Shonda Rhimes’ production company, Shondaland Productions, has spawned three hit shows for ABC. They are, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Off The Map. Grey’s Anatomy produced an epiphony moment for me. As I was watching I thought, “Damn, this is good! We needed this show!”
I began to watch and a few weeks into the first season, I knew “Greys” could go as long as it wanted to. It didn’t occur to wonder whether the show’s creator was black or white, I just liked it. I felt the same way about the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Dallas”. I wanted shows that had lead characters who looked like me, but the stories of some white female leads still resounded with me. Mary trying to make it on her own in St. Paul/Minneapolis, with nobody but Mr. Grant and her wacky friend and co-workers, related.
About the same time as I began to crave more Grey’s Anatomy, the American media honed in on the buzz about the show and went looking for some undiscovered bit of information. They discovered the show’s creator was Black. That was a source of pride for me. It shouldn’t have been because it is as natural for a black writer to have success as for a white one, but it is so rare. Before “Grey’s Anatomy” Shonda had successfully co-authored the Dorothy Dandridge Story for Halle Berry and co-authored the not so successful, “Crossroads” for Britney Spears.
I admire this talented writer/creator’s sentiment that, “People treat you as you tell them to treat you.” However the world, for most African Americans, is not as cut and dried as it is for Shonda Rhimes. It seems that she is used to a world where there are so many black men to go around that we can share them with all of our multicultural sisters. That is probably happening, realistically, but escapism t.v. is supposed to provide an outlet for a sister, not rub it in.
My girlfriends and I were okay with Cristina Yang’s (Sandra Oh) passion for Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington). But enough is enough! Do we have to tolerate the romance on “Private Practice” between Addison Montgomery and Sam Bennet, played by Kate Walsh and Taye Diggs? No!
Naomi can’t walk away from it, but I can. I purposely tuned away from Private Practice a few weeks ago and just returned in time to see Sam and ex wife, Naomi, Audra McDonald, KISS! Interesting!
The Jason George and Valerie Cruz characters, Otis and Zee, on Rhimes newsest creation, “Off The Map”, turned me off before I even saw the first episode. The program features doctors who have been given one last chance to redeem themselves by practicing medicine on locals and tourists in some fictionalized Central American country. The trailer showed early on that no Black female doctor would be cast so Jason (Dr. Bailey’s boyfriend last season) goes romantically multiethnic. (See the trailer below).
I haven’t watched “Off The Map” yet. I’m not mad at Shonda, I just haven’t gotten to the point where it’s okay to watch Black men romance every other race when Black women so greatly outnumber our men and we need them at home.
A word of caution, Shonda Rhimes. Keep a hand in and guide these shows carefully. Nobody takes care of your babies like you do. Private Practice is getting better this season, especially with the segments featuring Addison’s mother, Busy, and her lesbian lover. Too bad Busy had to die. “Grey’s Anatomy, however, hasn’t found it’s footing yet, in my opinion! Just sayin’!