Friday, November 07, 2008

My Weekend Crush

As much as we'd like to think the days are over when it was considered “brave” for a straight actor to portray a gay character, the world stubbornly keeps reminding us of the risks inherent to anyone who dares to associate herself with the love that dare not speak its name. Fifteen years ago when Tom Hanks won his Oscar for getting kissed on the hand by Antonio Banderas (and, of course, dying from a terrible, terrible disease) in “Philadelphia,” it broke ground. Yet here we are in 2008 and playing gay can still put you on shaky ground.

I never watched much of “Grey's Anatomy” before Brooke Smith walked into Seattle Grace and up to Sara Ramirez. And now that she has walked out, I can guarantee that I won't be watching much anymore. While I love (seriously, love) Sara, it was always Brooke who sold me on Callica. This season it was her eyes I saw their romance through. Her eyes that lingered. Her eyes that brightened. Her eyes that showed you everything you've ever felt in that electric rush of new love.

It is a testament to Brooke's sheer talent that as Erica Hahn she erased all memories of “it puts the lotion in the basket” for me. And then, well, then there was the glasses scene. In less than two minutes she brought up what is a universal revelation in the life of almost every gay and lesbian person. The lightbulb. Whether it comes quietly to oneself or jarringly in the open, it happens. Damn, I am so gay.

Watching the full spectrum of emotions on Brooke's face – elation, revelation, heartbreak – it was all so wonderfully real. The catch in her voice was the catch that comes from an answer you never even though to ask the question to but now can't believe you ever lived without knowing.

All of this, of course, makes Brooke's unceremonious ouster this week all the more outrageous. Whether it was for the most unacceptably egregious reason (that the gay was too gay) or simply an insipidly egregious reason (that Erica was too Erica), it was wrong. And it made no sense. And, it was a whole lot of wrong some more. In a hospital full of navel-gazing whiners, aggrandizers and assholes, at least Erica was straight forward. And no chemistry? That doesn't even dignify a response other than one specific finger vehemently raised.

So I applaud everyone fighting the good fight to bring Erica back (they've settled on sending leaves, by the way, so grab a rake and find out more here). But for me, Grey's has lost the right to have a character as rich and as real as Erica. And they've certainly lost the right to have an actress as gifted and – yes, I'm going to say it – brave as Brooke. Hell, you'd need glasses not to see that. Happy weekend, all.


;) babs said...

thank you, ms. snarker, brooke smith is really great!
and dr. hahn was the only really cool female doc in grey's.

a nice weekend to everybody!
greetings from vienna,
;)) babs

not happy jan said...

*standing ovation*
you summed it up nicely DS. *passing tissue box*
What they did to brooke was unacceptable, but she is better off without them. she was indeed the one who sold me on callica. callie's not the same without erica.
I heart brooke smith.

Lezlie Mac said...

Let us come together in celebration of this courageous, brilliant and well, hot, actress. I am forever in debt to her for allowing me to see leaves in a different way.

That very scene is just up there, right in the pantheon of unforgettable super-gay scene. Brooke Smith, honorary lesbian.

:( babs said...

looks like they literally let callica/erica die!?

Nelfy said...

very well spoken! I still can't believe that this actually happened.

Now, when I watch the 'Leaves'-scene, I literally get sick, because I know what follows that scene. To me, Brooke was also the one who convinced me that Callica could be so amazing! I will never in my life forget the scene in which Erica watches Callie get on the elevator, completely smitten.

I haven't seen such amazing acting on TV in a while and ABC is blind for not seeing what they are losing through their homophobia.

slacker said...

I've been in awe of Sara Ramirez since I first saw her on stage, but her presence on Gray's wasn't enough to get me to tune in to the weekly display of bed-swapping straight mannequins.

The addition of Brooke Smith to the cast changed that.

Now, once again, my interest has departed from this show.

Love Brooke Smith...I hope she finds a worthy role, playing gay or straight. (Although I do have my own preference.)

The 'glasses' scene was writing done right for so many reasons. Too bad ABC executives and GA producers don't have the strength of will of some of their cast.

Collins said...

right on, ms. snarker. right. on.

i have been a loyal grey's watcher from the beginning (mostly for yang, her snarktastic comebacks had me eating out of her hand from day one), but after this week's revelations about the unceremonious ouster of brooke smith and the utter crap that was her parting scene last night (you can't be a little bit of a lesbian...really, shonda? erica would never say that!), i'm done.

they may keep their affronted heterosexual audience but this little lesbian is taking her two eyes and her loud mouth over to 30 rock or the rachel maddow show. from now on, those shows will be getting my watercooler discussions on friday morning.

liz said...

