ABC’s hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy has been around for nearly forever and a decade. Or so it seems. The thing is, it’s so addicting, that no matter how passive-aggressively show creator Shonda Rhimes likes to treat her audience, the actors and the beloved characters they portray keep us coming back for more.
Since its conception back in 2005, the show has been well-known for offing some pretty important characters (yes, Rhimes likes to off characters harder than author George R. R. Martin does with his Game of Thrones characters – which is pretty telling). So we always tend to cover our eyes whenever main (and title) character Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) finds herself in a crucial situation. Grey happens to be one of the original characters that were actually featured in the pilot episode, and her love life has often been why the show is still popular in the first place.
The show is known for both making people swoon and shattering hearts. Romantic love has always taken center stage in the drama even though most of the characters relationships often have tragic, Shakespearean-like endings. Here we’ve composed 20 of the most romantic scenes of the long-running show, and five that were just, well, awkward as all heck.
Most Romantic Scenes:
The love story of Meredith and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) was what helped drive the show itself. However, in Season 11, Dr. Shepherd tragically passed away in a car accident and Meredith was forced to pull the plug on her and McDreamy’s final chapter.
Though, we’ll always have that special Season 2 episode where Meredith declares her undying love for Derek.
It's after his wife Addison (Kate Walsh) has come to town in order to make their marriage work. It’s a dizzying, if not a little cliché scene, which features the ultra-popular Meredith Grey line “pick me, choose me, love me.”
When ANYONE recalls the early seasons of Grey’s, they always have to bring up the tragic end of Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a heart transplant patient who falls in love with Dr. Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl). Although their storyline/love was short-lived, it was one of the defining loves of the entire series.
Izzie tries desperately to save Denny by cutting his LVAD wire to get him a new heart – which actually works. But Denny ends up dying a short time later after a stroke. We’ll never forget the scene where Izzie, decked out in a prom dress, clings to Denny’s lifeless body in his hospital bed before Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) lifts her up to take her home.
In Season 4, Derek starts dating a surgical nurse named Rose (Lauren Stamile), even though he’s still not over Meredith. Both doctors are involved in a clinical trial together where their tension is at an all-time high and on the night a patient in the trial is actually saved, Meredith decides that Derek is all she wants in life.
She ends up outlining their future dream home in the Seattle hills in all candles and waits for Derek to show up.
When he does, she ends up telling him that they can be “extraordinary” together.
One of the original love stories in the show happens to be that of Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) and Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington). After Burke is shot in the parking lot of the hospital, his surgical hand is in peril after he starts hurting from tremors.
Cristina works with him to hide the tremors until they’re discovered and the hospital disciplines them both, which leads to a huge fight between the two. After not speaking with each other, Burke randomly decides to propose to Cristina after she stubbornly apologizes to him.
When we first met April Kepner (Sarah Drew) and Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams), we were annoyed by them because they were annoying doctors that came to Seattle Grace hospital thanks to a merger. But eventually, the characters grew on us and grew on each other.
Kepner, an innocent young woman, ended up falling in love with her best friend, Avery, but was set to marry another man.
In the middle of the wedding, Jackson stood up and proclaimed his love for her, and the duo ran off into the sunset together.
There are some Grey’s endings that are just unforgivable, and the end of Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) was one of them. Lexie was always in love with Mark Sloan (Eric Dane) and right before the two of them got on that plane together (the plane that led to both their passings), Lexie gave an impassioned speech of ardor to Mark, even though he was with someone else at the moment.
Even though he was also still in love with Lexie, he didn’t say anything after her speech, which felt devastating at the moment.
After managing to survive Denny’s passing and moving on to fall in love with Alex, Izzie discovers she has stage 4 skin cancer (which she finds out after seeing the “ghost” of Denny everywhere). She’s in the middle of helping Meredith plan her wedding with Derek while stuck in a hospital bed getting sicker and sicker.
