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Ellen Pompeo on Grey’s Anatomy’s Long Run: ‘It’s Definitely Not Easy Keeping It Going and Keeping It Great’

A little fan feedback doesn’t hurt — according to Ellen Pompeo. The Grey’s Anatomy star said she understood where fans were coming from when they criticized season 17 of the medical drama.

Related: Plot Twist! 'Grey's Anatomy' Is Renewed for Season 18: Who's Returning?

One viewer took to Twitter and praised the show, saying the latest season “is the most groundbreaking, life changing season,” but another disagreed.

“I guess I’m an alien because this season was dumpster trash! I love the show but not this season,” the audience member tweeted in response.

Ellen Pompeo On Grey’s Anatomy’s Long Run: ‘It’s Definitely Not Easy Keeping It Going And Keeping It Great’
Ellen Pompeo attends Porter’s 3rd Annual Incredible Women Gala in Los Angeles on October 9, 2018. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Pompeo, 51, quoted the exchange on Twitter and replied, “All good! Seventeen seasons we can’t please everyone all the time … it’s definitely not easy keeping it going and keeping it great… I get it… thanks for checking it out anyway… and thanks for your feedback it matters …sending you love.”

Some of Pompeo’s followers were offended that the person didn’t like season 17. However, the Meredith Grey actress, who is one of three remaining original cast members, defended the critical fan. “But why is someone saying they didn’t like something bad? It’s literally been on for two decades!! Let her live… there is plenty of s–t I don’t like…” the Boston native added.

The star added that she only finished one long-running show, The Sopranos. The show spanned 86 episodes over six seasons, which doesn’t come close to Grey’s 380 episodes.

Related: Grey’s Anatomy’s Exits: Who Quit? Who Was Fired? Who Is Down to Come Back?

The 17th season of Grey’s Anatomy was almost entirely focused on COVID-19, making the romantic medical show much darker. Meredith was eventually infected with the virus and went into a coma where she reunited with many of the characters who’d died on the show, including Derek Shepard, Mer’s late husband.

Ellen Pompeo On Grey’s Anatomy’s Long Run: ‘It’s Definitely Not Easy Keeping It Going And Keeping It Great’
Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey in ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ Gilles Mingasson/ABC/Kobal/Shutterstock

The coronavirus story was what convinced actor Patrick Dempsey to reprise his role as the brain surgeon after leaving the show in 2015 when his character died. “It was really for us to get the message out there to wear a mask, take care of yourself,” he told Variety in April of her reason for returning.

He wouldn’t turn down a season 18 arc, though. “Who knows? Never say never with this show, right?” the Enchanted actor, 55, teased. “I’m glad we did it this year. And [showrunner] Krista Vernoff did a fantastic job telling the story. It was just a great way to give people some hope.”

Related: Meredith and Derek Finally Get Their Wedding — and 'Grey's' Fans Aren't OK

As for whether COVID-19 will play a part in the next season, Pompeo said viewers would have to wait until fall to find out, but she’s pretty sure next season will be lighter. “I honestly don’t know but I don’t think so,” she added. “It’s been a lot for everyone hopefully the worst is behind us.”

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