I was hoping Brooke would be this week's crush, for all of the reasons so well outlined by Ms. Snarker.

Anonymous said...

i'll come back and read the post all. yesterday, lots of things
interrupt so it was hard to see your post.

Anonymous said...

I cried last night. The scene was crap and it made me sad that callica was going to end with a fight. I just could not stop, so I just cried. It wasn't even making sense and the scene was obviously just written for one purpose, to get rid of Erica. I'm still sad that a show that started out so greatly, could end like this. Because it has ended, for me at least. Goodbye Grey's.

Anonymous said...

I was so excited to find out Brooke was playing a gay character that got to *be* gay (rather than just say so like the lesbian she played on Six Feet Under) and then they go and do this. I missed her curly hair on Grey's (see Bad Company--I love her hair in that) but the straight hair was fine for her gay character. She is lovely and was treated crappily.

My considered opinion is that ABC is a bunch of pooheads.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

Beautifully, and perfectly, put, DS. Hahn was easily, EASILY, the best character on the show, and Brooke Smith could evoke so much nuance with just a look.
Although I'll miss watching Callica, it does feel familiar and comfortable to be able to go back to hating on Grey's.

Hoot said...

Not a lot of sadness about the departure on the official Grey's writer's official blog:

How many years (or decades) has it been since you've heard the term 'militant' and 'lesbian' in the same sentence?

Jackie said...

She was the most talented actress on Grey's Anatomy.

Dispite how much as I love Sara Ramirez, even with out all the controversy and injustice of the firing, the show wouldn't be worth watching without Brooke Smith.

I hope she'll play gay again in the future. She does it well. And by well, I mean excellently.

long beach kelster said...

Great WC DS! It is very sad to see the network (most likely) bend to the religious right in this country.
The glasses scene was fantastic and completely got me in the spoke to the memory I have of the pivotal moment of my first time.
I will spread the word about the campaign.
Cheers, LBK

scribegrrrl said...

I didn't think I could love Brooke more, but watching her bring Erica to life (and to love) has taken me from long-term admiration to permanent affection. Ms. Smith is truly gifted. She was wasted on that rambly, whiny show.

And DS, your post is a gift to all of us! Very nicely said.

debbie millman said...

tragic and outrageous.

JDS said...

Thank you for this, Dorothy. I love Brooke for a lot of reasons. One is her undeniable talent, another is her portrayal of Erica, and I didn't care if she was gay or straight. Erica was lovely, strong, intelligent, driven, cool, ballsy, and definitely sexy.

I'm hurt and I'm mad. I won't be watching the rest of S5 and I don't know if Sandra Oh (my other favorite actress on the damn show) can even make me watch again.

Bronwyn said...

THANK YOU, Ms. Snarker for making Brooke your crush! She deserves that and so much more - to make up for the abuse she suffered for trying to represent us.

And thanks many times over for including the protest info!!! ***Just a note, tho': It's not specifically to get Brooke back on the show anymore. Not likely, and maybe not even a good idea at this point.

But its to PROTEST this shortsighted, boneheaded move by ABC and SUPPORT Brooke. Please, people, participate!

asher said...

yeah. it was hard to watch last night; i was fuming.

it was the first time such a dick move by the networks was completely transparent to those in the know (for me, anyway) and it was not a good feeling.

i'm boycotting grey's.

the part that really breaks my heart is i read on afterellen that she had just relocated her family to LA to be closer to work. i hope she finds new work soon. don't let the bastards grind you down.

Trihardist said...


Can't believe we're still here. One step forward, two steps back, is how it feels.

Seems like some TV show shouldn't be such a big deal. But it sure feels like a big deal.

Sigh. Ms. Snarker, could you repost some of those great kissing photos so we can all feel a little better about the world?

ravenwood writer said...

Anyone have an address that we can write to Brooke herself to let her know how much we appreciated her depth and integrity? She rocks, and I, for one, have NEVER seen anything on TV as perfect as she was in the "leaves scene". Yes, the writing was good, but she brought the heart to it and made the words real. I have long been a fan of great writing (hence my attendance here in the presence of Ms. Snarker), but Brooke inhabited those words and was transcendent.

If anyone has an address for her or her agent, I would appreciate it.
Thanks, and keep up the good work(d)...

