300

300 is a lot. Like a lot of anything. 300 bananas, 300 cars, 300 people…it’s a big number. Can you imagine 300 43 minute tv episodes? Well the cast of Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t have to, they’re airing their 300th next week. They’ve come so far from a mid season pilot that aired after Desperate Housewives with the pitching phrase “Sex in the surgery”. They’ve become an anthem that launched Shonda Rhimes into becoming a household name.

Shonda has accomplished so much over the years including a fight for stronger diversity platforms in film and television both on and off screen, and these wouldn’t be possible without the stepping stones Grey’s Anatomy gave her to reach such a large amount of people. She’s claimed Thursdays on ABC as TGIT, Thank God It’s Thursday. She owns the night with three shows that rotate in and out depending on the season along with smaller short lived series from her production company, Shondaland.

I myself am personally grateful to the cast and crew, as I’ve written here previously. (To read any of those works just go to my TV tab or Grey’s Anatomy). I owe them so much, and they’ve taught me over the years which what I wanted to cover when writing this. I’m a Television Student and a lot of times we’re told to say our favorite TV show as a ice breaker every semester. Every semester I say Grey’s Anatomy and get a few quiet stares, a sigh, a “Is that still on?”- yes it’s still on and celebrating 300 episodes Tiffany what have you accomplished in your day besides making me feel bad?

Recently as GA has resurfaced as a cult classic phenomenon as teens binge the show on netflix there is an overall consensus that GA isn’t “that good” or is just something “teen girls watch” and I want to break that down a little bit. 300 episodes worth of monologue inspiration for every bad day is already number one reason why it’s so amazing. But what makes GA so unique is that yes it has lasted forever, and the reason is because it is so overwhelmingly personal and that it has reached the point where it isn’t trying to fit any formulas to make the ratings rise, or fill a quota the network wants for award shows. In fact they haven’t been nominated for any outstanding acting awards besides guest arcs for years, and they don’t care. They don’t need to because the loyalty to the show is so strong that even when you’re pissed off at a storyline you’ll record it and watch it anyway. Or you’ll watch parts of it. You’re addicted to Grey’s Anatomy, and you know what

It’s OKAY.

As a society we need to stop looking down on what brings young women joy especially a program like GA that combines diverse storylines and lifestyles including the longest running LGBTQ Character on TV which was Callie Torres before Sara Ramirez left. Young women have found strength and a place in GA. A lot of TV that is marketed for a young teen audience focuses on school, drama, relationships, and not many young women are seeing them looking at careers. Something that GA has started is a wave of young nurses or surgeons who went into the medical field because of the show. GA next to ER is one of the most technically correct medical shows ever to be shown on screen. They have doctors on set that are watching them film and teaching actors how to hold instruments. Young girls are watching these highly complex procedures sandwiched between drama and romance and it’s fueling their search in what they want to do with their lives. “If she can see it, she can be it” is a slogan often used by guest star Geena Davis who runs The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media that GA takes to its heart. Women are surgeons, nurses,  paramedics, they’re patients, they’re mothers, they’re sisters, they’re rounded human beings who don’t rely on love interests to keep them going. These women have watched 300 episodes of surgery and they’ve become invested in it. Shonda created a movement.

They don’t just want their Mcdreamy’s, they want their Harper Avery’s.

 What GA has also inspired is a love for TV and creation, through their dedication to showing the fans how their favorite episodes are filmed such as the musical event or any of the stand alone episodes including “Sound of Silence”. GA also works hard to allow their cast to learn and grow in the business, leading to cast members like Chandra Wilson, Kevin Mckidd, Ellen Pompeo, and Debbie Allen to direct a number of episodes. Not to mention that half of them are women, two are of color. That diversity extends to the writing room where more than half the staff are women, and just recently in season 14 two episodes in a row were written and directed by women. Having women cultivate a show that is so influential on young girls is one of the most important issues this industry needs to tackle, and they’re doing it.

November 9th we don’t just celebrate 300 episodes, we celebrate 300 storylines, 300 surgeries, 300 elevator kisses, 300 monologues that give you clarity to life (thanks Ellen Pompeo, please do a motivational audio book),  300 catch phrases; SERIOUSLY, 300 lives saved…we celebrate a lifestyle and an impact that’s still blossoming. It doesn’t need awards or fancy things. It’s always going to be there. Like an old friend.

and we owe it to the cast and crew to celebrate this monumental moment because of all that they’ve unlocked and achieved for the industry. While GA is still working and learning as we all are to be as fully progressive as we can be when being creators, they’ve made tremendous strides and are committed to them. From Shonda’s blind casting to the recent episode Ellen Pompeo directed she specifically made sure that there were nurses wearing hijabs, and they even had minor speaking roles. Obviously we all want more, perhaps a hibaji intern but it’s a continuing stride for them that they want to make. So I know I will be celebrating the 300th to my fullest because I want to celebrate not only the content but the team behind it because 14 years of content is so beautiful. The inclusion and atmosphere they have created with Shondaland is something I could only dream of being a part of.

Let’s dance it out to 300!

Christina Yang Dance GIF - ChristinaYang Dance GreysAnatomy GIFs

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My Person: Where are our female friendships?

