Listening to Grey’s Anatomy while I work. The current plotline is that a previously straight character has begun to wonder if she is a lesbian (or, more likely bisexual), particularly in relation to another character that she’s close to.

I don’t really like Suzie-questions-her-sexuality for a number of reasons. First, because it’s just not interesting to me. For some reason, these plotlines always come across as overly transparent. There typically is no natural evolution for it. It’s like they flipped a gay-plot coin that came up “Yes!’ and then threw a dart onto a dartboard to decide which to assign it to. Actually, that latter part isn’t true; I will get to that in a minute. But the character either turns out to be gay or not and it typically doesn’t even matter because the character is on their way out anyway.

What I said before about the dart board, that’s not true because they generally choose characters that they can’t find other ways to make interesting. Either the character was brought in as eye-candy and little character development had occurred or the character was bought in by happenstance and the writers ran out of material. In the case of Grey’s Anatomy, it’s the latter. And of course because these characters are atypical (in their own way), I particularly liked them over the ones that they decided “Hey, we’re going to make this cute-quirky-insecure girl and this other ambitious-cold girl and the character gets cast a particular way. In short, these two characters were my favorite female ones on the show. It’s not even close. So naturally one is questioning her sexuality vis-a-vis the other (who seems non-committal on her sexuality).

I wonder if that’s the main reason that I don’t like Lesbian plots. They so frequently involve my favorite characters. I like the characters that don’t stand out in a typecast way. I like a certain take-chargedness and emotional ruggedness that writers may often look at and say “Hey, she would make a good lesbian). I like outcast characters and lesbianism is always a good excuse for otherness or emotional standoffishness. And I like odballs I think harkening back to the days when I thought anybody that wasn’t an oddball wouldn’t have anything to do with me (something I have come to call “The Luna Lovegood Appeal”)

Then again, this sort of transcends cop-out TV show writing. More than a couple of celebrities I’ve taken a liking to in a vaguely-attraction-related-way and turned out to be lesbians (and linked). I had a very early crush on Ellen DeGeneres from her days on “Open House” and was immediately taken by Melissa Etheridge. And don’t get me started on the magnificent Sara Gilbert. So maybe I can’t fault the writers at all. Maybe I’m just a wrong-gendered lesbian.


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8 Responses to Crossed Wires

  1. logtar says:

    You are accurate on your assumptions at this point, however, the plotline does get better and it is not as typical as this current state of the story makes it appear. I felt about the same as you do when I was watching these episodes.

  2. web says:

    Minor points:

    #1 – in hollyweird, everyone is “bisexual.” It’s about who you screwed to get what job.

    #2 – The left-wing domination of hollyweird makes it really easy to pull the “see, this character you liked is a (gay/lesbian/bisexual/whatever) so it should really be all okay with no question ever” canard out and parade it around.

    #3 – The most usual trigger for this (just above the “let’s be preachy to a captive audience” crap that usually ruins shows) is a show that’s already slagged in the ratings. You mention Ellen Degeneres, and she’s an amazing example of it. Her show was tanking, and I don’t think her “coming out party” timing was a coincidence – after all, it bought her tons of press and an extra(lame) season.

  3. trumwill says:

    Regarding #2, the thing is that they usually don’t do it to the characters that are well liked. On Grey’s Anatomy, they didn’t do it with Katherine Heigl’s character, they did it with the character who was tacked on to the show by virtue of marrying another character. And possibly a character brought in to fill a gap created by two actors leaving (one to get her own show and the other because of an anti-gay tirade on the set).

    It’s sort of like how they know better than to sully on of their more popular characters with a behavior/lifestyle that is controversial and so they make their point (assuming that it’s about preachiness and not merely a desperate search for plot points) with a character they don’t have much else to do with. It’s a sort of cowardice. The most classic example being Elisabeth Rohm on L&O… they throw that out here, on one of their most boring characters, seconds before she’s been written off the show.

  4. trumwill says:

    Logtar, not sure what to make of your comment, but I suppose I will be finding out pretty soon.

  5. trumwill says:

    Regarding “Ellen”, A part of me wondered at the time if the whole thing was a set-up so that when the show got cancelled (which it was clear that it was going to be) that they could blame it on homophobia. It became something a moot point, though, because right after Will & Grace went on the air and had a really strong showing. I think my view at the time was a little excessively conspiratorial in nature. I’m not sure it was actually an effort to save the show so much as a desire on the part of Ellen to have a forceful “coming out”. Heck, if I were closeted and I wanted to come out and I had a TV show with little to lose, that’s probably what I would have done. So I can’t blame her for that. I guess more likely than that, Ellen wanted to do it for the attention and the network signed on because it might rebound the show.

  6. Becky says:

    I assume we’re talking about Callie, right? I was pretty disappointed with that plotline — the idea that a woman who would have casual sex with Sloane and then suddenly decide to “try it out” with a woman was totally implausible for me. And teh fact that she would stay a lesbian for the next one to come around was even more of a stretch for me.

  7. trumwill says:

    So that’s what happens. Rats.

    I haven’t caught up on the show yet. I think I’ve been avoiding it. Knowing what’s going to happen allows me to resign myself to it.

  8. Barry says:

    Can we just add the awesomeness that is, was, and continues to be Jodie Foster to that list. My, oh my oh my. “Contact” especially.

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