Grey’s Anatomy fans collectively cringed when Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) hooked up in the second season. The fleeting moment was downright shocking for some viewers — and even to the show’s cast and crew. Then recently, Pompeo and current Grey’s Anatomy showrunner, Krista Vernoff, shared their initial reaction to the George and Meredith moment. And apparently, Pompeo still hasn’t watched the scene.
Why did Meredith Grey and George O’Malley sleep together on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?
In Grey’s Anatomy Season 2, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) decided he wouldn’t pick, choose, or love Meredith. Instead, Derek got back together with his then-wife, Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh). Then in episode 18, Meredith experienced a difficult day at work and confronted her father, Thatcher Grey (Jeff Perry), for the first time in 25 years. Meredith was in a vulnerable position — and then George walked in.
At the end of the Grey’s Anatomy episode, George confessed to Meredith, as he’d been in love with her since the pilot. Then the roommates slept together. However, both parties eventually realized the moment was a mistake. Meredith cried in the middle of the hookup.
After their uncomfortable fling, Meredith and George’s friendship was strained. But soon enough, they moved past the one night stand and rebuilt their relationship.
Ellen Pompeo and Krista Vernoff open up about Meredith Grey and George O’Malley’s hookup in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 2
During Variety’s Power of Women panel in October 2020, Vernoff and Pompeo briefly touched on the Meredith-George hookup while discussing the brilliance of creator Shonda Rhimes. Pompeo pointed out that Rhimes was a “fearless creative thinker” who always knew what would work on TV, even if others didn’t believe in the idea. Meanwhile, Vernoff gave an example.
“In the early years of this show, we never had a single conversation that I can remember about changing the face of television. It was always about what’s going to make the best story, what’s going to be the funniest, the most dramatic,” Vernoff said. “We had huge fights like George and Meredith are going to sleep together and then she’s going to start to cry. And I was like, ‘No! Everybody will hate us!’”
The showrunner continued, “We fought it out, and it was noise. She was like, ‘They don’t have to love it. They just have to watch it and talk about it. It’s not always about being likable, it’s about being entertaining.’”
Then Pompeo shared her opinion on the scene between George and Meredith, admitting she had quite the reaction to the Grey’s Anatomy moment.
“I cried for real during the scene,” Pompeo said. “I’ve still never watched it.”
What happened to George O’Malley on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?
While the moment between Meredith and George split some Grey’s Anatomy viewers, the two surgeons still managed to move forward. Then as time went on, George grew into a fan-favorite. However, the character died in the Grey’s Anatomy Season 5 finale after he jumped in front of a bus to save a stranger.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Knight cited a “breakdown of communication” with Rhimes as the reason he left the Shondaland series. “There just comes a time when it’s so clear that moving on is the best decision,” Knight said at the time.
Now, the fandom is hoping Knight will return as George in Grey’s Anatomy Season 17. In the premiere, Meredith collapsed after contracting coronavirus and reunited with Derek in a dream. Then the recent teasers suggested another big reunion for Meredith. So could it be George? Stay tuned.
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