I want to preface this post by giving a little bit of insight about me. I haven’t always been a social butterfly and growing up I had a small central friend group that broke entirely around the time I was in 10th grade. Ever since then I understood how hard you have to work for a friendship, and how to regain friends, and just simply overall I had a hard time. So I have my one female best friend right now whom I refer to as my person and I have a small close, tight knit group of other friends who are primarily long distance or online friends. For me, an introvert, that’s really beneficial.

So let’s get into this post. What’s it about? My opinions

no really though,

I want to discuss how we see friendships of women in tv and how beneficial it is to younger viewers. I’ve always found in times where my own friendships were scarce or failing, I can find something to bond to. How women a portrayed on media is really a precursor to how women in society act. And what I mean by that is that young girls see what’s on screen and without knowing they mimic it. It’s a subconscious thing, where you aren’t aware of it. You imitate Rachel, Phoebe, and Monica more than you think- trust me. We like to take snippets of pop culture and reimagine ourselves through it.

What female friendships do is give women standards that they can expect from each other, and say that I want someone like that- and it’s honestly about bringing one another up. Friendships are not always conventional and I’ll discuss how the infamous “I’m your person” phrase from Grey’s Anatomy comes about next.

If you haven’t seen the scene, here it is:

 

Okay so let’s talk about context. Cristina and Meredith have only known each other for a season and Cristina is pregnant with Burke’s baby and she doesn’t want it. In order for Cristina to sign off on the abortion she has to put someone down as an emergency contact. She has no family in Seattle and chooses Meredith to be her ‘person’. Cristina is no nonsense about feelings, and generally has a disposition of focusing on her work rather than personal life. She shuts away a lot. Meredith and Cristina get along fairly well by this point in the series as work friends, they’ve gone out drinking with the rest of the group before but they’re hardly what’s considered a normal best friends situation.

Which again begs a question of what even is a normal best friend situation like? Newsflash there really isn’t one as long as you aren’t manipulative or abusive, which friendships can be. Cristina marked their friendship, and despite her never following through with the abortion due to other causes- Meredith kept her obligation her. She became her person and in return Cristina became hers. They were always there for each other even if they didn’t agree with each other, or if they bickered or disagreed- there was a mutual respect and the want for each other to thrive and grow. Girls supporting girls does not have to be a complex idea. It really just means letting your friends exist in an environment where they feel appreciated and understood. You don’t have to text every day or get fancy with gifts for them. You just have to be someone to lean on and someone who they can let go with.

There’s a beauty in women’s friendships because women feel inseparable when they’re with someone who understands them. What Cristina and Meredith demonstrate is this thing that I witnessed at a younger age because of the broadcast program I was in but it’s that women in jobs have this weird like sixth sense friendship. I don’t really understand it fully myself but what I knew is I attached to this girl and we were the best of work friends. I went to her place sometimes. Hung out once in a while, she was part of my friend group that broke but I stayed on this fence between friends and work friends. But more so I felt like even though I wasn’t her best friend, or person, I could trust her. Trust is such a big part of female friendships. That’s what’s important here. TRUST.

I had issues in friendships where I was manipulative or mean, because I wanted control and I desperately never want that in a friendship again.

Okay so now let’s talk because Cristina Yang left Grey’s Anatomy in s10 after a messy season where she fought with Meredith a lot- and that entire storyline was suddenly and magically solved whereas in my opinion it needed better closure. So Cristina has been gone for years now and I just find that frankly what Grey’s Anatomy is putting forward isn’t enough.

Grey’s season 13 is lacking strong female friendships. And what’s worse than that? They’re breaking girl code 101 by creating this weird as hell love triangle between Meredith, Nathan, and Maggie. Like for me it was always neither of you get the guy until someone says I’m fully over him and confidently prove that. But that’s just me apparently.

There’s this constant drag and pull from the writers about Maggie finding out about Meredith going behind her back and sleeping with Nathan, which in itself is a terrible problem I won’t get into. Why is this something viewers would want to see is my question.

I briefly want to bring back the idea of trust and how it’s been broken, several times by the main character in question and how Maggie being betrayed is so harmful. So many people have brushed off this storyline with well Maggie should stop being a drama queen and give Meredith who’s had it worse the man. But you don’t see here that the drama isn’t necessarily around Nathan. He didn’t take no for an answer and Meredith eventually gave into his persistent bothering. However Maggie isn’t upset Meredith slept with Nathan. Maggie is upset Meredith lied to her about it, she went behind her back, she did not discuss any of it with her, and all while fully understanding that Maggie never told her explicitly she was over Nathan. The lack of trust between them is the real issue at the core of the matter.

(and psa girls, if you have to hide your man from your half sister I will just give you some advice…he ain’t worth it)

and yes rereading what I just wrote above makes me feel like I’m 14 and it’s the day after prom, and I’m trying to list through the drama that went down. It’s tiring. Slightly humiliating to actually care, or want to care about. Again though, that drama from highschool was hardly girls lifting each other up until about my actual prom where we kind of tried harder with each other. If girls stood up for one another, a lot of drama from highschool would be cleared up in a day.

Look Meredith Grey doesn’t have a lot of people left in her life. She’s lost her friends, her half sister, her mom, her dad doesn’t exist anymore, her husband’s dead, and her best female friend left her.

