Oh, Sandra

How come they don't do this
with her on the show?
So in light of our undying discussion on Grey's Anatomy, I figure I should make good on my promise to do a post on Sandra Oh.  Well, more specifically, her character Dr. Christina Yang.

But before we start, I just want to say I think Sandra Oh has a classy handsomeness to her, when she's done up correctly.  But just as Ellen Pompeo was cast to be more white female-friendly, I think Sandra Oh was chosen for the same reason over say, Michelle Krusiec (GOD I would kill to see Krusiec as Christina Yang).  I mean, the showrunners can preach "diversity" all day long, but I can't help but notice that casting an Asian woman is "safe" so long as she's not jaw-dropping (same thing with Asian men).

Case in point: remember what happened when Lucy Liu damn near took over Ally McBeal?  When she got on that show, folks forgot all about Calista Flockhart for a hot a minute.

So there's that.

But back to the character of Dr. Christina Yang.  For those of you who don't watch the show, Dr. Yang is my second favorite doctor after Dr. Miranda Bailey.  Yang cares about being a surgeon - period.  She wants to be the best surgeon - period.  She's committed to cardiothoracic surgery - period.  She's blunt, competitive, and she could care less about (most) people's feelings.

Of "the five" we're handed in the first season (which later whittles down to three), I found Yang to be the best, (followed by O'Malley, then Karev).  Even though they pulled the studious, Asian robot routine with Yang, the writers were at least semi-creative enough to semi-flip it and make her a trash-talker who, at least in the beginning, doesn't end up with a white guy.

I don't have a lot of beef with the writers when it comes to Dr. Yang.  She's not whiny and clueless like Meredith Grey.  She's not kept too chaste like Dr. Bailey.  She's not clumsy and awkward like George O'Malley (though in his case, it works).  She's not irritating like Izzie Stevens.  And though Yang is brusque, she's not a total asshole the way Karev can be.  In fact, I think my biggest beef with Dr. Yang isn't Dr. Yang, but how the other characters react to Dr. Yang.

It seems like everyone's intimidated by her, so they work their asses off to domesticate her.  Like many 21st Century women, she's fiercely independent, career-minded, she has very little patience for bullshit in relationships.  So naturally, everyone on the show tries to get her to conform.  She's a brilliant, dedicated surgeon, yet somehow, her dedication and passion get twisted into flaws.  She likes her space, she doesn't do rings or weddings, so naturally, everyone wants her to settle down with a man.

She's confident and self-assured so, of course, folks can't wait to put her in her place.

Which reminds me...unlike her peers, Yang often tends to avoid the really bone-headed mistakes.  I think this contributes to her aloofness sometimes; she's probably wondering how she got stuck with such a douche crew (I'm talking about in the beginning, of course).

Though I really would've loved to see Michelle Krusiec in a role like Christina Yang, I have nothing but love (and a two-piece with a biscuit) for Sandra Oh.  I have mad respect for how she brought this character to life.  I don't know if she's the reason her character remains respectable, or if she's got a writer in her corner, but I'm glad regardless.

Comments

  1. I don't watch the show that often but she's one of my favorite characters; she's uncomplicated but her fellow doctors do their best to complicate her so she can be like them.

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  2. "Case in point: remember what happened when Lucy Liu damn near took over Ally McBeal? When she got on that show, folks forgot all about Calista Flockhart for a hot a minute."

    WE SURE DID!!!!!

    "Dr. Yang is my second favorite doctor after Dr. Miranda Bailey."

    Ditto.

    And I definitely agree with your assessment. In fact, you took the words out of my brain.

    And sadly there is a reality to that. Be a driven woman of color or POC in general and you get legions of mofos (usually white) trying to domesticate you and put you in your place. Get married, have children, do this, do that.

    And how often was Yang resented for being so driven and accomplished by her white peers?

    Talk about art imitating life.

    Yang was one of the few reasons I was able to watch Grey's Anatomy for as long as I did.

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  3. Need more than a 2pc/biscuit. She needs a good old-fashioned Southern Sunday dinner.

    Am I the ONLY person who doesn't watch this show?

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  4. When you put it that way, I may need to watch Grey's Anatomy more often for your reasons only.

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  5. @Amaya...I don't but that doesnt' stop me from discussing it. I've heard the recap from friends, and from Neoprodigy here, and the actors on this show have had lots of public drama too, so I've found it easy to be vaguely aware of what is going on without having to sit through a whole episode.

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  6. I admit to not watching a lot of TV,but I've seen Sandra on another show. On vibe that I've gotten from her is that she's doesn't take a lot of crap from people and that she's herself,qualities that I admire in her.

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  7. @Nicthommi:

    I can't offer anything to the Grey's discussion other than co-signing on the bony-ness of the characters and rolling my eyes over the typical white damsel/hero plot schtick. Fascinating reading, regardless.

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  8. @Amaya Nope, I don't watch it either.

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  9. Y'all, I tried to go back and wath later eps. *shakes head*

    It's just gotten so boring, y'all!

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