greys anatomy meredith nathan maggie editorial

Grey's Anatomy Mystery: Why Is Mer Acting Like She's in High School?

Let’s get one thing straight right upfront: I love Meredith. The Grey’s Anatomy doctor is a total badass — tough as leather, smart as hell and enviably snarktastic to boot. But the reasons I love her are the same reasons I’m so mystified and bothered by her behavior during Season 13. Why is she acting like she’s — and treating Maggie like they’re — in high school?

If you’ll recall, after Mer’s secret Season 12 hookup with Nathan, Maggie announced out of the blue that, all of a sudden, she like-liked her fellow surgeon and suspected that he like-liked her back. He didn’t, though; he like-liked Mer. (And, while Grey would be loathe to admit it, she dug him, too.) Yet, no matter how many opportunities Maggie gave her half sibling to say, grown woman to grown woman, “Sorry, sis. Been there, tapped that, and probably will again,” Mer remained silent.

Actually, no — Grey didn’t just keep her lips zipped; in a plot that could’ve been hatched in study hall, she orchestrated a whole charade to keep Maggie in the dark, instructing Riggs to let her down gently. And, every step of the way, I kept coming back to the same question: Why?

Mer, Maggie and Nathan are all adults. Mer hadn’t done anything to hurt Maggie, whose fixation with Riggs came on faster than a heart attack. (If there’s a sis code that parallels the bro code, it can’t possibly extend to the shagging of guys in whom one’s sister hasn’t previously expressed any romantic interest.) And — perhaps this bears repeating — they’re all adults.

If this was Riverdale, I might understand why Veronica would jump through hoops to keep Betty from finding out that she’d kissed the high-school hottie she hadn’t known her pal was into. But this isn’t Riverdale, it’s Grey’s. And Mer isn’t a sophomore, she’s a doctor, a mother, a widow — she’s lived, she’s loved, she’s lost. Are we to believe that the sum total of her experience tells her that the best way to respect Maggie’s feelings and acknowledge her own is to lie? Hasn’t Mer been through too much to put herself — and people for whom she cares — through such JV nonsense, never mind whip up that nonsense in the first place?

I think so. How about you? Hit the comments. Maybe it’ll all make sense in the end?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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61 Comments
  1. Rob says:

    I completely agree. To me, it’s a cheap way to raise dramatic tension for the audience but in doing so, they lost the grounded-in-reality aspect of the relationship part of the show. Most of the characters never acted unrealistically, they made questionable choices, but it was always grounded in reality.

  2. Cdeno says:

    There has been a lot off this season.The way Meredith but acting is exhibit A.

  3. Rachel says:

    Preach! But the fact is Meredith’s acted like a child throughout the series, but it’s been especially noticeable (and cringeworthy) to me since her issues with Cristina in early season 10. I won’t even go into how she treated both Jo & Alex in seasons 11 & 12. I used to adore Mer, but it’s been really hard the last few seasons.

  4. Ashley says:

    Thank you! Been thinking the same thing.

  5. Annie says:

    I agree with everything said in this article. I’d just like to add that Maggie was also acting like a teenage girl and not the woman she’s supposed to be.
    After a resurgence in story and ratings last season? Season 13 has been a disappointed, thus far.

  6. Nat says:

    Why does everyone always have to start with how much they love Meredith? I for one don’t and I don’t feel obligated to, just because she’s the lead of this show. I haven’t liked her since s11 and to me she’s not badass, she’s cold, mean and a b***. She treats people like crap but viewers excuse her everything because she’s the “sun”. I feel like whenever it gets too much and some people actually start criticizing her Shonda goes and writes her another near death experience or kills off someone she loves or makes them leave. And then we’re back to “how can you hate on Meredith?? She went through so much!!!” Like that pointless attack she faced in 12×09 that completely disrupted the storytelling just so Meredith could have the spotlight again. I don’t love her, I’m tired of her crap and it annoys me how she gets so much focus when the cast is HUGE and characters can’t properly be developed because they’re not allowed any screentime. She gets written into everyone’s storylines, even when she has no business in them (for some reason only Jackson and April manage to escape her and get storylines, everyone else is suffering from Meredith getting all the spotlight) which makes the storytelling terrible and unlogical because we see more of Meredith than the actual person who the storyline is supposed to be about. Long story short, Meredith has probably become my least favorite character and I enjoy everyone else so much more. There is so little left of the Meredith I used to adore and it’s sad but to me Cristina and Derek made her likeable. Alex babies her which just makes her and their friendship more annoying.