Yes Meredith and Alex are cute and he understands her but there is no female best friend for Meredith right now and I think that it’s something she’s lost and she needs. The undeniable strength that comes from women fighting for each other is something we all need more of. So why is it that we have to suffer as viewers through the one person Meredith was sort of opening up to, thrown down the drain every chance we got?

She’s there one second, not the next. I think it’s very sad for teens to be catching up with the show and see the absence of that. Meredith is still the main character. She is the goal. She is who you watch and you care for and you make sure you root for her. I do understand that there’s side friendships like April and Arizona (who don’t have as strong of a bond as I think they’re hyped up to have by the fans. That is my opinion however). But I struggle with even those because forgive me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t the common thread in every relationship be the connection to Meredith Grey?

Some characters seem to forget Meredith even exists. It’s very frustrating as a fan because I’m not inclined to care for them if they can’t care for Meredith. April and Meredith haven’t been friends since season 6 I’m convinced. Like there is the friendship?If they don’t have a good one that’s different but frankly they don’t act like each other exists. Same with Arizona. She only cares about Meredith when she’s distracting Alex from something. When was the last time these girls leaned on each other? Cared for each other?

I’m not asking for some amazing astounding friendships but like come on here. I get it, I’m a lot like Meredith Grey. So yeah she can be a bit hard to make friends with, let’s say that. But I truly think that even just one stronger female friendship for her instead of these plot lines based on proving she’s grieved, which she hasn’t properly done, but that’s another post too. I also have an argument that all of her friends have peer pressured her into taking risks she’s not ready for but I won’t cover that either. What I will say is that using the continuous drama that I could walk into a middle school campus and find, is just pathetic really. Using that for every ad, for every promo, it’s boring. I miss caring about these relationships.

So when you threaten to break Maggie and Meredith’s trust down, again…you’re harming two characters I highly identify with and I would love to see them support each other. Because not only does Meredith not have anyone, but Maggie is alone too. They have this mutual need for control and the need to be right but where as Maggie is the moral scientific way and Meredith fights for what she thinks is right which can be a bit ethically murky. On top of this they’re half sisters.

I don’t have a sister. But I do have cousins who are sisters and the one thing that I really observed is that we need more sisters sticking together. I mean frankly at this point because I feel that this season is written so out of character for Meredith the least they could do was add in some female friendships for younger viewers to hold onto. This idea of who’s being more petty just puts people on the outs with each other, while the real people you need are someone who will save a life with you- come on.

Alex doesn’t have all the answers for Meredith, and I don’t think we should rely on him to. I haven’t even touched on Meredith’s relationship with Amelia simply because the two repel each other only because they’re highly similar people.

The exclusion of female friendships is harmful because it leads to the idea of a woman who thinks she can not lean on others. When you don’t see strong women beside each other it is then when the negativity, the shaming, the I’m better than you idea comes into play. Because you’re out to be higher than another woman instead of caring about her like you would a sister or a close friend. You don’t have to be best of best friends with every woman you meet but to empower them? It doesn’t take a lot. It takes being kind and being there for them. I would be lost without strong women in my life and I had to seek out women that would be as strong to me as I am to them.

But what my main point here is that there’s been a movement through younger generations of calling each other their person, and creating this idea of someone who will stand with you through anything and yet that idea is lost currently. Women deserve friendship and knowing that they still can find friendship despite how dark it can get. I miss that part of Grey’s a lot. Women supporting women is EVERYTHING.

So I leave you with this moment from Paley Fest.

 

moral of the story is

HOES BEFORE BROS

Drink of choice: Tropical Green tea from English Tea Shop

 

Earth Day is Every Day

I could never imagine a world where we didn’t care about Earth Day. It’s not something that has even occurred to me, and it’s slightly terrifying right now to know and understand that there are children being taught in schools across the world that we don’t have to care.

For as long as I have a memory, I can recall memories of celebrating Earth Day in elementary school. The painting, the collages, the reading, the reports on Jane Goodall, the science projects, and the days where we just ran around and had field day. Because we appreciated our Earth and what it gave to us. There have been animals going extinct since I was born. In my childhood bedroom I had a lot of books. I had this one book, and now it’s out of date. But it was a book of endangered animals. I read through it a lot. I remember it had really good artwork. But the book is out of date because so many animals need to be added to it.

Earth Day itself isn’t just about conservation efforts, or more so we can’t focus on that simply alone. I spent a lot of time as a child doing events for Earth Day through girl scouts as well, where we provided conservation teaching. I guess that’s also something I have to mention, I grew up in California. The drought has like always been there. I always knew to recycle, to conserve water, and I had these ideas ingrained in me as a child. We always separated out cans and bottles, and cardboard at my house. It was just the thing to do. It’s strange to me that people don’t know that still even today.  But anyway, Earth Day is also about the science behind conservation. The science that allowed us to understand and realize we need to conserve is why we all really do it.

I did science fair projects in elementary school. I counted the probability of getting different colors of M&M’s (1st place; 1st grade), Understanding if hamsters can be trained (2nd grade, third place), Do plants grow better while listening to a certain type of music? (Blast the country folks, 1st place, third grade)…I forget what I did in fifth grade but I know in sixth I…

mummified fish.

