My name is Alisa Starr. I make Snarky Cards: Brutally Honest Greeting Cards. I sell them in bars from a box that hangs beneath my boobs. And I have them in 35 different stores. And while I make Snarky Cards, I watch television. I watch a lot of fucking television. I’m fond of saying that television is my favorite boyfriend. And every once in a while, I write about television. This is going to be one of those times.
I probably watch about 60 hours of tv a week. Some of it is really good, and some of it is mediocre. I like to say that I watch a lot of tv, so you don’t have to, but the truth is, the characters on tv are my friends. And I think of tv writers as my colleagues. I’ve watched every major drama that’s been on tv in the last 20 years. Even Canadian ones. I’ve seen every cop show that’s been on in the last 40 years, and I watch a lot of Science Fiction. I love action, adventure and sex, and occasionally magic.
Grey’s Anatomy -or as my friend KT calls it “Doctors Who Cry in Seattle”- and I broke up a long time ago, when the characters on it started repeating every line 3 times, almost as if their repetition was an incantation that would get them out of each conversation they stumbled into. They were repeating their lines because Shonda Rhimes, who produces and writes that show, was producing and writing another show, Private Practice, or “Doctors Who Have Sex in LA”.
Doctors who Have Sex In LA is just as silly a show as you would expect it to be. It takes place in a private clinic in LA, full of rich doctors, within which entertaining drama happens. Sexual partners are traded, patients have life threatening diseases, or sometimes just want the doctors to do weird medical things to their bodies. Occasionally the system is fought, but with money, and so, the system is often thwarted. There is a sexy office boy, who shows up wet and beautiful to the office after lunch. Some of the lady doctors are old, but want babies. It’sa silly show about people with money and education whose problems are almost negligible. Shonda has a flair for writing insane plot twists so once a season, there’s a real trauma, and someone dies, or almost dies, or is assaulted, or something. But even the actual drama is a little silly, so I have a hard time taking it seriously.
But the writing is good, and the actors are excellent. In fact, I started watching it because Amy Brenneman (Judging Amy) is one of my favorite actresses of all time and Tim Daly (Wings) was a huge star in my teenage sex fantasies. In fact, I think that Shonda learned an important lesson from the McSteamy and McDreamy phenomenon. Most of the cast is man-candy. Taye Diggs keeps giving everyone steamy looks, and wearing sensitive sweaters (which somehow get me creamin’ every time, despite the fact that sweaters are clothes), Chris Lowell (who stole my heart as Veronica Mars’ last bf) is the wet, after-lunch show. And Paul Adelstein is frustrated, and often shirtless. Doctors who Have Sex in LA is entertaining, but not compelling.
The show itself is not Important to the world. No-one is going to learn a life lesson while watching it, it’s just as silly as Doctors Who Cry In Seattle. Except that it is sorta important. Mostly because Shonda Rhimes is important. She’s the only visible, black female producer and writer. And that’s important because white people, when left to their own devices, are boring. I know. I’m white. I’ve been around a lot of white people in my time. And a show about white people who only hang out with other white people is boring. And I hate boring tv. Shonda is eliminating boring tv.
Because she’s a woman of color, she remembers that people of color and women are important, and considers them for roles, and hires them. And in the last decade, black actors have found themselves getting edged out of television. I don’t know if you have noticed it, but the black friend of the 90’s has been eliminated. And until Grey’s Anatomy started up, we had not found a black main character to replace him/her. More often than not, we’ve just found more white people as main characters. White people who don’t have close black friends, or friends of color. In the early 2000’s, there were very few main characters of any show that were black, brown or any color in between. She has created two shows, which have main characters of color, who are not simply there as foils to white characters. She may create/write overwrought monologues for said charcters, but she has also put them front and center back into the mainstream of tv, once again. For a few years, Grey’s Anatomy was the only show where you saw a diverse cast, being the same kind of spazzes regardless of race and gender. I personally believe that if Shonda hadn’t showed up we’d still be backtracking as far as race goes. Because when we eliminated the black friend, and didn’t replace him with a main character of color, we lost ground.
And that is my justification for watching Doctors Who Have Sex in LA. Also, I like the sex. And people having sex in their offices. Because I’ve never been able to maintain any kind of job where I had an office, and I like the idea that people really just create white collar careers so that they can have sex in their offices. And Shonda definitely reinforces that false belief that I so enjoy.And she brings the man-candy.
Anyway. So, this year marks the fourth season of the show. In the beginning of the season, Dell (Veronica Mars’ boyfriend) is in a car accident, while taking his daughter, and Taye Diggs’ daughter home. He dies. Since they killed off his junkie ex-wife in the previous season, this leaves his child an orphan. She’s nine years old, and the people that her Dad has worked with for her whole life are faced with a decision. Can any of them take her in?
