Grey’s Anatomy is known for it’s drama, romance, and medical issues encountered by the doctors. When mental illnesses come into play, Grey’s Anatomy has a long, outstanding history of portraying them well.
You have Miranda Bailey with an obsessive compulsive disorder after making a mistake with a patient. You have various ex-army doctors who have post-traumatic stress syndrome, like Owen Hunt who tried to strangle Cristina Yang in his sleep one night. Then you had Megan Hunt advocating all the different avenues he could use to get help. Now you have Andrew DeLuca with bipolar disorder, genetically inherited from his father.
However this storyline is bringing a lot of negative comments to the show.
The episode that started it all was Season 16, Episode 15, “Snowblind”.
This episode’s blurb states: Meredith and Carina question DeLuca’s uncharacteristic behavior when he volunteers to perform a life-threatening task during a blizzard. Meanwhile, Bailey tries to help Joey with his future, while Richard trains a new intern at the hospital.
Let’s see what they say:
This user says: “Why the fuck are they allowing Deluca to walk through the snow for no reason? Oh right to prove he’s bipolar.” And starts the entire discussion.
Users mention how stupid it was for DeLuca not to protect his hands, as this user pointed out: “It was really stupid of him not to protect his hands, especially after he explained how experienced he was with cold weather. They are really trying too hard to make him look unstable but it just comes off as sloppy writing.”
This particular vein of discussion continues on for a while and you can read it here. The consensus is that they are pushing the bipolar story line too hard and that the writing is sloppy.
And then a user brought up how insulting it is to watch a disorder they live with be portrayed terribly. “As someone who is Bipolar, this whole DeLuca mess has been so insulting to watch… the writing is just all over the place for his character and it’s weak.”
This thread continues on for a while, and you can read it all here.
Other users chimed in with their thoughts:
right? im bipolar as well and it feels really gross how they’re protraying it. im type 2 so a bit different, but still. we’re not crazy, we just dont know how to regulate our emotions and not listen to every whim
I havent seen it yet. Great news for people with bipolar disorder :/
Really they could just do him not sleeping and talking really fast while working like crazy in the lab on a groundbreaking project. Throw some key symptoms in there talking too fast, no need for sleep, maybe some reckless behavior like he spends some of his own cash that he doesnt really have.
Then crashing after it’s over.
A lot of people with bipolar disorder can accomplish a ton in a short amount of time. It doesnt have to be a manic episode outside of your interests or completely disastrous behavior. I wish more people knew that. A lot of people I know can get immersed in work and do the work of 5 people then it falls off. It’s not always or even mostly that people sell all of their belongings to buy a VW bug to adopt a puppy from each state. Doesnt need to be completely batshit for it to be a manic episode, but it can still be damaging and cause a terrible depressive crash.
And one user popped up with the question: “If you don’t mind sharing, what are they getting wrong? Or rather, how could they adjust the storyline/DeLuca’s character so it’s more accurate? Genuinely curious :)”
The OP of the thread replied: “I think they need an ep where we see stuff thru his eyes or something so we can see how his brain works and what he’s goin thru. For what they’re doing wrong, I feel like they kinda set up the family history w/ his dad but it felt like more of a throwaway than anything and then when they decided they didn’t want him & Mer together and that’s when he started acting up. His character all of a sudden starts being an asshole and stuff. I kinda wish they woulda put this in there when he first came. I remember when he was an intern or whatever he was when we first met him, he was dating that other doctor but all they did was fuck and eat then when she broke up w/ him he fell into a bit of a depression. Maybe that woulda been a good time to show how manic he can get? Having a grandiose sense of self is def something that happens who is Bipolar so they got that one right but it feels like they just went w/ the mainstream stuff. It’s diff for everyone ofc so I’m not speaking for anyone here but for me, it’s moods of having up days/weeks/months then down. Sometimes I’ll feel like I’m on top of the world then I’ll be numb for months w/o feeling sad or anything but just numb to all emotions.”