Grey’s Anatomy has done some really bananas things over the years–the whole Denny thing, most of Alex’s love life, the shooter in the hospital, then the plane crash. It’s been a bumpy, dramatic ride and a lot of times people disparage the show for how over-the-top its plots are. I get that.
Yet, I am still watching. Partially because I have a hard time letting go, partially because Shonda Rhimes and company continue to deliver really interesting, nuanced portraits of relationships–and diverse relationships–beneath all that soap opera stuff.
One of those relationships, which I love so dearly, is the friendship between Meredith Grey and Christina Yang–dubbed by their husbands “the Twisted Sisters.” Over the last decade, I feel like they’ve set the TV gold standard for female friendship. They’re not warm and fuzzy like the short-lived BFF and usually not funny like the myriad ensemble sit-coms (Friends, HIMYM, SATC, etc.). But, their friendship has been tested by a lot of personal shit and I think it’s valuable to have a female friendship on TV that shows two women push each other through a highly competitive career, discuss family planning, personal baggage, and the toll that highly competitive career takes. They’ve seen each other through more normal life struggles and all the craziness that Shonda cooks up. I love them.
So, when this season their storyline became one about them growing apart because their professional competition and Meredith’s family life became too big a strain, I was really bummed, especially because Sandra Oh is leaving at the end of the season. Yet, I kind of think it’s worth it to get a scene like this:
Holy Bechdel Test, Batman! I appreciate the way that Christina and Meredith negotiate how to balance their personal goals and professional goals and how the show depicts them taking different paths and validates both of their choices while not unrealistically making it look easy. In real life, these choices are hard and they do disrupt friendships. I love that Grey’s takes us on that journey with them and shows two women–the mother and the woman who does not want children, figuring out how to validate each other and see the different obstacles of each other’s lives. Ya-ya! I also love that it’s punctuated by a stressed-out bride. And I love April’s dress.
And in case you need context, you can see the build up to this scene from earlier in the episode here: