The Case for Watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Reruns in a Hotel Room

We all have our ideas about how life should be lived (and, ideally, enjoyed to the maximum), but only one person is right: me. In this new column, titled “No, But Listen,” the little rituals that get us through the day will be analyzed—and celebrated—with abandon.

I missed a lot of things during the first year of the pandemic, a time I recall as being alternately terrifying and boring. I wanted to eat in a restaurant, do karaoke with my friends, hug my extended family…but one thing I didn’t realize I missed was the experience of staying in a hotel. I’m not talking about a fancy hotel, or a White Lotus-style extended travel sequence; just your average place with a clean-enough bed, complimentary just-okay coffee in the morning, and—this is the most important part—a TV in the room.

I spend a lot of time in hotels like these—I’m both in a long-distance relationship and I live 15 states away from most of my friends and family—and that’s why I feel empowered to share with you the secret to making the most of them: get in bed, order room service if that’s an option, and spend anywhere between an hour and a full day watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns on Lifetime or WE.

Here is the beauty of Grey’s Anatomy being roughly the universe’s longest-running show: It was sold into syndication so long ago that there always seems to be a rerun playing on cable. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lifelong fan who’s seen every episode, or a casual observer who vaguely knows that the show is about doctors who enjoy having sex with one another. When you’re in a hotel room, the regular rules do not apply, and Grey’s Anatomy becomes the most simultaneously fascinating and easy-to-ignore TV program you could possibly put on.

You might think, Hey, I’m not really a medical drama fan, is it okay if I watch a Law and Order rerun instead? And while your question is valid, I’m here to tell you that no, it is not. It has to be Grey’s Anatomy, and it has to be a hotel (do not even say “Airbnb” to me). Not to get too high-minded about it, but Grey’s is like a microcosm of life; it’s wide-ranging and messy, and the drama is simultaneously low-stakes and heart-pounding enough to have you genuinely caring whether Random Featured Extra #1 survives his life-threatening surgery or not.

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