Ellen Pompeo’s soothing storytelling in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’


It has aired for nearly 20 seasons and is currently the longest-running hospital drama of all time, the Shonda Rhimes flash, Grey’s Anatomy follows Dr. Meredith Gray’s career from trainee to attending surgeon. interpreted by Ellen PompeoGray is the series’ resident protagonist and narrator, and although hers is the series’ primary voiceover, Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t hesitate to use multiple narrators to tell the story.

Throughout its ongoing run, the drama focuses on Meredith Grey’s perspective on the world and life within hospital walls. His narration saturates the beginning and end of each episode and offers an introspective look at the day-to-day challenges of his career, with real-life trials peppered into the narrative.

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She begins each episode with a searing question, thought, or affirmation that sets the tone for what’s to come over the next forty minutes of screentime. In each episode, there is a lesson to learn or a notion to question; audiences don’t just follow Grey, but grow and learn with her. We overcome hardship and trauma as she does. Meredith not only narrates the top, tail, and theme of each episode, but presents it as if telling the story of how she became who she is at the time of the telling. At the end of each chapter, she tells us how she came out changed or wiser from the experience.

The pilot

Most series title their first as a pilot, but Grey’s Anatomy broke with bland tradition in the most appropriate way and named the first episode after the Beatles song, A hard day’s Night. As if to illustrate the interns’ first shift at Seattle Grace, the nearly sleepless 48-hour passage serves as the starting point for the series and introduces us to the main cast. We’re given a taste of what it’s like to start out as an intern and all the gritty details that go with it.

Throughout the pilot, audiences are given hints of the importance of our main character’s mother in the medical field and elusive clues about the legacy she left behind.

For most of the episode, audiences wonder why Meredith avoids the mere mention of her mother, and we’re left to assume she’s simply trying to distance herself from Grey’s illustrious senior shadow. But in a heartbreaking twist, the narration comes full circle and at the end of the episode we learn that the story being told is not for us, but for Merideth’s mother who has Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s a heartbreaking blow to audiences that puts the events of the episode into an eerie perspective, but it wasn’t originally intended that way.

Storytelling made history

Meredith’s voice not only welcomes audiences into her world, but also shows them her innermost thoughts and feelings. it became a staple of the long-running series that continued for nearly two decades of airtime.

It has become almost impossible to imagine the series without her.

While most series that use a narrator plan their storytelling method around voiceover, this was not the case with Grey’s Anatomy. After filming the pilot was done and the first episode was on the cutting room floor, Shonda Rhimes noticed something was missing.

She felt there was a necessary human element.

In a well-placed effort to tie everything together and give the story a much-needed sense of clarity, Rhimes decided to add Ellen Pompeo’s voiceover as an afterthought. Although her narration is usually limited to the beginning and end of each episode, she never fails to recall the events of each chapter to Grey’s Anatomy viewers and keep us in line with Meredith’s point of view.

That being said, Meredith isn’t the only narrator we hear in the enduring series.

Many, many storytellers

As hard as it is to imagine the show without Dr. Meredith Gray’s narration at the start and end of each episode, she’s not our only narrator. In fact, we have at least nine.

Shonda Rhimes at the 2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner

All along Grey’s Anatomy, we learn to love (or hate) supporting cast members. As they come into their own over the course of the series, some stay and some go, but their presence remains one of the deepest facets of the plot. They are not just supporting roles, they are friends, colleagues and rivals. They move the story forward in their own way and play off each other to create a cohesive narrative that contrasts with Meredith’s. Most of the supporting cast members even recount the odd episode here and there to add an inside look at who they are as individuals. Each of these characters is always the lead role in their own story, and through the use of their own distinct voiceovers, audiences can get a glimpse of who they are inside and not just watch them grow, but see how they view Meredith. as well.

Potentially dark (unreliable) storytelling

As spectators, we know why Grey’s Anatomy has such a hectic storyline; it is a drama. But let’s say we were to inhabit the same world as Meredith Grey, so what? If the events of Grey’s Anatomy was told to you first hand, would you believe the story or take it with a grain of salt? In the real world, however hectic a given hospital might be, nothing is so over the top, and it stands to reason that at least part of the narrative is embellished.

Or, a much darker, grounded truth is behind it all.

Drama or not Grey’s Anatomy is still a medical show, and the underlying plot is also based on medical reality. Knowing that Meredith was found to have the genetic markers for Alzheimer’s, just like her mother, it’s much more likely that the story will come full circle from the pilot episode, and a much older Merideth recounts the story to her children but is now suffering herself. of Alzheimer’s disease.

Almost 20 years later

As Shonda Rhimes’ first hit, Grey’s Anatomy has been on the air since 2005 and has reached the official milestone of longest-running hospital drama to date – currently winding down its 19th season. It was the springboard for several acting careers and became something of a cultural institution for several generations of fans who grew up watching it. The series has been nominated for 39 awards over nearly two decades, but has only received five actual awards, none of which have come out on top.

Even though Ellen Pompeo has been the star and subject of the show for almost 20 years and became one of the highest paid actresses because of it, she never won any awards for her lead role. for a long time.

Kim Handysides is an award-winning voice artist, coach and thought leader in her industry. His stories have been heard on Discovery, Netflix and major networks, in iMax, the White House and the Smithsonian.


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