Grey’s Anatomy Riggs and Meredith: 10 Reasons Riggs Is Better Than Derek

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Plenty of Derek fans out there are getting their knickers in a twist right now, but he was never a character I could quite get into. In fact, I’ve enjoyed seeing the relationship between Grey’s Anatomy Riggs and Meredith over the last year or so. Riggs is certainly a better guy for Meredith than Derek ever was.



Yes, this is an unpopular opinion. But that’s just what it is: an opinion. With that in mind, I am going to back up my statement with reasons why I prefer Grey’s Anatomy Riggs and Meredith.

#1. Riggs Isn’t as Cocky or Arrogant

There’s no denying that Derek was cocky. He was good and he knew it. While that was good for his patients, it wasn’t a good quality overall.

Sure, Riggs knows that he is good, too. However, he’s confident rather than cocky. There is a fine line between these two personalities.

While there have been times Riggs has gone against protocol (like when he went behind Alex’s back to put a patient on the transplant list), there have been times he’s supported his colleagues. He has pushed them forward in surgeries and encouraged them to take risks. We just have to see the most recent two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy to see that.

Instead of storming into the OR and taking over from Maggie when it looked like she’d frozen, she watched calmly and gave her a chance. He was the calmest person in the gallery watching. Then on the plane, he didn’t agree with Meredith’s surgery option at first, but he supported and helped her when she went through with it.

Derek had a habit of taking over when he believed someone couldn’t do the job. He would stand in doctors’ ways, before giving them a chance to move forward in their careers. That was certainly seen with his little sister Amelia.


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#2. Riggs Isn’t Entitled

This partially links to the cockiness. Because Derek was good, he expected the world to revolve around him. He wanted his own way every single time. If he didn’t get that, he would throw a tantrum or shut people down.

Riggs hasn’t done that. At least, not yet. Sure, we haven’t seen Riggs that much to get a good idea of his character on Grey’s Anatomy, but he’s been far more supportive than brattish.

This could have something to do with his background. Riggs has seen war. While Derek saw his dad die, he had a wonderful mother and four supportive and caring sisters. They had their ups and downs like any family, but it wasn’t until around the start of Grey’s Anatomy that things started to go downhill for him in his life.

Riggs has already seen the darkness of war. It also sounds like he didn’t have a great childhood, calling Owen’s mother “mom” in a similar way to how Mark viewed Derek’s mom.

The lack of entitlement means that he’s more likely to listen to others. He’s willing to take orders, even if he doesn’t always agree with them. Although he is also willing to stand up for what’s right.

#3. He Has Tried to Make Friends

When Derek walked into Seattle Grace (as it was known then), he didn’t attempt to make any friends. In fact, he and Burke were against each other as they both ran for chief. It was only when he started dating Meredith and when Addison and Mark turned up that he started to really focus on having friends.

Maybe that was a fault of the writers, but it also pushed the entitlement and cockiness. It was like he was saying that he didn’t need friends to succeed.

Riggs, on the other hand, has at least attempted to make friends. He didn’t get off to a good start with a history with Owen, but he focused on making friends with the likes of Meredith and April. Now he and Arizona are becoming friends. While Arizona pushed herself onto him as a friend, he didn’t back off or shoot her down. He just accepted her for who she was.

#4. He Supports Meredith in Her Actions

How many times did Derek try to stop Meredith from doing what she wanted? How many times did he almost negatively affect her career?

As an intern, Meredith didn’t have much of a chance at standing up against an attending, sure, but Derek should have been more supportive. He would argue with her about her opinions and beliefs and made out that his work and wishes were more important than hers. It was only in his final episodes that he realised that everything he was doing was wrong.

Riggs hasn’t done that. At no point has he stopped Meredith from attempting risky surgeries. And he’s been the same with many others. He’s a team player and willing to support, even if he doesn’t feel like the course of action is right. The ONLY time he’s acted against a doctor was when he had a clear alternative plan that he believed would work better. And then he didn’t completely stop the surgery but placed a baby on a transplant list to give it an extra chance.