    • Guest says:

      A+++++ comment!!!!

    • Ray says:

      I’m with you. After killing off a third of the doctors on this show including what should have been Merediths end game I had one foot out the door. Binge watching 2 or 3 episodes at a time on Hulu to catch up. The thing that got me hooked again was the relationship between Alex and Jo, but Meredith kept getting involved and treating both like crap leading to Meredith and Alex shippers. Hope they fix Alex and Jo soon. Also, because of her lack of relationships I think no matter if Mer had told her up front or now that Maggie will overreact.

    • Nikki says:

      Agree 100%

    • Judy Large says:

      couldn’t have said this better myself!!!!

    • Kim says:

      I couldn’t agree more, I don’t like her anymore, she is a mean hateful person and I wish her character could have been the one to die instead of Derrick. Christina was mean but at least she was likeable

    • scrubmom2 says:

      First I’m not obligated to love Mer I do because I think she’s an amazing woman who has been through hell … Mer has always been there for her friends especially Cristina and Alex .. who bailed out Alex in pretty sure it wasn’t Jo who is too busy being bff with Deluca who we all know wants jo it’s written all over his face … I know Mer isn’t perfect and she has been mean which I don’t like but unlike some fans (I use that term loosely) can she her faults but the rest seem to think their favs walk on air … unlike some Mer has apologized when she knows she has wrong someone she’s done that to Lexie Maggie Amelia Alex Cristina she always admitted she was wrong and tried to make it right .. and she’s not cold excuse Mer for being guarded she for the longest time never had anyone be there for her fight for her .. her own mother didn’t want a child her mother her career and Richard not Mer she never had her father either and when she finally opened let love in boom here comes his wife and then he tells her he loves her and walks away again I wonder why she kept pushing away that’s why and then he cheats and yes he most certainly did cheat he flirted for one weeks never once mentioning Mer or his kids until the kiss and he kissed back Mer has no clue this happened and she let Amelia and Maggie both move in and how is she thanked for that by Amelia calling her cold and by telling her how disguted he would be with her .. the only reason I watch greys is for Meredith Grey and shonda has said when Ellen is done Greys is done because Meredith is greys .. your comment is so cruel so mean and completely unnecessary hope you’re proud for bashing an amazing character and actress

    • Alex says:

      Agee agree agree x1000. I don’t understand why this ride or die defensiveness of her has developed in the last few years. I think a lot of it stems from derek and Cristina leaving, and the desperateness to cling onto the ‘originals’, so she gets hailed as a Mary Sue. I liked her enough in the first 9 seasons, but for me greys was always an ensemble show and enjoyed at as such.

      However I’m with Ray, I liked greys but started to love it because of Jo and Alex’s friendship, and then relationship. It was like a breath of fresh air, and thought they were great for each other. I won’t get started on how disgusted I am of the treatment they’ve gotten on this show but Merediths constant and unwelcome presence in ALL of their storylines (few as there are) has made me dislike her immensely. All of the other stuff she does just adds to it. I think that this show has SEVERELY suffered from Cristina leaving, because she balanced and called out the selfish tendencies she had. Now with Alex, she has tried to recreate that type of relationship but Alex is now letting her walk all over him and it’s made my love for him lessen a lot too as a result. The quality of this whole show has taken a nose dive and I find it sad that they don’t end it instead of compromising what made it great.

  7. wml2h says:

    Idk… I kind of get it. Grief changes us, and she’s had so much to grieve throughout the series. Much of that has been her losing people. She lost her mom, her sister, her husband. Her person moved away. Her other close friendships have been up and down (Izzie gone, Callie gone, Amelia hot and cold and now gone), Alex facing prison. Maggie, Richard and Bailey are the remaining pieces of her support system, and she doesn’t want to lose the only family (aside from her children) she has left. She’s lost many to many times, and in her need to try to preserve her relationship with Maggie, she’s making stupid decisions. Compounded by the fact if she tells Maggie, she has to figure out what this is with Riggs, and she’s not emotionally ready to go there yet. She’s acting childish, but I get it.

