Bullying has been a hot topic for more than a decade now. In particular, it became the center of school administrators' attention after it was revealed that the Columbine High School shooters had been bullied in the past. That was 1999. Grey's Anatomy premiered in 2005. So why did it take the show 12 seasons to finally touch on the subject?
Let's be real: You can't have a useful, moving plot on bullying when two of your show's heroes are bullies. We're talking about Yang and Derek and before you get your feathers ruffled, hear us out.
There was a lot to love about Mer (Ellen Pompeo) and Der's love story. From their first tryst to their Post-it note wedding to nearly every scene with Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and Zola. But Derek wasn't always a good guy. Through the years, much of his mentoring and all-around dreaminess was often overshadowed by his outbursts and need to be right. Think back to when Meredith nearly drowned. She was clearly dealing with issues and needed time to sort herself out. Instead, he pushed himself on her and demanded they get married. And what about that clinical trial where she gave Adele the trial meds in hopes that it would make her better? Mer did it out of a place of love, but Derek very meanly scolded her. Why? Because it messed up his trial. Because it wasn't what he believed was right. Not only was he infuriated about that, but he used it as some (very weak) evidence that she'd make a terrible mother. Uh... telling someone they'll be bad at something they desperately want is always bullying. Doing so because they don't do things the way you think is right is even more unacceptable. Time and time again, we watched Derek railroad his wife (and colleagues), most notably when he convinced her to give up brain surgery.
We should probably feel a little bad about being so forthright with our bitterness toward a dead man, but it's just impossible. Derek was not a nice person. Moreover, if the bullying plot had existed during his time on the show, it would have had to be the thing that split the two apart, or at least brought them to counseling — or Grey's more intelligent fans would have definitely called shenanigans on the whole thing.
In the moment, it was always easy for us to write off Yang's bossiness and snottiness as just a characteristic of a strong woman. It's 100 percent true that in many instances, assertive women are often called bitches. Less evolved humans just have a hard time dealing with women who know what they want and go after it. Looking back on Yang's actions, though, there's a big difference between being headstrong or determined and being rude, inconsiderate and snide to your coworkers. Throughout her many seasons on the show, Yang had absolutely no problem telling every single one of the staff what she thought of them as people and as professionals. It went beyond friendly competition and was often cruel. Remember how she treated O'Malley? Or what about how rude she was to Dr. Dixon, who had Asperger's syndrome and acted socially awkward. She was a skilled surgeon, but not a people person. Yang had no idea how to handle herself around the woman and was often hurtful with her reaction.
Time and time again, we've witnessed many of the hospital staff be cruel to one another and to patients. Remember their snarky comments behind the back of the man with the huge tumor and pregnant wife? Don't forget all the cruel nicknames they gave people that weren't McDreamy and McSteamy. Obviously, this is no different than any workplace. We can only hope, though, that with Grey's Anatomy's two biggest bullies cut from the show, that this "very special episode" might weigh in on how the docs treat their fellow humans this year.
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