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Behind The Scenes: The Drama Behind the Drama

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I've argued in the Spoilers & Speculation thread that I think Shonda always intended to kill Derek (I won't rehash my reasons here) before EP left the show. In her statement about PD leaving, Shonda said: "I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our ‘McDreamy.’" COME. ON. Never?

 

I think Shonda knew she wanted to do that from the beginning of The Year of Meredith.

 

Define "always," I suppose. The Year of Meredith was this year -- also the Year of TGIT. I'm talking about some alternate universe where Scandal never gets made, and Shonda is still just the veteran creator of 11-year old, but still popular Grey's Anatomy. Dempsey is still doing races and Shonda decides she wants to kill Derek. I feel like in that scenario, ABC overrules her. So I'm just not sure she "always" would've been able to kill Derek (in say, season 7 or something -- though now I'm wondering about the plane crash and if ABC overruled that, too. Heh, now I'm picturing all the times Derek was put in peril and ABC going "Not so fast.")

 

Or if in an alternate universe, Dempsey didn't have racing -- had no other jobs but Grey's, reupped his contract and intended to stay til the end. Does Shonda still get her way then? My instincts say no.

 

I guess I feel like a lot of things had to come together for this to happen, and ultimately, this became an "absolute power corrupts absolutely" scenario.

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Honestly I could see Shonda just thinking who would be the most shocking to kill off to get Grey's back in the mainstream news and that pretty much leaves Meredith, Derek, Callie, And Bailey. She can't kill of the lead so that eliminates Meredith. They come to the decision that Derek would be the most shocking influenced by the fact Patrick has been negotiating for time off.

Edited by choclatechip45
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Tuleh2, can you link the post you are referring to?

Here's what I said (it's not really a spoiler anymore):

 

"Creatively (believe me, I use that term loosely where Shonda's concerned), I've always thought Derek would die. I was surprised to hear that both EP and PD were signed to two more years. I could never see Shonda having Meredith share her exit with anyone (except maybe Cristina, with a brief return by SO.) And EP has to leave eventally. So I think that was an easy decision for her."

 

For Shonda, this show is all about Meredith's journey. Being part of a nuclear family was only a stop on the road. When Meredith leaves, it will be as a single mother (Shonda's alter ego?) Think about Shonda's statement on PD leaving: "Patrick Dempsey’s performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example—happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true—of what young women should demand from modern love." Derek was just Meredith's "love object." Meredith is THE SUN (and EP is The Star).

 

 

I guess I feel like a lot of things had to come together for this to happen, and ultimately, this became an "absolute power corrupts absolutely" scenario.

You're absolutely right, Eolivet. While I think it was always her vision, Shonda could never have attempted this but for 1) the power she now wields at ABC, and 2) PD's racing commitments. (And the timing assumes that Shonda knows S12 will be EP's last.)

 

Even with that, I'm sure ABC took a lot of convincing. I think the Derek-less early episodes were a trial run to make sure the sky would not fall, ratings-wise. And I think PD would have fought against it (or his agents and their lawyers? - I don't know how actor's contracts/options work) up to a point.

 

What's interesting is the PR strategy. It would explain why ABC/Shonda are so sparing with info about this: they're hoping that PD can absorb some of the blame (for ending Merder) while they don't/can't provide any specifics.

 

Just like the vague "He was being a diva," everyone seems to have heard that "He wanted to leave." But PD has NEVER said that publicly (he's always towed the "I'm grateful to GA, it has changed my life, they allow me to go racing" line). PD did say he'd be "leaving soon" in that interview, and everyone interpreted that as he wanted to leave. But what if he was just giving away a spoiler? Only Shonda and some execs would have gotten that, but it would also explain why Shonda seems to be so pissed at him.

 

It could also explain why PD committed to the 2015 WEC schedule back in November, which will involve a lot of time out of the country when GA starts filming S12: he knew he wouldn't be on the show.

 

Anyway, that's my theory. (Sorry to ramble on, but I'm finding this BTS stuff so much more entertaining than the show...)

Edited by Tuleh2
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I am skeptical about PD not knowing that he was leaving until Feb/March. That was last month and he has apparently been negotiating for more time off at the very least for awhile now, so he HAD to know that it was a possibility. It's possible that the means of Derek's departure wasnt official until recently, but I don't buy him hinting about leaving in November and then being broadsided last month.

You're right, Deanie87. Shonda would have had to discuss this story arc with him early in the season (unlike others in the cast), and I think it would have been pretty much a done deal by October/November. It could also explain why they added the extra episodes around that time period: they knew they'd kill Derek/PD would be done by mid-April, but they didn't want that to be the end of the season. They would want extra episodes to try to get past Derek's death and establish some reason for viewers to tune in for S12.

Edited by Tuleh2
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"Creatively (believe me, I use that term loosely where Shonda's concerned), I've always thought Derek would die. I was surprised to hear that both EP and PD were signed to two more years. I could never see Shonda having Meredith share her exit with anyone (except maybe Cristina, with a brief return by SO.) And EP has to leave eventally. So I think that was an easy decision for her."

 

For Shonda, this show is all about Meredith's journey. Being part of a nuclear family was only a stop on the road. When Meredith leaves, it will be as a single mother (Shonda's alter ego?) Think about Shonda's statement on PD leaving: "Patrick Dempsey’s performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example—happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true—of what young women should demand from modern love." Derek was just Meredith's "love object." Meredith is THE SUN (and EP is The Star).

 

It's so interesting reading this, because I can think of a way to guarantee Meredith her own exit that also keeps Derek alive, that actually would've made some sense given the story arc this year: Have Meredith divorce Derek and take the kids. Have her realize that she was happier without Derek, they no longer work anymore, she's too "dark and twisty" for marriage anyway. Derek becomes so despondent at the failure of his second marriage that he leaves Seattle Grace Mercy Death/GSM...alive.

