I never give much credit to Grey’s Anatomy for breaking any kinds of barriers when it comes to female roles on television. But while discussing Scandal on NPR on Thursday, showrunner Shonda Rhimes revealed how attitudes have changed toward her female leads: Even if they’re unlikable, we still like them, at least enough to watch them.
”I remember having an early discussion at ABC before Grey’s was picked up. I was sort of brought into a room, and a bunch of older guys told me that nobody was going to watch a show about a woman who had casual sex and threw a guy out the night before her first day of work, that that was completely unrealistic, and that nobody wanted to know that woman. That kind of conversation, I think, would never happen now. I mean, now we’re in a world in which nobody’s worried about whether or not the women are likeable.”
While I’ll argue Ally McBeal might have helped just as much as Meredith Grey, Shonda is totally right. We’re in a brave, new television frontier where female leads don’t have to be Stepford Wives to keep ratings — and the reasons I hate Meredith Grey and Grey’s Anatomy don’t have to be based on watching her have a one-night stand. To progress!