But Meredith and the gang switch it around and arrange for Izzie to get married to Alex in a surprise (and tear-jerking ceremony).
Although it was extremely romantic, we all know how the Alex/Izzie storyline ended.
“I call Post-It note!” was a common line we heard throughout the series. The story goes, Meredith and Derek got “married” by signing their vows on a post-it note. Even though they eventually got married for real, they always kept the post-it note framed above their bed.
It read: “Love each other, even when we hate each other. No running. Take care when old and senile and smelly. And it’s forever.” Both signed the post-it and would often cite it whenever one was mad at the other.
Oh, Shonda – you really do have a knack for writing off all the best characters. Teddy Altman (Kim Raver) was one of our favorite characters who wasn’t dealt the best hand in the love department. That is until Henry Burton (Scott Foley) came along.
Henry was a patient in desperate need of health insurance so Teddy ended up marrying him out of the goodness of her heart to give him insurance. And then she fell in love with him.
It took a little bit, but when she realized it, her entire world changed. And what does Shonda do? Has Cristina accidentally end him on her surgical table.
Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) had been struggling with herself for a couple seasons before Dr. Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) came along. She had married George O’Malley (T.R. Knight), who ended up cheating on her with Izzie, and was in and out of a relationship with Sloan before she realized that something was not right.
That was, until she became attracted to the new pediatric surgeon in the hospital (Robbins) who, in her first week working there, kissed Callie in a bar bathroom randomly.
This was an odd pair, to say the least. Addison Shepherd had ended her marriage with Derek THANKS to Mark (whom she was with during her marriage).
When she followed Derek to Seattle, Mark followed Addison because he was still in love with her.
Even though Mark Sloan had chemistry with nearly everyone, Addison was one of our favorites because their tension was off the charts. Sure, both would backslide whenever they were with someone else, but you can’t blame them because chemistry is one powerful component.
After April and Jackson’s own “happily ever after” faded and the two parted, we didn’t think that April would ever be happy again. She spiraled out of control in the later seasons and we all thought she was eventually doomed. That is until divine intervention by the name of Matthew Taylor (Justin Bruening) stepped in.
Matthew was the one that April left at the altar for Jackson, only to show up in Season 14 with a pregnant wife. The wife ends up dying and April blames herself, but both she and Matthew end up leaning on each other for emotional support. In the season finale, the two end up married.
In Season 5, Derek actually proposes to Meredith in the most absolute Derek/Meredith way possible. Since both of some of their personal interactions happened in an elevator, this one was supremely sweet.
Derek proposed to her by posting all the MRI scans of the successful surgeries they had together on the elevator walls, the last one being Izzie’s scan (Derek had successfully removed a tumor from Izzie’s brain).
He tells her that her dark and “twisty” nature isn’t a flaw, but one of the things that make her great. He tells her he wants to spend the rest of his life with her, and the rest is history.
This was one goodbye that will continue to haunt us forever. In the finale of Season 8, Meredith, Derek, Cristina, Arizona, Mark, and Lexie were involved in a plane crash in the woods and have to fight to stay alive.
Lexie, after being pinned under some of the plane wreckage, is the first to succumbs to her injuries and both she and Mark share a tearful goodbye where Mark finally tells Lexie that he’s in love with her and will always be in love with her before telling her about their future together as she’s dying.
Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) had always put her personal life on the back burner while her professional life played the lead. This, of course, meant that her husband always came in second in her life, which is why they eventually parted. But enter Ben Warren (Jason Winston George) an anesthesiologist turned surgical intern turned firefighter.
Ben chased down Miranda until he eventually got her to fall in love with him.
He was so extremely charming and smooth that Bailey really didn’t stand a chance. The two ended up getting married in Season 9.
Even though their love ended in the latest seasons of the drama, Arizona and Callie’s relationship was one of the major storylines in the series. And when Arizona finally said those three little words to Callie, it was after a tense episode.
