Don’t get her wrong: Ellen Pompeo misses Patrick Dempsey “dearly” on the Grey’s Anatomy set, but she does think the show has grown bigger and better since the actor's departure following the Season 11 finale. “It’s amazing how much you get done without a penis,” she joked on Monday's The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
The actress believes the death of Dempsey's character breathed new life into the show's current 12th season. “I think the change is part of the reason why the show goes on so long. I think people tune in to see, ‘What does the show look like now?’ And, ‘What is Meredith going to do without Derek?’” she said. “They get so upset about the change, but change is precisely what everyone always needs to sort of get to the next place.”
In fact, not having Dempsey on set is forcing Pompeo to new heights as an actress. “It’s more challenging for me. I’m invested. I have to work harder to find my groove without that missing part,” she said, revealing that what fans thought was a devastating loss is making the series even stronger. “I’m more engaged this season than I have been in a long time.”
Another big change in Pompeo’s life in the past year? Her introduction to Taylor Swift’s squad with an appearance in the “Bad Blood” music video. “She’s amazing, you know. And she let us pick her names,” Pompeo said. “She’s got such a nice disposition, an inclusive disposition.”
The video won a 2015 MTV Video Music Award, but the star did not have the chance to pick up her trophy—she told Jimmy Kimmel in February that Swift invited her over to retrieve it but she didn't have the time. “Talk to Shonda. I’m busy!” Pompeo joked.
But lucky for the star, DeGeneres did the retrieving for her and presented the actress with her "Bad Blood" Moon Man during the episode. (After Meghan Trainor received her Grammy from the host last week, we’re starting to sense a trend.)
Watch the full video above to see the sweet moment, plus Pompeo’s hilarious game of “Heads Up!” with the host.