    • Grey'sFan says:

      Yes, I agree with this. Totally understand where Meredith is coming from – if she told Maggie about her and Riggs than they’d have to discuss it and Mer would have to deal with the fact she’s “cheating” on her husband, though not really. Meredith is just not ready to have a serious relationship after Derek – who was the ONLY serious relationship she’d ever had. I don’t expect a Maggie/Meredith feud. Maggie will probably get mad for one or two episodes and then they’ll make up and be closer. I do expect Riggs to blow up at Meredith and be angry which will push them both into other people’s arms (a short term arc for the cancer doc Meredith hooked up with last season possibly). Not sure whom Riggs will go with, not Maggie. Stephanie and April are about the only possibilities unless they bring on a short-term love interest for him. I do expect Riggs and Meredith to finally get together by the end of the season and then for Megan to show up with Riggs’ son/daughter.

  8. b says:

    But how have you people even been liking s12 Meredith? Or s11 Meredith? Or s10 Meredith? She’s been horrible since then!!! The last time I really loved her was during s9. Was it having Bailey that made her so insufferable? I’d say Cristina leaving but she was horrible during s10 too, especially to Cristina.

    • anon says:

      Think about it though- Cristina was the only character who regularly told Meredith to get over herself/stop being self-centered and Meredith actually listened. Alex also used to be that way but now he’s become Meredith’s lap dog. I think the last time I truly liked her was season 8.

      • Vee Garnett says:

        I can consignn on this comment. It was Christina’s show but no one acknowledged it. I never like Mer and stopped watching due whining after the first season.

      • Elinathan says:

        Yes I agree with your analysis but the best you can do is explain how some people might be Wong with their impressions by your understanding and hope they get to re assess their previous stance! But you do not need to get defensive dear!
        Thumbs up for your perception!

  9. Renee says:

    Might I ask why you only write an article when Mer does Maggie wrong? Why not when she’s terrible to Alex (how did people still like their friendship after s11 when she treated him like a doormat and he was so out of character he allowed it?) or Jo or Amelia? I mean at least she and Amelia have had some issues but she was horrible to Alex and Jo for no reason and nobody ever said anything.

  10. Iris says:

    Wasn’t Grey’s Anatomy defined as “high school with doctors”? Yet, childish behavior stops being cute and becomes tiring at one point, and I guess it gets worse as the characters obviously age and render the gap between the maturity that could be expected from them and their juvenile hijinks onscreen painfully obvious. Mere isn’t the only offender, nevertheless she’s the main character and she and Derek were in quite a mature relationship so it’s probably more noticeable.
    The important abuse storyline promised for Alex and Jo immediately fizzling in what seems to be a musical pairing chairs game was much more disappointing to me. I feel that the writers don’t know what story they want to tell, what couple they want to write, and it turned me off the show this season.

  11. T. says:

    Because although this is The bad décision, she thought it was The one that would preserve best her relationship with her sister… because she **cares**

    It’s very simple to criticize as a viewer but never forget that we have more information than her and that the situation is harder when you’re part of the problem than a third party.

  12. Pedro says:

    The fact is Maggie has always seemed to be very immature emotionally and she would have not taken it well. She took Rigg’s rejection like a personal, blameable offence.

    • evababy says:

      I don’t agree. Yes Maggie is portrayed as somewhat emotionally arrested especially when it comes to romantic relationships, but that has been inferred if not explained by her youth. She’s a medical prodigy, basically a Dougie Howser-type who most likely was not able experience the typical teenager growth milestones wit the rest of her peer group. So yeah she is still catching up and her reactions do jibe with that.

      But when she has had to face romantic rejection she has shown admirable maturity. When DeLuca ghosted her she faced him and told him calmly that she wished he had simply told her to her face he wanted out of the relationship. No histrionics at all an they parted. And when Nathan told her he’d rather just stay colleagues, she reacted as any adult would faced with such rejection, she was a embarrassed and to save face she smiled and sad she understood and she walked away a little hurt. And then she griped about it with her friends, again like a lot of people do when letting off a little steam.

      • Pedro says:

        No. She acted like a mad woman for a long time, driving Meredith and Amelia crazy, obsessing over Riggs and the rejection.

        She was also very immature when she started dating DeLucca.

        She makes a big deal out of everything and Meredith knows that.