The answer is, yes, of course they can take her in. They’re all doctors, who work 40 hours a week in a private practice, which performs expensive procedures, for people with money. They can all take care of their friend’s orphaned child. These people have professed to be this guy’s best friend since the show started. And yet, none of them want to take care of his orphaned daughter. They have the means, they have the time, they just kinda don’t give a shit. I mean, literally, at some point in the episode, every single main character -save Judging Amy- says that they don’t want to take this adorable, nice, little girl. And they say it like they’re annoyed. And, they are annoyed. They’re annoyed that Judging Amy is asking them to consider inconveniencing themselves. They’re annoyed that this adorable little orphan girl hasn’t just disappeared into the system. A system which gives adorable orphan Betsy, whom they all profess to love, a chance of getting raped, beaten, bullied and guarantees that she will grow up feeling alone and unloved.And each character has a moment with Judging Amy, who is pleading with them to adopt their dead friend’s child, where they’re like “Is this because that crazy lady cut the baby out of your belly and left you for dead last year? Because this can’t be about the fact that I just don’t give a shit about this orphan.” And they all treated Judging Amy like she was mentally deficient because she wanted to adopt Betsy.
In the end, she couldn’t adopt the little girl, because she was stupid enough to marry one of the people in the Practice with her. And he was also a selfish dick, like everyone else on the show, who didn’t care about his dead friend’s kid. And she had to do what her husband said. because racial equality or not, America is still very sure that a girl who goes against her husband/boyfriend/love interest’s wishes will end up alone. And being alone is the worst thing that can happen to a woman.
It’s the first time, in my love affair with television. that I have ever been so horrified by the morality of a show that I have abandoned it. I have abstained from shows because they were morally icky; like The Shield, which was basically about this murdering, drug-dealing, bully, whom everyone hated, and who performed shoddy police work for years, with no consequence. It was gross. So I didn’t watch it. But I’ve never gotten involved with a show, liked the characters, and then have them all magically turn into raging assholes. I mean, ever. But I was so horrified by their indifference, that I have not been able to bring myself to watch it since.
The break-up has been hard on me. I know it makes my job sound even more cushy, I paint and watch tv. However, the tv serves a very real function; it helps me with a realistic sense of time. The 45 minutes of each show help me parcel out my tasks. I give myself 4 episodes to paint 50 elephants, or to write one blog entry. If I’ve watched 5 episodes, and still haven’t finished the fucking elephants, than I’m not going fast enough. Maybe it’s the elephants, maybe I need to throw some balloons in between sets of ten elephants. Without this little system, I’m kind of screwed. Mostly because my internal clock no longer works. I will literally look around in the middle of the day and try to figure out what day of the week it is. The date is even more elusive. Sometimes it’s ten minutes after I’ve been conscious of time, but sometimes it’s ten days. Time speeds up and slows down for me, not in direct relation to the amount of fun I’m having, but just sort of randomly. And tv helps me regulate time, and keeps me on task. Also, I think I have ADD. Because it’s really hard for me to do one thing at a time.
OK, so actually, I just re-read that bit about time. And while that’s true, eliminating one show from my repatoire of 20, probably is as silly a problem as most of the things that Doctors Who Have Sex in LA have had to deal with. It’s not actually that big of a hardship. My problem is more like this: I used to hang out with these people, and I forgave them for being silly and a little overwrought, because I still thought they were funny and hot and kinda harmless. But then it turned out that they are actually horrible people, and I want to tell everyone what dicks they are.
So, that is the story of why I had to break-up with Doctors Who Have Sex in LA. And how it was totally traumatizing. In other news, Grey’s Anatomy has stopped making it’s characters repeat every sentence 3 times, like they have OCD. They’re back to having interesting problems, and the show is watchable again. And Nikita is a Vietnamese Chick, who is also a bad-ass action star, and Coby Bell has joined the cast of Burn Notice (maybe that was my problem, I just missed Coby Bell all these years), Blair Underwood is the president on The Event, Undercovers mentions that their main characters are cooks more than that they’re black spies, and the interracial relationship on Parenthood is probably the sweetest relationship I’ve seen on tv in a long time. So, I don’t mind if one of Shonda’s shows goes to shit. Since I think we have to credit her with reminding America that people of color are important in our television dramas.
But I’m still pissed that those dick doctors in LA haven’t been karmically punished for their inability to care for their dead friend’s orphaned daughter. Fucking assholes.
There’s more stuff that has happened to me than this travesty in mediocre but racially relevant television. But I will tell you about it in my next posting.