Apr 27, 2015

So Shonda killed Derek. Huh.

I hope nobody gets mad at me for the title of this post. Because I'm here to tell you, if you haven't watched a show that came on last Thursday night by Monday morning, you are just beyond help.

I could probably write about TV here every day, since I am totally an armchair TV critic. But then, when would I find the time to bore you with tales of my children flipping people off and the progress that's not being made in our new house?


Anyway, I quite watching Grey's Anatomy a few seasons ago, right after the plane crash. The plane crash that killed Lexie (at the end of season eight) and ultimately did Mark in (at the beginning of season nine). See, it took me a loooooooong time to forgive Shonda for killing George at the beginning of season six. I mean, that was ROUGH.

George. Lexie. Mark. And now Derek. DEREK.

I mean, come ON.

Here's what I think, based on what I've read. (And I read a LOT of entertainment industry news.) I think Shonda killed Derek off to punish Patrick Dempsey. And THAT, in my opinion, is really, really not okay.

The reason it bothers me is because of the fans. It's EXHAUSTING losing characters to whom you've become attached. If they have to go, I'd personally much rather they be Doug Rossed and happily living on a lake somewhere waiting for Carol Hathaway to show up than be George O'Malleyed and flattened like a pancake.

But back to my point: every article I read after the episode aired left me with a pit in my stomach. There were so many holes in some of them, they might as well have been Jake Ballard on the OPA conference room table two weeks ago. (Any Scandal fans in the hou-oooos?) Let's take a few segments of the EW article that posted right after the Grey's episode, for example, and I'll explain why I feel like things had fallen apart over there.

* * * * * 

From Entertainment Weekly, 4/24/15:

On a rainy night in early April, Patrick Dempsey performed his final scene as Dr. Derek Shepherd and walked off the set of
Grey’s Anatomy for the last time. There were no tears, no goodbye party, no last-minute dash to the costume department to retrieve his favorite pair of scrubs. It was, as Dempsey would describe it, like “just another workday.”

For comparison, Parks & Rec only ran for five seasons. Did you see what they did for every actor when he or she wrapped on THAT show? They said a few words, shed a few tears and clapped them off the set. Even though the other members of the cast and crew still had work to do, scenes to shoot. After 11 seasons? The male lead? There's a reason EW led with this. Something's fishy in Denmark.

* * * * *

It was very quiet,” Dempsey, 49, says two weeks later while sitting in his favorite restaurant, Feed Body & Soul, in Venice Beach, California. “It was very poetic. I got in my car, got in rush-hour traffic, and two hours later I was home.” As fans—or anyone with a Twitter account—learned, the April 23 episode of Grey’s was the end of the road for McDreamy. His character’s death wasn’t exactly a surprise. Dempsey had been absent for six episodes this season—the first time in the show’s 11 seasons that he hadn’t appeared in every episode.

Page Six postulated that diva-esque behavior is what got Derek Shepherd sent away from Seattle to begin with, and that the character's post in DC was a cover for Dempsey's suspension from the show. Dun-dun-DUN.

* * * * *

These next two paragraphs, I was Just So Uncomfortable reading them. I kept thinking, TRAIN WRECK, TRAIN WRECK. Having spent part of my career in PR and having been through media spokesperson training, I can read his responses to the reporter's questions and tell that he wasn't ready to answer them. Shondaland CERTAINLY didn't prep him with answers, and to me it sounds like he was still kind of in shock.

Dempsey is no stranger to his rabid female fan base—he even suggests that killing Derek may not be in the drama’s best interest. “Shepherd is a beloved character. People don’t want to lose him,” insists the actor. “He’s been in their lives for over 10 years.” But it turns out that he didn’t really have a say in the abrupt decision. “Things happened very quickly. We were like, ‘Oh, this is where it’s going to go,’ ” Dempsey says with a blank stare. “I think it will be very shocking for fans, the way it happens. It’s really going to be powerful. I’m anxious to see what the response will be.”

The network would not comment on the terms of Dempsey’s contract, and when asked to explain what led to his departure, he answers haltingly. “It just sort of unfolded in a very organic way,”
 he says, sitting very still. “I don’t remember the date. It was not in the fall. Maybe February or March.” He reiterates: “It happened very quickly.” Did he know there would be so many hints about t
his demise? “There wasn’t a lot of discussion,” he says. Was he surprised? “No, not really. It was just a natural progression. And the way everything was unfolding in a very organic way, it was like, okay! This was obviously the right time. And then it was a question of…” He trails off. “That’s a question for Shonda.”

* * * * *

But the show’s creator is not talking. Rhimes would only issue the following statement to EW: “I never imagined saying goodbye to our ‘McDreamy’—then again, none of us here at Grey’s Anatomy imagined any of the many journeys this show has taken us on. Now, Meredith and I are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life.”

She artfully dodged saying anything at all about Dempsey. Notice that? Not a word. She stuck to "McDreamy" and "Meredith."

* * * * *

When other Grey’s cast members were asked to speak about their longtime costar, Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey) said to EW via email, “Patrick Dempsey will forever be known as Grey’s Anatomy’s McDreamy. Derek Shepherd is a permanent part of television history, and the Meredith/Derek relationship is a major story point which our audiences have 
cared deeply about for years.” Meanwhile, Pompeo and Justin Chambers (Alex Karev) were unavailable for interviews. Regardless, Dempsey insists he remains in a “very good” place with his alter-ego wife, Pompeo.

Um. Again, 11 seasons with three other original cast members. They all knew exactly when this episode was scheduled to air and what kind of impact it would have. Chandra Wilson was at least smart enough to have a generic email statement ready. Granted, it said absolutely NOTHING complimentary about Dempsey OR Shepherd, if you read it closely. "Forever be known as," "a permanent part of television history," and "a major story point" are all pretty neutral, if you ask me.

And for Justin Chambers and Dempsey's onscreen wife and acting partner Ellen Pompeo to be "unavailable"? I'm sorry. They couldn't even be bothered to have antiseptic email statements at the ready for the morning after the episode aired?

It all just stinks to high heaven.

That is my Professional Opinion.

Do you still watch Grey's? Do you buy that Patrick Dempsey was written out while still in Shonda's good graces? Do you wish he had stayed?

Poor Meredith.

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