Trust the Journey?

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If you’re a victim, er, fan of Grey’s Anatomy and Shondaland, I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the phrase, “Trust the Journey,” and as such, you might be a little apprehensive trusting anything that Shonda Rhimes has to say. But, I guess it all depends on how you’d like this journey for Calzona to end. If you’re like me, I’d be willing to bet you’re hoping to see a legal wedding for our beloved Calliope and Arizona, once they’re able to work out all their crap. Something tells me that after watching this couple for 7 years you will not be satisfied with anything less. That seeing them as friends and co-parents just won’t cut it for you. Sadly, however, that is precisely how a lot of fans see this journey ending. And what’s even sadder is the fact that, much like their marriage, this new, redefined relationship, will also leave you wanting as it too lacks depth. Let’s go over the journey thus far, and see if we agree. We’re already 20 episodes in, with 4 to go, and in my opinion, we have yet to see any real progress for the pair.

The season started where last season left off, with Callie & Arizona continuing the talk about adding to their family. They had agreed on surrogacy as the perfect way to bring another child into the mix. Remember this scene from 10×24?

We were so excited! Another baby for Calzona! This time without Mark! Could this really be happening? Someone pinch me, it has to be a dream! It must be too good to be true, right? See the trust issues we have? Given Shonda’s track record, it’s no wonder! Anyway, I don’t know if you pay any attention to interviews or Twitter, but if you do, then this tweet from Sara Ramirez might have left you scratching your head.

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That tweet was in reference to the Calzona surrogacy scene in the finale. And at first glance, the exchange between our favorite couple seemed promising. But look at the scene again. Take a careful look at Callie. Does she seem excited? Or does she look more like she’s starting to feel suffocated? Like, she’s asking herself, omg, what did I just agree to? Knowing what we know now, after the infamous break up episode and what Shonda would tell us at the beginning of the season, the baby talk was nothing but another band aid. So, I guess you have to ask yourself, what do these band aids mean? What exactly were they covering up? Were they just a quick fix to the wounds that hadn’t healed after the plane crash? That even though Callie and Arizona thought they were healing, they really weren’t? It’s like if you fall and break a bone and don’t go to the doctor, you may think the injury is getting better, but, in fact, you’re just moving forward while your bone is healing incorrectly. And, in time, you realize you have to go back to the doctor only to have the bone broken again, so that, this time, it will heal the right way. And that’s much like the metaphor we heard in 11×05. Callie is talking to Meredith and using a pickle to illustrate what they can do to save their patient’s leg. They could to split the bone into two pieces!

photo-11This is what she says, “Look it’s genius. We take his fibula bone and we split it into two pieces we can use to bridge the gap from the tumor resection. The fibula will still have its…native vessels and we can attach…” What I find interesting here are a couple of things. First, the use of the word, “native.” That means, born in a particular place. -used to refer to the place where a person was born and raised. : belonging to a person. Hmm, sounds an awful lot like the theme they have going this season. The one about home. I know a lot of people see the recurring mention of home as having to do with family. And seeing that as a sign for Callie and Arizona coming home to one another by the end of the season. And I want to believe that too. But I’m not convinced that’s what’s intended here. Take a listen to this song, “Home,” by Aron Wright that was used to accompany a Calzona scene earlier in the season. What do you think of the lyrics?

“I’m following the lead of the setting sun and I’m going back where I came from. I’m going on home.” To me, this could mean, both Callie and Arizona are going back “home” to who they are as people. What’s native to their being; their core. Who they are as individuals outside of being a couple. Something they each lost while they were married.   It’s the Calzona bone being split into two separate pieces.

Now, secondly, it also gets me to thinking of an interview with Jessica Capshaw from last season. She talks about IF Callie and Arizona “were to have a chance, it would certainly be having to repair all that, all those bridges and all that work to even get back to the square one that they started at.” And Sara said, “[Season 9]…was progress in the midst of denial. The foundation for how they move forward in their relationship was denial. It wasn’t diving into Arizona’s process of healing truly; not just her leg, but her heart, herself, her whole being.” Do you see what I’m trying to say? About the healing and the bone and how it relates to their relationship? But who knows what it really means at this point? Does it mean that they will actually be able to repair anything beyond friendship? Last season, Arizona offered a speech to Callie and explained that she had to burn her life down in order to find out how she now fit into it all being the person she is today. We thought she had finally found some clarity. That she had healed. But was that “need” talking again? More of the co-dependency Shonda & Co. have talked so much about with regards to Callie and Arizona and their dysfunctional relationship.

That scene was an aw moment for the fandom, who had been waiting for that kind of interaction and closeness between these two ladies for what seemed like an eternity. And it made us believe that we were FINALLY on the way to some happiness. But alas, we were wrong. What we were seeing was not genuine. That they weren’t truly happy. That the only happiness that was to come was individual happiness for Callie and Arizona. Back in October, the couple called it quits. And both Sara and Jessica gave interviews that talked about the decision to have Callie and Arizona divorce. Sara wondered, “What if they work better as friends sharing a child? And what if the lesson there is actually more meaningful than the discomfort and fear around them breaking up?” She talks about the excitement that could come from, “seeing two women who still love each other and share a child be willing to shift their relationship into a different kind of loving relationship that’s not necessarily romantic but that exists for the sake of the child’s well-being.” Read the full interview here…

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/greys-anatomy-calzona-breakup-sara-743268?facebook_20141023

And if you think about it, this whole notion really did seem to start back in season 10. Remember the Halloween episode? Callie tells Meredith it’s the first thing she and Arizona had agreed on in months.

Maybe they do work better as friends? 10×09 showed the same thing. It was a call back to when Arizona and Callie first met in the bathroom at Joe’s. Arizona followed her into the bathroom out of concern.

Now, to me, all of this plays into what Shonda tweeted back in November regarding episode 11×08.

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Here’s the scene:

You remember, it sent some of the fandom into hopeful mode! Yay, we can go into the winter hiatus optimistic about the show’s return in January! Thinking that when Shonda said there was still love between them, that meant they’d find their way back, romantically. Well, I don’t know about you, but it didn’t make me hopeful. It made me slightly depressed actually. lol I didn’t get a sense that Callie was longing to be with Arizona again. All I got was the feeling that while Callie may have still cared for her, it was only in a platonic way. The way she patted Arizona’s knee didn’t sit well with me. It came off as a bit condescending? patronizing? I don’t know. Almost the way a parent would pat their child’s knee. Certainly not the way a former lover would pat their ex-spouse’s knee. And then, of course, BOOM, in January, we were blessed with more words from Shonda regarding what was ahead for Callie & Arizona. She told The Hollywood Reporter, “When a couple breaks up, I always ask: where does the love go? It’s not like you don’t still the love the person; the love just doesn’t disappear. But you can’t love the person. It’s really great watching them try to figure out how to be friends, how to love each other as friends and co-parents, and how to support each other when the other person needs it without it being weird or without it being too much.”

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/greys-anatomy-callie-arizona-dating-765764

Um yeah, that didn’t help my mood. All it did was give me more confirmation that Calzona, as a couple, were over. And that after Calzona’s, “transitionary period,” came to a close, we would see them slowly build a new relationship. And learn how to navigate this new dynamic. Which was exactly what was to come in 11B. Here are a couple of examples:

Episode 11×13: Callie asks Arizona how she’s doing now that she knows Arizona’s new friend, Dr. Herman, needs brain surgery.

And Callie again, offers her support in 11×14:

People associated with the show seem to be praising that moment between Calzona and their evolving relationship. Look what Caterina Scorsone had to say:

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This is part of what Sara talked about in that Huffington Post interview back in 2012. She mentioned people either evolving or regressing and “how much the writers want these characters to really evolve or how much they want them to stay stuck in their usual patterns, leading to a dysfunctional relationship.”

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/2012974

And I’m guessing this evolution is also what Jcap was referring to when she said this in her interview from this past October:

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Think back to 11×05 and the interviews that followed. We heard a lot about Callie’s decision to stop fixing their relationship and that it wasn’t because she no longer loved Arizona, but because she felt, “stuck.” They were going around in circles. The same old patterns. They were not growing. And up until that point they hadn’t been honest with each other or with themselves. They had been afraid to speak the truth out of fear of being alone. But what that episode showed us is there was nothing to fear. And it’s something that Callie now tells others. Life is too short to be scared.

photo.PNG-8That is a lesson that if you ask Sara Ramirez, comes with “facing your own mortality…it makes you not want to waste any more time on petty things. I think when you’ve almost lost your own life, you really don’t have the time to put up with things that don’t feel right, that don’t feel good.” Again, that’s from that Huff post interview, I can’t seem to stop harping on. I just feel like so much of what was said there answers a lot of questions as to where Calllie & Arizona will end up. And many of them were addressed in “Bend & Break.” Even the friendship thing seemed to come up again in that episode, when Arizona expresses concern over Callie’s whereabouts. She’s not so much bothered by the fact that Callie might be sleeping with someone else, but rather, she’s more upset thinking that Callie might not be ok.

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I guess a friendship between them would be oaky, if we actually got to see it develop into a deep and loving relationship, with actual communication between the two. Something that we were cheated out of seeing while they were married. But even now, that seems like an impossibility. It’s so frustrating for me and a lot of other fans seeing how this friendship is being handled. Callie continues to date others, while Arizona remains single. And many of the Calzona interactions are still too short and lack any real depth. Not to mention, the writers seem to be taking a lot of their serious issues that have never really been resolved and are now turning them into jokes. Here’s a perfect example from  11×19:

In that gallery scene, they’re talking about infidelity and maiming spouses. Now, we all know Arizona cheated on Callie and we have yet to hear an apology from her on screen. It is something that we have wanted to hear for 2 seasons. We never even got a satisfactory discussion about it in therapy. And now, it has become another source of comic relief? Are we forgetting that this was the scene we witnessed in 9×24?

Arizona screaming at Callie about evening the score? How she wanted Callie to stick out her leg, so that she could cut it off with a bone saw, so they they could level the playing field? Like, what in the hell? I know some people thought their banter in the gallery was funny because it showed they no longer hurt and are now in a place where they can laugh together, but many others found it quite disgusting and disappointing. It’s just more of the same, let’s use Calzona for “drama and thrills,” then not have them have a deep and meaningful conversation about it. Let’s just turn it into sitcom-like sophomoric humor. And, end scene. Move on to the next thing. Not to mention, are we really talking about the leg again? We all thought they had put that to rest. And that, for Arizona, her issues with Callie, were “never about the leg.” Some say, it was about a broken promise or the fact that, Callie, again, was making the decisions for them. And as we found out last week, Arizona, all this time, had no idea Alex Karev was the one to amputate her leg. She had been holding it against Callie all these years.