 

The problem with this is it makes Meredith the bad guy. And Shonda didn't want that. It ties into what another very astute commenter said about how killing characters lacks imagination. You don't want the MerDer HEA (happily ever after)? Fine -- you've written a character with numerous emotional issues, where it would actually make sense if she got divorced. Derek doesn't have to cheat on her or abandon her -- Meredith can simply be Meredith, and this marriage can be over very quickly. Viewers might be upset, but give Meredith more scenes with her kids -- show her being a mother without the help of a husband and I don't know...maybe viewers would come around.

 

Then Pompeo can leave as Meredith the empowered divorcee, Dempsey can come back for the finale, share an ambiguous scene with Pompeo, and everybody's happy: Shonda splits up the couple, but fans can imagine that maybe MerDer got back together after the show ended.

 

But Shonda wanted her cake and to eat it, too. Keep Meredith the protagonist, but still get rid of Derek. And there was only one way to make that happen (in her mind). Fascinating stuff.

Edited by Eolivet
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It's so interesting reading this, because I can think of a way to guarantee Meredith her own exit that also keeps Derek alive, that actually would've made some sense given the story arc this year: Have Meredith divorce Derek and take the kids. Have her realize that she was happier without Derek, they no longer work anymore, she's too "dark and twisty" for marriage anyway. Derek becomes so despondent at the failure of his second marriage that he leaves Seattle Grace Mercy Death/GSM...alive.

 

The problem with this is it makes Meredith the bad guy. And Shonda didn't want that. It ties into what another very astute commenter said about how killing characters lacks imagination. You don't want the MerDer HEA (happily ever after)? Fine -- you've written a character with numerous emotional issues, where it would actually make sense if she got divorced. Derek doesn't have to cheat on her or abandon her -- Meredith can simply be Meredith, and this marriage can be over very quickly. Viewers might be upset, but give Meredith more scenes with her kids -- show her being a mother without the help of a husband and I don't know...maybe viewers would come around.

 

Then Pompeo can leave as Meredith the empowered divorcee, Dempsey can come back for the finale, share an ambiguous scene with Pompeo, and everybody's happy: Shonda splits up the couple, but fans can imagine that maybe MerDer got back together after.

Divorce is one way she could have done it. After all, Derek cheated in DC so Meredith wouldn't necessarily been a complete villain in that scenario and then if Dempsey was willing and able to come back for the finale, they could have reconciled. But do you really think that there wouldn't have been an uproar over cheating and divorce? So then Shonda would then have to come out and say, "well guys it was either this or death.". I just don't see that happening.

But Shonda wanted her cake and to eat it, too. Keep Meredith the protagonist, but still get rid of Derek. And there was only one way to make that happen (in her mind). Fascinating stuff.

God help me, but I think that this is a little unfair to Shonda. Let's keep in mind that it was Patrick Dempsey who wanted off the show, or at least for the cast, crew and writers to accommodate his time off. I am not blaming him. He has been on the show for a long time, is stuck with a ridiculous nickname that he will be hard pressed to shed, and not given a whole lot of material to work with when he was there. I get it. And maybe when he originally signed his contract everyone involved thought that giving him time off would be easier than it was. Maybe he thought he could do both acting and racing with no problem and then just became exhausted. Who knows the reason? But the fact is that this situation was HIS choice.

I truly believe that Shonda is vindictive and Derek's death was cheap and awful. But I simply don't believe that Shonda has been rubbing her hands in glee just waiting to kill off Derek. It has been pointed out many, many times that he is the face of Greys and the most popular, well known entity on the show. Why would Shonda deliberately destroy that if she didn't have to? Patrick has every right to leave the show, this is his life. But to act as though all of these things had nothing to do with him is just silly. He was the impetus for the whole situation.

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Shonda had other options, like ER with Clooney. They didn't kill him off, they respected him and the character enough to send him off and then he respected the show enough to show up when asked. For the finale season and when Julianna was leaving. Shonda's vindictive killing Derek off is all on her, not on Patrick.

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I'm finding this BTS stuff so much more entertaining than the show...

 

Me too!

 

I recall Shonda saying early on that she had the ending in mind from the very start. Years later she said that the time had come and gone for that. I think the success and back stage developments really altered what was her original plan. My guess is that her original plan was to keep MerDer apart until the last season with each dating others while working out their personal issues. Then reunite in final season and shown marrying and beginning the life that Ellis described to Richard when lucid. All the parallels to Richard/Ellis in the early years leading to MerDer having a somewhat similar road but completely different ending.

 

Then the show became huge. It was obvious it had way more than 5 or so seasons. The writer's strike happened and, if the reports are to be believed, Shonda was directed to MerDer together. At that point I can easily see her "new" plan being as Tuleh2 describes with MerCris being the main story.  Once MerDer were together forever the overly clingy (IMO) MerCris my person relationship kicked into high gear and that could have been the start.

 

I also think its possible that after having to put MerDer together forever she didn't have a real plan. She attempted to use their professional life for drama with the trial tampering, Meredith covering for Richard, etc. The show still went on so she gave them all the typical couple storylines of marriage,babies, colliding careers. She even went from "the post-it is the only wedding they'll have" to having them marry in a courthouse. "Grey's doesn't do babies" turned into an adoption and later a pregnancy. Her statements of "MerDer will never break up", "MerDer are together forever" changed to "together unless one leaves the show" and some variation of I said that years ago, may not still apply. She gave them their happily ever after being 2 successful surgeons, married with 2 children, living in a dream house and owning a hospital.  Once the happily ever after is achieved on a show like Grey's where do they go? They could repeat professional conflict but how much more of that could they really do? They could have day to day conflicts like we see in family dramas but does that really fit with the show? So, having Derek die gives her a completely open story for Meredith going forward for however long Ellen stays/show goes on.

 

Could be a combination of all.

 

Sorry to be so lengthy, boy that was a lot. 

Edited by windsprints
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But the fact is that this situation was HIS choice... He was the impetus for the whole situation.

Based on what? How do you know that?

 

Shonda is taking a beating for this. If PD asked to leave or broke his contract, why isn't Shonda/ABC saying that?

