Monday, December 08, 2008

Same story, different lesbian

Everything about “Grey’s Anatomy” makes me want to pound my head into a wall these days. Granted, what little I used to watch I stopped watching altogether as soon as news of The Great Parking Lot Blowout That Blew of 2008 happened. But now comes news that can only be deemed an insult to anyone with eyes and short-term memory.

Let’s take a trip in the way-back machine, way back to November 3 when Grey’s creator Shonda Rhimes issued a statement after Brooke Smith’s firing that read, in part:
“The impact of the Callie/Erica relationship will be felt and played out in a story for Callie. I believe it belittles the relationship to simply replace Erica with 'another lesbian.' If you'll remember, Cristina mourned the loss of Burke for a full season.”

And then there was Callie's own admission to Erica about her sexuality from this season's premiere when she said:

“I'm not sure I even like kissing girls. I don't, actually, like kissing girls. I just like kissing one girl – you.”

Guess what, NEVER MIND suckers!

Turns out Callie will indeed simply “replace Erica with ‘another lesbian’.” And that lesbian would be played by one Jessica Capshaw. Jessica will join the cast as Dr. Arizona Robbins, a pediatrician who comes in to help Bailey with a case for a three-episode arc in January. And word on the lesbo street is that she shares a kiss, if not more, with Sara Ramirez’s Callie.

Where. To. Start? Let’s start small and let the anger build organically, shall we.

First, um, Arizona ? Did they get her name while playing “I Spy” on a road trip to the Grand Canyon ? “I spy, with my little eye…a Baskin-Robbins! I spy…an Arizona Route-64 sign! Hey, that’d be a great character name…”

Second, didn’t I read that Callie and crazy Sadie were flirting recently? Oh, wait, sorry – that’s right. They are bisexual, so that means they are fast and loose with the fellas and the ladies. Carry on. These ridiculous stereotypes won’t perpetuate themselves.

Third, when exactly did “The L Word” become the farm team for “Grey’s Anatomy?” First Papi (Janina Gavankar has wisely since left her blink-and-you’ll-miss-her role) and now Bette’s cast-off Nadia all stop into Seattle Grace? You remember T&A, err, TA Nadia, right? She thought Bette had boxer’s arms and then they went at it like teenagers on prom night in Bette’s Saab.

Finally fourth, and most infuriatingly, how did this show and its lesbian characters turn into a dramatic recreation of those dumb “Upgrade” commercials? I mean, they didn’t even try to pick an actress who looked significantly different than Brooke. They just went for a younger and (by some mouth-breathing executive’s assessment) hotter model. Jessica is 32, Brooke is 41. The math does not lie, it only makes your blood boil.

I know that television is a medium know for its unrealistic beauty standards. And I know that many people watch television just so they can see beautiful people do beautiful things. Still this kind of obvious “trading up” points at what continues to be an ugly truth in our society. Women and their stories remain largely ornamental. So if we do not fulfill a preconceived notion of what is attractive, we are expendable.

Well fuck that noise, “Grey’s Anatomy.” Sell your bullshit elsewhere, because we’re not buying it anymore (seriously, even your straight stuff stinks: Izzie and Denny and the brain aneurysm, WTF?). We have eyes and short term memories and senses of decency. We are not expendable. We are not interchangeable. We are not stupid. Everyone, come join me on NBC at 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays instead. I hear there’s this great show with this smart lady that doesn’t insult your intelligence at every turn. Something about “30” and a “Rock.” Yeah, suck it ABC.

38 comments:

invisigoth said...

Good article, Miss Snarker.
But to be honest I've been thinking about that very matter quite often recently and I've been asking myself why it doesn't bother me that much.
I was furious at ABC at first cause rumour had it that they were going to drop the homosexual storyline all together, de-gaying Grey's. But turns out it wasn't that.
Frankly I found Erica's and Callie's scenes to be cringeworthy. Not all of them, but some of them.
I don't know why. Maybe I'm as superficial as the straight male rest?
Anyway I wasn't really invested in that couple.

