Ten years later, the Grey's Anatomy musical episode is still a ridiculously cult TV movie. (2023)

Grey's Anatomyknows how to shock people. Over the course of 17 seasons, ABC's primetime medical drama made its mark through plane crashes, bombings, mass shootings, car accidents and multiple broken marriages. In one of the best episodes of the series, two people are impaled on the same metal pole. This is not a show for the squeamish or nervous.

Then there's Season 7 Episode 17: "This Is How We Do It."grisesPlots: Derek and Meredith's Alzheimer's Trial; Richard and Adele's complicated marriage; the weirdness of Mark Lexie Jackson; and more, but ends with Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) together in the car. The two had recently separated and... in fact this creatureGrey's Anatomy, the backstory is complicated and involves sleeping a lot on the job. The short version is that they are in a relationship, Callie is pregnant, and Arizona proposes to her. Then, before Callie can respond, Arizona pulls up in the back of a truck.

what a suspense

But the truly shocking moment didn't come until the start of the next episode, "Song Beneath the Song," which premiered 10 years ago on Wednesday. As the episode continues, we discover that Callie, without her seat belt, crashed through the windshield. The initial prognosis is bleak: it's Ramirez doing the episode's opening narration, usually played by Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey. And as the camera pans over Callie's bloodied body, we see a still, unharmed spirit of Callie standing over the scene.

Then she starts to sing.

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"Song Beneath the Song" is, of course, the much-discussed (and much-maligned) musical episode ofGrey's Anatomy, in which one of the show's most emotional events is joined by cast members performing non-diegetic versions of songs that previously appeared on the show.

I started looking firstGrey's AnatomyYears after this episode aired on Netflix, on a friend's recommendation, and in the months that followed, that friend asked me if I'd made it to the "very special episode" yet. After seven and a half seasons, I began to wonder what the show could build to top the post-Super Bowl bomb squad episode, or George O'Malley's fatal bus crash, or Ron Butterfield's.a la oesteo hospital explode.

Then "Song Beneath the Song" came like a televised metal rod in his stomach.

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I gaped in my living room for 44 minutes watching surgery (mostly, but not exclusively) tuned to the kind of soft rock (Snow Patrol, The Fray, Anna Nalick) it was about to release. I had heard it in college. No amount of death or blood or marital infidelity could have prepared me for this.

I hated it right away. I was so taken aback by the stunt that I couldn't properly assess the severity of what should have been one of the most tense episodes of the entire series. And even when I finally got over my shock, I was ashamed of everyone involved.

I normally have a very high tolerance for musicals - I went through two full seasons of them.Happiness, for crying out loud, but everything about the episode felt weird. The shift in tone from the heightened medical melodrama to the jukebox musical was heartbreaking in itself, but compared to what I last saw on the show, it was positively disorienting: Callie (and her unborn baby) on the verge of a horrible death. .

Even the music selection was felt. On the 4th of July, I attended a fireworks display, part of which was for Martina McBride's Independence Day. This song is not a patriotic anthem, but a song about a woman who kills her abusive husband, told from the perspective of the couple's daughter. That's the vibe I got from watching an operation set to Gomez's "How We Operate."

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The music choices, however, were less bizarre than the cast's record-setting shift in key from surgery to the life and death of a friend.a song that makes everyone go home to the bone between surgeries.

When it came out in 2011, "Song Beneath the Song" was immediately polarizing, in the euphemistic sense that everyone knows something and most hate it but don't want to be so direct about it. HegeierThe episode's description was titled "Grey's Anatomy's Doctor/Horrible Sing-Along',which, if nothing else, takes the episode back in time enough that Joss Whedon's musical comedy was still in the zeitgeist. Alan Sepinwallhe was ambiguous in his assessmentwrites: "I likeGrey's AnatomyOverall, some parts were unintentionally silly, others surprisingly powerful, and at least they were rarely boring."

Looking back years later, I still don't like "Song Beneath the Song". But I learned to appreciate it. The music itself is really good.grisesApparently, creator Shonda Rhimes always wanted to do a musical episode.I felt encouraged to give it a try after choosing Ramírez, who joined the show shortly after winning a Tony Award. Chandra Wilson (who plays Miranda Bailey) is also a Broadway veteran, and even the cast members who aren't triple threats hold their own. (Not that ABC, in the age of autotune, left its stars out to dry.) Also, as is necessary for such an absurd premise, everyone bought it. Kevin McKidd anticipatingRussell Crowe's appearance inpathetic, returns 110 percent on all Dr. Owen Hunt.

