For what seemed like the longest time, Patrick Dempsey's character was constantly considered one of the best parts of Grey's Anatomy by so many fans. McDreamy became more of a phenomenon than a mere character, and he was talked about on multiple outlets and shows outside of Grey's - including Oprah.
Yes, McDreamy and his slightly darker surrogate brother, McSteamy, were certainly famous landmarks in Grey's Anatomy history. The buzz that surrounded them has died down since their own deaths on the show, but all the love for McDreamy lives on in fans' memories.
Imperfect characters are often treated as though they are perfect when there is no such thing as a perfect person, nor a perfect character. Derek Shepherd was idealized so much throughout his time on the show, and countless fans considered him to be a "dream husband".
The fact that Derek was so revered and beloved is actually somewhat of an anomaly, though. McDreamy proved several times that while he was certainly attractive and had an undeniable charm, he was actually anything but dreamy. Let's explore 10 instances in which this was emphasized.
10 WHEN HE HID A MAJOR PART OF HIS LIFE FROM MEREDITH
Meredith's romance with Derek began as a fling, and after a good dose of Grey's drama, it progressed into a committed, serious relationship. Meredith is known for being someone who rarely ever lets her guard down and trusts people, and this especially rang true in earlier seasons.
The fact that Meredith's struggles in life caused her to be tentative when opening up to people, make what Derek did to her in the early stages of their relationship all the more heartbreaking. Addison showed up at Seattle Grace in the season 1 finale of Grey's, and thus began the storyline in which Derek never told Meredith about basically the entire life he left behind in New York.
9 WHEN HE GOT COMPETITIVE
Competitiveness is, of course, a trait that many surgeons have, as they work in an extremely competitive, cutthroat field. The surgeons' need to excel and do better than one another comes between several characters on multiple occasions. Competitiveness even presented a huge rift between Meredith and Cristina in season 9.
But competitiveness looked particularly bad on Derek. Not only was he competitive with fellow attendings such as Burke and Webber, but he was also not above trying to advance his career over Meredith's.
8 THE WAY HE TREATED ADDISON
Almost always, when the whole love triangle between Mark, Addison, and Derek is talked about, Addison is presented as the villain. The storyline puts everyone in a bad light, and Addison did not deserve to shoulder all of the blame.
The fact that Addison came between Derek and Meredith often distracts from the fact that Derek treated Addison horribly when they lived in New York, and then he continued to treat her horribly after choosing her after Meredith, which is pretty low.
7 THE ENTIRE ROSE STORYLINE
Meredith was portrayed as someone who had trouble committing to relationships for several seasons. Sure, she has issues and every reason to be hesitant when diving into a romance with Derek, but the fact that Derek's hesitation to commit is so often overlooked, is almost hilarious.
Derek gets angry at Meredith for not wanting to commit to a relationship with him (after he promptly chose Addison over her) and then immediately strikes up a romance with his longterm scrub nurse, Rose. This hypocritical move is not brought up nearly enough.
6 WHEN HE TOOK FULL CREDIT FOR THE CLINICAL TRIAL
Meredith and Derek's clinical trial for fighting brain tumors is a rather famous storyline in the show. After several failed attempts and lost patients, the surgeons overcome the trend of tragedy and manage to save a young girl's life with their treatment.
The trial ended up being a success, but it wouldn't have been that way if it weren't for Meredith. She may have only been a second-year resident at the time, but she fought for the trial and supported Derek when no one else would. Of course, this did not stop Derek from trying to take full credit and erase Meredith's name from the entire accomplishment.
5 BLAMING MEREDITH WHEN THEY ALMOST COULDN'T ADOPT ZOLA
Meredith and Derek's experience in adopting a child for the first time was a dramatic and exhausting one. When Alex's mission to bring African children to Seattle Grace for treatment became a success, Meredith and Derek met Zola and fell in love almost immediately.
The entire process of going about adopting her was a difficult one, and when they almost weren't able to adopt Zola, Derek blamed Meredith completely and their relationship almost fell apart.
4 WHEN HE BELITTLED MEREDITH FOR TRYING TO MOVE ON
One of the times that McDreamy showed his truly ugly side was when Meredith had the audacity to attempt to move on with her life after Derek left her for Addison. Meredith opened her heart to Derek, and an undeniable example of that is her heartbreaking line that just about everyone (even those who don't watch Grey's Anatomy) knows: "pick me, choose me, love me".
Derek rejected Meredith and when she finally attempted to move on with Finn the vet, Derek berated, belittled, and insulted Meredith with derogatory terms and honestly, he should have been held accountable for that.
3 WHEN HE THREW WEBBER UNDER THE BUS TO BECOME CHIEF
Derek was power-hungry, and it's a trait that really started to come into the light in later seasons. The head neurosurgeon's reputation and legacy definitely went to his head and acted as nothing but ego-fuel at times. Eventually, Derek decided that he would make a great chief of the surgery. The only problem was that Richard was currently chief.
Richard and Derek had known each other for years and instead of support Richard in a difficult time, Derek chose his career over his close friend and threw Webber under the bus.
2 WHEN HE CHEATED ON MEREDITH
Meredith and Derek's relationship is one that is still very beloved and romanticized today. The two were undeniably an unforgettable aspect of Grey's Anatomy, but was there romance really all that worthy of the praise it received and continues to get?
Something that is often overlooked and swept under the rug, is the fact that Derek flirted with infidelity when he and Meredith were debating whether to move to D.C. or not. Derek flat-out kissed another woman while he was at a conference in D.C., and it's a terrible thing he did that really doesn't get enough attention.
1 WHEN HE ALMOST MADE MEREDITH MOVE TO D.C.
Derek's character suffered the most during his last season on the show. It was perhaps due to the fact that the crew behind Grey's were anticipating huge backlash for losing such a beloved, major character - so their answer was to make everyone hate him before he was killed off. That's just a theory, but it's definitely possible, as most of the terrible things Derek does happen in his final season.
He's given a redemption arc of sorts right before he's killed off, but the fact that he was completely putting his life and career before Meredith's when he tried to persuade her to uproot everything and move to D.C., is something that's hard not to cringe at.