Friday, July 18, 2008

Shut the Fuck Up, Katherine Heigl

Long ago, I read a post about stay-at-home model Jenny Shimizu and her tendency to bring up the fact that she had an affair with or at least has committed a sex act upon a then-unfamous and then-more bisexual Angelina Jolie around the time that the two appeared in the movie Foxfire. The post was titled “Shut the Fuck Up, Jenny Shimizu” and dinged its subject for recalling the relationship in the manner that, for example, an obnoxious friend might when his or her associates come to the conclusion that a certain restaurant is good. “I totally knew it was good way before you all. I totally called it.” The post, which I can’t find now, tragically, made a good point, I suppose, in that Shimizu opened herself up to the criticism that she was attempting increase her own visibility by mentioning a bygone relationship with someone had since enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame. It was a valid criticism, even if having scored with Angelina is exactly the kind of personal triumph that one might talk about for the rest of one’s life. (Personally, I feel like Shimizu would have had more to write home about — and to everyone else’s home about — if she had gotten lucky with a pre-Rilo Kiley Jenny Lewis, who also appeared in Foxfire. And a Jenny Shimizu-Hedy Burress hook-up would be too hilarious to not talk about.) But this post isn’t about Jenny Shimizu so much as someone else who could benefit from keeping her mouth shut.

Katherine Heigl — best known as the girl who settled for Seth Rogen in Knocked Up but who will always be more familiar to me as Izzy from Roswell — decided to tell the world recently that she took herself out of the running for an Emmy this year because she felt her character on Grey’s Anatomy had received the quality of writing she’d hoped for. (Coincidentally, Heigl’s character on Grey’s is also named Izzie. You’d think someone who got her big break from a show about aliens would be more humble.) Heigl actually made the decision to withdraw last spring, but news of it arose again recently when Grey’s showrunner Shonda Rhimes was asked about the matter during a panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. Those asking the questions seems eager for retaliatory sniping, especially in light of the fact that Grey’s didn’t garner as many Emmy nominations this year as it did last year. For what it’s worth, Rhimes handled the questions in a classy manner, according to this article at Quoth the Rhimes:
When I was told about it, I have to say I found it surprising… I actually have a really wonderful working relationship with Katherine. I love and respect her as an actress and I love Izzie as a character… I don't know that she was necessarily insulting the writers per se… I didn't feel insulted.
I however, can’t see Hiegl’s statement as anything but a jab at the people who write for her character. I’m a writer, though not one for TV, and I feel that if someone disagreed with the direction I took his or her character and chose to quietly withdraw from the Emmy race or any other such awards competition, that would be his or her choice. That’s not what Heigl did. Instead, she said the following instead:
I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention… In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.
First of all, wouldn’t it be the mark of a good actor to work straw into gold? To breath life into what would be dull dialogue in another actor’s hands? Or couldn’t she just leave the show or beg for her contract to be terminated so she can find better writing and more meaningful work elsewhere? Like in that amazing movie she was in, 27 Dresses, which generated all that Oscar buzz for her? And thirdly, what, exactly, does she hope to achieve in publicly complaining, aside from giving a chance for an Emmy to be won by an actress on a show I actually enjoy? For the record, two other Grey’s actresses, Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson, managed to get nods in spite of allegedly subpar writing. Perhaps Heigl only faults her own character’s development, but I wonder it crossed her mind that being nice and complimenting the people that make her job possible would improve her story arcs for the show’s next season.

At the panel at which Rhimes spoke, Ugly Betty bigwig Silvio Horta jokingly suggested that Heigl’s character be put into a coma next season. Rhimes laughed that off, saying that she has an “unbelievable” turn of events planned for Izzie. And while she doesn’t seem like the kind of person who’d use this earth-shattering turn of events as a means for revenge, I am that kind of person. I will conclude this post with a list of possible plots that could really give a whinebag actor something to work with.
  • Izzie becomes trapped in a silo full of manure. No one else on the show notices. She spends the next season slowly drowning in it.
  • Izzie buys a pet macaque, which rides around on her shoulders for the remainder of the her character’s existence on the show. The macaque is foul-tempered and badly trained, but Izzie must learn to rise above it all and find a light in the darkness that is her life.
  • A cannibal patient at the hospital eats Izzie’s face. She survives. (The eaten face make-up would take hours to apply.)
  • Izzie develops chronic flatulence. It complicates her love life.
  • Izzie gets a pixie cut.
  • Izzie’s life proceeds as normal, but everyone else in the hospital develops the odd compulsion to pop her in the teeth. (Could generate suspense with fans. “Who will hit her this week?” “When is it going to happen?” During sweeps, she gets smacked after every commercial break.)
  • A gypsy curse on Izzie makes her grow more and more warts in every episode. However, ever the feminist, her character decides to avoid the surgery that could eliminate her problem, as the she wants to be loved for who she is on the inside.
  • Izzie’s character falls in love in Kid Rock, and each Grey’s episode has a one-minute cut away to her increasingly tragic life on the road with him.
  • Izzie is demoted to the position of orderly and only appears in the background, mopping up blood and vomit and muttering incoherently.
  • News of Izzie’s long-ago one-night-stand with Jenny Shimizu arises. Izzie is scandalized. Shimizu follows her around the hospital, blabbing on about it in the background of every scene.
Yes, by the way, I do have aspirations of writing my own TV show.


  1. Oh this made me so happy!
    At the risk of sounding a bit Shimizu-esq... my best friend plays music with her husband, I've been to their house a few times and man oh man is she a fucking self-absorbed BITCH. I can't stand even being in the same room as her, her ego sucks all the air out of the room and it's hard to fucking breath.
    shut the fuck up indeed!

  2. Yikes. Better hope she's not so self-absorbed to check every mention of her on the blogosphere.

  3. That "falls in love with Kid Rock" line made me spit beer into my powerbook's keyboard!

  4. Drew! Write a TV show! Now that the idea has been broached, I demand that you do so immediately. Also, I want to be an extra. And I want to do something obscene in the background. And I want it to involve cake.

  5. Dina,

    I expected a comment from you, but I thought it would be in defense of the show that I thought you loved. Less so about cake. Also, you should read I Was Told There'd Be Cake, because you would think it was funny.

  6. Dina,

    I expected a comment from you, but I thought it would be in defense of the show that I thought you loved. Less so about cake. Also, you should read I Was Told There'd Be Cake, because you would think it was funny.

  7. Anonymous8:10 PM

    not to mention her early work in romy and michelle 2, which i accidentally landed on the other day and could not get away from fast enough.

    p.s. here's another gripping scene that she could really act the shit out of: in the season premiere, izzie decides to save a deer in the hospital parking lot with people-saving equipment. oh wait ...