Edited by Tuleh2
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While I think it was always her vision, Shonda could never have attempted this but for 1) the power she now wields at ABC, and 2) PD's racing commitments. (And the timing assumes that Shonda knows S12 will be EP's last.)

 

Even with that, I'm sure ABC took a lot of convincing. I think the Derek-less early episodes were a trial run to make sure the sky would not fall, ratings-wise. And I think PD would have fought against it (or his agents and their lawyers? - I don't know how actor's contracts/options work) up to a point.

I suspect you're right about Meredith on her own (or with Cris) being Shonda's end game, and I thought at the time that PD's six-ep absence was a trial run re ratings. I also think this will prove to be a miscalculation on the part of both Shonda and ABC. Derek being away but expected back is one thing; Derek dead, thus no more MerDer ever is another thing entirely. I expect (and frankly, hope) that the post-funeral ratings will reflect that.

 

I'm not convinced, though, that this was settled months ago. This season has been incredibly choppy and inconsistent, even for a show with traditionally horrible continuity. I now think that's evidence of ongoing BTS wrangling and TPTB trying to leave themselves options.

 

Whatever strained relations existed BTS, Shonda and ABC have acted abominably. PD and EP and their chemistry were the spark that made this show happen in the first place. I'm not trying to be an apologist for PD--I'm sure he's no saint, and it can't have been easy working around his schedule--but the truth is that Shonda (not to mention the rest of the cast and crew) would not be enjoying the success and adulation she now does without his contribution. To dismiss that in such cruel, slapdash fashion, without so much as a public acknowledgement or thank you for 11 seasons, is reprehensible. Whatever SR's personal agenda with PD, this was also an awful and unnecessary slap at legions of loyal fans who invested 10 years in MerDer and their story. I've been fascinated by the huge reaction in both traditional and social media. Since Scandal hit so big, Shonda's grown accustomed to awards and adulation (her self-congratulatory Twitter feed documents it constantly).  I'm sure she thought she could make this "bold move" and be lauded for it. I think she badly underestimated public affection for the character of Derek Shepherd, and by extension, PD. The fallout will be interesting, for sure.

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Based on what? How do you know that?

 

Shonda is taking a beating for this. If PD asked to leave or broke his contract, why isn't Shonda/ABC saying that?

Based on the fact that he clearly had other interests and those interests were interfering with his job on Greys. I don't know what his contract said, none of us do. This seems to be what he wanted. Him leaving is NOT something that was being forced on him in any way shape or form. Either he broke his contract or the powers that be decided that they couldn't accommodate what he wanted going forward. HE wanted this. Not Derek dying necessarily but to leave or to significantly cut back his time on Greys. That was HIS choice. They accommodated him once and maybe just werent willing to do so again. Maybe they reneged on their end, I don't know. But because he either wanted out or special accommodation (unlike most members of the cast) Shonda had to deal with it.

Shonda is keeping radio silence right now, and probably will for awhile. Maybe she will come out and say that he wanted to leave. Or maybe she is just going to take the heat and hope it blows over and move on to the next thing.

I'm not trying to blame him but to act as though he is a complete non-entity in this whole situation just isn't true.

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I'm not convinced, though, that this was settled months ago. This season has been incredibly choppy and inconsistent, even for a show with traditionally horrible continuity. I now think that's evidence of ongoing BTS wrangling and TPTB trying to leave themselves options.

I think you're right, JayCeeJ. I'm a PD fan, (and I hated Derek's death - both the idea and its execution) but I actually admire Shonda for it. Doing this took guts.

 

 

I also think this will prove to be a miscalculation on the part of both Shonda and ABC. Derek being away but expected back is one thing; Derek dead, thus no more MerDer ever is another thing entirely. I expect (and frankly, hope) that the post-funeral ratings will reflect that.

I expect they'll all survive. Shonda's been a little scuffed up... but she can afford that. She's had a hell of a year.

 

GA fans will be pissed for awhile, and yes, some of them will leave. But a lot more won't, and they'll probably spend a bit more money on some new hires (maybe not just new interns) to try to reboot for post-S12.

 

ETA: GA doesn't need to keep its existing ratings to survive for a long time. It has to do better than the reality show crap ABC had in this timeslot before (Shark Tank, anyone?) It can do that without breaking a sweat.

Edited by Tuleh2
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I truly believe that Shonda is vindictive and Derek's death was cheap and awful. But I simply don't believe that Shonda has been rubbing her hands in glee just waiting to kill off Derek. It has been pointed out many, many times that he is the face of Greys and the most popular, well known entity on the show. Why would Shonda deliberately destroy that if she didn't have to?

 

Because she didn't want MerDer to end up together, if reports are to be believed. As Tuleh2 writes, she thinks it's the Meredith show, not the MerDer Show. So, either she's rubbing her hands in glee for him to die or for them to divorce. For whatever reason, the idea of them ending up happy together was not in her plan (or her new plan or her new-new plan). And, as I pointed out earlier, she finally had the clout at ABC to get what she wanted. Dempsey's racing career gave her the perfect out.

 

 

 

The show still went on so she gave them all the typical couple storylines of marriage,babies, colliding careers. She even went from "the post-it is the only wedding they'll have" to having them marry in a courthouse. "Grey's doesn't do babies" turned into an adoption and later a pregnancy. Her statements of "MerDer will never break up", "MerDer are together forever" changed to "together unless one leaves the show" and some variation of I said that years ago, may not still apply. She gave them their happily ever after being 2 successful surgeons, married with 2 children, living in a dream house and owning a hospital.  Once the happily ever after is achieved on a show like Grey's where do they go?

 

True, but who wrote (or OK'd the writing) of the real marriage, adoption, pregnancy, kids, dream house? It wasn't like she was a new showrunner brought in to fix someone else's mess. She did all those things and didn't have to, in my opinion. I just find it amusing to think of her being like "Who put this happy couple together and made them so boring?!" "Uh...you did, Shonda."

 

There are also plenty of showrunners that simply hand over the reigns after a few years. She could've easily said "You know what? I'm out of ideas -- I'm gonna go work on Scandal and this is your mess now, Betsy Beers (or whoever)." Let someone else figure out how to deal with it. Maybe fresh eyes were what was called for in this situation.