Why exactly is this coming up now? I thought Shonda said it made no difference who actually made the cut and it would never be addressed. What purpose does this revelation serve? Is it closure for Calzona? Is it closure for Arizona who can now look at Callie differently? Is this supposed to bring them closer together? Is this an indication that part of their problems stem from each having a different perception of what’s actually going on between them? That Arizona’s truth wasn’t reality. All of her actions and beliefs were coming from assumptions? That maybe had they just communicated honestly and actually listened to each other, they wouldn’t have any problems they couldn’t overcome? they Because, I am not seeing any sign from Callie that she has any interest in pursuing any sort of new romantic relationship with her former wife. In fact, all I am seeing with each passing episode is how far removed Callie seems to be from Arizona. She didn’t even go check on her when the plane crash hit last week and brought up PTSD for Arizona. She seemed more worried about her new friend, Meredith. There just seems to be so much distance. And instead of seeing two ex-wives who once loved each other, who share a child together, what I see are two strangers who once knew each other a very long time ago. Callie has moved on. The look she gives Arizona is almost indescribable to me. Is it one of pity? One of regret? One of sadness? How can we really tell what is going on in her head, since this scene was all of 45 seconds. And we’ve not heard anything from Callie all season, other than her dating woes. And shocker, her cop, Dan Pruitt, is slated to return in the April 30th episode, despite her saying in ep. 11×19, he was boring and there would be no second date for him. But for all we know, that’s just part of what Shonda calls, “the slow and interesting…baby steps,” part of things when it comes to Callie and Arizona dating new people in the second half of the season. We’ve seen Callie out there meeting new people, but nothing has yet to stick. I’m wondering if this next encounter with Officer Pruitt will be the thing that finally “clicks” for her. Callie had given a pep talk to a patient about getting more than one thing to love and how it would finally just click and then you’ll know. When Dan comes back in 11×22, what do you think will happen? Will she date him? Will we learn that she actually has been dating him all this time, but it’s been happening off screen? And will her bisexuality be an issue for him? We know Shonda and Sara have spoken at length about the discrimination faced by the bisexual community. She told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve read a lot about that concept that bisexuality has not had a lot of support. One of my favorite things that we did in the Callie and Arizona episode is Callie announcing that she’s bisexual, which by the way, I think nobody has ever done that on television, like ‘I’m bisexual,’ which I think is crazy,” Rhimes says. “I love that she’s determinedly bisexual. She’s not somebody who is straight who discovers she’s a lesbian; she’s bisexual and feels very strongly about that. That’s been interesting for us to navigate — and the character sticks to it. Arizona was always a little dismissive of that. In the early days of their relationship, the fight they always had was, ‘You’re taking a tour through being a lesbian and you’re going to go back to men.’ ”

I guess what’s confusing for some fans is the fact that a lot of what has been said over the years regarding Callie’s sexuality seems to be inconsistent and yet another reason many are hesitant to trust what she says, as the story with Shonda seems to change to  fit with the tide. Here’s an excerpt from an old interview after Brooke Smith was let go:

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So, it makes you wonder as I have hypothesized before, was this break up done for the sole purpose of pairing Callie with a man? Was Arizona ever intended to be endgame for Callie? Or was she just there as a way to continue the lesbian storyline for Callie after Smith was fired? And that’s why we keep hearing that, “7 years is not a failed relationship.” Is that just a way to justify the breakup? None of us knows. All we can do is speculate. Also, is this now becoming a PSA for awareness? Because several years back Sara gave an interview to After Ellen, where she stated Callie did not label her sexuality. This was when interviewers were still referring to Callie as a lesbian character:

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So, again, I’m thinking it’s interesting that now they’re making huge declarations about it on the show. What do we all think? Will the Callie and Dan story serve as a way for Arizona and Callie to tackle another issue? Is this a story that’s more about Callie learning to have a sexless relationship with Arizona? Is this about her realizing that Arizona is her person? And what about Arizona? Has she been seeing anyone? There’s a side for an upcoming episode that mentions a “striking” doctor in her 30’s, that some are speculating could be a potential love interest for Dr. Robbins. Not that I want to see either of them dating. I guess what I’m hoping for as a Calzona fan is some indication from Callie that she does in fact love Arizona. That she has always loved her. That she didn’t just marry her because she needed to feel loved. That it wasn’t because of her low self esteem. We’ve heard Arizona tell Callie countless times how much she loves her. In therapy, she listed a number of things that she loved about her wife:

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But we never heard anything from Callie. Is that coming? Is that what Jessica was alluding to when she said her hope is to “find out what these two women loved about each other. What they still love about each other. Because they do still love each other.” And there is all this talk about love still between them, so I guess it will come up at some point, in spoken form. But it seems like it’s all about “parlaying this into another kind of loving relationship.” Because like Sara has said, “just because you love someone, doesn’t mean you should be with them.” And there are many different kinds of love, right? So, is that their journey? Discovering they are happy apart and enjoying the way they’re getting along now?

At this point, I really don’t know what to think or what to expect. We’ve been let down so many times. Why should we think this time would be any different. I haven’t been watching the series. I gave up after 11×08. I didn’t like the new direction for Calzona and was not inclined to tune in, given what was said in interviews. I know a lot of people take them with a grain of salt and, sometimes, what is said doesn’t actually happen. But, for me, interviews are given to let viewers know what’s ahead for their favorite characters and to get them excited about upcoming story lines. Sara has said, “seeing two women become friends on television, could be just as exciting as seeing two women get married on television.” Well, if friendship and barely any interaction for Calzona is what the future holds for Grey’s, then I have no reason to watch. And given Shonda’s tweet that both she and Sara know how this [journey] for Calzona will end, it seems pretty likely.

photo.PNG-5Everything we’re seeing on screen and in interviews points to friendship and co-parenting for Callie and Arizona, while they date other people. We know Shonda is excited for what comes next for Callie and it makes her line about loving Callie and Arizona together and hoping they can get it together before the end of the series seem like just another way to keep Calzona fans interested. So, I guess the choice is yours. Is this the journey you want to watch unfold? Is this how you expected their relationship to evolve? Is it exciting to you? Do you still trust it? Or are you done?

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I Finally Feel Free

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Those who know me know that I can be very passionate about certain tv shows. So much so that over time I develop an intense emotional connection to some of the characters and suddenly find myself in a long term committed relationship that I just can’t seem to break away from, regardless of how bleak things get. I’m invested. But everyone has their breaking point. And that just might be where I am now when it comes to how I feel about Grey’s Anatomy.

For the last two years I have stuck by the show, despite the fact that my relationship with it had become toxic. I knew it was bad for my health, but I continued to watch anyway because I kept holding out hope that things would get better. I mean, there was a reason I fell in love with the series and I didn’t want to give up. But week after week, I found myself constantly disappointed. The writing was inconsistent and the characters continued to do things that I never thought they’d do, based on who they were when we first met them. And much of the action seemed to be happening offscreen, leaving the audience to fill in the blanks. My expectations were no longer being met. And each time an episode would end, I would swear to myself I was done. Yet, every Thursday, my friends knew exactly where to find me. Planted on the couch in front of the tv watching the latest installment of this ever depressing medical drama, that would leave me emotionally exhausted. But, it wasn’t always like this. The show used to make me happy. It used to be fun. It used to be filled with romance and love. And it was a joy to watch.

Let’s go back to when my love affair with Grey’s first started. It happened casually enough during the show’s 5th season. Up until that point, I never considered myself much of a fan. I always found the characters to be a little too whiny and self absorbed. But that all changed, when late one night, I was flipping through the channels, and came across a new face. She caught my eye immediately because there seemed to be something different about her, despite her “All American Girl Next Door” appearance. I mean, she was blonde, blue-eyed, sweet, and perky, and wore wheely sneaks around the hospital. Who wouldn’t be immediately intrigued by this character? She seemed cool and fun and cheerful! But no nonsense all at the same time. I’m, of course, talking about Pediatric Surgeon, Dr. Arizona Robbins, played by Jessica Capshaw. And forget it, as soon as she follows Calliope Torres into the bathroom to make sure she’s okay and then leaves her with a kiss, I was a goner. That was the night that Calzona was born. I just had to find out what happened to them next.

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Their’s was a story that made you believe in true love. Even the show-runner and the writers started referring to them as MFEO (Made For Each Other). And that’s what kept you tuning in. Sure, you knew there was bound to be drama, but in the end, they’d get through it, because love conquers all, right? And because it’s a TV show, you’d think that with all the devastation you get in the real world, this would be a nice escape. Boy, were we wrong. Had I known then, what I know now, I don’t think I would have allowed myself to get so invested in this couple. Talk about zero return on such a huge investment. But just for nostalgia’s sake, let’s take a trip down memory lane to remind ourselves why it’s so hard to let go of these two and why our affection and attachment runs so deep.

We’ve already revisited their first meeting, so, how about we go back to some of their other early moments together. Remember their first dance session? Everything was just so easy and effortless. They were just truly having a good time and enjoying being with each other. They were not only dating, but seemed to be friends too. Aw.

How about the time they steal a kiss in the stairwell?

Back in those days, Arizona was a little more commanding when it came to Calliope Torres. She’d never shy away from making the first move and Callie was more than happy to let her do so. They had so many other squeal worthy scenes in the beginning. Like the time Callie’s dad cut her off financially because she had started seeing a woman. Callie and Arizona had been out on a date together and Callie abruptly leaves the restaurant with no explanation. So, in an attempt to get some answers, Arizona, the next day would not leave Callie alone. She just wasn’t satisfied until Callie would let her know why she ran out on her. And her persistence paid off because Callie finally broke down in tears and told Arizona that the reason she left was because she had no money and couldn’t afford to eat at such expensive restaurants. And what does Arizona say? “So we stay in and eat sandwiches.” It’s not about the food or where they go. It’s about them being together. AW!!!

And who can forget when they officially became girlfriends? Wasn’t it so nice back then when the two of them would communicate their feelings and actually listen to what the other was saying? Yeah, those were good times!

And, of course, the night they both said, “I love you,” for the first time.

In the early years, their storyline was actually developed and we’d see things play out on screen. Like when they first started to have some drama with the whole baby thing. Callie had always wanted to be a mother, so she was quite shocked to hear that Arizona had no interest in kids, especially given her line of work.

Callie was hesitant to say anything out of fear of jeopardizing their status as the “stable couple,” but thanks to her friend, Mark Sloan, she knew what she had to do.

They did finally have that difficult conversation. Callie tried to convince her girlfriend to want kids as much as she did, but Arizona wouldn’t budge. She was adamant on the no kids thing.

But Callie wasn’t buying it. She thought there had to be another reason behind Arizona’s not wanting children. And then, it hit her! It had to be because of fear stemming from the loss of her brother. So, she confronts her again.

This back and forth did ultimately lead to a very painful decision toward the end of season 6. It was time for Callie and Arizona to part ways because they didn’t want the same things. And Arizona couldn’t be the one to keep her Calliope from having kids, so she lets her go, in one of the most heart wrenching breakups Grey’s had ever seen. You could feel their pain as they were saying goodbye to each other. They loved each other so much, but knew it just wasn’t gonna work if they stayed together.

Since they worked at the same hospital, they agreed to remain friends. But when the love is so strong that is easier said than done. There was a pull between them that just would not die. You could feel it when the two of them ended up in the same elevator together…alone.

I mean, geez, how could you not want them together? Even Callie couldn’t understand why they were apart. Callie thought of Arizona as the love of her life and wanted more than anything to just hear Arizona say she had changed her mind on the whole kids thing. But that wasn’t gonna change any time soon. And so, Callie, threw out the whole friends thing and decided to hate Arizona instead.

And Arizona called her on it, like she always did back in those days. And Callie responded, despite the fact that they were on lockdown due to a shooter who had taken over the hospital. But with a mad man on the loose, they had no where else to go, so what better time to air their grievances. And what better time to realize how precious life is and that it’s too short to not be with the one you love, regardless of your differences. Two of my favorite scenes come from the Season 6 finale. And Shonda herself made reference to this one where she said it is a good illustration of Callie & Arizona’s family dynamic.