Yes, I grew maggots in one of them. I used different house hold products to see if I could mummify fish with them and obviously my control had to be a rotting fish that sat in our garage for about two weeks. Science happens.

All of those projects were fun and tested my abilities, and really taught me things about our world. Earth Day and science go way back because without science we wouldn’t band together to celebrate and protect our earth that we happened to start to destroy. It’s the duty of every global citizen to speak up for earth and those working hard to understand it.

I’m a poor student when it comes to combining math and science together but I do know one thing and it is that life without science would be pretty boring. Especially without women scientists.

This idea that men run science is so outdated

Let’s talk about what Earth Day means in the year of the girl, as I like to call it- ever since the woman’s march we really have seen women stand up for themselves and others in a sort of revolution unmatched in history. Living through a period of time right now where women are being challenged in the scientific community is so strange to me. I love science and medicine and it’s so bizarre that we are still proving ourselves worthy of things like grants for new breakthroughs. We only have one Earth, and we have to allow everyone who wants to better it, do so. That also applies to smaller things like when someone you don’t like does something really good for earth. But more on that another time maybe? I may be someone who’s future is in media but media helps expose how our Earth is treated and needs help. Media helps gain funding for projects to help Earth. Everything is connected. Earth is round, thus everything is a circle. When more women help Earth, more of Earth can help others. Earth is something that always gives back when you give and nurture it. So yes of course we need more women defending Earth.

I think it’s kind of a cruel joke for us to have called Earth, Mother Earth, as a female but yet allowed men to have the final say in terms of protecting it or researching to save it. We need women’s input and minds because as much as I love hearing about Darwin- I also would love to deeply research women when talking about historical scientific discoveries. And for young girls like me, doing science fair projects- they need to see and understand that women can create. They can discover. It is not a man’s world at all. It is a world for everyone to protect.

I think that as well it’s important for someone like me, within the media mindset of everything to understand that I also have to represent women in science. I grew up with several women in discovery,  but most of all I think Jane Goodall or Mae Jemison had the most impact. I remember learning about them in third grade and being really impacted by them. And sort of spurring off of that and recognizing women in science don’t only have to be taught about to students but be seen in media.

And to everyone saying that representation through movies or tv shows doesn’t make an impact…

at any given day, any hour, I dare you to spend time researching any tweet tagged with Grey’s Anatomy or a cast member’s @ on twitter.

The next generation of female surgeons, doctors, and nurses. Taking over the health care system because their love for it was so thoroughly shown on screen. And medicine is science. It’s STEM. These women are out there researching and going for what they want and conquering the stereotypes.

So not only do I owe it to Earth to have more women in science, but I owe it to my work to showcase that. Science isn’t just about nature and saving that but understanding that we humans are mammals, part of the animal kingdom within nature. We are part of Earth and it’s time we stop separating from that. And also for women to start raising their voices within science. It’s about science instead of silence, and for women to claim their part in creating a better world.

I did a lot of research through out the past few months because I knew about again women that I loved in science and how they’re impacting the world so I reached out and found the Jane Goodall Institute. Jane Goodall really represents women in science because she simply never took no for an answer and kept fighting for her research and is now the number one person skilled in chimpanzee communication- which if you know anything about humans and primates is a big deal. Jane Goodall has developed her institute into this mega idea where they don’t only work on her primate research but they also have expanded. These expansions include inspiring other young girls in STEM fields, but also globally providing women with access to education, healthcare, and clean water. Without these things women can not achieve, and it’s important for us to help struggling countries bring their women forward into a society of education and work, and less disease and death.

So to combine those two together and as a tribute to standing up for women in STEM, using your voice for global good, to fill that silence- through my side project which is Pompeo’s Posse, I wanted to donate to Jane Goodall Institute, while thanking Grey’s Anatomy and Ellen Pompeo, for showcasing strong women in the sciences through representation in the arts. (So buy a shirt, raise your voice, help fund the institute)

Because I believe that every day is earth day if we just cared a little bit more about treating our Earth kindly, researching to protect her and her inhabitants, and to raise our voices for the voiceless. Nature can scream at us through the weather but if we do not stop to listen, what will be done?

Listen to Earth. And defend her.

Drink of choice:

Organic Fair Trade Tea from English Tea Shop!

Flavor: Lemongrass/ginger/citrus

Spring forward

“I think we all should just go there, you know tell the truth, go with your gut, follow your instincts”- Meredith Grey

What is a spring forward to you? Is it just time changing and you cleaning away all evidence of winter? Or is it a lifestyle change?

I think we all would love to make that leap, change that bad habit- it’s kind of like pressing restart on your new years resolution. We all could use one of those right? Most days it hurts too much, you’re too tired to care about what you eat, you get petty and can’t take what you say back…we all have those days. But what about springing forward your career?

Take advantage of that career. There is something out there looming over you, maybe even staring at you in the face and you’re pushing it away. Is it too far away and you don’t want to pay for that Uber? Is it at an inconvenient time? Are you too insecure over your own talents to make the plunge?

