With 17 seasons and 369 episodes (so far), Grey’s Anatomy has become a resounding success on television. Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the series, seems to have found the perfect formula to conquer an audience by showing the inner workings of a hospital and the way in which doctors, surgeons, and residents try to balance personal life with work. But, in addition to what we see on the screen, you might find it interesting to know some interesting fun facts, especially if you are a true fan.
And at Bright Side, we can tell you that we’re true fans of Grey’s Anatomy. Still, when we looked for these fun facts, we were surprised to learn that we didn’t know these things before!
1. The name of the series is a reference to a medical textbook.
Gray’s Anatomy is a textbook that is well-known by any medicine student and intern in America. There are even some people who consider this book to be the “bible” of anatomy. Written by Henry Gray and illustrated by Henry Vandyke Carter, it was first published in 1858 and remains an important part of medical education to this day. Shonda Rhimes, the creator of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, was inspired by this book when deciding on the name of the series. However, in order for the title to not be mistaken for that of the book, she changed one letter and gave the surname “Grey” to the main character.
2. The façade of a real hospital was used to film a few scenes of the series.
Many of the scenes in the series take place at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, which is where the main characters work in the series. But, if when watching the series, you thought that the set looked a bit too real and you live or visit L.A. often, you have good reason to think so. Many of the outdoor scenes were and still are shot in a health care facility called Veterans Administration Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Centre, which is actually located in Los Angeles instead of Seattle.
3. Bokhee is actually a nurse in real life.
Bokhee An is a real-life scrub nurse, meaning that she actually works alongside doctors and other surgical staff. An’s based in Los Angeles and has worked in several open-heart surgeries. However, it seems that that didn’t stop her from getting a second job. In her spare time, she sometimes likes appearing as an extra in some of the episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. She is not listed as part of the main cast of the series, nor has she starred in any on-screen romances. However, she has been part of the television hit since it was conceived and some of her co-stars, like Sandra Oh, consider her to be their sort of second mom.
4. Some of the actors in the series also directed a few episodes.
“I have a very specific vision and I see a lot of things that people miss, so I started thinking about it. I just have to try it once and if I don’t like it, I don’t have to do it again,” Pompeo said during an interview for The Hollywood Reporter when asked about her work as a director in the series. As the protagonist, she was encouraged to stand behind the cameras to direct 2 episodes. She said that it was something that filled her with energy.
But she wasn’t the only one, Chandra Wilson also sat in the director’s chair a few times, as did, Debbie Allen (Catherine Avery in the series), who directed 17 episodes, and Jesse Williams (Dr. Jackson Avery) directed one episode too.
5. One of the episodes of the series helped raise awareness about Kawasaki syndrome.
Kawasaki syndrome usually affects young children and is caused by the immune system attacking blood vessels by mistake. While it’s a pretty serious condition, young children can be completely cured if they’re diagnosed and treated early enough.
In one of the episodes of the series, Sarah Chalke plays a mom whose son has been diagnosed with the disease. As a side note, some of the things that you see in the episode are based on real events. Sarah Chalke’s son, for example, was actually diagnosed with Kawasaki syndrome.
6. Derek and Meredith had their own wedding website.
Meredith and Derek’s wedding has been one of the most exciting weddings we’ve seen on television in years. That’s why ABC’s marketing department created an actual website for the couple’s most important day yet. The website includes pictures and fun facts about their relationship, among other things to come. There you can also find a wish list where fans were encouraged to donate money to the American Academy of Neurology Foundation, the American Skin Association, and the Alzheimer’s Association. As you might have noticed, all these charities have a connection to the show’s storyline.
7. Miranda Bailey’s character is inspired by Shonda Rhimes’ mom in real life.
During an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, acknowledged that the character of Miranda Bailey (played by Chandra Wilson) is somewhat inspired by her mom, Vera Rhimes. One of Bailey’s main character traits is to be very realistic and down-to-earth, just like the screenwriter’s mother is sometimes.
8. Grey’s Anatomy is ABC’s first drama series to reach 300 episodes. (And shoot even more of them!)
Grey’s Anatomy first aired on March 27, 2005, as a mid-season replacement and became such a hit that the series is still going strong to this day, almost 16 years and 17 seasons later. In October 2019, to celebrate their 350th episode, the entire cast threw a big party along with Shonda Rhimes.
9. Alex Karev’s character joined after the series pilot was shot.
Alex Karev, the character brought to the small screen by Justin Chambers, was not in the original script Shona Rhimes wrote for the pilot of the series. His role was created after the pilot was shot to provide male companionship for Dr. George O’Malley. Since his character was more of an afterthought and the episode was already shot, some scenes in which Karev appeared had to either be filmed again or digitally altered.
10. Meredith’s childhood home really does exist and it’s located in Queen Anne, Seattle.
If you ever go to Seattle, a must stop awaits you at 303 West Comstock Street in the Queen Anne neighborhood. This is supposed to be Meredith’s childhood home in the series. It’s a 4-bedroom home that dates from 1905 and its estimated worth is $1.3 million. Of course, you shouldn’t bother the people living there, as it’s a quiet residential neighborhood, but you might want to take a picture or 2 before exploring the rest of the city.
11. All episodes are named after a song except one.
This fact is a very fun one, considering that the series has 17 seasons and 369 episodes. In general, the episodes are named after famous songs, many of them written by big names in rock history, like The Beatles or R.E.M. The only episode that does not follow this rule is the one titled
12. Shonda Rhimes came up with the idea behind the series because of her obsession with surgery TV shows.
“I was obsessed with the surgery channels. A few years ago, I did a pilot for ABC. Later, ABC wanted another pilot. My sisters and I would call each other up and talk about operations we’d seen on the Discovery Channel. There’s something fascinating about the medical world—you see things you’d never imagine, like the fact that doctors talk about their boyfriends or their day while they’re cutting somebody open. So when ABC asked me to write another pilot, the OR seemed like a natural setting.” confessed Rhimes when interviewed by Oprah.
Do you like Grey’s Anatomy? We’d like to know which episode(s) are your favorite and why.