* AlasPoorScrappy: Well, it'd be an understatement to say that the Mercy Westers were unpopular both in universe and with the fans, but I bet no one wanted to see [[spoiler: Reed and Charles shot dead during the hospital shooting]].
** You'd be surprised. It prompted a TakeThatScrappy reaction for just as many.
* {{Anvilicious}}: Boy, oh, boy... This show is a poster child for this trope. In fact, the beginning and end of every episode is reserved for a voiceover by Meredith (or, occasionally, another character, if it happens to be their [[ADayInTheLimelight Day in the Limelight]]) highlighting the episode's particular {{A|nAesop}}esop.

-->''Why, no, I [[BlatantLies don’t]] watch ''Grey’s Anatomy'' out of the corner of my eye ... and [[BlatantLies by no means]] do I mock that every episode ends with some patient croaking in melodramatic fashion during a montage set to [[Music/SnowPatrol Snow Patrol’s]] "[[StockTrailerMusic Chasing Cars]]" ("If I lay here.. If I just lay here ... Would you lie with me and just forget the world?") leading to perpetual basket case Dr. Grey offering a voice over with some sort of [[AnAesop pseudo-philosophical Chinese-cookie-worthy life lesson]] that the doctors learned while botching their latest life and death surgical procedure ("You spend your entire life searching for a place to call home, and only when all seems lost do you turn around and realize, you’ve been there all along") and I [[BlatantLies absolutely totally don’t]] mimic [[{{Flatline}} EKG flatline noises]] every time "Chasing Cars" comes on the radio.''
--->''--Jim Geraghty, National Review Online''

* AssPull: The solution to season 9's problem? Have Catherine Avery come and offer to have the Avery Foundation buy the hospital.
* BadassDecay: Bailey. Gone are the days when "The Nazi" was feared by almost everyone. The interns have started calling her "Booty Call Bailey" behind her back and are more afraid of ''Meredith'' than they are of her.
* BaseBreaker: April Kepner. Some fans are endeared by her (and her relationship with Jackson) and find her quirky and adorable. Others... well, see her entry under TheScrappy.
** Lexie Grey. Shonda Rhimes made no secret of the fact that she was a CreatorsPet, but since she was a lot less insufferable than Izzie or (at the time) Meredith, a lot of fans liked her anyway. Still, much about her tended to fall into the LoveItOrHateIt category. [[spoiler: Her death]] broke the base even further, with an equal number of fans [[spoiler: devastated to lose her, upset but satisfied with her character arc, or happy to see her gone.]]
* BigScrewedUpFamily: Meredith Grey's family. Her mother was emotionally abusive and suicidal, and separated her from her father, who became an alcoholic. It is later revealed that she has half-sisters [[spoiler: from both her parents]].
* BrokenBase: [[spoiler: The death of Derek Shepherd]] has absolutely ''splintered'' the base. Almost nobody is ''happy'' about it, given how loved the character was, but some are willing to make the concession that it was the only way to [[spoiler:write out Patrick Dempsey, who was going to leave the show anyway, without demonizing the character and having him abandon his wife and children for good.]] Others wish a better solution could've been found, and see the move as a cheap ratings stunt, and not even a necessary one given given that the season hasn't exactly been struggling to pull high numbers. And, finally, you have those who feel indifferent about it, having lost interest in the character a long time ago.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: In general, this series makes very good use of music, very frequently.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRZPqqDSwh8&feature=fvst ''Chasing Cars'' by Snow Patrol]] in the Season 2 finale.
** ''Keep Breathing'' by Ingrid Michaelson in the third season finale and ''Off I Go'' by Greg Laswell in the very last scene of the Season 5, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMCYP_w8zmw to tear-jerking effect]].
** "How to Save a Life", by The Fray, at the beginning of Season 3.
** "In My Veins" by Andrew Belle in the Season Six Finale, [[spoiler: as Dr. Bailey fulfills her promise to Charles Percy to tell him truthfully when he is dying]].
** A good 90% of the MusicalEpisode.
* CanonSue:
** A pretty extreme case is Izzie Stevens. By cutting her fiancé's LVAD wire and putting him at even greater risk of heart failure to push him up the donor register, she should've had her licence revoked and been imprisoned. Instead, she's barely punished and gets [[KarmaHoudini 8.7 million dollars]]. Though it did come back to bite her in the ass when [[spoiler: she got fired]] in Season Six...
