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It’s a rare accomplishment in today’s fractured television landscape to celebrate 200 episodes. That fact is not lost on the cast and creators of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, who on Thursday will celebrate the feat with an episode that sees the bulk of the cast abandon their typical scrubs in favor of formal gear as the good doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial host a fundraising gala to raise funds for to repair the hospital that most now partially own.
“I knew that we didn’t want to tell a gigantic and crazy different episode of television for the fourth hour of our show this season,” showrunner Shonda Rhimes tells The Hollywood Reporter of the episode, fittingly titled “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” “We did the 100th episode, but it was almost to the finale so it was easy to tell a big story in that period of time. [For the 200th] I thought, ‘Let’s have a little fun with it and let them have a chance to get all dressed up,’ which felt celebratory to me. They really enjoyed it.”
THR hit the set of Grey’s Anatomy‘s 200th episode to catch up with the cast to find out what surprised them the most about their characters, what the landmark means to them as well as their hopes for a potential 300th episode.
Betsy Beers (executive producer)
On 200: It means I’m 200 episodes older, but that’s not bad! (Laughs.) It’s an incredible accomplishment. I feel lucky that I’ve gotten to have the same job for so many years; that’s a rare occurrence in Hollywood and TV. It’s a real gift and I try to never take it for granted. I’ve also become a really bad doctor — never take medical advice from me, I really know just enough to diagnose you absolutely and totally wrong.
Ellen Pompeo (Meredith)
On 200: It’s truly remarkable and I’m grateful to the fans. I’ve said it a million times before: You can have the best show on TV, but if no one watches, they pull it off the air. We owe it all to the fans; all 200 episodes are all for them. I like making it all about them and not me. It’s my favorite thing to do — take the attention off me and put it on the fans.
Where she’d like to see Meredith in a 300th episode: I don’t know that Meredith will be here for 300 because we have no control over the storylines, so I try not to think about it. Everybody always makes it work.
Patrick Dempsey (Derek)
On 200: It’s remarkable to be a part of this. You’re starting to say now that you’re really part of television history. It’s not the longest-running by any means, but 200 is a large number and it just seems like it’s getting more momentum. I go out into the world and people are still fanatical about the show around the world. Everyone’s settled in and having a great time.
What surprised him about Derek: That he was married. I never knew that. That’s the nature of television — you’re learning as you go on. You don’t have a beginning, middle and end; you just have a beginning and it keeps going. You never know where you’re going to go or what’s going to happen.
Where Derek should be at 300: I’m just trying to get through this season. You know you can’t think that far down the road. I just looked at episode six and it’s really good. Derek has some great stuff with brain mapping and the dynamic of having two professional people at home trying to raise a family and what that does to them.
Sandra Oh (Cristina)
On 200: I remember so much of the read-through and my heart beating. When I said I was leaving, I was trying not to be emotional. I don’t think I was very emotional about it because there’s still a lot to go this season. No one is leaving right now, but my heart did squeeze, and I felt a lump in my throat because it’s the beginning of actually making something happen, which is the letting go part. Shooting the 200th was great. We were all in gowns and in downtown L.A. It’s a considerable thing to get to 200 episodes in the changing landscape. It’s going to get harder and harder for anyone to reach 200.
What surprised her about Cristina: I don’t know if I can answer that because I’ve gone through every single moment with her. I’ve transformed as she’s transformed; nothing has been necessarily a surprise.
Sara Ramirez (Callie)
On 200: It reminds me that there is a serious investment in the show and in all of us as actors and in the writing and storytelling. It’s great to know you have the support of the network’s president [Paul Lee]. He loves the show and wants it to be around for a long time.
What surprised her about Callie: I was surprised by her mother’s lack of support in her love life — how quickly her mother sort of walked out on her. That relationship really surprised me.
Where Callie should be at 300:That’s a lot of episodes away. Shonda writes a roller coaster ride around a heart, so you just don’t know where that’s going to go.
Jessica Capshaw (Arizona)
On 200: I was very fresh when they celebrated their 100th episode and remember thinking how momentous it was. We’re not literally saving lives, but the lives that have had a moment or an hour to enjoy the stories that Grey’s had to tell is very cool.
What surprised her about Arizona: All the characters go through such tremendous change, growth, dark and light material. I thought Arizona was going to be this bright, shiny, happy person. So it’s been so interesting to see the bright, shiny, happy person brought to her knees a couple different times in a couple different scenarios and then manage to keep getting up and be better for it.
Where Arizona should be at 300: I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw season 20 of Grey’s. Everybody still loves coming to work. I’ve never predicted where Arizona should go; I’m blissfully the benefactor of the writers’ amazing stories.
Chandra Wilson (Bailey)
On 200: We’re all conscious of the 10 years and the 10 whole seasons; none of us are taking it for granted or taking it lightly. It feels like a big celebration season. The 200th episode’s big gala parallels the celebratory feeling here.
What surprised her about Bailey: When Bailey wanted to do the fellowship but realized what would happen to her relationship if she did and she let the relationship go.
