Few people would dispute that Ellen Pompeo, who's starred on the hit medical drama Grey's Anatomy for its entire run, has truly lucked out when it comes to career options, especially when it comes to acting. Not many of us get to stay in one, lucrative gig for almost two decades at all, and that's something which is even harder to come by for an actor. While Pompeo has been very open about the many difficulties and choices she's made with to keep Meredith Grey on the series for so long, she admits that her extended tenure has led to some particular thoughts about aging on TV.
Ellen Pompeo recently had a chat with actor Dax Shepard for his Armchair Expert podcast, and talked a lot about her life and, especially, her career and work on Grey's Anatomy. As is typically the case when a show runs for almost 17 seasons, most of Pompeo's original co-stars have now left the series behind. When Shepard asked her if her ego has ever gotten the better of her, and made her think about leaving just so she wouldn't be the only person left from that first season, Pompeo said, "Of course...all the time," and added:
Listen, I do not want to be the grapes dying on the vine. Already to watch myself age from 33 to 50 now onscreen, that’s not so fun. Because you really see it, because I’m in the same clothes. I’m in the same character. So, the way I see myself aging, that’s a motherfucker.
Oooof. Man, I had not given any thought to this at all, but, let's be real. This would mess with a lot of us. As it is, many people aren't really cool with how things change physically for them as they get older, and fight it at every step. Sometimes this means going above and beyond simply trying to take care of themselves in the hope that they can live good, healthy lives as they age, and instead concentrating on trying to look as young as possible for as long as they can.
Of course, they're doing that without their younger selves being immortalized on a TV show for everyone to look back on as they do, in fact, start to look visibly older. Most of us can completely avoid visions of ourselves at much younger ages without any trouble at all, but it's a bit harder for Ellen Pompeo. She can turn on the television and, at 50, accidentally come upon herself at 33 and suddenly be faced with how much her face, body, hair, whatever has changed over the years. I imagine that would be "not so fun," at the very least.
Pompeo also pointed out that the differences in her appearance are even more likely to stand out with Meredith than another character, seeing as how she's largely in scrubs. There aren't going to be a lot of fancy clothes, shiny jewels or luxurious accessories to distract from her physical changes, because Mer is usually at the hospital working when we see her, and not out on the town or even at home relaxing.
While having to watch herself age so prominently hasn't resulted in a grand ol' time for Ellen Pompeo, as a viewer of a certain age myself, I do appreciate that Mer has had no shortage of romantic interests since Derek died, so good on Grey's Anatomy for showing that getting older doesn't mean that your lady parts die before you do!