Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Grey's Anatomy vs. Scrubs: Or the Limits of Representation (post from blog by Maia)

I've started watching Grey's Anatomy really regularly (they're repeating Season 1 in NZ), I'm not quite sure why - because I don't really like it that much. I don't think it's well-written, by half-way through season two I hated almost all the characters. But watch it I do, if nothing else it gets things to blog about it.

Shonda Rhimes (Creator of the show) said that she wanted Grey's Anatomy to look like America. Of the four authority figures we see most regularly, three are african-american, and one of those is female. This is a world where you can live in a trailer park and grow up to be surgeon. Rich or poor, male of female, Korean, African-American or white - anyone can work at Seattle Grace.

Compare this to Scrubs, the authority figures are all white men, and while you can be a doctor and female or a doctor and African-American, the women of colour are all nurses.

There was this episode of Scrubs where all the main characters...

dgolazeski said...

I don’t think this post is saying that we should see more minorities committing crimes on television. It’s saying that a show that acts like issues of class, race, and sex don’t matter is making these problems worse by making the viewers believe that these problems don’t exist. Scrubs shows these issues as problems in episodes like the one described in the post.

Another episode of Scrubs that deals with issues of gender is the episode where Elliot starts dating a male nurse. In this episode Elliot goes out with a coworker from the hospital and really likes him until she finds out that he’s a nurse. After that she considers dumping him for that reason only. This white male carries a stigma because he has a job that society believes is a job for a woman. I’m not saying we should feel bad for white males who are nurses, but we should try and unlearn our socially constructed instincts that tell us that leadership jobs are for men and subservient jobs are for women.