 

I get it if it's your only job and you've been staring at the same couple for 11 seasons and just throw up your hands, like "OK I give up! Someone has to die!" But that wasn't what happened. She (likely) walked away for a few years, came back and decided she wanted to be more involved. That's her right, of course. But it leaves sort of a bad taste in my mouth because it feels like she did this because she could. Not because it was what was best or even what was necessary, but because it was her show. It felt like a power move, to me.

 

I've said all along that I don't think she's the devil -- I don't hate her and I understand that is in fact her show. I just disagree with her decision is all.

Edited by Eolivet
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Or maybe she is just going to take the heat and hope it blows over and move on to the next thing.

Shonda Rhimes? I'm sorry, but I can't think of a single reason why she would "carry the can" for PD. She's had disputes with actors before that ended up with their leaving the show; it was always made pretty clear why. Maybe all the "shoes" haven't dropped yet. But I think that if he were entitled to the blame, they would be publicly lobbing it at him.

 

I'm not trying to blame him but to act as though he is a complete non-entity in this whole situation just isn't true.

It sure sounds as though you are (trying to blame him). And I would expect Shonda and ABC to do the same, if they had cause.

 

Ending Merder was always going to blow up in someone's face. PD might have wanted out for years but accepted that his career would never survive the backlash from fans. Same with EP. He's probably lost money by not being on the show for S12, but he's also dodged the bullet of being the one to pull the plug. He's free.

 

And he WAS probably pissy on set at times. (He had a reputation for impatience that I remember them joking about in a BTS video. Which jibes with his "need for speed.") And his time off for racing might have engendered a good bit of resentment over the years. But ABC renewed his contract for 2 years last spring: they didn't have to do that. ABC could also have stipulated that he couldn't go racing (it's amazing to me they've always allowed him to). No one would have criticized them for that.

 

Instead, they wanted him to come back. I just can't imagine that something SO SIGNIFICANT could occur at the beginning of S11 that would cause ABC/Shonda to want to get rid of him AND it not become public. Or not be made public now.

Edited by Tuleh2
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I'm wondering about the plane crash and if ABC overruled that, too.

Network meddling can be a two way street. This situation remind me of when the Homeland writers wanted to kill Brody in S1 and Showtime told them no until they gave in in the terrible S3. For ABC, if they ever meddled to make sure PD stayed, it was a smart decision. I'm not sure why ABC gave in here (after all, they've done all they can to make sure that PD gets what he wants) but it'll be interesting to see if we ever find out. Most departures on this show have been problematic, so I wonder how ABC has discussed them.

 

I'm not trying to blame him but to act as though he is a complete non-entity in this whole situation just isn't true.

I see what you're saying. His eventual wishes were obviously a factor but for me, he really wasn't the catalyst in the decision. He would've stayed. I don't think you have to adore your job all the time, so I didn't find this "I rather be racing" comments that surprising. I would have been more cynical if he had signed past S12. 

 

I also agree with Tuleh2 that if ABC had issues with racing and all, they could've either stopped him or make reduce his "off" time for that. They didn't. So, what is up with that?

 

I'm sure she thought she could make this "bold move" and be lauded for it. I think she badly underestimated public affection for the character of Derek Shepherd, and by extension, PD. The fallout will be interesting, for sure.

That, I have to give them credit for. Killing Derek was sure as hell bold and ballsy, especially on a show like GA. Credit where credit is due. 

 

I am surprised at the reaction. I knew it was going to be big but not this big. The leading newspaper in my country reported it and was one of the most discussed articles on Facebook, most angry. This shit went international. That kind of tells you the weight that losing this man did. 

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True, but who wrote (or OK'd the writing) of the real marriage, adoption, pregnancy, kids, dream house? It wasn't like she was a new showrunner brought in to fix someone else's mess.

Obviously Shonda did. What I failed to get across is that I believe that all of that would not have happened as it did if she never was directed to put them together and keep them together.

I just can't imagine that something SO SIGNIFICANT could occur at the beginning of S11 that would cause ABC/Shonda to want to get rid of him AND it not become public
But ABC renewed his contract for 2 years last spring: they didn't have to do that. ABC could also have stipulated that he couldn't go racing (it's amazing to me they've always allowed him to). No one would have criticized them for that.

I don't know what happened but I firmly believe something changed this season. I don't share the belief that Shonda controls everything at ABC. ABC would need to agree to terminate the contract if Shonda wanted him gone. I'm not saying its not possible that Shonda wanted him gone, ABC decided they pay him a fortune and its not worth it if he wanted more time (pure speculation, I don't know if he did) off for racing in the new series. I just think there had to be some major falling out for this to come about. Or, maybe its been slowly brewing for years and it was never public. I think PD has made it clear for years that while he is grateful for Grey's fans and the opportunities the show has given him, he'd rather be racing.  And no, I'm not blaming him. I don't blame any actor for wanting to move on even if the timing isn't always right. I just think there's probably more to the whole story than "Shonda Fired Patrick".  As I said yesterday, there could still be financial/legal negotiations playing out and once finalized the other actors, ABC and Shonda may have more to say. Time will tell. Regardless, Patrick is surely winning the PR race at this point.

 

I agree there were surely options other than death to write Derek out but I disagree that fans would have been A-OK with it. Its easy to say that now after Shonda killed him off. Its not even opinion. Go back and read twitter, article comments and message boards after Derek kissed Renee. They were flooded with "MerDer are ruined forever","I'm done", "I will never watch again", etc. If a kiss and running home to profess his undying love caused that kind of reaction I am not seeing how a divorce would have been just fine with MerDer fans.

 

I also disagree that MerDer could have been written like Carol/Doug. There are so many factors that come into play (for both) that allow that to play out.

Edited by windsprints
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I don't know what happened but I firmly believe something changed this season.

Maybe what changed was that EP decided she wouldn't be coming back after S12?