#5. No Ambition to Push for the Top Spots

Derek had always made it clear that he wanted to be Chief of Surgery. From the very first day he stated that he only came to Seattle because of that promise, and he was willing to fight Burke for it. At one point, he technically stole the job from Webber when Webber was drinking on the job—there was a much better way to handle that, Derek!

When chief didn’t work out, he focused on the next big thing. Eventually that turned into working for the president. He continually put himself first for his career ambitions.

Right now, it doesn’t look like Riggs has an ambition for the top spots. He came into Grey Sloan perfectly happy to work under Maggie. Of course, there could be some type of ambition he’s hiding, but if he is then he isn’t doing a good job at reaching for the stars.


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#6. No Dodgy Past (That We Know Of)

Everything looked perfect for Meredith and Derek in the first season, and then Addison turned up. Derek had hidden the fact that he had a wife. Sure, in his eyes he’d walked out on her, but he never told Meredith anything. She felt like a sleezy other woman.

Riggs doesn’t have this dark past. Not that we know of, anyway. Grey’s Anatomy Meredith and Riggs have a better chance of working out because he’s already been honest about his former fiancee.

There is chance that this former fiancee will turn up at some point. He certainly regrets giving up on searching for her and would feel terrible if she turned up one day out of the blue, but he had to make a choice for his own sanity and he choose to live his life.

#7. Willing to Follow Orders Regardless of the Person Who Gives Them

If someone ranks above him, Riggs will follow orders. It doesn’t matter what he really thinks of that person privately. This comes from being a soldier.

It’s a quality that Derek never really had. If someone ranked above him who he didn’t respect, he made his disloyalty clear. We just have to look at how much he argued with Amelia when she became his boss!

Sure there are times that Riggs has sided against the person who has given the orders. However, that wasn’t because he didn’t respect the person but questioned the decision. There’s a difference and he was respectful when sharing his opinion.

#8. There’s No Major Age Gap

We don’t actually have Riggs’ age, but there doesn’t seem to be a big age gap between Grey’s Anatomy Riggs and Meredith. That was a problem with Meredith and Derek.

Meredith was an intern when she met Derek. They were both in different stages of their careers and experiences. Their lifestyles were different and they wanted different things. Derek made Meredith catch up to him on more than one occasion, and didn’t really listen when she wasn’t ready for it.

This doesn’t seem like something that Riggs and Meredith will have to deal with. While it looked like they wanted different things at one point, Riggs realised that Meredith was scared of moving forward. He can help her do that and seems willing to support her through it.

#9. No Weird Fascination with Riggs’ Hair

Honestly, I didn’t get what the thing about Derek’s hair was all about. I’ve never really got that when it comes to a guy’s looks. I just couldn’t connect to the attraction to Derek when it was always about his hair.

There’s no weird fascination with Riggs’ hair, and certainly now weird nickname. Sure, the nickname is a favourite of fans but I did state that my opinion was an unpopular one—and a lot of my Grey’s Anatomy opinions are.

#10. No Weird Ferry Boat Fetish

That was never really truly explained for Derek. Maybe if it was, things would be different; my opinion would be different. But I just didn’t get it.

There doesn’t seem to be anything like this for Riggs. But then that could be because we haven’t got to know him that well. I look forward to more episodes with Riggs to learn more about who he is as a person and not just a doctor.


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Do you like Grey’s Anatomy Riggs and Meredith? Maybe you’re a MerDer shipper all the way. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.


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Author: Alexandria Gunn

Introducing the chief blogger of FanNews, Alexandria is an Ontario freelance writer, blogger and journalist who does all that while being a wife and mother of two girls.

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4 thoughts on “Grey’s Anatomy Riggs and Meredith: 10 Reasons Riggs Is Better Than Derek

  1. Riggs is good enough for Meredith, I would love for them to stay together…..but it’s a wait and see thing

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