Jessica Capshaw is one half of primetime’s leading lesbian couple and strong-willed enough to break Callie Torres’ heart and mend it in a single season. On Grey’s Anatomy, Dr. Arizona Robbins is also Seattle Grace’s most spirited doc — and the only one who wears roller shoes. And for Capshaw, the role takes on even more importance because of what it means to the LGBT community: visibility.
Arizona may not wear her sexual orientation on her sleeve, but Capshaw has high hopes that “Calzona” may just spell the beginning of a landslide of gay story lines on network TV.
AfterEllen.com caught up with Capshaw at ABC’s Television Critics’ Association party to discuss playing Arizona, what’s next for the lesbian power couple and her hopes for the couple.
AfterEllen.com: We’re all big fans of the show, especially “Calzona.”
Jessica Capshaw: [Laughs] The folded-up pizza, yes! You can’t make that name sexy to me, I’m sorry. But it is adorable!
AE: You and Sara Ramirez are the biggest couple on primetime for the lesbian community and it seems like gay stories on TV are dwindling right now.
JC: I know. I like to think of it as just the beginning. It’s so funny because when I first joined the show and people would ask me questions about playing the part, being on the show and what it was like, within the first five questions would be “What’s it like to play a gay character on television?” I used to always say — because I feel this way — that I wasn’t playing anything; it was just this relationship that seemed to make sense and that’s kind of the way I hope people would look at things in the world.
It’s not a guy and a girl, or a girl and a girl or a guy and a guy — it’s a relationship. You’re just people playing characters. But unfortunately in the world where we have to politicize things in order to make points, they are one of the few couples. But I like to think of (Callie and Arizona) as the beginning; I like to think that we’re ramping up as opposed to dwindling.