 

I may have made it sound like I think Shonda hated Merder, but that's not the case. I don't know what she had envisioned for Meredith when the show started, and I think Merder was clearly something of a juggernaut created by fans responding to the chemistry between EP and PD. But I do think Shonda loved them together.

 

But if I'm right and EP is done at the end of S12, killing Derek might be as much about the exit Shonda wants for EP, her star. EP gets new, heroic material to play in her "victory lap" season (in addition to not "sharing" her exit with PD). And I'd agree with her that EP deserves an ending at least as good as, if not better, than SO's. EP's acting has been consistently good (and she's had some serious crap to sell, at times) and she's always been a true professional in front of the camera, as a representative for the show and — reading between the lines — probably a huge support to Shonda BTS.

 

(And I'm saying that as someone who has found Meredith completely unbearable since S5.)

 

ETA: And I'm sure ABC feels the same way about EP.

Edited by Tuleh2
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I don't think Shonda hated MerDer either, not at all. I think Shonda hated being told to put them together and keep them together (assuming this is really what happened back in S4). I can even understand that, no writer wants to the network to dictate story. 

Maybe what changed was that EP decided she wouldn't be coming back after S12?

 

It could be. What you describe makes sense. But, so would the reverse, that EP has made it clear should would come back after S12. I say this because if it was just a matter of getting through S12 I have a hard time with why ABC/Shonda wouldn't do whatever possible to keep Patrick in the fold in some way. Even with racing, even if there was "diva" behavior. They could have worked it out to have him on reserve for a few episodes and give fans the exit. If EP and PD love the fans as much as the say they do I would think that would be the ending they would be fighting for. The only way killing Derek off makes any sense at all to me is if they were certain PD would not return if they wrote him out/or just a few episodes.

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What you describe makes sense. But, so would the reverse, that EP has made it clear should would come back after S12.

 

I'm glad you said this, because that has been my feeling all along: that Derek dying means Pompeo is probably planning on staying until the end. And in that case, I get it: actor who wants reduced time, actress who wants to stay -- pave the way for a new storyline for the actress. I would be sort of surprised if Pompeo exits in season 12 now. To me, that will have an impact on the fallout from this: if Pompeo is staying for the foreseeable future, it's a smart creative decision to "reboot" the series. If Pompeo herself is exiting in a year, it's just petty.

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I agree, Windpsrints, none of this makes any sense if EP has indicated that she will stay with the show past S12/hasn't said she will leave after S12.

 

Could it just be that they knew PD wanted to leave but couldn't as long as the fans would be pissed off at him so they reached a mutal agreement to let him go without saying he wanted to? (It would explain the vagueness/lack of information provided by both sides.) Both sides would gain something: PD would get his freedom (which I think he's earned) without the fan backlash destroying his career, and ABC saves a lot of money which they can use to hire new talent to help re-energize the show for post-S12? (I could see Shonda resenting the fact that he doesn't want to stay on the show forever, though.)

 

If that's the case it will eventually come out, but hopefully by that time the the fans will have gotten used to the idea or at least put away the pitchforks.

 

No matter what, I think "killing Derek" versus sending him to DC or having him disappear into the kitchen is Classic Shonda, and not necessarily the result of some irreconcilable break between PD and ABC, or Shonda. I think she goofed and let the sensibility behind the cartoony violence on Scandal and HTGAWM bleed into GA (it's the same stuff we saw in the hospital shooting). It also seems to be a case of "the straw that broke the camel's back." I just don't think they anticipated this level of critical outrage.

 

ETA: I'm not saying that he broke his contract or quit, but that it may have been under discussion since his contract negotiations last year.

Edited by Tuleh2

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Shonda had other options, like ER with Clooney.

 

I've seen this a lot, and it's a different situation.  I'd love every character to leave and return like Doug and Doug and Carol did at the end of ER.  Were there ever rumors of Clooney not getting along with TPTB?  Things were different back then, no twitter, no internet blind items, but from what I've read, Clooney never even negotiated for a raise during his contracted time on the show. Did he ever ask for time off to do his films or other career interests? I don't know the answer to that one, but I don't remember there being the same kinds of backstage drama with him.  It was a planned exit from what I can recall.  Also Clooney left in season 5 and ER went on to do 10 more seasons without him.  Clooney is still probably the most recognizable face from that show, but he wasn't on it for the majority of the time.  It's two different situations.  Clooney's might have been handled better but his relationship to ER was different and ER was for the most part a better written show to begin with.

 

I don't know who's to blame for the Patrick Dempsey and Shonda Rhimes stuff but for some time PD was grateful to Grey's but never sounded enthusiastic about being there, like he was doing it for the money.  That's his prerogative, but to me he sounded halfway out the door.  I don't feel badly for anyone here.  They're all rich and have options.  

 

I also find the backstage drama more interesting than the show which I haven't watched much in years.  It will be a test to see how long the show lasts with PD gone for good.  It really could go either way. 

 

The only way killing Derek off makes any sense at all to me is if they were certain PD would not return if they wrote him out/or just a few episodes.

 

There's that as well.  Clooney returned but would PD?  Margulies left soon after Clooney did but if Pompeo stayed til the end, would PD want to return or would Derek exist offscreen forever?  I have no idea, but it's possible that once he was written out even with Derek alive, he wouldn't come back.  Scheduling could get in the way or he might not have wanted to.  

Edited by Betweenthisandthat
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Plus Ellen has made it clear she is considering quitting acting after Grey's so I can see her enjoying this as long as they let her.

I must admit, this boggles my mind. She has two kids now, she's got real producing projects (not just an office), she's made tons of money... TV acting is a grind. Why would she want to keep working on the show?

 

Maybe she'll be written light/recurring after S12?

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I must admit, this boggles my mind. She has two kids now, she's got real producing projects (not just an office), she's made tons of money... TV acting is a grind. Why would she want to keep working on the show?

Maybe she'll be written light/recurring after S12?

