Is ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ the Millennial Version of ‘General Hospital’?

The ABC soap opera General Hospital and the network’s medical drama Grey’s Anatomy have a lot in common. So much so, Grey’s Anatomy just might be the millennial version of General Hospital. Ahead, we break down the shows’ similarities.

Before we delve into how the programs are alike, apart from the obvious fact they’re both set in hospitals and are from the same network, we’re taking a look at how soap operas are characterized. Merriam-Webster defines a soap opera as a serial drama characterized by “tangled interpersonal situations and melodramatic or sentimental treatment.” 

While at first glance, Grey’s Anatomy might not seem like a soap opera in the traditional sense — it’s not a daytime program and doesn’t have the lighting that’s become synonymous with the genre — upon further inspection, it’s got a lot of the same characteristics as General Hospital.

Without a doubt, Grey’s Anatomy has “tangled interpersonal situations” just like General Hospital. The drama from Shonda Rhimes is all about relationships between doctors and other staff at the hospital. And it can most definitely be sentimental and at times melodramatic. Aside from both programs upholding the definition of soap opera they have other similarities too. 

Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey in Season 13 of 'Grey's Anatomy'
Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey in Season 13 of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Richard Cartwright/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Both are long-running shows

The setting of General Hospital, the fictional town of Port Charles in upstate New York, has been known to viewers for a lifetime; more than 55 years. Yes, years. The soap opera has almost 60 seasons — Season 57 is currently airing — and more than 14,000 episodes to date.

Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t have nearly as many episodes compared to General Hospital with the show hitting the 300-episode mark in 2017, according to E! News, but the show starring Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey has been on TV since 2005 which is practically an eternity in the world of TV. Not many programs make it to 10 seasons — Grey’s Anatomy is currently in Season 16 — let alone 100 episodes. 

‘General Hospital’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ have dedicated fan bases

Both programs have been on the air for so long their fan bases continue to grow and as a result have created massive fandoms.

Thanks to new episodes, reruns, and the shows’ continued popularity, both General Hospital and Grey’s Anatomy keep gaining new viewers. It’s clear they have loyal fanbases who will not only tune in for new episodes but will share their feelings about storylines and the cast. 

They’re part of pop culture

Another byproduct of being on the air for so long is that Grey’s Anatomy and General Hospital have cemented their status as permanent fixtures in pop culture. They’ll always be listed among hospital TV shows and hold a larger place in the zeitgeist.

Over the years, General Hospital has come to be known as the place where many actors got their start. Meanwhile, Grey’s Anatomy has produced memorable friendships, popular quotes such as “you are my person,” and many nicknames for characters. There’s even a candle named after Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey).

Actors who have starred on the shows will forever be linked to the characters they portrayed. Take Finola Hughes and Kimberly McCullough who got together for a General Hospital reunion on Instagram. 

Still not sure the shows are similar? Watch General Hospital and Grey’s Anatomy.