** Some fans refer to Meredith as "Mary Sue Grey" or "Mer Sue". Her mere voice managed to bring a man back from a vegetative state, and she tampered with Derek's clinical trial, almost ruining his career, but was EasilyForgiven.
* DieForOurShip: Stephanie for Jackson/April.
* DysfunctionJunction: [[RecycledTheSeries The Series.]]
* EnsembleDarkhorse: [[CoolOldGuy Dr. Thomas]] in season 9. It helps that he was played by Creator/WilliamDaniels.
** Bokhee the scrub nurse is absurdly popular with fans, despite the fact that she (1) has appeared in every season and had a half-dozen lines in total, and (2) is never credited, to the point that the name of her actress is not known, and most fans misspelled her character's name until it was clarified on Twitter.
** Steve Mostow in some circles, mostly for being the HeroOfAnotherStory that puts most of the show's soapier subplots to shame, and hangs a huge lampshade on it in the process.
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: Arizona's tryst with Dr. Boswell is justified by the claim that Arizona, a ControlFreak, is allowed to lose control once in a while. So, because she's never cheated before, that makes it okay for her to cheat now?
** If a woman beats a man to the point where he's in a critical condition and he hits her back in self-defense he is still the bad guy and shouldn't press any charges because all anyone will care about is that he hit a girl.
*** To be fair, Karev only said that to convince the man in question not to press charges, and not because he meant it. He's ''immediately'' called on it by Shepherd, who says it's tantamount to blackmail and that he shouldn't feel good that it worked.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: In the Season Six Finale episodes, one of ''Grey's'' infamous periodic disasters (this time a shooting), Meredith is explaining to Cristina what being the godmother to her child means, to which Cristina replies, "OK, so, if you and Derek are in a plane crash and die, the kid is ''mine''?", happy that they're placing so much trust in her. It's a joking line, if a bit dark, but it's placed firmly in this category once the ''next'' disaster to strike the Grey's team comes along: [[spoiler: a plane crash. In which Cristina, Derek, and Meredith are all involved and injured. Oh, and Lexie is killed]].
** In an extremely similar example, when Cristina is asked to be Sofia's godmother, Meredith tries to dissuade her by telling her that in that case, ''three'' people would have to die before she got the baby. [[spoiler: Two of those people are involved in the plane crash, and one of them does die.]]
** In the season 8 Valentine's Day episode, Lexie debates with herself on whether or not to tell Mark that she's still in love with him. She makes a crack about how she better do it because "if you don't say it, you bleed out and die." [[spoiler:Guess who gets ''crushed by a plane'' a few episodes later?]]
* GrowingTheBeard: Grows it (season 2), shaves it off (season 4), grows it again (season 6 finale, widely seen as revitalizing the show), shaves it off again (season 8 finale/season 9 premier, [[spoiler: in which Lexie and Mark are killed off]]), starts to grow it ''yet again'' (season 11) and then shaves it off dry ([[spoiler: the death of Derek Shepherd]]).
* HarsherInHindsight: "Disarm," the episode that aired on 6 January 2011, revolved around a shooting at a college committed by a student named Jared. Two days later, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire on an Arizona political event, killing six and injuring thirteen others.
** In the sixth episode Izzie teases [[spoiler:George that he needs to ask Meredith out before he dies. George yells back "I'm not dying!" He dies in the season five finale and no, he never did ask Meredith out. However, he did sleep with her, she cried, it was very awkward, and he ended up meeting Callie and getting over Meredith.]]
** Much earlier than any of that, dating back to the very first episode(!), Burke's treatment of George is... difficult to watch without being reminded that Isaiah Washington was later fired for comments he made about T.R. Knight. Seriously, he does everything ''but'' explicitly call him gay.
** Music/DemiLovato's episode after she was hospitalized with mental issues.
** In a season 5 episode, Arizona says to Alex, "I wish that you could just get organs delivered instead of having to go and pick them up, you know? I hate flying. I always feel much closer to death on a plane than I do in the OR." Come the end of season 8, [[spoiler: it turns out her fear was justified. At least they weren't going to pick up organs on that flight.]]
** Many things that [[spoiler: Derek says, especially to Meredith, in retrospect of his death]], but a speech he makes saying "I want to grow old with you. I want us until we're 110 and gross and stinky I want all of that with you, takes the cake.