I understand you. I’m notorious at letting things pass by, or not believing in them fully. That’s not always the best thing and I know that. That type of thinking can plague a project to its eventual doom. Maybe it’s finally time to embrace that book we all read last year. Come on, we all read ‘Year Of Yes’; and if you haven’t get on that Amazon shopping trip. And you know what, I think that no matter what you can’t pressure yourself into doing better.

Never pressure yourself. Positive or negative you shouldn’t feel pressure. If you don’t want it deep inside yourself, it’s not worth it. If you can’t do it with ease, or tell yourself you can make it at least partially- never do it. It’s okay to stay in your comfort zone because the comfort zone isn’t static. The comfort zone is what you think you can handle, which isn’t always reflective of the actual amount that you can handle. You can handle more than you think or less that you think depending on you.

Yes,

YOU

Personally I’ve let a lot anxiety ruin plans for me and I work on myself each and every day to remove that anxiety.  I got over a lot of my traveling fears this past year because I had to fly back and forth from Chicago to California from school to home for example. I don’t like to promise myself anything because that gives me, guess what? Pressure.

I think that we all spring ourselves forward and this is really the time to do it. While thinking about opportunity and chance,  I’m sitting here right now typing when I have multiple live show requests for volunteering open on my email. See I have a pretty complicated schedule and I’m afraid I’ll be too busy with anatomy homework to have time. I’ve previously worked on this show I have an offer for about three times now, and I love it each time. But am I really going to have all my anatomy work piled up? Or am I just overwhelming myself and I should take time out to do something I love?

You need to take those chances. Everything you can. Do it. Take the risk.

Thinking about this and the chances that I do have and I lost over the years. I’ll keep this short since I’m sure you’ve all read my multiple posts about Paley Fest, and I don’t want to repeat them. Just in speaking about things they brought up, and the whole idea of motherhood and having opportunities with your mother are really important. I took that chance, I stepped forward and I asked my mom on a whim if she wanted to go to Paley Fest over spring break. I was like, consider it part of my birthday gift so you don’t have to give me anything in May. And really it was about us going to something together, for something we both enjoyed together and that brought us closer.

13×18, which airs this week, discussed the topic of Maggie’s mother giving Maggie advice. The advice she gives Maggie is to let loose. She tells her all sorts of things about how Maggie is preoccupied with being the best, or the straightest ruler- she’s very focused on her future being just how she wants it to be. Unplanned situations often rile her up. I feel this, I feel this a lot. I plan out every word I’m going to say when I go to order food, or I practice simple conversations before I actually try to make one with anyone. I have to have control, to have order. But due to that I’ve missed so much.  There’s sort of no end to the amount of parallel between Grey’s and my own life but just to really hear that in the dark Dolby Theatre with my mom beside me kind of made me feel things. Like it was my time. I was ready. I need to be ready to make a leap. And just the whole chance that I was given the material presented the way it was in 13×18 is again due to the whole idea of taking a chance. Ellen Pompeo didn’t exactly want to direct an episode so willingly. She didn’t wake up and say, wow I want to break boundaries for women in television today. Okay maybe she did, she’s kind of a badass like that but the whole aspect and idea came from Debbie Allen presenting the idea to her.

I don’t know if Debbie put together the reasoning I did, which is that a mother based episode being directed by someone who lost their mother when they were young is an amazing creative choice in terms of emotion. Which Debbie did say Ellen was very in touch with during a recent interview.

But again the point with me talking about that is that Ellen took a huge risk. She put herself forward, she said yes. She became eager to learn and part of the process of allowing yourself to take a chance, or to be bold is allowing yourself to learn. I’m sure she struggled. We all struggle. To struggle is to be human. We are inherently flawed, but taking that risk and coming out in flying colors and to be confident with what ever mess you think you made is worth it. Make your mistakes worth making.

Spring forward into your passion.

Please do

sincerely the millennial who may or may not have already broken this promise to herself. But it’s okay, she can pick herself up and spring forward whenever she wants.

Drink: English Tea Shop Chocolate Rooibos vanilla

 

Coincidence

Life is kind of a series of coincidences. I’ve lived through many of coincidences, and I’ve reflected on them a lot but there’s one that just blew me away.I mean it’s something significant when just days before you officially change your concentration to something, one of your role models breaks the news they’re pursuing it too.

What do I mean by that?

Well, I’ve always kind of separated my interests from career to the point where I don’t actively search out people to idolize with my same exact goals in my career because I don’t want my story to be me trying to be a carbon copy of them. I am my own person under a realm of influence by the people I look up to and interact with. My want to go to ‘film school’ was that I already knew I wanted to create media within the cinematic elements, not because I idolized anyone.

So like let’s fast forward here to my first year of college, and I’m in this TV program because around sophomore year of highschool I realized I don’t want to make movies, I want to make TV. My sort of goal for TV has always been a way to bring stories to screen that made my classmates feel represented. I will always have a young white woman to represent me, I’ve found several. But I had started to realize my friends didn’t watch TV as much as me because they felt disconnected as POC, or lgbtq+ members and so on. Anyway so that’s why I’m in TV. I also, not to brag, have a real skill in it and have had background training starting from a highschool level ( I was broadcast director & won a few film festivals). I made sure to get into a TV program versus a film program because I knew that the specifics would benefit me, but I originally was in a editing concentration. I love editing but my school combined it with a lot of graphic and visual design, which I have played with and learned I don’t enjoy. So time came around and I changed my concentration this year. I had been planning for months. Then the news broke.