However, Ramirez is the main character of the episode, and as such, it gets the climax: "The Story" from Seattle-area folk-rock goddess Brandi Carlile. This performance became so firmly ingrained in the show's identity thatgrisesrecast it for Alex Karev and Jo Wilson's wedding at the end of season 14. (After Callie was written off the show. Embarrassing. Don't ask what happened to Jo and Alex either, I'm still absolutely furious.)

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But even the episode's less celebrated numbers have their own resonance 10 years later. Somehow the singing about the operation, and the techno-word dialogue that accompanies it, draws the viewer's attention back to the plot itself and displaces the interpersonal conflict that normally drives the show. Set in How to Save a Life, the episode's final operation ends on an oddly poignant note.

"There's something so cheesy but also so stunning about Callie standing in a hallway in a tasteful cardigan, dry hair and perfect makeup, singing stoically to the camera as her bloodied and split skull is wheeled into an operating room," he wrote. Eric.a 2017 retrospective forweekly entertainment.

But there's more to it than that. The "How to Save a Life" scene, as cheesy as it is, evokes the sense of community and belonging that comes from a group of people singing together. The part of the brain that tickles when unrealistically attractive medical heroes (even fucking April Kepner) belt out a pop-rock song while trying to save their injured friend is the same part of the brain.I caught the heat and fluff via favela tiktok.

Above all, this episode was a fucking Shonda Rhimes flex.

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I can't imagine how powerful someone must feel when they not only produce the biggest TV drama in the country, but abruptly turn it into a musical seven years later. Calling this a heat test seems disrespectful because it undermines the confidence and audacity needed to show something like this on TV, regardless of whether it succeeds. If nothing else, I'm impressed that they even tried this episode.

If there is a revisionist critical consensus emerging around "Song Beneath the Song", this seems to be it.Grey's AnatomyHe was never subtle or shy. It's a bloody, hard-hitting, utterly maximalist TV show, which is why it's become such a totemic piece of pop culture. Perhaps my surprise at finding a musical episode was naïve; after all it would have been out of placegrises noto try something like this.


What was the point of the singing episode in GREY's? ›

Callie's hallucinations are a result of brain trauma from the accident, which serves as the catalyst for the episode's musical theme. As the central character of the episode, Callie provides most of the vocals, which is fitting given that Sara Ramirez was the inspiration behind “Song Beneath the Song.”

What is up with the musical episode of GREY's anatomy? ›

Inspired by a 2008 benefit concert in which several stars of Grey's and its spinoff show Private Practice performed songs to support out-of-work Hollywood workers during the 2007-2008 writers' strike, Rhimes decided to turn her long-held desire to make a Grey's musical episode into a reality.

Why is everyone singing in GREY's Anatomy season 7 episode 18? ›

The episode revolves around Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw), just after they are involved in a vehicular collision. Various songs are performed by the cast members, as they attempt to save the life of Torres.

What did the GREY's Anatomy cast think of the musical episode? ›

For the cast of Grey's Anatomy, the musical number was quite an experience. But, former co-stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey have conflicting opinions about the episode. In an episode of Pompeo's new podcast, Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo, the actor said the musical episode was a “horrible” experience.

Did anyone like the musical episode of GREY's anatomy? ›

The reactions of critics and viewers to the Grey's Anatomy musical episode were mixed, with some feeling the episode worked given the show's music influence (as every episode except for one is named after a song), while others found it to be silly.

Did the cast of GREY's Anatomy get along? ›

'It's why actors fight!

Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo has argued that many of the show's cast feuds and “bad behaviour” behind the scenes were caused by long working hours. The long-running medical drama, which began in 2005, became notorious early in its run due to reports of tension between its cast.

Who actually sings in GREY's Anatomy musical episode? ›

According to those who have had a sneak peek at the show the real star is Tony winner Sara Ramirez (who plays Dr Torres). Kevin McKidd (Dr Owen Hunt), Chandra Wilson (Dr Miranda Bailey), and Chyler Leigh (Dr Lexie Grey) also sing in the episode. "I sing a little bit," McKidd told People magazine.

Did Callie actually sing? ›

Callie Torres, she sings lead on Kate Havnevik's “Grace” and Brandi Carlile's “The Story” and shares lead duties with Jessica Capshaw on KT Tunstall's “Universe & U.” The show will feature nine songs closely associated with the show.

