After kicking off their 19th season — yes, that’s 1-9 — in prime-time TV this month, Grey’s Anatomy It has long since established itself as a reliable hit, commanding not only a spot on ABC’s primetime schedule, but other times in reruns. And part of what made it successful from the start was the relationship between the main character, Ellen Pompeo’s Dr. Meredith Grey, and Patrick Dempsey’s character, Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd, who left the team in 2015 .
Tuesday, GrayCreator Shonda Rhimes explained that the way Meredith and Derek’s relationship started – they went home together after meeting at a bar – was problematic for some. At least Meredith’s actions were. And they weren’t exactly thrilled when she found out the next day that Derek was her new chief executive at the then-named Seattle Grace Hospital, where she was a resident new.
“I remember being called into a room full of old men,” Rhimes told the official website 9 to 5ish With the Skimm podcast,” and they brought us in to tell me that the show was a problem because no one was going to watch a show about a woman who slept with a man the night before her first day of work. And they were dead serious.”
In fact, they asked, after reading the pilot episode, who would do such a thing, like drink and have a one-night stand with a stranger the night before starting a new job?
Betsy Beers, who is Rhimes’ producing partner on that show and many others, volunteered to do so. The answer to the men’s rhetorical question shocked them and sent them scrambling.
“They couldn’t put a slut in my face,” Beers said. “They didn’t know what to say.”
The whole point was that Beers and Rhimes, who have since worked together on shows including Scandal, How to get away with murder and Bridgertonthat they didn’t see women like themselves on TV.
“There weren’t even that many shows with a woman in the middle,” Beers said. “That in itself was surprising.”
Rhimes said that she later understood why they got such a reaction.
“It feels very obvious now, I think. But at the time, you have to remember that there had never been a show that had a main character who had her sexuality on network television,” Rhimes said. . “There haven’t been shows where you’ve seen three or four people of color in a room talking unless it’s on a sitcom, with no one else in the room. You didn’t see much of what we were doing. And I didn’t really think of them as revolutionary. I was thinking, like, ‘We’re just making a show that I want to watch.'”.
Four Emmys and countless other awards later, they still are.
And that Meredith-Derek connection that the men didn’t approve of in Rhimes’ story has gone down in TV history as one of the most beloved by fans. Just last month, the actors behind the characters, Pompeo and Dempsey, happily reunited at the D23 Expo, where they slipped the sons of Yahoo Entertainment for a few laughs.