Shonda Rhimes Surprises Us Again: The Return of TGIT

Gina Mantica ’16
Assistant Arts Editor

On Sept. 24, Shonda Rhimes surprised audiences once again with three high-intensity season openers filled with surprising twists and turns. “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How to Get Away with Murder” are some of the hottest shows on cable television this fall. Rhimes keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with three hour-long dramas. While at times each individual plot may seem crazy to the point of being potentially unrealistic, the artistry of the character portrayals focuses the viewers’ attention on the emotions and feelings of the situation rather than the situation itself.
People around the country hosted viewing parties for Rhimes’s shows. It is safe to say that the anticipation over the return of TGIT, the popular name for Rhimes’s Thursday night programs, was explosive.
The season 12 premiere of “Grey’s Anatomy” contained both excellence and intrigue. Following last season’s shock at the death of McDreamy (a.k.a. Derek Shepherd), many fans were outraged and unsure if they would continue to watch the show.
However, the show began with a comedic yet powerful argument between Derek’s wife Meredith and her new housemate Amelia. This balance of humor and serious content illuminates the manner in which many people, including Meredith, understand and cope with the loss of loved ones.
The scene then changes to the hospital, where the plot line for the remainder of the episode follows two sixteen-year-old girls in love who felt that the only way they could be together was to die together. The story brought up feelings of anger and frustration within both the characters in the episode and the viewers, further deepening the audience’s perception and understanding of how to deal with both love and loss.
After a brief recap of last season’s finale, which included the slaughter of an entire jury en route to court by Huck (who was hired by the First Lady), “Scandal” opened up with a steamy scene between President of the United States Fitzgerald Grant and his mistress Olivia Pope. The not-so-secret couple prepared for a party with aims to make ties with the queen of a foreign country.
Less than ten minutes later, the story dramatically switched to the scene of a car crash, where the daughter of the queen Princess Emily was seen on the pavement in an underground tunnel with blood spilling from cracks in her skull.
Olivia Pope & Associates quickly noticed from paparazzi photos that the death of Princess Emily was no car accident: she was killed deliberately.
Not even ten minutes after that, the President served his wife Mellie with divorce papers. Rhimes’s storytelling, through provocative imagery and thought-provoking speeches by Pope, eloquently combined each individual story to create a cohesive plot that can be easily followed.
Last week’s episode of “How to Get Away with Murder” was also no disappointment. After winning the Emmy award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, Viola Davis continued as the standout of the show. The episode picked up where season one left off, with the murder of Rebecca Sutter. Annalise Keating and Frank Delfino stuffed Sutter’s body into a suitcase, and investigated the Keating 5 for possible motives. After testing Wes Gibbins and almost confronting Laurel Castillo, Keating figured out that Bonnie Winterbottom, her sweet and not-so-innocent assistant, suffocated Sutter in one of those intense, close-your-eyes-and-look-away scenes of violence.
In this episode, Keating also hired a lawyer to defend her lover, Nate Lahey, who was accused of murder, only for us to discover that Keating had a romantic history with this lawyer – who is a woman! Rhimes just keeps pushing the boundaries of representation, and I applaud her tremendously for suggesting that Keating is bisexual.
Just as the anticipation of TGIT was explosive, the delivery was exhilarating. Rhimes effortlessly combines each script with the maturity and skillfulness of the actors to create believable scenarios that still embrace the complex lives of the characters.

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