** The king of this trope for this series: Season 1, Episode 1: George and Meredith sitting outside the hospital during their first 48 hour shift of their residency. George asks Meredith: "We're going to survive this, right?" ''She doesn't answer him.''
* HilariousInHindsight: One Season 6 episode dealt with a morbidly obese patient who was too big to fit in the scan machine. Dr. Percy suggested to get the patient to the Zoo hospital and use one of their scans, which Dr. Bailey immediately rejected and fired Percy from the case. A few years before this episode aired, ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' dealt with the same issue, except they decided they ''should'' use the Zoo scan, and calling out the patient on his irresponsible behavior.
** In in-show example: in Season 9, the new interns are inquiring to Jo about how [[ItMakesSenseInContext Owen felt her up]], and Stephanie gets behind Leah and grabs her breasts, with not only no opposition, but a little help and a glance from Leah. This was quite a while before [[spoiler: Leah decided [[IfItsYouItsOkay If It's Arizona It's Okay]]. ]]
* HeartwarmingInHindsight: In mid-Season 10 Cristina is making an online dating profile for Owen and asks him to describe his perfect woman. What he says could mostly be a description of Cristina (and given both how much Owen loved her and how he left "wants kids" off the list probably intentionally is). Who else fits Owen's description almost perfectly (and seems to eventually want kids)? [[spoiler: Callie, his friend and in "if/Then" his wife and his later love interest Dr. Amelia Shepherd, who fits the description perfectly]]
** In Season 7 a gay couple has an accident when getting their papers for a civil union and one of the partners has a long speech about how he's fought for the right to get married but it isn't legal in Washington state. A few years later, Washington becomes one of the first states to allow marriage equality.
* HoYay: Almost every male character has at least one questionable moment per… almost every other male character.
** In one episode Sloan and Derek fight over Avery in a way that is very reminiscent of men fighting over a girl. Lampshaded by Alex who jokes that they are arguing over who can take him to prom.
** One episode has Jackson break up with Lexie because he has chosen [[HeterosexualLifePartners Mark]] over her. Though he wanted Mark as a ''mentor'' and friend and dating Mark's ex made it difficult to get close to him.
** The first season finale combines this with FoeYay for Alex and George. We're treated to such lovely scenes as George dropping his pants for Alex to inspect his junk close-up, and later George tackling Alex shouting "You gave me syphilis!" (Now, the fact that he meant that he got it from a ''woman'' Alex had previously slept with isn't of any relevance here).
* HollywoodHomely: Jackson once says that his family doesn't take him seriously because he is so attractive, while the rest of his family is smart and looks like they are smart. Later on, his mother is introduced and is played by Debbie Allen.
** In general, however, the show rarely bothers to touch this trope at all. Most of the show's less conventionally attractive characters ([[FlameBait and there's no reason to name any names]]) have no problem getting just as many dates as their hot coworkers. Turns out, people can also be drawn to a person's personality, kindness, intelligence and/or ambition, not just their outward appearance.
* IdiotPlot: Season 9's plot of the hospital possibly being closed down or sold because of the lawsuit, when the easy solution would just be for the people who just won millions of dollars ''each'' to [[JustEatGilligan either buy the hospital themselves or donate some of the money]]. Though everyone knows this is bound to happen, so why brother dragging it out? RuleOfDrama.
* InternetBackdraft: Within ''seconds'' of the end "How to Save a Life", literally thousands of fans took to Twitter declaring that they were finished with the show, with many tweeting directly to Shonda Rhimes with some choice words.
* JerkassWoobie: Alex, before moving on to StoicWoobie. His nickname for the first while was "Evil Spawn", or occasionally "Dr. Evil Spawn", but later seasons make you feel for the guy.
* JumpedTheShark: Of course, it's debated as to which point the shark jump took place. Burke leaving, all of season 4, Izzie having sex with a ghost, the Seattle Grace/Mercy West merger, or, most recently, [[spoiler: the deaths of Lexie and Mark and the hospitals financial troubles]].
** Many fans refuse to watch after [[spoiler: Cristina left at the end of Season 10]] and, more recently, [[spoiler: Derek dying near the end of Season 11]]
** The affair between George and Izzie in Season 3 may have been the beginning of the end. The romance itself was not necessarily bad, but up until then the show had focused on GrayAndGreyMorality--heck, it's even in the title! The Izzie/George relationship, in comparison, involved [[CharacterShilling shilling]] them and {{Villain Ball}}ing Callie--a major shift in tone.