*sigh* I miss them like this. Look at how brave Callie is and how she protects Arizona and the little girl. And the way Callie talks about Arizona and her super magic smile. You could feel the love between them. Look at their eyes. Look at the reaction Arizona has when Callie touches her face. Their connection is undeniable and this is why we fell in love with them! And it’s why they ultimately decide they can’t live with out each other and will have children. Talk about the perfect way to go into the summer hiatus. It was a love high! So much promise going into season 7. But that high would wear off pretty quickly once the Fall came around. Sure, Callie & Arizona would have some cutesy moments together, like when Callie asked Arizona to move in with her.

Then their adorable bickering over paint colors.

Again, they communicated openly and honestly.

But then, Africa-gate happened. Jessica Capshaw needed some time off due to her pregnancy, so they decided to send her character to Africa after she was awarded the prestigious Carter Madison Grant. This was the moment things began to get tense for Calzona. Initially, Callie was upset about this news and the change it meant for their relationship. But after some arguing, she decides to accompany her girlfriend on this adventure, giving up the life she knew in Seattle. But it wasn’t gonna be smooth sailing because even though she said she’d go, it was quite clear that she wasn’t happy about it. She was being very passive-aggressive, so Arizona breaks up with her in the airport and heads to Africa by herself.

Arizona’s trip would be short-lived though because her love for Callie outweighed her love for work and soon she’d be on Callie’s door step hoping to get her back.

Unfortunately for Arizona, Callie wasn’t having any of it and so she slams the door in her face. But Arizona wasn’t gonna go down without a fight. So, she comes back the next day and waits outside of Callie’s apartment in the hopes that this time, Callie would take her back.

Still, no luck. Even after several attempts at apologies and declarations of love, Callie just would not budge. She was too hurt. And tells Arizona as much when, yet again, Arizona, tries to win her over by telling her she’s sublet the apartment and that she was back.

Most people probably would have given up by this point. But not Arizona. She sees this as Callie still caring, so she continues to do anything she can to convince Callie that they should be together. And in classic Grey’s fashion, this next attempt would happen in an elevator. Cue the drama!

And that’s when Callie drops the bomb. She is pregnant with Mark Sloan’s baby! And that’s where the episode ends. What will Arizona do now? Does this change the game? Does she still want Callie back? We’re just gonna have to wait until next week to find out! Thanks, Shonda! And surprise, surprise, Arizona decides she wants to be with Callie and raise their baby.

Let the romance and happy times commence. They were in love and there was nothing that was gonna come in their way, or so we thought. As it turns out, this situation wasn’t gonna be that easy. There were not just two people involved with this child, there were three. It was a modern family that they were gonna have to learn to navigate. It would have been fine if they all understood their role and if there had been some boundaries put in place, but they never were and that would lead to a lot of drama. But it would also lead to one of the most hyped episodes in the show’s history. It was the musical event, “The Song Beneath the Song.” Here we finally saw Callie make a choice. Did she truly love Arizona? Did she want to marry her? Did she want to put her before Mark Sloan? The whole episode showed Callie in an out of body experience since she was in a coma due to injuries sustained from a devastating car crash that left her critically injured and put her baby’s life at risk. We would see some truly beautiful moments that showed us just how much Callie and Arizona belonged together and why they were MFEO. One of my favorite scenes from that episode is the moment in the gallery where you actually (literally) see Callie choosing Arizona.

And then when the two of them sing a lovely song together, “The Universe & U,” it shows their connection goes beyond anything in this world. It’s cosmic! They don’t even have to be together physically to feel the bond the two of them share.

And it solidifies them as two people who are meant to be. And by episode’s end, Callie accepts Arizona’s marriage proposal. And what a beautiful wedding the two of them shared. Not only the ceremony itself, but what came before. We learned that all of Arizona’s dreams were coming true. Dreams she never even knew she had. I’ve always taken that to mean a wife and family. Too bad she tells this to Mark and not Callie, but at least it was something the audience got to hear. I just wish more people would remember that Arizona had said that because even now some fans blame her for depriving Callie of having children.

After this tearful moment where we see our “Good Man in a Storm” show some vulnerability over the loss of her brother, it was time for her dad to walk her down the aisle and marry the woman of her dreams.

The newlyweds would get to be drama free for about the next half season, or so, with a couple of disagreements thrown in that didn’t seem like huge deals, so they just glossed over them. And, of course, the usual cutesy Calzona moments we had all grown to love, plus a nice scene where we see Arizona expressing to Callie how much she wanted a piece of paper that said she was legally Sofia’s mom. Arizona loves their daughter and didn’t want anyone to be able to take her away from her mama.


And so, Callie, assures her wife they will get her that piece of paper. They continued in wedded bliss for a little longer until the end of Season 8 when the doctors of Seattle Grace were en route to Boise and their plane crashed. This was a devastating event that left Lexie Grey dead and Arizona with a severe leg injury and a lot of blood loss. We, the viewers saw this, but the doctors left behind had no clue. In fact, Callie Torres was waiting to surprise her wife with sexy times.

But, let’s get real, any Calzona fan could tell you that we’d never actually see Arizona with Callie in a situation like this. It looked, to me, like another way to show off the provocative side of Sara Ramirez. But anyway, I digress. The crash gave fans a lot to think about over the summer break and we couldn’t wait until the season premiere to find out if more characters would die. Sure enough, Mark Sloan, would succumb to his injuries and poor Dr. Robbins was left without a limb. And here’s where things started to go way downhill for Calzona. Arizona was lashing out at her wife over the loss of her leg and was shutting Callie out of everything. This is where their disconnect began. Callie was busying herself with work and had to contend with Mark’s death on her own. The thing here that bothers a lot of fans is that she never went to Boise to be with Arizona after the crash. Why is that? She rushed to Sloan’s bedside in her pjs like a distraught wife when he was on the verge of death. Not only that, but in Eric Dane’s farewell episode, they filmed a new “flashback” scene that showed him and Callie in bed together. Mark wanted to make a sex tape.

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Can someone please explain to me why that kind of scene was necessary? Callie was married to Arizona and Mark was in love with Lexie, but Grey’s felt the need to have the character of, Callie Torres, who happens to be bisexual, in a sexual situation with her friend with benefits and baby daddy? Some fans were already upset by the fact that he was always very much present in the Calzona relationship. It’s almost like they were using her sexuality to play both sides. Seems kind of messed up to me and just an excuse to titilate viewers. And isn’t it interesting the way in which they were able to show Callie in bed with someone else without making her disloyal to Arizona? Hmm, which brings me to the subject of infidelity. By the end of the 9th Season, series’ creator, Shonda Rhimes, told viewers she was taking her show back from fans and that she and the writers had made some very “bold” descisions. And when someone tweeted her about Calzona, she responded with this cryptic tweet, “I will be good to Callie.” “And I will be good to Arizona.” That sent fans in a tizzy because she referred to them as individuals, not as a single unit. What the hell did that mean, we questioned? I thought after a horrible season, post crash, Calzona were finally on their way to being better?

Remember, “Idle Hands?”

Nope, that was just a tease. Shonda came in with her wrecking ball and had Arizona cheat on Callie with visiting Doctor, Lauren Boswell, played by Hillarie Burton. Like they weren’t already hit with more drama than any other couple on the show. What was truly upsetting about this is that it seemed to come out of left field. But Shonda was telling people in interviews that she felt it was very much earned for that character. And they needed “fertile ground” for the writers. She also said we’d never seen Arizona in a relationship with anyone other than Callie. Um, okay, so that’s how you decide to explore Arizona with someone else? Take a married woman and have her step out on her wife? As if the audience wasn’t hating on the lesbian enough, the show goes and does this:

It was a little ridiculous and many of us felt it was very out of character for Arizona Robbins to do such a thing. And they just had to show it onscreen, albeit in the dark. Whereas when Owen Hunt cheated on Cristina we never saw it. Is this how the show would say they’re equal? Funny that they would leave an impression with viewers showing Arizona’s tryst, but kept Owen’s out of sight. So as to possibly keep Owen in a more positive light? Because it is quite interesting to hear fans’ slam Arizona for being a selfish slut. But they think Owen is so sweet, even though the sole reason he slept with someone else was to intentionally cause Cristina pain for aborting their child. And when he almost strangled her due to PTSD it was understandable. But when Arizona was experiencing post traumatic stress after the plane crash, she was told to just get over it and nothing can excuse her behavior. And people were sympathetic to Callie who had to go 5 months without sex and was going around blabbing to people at the hospital how horrible marriage is and that she had to clean her wife’s pee off the bathroom floor? And how you’re tied down for the rest of your life. But Arizona is the bad guy.

This was upsetting to many in the Calzona fandom. And things would really just continue to get worse, with a few glimmers of false hope thrown in just to string us along. After Arizona’s cheating, Callie and Arizona “tried” to work things out. They bought a house. Callie got Arizona a new ring and they planned on expanding their family. But as we were told in early Season 11, Callie & Arizona’s relationship had been nothing but a series of band aids. And either their marriage would work or they’d split up. It was 50/50, according to Shonda Rhimes. And as we learned in 11×05, their love wasn’t enough. Callie told Arizona she felt stuck and wanted so much more for them. That after she got to experience some time away from Arizona, she realized how much happier she was outside of the relationship. That she was laughing more and was able to do so much more. And that she, “finally felt free!” And that she wanted Arizona to “finally feel free too!” So, after their 40 day separation, Callie walks out on her marriage. But, not before she gets one more night with her wife.

Little did Arizona know that after making love with Callie, she’d be a divorcee the next day. And that we as fans would be left with the wind knocked out of us. That was it? That was how Calzona would end? Just one lousy episode where they were finally gonna rip off the band aids and talk about everything in depth. We barely got to hear anything. Just a lot of Callie cutting off Arizona and mocking her. Telling the therapist how freaked out Arizona is by her bisexuality, but never once got to hear Arizona respond. But yet, we were told by Shonda, Sara, and Jessica, that they “get to clear up a lot of that miscommunication.” What a joke. Then we hear after the episode aired that they would not have Callie and Arizona interacting onscreen because after a break up, things are messy, and you need your space. Hello, the two were married, have a house together, work at the same hospital, and share a child. But we are told this is “authentic?” So, instead, we see Arizona working with, Dr. Herman, played by Geena Davis and it’s supposed to keep us from missing that (Calzona) relationship. And while Arizona is getting her groove back as a surgeon, Callie is palling around with Owen, whining to anyone who will listen, that she is missing sex and how jealous she she is that everyone is getting freaky, while she’s the only one not getting any. I thought this was a story about growth? Granted, she never engaged in any one night stands, the way “old” Callie would, but still, this seems like they’re resetting her character to the person we met in Season 3. And they’re resetting Arizona back to who we first met in season 5. It’s like they’re erasing the relationship of Callie and Arizona from existence. And what they’re doing now is getting ready for Calzona to start a friendship. And having Callie move on to a new relationship. They’ve already had a woman hit on Callie. Then they show Callie approach a “hot” guy to dance. Now, they’ve shown Callie out on a date with a woman, who plants one on Dr. Torres, for all to see, including Arizona.

And so begins this new “redefined” dynamic for Callie & Arizona. We’re told by Shonda that they wanted to show where does the love go? And both Jessica Capshaw and Sara Ramirez have spoken about these two women becoming friends who co-parent. And that’s what we saw last night. Arizona was not jealous at all. She was merely concerned for Callie’s safety, since Arizona had dated this woman herself! Oh, how funny! This lady is a nut job and they’re playing things for laughs with these two.

