'Grey's Anatomy's Series Premiere Highlights Just How Many Actors Are No Longer On The Show — R.I.P. George O'Malley!
One of the coolest things about Grey's Anatomy being in its 11th season — besides the fact that a feminist, diverse, female-led TV show is still kicking butt in the ratings, of course — is seeing just how far the show has come from its first year. While many things about the show today are the same as they were 11 years ago — the friendship between Mer and Cristina, the format of the episodes, the perfection of Derek's hair — many of the series' aspects have changed completely since its premiere in 2006. From the romances (Cristina and Burke!) to the feuds (Izzie hated George) to the surgeries (they got so, so much grosser), re-visiting Grey's first season is, often, like watching an entirely different show.
And it's not just the plotlines. A huge amount of characters have left the show since it began, whether from firings or death or their actors' off-screen contract disputes. Some of those people are certainly missed more than others, but no matter their likability, it's sad to see them all on-screen in the show's pilot, knowing by 2015, most of them would be long-gone memories — and those are just the ones we met in season 1. From Izzie to George, a look back on all the people present in the Grey's series premiere that aren't with the show today:
In the Grey's pilot, Izzie's defining trait is that she's an ex-model who used her job to pay her way through med school. This might not seem like a big deal, but it was scandalous enough to make Alex ridicule her in front of the other interns and Bailey. Later in the episode, Izzie manages to royally piss off Bailey, and gets assigned to perform rectal exams. And to think she didn't leave the hospital for another six years.
Oh, George, how we miss you. Many Grey's fans have still not gotten over his death back in season 5, and re-watching the pilot, it's easy to see why; George was one of the funniest, sweetest, and most entertaining characters on the show. In the premiere, he befriends everyone, gets nicknamed 007, and makes a fool of himself in front of Burke, which is terrible for him but super fun for viewers. R.I.P., you awkward, adorable nerd.
It's still hard to believe that Cristina is no longer a doctor at Grey-Sloan Memorial. The character was such a huge part of the show, and although this past season has introduced new doctors and a romance for Owen, her absence is still felt strongly. So it's no surprise that back in the Grey's pilot, Cristina's presence was just as commanding. She earned the respect of the other interns within seconds, and showed that she had no problem doing whatever it took to get ahead. Yet somehow, due to Sandra Oh's perfect performance, she still managed to stay likable. We miss you, Cristina. Grey's and the twisted sisters aren't the same without you.
Burke is kind of terrifying in the premiere. In surgery, he uses George as an example of what not to do, and when — of course — George messes up, he makes the baby intern be the one who gets to tell a patient's wife that her husband has died. It's all to teach the interns a lesson, but still — Grey's pilot Burke is scary.
We only get a glimpse of Ellis Grey at the episode's end, but it's a doozy. The renowned doctor — who, until this point, was only known to be Meredith's mother and a famous surgeon — is shown to be living in an assisted-care facility, suffering from Alzheimer's. It's a perfect end to the episode, but a sad introduction to one of Grey's most interesting, if flawed, characters.
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