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Trivia / Grey's Anatomy

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  • Absentee Actor: 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.
    • She isn't the only instance of this trope. Arizona broke up with Callie and went to Africa for some time because of Jessica Capshaw's pregnancy. Meredith had surgery that required her to miss work for weeks because of Ellen Pompeo's pregnancy; she did make appearances, but was always shown in bed. Derek (Patrick Dempsey) misses six consecutive episodes in season 11; he dies later in the same season.
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    • Even Ellen Pompeo (who play the show's titular character) isn't above this; she is only heard in a voiceover in season 13's "You Can Look (But You'd Better Not Touch)" (which is set away from Seattle, and only features Arizona, Bailey, and Jo) and she is absent altogether from the same season's "Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?" the first episode which doesn't feature Pompeo in any way.
    • In later seasons, there are several episodes which only a few characters appear, including the aforementioned episodes. Another prominent example is "How to Save a Life" in season 11, where only Ellen Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, Kevin McKidd, Sarah Drew, Caterina Scorscone, and Patrick Dempsey appear; this is the same episode where Derek dies. Side note: this is the first episode where Justin Chambers is completely absent.
  • Actor Allusion: Quite a bit:
    • Jo Wilson, played by Camilla Luddington, whose Star-Making Role was as Kate Middleton, is referred to as "Princess" by Alex.
    • Owen being of Scottish background as his actor, Kevin McKidd, is very Scottish. In season 15 Luddington's Jo, who was adopted, takes a mail-in DNA test that reveals she's "mostly British".
    • In the 9th season opener, Arizona begs to keep her leg rather than have it amputated, in Into The West, Jessica Capshaw played Rachel Wheeler, who died on the operating table while having her leg amputated.
  • Actor-Shared Background:
    • Arizona's father's military patriotism and belief in being a good person correlates very well with this very wiki's Military Super Hero entry description of (any many well known characterisations of) Steven Spielberg — actress Jessica Capshaw's real life stepfather. He's also a very proud Arizona native, perhaps where the name inspiration came from.
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    • Sarah Drew's character of April Kepner both share an evangelical Christian faith.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Jessica Capshaw noticed the roller sneakers in wardrobe during fitting and requested that her character, Arizona, wear them — they became integral to her character from beginning (too perky for Bailey) to end (revealing in one of her last regular appearances that roller skating is part of a character-defining backstory).
  • California Doubling: 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.
  • The Cast Showoff:
    • 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.
  • Colorblind Casting: 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: Levi, 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).
  • Cast the Expert: Many of the nurses, including Bokhee, are played by real-life nurses.
  • Contractual Immortality:
    • 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: 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 (George and Izzie) on the brink of death. During the summer hiatus, it became common knowledge that one of those actors (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. It turned out to be the former.
      • Zig-Zagged two episodes later when one of the renewed-contract characters (specifically, Mark) checked out after only two more episodes.
  • Critical Research Failure: A meta example in the show's promotion that led to criticism: when Callie left the show various media outlets claimed she was the longest-running LGBT+ character "on television" because of 240 episodes over 10 years from 2006-16 (Sara Ramirez later getting another episode credit for soundtrack). Many people reading this, particularly from the UK, laughed out loud at how wrong it was, given the fact that there have been many other characters who would beat her to the title, most egregiously being the titular character of Doctor Who who is also bisexual and has been in about 900 episodes since 1963. Callie might have been the longest-running LGBT+ character on American TV, but they didn't say that. A more direct comparative might be lesbian Dixie from the British medical drama Casualty, who was in 400 episodes over 20 years from 1996-16.
  • The Danza: Paramedic Nicole Cummins, a recurring paramedic character, is played by Nicole Cummins.
  • Descended Creator: Nicole Cummins, a script superviser and occasional director, has a recurring role as Paramedic Nicole Cummins.
  • Directed by Cast Member:
    • Kevin McKidd, Chandra Wilson, Ellen Pompeo 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".
  • Executive Meddling:
    • 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 the loss of three regular characters.
  • Fake American:
    • Jo Wilson is played by Camilla Luddington, an English actress.
    • Kevin McKidd is Scottish—and not just a polite Edinburger, either. You know the kid in Brave with the incomprehensible Doric accent? That would be him.
    • And Cristina is played by Canadian Sandra Oh.
  • Foreign Remake: 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.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy:
    • 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. In the same season, Camilla Luddington was written out of several episodes, again for pregnancy and subsequent childbirth.
  • I Knew It!: Before season 9 even aired, everyone was saying that the return of Richard's wife Adele would be her last.
  • Image Source: Preserve Your Gays
  • Milestone Celebration:
    • Episode 100: "What A Difference A Day Makes" (5x22). Meredith and Derek give up their wedding to allow Alex and a worsening Izzie to get married.
    • Episode 300: "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" (14x07). Expies of George, Cristina, and Izzie are Patient of the Week, Meredith wins a Harper-Avery Award, and Jo resurrects the "seriously?" meme.
  • Name's the Same:
  • The Other Darrin: The actors on the show don't provide their voices for the videogame, to mixed results.
  • Promoted Fangirl: Camilla Luddington is excited to be playing Alex's Love Interest.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • 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 Chyler Leigh was married with kids at a young age. To point, at the time of the episode she'd been with 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.
    • Kevin McKidd being on the show is kind of funny when you know he’s from Elgin and the hospital in that town is called simply “Dr Gray’s”. What’s weirder is that it was funded by a family grant upon the death of Dr Alexander Gray, for whom it is named.
  • Queer Character, Queer Actor:
  • Quote Source: Roadside Surgery
  • Real-Life Relative: Teddy's husband Henry is played by Scott Foley, whose wife is Marika Domincyzk, who played Eliza Minnick.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Season 17 started with how the characters are handling the the Covid-19 pandemic in April of 2020.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • 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 The West Wing 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.
  • Word of God: All of the female characters are versions of or parts of Shonda Rhimes' personality, according to her.


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