Yes, they cast a younger and in some eyes' more attractive counterpart to Ramirez's Callie. And that is shallow and disrespectful of Brooke Smith and an insult to all women. But still - it doesn't bother me that much. It's a fantasy world.
By the way - lesbians can be quite harsh on other women's looks, too. Just check in on TwoP - they ain't prim over there!

And yes, "30 Rock" does rock! I'm so glad I discovered it. Thanks to you!

Shade said...

ABC stinks big time. i was hoping for confirmation that sara leaves GA in ep 15. what better way for shonda to stick it to the execs - show sara walking out of that same carpark towards a car where we get a glimpse of blonde hair. perfect!

instead we get this nonsense. BTW, did they see that picture? those eyes, that smile, that voice, did i mention talent and the guts, gimme that 41 one year old anyday.

i heart brooke smith.

:[ babs said...

I loved brooke smith on grey's, dr. hahn was great with or without callie - they should have never started this artificial lesbian storyline, what a disaster!

(and now jessica capshaw, who I hated on TLW)

so as I said before: no more GA for me...

slacker said...

Jessica Capshaw is now the "go to" telebian? Yeah, I'm over it.

I think you have a "though" that should be a "thought" in this one. (Somewhere around Bette's boxer arms...which would not be a bad place to be.)

Anonymous said...

Oh my fucking God! First they axe off my McBrilliant, that's a wonderful combination of Steamy/Dreamy and proffesional! Then they replace her with some young thing because, hey, let's re-inforce every barrier and boundray between honesty and love and representation of said things that we possibly can and arrrrggggh.... Well, Dorothy, you took the words as per usual - and I thank you for it, and no disrespect to Ms Capshaw, who's character I actually enjoyed as a comic interlude on TLW, however, context's a bitch, and this is just another nail in the ole I'll never be watching Gay's Anatomy 101(VIA straight/bi routes) coffin. Dayum...
In the famous words of Rhett Butler:

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

xxx
PEACE OUT ladies
xxxx

vikki said...

"Since when did the L word become the farm team..." - AWESOME. Sure seems that way doesn't it? I haven't watched Grey's since they dumped Brooke. I can't help but wonder if Jessica Capshaw's acting has improved since her turn as Nadia. I'm sure someone will let me know.

frannie said...

YEA!! SUCK IT ABC!!!!

TINA FEY ALL THE WAY!

Alex said...

"Sell your bullshit elsewhere" pretty much sums up how I feel about all this. I don't even really expect much will happen (three episode arc, and she's mainly there to clash with Bailey, I thought?), but whatever does, they've still made a huge freaking mess out of all of this. Also, as it stands, they've still jacked in the ongoing lesbian romance for "hotter" flirtations/flings. I think that's crap. I don't expect them to do anything well here, and I think the damage was already been done.

Besides, Jessica Capshaw and Melissa George don't match up to Brooke Smith in ANY WAY for me. Yeah, I'm talking about the attractiveness department, not just the talent. 'Upgrade' my ass!

Still, at least since they axed Brooke I've been able to stop watching. The rest of the show is so painfully bad as well now that it would have been a lot to endure to get to see her awesomeness.

Mars said...

It's *not* the same story though, is it? We had two regular characters on the show falling for each other, figuring out their sexualities and starting a real romance that according to Shonda Rhimes was going to be long-term and feature coming out to their colleagues, Callie's father, etc. And now all we know for certain is that Callie is having a bit of a flirt with Sadie (that apparently isn't going anywhere) and at least a kiss/possibly a fling with this other guest star. That's not the same!

They've made such a mess of this, and the show in general, that I won't be watching to see where it goes, but I'm very pessimistic about it anyway. The chances of this, whatever it amounts to, being good and well-written or proving to be good representation are extremely slim, IMO.

lesbo blogger said...

i've been waiting for this blog..
it IS pretty cheesy what they've done with the callie character. she is so confused about her sexuality, as i'm sure we all have been at some point.
but it's sort of.. awkward(?) to watch. right?

the way she acts around bisexual girl.. it's basically a disaster.

in a nutshell, i'm not impressed. but it's still a little fun to see lesbians on tv. haha.

Penny Cillin said...

That's right- Suck it, ABC! NBC is my god now!

