Saying Good Bye To Grey’s Anatomy’s Cristina Yang

imagesJust as we might do for a family member who has end-stage cancer, we have to take some time to prepare for Cristina Yang’s departure from Grey’s Anatomy. I, for one, am not sure I can continue to watch it after she leaves. I believe she might be one of the greatest female characters ever written for TV.

When I tell friends and family that she is my favorite Grey Girl, they tell me she is the meanest character on the show and I should never aspire to be her. I don’t think she’s mean at all. I think she’s misunderstood. I think her drive — her vision through her personal windshield, her single-minded determination to be the best surgeon of her generation — is a goal that should be treated with awe and respect instead of disdain. It’s a goal we should honor just as we would honor her if she wanted to have ten children. Her mentor in Minnesota understood her worth, and his words rang in her ears as she walked away from Minnesota after his death during one of their groundbreaking operations together.

“Breathe Dr. Yang. Don’t be crass. You’re skulking. Women of your generation are graceless. It’s an affront to nature. Mediocre surgeons will see you and feel themselves wilting in your shadow. Do not shrink to console them. Do not look for friends here. You won’t find them. None of these people have the capacity to understand you. They never will. If you are lucky, one day when you are old and shriveled like me you’ll find a young doctor with little regard for anything but their craft and you’ll train them like I trained you. Until then, read a good book. You have greatness in you Yang. Don’t disappoint.”
— Dr. Thomas to Cristina Yang
Grey’s Anatomy, Season 9, Episode 5

Right from the pilot I knew I loved her. She was brilliant and unbending (in a good way). She was forgiving (she forgave Meredith’s broken promise to her), and her announcement of her forgiveness also announced her boundaries about girlfriends and hugging.

And, when it comes to the men in her life, she is the only female character to approach men in a way that seemed … well, not degrading. Lizzy betrays her future for love, in a way that also sacrifices her integrity. Then there is Meredith who begs McDreamy to “pick me, choose me, love me” in that pathetic Girls way that makes us all cringe, having been there ourselves.

Cristina is strong, but not without feelings. She was the one who got everyone through the plane crash, and then crashed herself once it was all over. She took an action — a bold one — leaving the team to go to Minnesota to see if the past could be left behind. But she didn’t back off from her mistake when it was time to come home and ask to be taken back. And she operated on Derek with a gun to her head and a madman telling her that if she continued he was going to kill her. It also took her longer than anyone else to move beyond it. And it was all believable because of her strong personality.

So why do women think she’s the mean girl without connection? Because she says harsh things? She is honest and clear, but never shies away from the hard conversations. She knows when to compromise, and I love the way she does it.

Cristina: “I was right. I swear I really believe what I did was right. I don’t want you to forgive me. Frankly, I’d find it patronizing if you did. Because … while I know I was right, you think I’m wrong. Which doesn’t matter … because … I’m in this. I’m in this for the long haul. And I’m in this to finish the race. So if that means I don’t win this one, then fine. I don’t win. You win. I’m talking. See? I’m talking first. You win.”

Preston: “Marry me.”

I wish I’d had the courage to approach some of the crossroads in my life with that kind of clarity.

And, for God’s sake, please stop saying she is hard and cold.

She knows how to be a friend. Just watch her handle her BFF Meredith. 

Cristina: “There’s a club. The Dead Dad’s Club. And you can’t be in it until you’re in it. You can try to understand; you can sympathize. But until you feel that loss … My dad died when I was nine. George, I’m really sorry you had to join the club.”

George: “I … I don’t know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn’t.”

Cristina: “Yeah, that never really changes.”

She just knows when to use what. She knows when to be kind and gentle, and she knows when to tell someone to wear their big boy pants. I want to know that. I want to know when each face is appropriate, instead of worrying all the time about how whatever I say will be received. Make sense?

Oh, and one other thing. Do not say she’s not funny. Watch this and tell me she’s not funny. Remember when her mother-in-law-to-be shaved her eyebrows? Just the look she gives Meredith is filled with the kind of humor and depth that I think is worth so much more than the one-liner from Saturday morning cartoon land. Cristina is funny. Smart funny.

