As longtime Grey’s Anatomy fans, we always thought that this season’s Callie-Erica lesbian storyline was a bit of a face-saving move on Grey’s part designed to make up for the damage caused by Isaiah Washington’s infamous F-word-gate two years ago. This theory was only fuelled by the Grey’s writers working intensively with GLAAD representatives to try to accurately tell the story of a woman who’s had relationships with men and suddenly finds herself attracted to another woman.
Well, Callie’s been having trouble being a lesbian, and it seems she’s not the only one struggling with the adjustment. Tonight, E! Online confirms that Grey’s has fired Brooke Smith, who plays Dr. Erica Hahn, head of cardiothoracic surgery and Callie’s love interest and adds that this Thursday’s episode will be her last.
Furthermore, E! Online’s Kristin Dos Santos reports: I’m told by those who work on the ABC series that the gay-themed storylines and gay characters are being downplayed and even erased from upcoming scripts.
And that goes for the series’ latest newcomer, Melissa George of Alias, who joins the show this month…
Melissa came on to the show as a bisexual character, but a reliable insider tells me, “they changed the script and now she isn’t. She starts off flirting with Callie but it never goes anywhere.”
Grey’s has included a prominent bisexual/lesbian storyline this season in the blossoming relationship between Hahn (Smith) and Callie (Sara Ramirez). I’m told that that storyline will end abruptly in this Thursday’s episode, which will be Smith’s last appearance on the series.
“They don’t really give her a goodbye,” an ABC source tells me. “It ends rather abruptly.”
E.W.‘s Michael Ausiello first broke the news of Brooke’s dismissal today. “I was very excited when they told me that Erica and Callie were going to have this relationship,” Brooke told E.W. “And I really hoped we were going to show what happens when two women fall in love and that they were going to treat it like any heterosexual couple on TV. And so I was surprised and disappointed when they just suddenly told me that they couldn’t write for my character any more.”
So what happened? It didn’t seem like Callie and Dr. Hahn’s sapphic storyline was prompting a backlash. In fact, it seemed like viewers and critics approved of the way Grey’s was telling the story of their relationship. And axing this storyline creates another major PR gaffe for Grey’s, suggesting the show’s perfectly willing to celebrate diversity, just not when it comes to sexual orientation.
Well, Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello sheds a bit more light on the sudden news, saying that it wasn’t Grey’s decision but ABC’s. The network was having problems with the storyline.
I’m told this was not Shonda Rhimes’ decision but rather an order that came down from the network. According to one Grey’s source, the suits “had issues” with both the explicit direction Callica was taking (think: undiscovered country, south of the border, etc.) and, more importantly, with the Hahn character in general. Basically, they didn’t like her and wanted her gone ASAP.
Ausiello also suggests that guest star Mary McDonnell, who plays a cardio doc, might be Hahn’s replacement. Furthermore, he has an official statement from Shonda Rhimes suggesting Callie will still be gay and, sort of, explaining the rewriting of Melissa George’s character.
“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. Unfortunately, we did not find that the magic and chemistry with Brooke’s character would sustain in the long run. 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.”
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