 “It took 13 years, but Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo will boldly follow in several of her co-stars’ footsteps when she directs an episode of the ABC medical drama this spring, TVLine has learned.”
Hold up…you’re telling me I changed my concentration just before I learned Ellen Pompeo, someone whom I’ve looked up to for a few years now, and have always dreamed of seeing what her production company does…actually became a director which is what I changed my concentration to?
I changed from an editing concentration to directing/producing concentration.
My mind was made up before I my appointment time with my counselor, so the actual timing is officially after Ellen’s announcement. I was stunned. As a creative person who over analyzes, seeing someone you look up to or idolize and seeing how their creative mind works is honestly a fever dream. There is nothing better than the rush that comes when trying to analyze someone’s work, that you feel so connected to. I’ve never met Ellen, probably never will; but the life that comes from interviews, and from social media influences how I view her work obviously. Fast forward to now and I got to screen the episode at Paley Fest (side note here, many people met the cast at Paley, my seats were in the balcony and security did not allow anyone from those seats down to orchestra where the cast was signing and taking selfies).  I already talked about the episode and it’s meaningful impact to me last post, how I watched with my mother, so I’m going to talk more about directing here.
First off its a beautiful episode and I don’t only want Ellen to continue to direct Grey’s Anatomy, but this only made me more excited for her production company. Not many people know but Ellen has her own production company, Calamity Jane and she’s bought the rights to multiple movies and mini series. As a media person myself I’m so excited to see her career develop, and I think that’s what made me so excited about all of this. I’m very young and going to college for my dreams, but I see that my dreams can come true at any age. I could discuss more but I’ll just mention here about Ellen’s career, that it didn’t start until she was in her 30’s as an actress that when she moved beyond the Law&Order guest star phase into her first movie role, Moonlight Mile. Quickly after that she was cast in Grey’s Anatomy after Shonda Rhimes suggested to Betsy Beers, “Can we get someone like the girl from Moonlight Mile?” to which Betsy replied they could actually get that girl.
For an actress 30 is considered by majority of Hollywood to be too old, and Ellen felt the backlash of that by being cast as a mother, girlfriend, and love interest in several of her other films. She saw that Meredith Grey was more than the idea of someone’s lover, and a very complex character which is why she’s played her for over 13 years now. So Ellen broke that boundary on TV in 2004 when Grey’s first aired but she didn’t stop there. We can’t mention her directing without talking about the numbers. The number of women directors.
I don’t have numbers for television, and I think they are slightly more than the numbers I have for film alone but the statistic that I go to the most is that there’s only 13% of directors that are women.
13%
Shondaland has made progress with this number for years, for example co-star Chandra Wilson, has directed episodes of Grey’s Anatomy herself, as has Debbie Allen who helped coach Ellen Pompeo on her journey to directing. But the reason for me that Ellen’s episode is such a big deal is because she’s much more visible by viewers, known for this role she plays,  and the influence of this one episode is so great. Because it tells her fans, it tells these young girls, that you can do more. Besides acting Ellen’s always been an activist as well, and really put forward the notion that celebrities are real people. It is so easy to knock away all of her big fancy things because she’s very down to earth in the outlets she uses to interact with people. So that combined with directing is basically a show stopper.
There will probably never be a clear way for me to express the joy I feel knowing someone I adore so much, I can sympathize with in terms of struggles job wise but this is me trying.
This is an open letter to Ellen saying you did amazing, you have such a talent you probably had no idea you had, thank you for listening to Debbie when she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Thank you for documenting it over social media, thank you for being so open at Paley Fest about your process, the vulnerability of your story being told, the personal touch that needed to be shared. Thank you for giving a young aspiring director like me hope, and thank you for breaking barriers.
Love Danielle, a TV student with a directing producing concentration.

Sunshine

I want to open this with a foreword, I had the privilege of being a member of the 2017 Paley Fest event featuring the Grey’s Anatomy cast yesterday afternoon. During this event they streamed 13×18, due to air in two weeks, and Ellen Pompeo’s directorial debut. I will try my hardest not to spoil the episode in this post but the overall theme of what was discussed and viewed hit very close to home for me and as such I will be mentioning that. This is your warning now.

My mother had a life change as we transitioned from the 90’s to the 2000s. She had been working at a hospital in the bay area, on night shifts forever. That didn’t change when I was born either. Due to this she missed a lot of pop culture television, for example she didn’t get to watch Friends. She only watched whatever was on in the hospital offices at the time. In 2001, when I was 3 or 4, we moved and then she decided to become a stay at home mom while being a paid “nanny” close personal friends. My mother was taking care of up to 5 kids at once, when only 3 were her own. Throughout this time tv was obviously an educational tool as we grew up.

Let’s talk about how my passion for TV developed from this, since I am a TV major after all. We had a Tivo I remember, and what I would do before elementary school is as I got ready and ate breakfast- this was before I had developed my craving to watch broadcast news-I would watch as much as I could of something we had taped. I also did this with DVDs. I would watch until I finished my breakfast and then got ready, and watched a little bit more because my mom needed to wait for the 2 other kids to be dropped off at our house for carpool. It was a routine of mine, and my mom never found it to be an issue. I mean I was watching children’s programs after all.