Why did GREY's Anatomy do a musical episode in season 7? ›

Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes had apparently always wanted to do a musical episode but felt emboldened to try it after casting Ramirez, who joined the show shortly after winning a Tony Award. Chandra Wilson (who plays Miranda Bailey) is also a Broadway veteran, and even the non-triple-threat cast members hold their own.

What is the only GREY's Anatomy episode not named after a song? ›

M's “It's The End of the World As We Know It”), and there has been only one exception, but it wasn't because the writers ran out of songs that fitted the episode's stories. The episode in question is season 14's “1-800-799-7233”, and there's a very powerful and important reason behind this peculiar title.

What song plays when Mark Sloan dies? ›

Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) does survive the devastating plane crash at the end of season eight, but not for long. At the beginning of season nine, he slips into a coma, and Callie eventually makes the decision to take him off of life support. This is where "Without You" comes into play, and it's heart-wrenching.

What is the most famous episode of GREY's anatomy? ›

Grey's Anatomy
  1. 1. “ It's the End of the World” (37.88 million viewers)
  2. 2. “ Some Kind of Miracle” (27.39 million) ...
  3. 3. “ Drowning on Dry Land” (25.76 million) ...
  4. 4. “ As We Know It” (25.42 million) ...
  5. 5. “ Time Has Come Today” (25.41 million) ...
  6. 6. “ Walk on Water” (25.20 million) ...
  7. 7. “ What Have I Done to Deserve This?” ( ...
  8. 8. “ ...
Mar 6, 2022

What mental illness does Andrew have in GREY's anatomy? ›

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with the nearly two-decade long phenomenon, there's currently a character, Dr. Andrew DeLuca, who has bipolar disorder — presumably type one. And let me tell you, this is the most refreshing take on bipolar disorder I've seen from any media source.

Why did they get rid of the GREY's Anatomy intro? ›

The Opening Theme Was Dropped

For those who may not be aware of the real reason why they were dropped, it is alleged that the producers wanted to use up an extra minute or so of footage.

Did everyone do their own singing in GREY's anatomy? ›

In fact, the entire cast underwent vocal training from Rachael Lawrence — who worked with members of the Glee cast — and spent hours in the recording studio. "I'll never have this chance to be able to do something like this on this show again," Chyler Leigh, who played Lexie Grey and sang "Breathe (2AM)," said.

What is the most interesting season of GREY's anatomy? ›

1. Season 2. Between the train crash, the bomb blast, Denny's LVAD wire, and Burke's potentially career-ending gunshot wound, Season 2 had Grey's Anatomy's best medical crises. And it also had the best cast additions, with Addison, Callie, and Mark joining the cast roster.

What is the weirdest episode of GREY's anatomy? ›

Here they are, from the heartbreaking to the downright disgusting:
  • The man with nails in his head (Season 1, Episode 4) ...
  • The woman who had spontaneous orgasms (Season 2, Episode 18) ...
  • The woman with toxic blood (Season 3, Episode 14) ...
  • The man with “tree hands” (Season 7, Episode 3)
Jun 24, 2021

What is a controversy of GREY's anatomy? ›

1. Isaiah Washington reportedly used a homophobic slur to refer to co-star T.R. Knight. One of the earliest clashes on the Grey's Anatomy set happened between former stars Isaiah Washington and Patrick Dempsey, during which Washington reportedly referred to co-star T.R Knight using a homophobic slur.

Who is the first main character to leave GREY's anatomy? ›

Knight (Dr. George O'Malley) Knight was the first major cast departure for Grey's, leaving in tragic yet heroic fashion at the end of season five.

How old was Meredith GREY in season 1? ›

The series began in 2005, and most people are about 26 years old when they start their medical residency. The story begins when heroine Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) enters the first year of her residency program, so, she should be about 26 at that point and about 42 now, 16 seasons later, right?

What episode of GREY's anatomy can the girl not feel pain? ›

Now or Never (Grey's Anatomy)
"Now or Never"
Episode no.Season 5 Episode 24
Directed byRob Corn
Written byDebora Cahn
Original air dateMay 14, 2009
6 more rows

Does Meredith get Alzheimer's? ›

Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. It's the disease that led to the demise of Ellis Grey (Kate Burton), Meredith's mother, in season 3, and Meredith tested positive for several genetic markers for Alzheimer's in season 9.