I tell ya, if you were just tuning in for the first time, you’d never know that these two were once married. There’s nothing there. Where’s the angst? Where’s the longing? When the other couples parted, you’d always still feel some heat there. You’d always still feel some sort of pull. But not with Calzona. They made a decision to separate them. And now, they will fix their problems, but as friends. They had a very immature relationship as wives, and lost themselves in their marriage. Callie gave up pieces of herself. And now we’re seeing her come back, hence the return of her leather jacket. And Arizona is returning to who she is, the person who never wanted kids and is a kick ass surgeon, who has joy. They have found individual happiness and are now being able to find happiness together. The pain from their relationship is gone. So, now what? We know Shonda & Sara have had lengthy discussions on bisexual invisibility. And that Shonda is very excited for what comes next for Callie. I think it’s pretty safe to say, what’s next is a new love story for her. Sara has said, “she’s in it for the long haul. As long as there are more stories to tell.” My guess is that the new character slated to be introduced in the April 2nd episode is set to be Callie’s new love interest. His name is Jack Pruitt, played by Kevin Alejandro. And he’s described as a tall, rugged, hero, police captain. Not that I’m one for conspiracies…Okay, I am, just a little…but, don’t you find it interesting that this guy is a year younger than Sara, and he’s of Mexican heritage, and has played a gay character on True Blood? They seem to have a lot in common. He’s done a PSA to take a stand against bullying and to let LGBT youth know they’re not alone and that things will get better. He’s also very interested in the Latino community.

These are things that Sara is also very passionate about and that she has mentioned in her recent HRC speech. I don’t know. It just looks, to me, that having Callie be bisexual is a way that they can get more seasons out of the show. It enables Grey’s to have more to work with. More stories. And it makes you wonder, how far back was this character of Jack Pruitt thought up? And what comes next for Arizona? Something tells me that they will not take the time to build a new lesbian romance for her. What I’m seeing is they broke up Calzona early in the season, so they’d have time to heal, and they’ll come back and make peace with each other. They’d be given closure. So, that by the end of the season, Arizona could (possibly) leave Grey Sloan Memorial for a more prestigious position now that she is not only a Peds surgeon, but a fetal surgeon as well. And what makes me say this? A couple of things. Dr. Herman tells Arizona that she’s “very thick. Always left of the point. And that the point is, she (Herman) is alive,” after her brain surgery. And that “being alive is always the point. Something will always come next.” She also says, “To leave a legacy behind, you have to leave.” And she tells Arizona, regarding her friends who are Callie’s friends, that she needs to “let go of the ties that bind.” Hmm, I do not like the sound of that, especially seeing as though Arizona seems to be isolated from the core cast. The only real friend she’s had lately was Herman, who was a guest star. And now she’s becoming friends with her ex-wife. How long could this friendship actually last? You know darn well when Callie starts a new romantic relationship, they won’t waste screen time showing her with Arizona. The only time a 3 way “friendship” was allowed was when Mark Sloan was around. Which gets me to another theory. Can you imagine if Mark were still alive? Callie would have her former male eff buddy, who also happens to be her baby daddy, her ex-wife, who’s now her “bestie,” and her new boyfriend, hunky, Jack Pruitt? Yeah, as if, that would ever happen. It was totally fine to “ruffle feathers,” with the modern family storyline while Callie was in a lesbian relationship, which now looks like it was nothing but a facade, since their band aids didn’t really start until Mark was killed. And that’s when we first started reading in interviews that maybe someone lied about who they were when they “committed to this relationship.” It does make it seem like Calzona was nothing more than two girls playing dress up. That’s why their marriage was so easily discarded. Talk about an insult to same-sex relationships. It’s as though Callie was practicing for the real thing. And when she meets her new person, she’ll most likely be enlightened. And having learned from her mistakes, she’ll be able to have a mature relationship. It’s just one huge slap in the face to the fans who brought viewership to this show because they were sold a couple who was destined to be together. A couple that was a positive image for those struggling for acceptance in what still is a very homophobic world. Just look at what some of the fans on Facebook say about Arizona. They wish she had died instead of Mark because Callie should have a proper family. So much so that they want her with Owen, since he needs kids. And maybe Sofia can now be his child. Arizona did nothing but “bring her down” and “deprive her of children.” And Callie should have “guy sex” because she “glows from guy sex” and “needs the D like for real.” And now it seems that’s what general fans will get. It’s a way for the show to squeeze out more seasons. And to spice things up. More sex. It’s upsetting because we longed to see Callie & Arizona have another child. But this time, on their terms, with no third party involvement. But sadly, their love was no longer enough and that was not to be. So, what now? Callie will ultimately have another child, but with a guy…again? Is there a reason Callie can’t make it work with a female? Or is there something else going on here? Is there behind the scenes drama between Sara & Jessica as many fans have been speculating about since season 7? And perhaps when Shonda says, “maybe Callie stuck to something she shouldn’t have stuck to,” she really means, Sara got stuck with Jcap? And by breaking up Calzona, they’re both finally free of the confines of that relationship and what that means. Jessica no longer has to kiss another female. She’s been defending their love scenes for years! And in a recent interview with Shonda, she said, “she was reluctant to just stick them with others.” I’m not sure what that means. But it could be as simple as wanting to show Callie on various dates with both men and women, so as to illustrate an “authentic” journey for a recently divorced character, who happens to be bisexual, before she just slaps Callie with another partner. We’ll probably never know. But what we do know is Calzona, as a couple, is over. And the way they ended them is appalling. They’ve not been treated equally to the heterosexual couples. They have not been allowed the same depth as their straight counterparts. And they’ve been reduced to comic relief. And as a result, they have alienated a number of fans. Fans who are no longer willing to give this show more of their time, when time after time, they’re left with nothing but disappointment. It’s like that saying, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Well, we’re done being fooled. We’re onto their game. We’re done “trusting journeys” and we’re done being used. It’s time for us to finally feel free too! I have not watched an episode of Grey’s, since 11×08, and what I finally realized, is the more removed I am from this show, the happier I am. I find myself doing more! I’m more connected to who I am! I’m laughing more! And I no longer feel stuck! And I suggest you do the same! Get out there and enjoy life. Don’t let the pain from your toxic relationship with this show suffocate you anymore! Stop giving up your Thursday nights! You shouldn’t have to give up anything! You owe it to yourself to be happy! It’s time to love yourself again! And experience other shows.

‘The Fosters’ Family

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I don’t know what your family dinners look like, but in my house, they’re pretty boisterous, usually ending up with a political discussion of some sort. It’s never boring. We all have very strong opinions. Whether we’re talking about healthcare, education, the state of the economy, national defense, or the marriage equality debate, by the end of the evening you’re sure to know where everyone stands on each issue. Sometimes, we agree, sometimes we don’t. But we’re always left with more knowledge than what we had before because of the exchanging of ideas and the different perspectives each person brings to the table. It gets us thinking. And one of the things I love talking about most is television and how the landscape is changing, with it becoming more and more inclusive and more accurately representing today’s America, and what it means to be  family.

These days, I’m enjoying ABC Family’s, “The Fosters.” It’s the story of a bi-racial lesbian couple, Stef and Lena Adams-Foster, raising a combination of biological, adopted, and foster children. I love it because it shows that family comes in all different packages. And just because you don’t share a blood line, doesn’t mean you’re any less of a family. The Fosters motto is, “DNA doesn’t make a family, love does.” And I wholeheartedly agree. So, imagine how surprised I get when I see people on message boards or on Facebook, calling the series, “sinful.” And that they’ve had enough of the “gay agenda” and the “brainwashing” of our kids. These same people are the ones that say, they’re not bigoted or hateful, they just believe being gay is a choice and you should choose heterosexuality to avoid going to hell. And to stop shoving homosexuality in their face. That they don’t need to see gay people on TV because even though they believe, “gays have the right to exist and not be persecuted,” they clearly don’t have the right to actually, live. That they are not worthy of telling their stories on television because, “it’s not normal!!!” And these shows make it seem like it’s “part of the mainstream when it’s not!”Hmm, that’s not being bigoted? Sounds awfully hateful and prejudiced to me. So, let me try to understand this, just because homosexuals might be in the minority, that means they shouldn’t be treated equally? Wealthy people who fall into the 1% are definitely not part of the “norm,” but you see their stories all over television. How about Italians? How about the Irish? How about left-handed people? Do they make up the majority? I don’t think so. Does that mean then we should avoid depicting their stories? How about people of color, women, etc? Should they be excluded as well? What year is this? What makes one group more worthy than another? I thought this was America. The land of the free. A country that embraced diversity. Are we not a melting pot of different cultures? Isn’t that why our ancestors chose to come here? I just don’t get it. Don’t we learn from each other? That it’s our differences that can teach us things? Isn’t there value there? Expand your horizons as they say. That it could lead to a more understanding and peaceful world?

Which is what The Fosters does. It gives you a chance to step outside of your own box and “travel” to a different land. It enables you to take a trip without actually leaving your house and provides a glimpse into how other people live. It teaches you about humanity. That even though we are different, at the heart of it, we are all people just looking for love and to live life to the fullest. And that living is so much more than existing. And we should all have the chance to live our lives without fear.

The stories you see on The Fosters are not part of some “agenda.” They’re honest portrayals of people that live among us. That it is not some, “lifestyle.” They are your co-workers, your employers, your law enforcement, your national leaders, your children, and so on. This show reflects our world. And what makes it even more interesting is that the people telling the stories are using their own lives as inspiration. Series writer and executive producer, Joanna Johnson, is a lesbian herself, who along with her wife, are raising a blended family. They have two multi-racial, adopted children. The Fosters is their life! If you’re a fan of the soaps you may recognize her from, “The Bold & The Beautiful.” She played late-blooming lesbian, Karen Spencer.

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In addition to Joanna, The Fosters is also reflective of the lives of Co-Creators and Executive Producers, Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige, who are also gay.

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They feel very strongly about presenting characters in a truthful way that is representative of a lot of youth out there who don’t often see their experiences on television. Which is what made last week’s episode of The Fosters so groundbreaking. It was the youngest same-sex kiss in TV history. And it created a lot of buzz, both negative and positive due the age of the characters involved. But Bradley’s response to those who question the decision to show two 13 years sharing a kiss, is this:

“Everyone has a first kiss and you remember it. How old were you?” Ninety percent of people who have an answer come back and say, “I was 12, 13 and 14 years old,” and I say, “Exactly. It was time to see this, time to put this up for the world.” Then people understand, they’re able to wrap their heads around it.” (Star Tribune)

If you’re curious about the scene and what has everyone talking, here it is:

What’s great about this moment is it shows the struggle two kids are having when facing their feelings. It speaks to a lot of young people who are going through the same thing, what it means to question who they are and that fear that comes along with it. And The Fosters handles it with integrity. Just like everything else on this show. Nothing is done for shock value. It’s simply the telling of stories that everyone can relate to on some level. Whether you see yourself in Jude and Connor, or Stef and Lena, this is a series that is about love. About growing up. About marriage. About life. It’s about the human experience. It’s about finding where you belong, just like the series’ theme song says. And I think that’s what we’re all looking for…a place we feel welcome. And that place is family. No matter what package it comes in.

The Fosters airs Monday at 8pm on ABC Family

http://m.startribune.com/entertainment/celebrities/295109001.html?section=/entertainment

Once in a Blue Moon

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photo-7 March 3, 1985…The City of Angels Detective Agency became Blue Moon Investigations and from then on, my life would never be the same. That was the day I first met wise cracking detective David Addison (played by new-comer, Bruce Willis) and former model Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd), the sparring duo that made Moonlighting, “water cooler tv.” And left you constantly wondering, “will they or won’t they?” But the show was so much more than a vehicle for Unresolved Sexual Tension. It had a little bit of everything…comedy, drama, romance, mystery, and music! The show’s theme song, by Al Jarreau, was a number 1 hit on Adult Contemporary radio back in 1987. And even had its own music video!

