|Photos Courtesy ABC.com|
So, I have to confess now that I am a rather huge fan of Grey's Anatomy. I have no excuses and some of you will definitely think less of me after having just read that. I'm okay with that.
Recently, an original character on the long-running TV series was written off in a horrible, fatal accident. Grey's creator, Shonda Rhimes has gained bit of a reputation for killing off cast members. This one rather upset me. I scoured blogs and news articles for an explanation. Why kill Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd? Why? Yes, I even cried a little.
I was more upset when my favorite character, Sandra Oh's unforgettable Dr. Christina Yang was written off a season earlier. Fortunately for her, she didn't die. She moved away to some amazing European medical research center with limitless funding and potential -- to change the world and yet never be heard from again.
And there is my point.
Characters Yang and Shepherd were portrayed for season after season as aspiring to and encroaching upon genuine historic medical greatness. They were going to print hearts and map brains and otherwise save millions of lives. And then suddenly, a car accident or a move to Europe and we are asked to forget about them and focus on those mere mortals left behind.
I think true greatness must just be really hard to write about. Inevitably the explanation comes from TV writers that sounds something like, "We just felt like there was nothing else for us to do with this character." After several seasons of exploring a variety of relationships, and scenarios and adventures, the writers feel they have done all they can do with that character. That they've explored every angle. That they've rather painted themselves into a corner. The character must die or they must venture into greatness off screen and achieve it in a way that doesn't disturb the little universe we've created.
Read that last line again.
That's what a vision as big as the world will get you -- writer's block after a few seasons. Eventually you conclude that there is nothing else to be done with Derek or Christina or Frasier or with any of Daniel Larusso's girlfriends (still stings). Though you may be a screenwriter with a fictional universe of your own creation and though you literally have a blank piece of paper in front of you, when your vision is only as big as the world, it is difficult to write about it changing.
|Photo Courtesy NBC.com|
Speaking of Fraiser. At least they tried. Some 20 years of stories written about my all time favorite TV character and at the very end, the writers essentially admitted their limitations when they had the beloved Dr. Crane read from Tennyson's Ulysses:
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
How glad I am that God isn't like that! He never runs out of stories or angles or adventures or dreams for my life. He knows how to write about greatness. He knows how to write about changing the world. He'll never get to a point with me where he shrugs and says, "Well, I think we have done just about all we can do with you." There is always another season. The show is always renewed and every time I think I've just gotten through the climax of the tale he is authoring in my life, he repeats, "That was just the beginning."