Callie decided to throw Arizona a surprise birthday party that flew off the rails (Robbins hates surprise parties), but the two finally admit their love for each other in a declaration following the party in Season 6 of the series.
This was one of the most bizarre “starts” to a romantic storyline in the history of the show. Cristina, who was still reeling from her breakup with Burke, met trauma surgeon Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) in a very odd way:
After he performs a tracheotomy with a pen (impressing the heck out of Cristina), he ends up picking her up and carries her into the hospital after an icicle pierces her in Season 5.
They end up kissing before he heads off again and then becomes a series regular a few weeks later.
After a very emotional episode where Callie’s parents decide they cannot attend their daughter's wedding (they are Catholic and her mother strongly believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman), Callie and Arizona getting married in an extremely romantic wedding.
And it's a wedding that is almost derailed at least a dozen times in one single episode! The twist at the end is that Callie’s dad (Hector Elizondo) actually shows up to dance with his daughter during the reception.
There’s nothing odder than giving your wife the gift of a “colon,” unless you live in the Grey’s universe.
This is exactly what went down on the day that Meredith and Derek were supposed to get married (before they decided to give the wedding to Izzie and Alex).
Derek enlists the help of Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr.) in order to give Meredith her first solo surgery: a colonoscopy. Isn’t that just so romantic? Well, the doctors seem to think so.
And then, finally, we have the last speech Derek would ever give to his wife before his passing. In Season 11, Derek and Meredith’s marriage is on the fritz because he keeps going back and forth from Seattle to D.C. for work.
After he finally decides to quit his job in D.C., he gives Meredith a final beautiful declaration of love.
“You. You’re everything. I love you, and I’m not going to stop loving you. I can’t live without you. I don’t want to live without you, and I’m going to do everything in my power to prove it.”
Most Awkward Scenes:
This felt like the writers were just stretching here. Both Izzie and George were close from the start of the show, but only in a best friend sort of way. But when George went off to marry Callie, Izzie started to get jealous, which made Callie think that she was in love with George.
So the writers just went with it. George ended up cheating with Izzie and then they “tried” to be boyfriend and girlfriend for a period, but it just didn’t work – not for the characters or the audience.
So, we all do some pretty dumb things after a breakup, but what Arizona did after she and Callie ended up divorcing and separating indefinitely she ended up briefly dating Eliza Minnick, a doctor brought in by Miranda to “revamp” the surgical residency program.
Almost immediately, everyone hated Eliza because she butted heads with Richard and Meredith and almost everyone else.
She ended up being fired and left without even saying goodbye to Arizona. It was a very odd mix and the two had no chemistry.
This was in a flashback episode, but it still counts. Callie has to give a presentation to the surgical staff about a particularly difficult surgery she had performed. She’s anxious and has stage fright, even though a majority of the people in the audience are her friends.
She tells the story of her and Alex teaming up to help out a patient with polio- but that's not all.
The flashback alludes to the fact that her and Alex, um, shared more than a scalpel after a successful surgery.
Owen had a couple of significant relationships at the hospital, the main one being with Cristina. But after Cristina left him to go work in Switzerland, Owen jumped around a bit. The most obvious choice would have been for him to make it work with Teddy, which didn’t happen because he got together with Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone), Derek’s little neurosurgeon sister.
They were both on and off for so long that no one really remembers if they’re on again when they are.
One of the corniest lines he delivers to her is “I won’t survive another plane crash, Amelia.” Ugh.
A really funky love triangle storyline the writers through together was with interns we didn’t even really know. Meredith was assigned a bunch of interns during her residency at the hospital, three of which were Megan, Steve, and Pierce, who were all just basically background interns that had little to no screen time.
And all of a sudden, they were in a love triangle with Megan being pregnant by Steve. Apparently, Megan was with Pierce and was on a break from him when she got together with Steve. It was an odd throw-away storyline.