In classic Hollywood, they wanted to tell wondrous stories of distant lands or exotic, dangerous characters. Of course, in classic Hollywood, the closest thing to an ethnic actor was an ethnic hairdresser or janitor helping out on the set. Thus, most ethnic characters were played by blue eyed, painted actors who had more shine than the Packards they drove home.
In case you were wondering, yes, that really sucked.
So it was really amazing when not only did an ethnic actor show up in mainstream–the awesome Jay Silverheels–but he was actually the correct ethnicity! I’m not exaggerating when I say Tonto ROCKED. Not only did everyone know he was hotter and smarter than The Lone Ranger, he was on the 1st television hit of all time. (Much the same can be said of Kato from the Green Hornet, but I digress due to hotness) There would still be decades before the viewing public came to expect more ethnics to play themselves on TV, much less play them realistically, but there’s a slight expectation now that to have at least a touch of reality in your ethnic characters.
Now, you’re probably wondering where this is going. And I’ll tell you. It’s going to Thursday night’s Grey’s Anatomy episode. And it’s not about race, it’s about common sense.
See, thursday’s episode starred a writer. Not just any writer, either. Oh no, she’s a ROMANCE writer. Cue the brain tumor.
To be fair, she had multiple aneurysms, but you get my point.
Sure it was a new episode, but you’ve seen it before on other shows. Dying melodramatic romance author races against time to finish a book about true love at the possible cost of her own life. Someone must help the beleaguered woman finish her book before she dies! Cry, people, CRY at the writer’s dedication to her readers! She LOVES you! She has no life or family or interest in anything but getting you another chapter in her never-ending love triangle and that’s why YOU love HER.
Spoiler: She lives. And she’s figured out a way to stretch the series a few more books. AWESOMESAUCE.
(If you can’t hear the sarcasm there, feel free to apply liberally until it’s dripping like a good rib-sauce.)
I’ve never much understood why writers of tv shows write episodes about other writers and make them so… well, ridiculous.
If I have a brain aneurysm, I hate to break it to y’all, but I’m going to talk to my editors and get an extension on the book while I, I don’t know, fight for my life. No offense, that’s just the way I roll.
In reality, while writers will hole up for hours with our laptops, notebooks and whatever necessary snacks and music to avoid interruption while we write, most of us have families. We interact. We require friends and contacts and shoulders to lean on. (And occasionally for inspiration for our characters and the choices they make.)
Don’t get me wrong, we love our readers. I’d do a lot for all of you. But like any other sane person, I’d be in need of medical intervention if I put work ahead of live saving surgery.
The closest rendition of a writer that ever made sense to me was in the movie “Stranger Then Fiction”, and even then, her home was beyond antiseptic and I can’t imagine a writer living there. (We like cozy places to read and shockingly, we usually enjoy the occasional color)
I guess I would just like something at least slightly closer to reality, especially since these characters are being created by, you know, writers.
Dying attached to your laptop with no one in your life isn’t dedication. It’s sad. If you’re going to depict a writer that way, how about you do me a favor and don’t make it a romance writer. Go for a literary writer, they like dying at the end. Us Romance writers? That’s not how we roll.
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