I said this earlier in the thread, but for whatever reason she seems to be enjoying the media attention much more now than she did in the early seasons. She seems much more enthusiastic about the show, Maybe they've given her more control? Patrick seemed not to be that enthusiastic during interviews the longer he was on the show the opposite has been the case wiith Ellen. Edited by choclatechip45

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She seems much more enthusiastic about the show, Maybe they've given her more control? Patrick seemed not to be that enthusiastic during interviews the longer he was on the show the opposite has been the case wiith Ellen.

The Year of Meredith and the TGIT promotion of EP, KW and VD and "their" shows certainly gave her an opportunity to shine. And she can't help but come off better than PD when she says she doesn't care if she ever plays another character besides Meredith Grey. For "fan service," no one can compete with that.

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The Year of Meredith and the TGIT promotion of EP, KW and VD and "their" shows certainly gave her an opportunity to shine. And she can't help but come off better than PD when she says she doesn't care if she ever plays another character besides Meredith Grey. For "fan service," no one can compete with that.

Good point in the early days Katie, Sandra and Chandra were all getting award nominations in the early days.

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It also seems to be a case of "the straw that broke the camel's back." I just don't think they anticipated this level of critical outrage.

 

I don't think so either and that's probably why PD is viewed in the positive while Shondaland in the negative. Even though PD has been critical of the writing, nobody seems to understand why it was necessary to kill him in such a brutal way and to be honest, Shonda hasn't really explained it in a way that's convincing or justifies it. The reboot excuse is too easy and with the history of the show, we will know that the execution will be poor and that next week, nobody will even remember Derek died. It will seem like an empty decision at the end. 

 

I said this earlier in the thread, but for whatever reason she seems to be enjoying the media attention much more now than she did in the early seasons. She seems much more enthusiastic about the show, Maybe they've given her more control?

 

 

I'm not sure this is the case. She certainly is more comfortable in interviews now but I haven't felt any difference in her reaction to the show from the early years. She's always been a cheerleader for the show and good for her but I don't see any more enthusiasm than the one she has had. Like PD, she has criticized some aspects but unlike PD, she hasn't expressed any sort of desire for a life post Grey's, other than the time she said she would probably quit acting. We'll see how she is on her next interview (which obviously will have to address PD's exit) but in my pure observational methods, no difference from me.

 

I also very much doubt she's been given any sort of control. 11 seasons and she hasn't been made producer? I do recall times when SR would discuss with EP about future storylines but I also recall her doing that with many (at least pre-Scandal days). I also do remember that EP & PD went to dinner with Tony to discuss the resolution of the S7 argument. In the TV Guide interview for their cover in S10, she said she has no control over the writing. So doesn't seem this is the reason. 

 

And she can't help but come off better than PD when she says she doesn't care if she ever plays another character besides Meredith Grey. For "fan service," no one can compete with that.

True. PD has been more ambitious this way and that may have backfired to GA fans. However, she does have the responsibility of leading the show, so perhaps she is also putting that into account with this. 

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Because she didn't want MerDer to end up together, if reports are to be believed.

 

Interesting that you bring this up Eolivet, Tuleh2 and others.  Somebody on one of the topics here mentioned about the time Meredith dreamed Derek was dead.  Because it's pouring outside and I'm boring and lame, I went to Netflix to find the episode, it's Season 5, Episode 1 for those who want to check it out.

 

First thing I noticed was that that episode and this episode had the exact same opening few seconds....a close-up of a candle flickering.  A visual cue to tie the episodes together.

 

Anyway, here's Meredith's initial VO:

 

"We all remember the bedtime stories of our childhoods.  The shoe fit Cinderella; the frog turns into a prince; Sleeping Beauty is awakened with a kiss.  Once upon a time.....happily ever after.  Fairy tales. The stuff of dreams.  The problem is....fairy tales don't come true.  It is the other stories that begin with "dark and stormy nights" and end in the unspeakable.  It's the nightmares that always seem to become reality."

 

So, who knows, maybe Shonda did always plan this...or maybe she just went back to that episode and found a way to visually link to it so we would think this.

Edited by pennben
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Relative to EP's interviews, I also think PD gets penalized for the amount of interviews he has to do. He is always interviewed at all of his racing events, and the journalists always ask about GA, but he's there to talk about racing, and he has to mention his sponsors (that's why they sponsor him), so he tries to get the GA questions over with quickly: standard responses, etc. It's easy to see how when it gets translated into print (and quoted in other articles) it comes across as less-than-enthusiastic.

 

But also at those racing events PD sits there at a table for hours, while hundreds of fans come up to say hi and have him autograph their GA posters, DVDs, their butt or whatever. But that doesn't get any attention in the entertainment media.

 

Because it's pouring outside and I'm boring and lame, I went to Netflix to find the episode, it's Season 5, Episode 1 for those who want to check it out.

You shame me, Pennben. I'm in Seattle and it's a gorgeous day. How boring and lame am I?

Edited by Tuleh2
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I also think PD gets penalized for the amount of interviews he has to do. He is always interviewed at all of his racing events, and the journalists always ask about GA, but he's there to talk about racing, and he has to mention his sponsors (that's why they sponsor him), so he tries to get the GA questions over with quickly: standard responses, etc

Completely agree. I do think that he's made quite a few comments about the show (even non-racing) that were less than positive going back years and years. However, he's also been the cast member that promoted the show more than anyone. From day 1 he was out there quite often. He always participated in set visits from media outlets and gave probably 100s of GA interviews. He tolerated "what's it like to be called McDreamy?" a billion times always graciously and with a smile. So, while there were some digs at the show throughout the run the positive media from him far outweighed that. Its really the "I'd rather be racing" that began giving him somewhat of a negative image (for lack of better wording).

 

I don't recall Ellen ever promoting the show like most lead/title characters do. The past few of seasons are probably the most promotion she's ever done imo.  

Even though PD has been critical of the writing, nobody seems to understand why it was necessary to kill him in such a brutal way

Agree. I generally am ok with characters I love being killed off (even if I am really upset when it happens) because the story is usually pretty good. This was not. It was just plain awful all around.

