Ellen Pompeo was "horrified" over Meredith's "Pick me" scene in Grey's Anatomy

7 June 2023, 16:02

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Meredith's "Pick me, choose me, love me," speech in Grey's Anatomy season 2 is iconic – but Ellen Pompeo hated it.

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It's one of the most iconic scenes in Grey's Anatomy history: Meredith Grey standing in front of Derek Shepherd, asking him – nay begging him – "Pick me, choose me, love me."

It's been 18 years (!!) since that scene first aired, and some fans still can't seem to get enough of it. It's even gone viral all these years later thanks to TikTok, and has been turned into a meme multiple times. But it turns out that Ellen Pompeo herself really didn't like it all.

Speaking on her podcast, Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo, back in 2021 with guest and former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, Ellen confessed that the scene, which appears in season 2, episode 5, actually "horrified" her to the point where she didn't even want to shoot it.

The star also brought it up again during a recent Actors on Actors interview with former Grey's co-star Katherine Heigl.

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Ellen Pompeo was "horrified" at Meredith&squot;s "Pick me" scene in Grey&squot;s Anatomy
Ellen Pompeo was "horrified" at Meredith's "Pick me" scene in Grey's Anatomy. Picture: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images, ABC

For those that haven't rewatched the early seasons of Grey's Anatomy recently, here's a reminder of how exactly that scene went down.

In an attempt to get Derek to choose her over his then-wife Addison, Meredith tearfully delivers a speech, saying: "It’s simple: her, or me. And I’m sure she’s really great. But, Derek, I love you. In a really, really big, pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over my head outside your window, unfortunate way that makes me hate you, love you. So pick me. Choose me. Love me." 

The episode was written by creator Shonda Rhimes but Ellen wasn't entirely thrilled when that particular moment popped up in the script.

Grey's anatomy - Pick me, choose me, love me

"When I read that scene, I was horrified," Ellen confessed on the podcast. "'I'm going to beg a man?' And then on top of it, Meredith's sobbing. I don't know if it was in the script or not, or if our set producers wanted me to cry when I was doing that scene..."

Ellen continued: "And what's funny about that scene is that I'm bawling my eyes out, but I'm bawling not for the reasons in the scene. I'm bawling because I can't believe I'm on TV begging a man to love me."

Ellen then touched on the impact of that moment within pop culture, bringing up the fact that her daughter Stella, who hadn't seen the show at the time, came across the scene on TikTok.

Ellen said that Stella had asked her why she was begging a man to love her: "I was like, 'Well, praise Jesus that she's asking me this question and that her head is already in the right space at 12'. What do I say? And then I was like, 'I didn't write that, I didn't wanna do it'."

"But that scene is wildly popular, right? That just goes to show you how much I know. I was like, 'This scene is terrible! I don't wanna do this scene!' Yet, it's like one of the most popular scenes in television history."

Grey's Anatomy season 2 saw Meredith beg Derek to pick her over Addison
Grey's Anatomy season 2 saw Meredith beg Derek to pick her over Addison. Picture: Craig Sjodin/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Speaking to Katherine Heigl (who starred as Izzie in the first six seasons of Grey's Anatomy) on Variety's Actors on Actors series, Ellen mentioned the scene again.

"Listen, I don’t know if you remember that I fought that speech so hard," Ellen said to Katherine. "That’s another really interesting thing about life — some things that I was so against, and I was like, 'I can’t beg a man on TV! This is so embarrassing.' And then it turns out to be one of the most famous scenes ever."

"My daughter and her friends, they sit around and they’re like, ‘Oh, she’s a ‘pick me girl,'" Ellen continued. "I’m like, ‘What’s a pick me girl?’ They were like, ‘You know, girls who are like, "Pick me, choose me!"' And I’m like, ‘Hello?! Do you know who invented the ‘pick me girl’?"

Ellen Pompeo & Katherine Heigl | Actors on Actors

Thankfully, Ellen stayed on Grey's long enough to get the chance to flip the scene on its head. In season 19, during her final episode as a series regular, Meredith delivers a speech to her love interest Nick which references that season 2 moment.

Instead of pining over a man and begging to make their relationship work, Meredith decided to choose herself. As Nick struggled with Meredith's decision, Meredith said: "I want you in my life if you want to be in my life. But if I have to choose, I'm going to pick me, I pick my kids, and I pick what's best for us, and I'm not going to beg you to love me."


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