Grey's Anatomy Axes Brooke Smith and Lesbian Storyline
Grey’s Anatomy has axed actress Brooke Smith, successfully putting the nail in the coffin in what could have been a thoughtful, blossoming, lesbian relationship between her character Erica and Sara Ramirez’s Callie. Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes issued a statement regarding Smith's sudden discharge.
While Grey’s writers have teased and taunted audiences while amassing a devoted lesbian following in anticipation of what was purportedly going to be a well-written love story between two women, producers curtailed the storyline in a fell swoop firing Smith.
Shonda Rhimes, the show’s executive producer issued a statement regarding Smith’s release, but according to EW’s Michael Aussiello, it appears the show intends to straighten out a few upcoming episodes that originally boasted more lesbian themed content.
"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,” Rhimes said in a statement released Tuesday.
In an interview with Ausiello in which he pointedly asked, “What the hell happened,” Smith, who’s starred in Weeds, Iron Jawed Angels and The Silence of the Lambs said, “I was very excited when they told me that Erica and Callie were going to have this relationship. 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.”
Joining the Grey’s cast will be Melissa George, whose character was initially intended to be bisexual and a challenge to Callie’s evolving sexual identity, but even that could be played down, according to Aussiello.
Smith told Ausiello she was completely blindsided when producers kicked her and her newly out character to the curb.
“I was so naive. I'm like, It's 2008.” Smith said about believing that ABC would have followed through and not shied away from the lesbian storyline. “But I'm starting to realize that not everyone feels the way I do.”