Beginning its 19th season — yes, it’s 1-9 — on primetime TV this month, Grey’s Anatomy in the past he has established himself as a reliable fixture, commanding not only a spot on ABC’s prime time schedule, but time slots elsewhere in the reruns. And part of what made it successful from the beginning was the relationship between the main character, Dr. Meredith Gray and Ellen Pompeo, and Patrick Dempsey’s character, Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd, who left the cast in 2015.
On Tuesday, GrayCreator Shonda Rhimes explained how the beginning of the relationship between Meredith and Derek – they return home after meeting at a bar – is a problem for some. Little did Meredith do. And they were not at all amused when he found out the next day that Derek was his new manager at the then-named Seattle Grace Hospital, where he now resides.
“I remember being called into a room full of old people,” Rhimes said in the 9 to 5ish With a Skimm podcast,” and they brought us in to tell me that the show was a problem because no one would watch a show about a woman who sleeps with a man the night before her first day at work.
Of course, they asked, after reading the board, who would do that, like getting drunk and spending one night with a stranger the night before starting a new job?
Betsy Beers, Rhimes’ co-star on that show and many others, volunteered. The answer to the men’s perhaps sarcastic question surprised them and sent them scrambling.
“They can’t call me a slut to my face,” Beers said. “They don’t know what to say.”
The whole idea is Beers and Rhimes, who worked with the shows Appeal, How to get away with murder a Bridgertondon’t see women like them on TV.
“There aren’t many shows with a woman in the middle,” Beers said. “That was surprising in itself.”
Rhimes said she later found out why they got that kind of response.
“It’s pretty obvious now, I think. But at the time, you have to remember that there was no evidence that a lead had sex on a cell phone,” Rhimes said. “There’s no evidence that you’ve seen three or four black people in a room talking unless it’s on a sitcom, with no one else in the room. You’ve never seen a lot of what we were doing. I didn’t really think of them as revolutionary. I thought, like, ‘We’re making a show I want to watch.'”
Four Emmys and many other awards later, they’re still here.
And that Meredith-Derek pairing that was not approved by the men in Rhimes’ story, went down in the TV series as one of the most loved by the fans. Last month, the actors behind the scenes, Pompeo and Dempsey, reunited at the D23 Expo, where they grabbed the mic of Yahoo Entertainment for some jokes.