You Know It’s Time To End Your TV Show When Your Actors Are Openly Complaining

Ellen Pompeo Meredith Grey complaining Grey's Anatomy Shonda Rimes unrealisticEllen Pompeo is surprisingly — or, perhaps you might think, refreshingly — candid about how money factors into her job on Grey’s Anatomy in this new interview with TV Guide. From the getgo, she acknowledges that it was just one thing that motivated her to sign on for another season: “Because I’m not crazy! ABC appreciates me very much and I’m not stupid [laughs]. The network goes above and beyond and I’d be an asshole to not acknowledge that.” Note that the pay raise comes first, and then she adds, “And [showrunner] Shonda [Rhimes] thinks she has more story to tell.”

But what about those stories? Grey’s is entering its ninth season, and you could argue that it jumped the shark a long time ago. First it jumped the shark, then it crashed a boat into the shark, then it slammed a bus into the shark, then it dropped a plane on the shark. Oh, and killed off several beloved characters.

We’re long used to the show having controversy, starting from the on-set feud between Isaiah Washington and T.R. Knight that ended with Washington getting unceremoniously written off the show after he used a gay slur. And of course, Katherine Heigl throwing down the gauntlet by withdrawing her name from Emmy consideration in 2008, and the protracted pissing contest that ultimately ended with Izzie getting written off. (Whoops, originally wrote “killed off” there… Goes to show how much attention I actually paid to this show after a certain point.)

Now, Ellen is a lot more diplomatic than Katherine was when discussing how outlandish the show has gotten, but you can’t deny the fact that she clearly has her issues with the show. ”Why Meredith wouldn’t take a job at Harvard is a bit of a stretch,” she told TV Guide. “But for whatever reason she doesn’t and convinces everyone [but Cristina] to stay. That’s a difficult thing to believe when I’m playing it, but I’m just a paid employee who has to do what they say. We have a boss like everybody else. You may not always agree with it but you still have to be professional and do the best you can.”

You gotta hand it to Ellen for being so pragmatic. As she says earlier in the interview about staying on with the show, “What else am I doin’?” Grey’s has literally been her full-time job since 2005; unlike Heigl, she doesn’t have any movie offers to tempt her away from Seattle Grace. But she obviously feels free enough to voice any displeasure with the show, which is more how you would hear someone whose show is actually ending talk. Like Penn Badgley talking about Gossip Girl‘s final season; he described the vibe on-set as, “We’re not counting off the days, but we’re all just like, ‘Wow. We’ve been on this show for so long, and it’s about to end.’” So it makes sense for them to be critical. Not so when Grey’s is starting season 9 and doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon.

Photo: ABC

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    • Kristen

      Izzie wasn’t killed off. She’s alive, she just left Seattle Grace.

      • mags

        that was my first thought when reading this.

    • Shauna

      Maybe before you write an article you should get your facts straight, Izzy wasnt killed off she left Seattle Grace. This article is a friggen joke!

    • Natalie Zutter

      Shoot, brain fart on my part! I stopped watching the show around the season with Izzie getting into the elevator–you’re totally right. Sorry about that! But did everything else I say make sense?

      • Amy

        Yup. I still watch it though – one of my guilty pleasures.
        P.S. I always read your name as Zatalie Nutter and it makes me giggle.

      • Natalie Zutter

        My ex-boyfriend used to call me that all the time.


    • carter

      Well said Ms Zutter, EP’s interview was with Keck was quite revealing. When your lead feels as dis-empowered (and blantantly unhappy) with the evolution of her characters storyline, its time to end the show!

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