Then there’s the episode, “Big Man on Mulberry Street,” which features the Billy Joel song of the same name and a dance sequence directed by Stanley Donen a veteran of Hollywood Musicals like, Singin’ in the Rain.

Where else can you find such an elaborate production on television? Okay, well, maybe on Glee, but certainly not on a detective show! Music was such an integral part of the series. From time to time, Maddie & David would actually get surprise visits by famous musical acts. In Season 3, The Temptations dropped by the office to try to teach Maddie, how to get funky!

This show never ceases to entertain. In Season 4, Ray Charles and The Raylettes appear at David’s apartment to give him some advice.

You just never know what to expect! This series was all over the place! Moonlighting was such a mixing of genres, which is part of why I love it so. It was one of the first examples of a Dramedy, which led to it being nominated for both best comedy and best drama in the same year. The first time in the 50 year history of The Director’s Guild of America that had ever happened!

Here’s a little bit of the silliness that Moonlighting is known for:

Yep, Dr. Seuss-like rhymes! Even Maddie Hayes is amazed at what she’s seeing! But that’s not the only thing that separated Moonlighting from the pack. The series also frequently broke the 4th wall, acknowledging it was a TV show, referencing the viewers, the writers, and the network.

Sometimes, the show would incorporate many of the things that made the series unique all in one scene. The 5th Season’s opening was a combination of song and dance, comedy, and the breaking of the 4th wall.

This truly is a series that was ahead of its time. Not to mention very costly! One of the show’s most famous episodes, The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice, an homage to 1940’s Film Noir, cost a whopping 2 million dollars! The high production cost is one of the reasons the series still holds up. Each episode is like a movie and was shot on film instead of tape. So, even if the subject matter isn’t your thing, aesthetically, it’s gorgeous. Thanks to Cinematographer, Jerry Finnerman, a veteran of old Hollywood. Just take a look at this clip! Cybill, doing her best Rita Hayworth, is glowing, thanks to the use of a diffusion filter.

Another one of Moonlighting’s most famous and expensive episodes is the take on The Taming of The Shrew, “Atomic Shakespeare,” where David & Maddie play Petrucchio & Kate. This installment remains popular today and is even used in some English classes.

And, of course, no Moonlighting review would be complete without showing you a little of the David And Maddie magic. And why we all fell in love with them. They had a love you could feel. Just look at this clip from one of my favorite episodes of all-time, “Witness For the Execution.” Maddie and David share their first kiss in a parking garage. And all of America went crazy. It’s what we had been waiting for, but in true Maddie & David fashion neither was willing to be the first to admit what just happened. So, instead, they denied it. But there was no denying their feelings, no matter how hard they tried.

And it’s one of the reasons we continued to tune in every Tuesday night! Even to this day, there really is no other show like it. It’s the kind of series that only comes around, Once in a Blue Moon. If you’ve never seen Moonlighting, I highly recommend you do. If for nothing else than to see Bruce Willis with a full head of hair! Happy viewing!

Moonlighting is available on DVD

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http://www.fye.com/s/product/2511290?c3apiks=361_916802&cid=1334108&kpid=2511290&gclid=CNXN9aXkjMQCFWYV7Aod_WQAgA#.VPX5Zzqtp1M

And the Soundtrack album is available as well.

http://www.amazon.com/Moonlighting-The-Television-Soundtrack-Album/dp/B000002Q85/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_img_1

A Trip Down Wisteria Lane with Doug Savant

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Who else was a huge fan of Desperate Housewives? It’s been nearly three years since we said goodbye to the residents of Wisteria Lane. And since yesterday was Sunday, it got me to thinking how much I miss that series and how much I enjoyed planting myself in front of the tv every week. It truly was appointment television for me. I loved everything about it. The characters. The comedy. The drama. And the mystery. It had a little bit of everything. So imagine how excited I was when I got to interview one of its stars back in 2011. And he couldn’t have been nicer. I’m talking about the actor who played, Tom Scavo, for 8 seasons, Mr. Doug Savant. I had the opportunity to talk with him just before the end of the 7th season. And we discussed some of what was ahead for the residents of Wisteria Lane, but mostly, what was ahead for one of the show’s most popular couples, Tom & Lynette Scavo. What I enjoyed most about this interview was his passion for the show and how proud he was of his tv relationship and what it represented. Click on the link below if you’d like to hear what he had to say.

https://soundcloud.com/kara-70/interview-with-doug-savant-2011

Defending Arizona

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In light of recent events, I feel someone needs to give a voice to one of the characters who has become the victim of a lot of hatred among the general Grey’s Anatomy audience. I’m talking about, the once adored, “Good Man in a Storm,” Dr. Arizona Robbins. When we first met this perky Pediatric Surgeon, she instantly captured the hearts of many, myself included. According to TV Guide’s, Matt Mitovich, “she quickly established herself as a fan favorite,” describing her as “a breath of fresh air in the often angsty halls of Seattle Grace.”

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Is this “normal” behavior of a bisexual person? Or is this more a representation of a polyamorous relationship? Because I don’t know of any other couple, gay or straight, where this would seem acceptable. Do we really think that if this were Meredith and Derek, Addison would come over, spend the night, and give a foot rub to her ex-husband? And we wonder why Arizona would say it looks like some sort of “bi-dream.” That, again, is not bi-phobic, in my opinion. Honestly, it is a stereotype, a negative one, that says a bisexual can’t be happy unless they have both men and women. They’re said to be greedy and indecisive. Not sure what Grey’s Anatomy was tying to convey with this 3-way parenting story, but it certainly looks like they were perpetuating a negative stereotype. Not only that, it looks like they were placing more value on the man in the family unit, than on the lesbian who’s role was constantly being diminished. Just look at the way Mark, Callie, and Arizona leave the hospital after Sofia was born.

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Arizona is trailing behind the biological parents, even though she is the one engaged to Calliope Torres. And these are just a few examples. Let’s not also forget how many times Mark made his way into Callie and Arizona’s bedroom and Callie treated it as a joke, instead of respecting any sort of boundaries.

What’s even more gross than Callie laughing about him walking in on them, is the way the show makes it all about the male getting pleasure from seeing two women making love. It turns it into a joke. Like the time, Arizona, was upset that Mark was looking at her boobs. It made her uncomfortable that he would just stare at them, but what did Callie say, “so, they’re good boobs.” Again, Arizona’s feelings were trivialized. This would become an ongoing theme for Callie and Arizona. Even the day Arizona asked Callie to marry her. Arizona and Callie were supposed to go on a romantic weekend together, leaving their worries behind. No work. No Mark. Just them. But that was not acceptable to Callie, who just couldn’t put her phone down for even five minutes to devote her complete attention to Arizona.

I don’t know about you, but this would make me feel like anything but special. I’d feel like I didn’t matter. But, somehow, Shonda Rhimes and Sara Ramirez are now spinning it to demonstrate how unfairly bisexuals are treated. And using Arizona as a symbolic plot device to illustrate the bias that exists among some lesbians and society, as a whole, toward the bisexual community. Instead of uniting everyone, they’re being divisive in their quest for bisexual visibility. And at the same time, coming across as a little sexist, hetero-normative, and lesbophobic. And if that’s not troubling enough, let’s not forget that in Season 9, Shonda, in an effort to keep the show “fresh” and to give the writers “fertile ground,” she made the decision to have our “Good Man in a Storm” cheat on Callie, during a storm! Something that seemed completely out of character and was ill-timed as well, considering the writers had already made Arizona pretty unlikable in the way they handled her post-amputation storyline. There were many interviews around that period that said the series would be delving in to what that kind of trauma would do to a person and that they would be exploring a PTSD storyline for Arizona, but that somehow never made it to the light of day. None of it was ever fully developed and a lot of stuff was happening off screen leaving the audience to fill in the gaps. And a lot of the writing had become inconsistent. So much so, that in season 10, they had to do a retcon episode to try to explain why the cheating happened. But still, viewers are divided on the issue. Some say, Arizona is flat out selfish. Some say, it was her way of regaining the control she had lost, in her life and in her relationship. That decisions were no longer being made by her, but for her. And the leg was just a catalyst that brought all those deep seeded issues to the surface. She had been a good man in a storm for too long…pushing down her true feelings, in a way to keep order and a way to be a wife for Callie, even if she hadn’t truly healed. Others say, the cheating was a result of Arizona no longer feeling like she was enough for Callie, which she tearfully admits to April, in church, just before Kepner is about to be married. There were other signs that point to this as well. Callie was disengaged whenever Arizona would try to talk with her. Callie asks Arizona who Lauren is and just as Arizona starts to tell her, Callie proceeds to talk about Bailey and how they need to “fix” her.

Sadly, I think Arizona was feeling very much less than and missed how Callie used to make her feel, when they first got together. Callie used to make her feel wanted. And she used to be interested. Just compare the elevator scene with Callie and Arizona from season 6, to the elevator scene with Arizona and Lauren in Season 9.

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I don’t know what was going on in Arizona’s head, but I think she still did love Callie a great deal, even though she cheated. I’m not sure how Callie was feeling at that point, given all they had been through. But she certainly didn’t come across as a wife who was with her wife out of love and want. She told Arizona repeatedly that she stayed with her while she was sick. And she wasn’t gonna run because Arizona stayed with her after the car accident. It was more about obligation than love. And if some of the sides for upcoming episodes are related to Callie and Arizona and why their marriage ended, it makes Arizona’s “irrational” and “biphobic” fears all the more justifiable. And it sets bisexuals back because it only serves to perpetuate the stereotype that women are never enough. That a bisexual woman will always ultimately choose a man. I mean, I am not kidding, but this is from a side to ep 15…

Jean (75 and sweet) — She’s speaking with her doctor and tells her she’s got one tiny problem that she hopes the doctor can help. Her husband has recently died and the gentlemen have started calling. SHE WANTS TO POLISH Herbert’s 9 iron…yes, HIS PENIS. She’s terribly interested in it. In fact, SHE’S INTERESTED IN ALL THE PENISES. But she’s had hip replacement and it’s giving her trouble. She brought cookies. In the next scene she tells Dr. Hall to listen. The hip squeaks. Any way she tries, on her back, on her side, bent over the arm of a couch…(you get the picture). She had the hip replacement 15 years ago but it only started squeaking 6. Her husband didn’t mind. Dr. Hall is concerned. A new hip is major surgery. But Jean is lovely and any man would be lucky to be with her and get used to the sound, just like Gil. That’s not what Jean’s looking for. Gil was the love of her life. He’s the only man she will ever love. But she’s damned if he’s the only man who will ever razzle her berries. Dr. Hall realizes that Jean doesn’t want to be limited. That’s right. She wants to look and sound her best. Dr. Hall adds that she wants a fresh start. Exactly.

Is Dr. Hall supposed to be Callie? She doesn’t want to be limited?

Then there’s this side from ep. 12…

Hillary explains that Todd cares for her deeply, he’s sweet and clingy. And the more he feels, the less she does and they haven’t been together for long, but he wants to take it to the next level. She started pretending to fall asleep whenever he would go on and on about their future. Dr. Rogers says that’s diabolical. Hillary says that today they were walking in the park and he got down on one knee all teary-eyed and she faked fainting. She didn’t realize how close she was to the steps but she had to go with it. Dr. Rogers says she can really commit. Hillary says yes, but not to Todd. 

