Grey's Anatomy Shocker: The Real Story Behind The Big Der/Mer Twist

[Warning: If you have yet to watch this week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, run — don’t walk — to the nearest emergency exit. Everyone else, onward and downward….]

In what will likely be viewed as a setback for the Post-It Note wedding movement, Grey’s Anatomy formally married off Derek and Meredith in Thursday night’s wedding-themed hour. The no-frills city hall service comes two years after the couple’s symbolic sticky-pad nuptials set off a mini backlash among the show’s traditional-minded fans.

Throughout the firestorm, series creator Shonda Rhimes maintained her position that the unorthodox service — while not legally binding — was a real wedding in the eyes of Der/Mer. But there’s nothing like the pull of parenthood (not to mention the rigid rules of adoption) to change one’s perspective. In the following Q&A, Rhimes talks about the decision to officially tie the duo’s knot and why it doesn’t represent an about-face on her part.

TVLINE | You caught some flack from fans about the Der-Mer Post-It Note wedding. Any concern that this will look like you caved into their demands?
No. I don’t think anybody who’s looking at this wedding will think that I caved into anyone’s demands. This doesn’t really fit anybody’s definition of the usual way a television wedding goes…. This was on their little checklist of things that will make things easier to adopt from another country.  Derek and Meredith have considered themselves married for a very long time. This is a piece of paper that’s necessary. I don’t think it means much to them.

TVLINE | Plus, it’s not like you put Mer in a big poofy dress which, as I recall, is the statement you were really making with the Post-It Note thing.
If I had seen Meredith Grey in a big white dress, parading around, my head would’ve exploded. There’s just no way for that to work. It’s not who her character is. It’s what I love about the character – that’s not who she is. I love a big white poofy dress, I have to say. And I loved putting Callie and Arizona in big white poofy dresses. But it’s just not the character of Meredith Grey. She’s a little unromantic in that sense. She doesn’t need any of that to have great love and to be in this relationship.

TVLINE | The juxtaposition of the two drastically different weddings in the episode was a nice touch.
I thought it was really beautiful to have Callie and Arizona getting married in a non-legal, unofficial ceremony run by Bailey that takes place in the forest. And at the same time, Meredith and Derek are doing what constitutes a legal marriage in this country in front of a judge with a stamp and their drivers licenses and no rings, and they’re not dressed up. And they’re both equally romantic.

TVLINE | Is it safe to say the adoption process won’t be a simple one for Derek and Meredith?
The adoption journey doesn’t end this season. Just because someone decides they want to adopt a baby doesn’t mean they just then suddenly and magically adopt that baby. It doesn’t work that way. As an adoptive mother myself, I didn’t want to portray it as a super-easy process that magically fixes itself.