Gimme a break, Shonda!
Wed Nov 5 2008
I can’t say I had ever followed Grey’s superclosely, but I did watch it semiregularly to check in on my girls: Chandra Wilson, Sandra Oh, Sara Ramirez and, since last season, Brooke Smith. What can I say: I like keeping an eye on actresses I've enjoyed onstage as they make a living on TV. Plus, Smith's character, Dr. Erica Hahn, was tough as nails, prickly, dedicated, arrogant, surly, no-nonsense: I just loved her. When a relationship developed between Hahn and the character played by Ramirez, I morphed from casual viewer to addict. I’m a sucker that way.
Until a couple of days ago, that is, when series creator Shonda Rhimes announced that Smith had been fired way back in mid-September and Hahn would be gone as of tomorrow's episode.
I mean, WTF?!?
Some blame the ABC suits; others point out that ABC has, like, three other gay characters so it can't possibly be homophobic. (Three? Omigod, it's like Chelsea and Park Slope in there!) But then this is the show in which one actor (Isaiah Washington) called another (T.R. Knight) a "faggot" so…good times!
Some blame the inept writing of the lesbian story line. Inept writing on Grey's? Nah…oh, wait… Sure, the arc wasn't handled all that well, but it was heading in the right direction, and besides, if a certain mutual exploration of the vajayjay was the problem, they still didn't need to fire Smith.
Many of the aboveboard TV pundits/bloggers have criticized the move as completely boneheaded. EW's Michael Slezak addressed a great post to Smith, and I second his rooting for an Emmy nomination. Newsday's Verne Gay decried the character assassination that preceded the firing. Hahn stuck out like a sore thumb on Grey's, but that's precisely what made the character so compelling. She was there for all of us who just want to tell Meredith to shut up once in a while.
Adding insult to insult, GLAAD—which had been consulted about the lesbian story line—caved in with a pathetic statement that takes Shonda at her word when she says that there's still a lesbian on Grey's, and that's Ramirez's character, Callie. (Except that Callie has been painstakingly and rather convincingly established as bisexual in the new season, plus it looks like she's not going to get any for a while. My head!) GLAAD has become so shamefully craven in its need to hobnob with celebrities, it is so mortifyingly thankful every time some B-lister deigns to play gay, that it happily feasts on whatever crumbs Hollywood throws its way. Maybe GLAAD can ask its buddies at Seattle Grace for a spine transplant.
In the meantime, Brooke, we'll happily greet you back on the New York stage.