** Another possibility is the recent introduction of a no-fraternization policy to prevent OfficeRomance. While this is a perfectly sensible policy that many RealLife HR departments have, in this series--which is built on nothing ''but'' OfficeRomance--its introduction at this late date strikes a huge blow to WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief.
** Only a few hours after [[spoiler: Derek's death late in season 11]] and many longtime viewers began decrying that the show is now dead to them. [[spoiler: After one of the main focuses on the series was the Meredith-Derek relationship since the very beginning, to have it thrown out in an instant has gotten fans feeling that the show is beyond salvaging at this point.]]
* LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt: The plane crash left Derek's hand damaged, so he was unable to do surgery, most likely forever. Several months, and surgeries, later and he appears to be making a full recovery.
** That said, the whole plane crash arc was an exercise in averting the trope. [[spoiler: Lexie and Mark both died, Arizona lost a leg, and she, Cristina and Meredith all hit their lowest points and required varying degrees of very hard work to deal with their trauma]].
* {{M|emeticMutation}}cMeme: You know the one.
** There's also the [[UnusualEuphemism "Vajayjay"]] scene.
* {{Narm}}: Meredith's crying when she [[spoiler: finds Lexie dead under plane wreckage]] which is weird seeing as she's had some non-narmy crying scenes in the past.
* NightmareFuel: [[NightmareFuel/GreysAnatomy Now has its own page.]]
* OneTruePairing: These days, virtually everybody ships Meredith/Derek (MerDer).
* RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap: Arizona. It's hard to pinpoint exactly where, she just sort of mellowed out gradually, and these days is one of the most popular characters.
** Izzie's cancer subplot granted her a brief reprieve from the bile that was coming from mostly everyone at the time, but as the subplot dragged on and on and it became clear that she would be undergoing very little CharacterDevelopment, she became less sympathetic again. Katherine Heigl's frankly obnoxious wishy-washy behavior during the sixth season (forcing everyone to accommodate her schedule, refusing to give a definitive answer to ''anyone'' about whether or not she was staying with the show, forcing a large number of re-writes when she asked to be let out of her contract before she could be written out for real at the end of the season) pretty much sealed the deal regarding how everyone feels about the character.
** Of the five new interns introduced in season 9, Jo is the only one who's managed to find ''some'' fans (read: the only one who is not absolutely despised), thanks to her interesting backstory and her storylines as an intern/resident being funny rather than frustrating as they usually are for rookie characters. Not to mention her [[BirdsOfAFeather chemistry with Alex]].
* SeasonalRot: Most fans agree that the show hit this by Season 6 at the latest, and some will tell you it set in as early as Season 4. The situation did eventually rectify itself, and most fans think very highly of Seasons 7 and 8. The later seasons, however, are more divisive in this regard (especially due to [[spoiler: The plane crash at the beginning of Season 9 killing Mark and Lexie, Cristina leaving at the end of Season 10, and Derek dying in late Season 11]] and how good they were is subjective.
* ScapegoatCreator: Shonda Rhimes gets a LOT of bile spewed in her direction. So much so that the "About Me" section on her twitter reads: "I make stuff up for a living. Remember, it's not real, okay? Don't tweet me your craziness."
* TheScrappy:
** Izzie, due to some combination of: the IdiotBall moment with the LVAD wire; being a KarmaHoudini re: same; being the person George cheated on Callie with; the actual George/Izzie romance, after a year of drawn-out love-triangle, being [[ShaggyDogStory a complete dud]]; and CharacterShilling.
** Meredith, due to her "[=McWhatever=]" VerbalTic and show-mandated inability to have CharacterDevelopment.
** April, for being shrill, whiny, religiously conservative and, eventually, a religiously-conservative hypocrite.
** Each one of the five new interns introduced in Season 9 was this for somebody, but now that only two remain, Stephanie is getting the brunt of the negative feedback (Jo is a little more of a BaseBreaker and does have her fans). The majority of viewers find the character flat and one-dimensional and are not happy that she's stealing the spotlight with her resident plotline, while Jo's only storyline continues to be her relationship with Alex. [[DieForOurShip And then there are the Jackson/April shippers...]]