 

Betweenthisandthat - agree about Clooney/ER. A point that is left out is that if Juliana didn't turn down 20+million to stay there never would have been a reunion. Carol was tested with Luka the season following George's departure. There was backlash, probably because it was so fast, but had Juliana stayed she would have been paired up again. The show planned to move forward with Carol. When she turned down the money and wanted to depart the contacted George who was willing to appear. When his departure was nearing he asked the producers not to kill Doug and told them he would appear on the show in the future if available and if the story was there so they pretty much knew they would be able to get him for a brief appearance to exit Carol. 

How boring and lame am I

We'll all be boring and lame together. I'm enjoying the discussion on this thread very much so I'm glad for other lame people :)

Edited by windsprints
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You're right, Deanie87. Shonda would have had to discuss this story arc with him early in the season (unlike others in the cast), and I think it would have been pretty much a done deal by October/November. It could also explain why they added the extra episodes around that time period: they knew they'd kill Derek/PD would be done by mid-April, but they didn't want that to be the end of the season. They would want extra episodes to try to get past Derek's death and establish some reason for viewers to tune in for S12.

Yes, this is exactly what I think happened as well.  I believe Feb/March is when Patrick found out the full story that Derek Shepherd would die, rather than just go off the show.  I am pretty sure he knew that he wouldn't be around for S12 in that fall time frame Oct-ish.  The timimg makes perfect sense with the extra episodes as well.  

 

I am surprised at the reaction. I knew it was going to be big but not this big. The leading newspaper in my country reported it and was one of the most discussed articles on Facebook, most angry. This shit went international. That kind of tells you the weight that losing this man did. 

 

I will admit, I am very surprised at the worldwide reaction too.  I knew I would personally be upset as a MerDer fan from day 1 and the dedicated fans would be too. I NEVER expected television critics to speak out publicly about their hate for this episode.  Almost every top entertainment news site has put out a story of what a terrible idea this was.  The outrage is amazing to me.  However, I'm not sure if its going to actually backfire on Shonda.  Everyone is taking it out her now, but Grey's is getting media attention they haven't seen in YEARS.  

 

I'm glad you said this, because that has been my feeling all along: that Derek dying means Pompeo is probably planning on staying until the end. And in that case, I get it: actor who wants reduced time, actress who wants to stay -- pave the way for a new storyline for the actress. I would be sort of surprised if Pompeo exits in season 12 now. To me, that will have an impact on the fallout from this: if Pompeo is staying for the foreseeable future, it's a smart creative decision to "reboot" the series. If Pompeo herself is exiting in a year, it's just petty.

This is a really interesting thought.  I can see this definitely playing a role.  There is only a certain amount of time Derek can be in "DC" or "home with the kids" before it gets laughable.  In this case, it could be that EP is planning on staying on for at least 2 more years.  

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But also at those racing events PD sits there at a table for hours, while hundreds of fans come up to say hi and have him autograph their GA posters, DVDs, their butt or whatever. But that doesn't get any attention in the entertainment media.

I've been thinking about this point as I watch the outpouring of support for PD. He's winning the PR war at this point. I'm surprised by the extent of it, and I'm a fan. And it occurred to me that he travels so much, not only for racing but various charity events, that he seems to have much more direct contact with fans than most of his castmates. He always gets asked about GA, does interviews with local ABC affiliates, and essentially serves as an ambassador for the show, in addition to whatever else he's doing. I think maybe Shonda et al have seriously underestimated the value of that.

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The outrage is amazing to me.  However, I'm not sure if its going to actually backfire on Shonda.  Everyone is taking it out her now, but Grey's is getting media attention they haven't seen in YEARS.

Some of it might just be a reaction to the tremendous (OTT?) praise Shonda has been getting this year. People get put on a pedestal, then knocked down. I hope it dies down on Monday when everyone goes back to school/work; it's pretty unpleasant.

 

And I REALLY hope that Thursday's episode doesn't repeat the same mistakes this one did, but leaves everyone feeling like Derek/Patrick was respected.

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I am still so angry. Dempsey's full interview on EW makes it clear that it wasn't his choice.

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/04/24/read-patrick-dempseys-final-exit-interview-greys-anatomy

It says "it turns out he really didn't have a say in the abrupt decision."

I am a completionist so I'm sure I'll keep watching unfortunately, but we fans deserved better, and I will never watch another Shonda Rhimes show.

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First thing I noticed was that that episode and this episode had the exact same opening few seconds....a close-up of a candle flickering.  A visual cue to tie the episodes together.

 

My other post was getting incredibly long so sorry for the bombardment of posts.  Bear with me, this is going to be lenghly.  This right here is why I believe that Shonda always intended Derek to die before the end of the series.  Whether it was season 4, season 6, season 10, etc.

 

Now that we know Derek dies and MerDer doesn't get a happy ending, i've gone back and rewatched some early episodes and some S10 episodes and noticed a theme with the VOs.  They all pretty much take on a whole new meaning after knowing the tragic end of Meredith's marriage (and her other friends/relative).  

 

The famous VO from 5x24:

"Did you say it? "I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life." Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around. Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

 

and here's just one example from 2x08

 

"Maybe Romeo and Juliet were fated to be together, but just for a while, and then their time passed. If they could have known that beforehand, maybe it all would have been okay. I told Mrs. Snyder that when I was grown up, I'd take fate into my own hands. I wouldn't let some guy drag me down. Mrs. Snyder said that I'd be lucky if I ever had that kind of passion with someone, and that if I did, we'd be together forever. Even now, I believe that for the most part, love is about choices. It's about putting down the poison and the dagger and making your own happy ending...most of the time. And that sometimes, despite all your best choices and all your best intentions... fate wins anyway."

 

Yes, you could say these VOs have multiple meanings, as most of them usually correspond to the episode itself.  However, with all my over-thinking this show, I now believe that Shonda always intended for MerDer to have a tragic ending and for Mere to continue on without him.  Due to the popularity of the show and of EP/PD as MerDer, she (Shonda) may have had to add a ton of story in between but I think this was always in her map of the show.  

