Stacy McKee on "White Wedding"...
Original Airdate: 5-5-11
The day we filmed Callie and Arizona’s wedding was an amazingly beautiful day. Beautiful for so many reasons.
First, after a week of forecasters predicting rain rain rain-- the day was sunny. And breezy (which was fine for those of us bundled up under coats and hoodies watching from the side. Not so fine for, say, our cast members dressed in strapless gowns and floaty formal wear.) Still – things were beautiful.
We were shooting outdoors (already a bonus, since usually we’re on stage, in hospital rooms) at Descanso Gardens (if you are ever in the area, you should visit. Largest camellia forest in Southern California!) – There were roses and cherry blossom trees and lilacs everywhere – a feast for the senses.
There were a lot of reporters conducting interviews the day we filmed the ceremony, talking to Sara, Jessica, Chandra (she directed the episode!) – and even me. We were all so aglow with this beautiful setting, with these beautiful brides, with this beautiful wedding –- that it stopped me cold when the first question one of the reporters asked me was:
“So, a lesbian wedding. Are you worried at all about making such a bold statement?”
I had absolutely no idea how to begin answering that question.
Was I worried? Are you kidding me? NO. I wasn’t worried -- About what? About a wedding between two characters we’ve watched fall in love over the course of several seasons? Nothing bold about that. If anything, it’s right out of Romance Storytelling 101 – They meet, they fall in love, they hit a few road blocks, one of them almost dies – all of which makes it so much sweeter when these two characters can finally ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Not exactly re-inventing the wheel here, people. But, I guess, to some people, it is.
So I’ll say to you what I said to that reporter. This is not a bold statement. This is a love story.
Callie and Arizona have been our biggest, most sweeping romance all season. Our other couples are already married, already divorced, or all full of angst and longing and dirty sex... But Callie and Arizona? They are romance. Sweet, epic, fairy tale romance. Pure and simple.
It just makes sense that after everything they’ve been through this season – living together, breaking up, coming back together, starting a family, life and near death -- their story would culminate in a wedding. A big, beautiful wedding.
The fact that Callie and Arizona are both women is, frankly, irrelevant.
(Although, if you’re like me and you love weddings, then the fact that they are both women is actually a bonus ‘cause -- hello. Two stunning wedding dresses, people. TWO. WEDDING. DRESSES. Heaven.)
It goes right back to what Bailey says to Callie in the episode. These are two people willing to stand up and commit themselves to one another, forever. In good times and bad. For the rest of their lives. THAT is the bold statement, legal or not.
Bolder, to me, is the fact that Meredith and Derek actually make their marriage legal.
We’ve also been on a journey with Meredith this season. She and Derek have tried and tried and tried to start a family. When Meredith broke down in the elevator a couple of episodes ago, Derek reassured her. He promised her that they would have a baby. Somehow, someday – it would happen.
And today, it has. Or, at least, they hope it has. As Derek says, he and Meredith have been trying so hard to start a family – and this baby needs one. If making their Post-It vows legal will make it easier for them to adopt baby Zola, then they are willing to do what it takes.
(And, by the way, can we just pause for a moment to appreciate how ridiculously ADORABLE Derek looks holding that ridiculously ADORABLE baby? I mean, come on!!!)
The thing I love about Meredith and Derek’s wedding, coupled with Callie and Arizona’s wedding, is that the two ceremonies could not be more different. One is all magic and romance. The other is all business and efficiency. And yet, both weddings are absolutely perfect for each of the couples. Beautiful for so many reasons.
But there’s more than just wedding-mania happening in this episode. There’s Alex, calling Meredith out on compromising the clinical trial. What’s great about that story is that both Alex AND Meredith are right.
Mer did an ethically questionable thing, but for all the right reasons. We were rooting for her when she did it. She made sure Adele got the drug. She risked everything to help someone she cared about.
And Alex is right, too. It IS illegal to mess with a clinical trial, no matter how small or insignificant the action might seem. By altering even one variable in the trial, Meredith has invalidated it. Which has major consequences, not just for herself, but for Derek, the hospital, even the other patients who are participating in the trial.
Meredith was right. And Alex is right. So whose side should we be on?
Then, there’s Cristina, who continues to be frozen out by Teddy. –Recently, in preparation for next season, we had a series of surgeons come in to the writers’ room to talk to us about their experiences. We asked one of them, a very prominent surgeon in his field, what he would have done if his resident went over his head the way Cristina went over Teddy’s head in the musical episode.
Without hesitating, he said: “Oh, she’d be gone. I’d have fired her on the spot.”
So, there are two things I love. One – that Teddy is not vindictive here. She is not being petty; she’s not over-reacting. She is genuinely concerned about Cristina’s tendency towards reckless behavior – and Teddy is trying to teach Cristina something. She’s trying to teach her caution.
But secondly, Cristina is still Cristina – she’s ridiculously smart, ridiculously talented, and very hard to teach. Cristina has blinders on. It’s basically impossible for her to see things any way but her own. And from Cristina’s perspective, she was right. Her repair is what ultimately saved Callie, so Teddy should just accept that, set her bruised ego aside, and quit shutting Cristina out of surgeries.
Again, two characters who – in their own ways – are both right. Love it.
And finally, I just have to say – there are few things I have ever enjoyed more than the Father/ Daughter dance sequence at the end of this episode. Seeing Callie’s dad come back to dance with her at her wedding. Seeing Derek swaying back and forth with baby Zola… Maybe it’s from watching my own husband with our little girl, or maybe it’s because my dad was still alive for a dance at my own wedding… But something about that final sequence gets me every time I watch the episode. And trust me, I’ve watched it a LOT of times by now. I just find it really, really beautiful.
For so many reasons.