Okay, this may be getting a little out of control: McDreamy fans have yet to put a lid on their Twitter rage toward Shonda Rhimes and Grey’s Anatomy following Derek Shepherd’s surprise death on the April 23 episode. Their ire was raised again on May 14, when the season finale featured Patrick Dempsey, a.k.a. Dr. McDreamy, leaving a voicemail message to Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) from the deck of a Seattle ferry. “I love you Meredith,” he said. “We’re gonna keep doing this.”
That reignited the social media hate-speak all over again, with one fan writing “We Hate You” to Rhimes via Twitter. The uber-producer has remained largely mum online, other than a sentimental tweet she sent out after the Grey’s finale that read, “I shed some East Coast tears when I thought about the fact that it was the last new scene of his I’d ever see.” But today, she seemed to declare enough was enough to the vitriole.
“Then do not waste your valuable time tweeting me, boo,” Rhimes wrote. “Go and do something fun that brings u joy!”
Fans remain undaunted. A Change.org petition to reinstate Dempsey has garnered more than 100,000 signatures, even though industry insiders think the campaign is largely futile.
“I think its always important for fans to feel that they have the ability to express their feelings about their favorite shows,” a longtime industry vet who goes by the Twitter name of @MaskedScheduler told EW Radio recently. “That’s always appreciated by the creators and the networks. But unless they plan on bringing him back as a zombie, I just don’t know how, when you kill off a character, how you can bring him back other than the famous Dallas season. So I think that their efforts in this situation won’t result in what they hope.”
In fact, ABC is already preparing for a McDreamy-less future on its Thursday night drama. There was no mention of Derek’s death during ABC’s May 12 presentation to advertisers in New York, where Pompeo took the stage to announce she “couldn’t be more excited to tell stories” in season 12. Co-star Sarah Drew (Dr. April Kepner) also talked optimistically to PEOPLE about how she’s “really excited to see how Meredith is going to move past it and how she is going to grieve and become stronger as a result.” And then, of course, there’s Pompeo’s cameo in the Taylor Swift video “Bad Blood”—which, ahem, speaks volumes.
All of this probably offers little closure to the rabid fans who want to know why Dempsey was written off the series in year one of his two-year, multi-million dollar contract extension—and whether it had anything to do with rumors of on-set tension between him and Rhimes. (His spokeswoman has denied such reports). But when it comes to departing stars, some things may be better left unsaid.
“Never explain, never complain,” advises Dick Wolf, the uber-producer behind the Law & Order franchise, who memorably threatened to replace two New York Undercover actors in the ‘90s when they skipped work in an attempt to get more money. “There’s no point to explaining it. It’s part of the process. TV is a pulsating, changing, vibrating kind of hot mess most of the time.”