I mean, aside from the fact that I do not watch Grey's Anatomy, I merely catch up on *selected* scenes elsewhere. Mainly because I hate most of the characters.....whiny ass naval gazers that they all are.

AND, how on earth would anyone pass up 30 Rock for Grey's? It just does not make sense in my head!

Penny Cillin out!

Anonymous said...

LOVED YOUR ARTICLE! My thoughts exactly!

Anonymous said...

I get caught up in the personal and political (they aren't even different) sometimes, too. But honestly, women's stories are just that. Stories. Made up stuff. Men's stories, women's stories, straight stories, gay stories...fiction any way you look at it. Don't get wrapped around it. See the humor. It's not Real.

Nicole said...

Nail+head=hit. This is so right on, please PLEASE post this over on the Afterellen blog, the post over there about Callie's new love interest had so many ignorant "LOLZ itz totally kewl cause Erica was oogly and scary and these new girlz are teh hotness and noone likes old or ugly girls that's just the way hollywood and the world works, man" comments I'd thought I'd wandered into the Maxim.com forums by accident-or the nationalreview.com forums, for that matter.

Nicole said...

Oh, and to anonymous, don't give me that bullshit. Fictional narratives are important or there wouldn't be several multi-billion dollar industries centered around them. What we see in fiction directly affects and in turn shapes our perceptions of both ourselves and the world, of right and wrong. Ever heard of "The Well of Loneliness?" "Uncle Tom's Cabin?" The Bible? If you think fictional narratives aren't important, you're not paying attention.

dc said...

Thanks for that blow by blow analysis, and I concur. It does make my blood boil. They are offensive to the Nth degree. Total disrespect. The whole thing reeks of the ABC suits dirty meddlesome paws. And I'm sure they have stomped all over Shonda Rhimes vision.

And I have switched over permanently - to 30 Rock. Phew! Refreshing and funny and smart.

Thank God I don't have to endure any more "Mer/Der" uh, and the downward spiral of Izzie.

The only people I'll miss a little are Christina Yang & Bailey. The rest sucks.

Pyewacket said...

This all just confirms what I think we have all suspected since the parting of the ways of Callie and Erica.

I know I have seen Brooke Smith in a lot of roles since Silence of the Lambs...but the most memorable one for me was in Weeds...just prior to Grey's...where I thought she was hot and was so hoping she and Mary-Louise Parker would end up developing something together.

This sucks.

I had a hope for better for the female roles on ABC shows since the guys who run the prime time and daytime divisions have a woman for a boss they have to answer to. Maybe she is an ornament as well.

The ABC daytime president, Brian Frons, was interviewed by someone just last month about the lesbian storyline on All My Children. At one point during the interview, he is asked about the lesbian storyline on Grey's Anatomy. His response is very telling and not surprising. Here is the link...

http://vimeo.com/2242719

Syd said...

The Denny stuff is making me batshit. It's hard for me to get too worked up about the other stuff though. Jessica Capshaw is pretty freaking hot.

Anonymous said...

This just doesn't bother me at all. I didn't care for the Erica character gay or straight. Nothing against Brooke. That character was just boring.

I like Grey's and always have. Gay, straight, bi characters I don't care. I think the writing is better then most shows(JMHO).

TLW hardly a farm team. The writing on that show can't compete with ANY show. And if you want to be angry about being sold out really watch TLW if you can....

Dawg said...

ABC the Izzy-Denny story has gone on long enough ... seriously ... who has sex with ghosts?!?

Anonymous said...

I stopped watching before the parking lot scene and I'm glad I did. Like dc, I miss Bailey and Christina. The others, not so much!

Rose said...

Well said, exactly what we all be thinking.

Hal Flanagan said...

Apparently TR Knight is fed up, too. Word is he walked off the show. Wonder if the lawyers will let him talk.

Pyewacket said...

Oh, also word is the whole show is sucking according to regular viewers who are not watching.

Seems no one is enough of a fan of the show to enjoy watching idiotic plotlines that are totally out-of-character for the characters...like Erica walking off into the night to never be seen again.

The heavy-handedness of the network ruins yet another scripted show.

Ravenwood writer said...

