With even its lead Ellen Pompeo saying she wants Grey’s to end, the drama’s viewers, actors, and critics are starting to question if the show should really go on. While Pompeo has previously said she will continue to reprise the role for as long as the show is renewed, there’s always a chance she could change her mind given her recent comments. Grey’s Anatomy has moved forward after many big character exits, but fans wonder if it could really survive Meredith’s departure.
Why Grey’s Anatomy Can’t Continue Without Meredith
She Is The Glue
Often in the show, Meredith is the glue that keeps everyone together. The proof of this is the fact that her house (the one she inherited from her mother) is always one of the central locations for the characters to hang out and have fun. It often serves as a safe space for anyone who doesn’t have anywhere else to go, housing almost every single character at some point during the show.
Every character is in a way connected to Meredith, her friends, her love interests, her coworkers, even interns who have come to the hospital to learn from her. The writers have built up Meredith’s to the point where it becomes hard to imagine the show without her.
She Has Been There Since The Beginning
There are only three characters left over from the beginning of the show: Meredith, Webber, and Bailey. All of them have proven to be key characters at points in the show, but Meredith feels more irreplaceable than the others.
Meredith has been a key part of Grey’s since the first episode and she has experienced first-hand all the tragedy that has transpired in the hospital. When there was a bomb in a patient, she was the one to stick her hand in. When there was a plane crash, she was in it. Experiencing every single loss and tragedy is what makes her one of the bravest characters on Grey’s Anatomy as well as one of the most beloved.
She Has The Biggest Storylines
Meredith often gets all of the best and most interesting storylines. Of course, being the lead of an ensemble show, that’s to be expected, but even in the season where she spends the majority of time in a coma, she was still largely at the forefront of the show.
Not only did she get her own individual scenes with characters from the past that have since exited the show, but the other characters’ storylines were intertwined closely with hers. She is, after all, everyone’s friend or family member, and her medical condition had a huge impact on everyone’s lives.
She Has Been Through Too Much
Meredith is undoubtedly the Grey’s character who has been through the most. Surviving a bomb explosion (which was one of the most confusing storylines on Grey’s Anatomy), a mass shooter, almost drowning, a plane crash. The list goes on. Despite that, she’s still there, still thriving and the fans still love her.
It would be considered a disservice to her character if the show simply went on without her, no matter how important and loved the other characters are. Perhaps a spin-off would be a better solution because of that.
Ellen Pompeo Won’t Quit
Ellen Pompeo has said before that while the show is still on the air, she will continue to reprise the role of Meredith Grey. Accepting this will most likely be her most famous and perhaps even last acting role, she wants to finish the project and stay on until the very end.
But with the end not coming anytime soon, even Ellen Pompeo has said that perhaps it would be time to end the show. She’s stated that she wants the fans to get an ending that’s satisfying for them, but that the show has run its course. Despite that, she has signed a new one-year contract and will return in season 19.
Why Grey’s Anatomy Can Continue Without Meredith
There Are A Lot Of Strong Characters
Grey’s Anatomy has a lot of beloved characters – strong, complex, and interesting. Everyone has their own story and the show usually takes the time to develop characters more than other shows do. There are plenty of characters that Meredith could pass on the torch.
Some of them are dead now, and some of them are gone, but some of Grey’s Anatomy’s best characters like Amelia Shepherd, or even Jo Wilson, have been developed through the seasons enough so they could continue the legacy if the show decides to move forward.
She Was In A Coma For An Entire Season
If there is proof needed that the show can function without Meredith, it might be worth taking a look at their Covid season, where Meredith is in a coma for almost the entirety of the season. The viewers still got a chance to see her in her dreamscape land where she got reunited with some old friends and flames.
The fact remains that she was in a coma and not present, even though it can be argued that even in a coma, most of the storyline still revolved around saving her and she was present in her dreamscape reality.
The Show Needs Freshness
Despite being the longest-running medical show on the air, Grey’s Anatomy has become stale in the eyes of many viewers. After all, there are only so many storylines you can tell about the same people before they start to seem recycled or just far-fetched.
Grey’s definitely needs a new spark, something fresh, if it wants to remain popular. For a few seasons now, much has been banked on the show’s popularity and not on giving the fans a good storyline. Some fans feel like it’s time to move on from the older characters, including Meredith.
There Have Been Episodes Without Her
Meredith might be the glue that holds the show together, but Ellen Pompeo hasn’t been in every episode. She physically doesn’t appear in some episodes that focus on other characters, like April and Jackson in one and Dr. Bailey in the other. She also only appears in the form of a voiceover in some episodes.
As mentioned, the show could use some fresh storylines, and focusing on other characters does just that, but it’s worth considering that in a show that has over 370 episodes, making three episodes without its lead isn’t solid proof that the show can move on without her.
Fans Are Loyal To The Show
Despite the show’s ratings consistently dropping over the last couple of seasons, the show has a loyal fanbase, and it’s likely the reason the show keeps getting renewed (that and the names like Shonda Rhimes attached to it). There have been terrible exits over the seasons, unflattering scandals, and poor storylines, and yet the show continues.
With the ratings reaching an all-time low in season 18, it’s clear some viewers have given up, but some fans have been watching it for 18 years now, and many of them want the closure that the ending will bring to them after investing so much time into it – whether with or without Meredith.