What personality type is Meredith GREY? ›

Meredith Grey: ENTP

When it comes to her Myers-Briggs® personality type, she's an "enterprising explorer" and an ENTP.

Why didn t Patrick Dempsey sing in the musical episode? ›

Patrick Dempsey has revealed that he will not be singing in the upcoming musical episode of Grey's Anatomy. Speaking to E! Online, the actor explained that he has been impressed with his co-stars who are performing in the show. "I don't sing," he said. "Sara Ramirez [who plays Callie] has a great voice.

Does ER fightmaster actually sing in GREY's? ›

Kai performed an original song for Amelia (Caterina Scorsone), and it turns out, their song is actually an original by E.R. Fightmaster, the actor who plays Kai. In addition to working as an actor, Fightmaster also leads a band called Twin and according to Fightmaster, the Grey's Anatomy writers are fans.

Does Owen Hunt actually sing? ›

Owen Sings And Sings Well

Owen Hunt is the only one apart from Callie and Miranda Bailey who made substantial vocal contributions in this episode. Callie, played by Sara Ramirez, is, of course, a well-known singer in her own right but turns out that McKidd is quite a singer as well.

Who does Callie sleep with? ›

In a hospital where secrets abound and are always uncovered, one slipped through—a flashback in the season 6 episode "The Time Warp" revealed that, years prior, Callie slept with Alex Karev (Justin Chambers).

Does Callie marry a woman? ›


Callie's second wedding, to Arizona Robbins, was filled with tension: Her mother, Lucia, was not comfortable with the fact that Callie was marrying a woman, and though she attempted to attend the wedding, she ended up heading home beforehand.

Is Callie Torres a real doctor? ›

Calliope Iphegenia Torres, M.D. is a fictional character from the medical drama television series Grey's Anatomy, which airs on the ABC in the United States. The character was created by series' producer Shonda Rhimes, and is portrayed by Sara Ramirez.

What was the point of season 10 episode 17 GREY's anatomy? ›

Owen is moving to Germany to head up a military medical unit with Terry. Her career, her research, her home, are not in his vision for their future. Cristina decides that the only way to keep Owen in the country is to give him what he really wants and she never wanted, a baby.

Why did Ellen Pompeo take time off in season 6? ›

During early season six, Ellen Pompeo was pregnant and showing, so most shots of her are above the chest or her belly is covered with something. She was given four weeks off and the writers allowed her to return for only short times in the following weeks.

Why did Robbins leave in season 7? ›

Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) leaves for Africa after getting a grant leaving Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) despondent. She sleeps with Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) and becomes pregnant by chance. Arizona returns, confessing her love for Callie.

Why does every show have a singing episode? ›

Musical episodes are a fun way to shake things up on a show that's gotten creatively stagnant. If a TV series has sort of run out of tricks, a dramatized song and dance episode is a whimsical way to bring new life to the story. But musical episodes aren't always a sign of creative struggle or ratings decline.

What happens in From a Whisper to a Scream GREY's anatomy? ›

A traumatic car accident fills the ER. Cristina has a crisis of conscience about her deceptive teamwork with Burke, Izzie pushes the boundaries of her probation, and Callie tries to explain herself to George.

What is the most watched episode of any TV show? ›

The 10 Most Watched TV Episodes of All Time
  1. 1 Dallas – "Who shot J.R.?"
  2. 2 Cheers – "One for the Road" ...
  3. 3 Seinfeld – "The Finale" ...
  4. 4 Family Ties – "Alex Doesn't Live Here Anymore" ...
  5. 5 The Fugitive – "The Judgment" ...
  6. 6 Bonanza – “The Pure Truth” ...
  7. 7 The Cosby Show – “Say Hello to a Good Buy” ...
  8. 8 Gunsmoke – “Love Thy Neighbor” ...
Jan 20, 2023

What is the most watched episode of a show? ›

1 M*A*S*H (105 million)

The series finale of M*A*S*H was the most-watched American TV broadcast in history until the 2010 Superbowl, with its final episode “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” attracting a staggering 105 million viewers, almost half the entire U.S. population at the time.

What is the most episode show? ›


It was the quintessential Western and ran forever. The CBS show was on for two decades of doing episodes seemingly every week of the year. “Gunsmoke” finally ended its run in 1975, long after the heyday of the Western, after a whopping 635 episodes. It's the longest-running live-action show to date.


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