I'm just so bummed about the whole thing because I LOVE Sara Ramirez. The thing that I appreciated most about the Callie/Erica storyline is that it actually developed somewhat organically, although they really never gave Callie enough to do other than be a foil for George/Izzie/whoever. As an actress, she is better than that, and the storyline was starting to develop some depth. Brooke Smith rocked, and the combination of the two kept me plugged in to the show, frankly whether they ever got together or not.
Unfortunately, I think the whole damn show suffers from terminal "mer/der-ism", and it makes me want to gag. I was SO excited to see a REAL relationship between real adults starting to develop instead of the usual F***buddy stuff Grey's has fallen into. Grey's is sucking, Boston Legal is going off the air...TV sucks, for the most part, if you have a brain and want something more than the usual, mindless fare. I guess I will have to jump ship to the lovely Miss Tina land. :)

Morcegos no Sótão said...

I gave up on Grey's Anatomy long ago... Somewhere in the beginning of season3, when it all started looking too bad to be true. I didn't even bother to watch the Callie-Erica plot, because nothing good can come from -those- writers.

MJNuts

Anonymous said...

Oh Dorothy, I think I love you.

What a great article! Sums up exactly how I feel. Thanks for writing it!

Cheers,
Julie

Anonymous said...

Network Television. What a waste.

Pugs said...

Ms. Snarker, has anyone ever told you that you're hot when you're angry? Just wonderin'.

www.ComeTogetherGiftBaskets.com

wildwildwood said...

Cons:
-I miss Brooke Smith's utter hotness
-This just perpetuates the myth of youth = beauty (as a 25 year old, give me Smith any [and every] day of the week)
-Did I mention Brooke = hotness? I did? OK, just checking...

Pros:
-I finally returned to the brilliance of Tina Fey
-I no longer sit through 40 minutes of crap for 3 minutes of cute and 17 minutes of commercials
-I don't have to watch a character named Arizona (like the Ice Tea - I feel you're giving the Writer's Room too much credit for cracking open a book as advanced as I Spy)

Anonymous said...

zigzag walking...
i reread and don't understand.
so you hate grey, and like tina.
(-_-);;;;;;;;;

um...
so grey and tina is different thing. um..

ah, i don't know. whatever do it.

K said...

Yech, it's unbelievable. What a train wreck.
I miss Brooke as Erica Hahn and I miss Callie as, well, Callie! Take no prisoners, going to climb over the stall to comfort Addie, confronting Izzie Stevens...

And another thing...is Callie only going to flirt with blonde women?

Sorry, I had to say it.

Shade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katherine Simon said...

How glad am I to have walked when Erica did? Let me count the ways...

But seriously, I didn't like that chick on L Word, and I wouldn't have liked her as a replacement for Hahn, who I actually liked. And was the only woman left on that show with balls. Seriously. I'm sick of being cast aside and replaced on TV. It's starting to really piss me off.

Eventually, I'll have to stop watching all together...

DocCovington said...

What an excellent rant! Everyone with at least two connected brain cells will agree with what you wrote.

I don't know whether Shonda Rhimes and her staff are trying to make up for ruining "Callica", or whether they had actually planned for Erica to be just a "tool" to open a door for Callie so she can now be queer and flirt like a little schoolgirl with every skirt that comes her way.

Either way, it's non-acceptable and sickening.

Stopped watching as well after the SadLie fiasco last week. Also, I want Erica back, which is not gonna happen, so... bye bye, Grey's!

Lennox said...

Loved your comments, Ms. Snarker. Thank you.
Yes, they're "just stories", but as a whole, they and other media and arts make up our culture. And we deserved to be represented *well* in them. ABC is giving us shallow eye-candy when they promised a story with depth and meaning. Whether this was their bizarre plan from the start (in firing Smith) or this is some pretty "hot" bone they're throwing all those disgruntled lesbians - it doesn't matter. Cause its not enuf for me and won't be. I just wish they weren't hacking at what's left of Callie's character in the process. At least I won't be around to see it...

Anonymous said...

You said it.

BuffyLover114 said...

Jessica Capshaw is AWESOME !!!!. Callie and Arizona have the passion and the hotness and frankly I think Erica was just an experiment to see if she liked it. BTW she DID!!!! I live for CALZONA!!!