 

Feel free to think I'm totally crazy (or to move this post....I am pretty far off the drama topic here)

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So, who knows, maybe Shonda did always plan this...or maybe she just went back to that episode and found a way to visually link to it so we would think this.

Even if she didn't, you just gave her a perfect way to explain this (for hardcore fans, anyway). If you think of it, the mirror moment of the S5 premiere happened with the opposite result. In S5, Meredith dreamt Derek was dead from a car accident but was alive. Last episode, she dreamt that Derek was ok after the accident but instead, essentially dead. 

 

Maybe she did remember that episode or coincidence? It'd be too perfect.

 

essentially serves as an ambassador for the show, in addition to whatever else he's doing. I think maybe Shonda et al have seriously underestimated the value of that.

 

PD has always been more out there than the rest of the cast and this has been since the beginning of the show. I posted a while on the PD thread, I think, that ABC has settled on him being used for the marketing of the show (even if he was only there 12 seconds) and that if he did leave, the show will need a new strategy than leave the whole promotion to the show to Ellen. The thing is that, even if the rest of the cast are great people as they seem to be, they're not as popular as PD is or are able to cause press reaction as he has, which may cause a problem in deciding how to proceed without him. I do agree that SR underestimated the huge loss that this would be. I am curious to see how they proceed. 

 

However, I'm not sure if its going to actually backfire on Shonda.  Everyone is taking it out her now, but Grey's is getting media attention they haven't seen in YEARS.

The one thing ABC needs to do is sustain this level of press, which they might not want to as it's not the press they would want. If GA can make a convincing aftermath, like TGW did after Will died (not over it), then maybe they'll jump back into the radar. The other thing they'd need to do is start putting their people out there to do the clean up of this. Given that the majority agrees that Derek's death was the worst, they'll need the positive press soon.

 

I don't know if Shonda personally will take a hit of this since she has distanced herself from GA a lot and seems to be all about Scandal but GA as a whole will need a new public strategy to not be remembered as the show that killed everyone that was liked and loved in horrifying ways. I mean, I doubt that the show will ever get this sort of press ever again but at least for those that still watch the show, it has to be a good one.

 

And I REALLY hope that Thursday's episode doesn't repeat the same mistakes this one did, but leaves everyone feeling like Derek/Patrick was respected.

They need to do a better job, that's for sure.

 

ETA:

 

I don't follow Patricks racing interviews at all. So I'm talking strictly tv. I agree Ellen seems to be doing more promotion than usual.

 

I don't either but they usually show up in social media afterwards, especially if he says something "big" about the show. If you follow him on Facebook, as an example, and there's a racing outlet that reports on him they tag him and it shows up on your TL with the news from both the racing and the show. It's how I've followed them. 

Edited by AnitaM86
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Yeah I don't follow anyone twitter or like any Facebook pages. I did follow Camilla and Jessica for awhile because they tweeted a lot during the episodes. I stopped following them for no particular reason.

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It says "it turns out he really didn't have a say in the abrupt decision."

Couldn't that be referring to the fact that Derek dies (i.e., the episode script), not necessarily the decision to write PD out?

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I don't follow Patricks racing interviews at all. So I'm talking strictly tv. I agree Ellen seems to be doing more promotion than usual.

PD has always been more out there than the rest of the cast and this has been since the beginning of the show. I posted a while on the PD thread, I think, that ABC has settled on him being used for the marketing of the show (even if he was only there 12 seconds) and that if he did leave, the show will need a new strategy than leave the whole promotion to the show to Ellen. The thing is that, even if the rest of the cast are great people as they seem to be, they're not as popular as PD is or are able to cause press reaction as he has, which may cause a problem in deciding how to proceed without him. 

I wonder who the first cast member to do an actual interview will be?  EP was apparently scheduled for Kimmel after the episode, but that never materialized.  Caterina was interviewed in one of the articles posted after the episode aired but between her vague answers and the fact that it was her of all people seems to me like no one else would talk.  I can't wait for the first late night or daytime talk show interview. 

Edited by Greysaddict

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I can't wait for the first late night or daytime talk show interview.

We might not hear from anyone. As Greysaddict says, GA hasn't seen this level of interest in years. And even though people are pissed, I'll bet a lot of them still tune in for next week's episode. (I wouldn't be surprised if ratings weren't higher than last week, the live ones at least.) And then their anger (remember the stages of grief - Ha!) will subside, and many of them will keep tuning in.

Edited by Tuleh2
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I bet it will be Ellen or Chandra. Long distance chance Justin, Kevin or Sara

Chandra already put out a generic statement but yeah, has to be Ellen. 

 

Wished Justin was in more interviews though. 

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I've been thinking about this point as I watch the outpouring of support for PD. He's winning the PR war at this point. I'm surprised by the extent of it, and I'm a fan. And it occurred to me that he travels so much, not only for racing but various charity events, that he seems to have much more direct contact with fans than most of his castmates. He always gets asked about GA, does interviews with local ABC affiliates, and essentially serves as an ambassador for the show, in addition to whatever else he's doing. I think maybe Shonda et al have seriously underestimated the value of that.

He does have more direct contact with fans, and they matter to him. (Plus he has the Dempsey Challenge, which relies on people's goodwill toward him.)

 

As I look at the venom being directed toward Shonda, I can't help thinking: "My God, if that was being directed at PD, he would kill himself."

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Now that we know Derek dies and MerDer doesn't get a happy ending, i've gone back and rewatched some early episodes and some S10 episodes and noticed a theme with the VOs.

It could just be that that's what Shonda did, too. The writers have been recycling stuff pretty heavily all season.

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Chandra already put out a generic statement but yeah, has to be Ellen.

Wished Justin was in more interviews though. [/quote

I agree. I do wonder if Chandra is talking for the cast though. That could be why she put out the statement.

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Maybe she did remember that episode or coincidence? It'd be too perfect.

 

I think she definitely remembered the episode.  It was the exact same shot of the same candle in both episodes.

 

If I see an episode start with that candle in the future, I'm definitely hiding behind the couch for the rest of the episode!

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