While the actors who portray our favorite characters get the majority of fan adoration, more and more, writers and show runners are rightfully getting their place in the spotlight. Sure, Ali Liebert brings Betty’s swagger on Bomb Girls, but writers dream up the lines that cut through us like a warm knife through maple butter. Paige McCullers would be just a footnote — a field hockey penalty — if Pretty Little Liars’ show runner hadn’t seen her potential and gone with her gut. So here’s to the writers who inspire us, and the women and men who run the show. (Thank you to all of you who tweeted me your favorites.)
Photo courtesy PictureGroup
No two words strike as much fear and devotion in a fangirl’s heart as Shonda Rhimes (twitter.com/shondarhimes). Brilliantly gifted in matters of the heart, Shonda is a one woman wrecking crew of emotional turmoil. Over the years, our beloved docs at Seattle Grace have been put through so much hell, the characters even joke about it now. Shonda has the ability to make you fall in love with her characters, then rip out your soul when tragedy inevitably befalls them. Have you ever made it though an episode of Grey’s Anatomy without crying? If you said yes, then your heart is made of stone. The season finale of Season 6, “Sanctuary”, where a shooter goes on a rampage at the hospital, will go down as one of the most riveting and heart wrenching two hours of television ever. My heart clenched just thinking about it. While Seattle Grace is wracked with drama, Shonda never lets us forget that the heart of the show is friendship and human connection.
We may not make it through the night. Let’s dance it out. (Photo courtesy ABC)
She also knows how important it is that all our stories are told, and she’s not afraid to school people who think otherwise. When a Twitter follower complained about the gay characters and storylines on her show, she respectfully yet powerfully responded in a blog post:
Because I believe everyone should get to see themselves reflected on TV. EVERYONE. And because I love all my gay and lesbian friends. AND because I think same-sex marriage is the civil rights fight of our era and back when being a person of color was the civil rights fight, people like Norman Lear put black people on TV and helped change some minds. So you know, it’s gotta be paid forward. As long as we are willing to sit by while one person is not free, none of us are free. And FINALLY: because as long as someone feels like it is OK to ask the question “why all the gay people on your shows,” then there is still a HUGE problem that needs to be solved. It’s like asking “Why all the black people on your shows”. (Which is, in fact, why there are also a lot of people my of color on shows. Cause people keep asking. Like it’s unusual. Which means we have a LONG way to go). OK, done preaching.
Brav-fricking-o. (Photo courtesy ABC)
And that, folks, is why Shonda Rhimes is one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People this year.