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From Shonda Rhimes, creator, Executive Producer and writer of "Bring the Pain"

Originally posted on 10/23/05

When I was searching for a title for this episode (all of our show titles are derived from songs with the exception of the 7th episode of Season One - I have a thing for music, if you haven't noticed already), I was looking for a song title that spoke to the theme of the episode, which is pain management. Oddly enough, there are a lot of songs titled "Bring the Pain." But the song I chose - the song the episode is named for - is Bring the Pain by the Wu-Tang Clan. Just in case you wondered.

"Bring the Pain" was originally conceived, written and shot to be the finale of Grey's Anatomy's first season. But then we aired after "Desperate Housewives" and, well…everything changed. Ratings, timeslots, a really great audience following…it was mind blowing and humbling for all of us. The network made a decision -- our first season needed to end in conjunction with DH's season. And so suddenly, the arrival of Derek's wife became our perfect season-ending cliffhanger. And this episode became one of a series of big episodes to launch our second season.

But if you watch it with that in mind - the fact that this was the final episode - you can see me trying to bring the characters full circle from the pilot. Meredith began the show throwing Derek out of her house after a one night stand. In this episode, she's admitting that she loves him. Saying "pick me, choose me, love me" in a desperate attempt to keep Derek by her side. George started out the pilot as "007" - he's the guy who can't get through an appendectomy without choking and humiliating himself in front of Dr. Burke. In "Bring the Pain", George earns his manhood by performing heart surgery in an elevator. And Alex is back to being humiliated - just as he was in the first episode. Cristina, the girl who can't connect with anyone, forms an odd, twisted bond with Porn Guy and then truly connects with Burke. Izzie, so vulnerable and underestimated when we first meet her, is the girl who removes her heart from her sleeve in "Bring the Pain". And, Bailey, the tough "Nazi", shows her softer side - we learn the first bits of information about her personal life. Plus, the word "seriously" - the most overused word on our show - is purposely uttered a zillion times.

I also really wanted to use this episode to give McDreamy a chance to explain why he's waited so long to sign those divorce papers. Here's the thing: Meredith may not understand why he's waited but Derek is a married man and he's a good guy - so he can't sign those papers without really thinking about it first. That was important. In order for McDreamy to be McDreamy, he has to be the kind of man who takes the end of his marriage seriously.

In the end, however, what this episode is about most - what all our episodes are about most - is friendship. The interns form this odd, dysfunctional family with one another to get them through each day. That's when I think the show is working at its best - when our interns are lying in bed together complaining about their lives, when they sit at the bar together complaining about their lives, when they stand around the nurses' station complaining about their lives. Complaining to people who understand is key to friendship, I think.

And so, in the end, when Meredith is sitting at that bar, waiting and hoping for Derek to show up, the other interns are there. Waiting and hoping right along with her...


Tamieka Isbell

I just wanted to say that I absolutley love this show and it appeals to a wide audience. I and a lady at work have Grey dates at work on Monday so that we can talk about each episode from the night before. Good job and I look forward to watching this show going forward.

Habideen Kassim

This is no Chick show, I actually call my girl not to miss this show, She is a film student at Boston College. Although I was just "watching" the show, she was able to explain the underlying reasons behind every scene, it's order and what each character represents, It gives us a lot to talk about. Ms Rhimes and staff have done a very admirable job, my girl and I are complimentary opposites but we both agree that Grey's Anatomy is definetely not a waste of time.

David Thomas

You rock! Lol. Okay, crazy fan moment over. But seriously, thank you for creating this wonderful show. I generally dislike 'medical dramas', [not naming any names], but GA is different.

I watched the first episode and became addicted, drawn into the world of these interns. You guys do an awesome job with this show; each new episodes shocks me more! [But in a good way. Lol]

Do you have *any* words of wisdom for a young, aspiring, writer like myself? Though I doubt you'd have the time, but my email is btvsbt@yahoo.com, and would love to hear any advice/tips you can offer. Thanks again.


"Complaining to people who understand is key to friendship, I think."

I agree. FYI- I'll will be quoting that because if it weren't true, I wouldn't have any friends. :)

What I love about your show is how much I relate the the show. Every show there is a theme: hope, faith, friendship, etc. Kudos for the excellent writing staff, actors, and funny lines. IMO, this is the only show worth watching on television. :)


Where's the 1st season DVD? Everbody I know is drooling for it. Please hurry so we can see the episodes again and again. They get your mind working. It really makes you think about life, family, & significant others.

