ABC, Arizona Robbins, Callie Torres, characters, Disney, equality, gender, GLAAD, grey's anatomy, Jessica Capshaw, lgbt, popular culture, relationships, representaion, Sara Ramirez, shonda rhimes, Shondaland
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
So, 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.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.