So I am getting ready to take all that Cristina has brought to my table over the last ten years and really focus on the attributes of hers that make me want to look in her mirror and call it my own. And then we will be forced to say good-bye to one of the greatest female characters in television history. We had to say good-bye to CJ Craig from The West Wing and I still feel the void. So who is left for us to emulate, you ask? Hannah from Girls? Hardly. That will never do. Who?

Honor.
Drive.
Trust.
Humor.

Well done Cristina. Well done. Thank you.

Facebook Content: Who is Responsible?

Occasionally, I bring my work hat to Freesia Lane. I am in marketing, where social media plays a large role in our day. This posted on Blue Shoe Strategy’s blog this morning. I know most of you are on Facebook. Thought you might find it relevant. Christine

An excellent piece by Jenna Wortham ran in the The New York Times today, Facebook’s Existential Crisis. She challenges the worth of the content of Facebook, its relevance

Continue reading…

Draft Day Movie Review

Now I get it. Now it all makes sense. Draft Day explains it all. The excitement of Draft Day and the intrigue behind the scenes of one of the biggest days in football; the day the college kids get drafted to play for the NFL big boys. Best of all is that Ali, played in her usual feminine, strong-without-cutting-off-his-balls style by our favorite Girl Next Door, Jennifer Garner, is not sacrificed in any way by

Continue reading…

It's My Party.

Did I ever mention I had a party once and no one came?

H2 (Husband #2) and I had a lovely home on the beach in the Hamptons. He still has the home, but trust me, it really always belonged to him. We decided to have a beach party with lobsters, a steel band, and various other costly things to entertain one hundred plus of our nearest and dearest friends. It was going to become

Continue reading…

Losing Letterman

We’re losing Letterman. Oh my. Let me begin by saying that the pundits need to stop referring to Letterman’s show in the past tense. He hasn’t gone yet. He’s here for another year, or perhaps even a bit longer. Get a grip. Sheesh.

Moving on to my point (it’s sometimes so hard to get there). In the interest of full disclosure I should say I now TIVO both Letterman and Jimmy Fallon. I keep saying

Continue reading…

Me & My Health Care

Sit down Freesia Laners. This one may take a while.

I moved to Cape Cod a few years ago from Los Angeles, where I had health care through an employer. Getting a primary care physician on Cape Cod isn’t easy; they just don’t seem to want to live here. So when my mom died I called her primary care physician, who said she wasn’t taking new patients. I pointed out that my mom’s passing had

Continue reading…

Me and My Lipstick

I want to be that woman who cares as much about a lipstick’s name as its color. I do. Ok, truth be told, I want to be that woman who actually cares about her lipstick and doesn’t have the same one for a year because she rarely puts it on.

I recently attended a writing workshop, and the person leading asked everyone a question or two. And it wasn’t a small group either, so I

Continue reading…

Jimmy Fallon & Billy Joel

When we look at what my generation (I’m 61 and proud of it) and what we are passing on to the next generation, I think we can all agree we haven’t exactly excelled at improving the landscape of American lives. We brought you fast food. Ridiculous politicians. Global warming. Oh my, need I go on? I do often wake up in the night and wonder why I didn’t protest more. March on Washington against fast

Continue reading…

Fear of Flying

I have written about my fear of flying before, so it won’t surprise you that I’m consumed with this most recent plane crash.

I spent a number of hours trying to determine what happened to Malaysia Air flight #370. Since I have no understanding of how planes stay in the air (and to be honest, I had to look up Vietnam’s geographical relationship to China to determine how far out over the water the plane

Continue reading…

Unfriended. Alas.

I was recently unfriended by a classmate from high school. I didn’t hang out with her in high school, and I am sure we wouldn’t hang together now, but she was in my Facebook footprint because our whole class seems to be in touch with one another’s lives, and I like that.

This person was — and is today — the goody two-shoes type. You know the one. Always looked put together. Everything she posts

Continue reading…