liver transplant storyline in Season Six--it was a procedure that would require a lot of bedrest for the character and to get Ellen Pompeo off her feet in real life (Shonda Rhimes has stated she was ''very'' pregnant while those episodes were being filmed).
** Chyler Leigh (Lexie)'s overeating during Season 5. It was a bit of an in-joke with the cast.
** Jessica Capshaw had pregnancies hidden in early season seven, late season eight/early nine, and late season twelve. For the first, her character was sent to Africa for two episodes to explain her absence.
** Sarah Drew's pregnancy was also hidden in season eight, since her character was a virgin.
** Caterina Scorsone's pregnancy was hidden in season thirteen.
* IKnewIt: Before season 9 even aired, everyone was saying that the return of [[spoiler: Richard's wife Adele]] [[BackForTheDead would be her last]].
* ImageSource: PreserveYourGays
* NamesTheSame:
** Mark Sloan shares a name with ''another'' TV doctor, Creator/DickVanDyke's character on ''Series/DiagnosisMurder''.
** Teddy Altman: Doctor or [[ComicBook/YoungAvengers or a teenaged superhero]]. Justified as producer Allan Heinberg co-created the Young Avengers.
** Arizona Robbins' brother Timothy is a more missed one for actor Creator/TimRobbins.
* TheOtherDarrin: The actors on the show don't provide their voices for the videogame, to mixed results.
* {{Promoted Fan|boy}}girl: Creator/CamillaLuddington is excited to be playing Alex's LoveInterest.
* RealitySubtext:
** Early in the show, George is constantly asked whether he's gay. He's not, but his actor T.R. Knight is.
** In one episode a young couple confronts Lexie asking if she's judging them for having kids and seeming so immature, with Lexie genuinely assuring them she would never--rightly so as actress Creator/ChylerLeigh was married with kids at a young age. To point, at the time of the episode she'd been with [[Creator/NathanWest her husband]] for 15 years and they had three kids. And, yes, she's as young as she looks (they're still together, too, if you're wondering).
** In season 14, Arizona is caught up in an argument between De Luca and his sister, all in Italian, to which she keeps reminding them she doesn't speak Italian. Jessica Capshaw used to live in Italy and speaks the language.
** Teddy moving to Germany, as Kim Raver is half-German.
* QueerCharacterQueerActor:
** Callie and her actress Sara Ramírez are both bisexual. According to a 2013 interview, [[ActorInspiredElement Ramírez asked for it to be part of her character]].
** Casey Parker and his actor are both trans men.
* QuoteSource: RoadsideSurgery
* RealLifeRelative: Teddy's husband Henry is played by Scott Foley, whose wife is Marika Domincyzk, who played Eliza Minnick.
* RetroactiveRecognition: One of [[Series/{{Supergirl 2015}} Alex Danvers's]] many alternate Earth counterparts in the {{Multiverse}} was a surgical resident at Seattle Grace.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** Ellen Pompeo revealed that the producers wanted to couple Meredith with Burke, and that Isaiah Washington's disappointment after this idea was scrapped contributed to off-screen tension (that eventually ended up getting him fired).
** Sandra Oh (Cristina) had played Brooke Smith (Erica)'s lesbian lover in an unrelated production, and the two mentioned that they would be comfortable with their characters hooking up.
** Katherine Heigl (Izzie) was originally supposed to have time off for maternity leave and come back towards the end of the sixth season, but she instead asked the producers to be released from the contract 18 months early, in order to spend time with her family.
** Rob Lowe of Series/TheWestWing was originally approached to play Dr. Derek Shepherd, the love interest and later husband of the main character, Dr. Meredith Grey. He turned it down for another pilot.
* WordOfGod: All of the female characters are versions of or parts of Shonda Rhimes' personality, according to her.
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