Michael Rozman/Warner Bros
April 25, 2016 at 03:12 PM EDT

Patrick Dempsey — or McDreamy, as Grey’s Anatomy fans know him as — left the ABC drama in 2015, but the show, now in its 12th season, is still thriving. And its star, Ellen Pompeo, isn’t surprised: “It’s amazing how much you get done without a penis,” she said on Monday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show. 

“We miss him dearly,” she went on to clarify, “but, yeah, the show is doing very well.”

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“I think a lot of people were really upset about his departure, which is super understandable,” Pompeo went on. “But I think the change is part of the reason why the show goes on so long. I think people tune in to see what is the show look like now, what is Meredith going to do without Derek. I think they get so upset about the change, but change is precisely what everyone always needs to sort of get to the next place.”

Watch Pompeo’s full interview with Ellen DeGeneres below, and see Grey’s Anatomy when it airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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