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Ellen Pompeo thinks iconic ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ line inspired the term ‘pick me girl’

Pompeo told Katherine Heigl she overheard her daughter using the term, and thought it sounded familiar.
/ Source: TODAY

Ellen Pompeo and Katherine Heigl are reuniting to talk about the years they spent working on the hit ABC medical drama "Grey's Anatomy."

Pompeo, 53, and Heigl, 44, opened up about what it was like working both on camera and behind the scenes on the show during a candid a one-on-one conversation for Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” series

During the pair's chat, Pompeo, who played Dr. Meredith Grey for 19 seasons on "Grey's" before leaving the show this year, and Heigl, who played Dr. Izzie Stevens before exiting amid controversy in 2010, discussed the role the show plays in their lives now that both are moms.

Pompeo revealed she'd finally allowed her oldest daughter, Stella, 13, to watch the "Grey's" after Stella told her she was the only one in her peer circle who'd never seen it.

"Everyone in her class in the sixth grade had, which I thought was a bit crazy, knowing what’s in the first seasons. She was like, 'Mom, I’m the only one who hasn’t seen it.' So I said OK," said Pompeo.

"In the summer, she started watching it. And at first I was like, 'Oh, this is so amazing, and we’re going to watch it together,'" she continued. "Then it was episode after episode after episode, and I was like, 'I don’t have the stamina for this!' I filmed all these episodes; I can’t now go back and watch it again."

Katherine Heigl and Ellen Pompeo and the TNT/TBS Broadcasts 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Katherine Heigl and Ellen Pompeo, seen here in 2007, reunited to discuss their years on "Grey's Anatomy."Lester Cohen / WireImage

The mom of three added that she'd never been able to watch the show before because for nearly two decades she was "always working."

"Many of the episodes I was seeing for the first time with Stella," she said, adding, "It’s pretty cool to be a part of something that’s lasted this long."

Heigl said her oldest daughter Naleigh, 14, hasn't yet seen "Grey's" — largely because the "Knocked Up" star is anxious about what Naleigh will make of certain episodes.

"There would be scenes that I would be so embarrassed to be sitting next to her watching. I’d be like, 'Can we fast forward this moment?'" said Heigl.

"Yeah. This is sex with the ghost," joked Pompeo, referring to one of Izzie Stevens' weirder romantic encounters with the ghost of her dead lover.

Later in the conversation, Pompeo revealed that Stella and her friends use one of Meredith Grey's famous bits of dialogue to categorize other girls they know.

"So, OK, this is a real thing. My daughter and her friends, they sit around and they’re like, 'Oh, she’s a ‘pick me girl,'" said Pompeo. "Pick me" girls, in slang, refers to a woman who seeks male attention by distinguishing herself from other women.

Pompeo continued, "I’m like, 'What’s a pick me girl?' They were like, 'You know, girls who are like, 'Pick me, choose me!'" And I’m like, 'Hello?! Do you know who invented the 'pick me girl'?"

The line, of course, refers to a scene in Season Two in which Meredith urges fellow doctor Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) to choose her over Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh), the wife he's on the bring of divorcing.

"Pick me. Choose me. Love me," Meredith begs as a storm rages outside the hospital where both work.

Pompeo reminded Heigl that she hated filming the scene.

"Listen, I don’t know if you remember that I fought that speech so hard," she said. "That’s another really interesting thing about life — some things that I was so against, and I was like, 'I can’t beg a man on TV! This is so embarrassing.' And then it turns out to be one of the most famous scenes ever."

"It was a beautiful scene," responded Heigl.

"In the scene, I’m crying, but I’m really crying because I have to beg a man on television," joked Pompeo.