Penny Cillin said...

Awesome. Now Grey's Anatomy can get back to its inane story line and pathetic lead character. I guess there is only room for one love story, and sadly it is the unhealthy, co-dependent, and repetitive snoozefest crap that is Merideth (sp?) and McDreamy.


Nelfy said...

@Ravenwood: Dorothy posted the link, at the LJ-Erica_Callie community you can find all the information you need!! you can also take part in the scrapbook creation which is a group project!

TrueTor said...

I too never watched Grey's before this season and I don't think I'll be watching after I watch last night's episode. I really liked Dr. Hahn from the moment I started watching. This is a reason why I am so glad I am not as invested in or obsessed with TV as I was in the past. I'll stick with my Internet thank you. 3Way hasn't let me down and I can always find gay content on youtube...even if it's just shipper vids.

Dorothy, you are so right about light bulb moments. The glasses scene was amazing and for it all to turn so quickly is even harder to bear.

cocoro said...

happy weekend, ds.

Sinéad said...

My goldstar girlfriend could never understand how I could spend so many years being with men and then suddenly realising I was 100% gay with her. I feel like this scene helped her understand, even after 4 years together.

I don't understand how they can take this away from us. It was beautiful, and I related more to Erica Hahn in that scene than to anyone else ever before, in real life, or in fiction. How Brooke Smith played it out was amazing. I've watched it over and over.

Now my heart is broken. I won't watch Grey's without her.

wildwildwood said...

Yaye! Brooke is by far one of the worthiest weekend crushes!

Not only is she hot (like, hi! : ), talented, and possessing one of the MOST smoldering voices ever; she's also one of the most passionate actors!

She gave our community a voice - she didn't have to be cajoled, begged or pushed - she seemed excited by the prospect of telling this story and supporting us and portraying us as we are - just like anyone else.

I so second the honorary lesbian title!

astroidb612 said...

there's a great little "Meet Brooke Smith" piece from Entertainment weekly, 1994, that you have to read. She's all of 23, talking about getting the part in Silence of the Lambs and how anjelica huston taught her to be proud of what makes you different. here's the url:,,313565,00.html

TechGirl said...

I didn't watch GA yet I did join the protest by sending in my WTF email to ABC. Of course, I seriously doubt we will be honored to see Brooke Smith on GA again.

To Brooke Smith, your monologue about eyeglasses was amazing and so on the money! The scene was so true to life, it wasn't acting. Hope this woman gets the Emmy.

Mel said...


I am in shock over Brooke Smith and the way ABC has acted like a bunch of ignoramos homophobes!! Hate hate hate ABC for doing that and despite grey's being my favourite show, am totally boycotting the show.

Elena said...

Too sad. I look forward to seeing more of her acting skills, whether as a lesbian or straight character.

narcolepsy_slds said...

I have been watching GA from the beginning, not every episode but fairly regularly.
I decided not to watch it anymore from now on because they fired Brooke Smith. The show is not that good that I have to watch it (see 30 rock for example). I don't understand their "reasoning" and I really don't like the way they treated Brooke Smith.

And I have said it before, Erica Hahn (besides Bailey) was the only character that was portrayed realistic enough, you won't become a high class surgeon by being indecisive and whiny.

Katherine Simon said...


I adore, even LOVE, Sara, but it's not enough to keep me with the show after what they've done.

And I also get this feeling they're going to kill off Erica... so typical,the dead lesbian trope. Cowards.

I have never, NEVER been this angry about a TV show, not even about L Word. And that's saying something. I just started watching Grey's this season, but there's no chance in hell I'm tuning in anymore after this.

Anita said...

This whole situation is such complete and utter bullshit. Unfortunately I was unsurprised about the demise of the storyline.

But fear not! There will be others out there paving the way for good story lines with their acting skills and accurate portrayals of lesbians.

Life moves forward, with or without the ignorant. I am no longer watching ABC and Grey's wasn't interesting to me before the Callie/Erica storyline and it's not interesting now.

For those of you that love Brooke Smith and want to see an inspiring movie, check out "Iron Jawed Angels." It's an inspiring film about the suffragette movement during the early 1900's in the U.S. (1917-1920) Enjoy!

Tweyelite said...

I couldn't have said it more elequently, and I couldn't agree with you more! I applaud you, but most of all I applaud my heroine (yes my drug...might as well be, I'm soooo hooked on her) Brooke Smith!!!

sent from: