For the past 12 years, Shonda Rhimes has been allowing us to enter the dramatic and exciting world of ShondaLand every Thursday night. Having written and produced three very popular dramas, Rhimes has full control over many viewers’ Thursday nights.
As a dedicated fan of Rhimes’ firstborn, “Grey’s Anatomy,” I can describe in full detail every dramatic twist and turn of the doctors’ lives in the past 12 seasons. But in addition to that, I feel as though I can help diagnose people like I have watched my favorite TV doctors do so many times. Abdominal pain and vomiting? You probably need an appendectomy. Hallucinating your dead fiancé? Better call an oncologist because you might have a brain tumor.
Now, obviously, I have no medical degree, and nobody is asking me for medical advice — that doesn’t stop me from butting in — but I do feel as though I have learned a thing or two from the doctors of Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital. I understand how doctors are trained and how they prepare for surgeries and do research. I know the importance of giving medical history and being honest with doctors, and I understand each specialty.
In addition to watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” I also have become a gladiator, marathoning episodes of “Scandal” to keep up with all that is happening at Olivia Pope and Associates. Through the show, I have learned more about what goes on in Washington D.C. than I had in any government class I have ever taken. Sure, in high school I learned checks and balances and whatnot, but I never understood the gravity of them in the scheme of politics.
Hearing about President Barack Obama appointing a new Supreme Court justice in the past would seem like a done deal to me. However, after following President Grant’s administration, I know how vital getting the candidate through Congress is and how votes would be bartered with state representatives in exchange for political capital.
I am not fully caught up on Rhimes’ latest hit, “How to Get Away with Murder,” but I’m sure that my knowledge of the criminal-justice system would increase significantly if I added it to my Netflix queue.
Is it bad that I can attribute my knowledge to fictional characters on TV shows? Personally, I think that watching dramas like these is the best way to learn. I am invested and paying attention, and therefore I am more likely to remember specific details than if I read them in a textbook.
One thing I know for sure is that if Rhimes started teaching a class here at OSU, I would be the first to sign up.