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Why Being Well-Known As McSteamy On Grey's Anatomy Is Strange To Eric Dane

Eric Dane as Mark Sloan on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: Netflix)

It’s hard to know if Shonda Rhimes and the writers of Grey’s Anatomy knew what a big part of the show their McNicknames would become. McDreamy, of course, was the one that started it all, as Cristina appointed the pseudonym to Derek Shepherd when he and Meredith began their epic love affair. After that, the nicknames just kept coming, and McDreamy was followed soon after by McSteamy — Derek’s ex-best friend Mark Sloan. The nickname stuck with Mark throughout his eight seasons on the ABC hit, and has continued to follow actor Eric Dane, much to the actor’s semi-chagrin, even 10 years after his character was killed off.

While McSteamy was far from the most offensive McNicknames that have been given out over the years — McDreamy himself has been alternately dubbed McDreary and McBastard in less-than-favorable situations — it’s one that Eric Dane never quite felt that he was able to embody. When asked by The Daily Beast if it felt odd to be objectified in that way, he agreed, saying:

Yeah, because I never felt like that. It didn’t suck, but I never felt like I fully inhabited that character. I’m so not that guy. Mark Sloan? I’m not him.

The nickname may not describe the actor, but it was pretty appropriate to the character himself. Mark had an affair with Addison Montgomery when she was still married to Derek, and he certainly shtupped his way around the hospital in his time, hooking up with everyone from Callie Torres to Teddy Altman to Reed from Mercy West and even Derek’s sister Amelia. 

Meredith’s sister Lexie Grey may have been Mark’s endgame, but that didn’t save him from the McReputation he’d built for himself — a reputation that fit the actor, the interviewer suggested, like an ill-fitting suit. Eric Dane responded:

I like that. Yeah. A suit but the sleeves are too short and you’re constantly tugging at the sleeves trying to fix them.

I suppose some nicknames are more comfortable for their actors than others. Chris O’Donnell was pretty popular as McVet, and there were definitely some fans who were sad to see McWidow go when Richard Flood left Grey’s Anatomy this season. I’m still iffy about the nickname of Meredith’s current (and possibly final?) love interest Nick Marsh, who fans have seemingly dubbed McTransplant, due to the Scott Speedman character’s introduction to the series back in Season 14 as both a transplant surgeon and recipient of a donor kidney. I guess it's better than McKidney.

For what it’s worth, Eric Dane also said he’s nothing like his character Cal Jacobs on the popular series Euphoria, where he doesn’t have a cute nickname but admits that he gets called a “Zaddy,” though he doesn’t “really know what it means.” He bared it all during an intense Season 2 monologue with his penis hanging out, or at least his prosthetic, and that wasn’t even the first time, as he’d previously discussed the phallic prosthetics used and the series’ graphic male nudity.

Seasons 1 and 2 of Euphoria are available for streaming with an HBO Max subscription, and you can see him on past episodes of Grey’s Anatomy with a Netflix subscription. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what new and returning shows are coming soon.

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.