* ShipsThatPassInTheNight: Alex/Meredith definitely has its share of fans, despite their only romantic interaction being in the AlternateRealityEpisode.
* SpecialEffectsFailure: The crowd holding a candle-lit vigil outside the hospital in the college shooting episode is a small group of people copied and pasted. Several people in the crowd are standing next to their clones.
** Shows up a lot with abysmal green screens. The most noticeable ones are the scenery around Derek's house as he builds it and the background for the hospital roof and helicopter which look very fake.
* StoicWoobie: Cristina, who was damaged quite significantly by her father's death... in her hands. Alex moves to this after spending a while as the [[StealthPun resident]] JerkassWoobie.
** And season 7 has Cristina even more Woobie-ish after having a HeroicBSOD during an operation when a loud bang from an accident paralyzes her with fear, as a result of the hospital shooting. And more recently, her going practically catatonic in season 9 for weeks after the plane crash.
* TakeThatScrappy: Richard telling Leah Murphy that she'll never be a good surgeon and firing her, even if he did do it rather gently.
** [[spoiler: Reed Adamson getting shot in the head]]. The only tragic thing about it was April's breakdown upon finding her body, but then again, fans weren't exactly crazy about her at the time either.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: [[CoolOldGuy Dr. Thomas]], who was a [[DeadpanSnarker good]] [[IntergenerationalFriendship friend]] and mentor to Christina, even better than Teddy was.
** An earlier episode had Dr. Stark, Arizona's replacement for a bit, who was [[DrJerk a bit of a jerk]], but the first OnlySaneMan they've had on the show since Erica was PutOnABus.
** George. In the first few seasons he was [[TheCutie the sweetest, most idealistic]] character on the show. All he had to do is sleep with [[UnrequitedLove Meredith]] ONCE, to finally convince him she wasn't into him, [[BreakTheCutie and it completely shattered his character]]. He became a cynical, out-and-out {{Jerkass}} overnight, sleepwalking through relationships with Callie, Lexie and Izzie, and falling behind in his work for no reason. And then they completely abandoned doing ANYTHING with him at all, to the point that C-Plots with him just involved him staring at the Case Of The Week and occasionally saying his lines. And THEN when T.R. Knight finally got fed up with it all, and could you blame him, they were prepared to [[PutOnABus put George on a bus]], then pulled the old BusCrash and killed him horribly and unnecessarily.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: Meredith's DeathSeeker tendencies, easily some of her most interesting traits, are consistently glossed over and often downright ignored. Bringing them up, even in the context of encouraging Meredith to get help, usually results in the opposing party being [[InformedWrongness made out to be the bad guy]]. Owen is a shining example, but even Derek was treated as unreasonable for not wanting to be with Meredith in Season 3 after what was essentially a suicide attempt.
** The show has never been shy about showcasing Meredith's angst (or, less charitably {{Wagnst}}) about a wide variety of personal dramas, so it felt especially strange that her reaction to something that everybody could agree was worthy of a deep reaction ([[spoiler: the death of her husband]]) was almost totally glossed over, especially given that the episode following it was ''two hours long'' but barely featured her.
* {{Wangst}}: Meredith spends over half of Season 2 doing this after [[LoveTriangle losing Derek to Addison]].
* WinBackTheCrowd: After a really mediocre year (or, as a lot of fans would tell you, mediocre ''three'' years), the Season 6 finale breathed new life into the show and it entered a second golden age. And, after the highly divisive ninth and tenth seasons, the eleventh seemed to be making a bid to rescue the show again, with some truly quality writing and an overall less bleak tone until [[spoiler: the death of Derek at the end destroying many fans faith in the series]].
* TheWoobie: [[WorldOfWoobie Most of the characters]] in the series qualify, but most notable are Meredith, Lexie, and George.
** Owen in seasons 8/9: Stressful job that he's really unprepared for, loses his best friend, his marriage is falling apart partly due to the abortion, becomes TheScapegoat being blamed for the plane crash which causes him to lose another friend and his part in it may cause the hospital to go bankrupt.
** Amelia Sheperd. Between her tragic backstory when she was little, the horrific events of Series/PrivatePractice, and in season 11 [[spoiler:the death of Derek]], her life has been nothing but tragedies. As she sarcastically puts it:
-->'''Amelia''': Thank you universe!
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