Grey’s Anatomy is about to air for its unprecedented fourteenth season. It first aired in March 2005, keeping viewers in suspense for more than a decade and being the second longest-running medical drama in history, with only ER having stayed on television longer (15 seasons). While its fans certainly hoping Grey’s Anatomy will break that record in a few years, here are sixteen facts about the show to brush up on before the new season kicks off tonight with the 294th episode titled “Break Down the House”.
1. In the beginning, there was the idea: hospital bathrooms make it hard to shave your legs
Although creator Shonda Rhimes had been obsessed with watching surgical shows on the Discovery Channel for a long time, it wasn’t until a doctor told her how difficult it was to shave her legs in the hospital shower that she came up with the idea for a medical drama!
Source: YouTube | Grey’s Anatomy – GreySloan
2. The show was originally going to be set in Chicago
Chicago is Rhimes’ hometown and she had planned to have the series take place in the Windy City. However, she ultimately decided against it to differentiate the show from the popular ER, which was also set in Chicago.
Source: Doctor Stu’s Science Blog
3. It was supposed to be called Complications
A play on medical jargon, the show’s original title was meant to let viewers know that in the medical field, things can go wrong. By the time it aired, however, Grey’s Anatomy was already chosen – a play off of the name of an actual medical textbook.
4. Storylines come from fans and medical readings
Now established as a mega-hit, fans will email their ideas or instances of strange medical events and if the writers like it, they just might put it on the show! Other medical events in the show come from writers reading about various real-life cases.
Source: TVLine | ABC
5. Actress Kate Walsh was originally hired for only a few episodes
In the end, she did so great with the rest of the cast that she was retained as a regular. She later got her own spin-off, Private Practice, which ran for seven seasons.
Source: Grey’s Anatomy Wiki
6. Rhimes stocked character lockers herself
She knew the characters so well, she went ahead and stocked up on their goodies! Each shot of them getting in their lockers can be credited to her handiwork.
Source: Tumblr | film-music-quotes
7. Diverse casting
Rhimes has her own recipe when it comes to casting on all of her shows: “Take half the characters that you made men, and make them women. Take one character you were gonna cast one color, cast them differently.”
8. Meredith is loosely based off of Carrie from Sex in the City
Many fans have pointed out similarities, and they’re not wrong. In fact, the show was pitched with Meredith as, “a more grounded version” of Carrie’s articles.”
9. A friend of Debbie Allen was diagnosed after watching the show
The actress revealed that a friend of hers saw an episode wherein she had similar symptoms to one of the medical cases. It prompted her to visit the doctor and was diagnosed as a result.
10. Several actors have directed episodes
Making their debut as directors, a handful of main characters have stepped behind the camera throughout the show’s run.
11. Alex Karev wasn’t in the show’s original pitch
He was introduced in the pilot and has been on the show ever since!
Source: IMDb | Ron Batzdorff | ABC
12. Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey have appeared in every episode
In fact, they’re the only two characters to have appeared in every episode of the show’s until Derek was killed.
Source: Tumblr | merderfan89
13. Rob Lowe was almost cast as Derek Shepard
The actor declined the role to star in another show on CBS that was ultimately dropped. Thankfully, that freed him up to appear on Parks and Recreation!
14. ABC producers got a private concert to convince them to do a musical episode
You know the one: the infamous musical episode of Season 7. In order to talk high-ups into the idea, Rhimes commissioned a private concert and they ultimatelly voted yes!
Source: Grey’s Anatomy Scoop
15. There have been a lot of hidden cast pregnancies
Remember when Meredith donated her liver? Or the time Arizona went to Africa? What about Lexie’s binge eating? All pregnancy cover-ups!
Source: Instagram | @thesarahdrew
16. Henry Burton and Eliza Minnick are a couple
So are Denny Duquette and Lauren Boswell!