Ellen Pompeo Believes 'Grey's Anatomy' Should Be 'Less Preachy' About Social Issues

Sarah Kester
Meredith in blue shirt
TV Insider | ABC

Ellen Pompeo has a lot of thoughts on Grey's Anatomy. The actress who plays the leading lady, Meredith Grey, addressed the show's approach to social issues on her podcast, "Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo."

She believes that the show should be "less preachy" about social issues, such as racism, sexual assault, gun violence, mental health, and more.

For 17 years, Ellen has lived and breathed 'Grey's Anatomy.'

Meredith Grey

She plays Meredith Grey, the head of general surgery and a well-respected doctor at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Despite this long history with the show, the actress is actually taking a step back for the upcoming 19th season.

The Season 18 finale saw her character make the decision not to move to Minnesota.

Meredith Grey looking worried
Giphy | ABC Network

But even though she's staying at Grey Sloan Memorial, viewers will see less of her next season. She's set to scale back her role, appearing in only eight episodes of the 20-23.

She maintains her role as an executive producer of the show and as a narrator, although she may not narrate every episode.

Meredith Grey smiling

Pompeo foreshadowed this change back in May when Entertainment Tonight asked whether the series could live on without her.

“Shonda [Rhimes] and I, I think — we’ll see, we’ll see,” she hedged.

Meredith saying she's tired

“Trying to reinvent the show and continually trying to reinvent the show is the challenge at this point, and listen, the show speaks to a lot of people, and the young people love the show."

She continued on, saying that the show has inspired so many generations of healthcare workers.

Ellen saying "life is hard"
Giphy | The Paley Center for Media

"It’s a really good piece of content and we’re going to try to keep it going for the young people, not necessarily with me, but keep it going beyond me.”

Clearly, it can live without her ⁠— and will ⁠— as she has taken on her first non-'Grey's' role in almost two decades.

Meredith Grey
Giphy | ABC Network

She's set to star in Hulu’s Orphan limited series, which is based on the true story of a Midwesterner couple who adopt what they believed to be an eight-year-old with a rare form of dwarfism.

But as they raise the "child" alongside their three children, they start to wonder if she's really who she says she is.

Natalia Grace, the Ukrainian orphan accused of being a 30-year-old scam artist
Yahoo | ABC

This leads to their claim that she's really an adult pretending to be a child. This soon causes cracks within their own family and marriage.

Even though Ellen is taking a step back from 'Grey's,' it doesn't mean that she's done talking about it.

She does so on her podcast, Tell Me. In a recent episode, she approached the subject of how Grey's handles social issues and offered her thoughts.

“I think if I had any desire, honestly, it would be to be less sort of preachy in one episode about certain things," she said.

Meredith saying "I love this idea"
Giphy | ABC Network

"It’s like, we do one episode about let’s see… Asian hate crimes is one that we did this past season that was really moving," she continued.

While the show features these topics, they're often in one-off episodes instead of weaved within multiple episodes or seasons.

In addition to the episode about Asian hate crimes, other examples include when a shooter targeted the hospital, leaving some characters dead.

"I think I’d like to see things happen a little more subtly and over time. You know, consistently and less sort of hit you over the head for just one hour and then we never talk about it again.”

Meredith Grey smiling
Giphy | ABC Network

“I wish we could touch on these social issues that are important and have them be threads throughout," she concluded.