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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Why I am offended by Ellen Pompeo’s response to why Grey’s can’t go on without Derek. #GreysAnatomy

Why I am offended by Ellen Pompeo’s response to why Grey’s can’t go on without Derek. #GreysAnatomy

Pictures Courtesy of ABC

A few weeks ago, in late August sometime, I read an article on The Wrap ( entitled "Ellen Pompeo Is Offended Fans Think 'Grey’s Anatomy' Can’t Continue Without Patrick Dempsey’s McDreamy." In summation, the actress defends the long-running show’s (of which I have been a fan since day one) decision to kill off Dr. Derek Shepherd. For those not in the know, in the most controversial part of last season, Shonda Rhimes decided to murder one of the lead and favorite characters of the show when contract disputes and other behind-the-scenes foolishness went on with Mr. Dempsey. Naturally, fans were upset as this was not the way we wanted to see this heart-wrenching TV love end, especially after investing 11 years in their courtship, marriage and the trials and tribulations of raising a young family. Even worse was the way the show decided to get rid of him—by having him narrate his own death and dying alone, devoid of any other characters interacting with him on his deathbed or any long goodbyes. They didn’t even have a scene of ghost Derek having hot sex with Mere. Then, they skipped ahead a year so they could sprint through the grieving process and, apparently, take on a lighter tone as has been hinted at by the actors this season. Mind-boggling!

These changes left many viewers (including yours truly) sick to their stomach. Don’t get me wrong, Grey’s has a history of killing you off the show if you want to leave. However, the way in which they treated McDreamy felt dirty, callous and just plain wrong. Cristina had a complete farewell season, stocked full of teary-eyed moments and recalls of how great the friendship between her and Mere had been. George got to appear in his military uniform and at least got to be around his friends when he died. Little Grey was surrounded by “family” in the calamity of the plane crash. McSteamy got a whole episode where he talked to everyone he loved and cracked jokes. This is not to mention some of the other more controversial exits of Katherine Heigl’s Izzy and Isiah Washington’s Dr. Burke who talked bad about the show and/or their fellow castmates and got to live for a possible future return.

No, McDreamy was made a bastard for wanting to go to D.C. to cure Alzheimer’s! He was told he wasn’t needed and basically that he was a hindrance to his wife’s proliferation. Then, to try to redeem him in the last second, they gave him half an hour of heroism before a jumping-the-shark-worthy death narration. This felt like a dagger to the heart, a dramatic Shakespearean twist that left you dissatisfied and your literary professor saying, “you just don’t get Shakespeare.” No, I got it, I just didn’t like it (note: I actually enjoy Shakespeare quite a bit and did take a course on it in College to revisit some of my high school favorites).

I thought, wow this was a real disservice to the fans but maybe there’ll be some redeeming quality in the show for the season ahead. And then came this article.

In it, Ms. Pompeo argues that Meredith is perfectly capable of carrying the show all herself just like the two other Shondaland shows How To Get Away With Murder (#HTGAWM) and Scandal (#Scandal). In it, creator Rhimes also makes a psuedo-argument for feminism in some way, saying that
“Meredith could evolve as a woman, independent from a man.” 
What the hell? So much wrong with this.

Side Note: As an author I am always challenged whenever I write something on just how my work will be used, interpretated and consumed. My episodic novella series The Writer (#TheWriter) this summer was meant to explore that very thing. However, I also realize that artists at some point are expected to cater to their fans as the work is no longer theirs. It is for this reason why this phrasing from these two women upset me.

Making this into a feminist move and declaring this as an opportunity for Meredith to grow is missing the essence of the show and why fans fell in love with it in the first place. Grey’s, unlike Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, was always meant as a coming-of-age love story (or at least viewed that way by the fans). That is how it was presented to the audience. Coming-of-age for adults (baby meds as I called them, fresh from med school) into fully-formed people, doctors, life-savers, and how they navigate those waters. The love triangle was between Meredith, Shepherd/McDreamy and Cristina to see who was going to love and be there for Meredith the most to help form her into the woman she would one day become. It was a romance that also tested the bonds of true friendship and sisterhood. Hell, the very first episode, the very first scene sets up the love affair between Shepherd and Grey. It went from being a fling, to a forbidden love, to a complicated love, to a disdainful love, to a sacrifice everything love, to a real adult love, to a family love to a people will write about us kind of love.

This is what we tuned in for week after week. The people. Not the cases, not the drama with who would be chief, not even to find out who would next be living in that trailer in the woods. No, we tuned in for the McDreamys, the McSteamys, the Averys, the Dennys—and this is coming from a guy. Some of us also tuned in for the music, but mostly the relationships. Shondaland’s other two shows, however, are different.

Both Scandal and HTGAWM were always solely about the one woman and not the group around her, but even when you did remove the forbidden love triangle from Scandal, the show veered into something it wasn’t per Shonda’s own admission. Scandal turned into Alias. Sidney Bristow, where the hell are you (probably still chasing Rimbaldi artifacts). They were completely different. They didn’t rely on love. Grey’s did.

Now, Cristina (one part of the triangle; the best part of friendship) is gone. Shepherd (the other part of the triangle; the yin to Cristina’s Yang (see what I did there; holy crap a parenthetical in a parenthetical. You're breakin' the rules, man!) that balanced Meredith) is gone. This is a love story devoid of love, replaced with, what? Independence? Hmph! Well, OK. That’s fine in the end, just don’t try to make fans believe and rally behind something the show never was. I once looked to Grey’s to have my true love and friendship fantasy satiated. I guess I’ll look elsewhere for that from now on.

What do you think fellow Grey's fans out there. Am I overreacting to her comments? Do you like this new direction the show will go in, moving away from the love that once bolstered the show? Do you think it'll be the same show without Cristina and Derek for Meredith to balance herself off of? Let me know what you think in the comments below. Oh, and don't construe this as me never again watching the show. I will watch, but I have to wait and see if I like it anymore as last season disappointed in so many ways. Hint: click where it reads “no comments” to comment.

As always, check out my books on Amazon (if you’re looking for Halloween scares check  #AFuriousWind,  #DARKER#BrandNewHome or #ThePowerOfTen). For those interested in something a little more dramatic, check out #TheWriter. The final episode of season one of The Writer is coming this Friday. All other 14 episodes are out now available exclusively on Amazon. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to my blog.

Until next time, "... then I'll know how to save a life. Ba-doo ba-doo ba-doo ba. Ba-doo ba-doo ba-doo ba. Ba doo doo doo." 

P.S. OK, so that may be lyrics from The Fray's "How To Save A Life"--a song made even more famous by the early days of the show--but I think they're good lyrics here and they apply, especially since I so hope Grey's doesn't need saving after this season of upheaval. 

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