Darrious D. Hilmon

Congrats Shonda (and team) on a sincerely terrific show. I must say I was a bit on the fence (more than a bit, actually) after watching the first two episodes of Grey's last season. It was only after seeing Shonda on The Tavis Smiley Show that I decided to give Grey's another chance, and (as I wrote in my own blog after watching Sunday's episode) thank God I did! You guys are truly firing on all cylinders, giving me some of my best hours of television since the hey days of Ally Mc B'. You've got me hooked! Now, I trust you won't let me down (at least not before late in season 6...when I better deal with it:-).

Great job guys!

Brook Spencer

Addicted and adoring fan of each character and writer here! I have been STARVING for good TV for awhile, especially on ABC. I simply refuse to miss a single episode! Don't ever end!!!!

David Jaycox

Brilliant! Makes my wife so happy..she laughs, she cries, she diagnoses, etc...As for me, there is drama and comedy enough for any guy. Love each character anf their quirks. Love that we never know what's next! Keep then coming! And thanks for such great writing!

Jenny R.

I never write into shows but I have to tell your your show is exceptionally good. My husband, mom, dad, inlaws, and myself never miss your show. We don't even want to watch Desperate Housewives anymore. Your show is awesome!!! Keep it up!

T. Rudd

I enjoy GA very much. The Thanksgiving epi leaves alot to the imagination.
It's not really clear what is going on with any of the couples. Us diehards search the internet for any future clips or spoilers and we find video that was shot but not aired. Very confusing ... But, PLEASE what ever you do... have McDreamy pick Mer over Addi. Don't make Mer second choice. Don't have Izzie waste anymore time on Alex and for goodness sakes give George a serious love interest.

Thanks & Good nite Gracey!

Lisa R.

I heard that the 1st season's DVD will be coming out in Feb 2006 - I hope that the set includes clips of the writers, how they meet and create, what the cast does during rehersals, etc and any additional snipets that the GA fans are anxiously anticipating. Keep up the great work!
FYI - by Thursday, the bulletin board has people counting down the hours until the show starts! You have such an impact on us GA diehards. Thanks for such a great series.

Abigail S.

Speaking as someone who uses "seriously" too many times, I laughed the first time I heard it on this show--so imagine my delight when I watched this episode. That's something that few shows talk about--how friends, especially friends who spend hours with each other every day--tend to pick up each others' language. I forget who started saying "seriously," but it's easy to imagine that once one of them started saying it, everyone else did, too. Very clever. As if you didn't know already.

So, thank you; you've made a show as smart as we'd all like to be. That's saying something.


"Seriously" was a very nice touch.

Since you mentioned Joe's bar, I do have to bring up one thing, as a piece of advice in the realm of authenticity.

The Pacific Northwest is microbrew country, and George seems to be a native. In one episode he sits at the bar and ask for "a beer", the typical PacNW bar has at least six beers on tap, I've seen bars with two dozen that weren't considered specialty beer bars. No native would EVER ask for "a beer". Not that you'd want to name a beer on the show, but Joe would know what kind of beer George wants and could give it to him without it being specified. Alternatively, many beers are identified by color, so he could ask for an amber or a pale or a red, no brand name involved.

But it REALLY shouldn't be a yellow beer.

DeAndra Rich

You are an amazing example to follow as a female writer. Every Sunday I sit in awe as the web begins to weave the correlation of physical pain to human emotion. This show truly is genius. Thank you for writing characters that everyone can relate to on some level. Thank for the authenticity of their feelings and their relentless struggles to fulfill their dreams of becoming doctors and having lives of substance in the hospital and outside of it.
I've never written to a show before...and believe me, I've been a fanatic for a chosen few (I'm a J.J. Abrams fan too). But your show has been an inspiration to me to keep forging ahead and maybe someday get my name on the credits of Grey's Anatomy.
Thanks again!

DeAndra Rich

one more thing...
the element of dry and sometimes sadistic humor - another stroke of genius that makes me laugh out loud every time!!


