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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.

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