My mom was always constantly encouraging me, and watching with me, and taking me to movies too. I have the luck of having a birthday in May, right before summer. Which is when a lot of children’s movies come out, so of course those were my birthday celebrations. Movies! And what’s really special about this is I kind of view it as her making up for the time she didn’t have to enjoy these things before. I’m also very blessed because I’m the only daughter she has. I’m also the youngest. We ‘baby sat’ a little girl as well, but that ended by the time I was about ten. Strangely, although I had become almost a sort of older sister to the little girl we watched over, I still never viewed myself as one.

Now bring this into middle school and suddenly my mom and I could enjoy the same TV shows. I’d say as early as 6th grade I was watching “real” TV with her because, not to be arrogant but I’m always told I’m far more mature for my age than I should be. I’m an old soul, I would watch I Love Lucy with my mom on weekends when I was younger. I didn’t mind that it was in black and white. I had a love for crime dramas as well, simply because I could figure out killer pretty quickly. I started to use TV to boost my curiosity about the world. But thing was I never watched it without my mom. It wasn’t some sort of parental guidance at all, but we clearly enjoyed the same programs, and discussing them.

Summer before freshman year of highschool I remember doing my first real binge watch with my mom. And of course it was the most perfect series to choose from…

We watched Gilmore Girls.

I remember we had gone to the library one day, and I was looking around the CD selection because I had realized I could rip the CDs and put them onto my IPod Shuffle which meant I didn’t have to buy so many songs. I also really liked early 2000s soft rock music, from the likes of Snow Patrol, Five For Fighting, The Fray and so on. My mom was looking at the DVD rack. It had so many options on it. Dawsons Creek, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-files, ER, I’m sure Grey’s Anatomy was there, and Gilmore Girls! We started renting season after season from the library. It was great because my mom came home from work around 3-4 pm, she would make dinner, and then afterwards we would curl up in her bed and just BINGE.

The impact of watching a show with such a strong mother and daughter plot with your own mother is something I truly can’t explain. I felt such a strong connection to Rory Gilmore, because I was not in highschool yet but I had this feeling I would be like her when I was. (That turned out to be true and not true at the same time).Both active readers, dreamers, passion for journalism…so on. The wit and humor of the show was something my own mother and I also shared. That made my year once we completed all 7 seasons. I also felt very accomplished.

I mentioned this in a previous blog post but another notable series my mother and I binged together was Grey’s Anatomy. Which she had always watched. She started with the pilot and stopped after the season 8 finale, which was when she returned to working at a hospital. When I said I wanted to start it she decided it would be fun to rewatch. And it was fun having her beside me watching how I reacted to what she had seen years ago. I remember as we reached season 2, she kept teasing me because she knew the scene with the bulletin board and the panties would happen. Just the guessing game of who, what, why, and when was fun. And again Grey’s in a separate sense is about motherhood as well.

Gilmore Girls is known for it’s portrayal of Rory and Lorelai’s relationship, but also has Lorelai’s strained relationship with her own mother. There is a contrast there. Grey’s has a multitude of contrasts with the motherhood relationships. Watching with my own mother, who adamantly tells me to not put her in a home, and to let her go because she doesn’t want to suffer. While we watch Meredith deal with Ellis in a care home. It’s all this circle. Ironically enough my mom had just started a job where she works with Alzheimer patients as we started the show, which is why she tells me she doesn’t want a care home. She deals with these patients every day.

I connected very personally to Meredith Grey emotionally throughout the course of the series even if I did not have the same circumstances in my life. Of course my mom and I have fought, there’s a lot of things I still don’t tell her but I do have the option to and I suppose this weekend really taught me that I should take advantage of that.

My mom and I loved binging Grey’s so much, and even if we’ve not enjoyed the current seasons so much, we decided to go to Paley Fest together this past weekend. I’m only back from college for a week, because I’m that kid that didn’t go to a local californian college for TV. I attached to the Grey’s cast very closely, and have followed through being a pretty big fan of them because of my attraction to TV. I love to research, I’m a highly curious person. I spent middle school researching everything I could about the Harry Potter Film series, because I wanted to know how they did everything. Same with Grey’s, I researched everything. Then I like to analyze, and I find things that parallel between actors and stories, or what techniques used for scenes and so on.

At Paley Fest my mother and I sat side by side and watched 13×18. Which if you don’t know, is based on Maggie Pierce’s adoptive mother. It’s about their relationship as the nature of her breast cancer changes. It’s a beautiful episode, and was directed by leading lady, Ellen Pompeo. I could spend an entire page talking about the importance to the industry that Ellen directed her own episode, she joins the 13% of Women Directors in Hollywood, and is pushing to break boundaries. People still have the notion that actresses are simply pretty faces, but Ellen Pompeo is a pretty face with a compassionate soul, wisdom beyond her years, insightful mind, and amazing heart. But we need to cut to the chase here. Some background information that Ellen has mentioned in previous interviews is that her own mother died of a prescription drug overdose when she was about 4, almost 5.

