Grey Summer

26 Jul

I watch television.  This summer, I have had the opportunity to watch reruns of Grey’s Anatomy.  I’m what you’d call a hit-or-miss viewer.  I thought it was a good show, but…if I’d miss an episode, life would go on.  During the course of this summer, my view has changed.  I will be recording any episode I may miss.  I wasn’t one of those people who started watching the first year the series premiered, maybe not even the second year.  I’m not nuts about medical dramas.  I didn’t watch ER.  I didn’t watch St. Elsewhere.  I didn’t watch Chicago Hope.  I was lukewarm to the idea of Grey’s Anatomy.

Catching those early episodes created a greater understanding of the character arcs, the journey.  There are so many elements of the characters to appreciate.

The series was intended to be racially diverse, and cast without considering the actor’s ethnicity, with the exception of Dr. Miranda Bailey.  She was envisioned as a petite, blonde, white woman.  Chandra Wilson, a petite, curvy Black woman, changed that plan with her  audition.  During the eight seasons the show has been on, Wilson has been nominated for five Emmy Awards, two BET Awards, seven Image Awards (winning four), three Screen Actors Guild Awards (winning two). The list goes on.

Dr. Miranda Bailey, once known as the Nazi, is one of my favorite characters. She is tough. She is soft. She is fantastic.

Grey’s Anatomy is the brain child of Shonda Rhimes. She is the creator, executive producer, and head writer of the series. Ms. Rhimes was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Park Forest. During high school, she did what thousands of young girls do.  Ms. Rhimes worked as a candystriper. This created an interest in the hospital environment.

She earned her BA degree from Dartmouth College and relocated to San Francisco to work in advertizing. She studied screenwriting and earned her Masters of Fine Arts from the USC School of Cinema-Television.

Ms. Rhimes was a writer on Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Crossroads, Britney Spears debut film, and The Princess Diaries 2:  Royal Engagement.

The woman seems to always be working:

Private Practice, a medical drama, was a spinoff of Grey’s Anatomy.

Inside the Box, a female ensemble set in a Washington D.C. network news bureau.  It wasn’t picked up.

Off the Map, for which she served as executive producer.

Scandal, a political thriller which takes place in Washington D.C. and focuses on Olivia Pope’s crisis management firm.

Gilded Lilys is in development.  It is set in 1895 and follows the lives of the Lily family, their employees, and their establishment and management of the first luxury hotel in New York City.

Shonda Rhimes is a force of nature.  As a child, she had an affinity for storytelling.  This is a woman who followed her calling.  I’m betting she’d still be spinning stories, even if her projects hadn’t sold.

In your opinion, what television shows, books or movies are master classes for character arcs?


Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Idaho


12 responses to “Grey Summer

  1. Janis

    July 26, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Hard question because it’s easier for me to know shows or books I reject because of little or no character arcs. I rejected House after a couple of seasons because he didn’t have a great character arc (no real change, IMO). Same with Pysch.

    Right now, I’m enjoying White Collar because master thief Neil Caffrey was out only for himself. When he first started working under Peter Burke’s watch, he sought every opportunity to outwit and keep to his thieving ways. Now in the fourth season, he feels he has a home for the first time and he likes stopping crime. The relationship between Neil and Peter of trust and loyalty is the best kind of bromance.

  2. Lynn Mapp

    July 26, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Janis, I’m with you on House. I enjoyed the program for several years, but…he didn’t have an arc. I gave him up.
    Watching the reruns of Greys has shown me the arc, huge arc, these characters have taken. I am in awe of craftmenship.

  3. Peggy Staggs

    July 26, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Suits is one that has had a great character arc. The problem is most series don’t have a big character arc because they want you to buy into the everyday lives of the characters.

    • Lynn Mapp

      August 9, 2012 at 9:32 PM

      I’ve been sort of watching Grey’s for a few years. I just didn’t understand what I was watching. The arc is incredible. Mer is a dark and twisty person. Her parents split when she was a child. Father walked out of her life. Mother was an amazing dr., but lousy mom. Mer hasn’t had solid relationships and through the seasons we watch her grow. It is amazing.

  4. Liz Fredericks

    July 26, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    I don’t watch enough television or many movies but enjoy JD Robb’s work on the ‘in death’ series. It’s a great example of a character arc that bridges publications.

    • Lynn Mapp

      August 9, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      The thing with Grey’s is I hadn’t realized I was watching this character development. Grey’s comes on 3 times a day, from 11 to 2 on Lifetime. I haven’t seen season 1, but I’ve seen season 2 and 3. It is an amazing show. Each character has an arc. As stated, I love Bailey. She is called the Nazi. She seems cold and all business. Wow. These people are so well written.

  5. maryvine

    July 27, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    I enjoy Touch, Person of Interest, Castle, Leverage, but not so sure it is because of the arc.

    • Lynn Mapp

      August 9, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      Those are good shows. Greys comes on 3 times a day on Lifetime. Watching 3 episodes a day, is where you are able to see the arc. If I hadn’t had this experience I don’t believe I would have seen it so clearly. I am in awe of the creative process and can’t stress how blown away I am.

  6. Marsha R. West

    July 28, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Interesting post, Lynn. I started watching Grey’s faithfully, but then I realized I didn’t like the characters. So I didn’t care if they arced or not. LOL I’m with Mary on Person of Interest. I do think we’re seeing changes in the main characters there. In TV you can’t grow too fast or you loose the audience. Castle also a favorite and yeah I gotta say I see changes in those main characters. Besides, they are just yummy to watch together. And on White Collar, I struggled to get into it to begin with because the main character was a bad guy. Not rooting for the bad guy. I watched because I loved the relationship between Peter and his wife. I love Covert Affairs–especially the relationship between the lead character and her sister. But just like with books, it’s all personal opinion. Lynn will never miss another GA and if it never airs again, I’d be just fine. Thanks heavens for different tastes. 🙂

    • Lynn Mapp

      August 9, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      Marsha, I agree about taste. As I said, I watched Greys, but in a hit or miss fashion. I still haven’t seen season 1, but I like seeing the characters growth. I’ve been blown away by the arc. Apparently the writers maintained a blog. Fans could read their thoughts and reply. Even reading the posts is interesting. If you google GA they even write about the characters. It’s interesting.

  7. Meredith Allen Conner

    July 30, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    I love True Blood – the show takes some really interesting turns (some a little out there) but I have loved watching the Bill and Erik (the two main men) and their character arcs!

    • Lynn Mapp

      August 9, 2012 at 9:42 PM

      Meredith, it’s interesting to see how the writers deal with the character arc. We need to learn what we can from them.


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