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Grey's Anatomy will incorporate the coronavirus pandemic into its upcoming 17th season, as revealed by executive producer Krista Vernoff in a new interview aired on Tuesday.
The ABC medical show will draw on the experiences of real-life doctors working on the frontline of the pandemic.
Grey's fans are divided over the news, with some viewers praising the show's move to tackle an important and current topic, while others have reservations with the writers incorporating a still-ongoing pandemic as a plot point.
It looks like the doctors over at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital are scrubbing in to tackle something very real in our current lives: the coronavirus pandemic.
In a new interview first revealed by Entertainment Weekly, Grey's executive producer Krista Vernoff announced that the ABC medical show would be incorporating the COVID-19 crisis in its upcoming 17th season. "We’re going to address this pandemic for sure," she said, speaking at a Television Academy panel that streamed on Youtube on Tuesday night. "There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes."
Krista, who appeared on the panel alongside Grey's actors Chandra Wilson (Dr. Miranda Bailey) and Kevin McKidd (Dr. Owen Hunt), further revealed that the show's writers took the time to talk to real-life doctors about their experiences, as they do every season — but that this year, it felt "a lot like therapy" as they shared their stories on working on the frontline of the pandemic.
"The doctors come in and we’re the first people they’re talking to about these types of experiences they’re having. They are literally shaking and trying not to cry, they’re pale, and they’re talking about it as war — a war that they were not trained for," she said. "I feel like our show has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories."
As for what the fans think about the show's latest undertaking, many seem to agree that this is an opportunity for Grey's — which has addressed various timely issues such as racism, immigration, and sexual assault in the past — to tackle an important and relevant issue within our current events.
"They’re using their platform to tell stories from the doctors on the frontline of the virus, this is so important," wrote one fan on Twitter. "I applaud Grey's for taking on such a difficult subject and bringing true stories of the hospitals to the forefront," tweeted another viewer in response. "There are people that might see it and get a dose of reality as to what is really going on."
grey’s anatomy is going to focus on the coronavirus in season 17...
they’re using their platform to tell stories from the doctors on the frontline of the virus, this is so important https://t.co/wU7GEYdRZS
— jade (@cristinasoh) July 21, 2020
I applaud Grey's for taking on such a difficult subject and bringing true stories of the hospitals to the forefront. There are people that might see it and get a dose of reality as to what is really going on.
— SUSANJA (@SUSANJA6) July 22, 2020
Of course, not all fans are as on-board with the news, with some viewers seeming to have their reservations about Grey's writers incorporating an ongoing pandemic — and a global health crisis still affecting millions of people across the country — as a plot point for the next season.
"I just don't want Grey's Anatomy to do the COVID storyline cause I feel like it's too soon & we are trying to escape reality not watch it on screen," tweeted one fan. Yet another viewer took to Reddit to voice some objections, writing, "This is too fresh, too current, and too traumatic." The fan continued, "I do not want to see stories of the Grey’s doctors hooking up in on call rooms and dealing with their messy drama in between pandemic storylines. A REAL pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands, and continues to kill daily."
I just don't want Grey's Anatomy to do the Covid storyline cause I feel like it's too soon & we are trying to escape reality not watch it on screen. :/
— JAS l Lifestyle♤Hoe😜 (@JasLmir) July 21, 2020
Grey's Anatomy is really making an ep about COVID while we are still in the thick of it?? pic.twitter.com/cWOSeGAzLI
— People Are Wild Podcast NEEDS YOU TO WEAR A MASK😷 (@peoplearewild) July 22, 2020
Despite these reservations from several viewers of the show, Krista affirmed that the show's writers will be working hard to tackle the difficult subject in the best way possible. "Our conversations have been constantly about how do we keep alive humor and romance while we tell these really painful stories," she said.
Production for the upcoming season of Grey's Anatomy has not yet started due to the pandemic, which also forced the show to cut the previous season short earlier in April. So while we already know how several of the Grey's cast members and alums have been dealing with the pandemic (a.k.a. with plenty of face masks and proper social distancing!), it looks like we'll just have to wait and see how our favorite doctors over at Grey-Sloan will deal with "the medical story of our lifetimes."
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