Everything That Happens in a Shonda Rhimes Show

Thanks to the successful crop of television shows she’s created and produced, Shonda Rhimes has set the bar for addicting TV drama in the last 10 years. We’ve loved watching powerhouse female characters Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), and Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) strive to take over the world while trying to fix their messy personal lives. Viola Davis is the newest addition to the fold (as How To Get Away with Murder’s Annalise Keating), playing a high-powered defense attorney with troubles of her own.

Over the years, these shows have a established a few familiar tropes. You know you’re watching a Shonda show when major ish goes down unexpectedly, like plane crash or a bomb going off where it’s not supposed to, causing us to say farewell to some of our favorite characters. In honor of tonight’s return of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, and the series premiere of How To Get Away With Murder, we’re taking a look at everything you can expect to happen on a show that Shonda’s name is attached to. From characters with memorable catchphrases (“It’s handled!”) to crazy things happening in elevators, let’s see how much of a Shonda fan you really are.

STRONG WOMEN BEING THEIR OWN BOSS

Grey’s Anatomy: The Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic, run by Miranda Bailey and then Izzie Stevens

Scandal: Olivia Pope & Associates

Private Practice: Addison and the Seaside Wellness Center

How To Get Away With Murder: Annalise and her law firm

Shonda’s all about showcasing the bad bitches who run the world. They own their own practices or firms, and frankly, don’t take anyone’s crap. Cross their paths if you dare.

INTENSE LOVE TRIANGLES BLUR THE LINE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG

Grey’s Anatomy: McDreamy + Addison + Meredith; McDreamy + Meredith + Addison; Addison + McDreamy + McSteamy; Izzie + Denny + Alex

Scandal: Fitz + Olivia + Jake; Mellie + Olivia + Fitz; James + Cyrus + Daniel; Mellie + Fitz + Andrew

Private Practice: Addison + Pete + Violet; Sam + Naomi + Dell; Violet + Cooper + Charlotte; Pete + Violet + Sheldon; Sam + Addison + Jake; Pete + Violet + Scott; Naomi + Fife + William; Pete + Addison+ Sam

More than anything else, a Rhimes production must feature some kind of forbidden love. and/or secret affair. We may see love triangles on other shows, but the ones Shonda helps to create are so wrong, they’re right — like, really wrong — causing us to never quite settle on who we want to see end up together.

SOMEONE HAS SEX WITH THEIR SUPERIOR

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