(Scene 2) Dr. Rogers consults with Hillary in her patient room. Hillary’s leg should be fully healed in about 3 months. Hillary asks if Todd is there. Dr. Rogers tells her she needs to break up with Todd. She can’t take another fall like that. Hillary says she knows she should and she will. Todd enters the room and asks how Hillary is. Dr. Rogers is going to leave but Hillary tells her she can stay. Todd tells Hillary he’s going to take her home and make sure she has everything she needs. Hillary tells him that he’s been so sweet and kind, but she’s been unfair. Todd tells her not to worry about him and he loves her. Hillary looks panicked so she fakes fainting. Todd is terrified and tells Dr. Rogers to help but she is over it. Dr. Rogers tells Todd that what Hillary is trying to tell him is that she wants to break up with him. Dr. Rogers knows that all he wants is to help but it’s not what Hillary wants and she doesn’t deserve it. Todd starts to cry. Dr. Rogers says he deserves someone who wants him there and who needs the kind of attention only he can give. Dr. Rogers puts her arm around Todd and walks him to the door. 

Are Hillary and Todd supposed to represent Callie & Arizona? It would play into what Sara Ramirez has said when talking about their relationship. She wondered, “Did someone lie to themselves when they committed to this relationship?” Or was it about fear that prevented them from leaving? Look at the pic below. One is from season 7 and the other is from season 9. Arizona is talking about her dream, not including Mark, not that she doesn’t want a family with Callie. But in the season 9 pic when Arizona is talking of the future and buying a house for their family, Callie seems detached. She didn’t want to talk about it yet. Why? Because Mark had just died or because she wasn’t really committed to Arizona?

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Because there was yet more evidence to this in episode 10×09 when they went house hunting. Arizona was so excited, but Callie was preoccupied with her phone.

I think Arizona sensed this for a while, which is why she suggested adding to their family. It was a “band aid.” It was a desperate attempt by Arizona to hold onto Callie. Hoping that she would be enough if she could give Callie a baby. And that she would be the one to get pregnant this time. Which heartbreakingly led to a miscarriage. What was even more heartbreaking for Arizona was that her wife wasn’t there for her emotionally. Callie missed the sonogram appointment and didn’t offer her much comfort, other than to say, halfheartedly, we’ll try again. But Arizona couldn’t handle another loss. She had already lost her brother, her best friend, her leg, her baby, and I think, her wife. And that is what I believe led her to the arms of Dr. Lauren Boswell. Callie and Arizona did “try” to reconcile after all of the mess that was season 9 and 10, but as Sara Ramirez has said, “it wasn’t about result. It was about trying.” So, we now know, the result was that they couldn’t fix their problems. Callie finally spoke the truth. She felt stuck with Arizona. And told Arizona that she deserved more. I took it to mean, she deserved someone who loved her and wanted to be with her. And that it wasn’t fair to Arizona to keep making sacrifices for her, if Callie wasn’t truly all in. A sentiment that was kind of alluded to last season when Callie tells Arizona she shouldn’t have to give anything up.

calliegiveupanythingSo, here we are, Arizona is no longer giving things up. She is on her way to becoming a fetal surgeon with the help of Dr. Herman and her fellowship. While Callie is off finding herself, or so that’s what we were told. In reality, it’s been 5 episodes post divorce and both she and Owen Hunt are both trying to get back out into the dating game. This is the “transitionary period,” Sara talked about in an interview post break up. Which translates to taking the series from the Calzona relationship to Callie and her new relationship. They certainly didn’t waste any time. As early as 11×06, Callie and her new pals were talking about how they were all connected by sexual relations and that Callie does dudes too. And who walks in at that precise moment? Her ex-wife. So, is that all she is now, a former sexual partner? Yet again, the lesbian relationship is being shown as less than compared to the hetero relationships on the show. It’s as though Callie snapped her fingers and the marriage was over. We have not seen Callie and Arizona interact. There has been no talk of their child. No talk of the house they bought together. No talk of assets. Nothing. The series is trying to make the audience forget Calzona was ever a thing, so they will be ready to see Callie dating again. Conversely, Owen Hunt, is only now beginning to truly let go of Cristina.  And it’s been nearly a year since Sandra Oh’s departure. Speaking of Cristina, when she broke up with Burke, Shonda said they gave her a full season to mourn the loss of that relationship. I guess the real reason for the Calzona break up was to just put Callie with someone new and take the series into its next phase. Callie and Arizona will come together at some point though, but not until they have healed. And when they do they will begin a beautiful friendship. And will be co-parents. Sara Ramirez has said, “what if they work better as friends? A relationship that’s not necessarily romantic.” And how seeing two women become friends is just as exciting as seeing two women get married on TV. My question is, how will this friendship play out? Will it be shown on-screen? Will it be like a Callie and Mark friendship? When Callie is off on dates, or with her new love interest, will Arizona walk in on them having sex? Will Callie be dismissive of her boyfriend if he wants to be alone with her, if Arizona happens to call? Or will Callie suddenly have grown and through her newfound self-awareness, thanks to her failed marriage and some introspection, now be better at her new relationship? Will she not make the same mistakes this time around? How convenient. She was incapable of boundaries when it came to Mark. Oh, I’m sorry, only when it came to Mark and Arizona. Notice how respectful she was of Lexie Grey when she questioned Callie’s sexuality. No one ever accused Little Grey of being dismissive.photo(2)Arizona was the only one being ridiculous and biphobic. Yet another thing that screams inequality. But all this is supposed to be made better because Arizona is now advancing in her career. And Shonda is keeping her promise, “I will be good to Arizona.” I wonder if Arizona will be shown starting a new relationship? Or will she now become asexual? Or will it even matter, as some fans feel she might not be around much longer. And nor will they as many have already jumped ship.

Am I the Only One?

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Shondaland

The holidays are over and that means so is the hiatus for many of our favorite tv shows.  January is the first month in a brand new year. And with it brings brand new story lines with new adventures for a lot of televisions most beloved characters. But am I the only one who’s a little less than excited to see the return of Grey’s Anatomy on January 29th?

If you’re a Calzona fan, my guess would be no. And why would we be when earlier in the season they split up? What’s to look forward to? Except more heartache when we see them moving on. Or should I say, Callie moving on, since it always seems like the series places more weight on Callie’s journey, than on Arizona’s. And so much of what happens is always shown through her point of view. I swear, sometimes, I think the show should be called, “Callie’s Anatomy.” And I’m kind of over seeing that at this point, especially, if it means more of what many fans are calling her, “bisexual journey.” I know, I know. That sounds like it reeks of bi-phobia. And in any other case, I would probably agree with you. But not when it comes to Grey’s and how the series chooses to represent its bisexual character. I think a lot of people have been throwing that term around as a way of shutting down anyone who has a problem with this new storyline and aren’t really giving people a chance to explain why they’re upset. So, please, just hear me out. First, let’s define the term, biphobia. It is an “intense hatred, fear or aversion towards bisexuals or bisexuality, which may include negative stereotyping or denial of the existence of bisexuals.” I don’t think any of us are denying bisexuality. And I don’t think any of us hates bisexuals or has an aversion to them. What we do have an aversion to, however, is inequality. And being used and being lied to. And I know a lot of  Calzona fans feel that after investing 7 years with this couple, it’s now looking like their whole relationship has been nothing but a lie. And that they’ve been taken for a ride. That they’ve been dangling a carrot of hope, only to have it abruptly pulled a way, all for the sake of telling a new love story. The whole way Grey’s Anatomy is going about this, imo, is wrong on so many levels.

I know many feel it was rather offensive, insensitive, and rude, to hear Callie going on about being bisexual, while at the same time trashing her (Lesbian) wife, all before she even made the decision she wanted a divorce.  And yes, I understand, it’s her sexual identity. And yes, that will remain true, regardless of whether or not she’s in a relationship with a man or a woman. But her tone was very condescending and obnoxious, in my opinion. And as usual, we never got to hear Arizona’s side of the story. And a lot of fans, myself included, took it as a bit of a slap in the face. Not because she’s a bisexual character, but because of how the show seems to be treating the lesbian character, the lesbian relationship, and the lesbian viewers. It came across, to me, that the show was already done with Calzona and was readying the audience to move on, by reminding us that Callie is attracted to both men and women. And that we’d soon see Callie paired up with a new love interest. When Callie said, “It is a thing and it is real,” it almost came off that she was TELLING us and next she’d be SHOWING us how real it is. It was like they just tossed Calzona aside, like yesterday’s garbage.

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It was a devastating blow to those of us who have stuck by the show, rooting for this couple to make it through anything, because we believed – or, wanted to believe – that their love was strong enough to weather any storm. Although, looking back, maybe we really shouldn’t be that surprised that they would end this way because as special and as romantic as Calzona could be, Grey’s Anatomy, always seemed to find a way of letting us know, that although Callie was with Arizona, she was still very much attracted to men. Which I’m sorry, but I’ve read up on bisexuality and from I can gather, there is no test for bisexuality. And you do not have to prove it. Just like Arizona doesn’t have to prove she’s a lesbian. Just because a bisexual character is in a same-sex relationship, doesn’t make them any less authentically bisexual. In fact, being bisexual, according to some definitions, only means you have the “potential” to be attracted to men and women. Yet, for some reason, when it comes to Calliope Torres, the show always seemed to feel the need to have a man around, one in particular; Mark Sloan. I’ll show you some instances where they allowed Callie to explore her sexuality and the creative ways they let her – and the mainstream audience- have their cake and eat it too, without actually having her be disloyal to Arizona. Let’s talk a little bit about Television Tropes. They are defined, according to Wikipedia, “as conventions and various devices found within creative works.” Some examples of this would be Dream Sequences or Flashbacks. They are tricks used by writers to give the audience what they want without actually making something canon. Another variety, according to TVTropes.org is “when the characters have fantastic and silly adventures in settings that the show’s main premise could not accommodate.” The tv series Moonlighting used this technique often as a means of quelling fans’ desires to have Maddie and David hookup, all the while in the real Moonlighting universe, the two would remain separated so as to maintain the “will they or won’t they tension.”

Exhibit A: The Moonlighting episode, “Atomic Shakespeare,” where the series paid homage to The Taming of the Shrew. Here we have Maddie as Kate and David as Petruchio in bed together. They’re giving viewers a pay off of a consummated relationship without actually having (the real) Maddie and David do the deed.

davidpetruchioExhibit B: “Big Man on Mulberry Street.” Maddie has a dream when she learns David has been married before and in it bothers her that she never knew this fact about David. So, she goes home, has some wine, falls asleep and dreams about David and what his ex may have been like. Of course, in her dream, Maddie would also be there as the one to help him through his broken heart. They share a dance and a kiss, and then she wakes up.

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Exhibit C: “The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice.” This whole episode is an homage to the noir films of the 40’s. The case of the day is to solve an old murder and each of our heroes dreams about who could have done it, the guy or the girl. So, of course, in their dreams they play the accused. Here we have Maddie as Rita and David as Zach. And they get to enjoy a kiss. And so do we.

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Now, let’s get to Grey’s. They like to use Alternate reality scenarios and flashbacks to give the audience a glimpse of what could be or what may have happened in the past, that we as viewers never got to see before. Here’s an example of a flashback (a newly filmed scene, btw) from Season 9, which shows Callie and Mark in bed together, in Eric Dane’s Farewell episode.