  13. BJ says:

    OK first of all let’s calm down and understand that this is a TV show. Second of let’sunderstand if you have a watched divorce court, paternity court, judge Judy, etc., you understand at this stuff actually happens in real life. I love Mer’s character. I remember everybody getting so upset about Derek dying like there’s never been a woman who has been widowed with kids at a young age. It’s just that because it happened to her that everyone is like why her. Why not her, the show from day 1 has been about her journey and the people in her world around her. I think with her issues with her mom she never had a normal teenage romance. We have seen everyone else’s past loves show up but not Mer. I think she also is trying not to break the very fragile heart of her newly discovered sister who clings and falls so hard, another totally believable situation. I have watched since season 2 so I just enjoy the soapy ride. Nobody has died and come back to life except in flashbacks, no superpowers here. So as long as Mer don’t come out of the shower and erase the last couple of seasons like Dallas did (yep showing MY age), I will be okay. 😂

    • Dana Conaway says:

      Thank you, I totally agree. I love the show, never missed an episode and have been a fan of Meredith’s since the start. It is called Grey’s Anatomy….Meredith Grey. It is her story.

  14. Azerty says:

    One answer and one only: because drama. That’s all this show is about and the only thing they can do. Of course saying the truth, being mature and solving problem like adults is not what Grey’s Anatomy usually do. It could be refreshing after 13 years though…

  15. Chana says:

    Meredith is afraid to tell maggy the truth, remember maggy threatened their sisterly relationship after she found out that mer knew about alex beating deluca, sayig if you lie again im out. Mer wants maggy to be happy but doesnt want to be the one to deny her riggs. Maybe they will split up as sisters over this when maggy finds out its all a lie

  16. Natalie says:

    I agree but the real High Schooler is Maggie. Seriously a pretty interesting character has become horrible since she hooked up with Andrew and talked about their sex life endlessly. Then she talked about her crush on Riggs endlessly. Ugh….you’re a heart surgeon for crying out loud! Act like a grown up.

  17. fransar94 says:

    I love Meredith.. I say that I love her because I don’t really like her character like I used to.. But I really hate the way she treats Amelia and Jo.. The think with Maggie is just stupid and I don’t really mind it.. When I was watching the last episodes of season 12 I wanted a look much for her to hook up with Riggs so she can just stop being a bitch! But she didn’t… And I really hate the possibility of Mer and Alex getting together.. Alex needs a soul mate.. Mer already had hers.. Derek.. Alex didn’t..

  18. Crys says:

    ITA, AND I’m hoping Sondra fixes this in the first episode back. This behavior doesn’t even ring true to who they have built amer to be over the years.

  19. Amy says:

    Agreed. Nonsense. :(

  20. Mei says:

    Its excusable for Maggie to act like a child, she’s been emotionally stunted due to the fact that she was a child prodigy, she graduated high school at 13. But Meredith, I don’t understand why she’s acting like a child..really don’t. She had so many chances to tell Maggie the truth about Riggs but she chose not to. And I Hope that it backfires at her, Maggie has every right to be mad at Meredith and I hope we get to see that. I like Meredith, she was never really my favourite character BUT I LOATHED HOW SHE ACTED TOWARDS AMELIA from 11×22-12×24…Literally I still cannot understand HOW she pulled the plug on Derek without allowing Amelia to say goodbye. Boggles my mind. And I saw hints of Maggie and Riggs since the second half of season 12, there were subtle hints that Maggie was falling for Riggs and in all honesty that made more sense to me than Riggs and Meredith, just because we saw more interaction between Maggie and Riggs.

  21. kat says:

    It is so weird. She has had so many chances to tell her with it would have been okay. Not sure why they are making this so high schooly. I guess it could be because she has lost so many people she doesn’t want to risk losing Maggie. It is irrational, but her life has been so messed up, maybe her reactions are skewed and all she can think of is holding on to Maggie.

  22. Ben says:

    I hate her storyline with nathan and maggie. it’s cheap and annoying

  23. Dennis says:

    I blame Shonda

  24. matty says:

    I agree totally. Meredith just needs to come clean and be honest.

  25. Ella says:

    Yes but I don’t think this is the first time Meredith has acted like a selfish, stupid child and I don’t think it will be the last. This theme is fairly consistent with her character throughout the series.

  26. Jecly says:

    I agree! Like you I love Mer and she is one of the strongest characters I’ve seen but this season she (and everything else tbh) is off. They need to revamp it completely and go back to Season 12 awesomeness.

  27. DarkDefender says:

    Juvenile, sure. But I’d rather see Mer get wrecked when Owen’s sister shows up, than to put Maggie through that. I’m still holding out for Simon Baker to be Mer’s “second love.”

