‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Fans Pointed Out a Small Annoying Detail They Can’t Unsee

Viewers probably notice that the doctors over at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital are always drinking coffee. It’s understandable. How else are they supposed to stay awake when pulling a double shift? But there’s one detail about the coffee that bothers some fans. 

Just like the ensemble cast on the show, diehard fans share a sense of camaraderie. 

Viewers of the long-running show always have plenty to talk about, whether it’s the least favorite character or the most boring romance. Over on Reddit, sharp-eyed fans have pointed out one annoying detail.  

A kitchen scene from Grey's Anatomy
ELLEN POMPEO, CATERINA SCORSONE, KELLY MCCREARY | Kelsey McNeal via Getty Images

What are the actors drinking?

During filming, it turns out nothing! The actors on Grey’s are pretending to drink out of empty cups. Some fans have noticed the hollow sound that the cups make when the actors set them down.

Other fans find the fake “slurping” noises to be less than convincing. It’s only fair to give the actors some credit, though. It’s not easy to “pretend” to drink.

Empty cups are nothing new on Grey’s. This episode from season one has Cristina Yang (played by Sandra Oh) drinking out of an empty cup. If viewers listen closely, they can hear the sound the empty cup makes as it slides across the counter.

There are practical reasons for not having cast members drink while filming. There’s always the risk of spills, which could result in ruined props or even a costume change. And if the actors drank a lot, they’d have to take a lot of bathroom breaks.

Imagine if one of the doctors took a sip of coffee only to have a little dribble down their chin? That could result in a lot of laughter, and a lot of retakes. Most TV shows run on a tight filming schedule. The fewer unnecessary breaks they have to take during filming, the better.

The #EmptyCupAwards is a real thing

Grey’s Anatomy is far from the only TV show that has actors drinking out of empty cups. Over on Twitter, the hashtag #EmptyCupAwards gives people a chance to track this phenomenon. Gilmore Girls, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Seinfeld, and Shameless have all been called out for their fake beverages.

Other people are bothered when an actor “drinks,” yet the cup or bottle is still a good inch or two away from their face. It seems that empty cups are an industry standard that viewers just have to live with and try to ignore. 

When Ellen Pompeo isn’t filming, fans have to assume there is actually coffee in her mug.

#EmptyForkAwards could be next

It’s also the same way with meal scenes. Ever notice when actors “eat,” they’re just pushing their food around their plate and waving their forks? Shooting a scene can take hours, during which food becomes cold and unappealing.

Even if the actors could eat it, they probably wouldn’t want to. Continuity is also a consideration. Imagine seeing a half-eaten pizza, but then a few minutes later it’s only missing one slice!

In this throwback video from season six of Grey’s, viewers will notice that the actors are bringing empty forks up to their mouths and pretending to chew.

‘Grey’s’ is a binge-worthy show

Now that this little detail has been pointed out, viewers will have trouble ignoring it. ‘Grey’s’ is such a binge-worthy show. Fans should go back and watch their favorite episodes, just to see how many empty cups they notice. Why not revisit Meridith’s and Derick’s most romantic scenes?

Whatever episodes viewers rewatch, they should try to not be bothered by all the empty cups.