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Keep in mind, this was while Callie was married to Arizona. Now you tell me, was this scene really necessary? Why did they choose to use Callie in this scenario and not some other character? Lexie was supposedly the love of his life, not Callie. So, did we really have to see Mark Sloan wanting to make a sex tape with Callie Torres? When have we ever seen a Calzona scene like this in recent history, if ever? And have we ever seen a scene like this with Arizona and her past sexual partners? And why does there seem to be a lack of these types of scenes between the same sex couple? Is it a network thing? Or was it a comfort level of the actresses involved that has determined the level of steaminess between Callie and Arizona. And perhaps that is why the series has chosen to end that pairing, without looking back. Maybe they’re looking to sex up the show. Sex sells. And we do hear that there will be more men coming in. Whatever the reasons, I know a lot of fans have had enough. They’ve had enough of what seems to be a double standard. And they’re tired of being used as a gimmick. And they feel it’s time to break free and look for joy somewhere else on the dial. Somewhere that they will feel respected and represented in an honest way.

It’s a shame really. Because with Callie and Arizona they had the potential to write this amazing love story between two women. And it could have gone down in television history as one of the most ground breaking couples of all time. A bisexual woman, marries another woman, stays married to her, and they live happily ever after. But instead, they chose to have Callie Torres divorce her wife because she made her feel suffocated and stuck. And that Arizona Robbins was not enough for her, which is what led Arizona into the arms of Dr. Boswell. Arizona wasn’t giving Callie what she needed. Not sure if that’s the best representation for an authentic “bisexual journey,” as it looks like it’s sending the message of a bisexual woman needing a man in her life in order to be completely happy. It’s just more of the same old tired cliche.

Before I go, here’s just a little look back at some of Calzona moments when Mark was still alive to give you a little more insight as to why we feel Calzona has been a facade. The lesbian couple never seemed to be able to just be them. Here they are in bed together…with Mark. Arizona’s concerns were minimized and she just had to be okay with this “threesome.” Is this a marginalization of the lesbian character?  And please don’t compare the “Mallie” friendship to that of Cristina and Meredith, as they were never friends with benefits.

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And, of course, also during “The Calzona Years,” there were moments where we saw Callie and Mark in sexual situations. But Arizona and Callie were on a break, so it “didn’t count.” Which I find kind of funny, since when a similar situation arose last season viewers hated on Arizona for doing the same thing. But, in her case, didn’t become pregnant, nor did she ask her partner to raise their love child.

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More Callie and Mark. Here they are exchanging narcissistic praise of how good they each are at sex. Although Callie gets offended that he’s not shouting from the roof tops just how amazing she is. Greys-Anatomy-7x10-Mark-Sloan-Callie-Torres-Cap-01 And then even when it looked like Arizona and Callie would reconcile after the Africa incident, Callie and Mark had no problem cozying up in bed together, while he has his shirt off. Yeah, because I’m sure this would fly if Callie knew Arizona had a friend she liked to do this with. Double standard. greys-anatomy-7x13-callie-mark-cap-01

How about even before Arizona entered the picture, and Callie had her first experience with a woman, Erica Hahn, she still seemed to put Mark above her and even admitted to cheating on her with him. Yet, people revere Calliope Torres, but consider Arizona Robbins to be a pariah.

And now, even this season when Callie was unhappy in her marriage, whose arms did she seek comfort in? Dr. Owen Hunt. Geez, Callie, why do you always seem to avoid emotional intimacy with your female partners.

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And what’s worse is the show seems to be using Callie and Owen to promote their TGIT lineup. And Shonda herself is now trolling the idea of a Callie and Owen baby.

And some fans are loving it. They are hoping the two hook up. Um, Owen cheated on his wife for the sole purpose of hurting her because she had an abortion and prevented him from having a child. WHAT? They think he is perfect for Callie, but Arizona is a selfish, cheating whore who deserves to die? Ugh. And what’s truly upsetting is to hear some fans say, “he NEEDS a baby. How about Sofia?” WTH? They think it’s totally fine to just give him Calzona’s child? Arizona is her mother too. But people seem to forget that or they don’t view her as a true parent, since she’s a lesbian. I don’t know. I just think that this current storyline is damaging for all those involved. It not only seems to be perpetuating negative stereotypes, but it also seems to be fueling homophobes and their desire to see Callie back in a “normal” relationship. One where she can finally be happy, since apparently Arizona has been nothing but a burden and has been keeping her from the life and family she deserves. Just the thought of that makes me sad. I was hoping to see Callie and Arizona expand their family on their terms, with no third party influence. But I guess that just wasn’t meant to be. Arizona simply wasn’t enough.

The only thing at this point that might keep me interested is to ensure Arizona Robbins stays on the show and to continue to develop her character, both professionally and personally, as a fully realized individual, with a voice, who is more than just a plot device for Callie. If viewers will be seeing Callie dating and starting a new romance, then they must do the same for Arizona. And it must take place on screen. But I’m not keeping my expectations high.

Bold Enough To Go Where No One Had Gone Before : Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols

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startrek

A very happy belated birthday to trailblazer, Nichelle Nichols, who turned 82 on December 28th. Sci-Fi fans may know her best for boldly taking us where no one had gone before, with her role as, Lt. Nyota Uhura, in TV’s, Star Trek. Nichols was first offered the part by Series Creator, Gene Roddenberry, in 1966, and has since reprised her role in subsequent Star Trek films, ending with 1991’s, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. It just goes to show how much staying power characters can have when they touch the lives of so many. And how much influence they can yield within society, with their ability to empower, provide visibility, and shape our attitudes and perceptions of many different groups. Positive representation is important. And although she was unaware at first, Nichelle Nichols, was doing just that, but it took Martin Luther King, Jr. to make the actress realize just how vital her presence on Star Trek was and what it meant for The Civil Rights Movement. Nichols’ was breaking new ground with this character by challenging stereotypes and breaking racial barriers. She truly was going where no one had gone before. And as result, she gave hope and inspiration to not only the African American Community, but to people everywhere who might have felt they had no choice in what they did in life. Here’s a wonderful piece from, “A Mighty Girl” that highlights her contributions to equality and just how much impact she had in opening doors to the future:

“Nichelle Nichols made television history in the 1960s with her portrayal of “Star Trek” character Lieutenant Nyota Uhura — a breakthrough role that showed an African American woman in a position of power as the fourth in command of a starship. At the end of the first season, however, Nichols was frustrated by the show’s development and considering a move back to Broadway until she met a very special fan who convinced her how important her role on the show was — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

After Nichols told Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry that she was leaving the show, he encouraged her to think it over. That weekend, she attended a fundraiser for the NAACP and met King who told her he was a “Trekkie” and “Lieutenant Uhura’s most ardent fan.” As Nichols described in an interview with the Huffington Post, when King learned that she was leaving, he urged her to stay, stating:

“‘Don’t you realize how important your presence, your character is? This is not a black role or a female role. You have the first nonstereotypical role on television. You have broken ground’… ‘Here we are marching, and there you are projecting where we’re going. You cannot leave [the show]. Don’t you understand what you mean?’ I told him that when I would go on hiatus from the show, I could come and march with him and he said, ‘No! You’re an image for us. We look on that screen and we know where we’re going.’ It was like he was saying, ‘Free at last, free at last!'”

Nichols did stay on the show with its entire run and went on to make history again in 1968 as part of the first scripted interracial kiss on TV with William Shatner, who played the show’s lead character, Captain James T. Kirk. Nichols’ groundbreaking character had a huge cultural influence, especially as a role model for many African American girls. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space, has cited her as an important influence and even used Uhura’s signature line “Hailing frequencies open” during the course of her duties on the space shuttle.”

http://www.amightygirl.com

Grey’s Anatomy, “The Authentic Bisexual Journey,” and The Destruction of Calzona: A Fandom Divided

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mfeoshondacalzona

Can we talk Grey’s Anatomy and the recent break-up of a couple that was once dubbed MFEO (Made For Each Other) and shared chemistry that was at one time dubbed by Show Runner, Shonda Rhimes, to be comparable to that of the series,’ “Golden Couple,” Meredith and Derek? A couple that Grey’s writer, Stacy McKee, has described as, “Romance: Sweet, epic, fairytale, romance. Pure and simple.” A couple with a fan base so big, they have entire online communities devoted to them. A couple whose wedding made headlines in the New York Times. A couple who inspired legions of lesbians to come out of the closet and helped alleviate a lot of hatred toward same-sex couples. I’m referring to, of course, the beloved Calliope Torres and Arizona Robbins, who together have become known as, “Calzona.” Since season 5, we have laughed with them, cried with them, and loved with them. They were adorable and complemented each other well. Here you had two strong women, both with big jobs as surgeons, and big personalities. One, an “Orthopedic Goddess, who breaks bones for a living,” and the other a “Type-A, know-it-all Pediatric Surgeon, who despite her perkiness, is totally, ‘hardcore.'” The wonderful thing about this pairing was the way they used to communicate with one another. In the beginning, Callie, a character who is sometimes called out for being passive-aggressive and bossy, and usually only see things her way. Not sure if this stems from her privileged upbringing, something that could have led to an entitled mindset, her insecurity, or it’s just something innate within her. Whatever the reason, Arizona Robbins, didn’t let her get away from an argument without letting her position be known. Initially resistant, Callie, would eventually come around to listening to Arizona’s perspective and although she may still have disagreed with her, she did come to understand where Arizona was coming from. And it was absolutely gorgeous to watch. But then, something changed. I wanna say it was around Season 7, when Arizona broke up with Callie at an airport and left for Africa, which, by the way, I believe was only written into the show to accommodate Jessica Capshaw’s maternity leave. However, I do think this is where some of the problems started for Calzona. In Arizona’s absence, Callie finds herself pregnant by her, “Friend with Benefits,” Dr. Mark Sloan. It should be pointed out, that by this point in the series, it was established that, Callie Torres, is not a lesbian, but a bisexual character. It’s an important distinction and one that will come up as a source of contention, not only on the show, but among the fans as well. And that, Sara Ramirez, was the one who introduced this sexual fluidity for her character. She told GLAAD, “I chose this path for Callie. [Creator] Shonda Rhimes collaborated with me on it and the writers, thank god, have gone with it…and I want to continue to develop an authentic journey for this character.” So, for anyone who thinks actors don’t have a say in what happens in terms of story lines for their characters, let this be proof, that they indeed do.

Which leads me to my conspiracy theory as to why Callie in Season 11, episode 5, decides she no longer wants to fix her broken relationship with Arizona and wants a divorce. Let me preface this by saying, this is purely speculation on my part and that I do not have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that what I’m asserting here is absolute truth, but there has been enough said in interviews over the years that one could come to this conclusion. And yes, I know, this is “just a tv show,” but I can’t help but be a little disappointed by how things ended for Calzona and just felt the need to vent and process out loud the demise of one of my all-time favorite tv duos.

Let’s go back to 2011, shall we? The year that brought us the fairy tale wedding of Callie and Arizona. Look at the images below and all you see is pure love radiating from these two women.

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So, what happened? How could this couple go from being so seemingly in love to a couple that couldn’t seem to fix their “band aid” of a relationship? And had Callie telling Arizona by the end of this current season’s 5th episode, that she’s happier and freer without her, but wants so much for her? “So much more than this…so much more than being stuck with someone who feels stuck.”

