How Grey’s Anatomy Fixed the ‘Pick Me’ Speech 17 Years Later


  • Even celebrities like Ellen Pompeo feel pressure to meet fan expectations due to power and influence.
  • Pompeo regrets the famous “pick me” speech for portraying the harmful message of needing a man’s love.
  • 17 years later, in Season 19, Pompeo’s character Meredith chooses self-love and empowerment over a man.

Many people know the saying, “With great power comes great responsibility,” but the phrase holds much truth outside the realm of superheroes. For instance, celebrities may feel they have a responsibility to hold themselves to a certain standard due to their power and influence over fans. Hundreds, thousands, and sometimes millions of people put actors and musicians on a pedestal and believe everything they say and do. This is a lot of power for one individual, but the best ones ensure they stay true to themselves on and off the stage. Ellen Pompeo, who has played Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy for 20 years, is one celebrity who takes her role very seriously, as she knows how many fans have and will idolize her character.

When Pompeo was filming the second season of Grey’s Anatomy, she noticed that a speech her character gave made her extremely uncomfortable. Not only would Pompeo herself never say those things in real life, but she felt like her character and the fans who held Meredith Grey to a higher standard deserved so much more.

Nevertheless, the “Pick me, Choose me, Love me” speech happened, with Pompeo in tears for a couple of different reasons, and it has become one of the most famous scenes of all. 17 years later, in Season 19, Pompeo got the opportunity to completely turn the demeaning speech around. Check out how Grey’s Anatomy fixed its most problematic moment 17 years later.

Meredith Grey’s Iconic ‘Pick Me’ Speech

The biggest love triangle of Grey’s Anatomy took place early on in the series, and it actually helped project the mid-season replacement to get the green light for a second season. In the Season 1 finale, Meredith and Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) seem all too happy with their new relationship as they are about to head out of the hospital hand in hand.

Then, like clockwork, Addison Shepherd (Kate Walsh), Derek’s wife, walks through the doors and asks Meredith if she is the new intern sleeping with her husband. It is a moment no fan can ever forget. Then comes all the tension in Season 2, as Derek has a choice to make, and Meredith is still completely baffled by everything that has happened.

Naturally, Meredith goes through the stages of grief about her relationship with the world-renowned neurosurgeon. She is in denial that their relationship is not entirely done. She is angry at his betrayal, and finally, the iconic and horrific “pick me” speech comes when Meredith decides to bargain for their relationship to work. During this scene, Derek has yet to officially decide on signing his divorce papers, and after a tough procedure with him, Meredith confronts him and lets him know that she still wants to be with him. With a shaky voice, she tells Derek that she is humiliated to even feel the way she does, but she cannot help that she is in love with him.

In this scene, fans are supposed to be rooting for Meredith and Derek. They are supposed to cross their fingers and hope that Derek will show up at Joe’s bar, meet with Meredith, and they can put the whole dramatic breakup behind them. However, not everyone was thrilled about this speech, least of all Ellen Pompeo herself.


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How Ellen Pompeo Felt About Her Character’s Speech

In Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, Ellen Pompeo and Katherine Heigl, who played Izzie Stevens in Grey’s Anatomy, reminisce about their time on set and elaborate on quite a few opinions thrown around behind the scenes. Pompeo specifically brings up Meredith’s “Pick me, Choose me, Love me” speech, and while Heigl says it was a beautiful scene, Pompeo admits that she fought the scene so hard. She states, “Why would I beg a man? I can’t beg a man on TV. This is so embarrassing,” then she comments that it became one of the series’ most successful and famous scenes.

In the scene, Meredith is clearly emotional as she tells Derek that he should choose her over his wife because of how much she loves him, but Pompeo’s tears actually stem from the frustration and embarrassment of begging for a man’s love on camera. Pompeo and Heigl both have daughters, and they recognize how horrible of an example the speech is for young viewers. No woman should ever feel like she has to beg for a man’s love and affection, especially when she is potentially his second option. Now, the talented actresses can laugh about how Meredith was the original “pick me” girl. However, her hatred of the scene is still completely justified as Pompeo knew young women were looking at her character as a role model.


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Meredith Fixed Her Famous Speech in Season 19

17 years after the infamous speech, Pompeo got to fix Meredith’s views on love and sacrifice. After a back-and-forth relationship with Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman), Meredith realizes that she, much like Derek many years ago, has a big decision to make. Her oldest daughter needs to go to a better school, and Meredith feels it is the right time to move on and away from Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. However, her relationship with Nick is still a bit shaky. After a tough surgery, Meredith explains to Nick that she wants him in her life if he wants to be with her, but if she has to choose, she will pick herself, her children, and what is best for her family.

In this scene, Pompeo’s voice is not shaky, and there are no tears. Instead, she is confident and direct, everything Meredith should be after nearly 20 years of difficult decisions. Fans, as well as Pompeo, were proud to see Meredith finally choose herself and her children over any man. Ultimately, Nick moves to Boston to be with Meredith and the children, but there is no begging, bargaining, or pleading to feel loved. Season 20 of Grey’s Anatomy recently premiered on ABC, with the first two episodes available now and streaming on Hulu.


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