  28. EM says:

    I blame Shonda. She may not do the writing anymore but I think still outlines the concept and plots out storylines and then hands off to the writers to make it happen. Completely juvenile.

  29. Vee Garnett says:

    Meredith has never been a fully evolved adult to me. Her mommy issues and dependence on Christina to validate herself have not been addressed. I never liked the character and stopped watching after the first season. It has such a strong cast but that one character was unwatchable. The sister has become more mature but Meredith, no.

  30. Carolyn Ebeling says:

    Meredith has never had a sister to contend with. She has always had a sister from another mister. How do you know what the sis code is if you’ve never really lived with your sister until adulthood. Look at Meredith’s sister in law? They couldn’t even have a conversation. Meredith couldn’t even listen to her with patience. She may be a mother and a doctor (not in high school) but she has faults and is learning about herself everyday. That is what makes her human. Besides, maybe she’s scared to admit that she has a thing for Riggs because she is afraid of saying she ready to move on from Derrick. Maybe she is trying to spare Maggie’s feelings because Maggie is already so insecure.

  31. So much yes to this. It was tough enough in the beginning to let go of MerDer, then we had put up with this immature, green version of Mer we’d never seen before. Irreconcilable with her badass persona. Yes, we know, she can be fragile, self-destructive… But plain old stupid???

  32. Aminq says:

    I totally agree with you in fact I was hoping to see more of mer rigs romance on season 13 it could have brought back some action like it used be on the first seasons but mer s reaction and all the events on this season have let me down somehow I am a big fan and have watched all seasons but I hope we ll see better things in the upcoming episodes

  33. Luis Roman says:

    TV dramas would be 15 minutes long without people acting like dumb a-holes.

  34. She did not mourn for Derek for 15 minutes, as far as it appeared. The character was so focused on him for so many years that it seems very odd. All her behaviour seems odd.
    Could it be early onset Alzheimer’s?

  35. fiberlicious says:

    Couldn’t agree more. This is an asinine storyline and needs to die ASAP.

  36. ncforsgren says:

    I was thinking the same thing! It was so stupid. It felt like the writers didn’t want to give Meridith a love interest/story or something. So, they just dragged this lame “protect the sis” story out. When the Meredith we know would never do that. After the fight she went through for Derek, she’d “stake her claim” for the man she wants.

  37. Tania says:

    Yes, while all this is true, if you truly know Meredith, she has a hard time knowing how to be a sister. Now that she has been given a second chance at having family, her decisions corncerning them are difficult to make and because she is human she sometimes makes the wrong one. Hopefully Maggie will be able to forgive her.

  38. carrie fisher fan says:

    Has there ever been a relationship that hasn’t involved some sneaking around in GA? Towards the end of S12 we were being lead down a false Shonda path to see Riggs and Pierce being paired up. I don’t think any relationship of Meredith and Riggs will be rushed because of the MerDer fans. magie doesn’t really knows her half sister, they are chalk and cheese. Meredith is still grieving and has said herself she is not good with half sisters (and sisters in law). This is the way script writers creat conflict to make a story line

  39. Yoko says:

    Can’t stand them together. Meredith should be dating and they should find a much more handsome guy for her. Don’t want to see her and Nathan together at all. Boring and way too predictable. Not a good follow up from Derek.

  40. Sammi says:

    I think I have a different outlook than most, though I didn’t read all comments. One, why is she always involved – it IS called GREY’S Anatomy, she is the primary narrator. What I see in regard to her “crappiness” is growing up, becoming more authoritive- a senior staff member – and more like her mother. It’s always been in her head that she’d end up just like her mom. And yeah, when you lose your spouse and find yourself alone raising 3 kids, it changes your perspective on what’s trivial. I hated the way she behaved toward Derrick prior toward his death. But I attributed that to Shonds, not the character.. it was poor lead up to his departure.
    Maggie, who assumed all she had to do was announce her intentions and be in like Flynn – is still a mystery to Mer. She’s still not quite comfy with the sisterhood. If I remember right, she let her move in un-enthusiastically, just as she did Derrick’s sis.

  41. TERESA TILLERY says:

    Who doesn’t love the drama of it all? GREYS ANATOMY 13TH SEASON is becoming more and more suspenseful and dramatic. Was also Sad that CRISTINA hasn’t come back to catch- up on all the stuff. After all she is “MEREDITHs Person.”