NOTE | I care deeply about the character of Izzie Stevens. I’ve always loved her, since Minute One of the very first episode, all the way up the her final moments in “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked.” I’m going to miss both Katherine Heigl and Izzie Stevens an incredible amount, and this is not meant to undercut that.
Did something happen that I’m not aware of? Ever since the announcement last Thursday that Katherine Heigl would not be returning to Grey’s Anatomy – at all, ever, as in her last episode has already aired – all I’ve seen is a mountain of growing angry fans who refuse to ever watch the show again.
So, again I ask, am I missing something?
Because last I checked, Katherine Heigl has been trying to leave Grey’s Anatomy for three years now and, last I checked, the fact that she has only appeared in seven of (so far) seventeen episodes was a pretty good indicator that she wouldn’t be coming back.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to turn this into a bashing post, in which I detail the evils of Katherine Heigl and Shonda Rhimes for “screwing us all over.” Because, one, I don’t want to bash anybody. There’s a lot of factors that went into play here and we don’t – and probably won’t – know them all. Also, we need to respect the decision made here. Maybe it’s not the outcome we, as fans, were hoping for, but again we don’t know just what went down, so we need to respect what has happened.
But when did Grey’s Anatomy turn into Stevens’ Anatomy, wherein the departure of Izzie signals the end of the show? While I’ll admit the jarring departures of three major cast members in the last few years – first Isaiah Washington, then TR Knight, and now Katherine Heigl – have been quite dramatic, to say the least, I haven’t seen a single shred of evidence to suggest that the show can’t survive without them. To be honest, at this point I’m wishing they had just gone ahead and let Izzie die at the beginning of this season. It would’ve been a much more poetic ending than the one she wound up with. It just seems kind of pointless that she even survived at all. Which brings me to this: Izzie hasn’t even been hanging around the halls of Seattle Grace Mercy West this season, and I’ve seen no significant drop in quality. If anything, we’re just going to get deeper into Alex’s story. And everybody else will get more screentime as well! Hell, even for the brief time Izzie was around, nobody did anything but bitch about how much they didn’t like who her character had turned into. So why is there such a big fuss now that she’s gone?
I’m rambling, and getting off track. There’s a point to this. The point is:
The departure of Katherine Heigl does not spell the end for Grey’s Anatomy. You can’t tell me that you’ve watched the show for six years for Izzie and Izzie alone, never once caring about any of the other fifteen characters on the show that shape this incredible story. That’s just not possible, especially considering she hasn’t been around for over half of this season, yet obviously people are still watching. I know everybody’s freaking out at the prospect of an Izzie-less Grey’s Anatomy, and I understand that. I really do. But we’ve been through this twice already. Once with Isaiah Washington and Burke – and look what that brought us: Owen freaking Hunt. Then again with TR Knight – and look what that brought us: the most powerful, fantastic pair of finales and premieres this show has ever seen, along with its most shocking twist to date. And the show has survived it all.
Shonda Rhimes said at the beginning of Season Six (the “season that changes everything,” I might add) that she was preparing for the departure of all of her original castmembers, because she knew the time would come eventually. Don’t you think there’s a plan here? Maybe it isn’t perfected yet, but there’s a plan. There’s always a plan. You have got to have faith.
Whatever the worry, there’s no reason to think this spells the end of Grey’s Anatomy. Art is simply imitating life – people change, people move, people get cancer, and people decide to end their marriages. It’s just what happens. People survive it. And Grey’s Anatomy will too.