Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lesbian Tivo Alert: Grey's Anatomy

Hello Darlings,

Well I didn't want to report on this too soon because in my lifetime lesbian kisses on primetime have historically been the stuff sweeps ratings stunts are made of, but now the hopeful part of me is thinking, "Yes, Shonda Rhimes*, please have a lesbian couple as part of the revolving drama of doctors' lives on Grey's Anatomy please?"

Tonight is the two hour season finale of Grey's Anatomy, where American audiences will definitely see the culmination of the quasi-lesbian arc that has been building up between two female doctors on the show.

So set your tivo's and cross your fingers.

Why it matters?

This is a prime time television show that is extremely popular and widely viewed and - as you probably already know - it's a good thing in these turbulent times to help open the hearts and minds of Americans by way of entertainment to show us in a positive way.

What's the story?

The hot shot and slightly arrogant Dr Hahn (Brooke Smith) blew into town last season, and a fast friendship was formed between she and Dr Torres (Sara Ramirez).

Meanwhile, resident hunk/slut Dr McSteamy (Eric Dane) immediately went on the fast track to bedding Hahn. She repeatedly slapped him down using taste as an excuse. Instead of bedding the hunk, Hahn was content having late night wine-and-gab fests with her new female buddy.

When another doctor told Torres her bond with Hahn looked like a happy "lesbian" relationship, it sent Dr Torres on the fast track to the "on call room" with said lothario plastic-surgeon Dr McSteamy to make sure everyone knew she was on the straight - albeit slutty - and narrow. Including mostly herself.

Here's a shot of McSteamy really just for you boys if you've even managed to get this far in an article about lesbians.

Several glances between the women continued for a few episodes before Hahn asked Torres, "Hey buddy what's up with the cold shoulder and the man-whore?" and Torres came clean with the "well folks think we're dykes" thing. I'm paraphrasing.

Since then, the Torres/McSteamy sex has continued but now the women are openly joking about the "lesbian rumours".

Meanwhile, even McSteamy who has been trying to change his man-whore ways, has noticed the "special" bond between the two women.

Then last week, the following kiss happened in the elevator (if you watch this show, you'll know most of the fun stuff happens in elevators):

Which leads us to the season finale, where I'm seriously hoping they both buy a copy of "The Well of Loneliness", order dvd's of "Desert Hearts", "Bound" and "Loving Annabelle" from Wolfe Video then pack that up with some tofu and acoustic guitars and take off for a romantic weekend to Dinah Shore.

Kidding. It would be nice to see gays without stereotypes, but you know what I mean.

The background on Grey's and Shonda Rhimes...?

This is not the first time there has been an lgbt story line on the show. Two weeks ago, they showed two male soldiers kiss and the show won a GLAAD Award in 2007 for an episode called "Where the Boys Are" involving a character having sexual reassignment.

If you've been living under a rock, I'll also mention that this was the show where the infamous "fag" exchange happened, uttered by an actor who was a few months later not on the show.

Also, if you have eyes, the great thing about this show has always been it's cultural diversity. I don't know if you noticed how many shows are littered with white, rail-thin hotties, but this one always maintains a diverse cast and revolving guest roster of folks of different colors, shapes, accents and sizes which you know, is really the American way.

Why I Watch?

I have to admit, the soap opera ramblings (clever as they may be) of a bunch of drama filled doctors is not my idea of entertainment, but I absolutely got hooked because of out actor TR Knight.

TR Knight came out of the closet publicly and I was - and continue to be - so impressed by his involvement in the community, and his open nature on talk shows like ELLEN and OPRAH. I can't help but watch the show. I even go to the ABC web site most of the time to click on episodes there, just so my vote is counted.

Knight is a wonderful role model and I admire and applaud his choices. I also think he is quite the actor and look forward to seeing him do good work on the big screen.

I was also extremely impressed by his co star Katherine Heigl and her statements of support of community including the now infamous Emmy interview, "He (Washington) should just keep his mouth shut." I also liked her calling her break out hit KNOCKED UP misogynistic in Vanity Fair, because really, it was.

So here I am watching the soap opera every week in support, and subsequently (because they is a dearth of hour long dramas on television) becoming a regular viewer.

To Kiss or Not to Kiss?

What we're hoping for here is an actual storyline involving lesbians. A few years back I had the opportunity to interview the executive producer Dee Johnson of ER about the lesbian storyline on that show.

I was quite impressed with her. She pitched the idea of the lesbian storyline and even named Dr Weaver's first girlfriend after her own. She told me how much hate mail the network got from conservative viewers and religious groups, but was proud of the show for holding it's ground. Needless to say, a few months later the storyline petered out which basically left me with the conclusion that they caved to negative response.

Last year, an ad for Grey's Anatomy played during the Super Bowl involving a fantasy lesbian shower scene by TR Knight's character, George. It spurred the highest ratings yet for their premiere episode. As we all know, the lesbian kiss as a ratings booster is a tried but true tactic (check out DIRT last season for the one time lesbian kiss between former Friends costars Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston).

Also please note all the hate mail for AS THE WORLD TURNS last year because of the boy on boy kiss of Luke and Noah.

Also, please note Grey's Anatomy is ABC which is owned by Disney. Can this show have a regular lesbian plot line, or will the hate mail and advertiser boycott nip it in the bud?

ABC did meanwhile have two season finales this year that  involved a gay marriage (BROTHERS & SISTERS and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES).  And they have the gayest show on television UGLY BETTY.  

What We Can Do

Well, watch the show tonight or check it out on and take note of the advertisers of this episode. Then over the summer months, when you get your tax rebate check maybe think about buying those products in your shopping regiment.

We can see if they actually go through with the storyline, and then if they do, an email to the network and supporting the advertisers is really the best way to keep it going. It's the least we can to support a producer and show who is really trying to make a difference. It's deserving of our support because believe me, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to do something like this without the religious right mobilizing and starting boycotts and letter writing campaigns to the advertisers.

I mean, check this out if you'd like to see what people who don't like us do when something like this comes up:
or go directly to this link, but make sure you don't have any break-ables around or cups of hot coffee:
CitizenLink (our friends at Focus on the Family)

Meanwhile, I'll be humming the tune of the original MTV ad from the 1980's all day and changing the words just a bit: "I want my.... I want my... I want my lesbian storyline on primetime televisioooooon!"

Until we meet again, this the lesbian diarist signing off.

*Shonda Rhimes is the show's creator and Executive Producer. Although the decision to have a gay storyline will really rest on ABC and it's parent company Disney.

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