November 4, 2008

ABC Freaks Out About Gay Grey's Storyline

I am thoroughly shocked that I just read that ABC has fired Brooke Smith from Grey's Anatomy. They brought her in full time last year as a high profile female cardiac thoracic surgeon who happened to fall in love with another woman played by Sara Ramirez. I loved the storyline for so many reasons, especially because neither Smith nor Ramirez were stick thin.

But it seems that ABC has freaked out about the character and the direction the story was taking and from reports forced Shonda Rhimes to let her go.

This is bad on so many levels. First, they are firing her the week after she made a very heartfelt coming out speech. (Thanks to AfterEllen for the transcription)

Erica: No. When I was a kid, I would get these headaches. And I went to the doctor and they said that I needed glasses. I didn't understand that. It didn't make sense to me because I could see fine. And then, I get the glasses and I put them on. And I'm in the car on the way home, and suddenly, I yell. Because the big green blobs that I've been staring at my whole life? They weren't big green blobs – they were leaves… on trees. I could see the leaves.
Erica: And I didn't even know that I was missing the leaves. I didn't even know leaves existed. And then… leaves! You are glasses. I am so gay. I am so, so, so gay. I am extremely gay!
Second, she is reportedly going to get in her car THIS WEEK and just disappear which will signal the arrival of Mary McDonnell for a several week arc as a cardiac thoracic surgeon. LAME!!!

Here's what Brooke Smith told EW's Michael Ausiello about her firing:
I found out in mid-September soon after shooting the monologue that aired last week where Erica has the revelation that she's gay. They even came down and told me it was a great scene -- one of the best they ever shot on the show. So I was really, really shocked. I was floored when they told me [I was being let go]. It was the last thing I expected. In fact, when they told me I asked, "When is this happening?" And they said, "The [next episode] is your last," which is the one that airs this Thursday. So it was very sudden.
And to top it all off Melissa George who will be arriving shortly as a new intern was supposed to have had a past relationship with Meredith but that has been shelved.

What's up with the gay panic?

I thought we were beyond this panic especially on ABC where Kevin on Brothers & Sisters is so gay in every thought and every line he says. Is it a woman thing? Did they get nervous about real women having a relationship? Is it ok when it's a fantasy, but not ok when it's an actual relationship. And the timing is quite suspect. Remember the term from the West Wing "taking out the trash?" That's when they dump news on a day when nobody will notice. Me thinks ABC did some trash dumping last night.

Shonda Rhimes issued a pretty lame statement (in my opinion) "Brooke Smith was obviously not fired for playing a lesbian. Clearly it's not an issue as we have a lesbian character on the show – Calliope Torres. Sara Ramirez is an incredible comedic and dramatic actress and we wanted to be able to play up her magic..."

Huh? Callie has been fighting being gay all along. Don't buy it at all. Think the whole thing is irresponsible and they need to come up with better answers.

Complain to ABC here

Critic's Notebook: Brooke Smith's firing is bad for 'Grey's Anatomy,' and the world (LA Times)
Exclusive: 'Grey's Anatomy' Discharges Dr. Hahn (EW)