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Here’s the clip where Callie breaks up with Arizona – October 23, 2014 Season 11, Episode 5, “Bend and Break”

I’ll tell you what happened. At least what I was noticing off screen. It started around the time of The Musical Event, the episode that aired in March of 2011, just two months before the Calzona wedding. I remember reading an interview with Sara Ramirez where she spoke of how she thought it would be interesting to explore her character, Callie Torres, as single, someone who was unattached, since we never really saw Callie not in a relationship of some kind. I thought this odd, seeing as though she was part of a very popular coupling on Grey’s. And that so much buzz at the time was centered around the upcoming nuptials between the two women. Why would she be saying such a thing? It made me a little fearful that a plot twist could be headed our way and that perhaps, Arizona Robbins, would be killed off the show. I commented about this ad nauseam on the ABC Grey’s forum and people told me I was nuts. It then came out after Callie and Arizona had tied the knot, that for the series’ 8th season, the couple would be allowed some “semblance of normalcy” and would be able to enjoy their “honeymoon phase.” But people associated with the show made it clear that wedded bliss was usually short-lived in Shondaland and that drama was surely headed their way. That line always bothered me…”semblance?” Yeah, didn’t like that that meant, “appearance.” But anyway, I digress. As promised, the early part of the 8th season did deliver happy, loving, cutesy, and in love Calzona.

SARA RAMIREZ, JESSICA CAPSHAW

Still from Season 8 (never made it into the episode)

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Then the latter part of the season happened. And here’s when things started to look a little suspect. All of a sudden, out of the blue, Arizona’s best friend, Nick, shows up at the hospital. It turns out he’s dying and had he told Arizona sooner, she probably could have done something to save him, but alas, it was too late and now she has to suffer yet another loss (it had been mentioned previously, that she lost her brother). Which leads to this:

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All of a sudden, Arizona Robbins is needy and pleads with Callie to never leave her. LOL When did this become daytime tv? Please enjoy the below clip from the movie, Soap Dish, on how outlandish story lines come to be when dealing with behind the scenes drama and appeasing the stars involved.

Clip from Soap Dish, 1991

You just never know when a story is unfolding organically and in an authentic way, through its characters, or if the story is being driven by plot. Something tells me you could probably make the argument, for either case, when it comes to Grey’s as more story usually reveals itself with each passing episode. But, when it comes to Calzona, some of it, at least right now, is coming off as a little bit contrived just as a means to an end, in my opinion. As it’s been mentioned, since Calzona’s breakup, that what’s ahead for Callie, according to Sara, is that “what the writers have explained is they’re interested in seeing an unattached callie. Who is she at the hospital, what is she like around her co-workers? Do friendships arise, do working relationships improve? Do they not improve?…” Hmm, interesting. A single Callie. Isn’t that something she hoped to see going all the way to season 7? “Anyway, back to needy Arizona and her plea to Callie, just before she boards a plane to Idaho, along with some of the other doctors at Seattle Grace Mercy West. Uh, oh. Flight? Season Finale in Shondaland? I smell disaster, drama, and possible death. And yep, that is exactly what Grey’s fans got right as Season 8 came to a close, that left one character dead by episode’s end, while the others’ lives hung in the balance. It was quite a summer hiatus that left us with the burning question, who will survive? Will there be more casualties? Could Arizona be one of the victims, especially since her wife, uttered the ever so ominous foreshadowing, just before the audience sees the plane go down, “Life changes in an instant. Turns on a dime. One minute you’re miserable and then the next, you’ve met the most amazing woman in the world, and are in love.” Dun, dun, dun. See you in September to find out who lives. So, Calzona fans all across the world spent the hiatus speculating about Arizona’s fate. Only to find out, as some fans predicted, Arizona would be back, but as a result of the crash, was now going to have her leg amputated, which sets the stage for the drama that will ensue for our beloved Calliope and Dr. Robbins. We thought we’d get some grand professions of love and support and innermost fears revealed to each other as they navigate this life changing event. But instead, we’re treated to hostility and obligation. Not to mention frustration and angst, when Sara gave an interview to The Huffington Post on October 25, 2012, where she alluded to the fact that maybe Callie and Arizona don’t belong together and maybe someone lied to themselves when they committed to the relationship, in order to avoid being alone. She really seemed to lay out a lot of the story that would play out over the next two seasons, culminating with their break up and decision to divorce in episode 5 of Season 11. You can read the full interview here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/25/greys-anatomy-callie-and-arizona_n_2012974.html

And now, 2 seasons later, we get an interview from Series Creator, Shonda Rhimes, that basically reiterates everything that Sara Ramirez “contemplated” would happen for Calzona.

“And has Callie’s desire to not be alone meant that she’s stuck in something that she maybe shouldn’t have stuck to? Isn’t that just what a marriage is? You just stick whether you want to or not.”
http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/09/19/greys-anatomy-callie-arizona-spoilers-season11-rhimes/

So, based on this information, it looks like they have been slowly dismantling Calzona for several seasons. And the idea to do this could actually go back as far as season 7, right around the time of their wedding. I don’t know about you, but as a Calzona fan, I find it rather bothersome. It’s very upsetting to learn that they made such a big deal out of this momentous occasion to show a beautiful wedding between two women on network television only to be planning their demise shortly after the episode aired. And what is the real reason for the destruction of Calzona? Who’s idea was it? Was it a way for Sara, Shonda, et al, “to continue to develop an authentic journey for this character?” because as the show reminded us TWICE in Calzona’s break up episode, Callie is a bisexual and is attracted to both men and women.

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And she also brought it up in therapy and told the therapist that her bisexuality freaks Arizona out. I don’t like that the show continually makes Arizona out to be bi-phobic, when a lot of Arizona’s insecurities simply stem from the fact that Callie slept with her male best friend, conceived a child with him, and even when Callie and Arizona were a couple, no boundaries were ever set. I mean, seriously, how is this okay? Would you be fine with this situation?

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Yeah, I didn’t think so. And something tells me if Arizona ever tried to bring her best friend AND former sex buddy into bed with her and Callie, Dr. Torres, would have gone postal. But I’ll save that for another post. I think I will call it, “In Defense of Arizona Robbins.” But, for right now, we will stick with Callie and her journey and her point of view because, honestly, from my where I’m sitting, therein lies the reason for the Calzona break up and the purpose of Callie reminding the audience in Bend and Break that she is bisexual. It was a way to set us up for what is ahead in the Grey’s Anatomy universe. Callie is now free and clear to begin sleeping with other people and she will encounter offers from both men and women. But given the show’s history, I’d be willing to wager, that any of these upcoming rolls in the hay, will be shown to be much steamier when Callie is paired with a man. And we know for a fact that these “hot scenes” are coming in the second half of this season, given a recent interview that talks about going back to the show’s roots of on-call room hookups. Patrick Dempsey told The Hollywood Reporter, “That there needs to be a resurgence in that.” And he said, “I think everybody has slept with everybody, so who else is there?” He went on to say, ‘it’s a teaching hospital and there’s a lot of really talented young actors out there that need an opportunity that we should be bringing them in and rotating them in as interns. I think that’s a possibility, and stirring up the hospital a bit would be a good thing.”

Sara Ramirez offered her take on this possibility as well, stating that, “Callie and Arizona need a “transitionary period” for both characters to process their newfound independence so that they can be comfortable exploring any sort of relationship again.
“It’s not like you’re dead just because you’re single again,” she says. “You’re not; you’re still a breathing human being with needs. It will be interesting to see how people that have been coupled up for so long and share a child consider the possibility of tapping back into that ‘sexy-time-in-the-on-call-room life.”

Get set for episode 10 of season 11, because based on some of the sides out now, it looks like Callie will be propositioned by a woman, played by Amy Motta. Then in episode 12, rumor has it, Callie, will be at a bar, drinking, when she approaches a “hot guy” and asks him to dance, which in the sides for that episode, is described as, “effortless and fun.”

Not sure what will be going on with Arizona during all of Callie’s one night stands, but I’m sure she will be focusing on her career, seeing as though the show already decimated her character, by having her cheat on Callie, then having a fling with an intern, all the while never fully taking the time to develop Arizona’s point of view, which as a result has the left the fandom divided. You’ve now got Team Calzona, Team Arizona, Team Callie, and Team Callie plus any man she comes into contact with…Dr. Owen Hunt or any “fresh man blood,” according to a lot of the homophobic comments you can see on IMDB, the Grey’s Facebook page, and other online sites, who continually wish for the death of the show’s lesbian character, Arizona Robbins. So, given this new direction to explore Callie’s journey, as an unattached bisexual character, you have to wonder if it’s pandering a lit bit to Hetero-normative culture. Will her interactions with men and women be shown to be equal, or will we merely see her being approached by women, while only engaging sexually with men? I’m very curious to see these questions answered as the season continues. And I’m also anxious to see what happens with Arizona. Part of me is worried, that by the end of the season, Arizona Robbins, could be written off the show. Keep in mind, that when she first entered the scene back in Season 5, she was only supposed to be appearing for a 3 episode arc. But after Shonda saw her interacting with Sara off camera, she noticed a “sparkle” and wanted to give them a shot as a potential pairing. So, Jessica Capshaw’s, initial guest star status turned into series regular in Season 6 and has been on the show ever since. But now that she’s no longer with Callie and Shonda has promised that she “will be good to Arizona,” you have to wonder what that means. Does that mean we will spend the rest of Season 11 watching Arizona get back to who she is at her core; a very strong, happy, driven, brilliant surgeon who never wanted kids? And if that’s the case, will Alex Karev, who’s been being groomed as the next Head of Peds take over for Dr. Arizona Robbins? Will the Fellowship that she’s undertaken be the beginning of her next chapter? It seems that could very well be the case, seeing that Arizona seems to have served her purpose for Callie’s journey. According to, Sara Ramirez, “Callie discovered a part of herself before Arizona came along with Erica Hahn. And then she fell in love with Arizona and more of who she is blossomed in that relationship because we were able to see that relationship on screen. When we got rid of Erica Hahn we couldn’t. Basically, it obviously served that purpose that we were able to see Callie in a grounded, loving relationship that had more to do with the attraction, and the mutual respect and the love for one another than anything else, than about gender, which I love.”

So, what does this mean for Callie moving forward? As she begins to get more in touch with herself along this journey of self-discovery, now that she’s divorced from Arizona, will she ultimately start a new relationship next season? And will her next love affair be with a man? As we know, for Callie, “it’s more about the essence of the person or the spirit of a person.” And we’ve already seen her in a long term lesbian relationship. So, logically, the next step for the show would be to explore how she, as a bisexual character, is also capable of having an intimate sexual relationship with a man. And as many of us know, this kind of representation is a rarity on television. And due to this underrepresentation, Sara Ramirez wants to “demonstrate how Callie’s personal journey is a uniquely bisexual one.” And don’t get me wrong, I am all for inclusive, accurate representations, that reflect the diverse world in which we live, but that doesn’t mean I’m not saddened by how it’s being achieved. It hurts my heart to know that Arizona Robbins was merely a part of Callie’s journey, not her destination. And that it looks like Callie’s relationship with Arizona will be used as some sort of visible blue print to illustrate her bisexuality.

I guess all we can say is, we’ll always have the dirty bar bathroom at Joe’s.
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Thanks for the memories. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I will continue to mourn the loss of our once perfect Calzona.

Andrew Belle – Make it Without You

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/business/media/gay-on-tv-its-all-in-the-family.html

http://www.afterellen.com/tv/97202-2011-year-in-review-tv

Maya Angelou

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  As an advocate of acceptance and tolerance, I must recognize the loss of a truly, ‘Phenomenal Woman.’ On May 28, 2014, the world said goodbye to one of the most influential figures of our time, Maya Angelo. She was an accomplished writer and activist, who devoted her life to making the world a better place. And though she will be greatly missed, the legacy she leaves behind will not be forgotten. Just take a look at the above pic and you’ll get a glimpse of what she stood for; such words of wisdom. Dr. Angelou was a beautiful soul and an inspiration to us all. Thank you for all of her efforts in helping to advance equality for humankind.