As a viewer who thoroughly analyzes everything insanely, I had read this and I was immediately struck because I was like, the Meredith and Ellis storyline in GA is so strong, and you’d think that for an actress to portray that sense of anger and frustration, they had to know what fighting with your mom feels like. But in fact its the opposite. 13×18 has a voiceover about a note Ellis left for Meredith that was incomplete. The sense of being lost in what your mother wants for you, or wants to let you know is seen through the episode, and I can only assume that brings back to Ellen’s loss of a mother. I really don’t want to spoil the episode for anyone but I am so glad I watched this episode with my mother. I wouldn’t trade it for anything to know she’s right beside me.

Another moment that stood out for me and personally touched me was when the q&a started for the episode. It was emotional, almost everyone had wet eyes. Kelly McCreary was crying during her section of the panel. And again Ellen directly addresses the loss of her mother while discussing her direction of the episode. One particular scene, which I as a TV major adored so much because of the use of color theory and emotion conveyed through the simple set design, Ellen explained that she used yellows and oranges to represent sunshine. She associates sunshine with every mother and that warmth you get from the sun, is a mothers warmth.Obviously this painted a picture to me of Ellen seeing her own mother reflected in the warmth of the sun rays. It was very moving to watch, listen to, and feel with my own mother beside me.

The whole idea is that you have only so many moments and to live life the best you can, without worrying too far ahead and loose what’s in front of you. Living my life to the fullest is a little drab, but its warm and cozy curled up binge watching television with my mother. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Photo Mar 19, 12 22 50 PM

Seattle Nostaglia

How can you be nostalgic for a place you’ve never visited? How can you crave the air you know is filled with mist on spring mornings, or taste the freezing rain of the winter? What does it mean to know somewhere so personally but not at all?

I’m nostalgic for the idea of Seattle. I grew up in the pacific northwest in California, and it’s something special. The air tastes better there, always. I fell in love with the trees and the foggy mornings were something I craved. I attached so quickly to the idea of Seattle about 2 years ago for a passive, stupid reason. It was spring of junior year in high school, and everyone had started to binge watch Grey’s Anatomy. That binge watch became special to me because I didn’t just watch it to be in on the conversations in class- I didn’t start until some people were on season 3 or so, it became special because I watched with my mother.

My mom and I have a very close bond regarding TV and that is, that she and I watch almost everything together. We have since I started watching serious TV, and then realizing it was my career field. My mom actually began Grey’s when it started airing, I remember growing up and seeing our Tivo and then DVR fill up with Grey’s and Private Practice. She went back to work around the same time as season 8 started and gave up after the finale. So when I approached her and said I was going to binge, she decided to join me and said let’s get caught up. It was harmless and we didn’t know what was going to happen in just 3 months after we started to watch.

((hint 11×21))

There were so many moments, and for me personally I can easily place myself into a situation or environment and feel it around me after I’m touched by a show or movie, and so while the weather back home got like a typical Seattle day I feel as if it influenced my viewing. There is something so attractive about the environment put forward by the show, that it can not exist anywhere else. Somehow Seattle gets these nasty traumas but they aren’t in some busy city setting like LA, and time moves slowly. The first two seasons of Grey’s were the same year. The ferry boats which live on in infamy, although they exist in other cities are so intricately connected to Seattle itself. The idea of a cozy little hospital named Seattle Grace, just inside the city where these messy interns were starting the journey of a life time. It’s inseparable.

There’s a feeling of absolute home that I feel every time I throw on an older episode. I can breathe in the misty air they’re simulating, or the powerful storms that correlate to the emotions stirring at the time. It’s timeless, like a rainy day with a good book and a cup of tea. You know everyone but there’s a vast wilderness you don’t know- be it about people, medicine, or the wild forest where the trailer lives. It’s the chills that crawl up and down your spine each time Chasing Cars plays and you just know, everything’s falling apart but you cheer on because if the show has proved time and time again, it’s that the sun always rises. – Of course it rises behind rain filled clouds.

and god how I miss it so. I miss the stormy skies, running through the flooding parking lot to avoid your ex, slapping on of hello kitty band-aids, and rumbling storms of syphilis outbreaks. There is no denying that I don’t feel these things once I’ve caught up. The nostalgia is gone. I can’t entirely place why. I know my technical reasons because they changed sets, and lights, and the over intensity of HD sometimes can take it away as well. But there’s also the changing of the years. Like I said I was a child when Grey’s started, I was in first grade I believe? I’m an adult now. So something that always will slightly freak me out is how closely attached to Chasing Cars and How to save a life, I was when I was like 10 and to understand the pop culture history surrounding it now is such a interesting thing.

So I guess it’s when I watch older episodes, I see or hear things from my childhood really. I’m sure that I walked in on episodes my parents watched when I was younger as well. So I can see myself age as the pagers become Iphones and the charts become IPads. Maybe I don’t like that I’m aging. But I know one thing for sure that I will never grow out of Seattle mists.

I won’t ever let go of the fresh feeling of rain watering the trees, making mud out of the grass, and the taste of the water in the air. Just as I won’t let go of the stories, friends, the music, or the life lessons I listen to. I’m nostalgic for a city created in my head of a feeling that can never be replicated, nor destroyed only strengthened.