Why Ellen Pompeo Thinks She’s Been On Grey’s Anatomy For Too Long

Grey's Anatomy star, Ellen Pompeo, who plays Meredith Grey, reveals why she thinks she's been a part of the hit ABC series for too long.

Ellen Pompeo amusingly reveals she feels she has been on Grey’s Anatomy for too long. Created by Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy debuted on ABC in 2005 and is now hailed as the longest-running medical drama in television history. Starring Pompeo as Meredith Grey, the series has witnessed the introduction and exit of numerous characters during its run. 

Most recently, Grey’s Anatomy season 17 centered on the global pandemic and featured the return of original characters, including Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd, in a dreamlike sequence as Meredith battled the effects of the coronavirus. In September, Grey’s Anatomy kicked off season 18, which takes place in a post-pandemic world. So far, season 18 has reintroduced some familiar faces with Scott Speedman, who plays Meredith’s love interest, Nick, being added as a series regular as well as the return of Kate Burton as Ellis Grey and Kate Walsh as Dr. Addition Montgomery. Now, while amid season 18, Pompeo opens up about her longevity with the series.

Why Ellen Pompeo Thinks She's Been Playing Meredith Grey 'for Too Long' on 'Grey's  Anatomy'. - Techno Trenz

Speaking on her podcast Tell Me (via CinemaBlend), Pompeo admits she made a mistake when pitching a storyline for Grey’s Anatomy and cites doing the show for too long as the reason for the error. Speaking with Malcolm Gladwell, the actress reveals she pitched an idea to the Grey’s Anatomy writing team for season 18 that involves Meredith walking through the woods with a companion. However, it was brought to Pompeo’s attention that the scene had already occurred between Meredith and Derek in an earlier season. Read Pompeo’s charming recap of the incident below: 

Anyway, my phone was on me when I pitched this scene of me walking on the woods, and then sure enough, three hours later, this image pops up on my phone of me walking through the woods with another character, and I didn’t remember that scene at all! And I texted the writer, and I said, ‘How is it now 16 years, 17 years later, I’m pitching ideas for scenes that I’ve already shot that I have no memory of?’ And I said, ‘Is that a memory that I didn’t remember I had? And I’m rehashing ideas?’ So it was really kind of wild. And then I said, you know, this tells me something. I don’t know what it tells me. But it tells me something. That I’ve been doing something for too long, I suppose.

Of course, Grey’s Anatomy is bound to recycle scenes, storylines, and arcs after being on the air for so long, and viewers have noticed numerous Easter eggs in season 18 that could indicate the series is coming to an end. Featuring the storyline of Meredith splitting her time between Minnesota and Seattle, Grey’s Anatomy season 18 could stem a love triangle with pediatric surgeon Cormac Hayes (Richard Flood) and Nick (Speedman), which could explain Pompeo’s idea for a scene in the woods. Pompeo has always been the anchor of Grey’s Anatomy, and the actress may be ready to bid farewell to Meredith soon.

For now, Grey’s Anatomy season 18 is off to a riveting start. As for the longtime series, it remains to be seen when the show will sign off. Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff recently admitted that she continues to workshop new ideas for the show’s inevitable finale. Indeed, fans have expressed an interest in seeing Sandra Oh as Dr. Christina Yang once more, and another Meredith and Christina interaction is a scene worth repeating. Overall, Grey’s Anatomy continues to make an impact on its devoted audience.

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