Kudos to the writersof GA. I am a 35yo female professional woman, living in NYC, and acting as the sole caregiver of a mother (divorced) with early onset alzheimer's who resides in a memory care facility in the midwest. Due to the rarity of this disease, it has been very challenging for me to find another adult child caregiver in the same boat. Watching this show is so very therapeutic for me! In season 1, when Dr. Grey was "sundowning"- had the same situation. When Meredith broke down in the closet-the fear, the GUILT, the sadness of not doing enough and living the life we feel like we are entitled to live,hit a raw nerve that was so honest. I'm living a life that is similar to Meredith. Thank you a million times. I wonder if you will attempt to tap into the fear that Meredith will experience when she explores the possibility of her getting the disease also-big fear!

Amy In Pa

Last nights episode had me in tears. You are MAGIC ...with a pen. You make these charachters come alive. I adore your abilities and I wish you a long and prosperous career.


This past weeks show was beautifully executed. It could have been soppy but was gripping instead. Suspenseful and touching, frightening and hopeful..masterfully written. A perfect submission for the Emmys.


I just spent this weekend snuggled up in bed, watching all of season one episodes on DVD. I'm HOOKED!!! People at work kept telling me how much I resembled Bailey. My curiosity got the better of me and I'm glad it did. This is a fabulous show - the best on TV. Thank you so much. I'd love to send you a picture of me, just in case you ever write an episode in which the Nazi's sister shows up! ;)

Trinity Too

Love GA. I think the casting people did a superb job - all actors are well suited to their roles and extremely likable. Love the way the scripts manage to run the gamut from funny to serious, off-the-wall to deadly earnest. Love the way the characters are all developing, growing each episode. Can't wait to find out what happens; sometimes I just can't figure out how your writers will extricate your characters from their convoluted relationship knots. Somehow you have made me understand all sides of a triangle - a feat I thought I'd never accomplish. And now I've found this blog to fill me in on 'the making of', to fill in the gaps.
Kudos to all involved in the production of this superb series.


I've just discovered this blog thanks to Kristin V. on E! I just wanted to say a big thank you for putting a Hmong storyline in this wonderful TV show. I had to rewind my Tivo to clearly hear the actress say "I'm Hmong," because, to a lot of my friends, I'm the only Hmong girl they know, and having it said on national TV was surprising.
Being Hmong is definitely not an easy thing to live or to explain, which is why I appreciate Grey's writers tackling the cultural issues associated with modern medicine and Hmong shamanistic practices. In any case, the shaman seemed realistic (and Hmong).
Can I say again that I love your show!!

Debbie Murchison

This show is the best thing since Once and again. I am married with three kids and this show really takes me away from all the craziness.
I spent the weekend with a bottle of wine (no kids)and the whole 1st season of GA. Thank you Shonda for bringing back a show where I feel like I know the characters. McDreamy really got to me describing the last kiss. Do people really look at each other like those two do. Whatever it is they have got it!!! PS: I am rooting for Merideth!

Camila Haro

Congrats... all of you for creating this amazing show! I mean.. Its jus addictive and I love it... I just can't stop watching it. I actually cannot make comments on te lastshows bescause I live in uruguay and episodes are really behind, the last one on was "Let it Be" I mean It sucks because I really can't wait to see the next ones, specially when I've read all about them in the web... plus, Im fourteen years old, and I don't really know anyone who watchs the show to talk about it with, so I really need to speak to smeone! ok anyway... I just love the show and you for creating it!!!!!!!!!

Dao Vang

I just wanted to thank you for this episode. I've never really watched the show before until a friend told me about this episode which depicts a Hmong story. I was really surprised about the accuracy that was presented. Being the son of a Hmong family, I can relate and say that the storyline was quite accurate. I can say for sure that the shaman was Hmong for he knew what he was doing and everything he did was true: from his gestures to his ceremonial altar and bench. I think that our culture is one of the more unknown, yet more powerful tradition that exists. It makes me proud to watch and see that the Hmong have received some recognition within this society. Thank you!

Debby Dinan

Right down to the show's title you even got it correct! Just hooked my son, whose catching up this summer. Been a nurse in all kinds of specialty areas and would gladly love to be a part of the creative research/writing or whatever! Now work as an RN Paralegal and can be reached in CT at medmalnurse@aol.com. Hope you consider my offer. You guys are the greatest and selected the best of the best for the cast. Many more years of the good stuff.
Kindness of, Debby Dinan RN

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