Where Bailey should be at 300: They’re going to have to get a forklift and security in order to get me off this lot (laughs).
Justin Chambers (Alex)
On 200: It’s been such a blessing to have a job for that long, to work with people I enjoy. To see all the ups and downs we’ve had and how we’ve gotten through it and enjoy it and continue to entertain people. The longer it goes, the more I realize how fortunate we are to have had this success.
What surprised him about Alex: Letting Izzie go like that after how much he fought to keep the marriage going and then realizing that they weren’t going to be together. Letting her go at the end was an interesting twist and surprised me. It was very adult for Alex. He’s emotionally stunted. When they got married is when he started to really grow up, but he regressed after that ended. I think Jo might get him to step up to the plate again and mature a bit.
Where Alex should be at 300: He should be a very good doctor; maybe do something in pediatrics that will revolutionize medicine. I’d like him to have more of a sense of self and self-security. To know who he is and how he handles relationships. I think he’s one of the characters on the show who’s really seen the light.
Kevin McKidd (Owen)
On 200: It just really speaks to what Shonda did when she wrote the pilot. There was something that just triggered something in the audience to have people be so loyal to the show. It’s an actor’s dream to be part of something that is that beloved and has become an iconic, culturally referenced show. It’s weird and strange, but you do feel as if it’s a much bigger thing than you really give it credit for. It’s a once in a lifetime thing.
What surprised him about Owen: I still don’t know if he’s got any brothers or sisters (laughs). I think he does, but we haven’t met them yet, so I’m looking forward to that kind of stuff. The day they made him chief I fell off my chair. I was the guy from the wrong side of the tracks who nobody trusted.
Where Owen should be at 300: The big thing that’s broken him and Cristina up is the kids issue, so I hope that by the 300th episode he will have scratched that itch so he can be on the road he needs to be on as a human being. And for him to be really happy. I suppose by the 300th episode he will have had a kid and something will happen and Cristina will suddenly walk back in. He’ll have this other life, but she’ll come back and they’ll realize something. The 200th episode is when she walks away from him and really lets him go. I can’t help feeling that she’ll go off and do her thing and he’ll do his thing, [but in the end] she won’t be the one who got away.
Sarah Drew (April)
On 200: I’m so excited to be on a show that’s had the longevity that this has had — especially as a newcomer. I’ll have been on this show half the time it’s been on the air.
What surprised her about April: I keep getting surprised by her. I wasn’t expecting her to be a virgin, and I wasn’t expecting her to be a Christian. Those things both blindsided me. But I love those things about her. I love seeing how she has developed and blossomed on her own. She started off as someone who was pretty insecure and has really transformed into someone who is honest about who she is and what she stands for — no matter how people respond to her. I love that about her.
Where April should be at 300: I love the faith she brings, but I think she is super clouded and riddled with guilt. I want to see her be freed from that because her faith journey is supposed to be about freedom and not feeling guilty and put into a box.
Camilla Luddington (Jo)
On 200: It’s a testament to the writers to be able to keep everyone invested after all these years.
What surprised her about Jo: During the finale last season, when I learned that Jo had went through some sort of sexual abuse. It eluded to rape, but I’m not sure how much. We’ll get into that this season, but I didn’t know that about her past and it made me really sad for her.
Where Jo should be at 300: With her past of not having parents and Alex’s past of having shitty parents — and Alex being the bad boy of pediatrics — I would love to see them have a kid. I think Jo wants a do-over and to do it right and have that mother-daughter relationship she’s always been missing.
Gaius Charles (Shane)
On 200: Being part of the 200th episode is a major blessing — to be part of something that has become an iconic staple in American and even international TV culture. I was on vacation in Central America this summer and I thought I could lay low, but they recognized me from the show.
What surprised him about Shane: We had someone come in last season who was a real doctor and who was able to communicate the real-life process of someone who is an intern, and I was surprised at how challenging it was to all of a sudden be an expert at so much.
Where Shane should be at 300: It would be really cool to see him come into his own and take the reins and be a pillar at the hospital. It’s a nostalgic moment because you remember the pilot, and you get to see new characters go through that. It would be great to see how Shane started that journey and that there was so much that he was learning, but he eventually comes to be like some of the other main characters who are now pillars on the show.
Jerrika Hinton (Stephanie)
On 200: I feel like I won the lottery to be a part of a show that’s been such an institution.
What surprised her about Stephanie: In the premiere, the interns are sitting around drunk, and they are all talking about their deep dark secrets and Stephanie’s is that she came here on a cheerleading scholarship. It’s a bit of an Izzie moment when you find out about her modeling past.
Where Stephanie should be at 300: We’ll see if Stephanie gets to live that long! It’s sacrilege, but why can’t Stephanie take over Yang’s position? I feel like that’s her trajectory. They’re allowing me to have so many more take-charge, badass moments. There’s so much of that happening this season and I feel fortunate that I’m being entrusted with something like that.
Grey’s Anatomy‘s 200th episode airs on Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC. Hit the comments below with your favorite memories from the series.
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