Question: I have been reading everyone's comments on the Isaiah Washington situation over at Grey's Anatomy. While I agree that it was both wrong and stupid to start the whole fracas again by using the word to deny the use of the word, I think there must be better ways to address the situation than firing Washington and either killing off the character or replacing him. I have found in the past that killing off a main character has had a "jumping the shark" effect on my enjoyment of the show. Perhaps instead the show can use this as a springboard to introduce a gay character and explore the issue in an intelligent manner (though hopefully less preachy than 7th Heaven). After reading your comments regarding the recasting of prime-time characters, I happily recalled the episode of Roseanne when Lecy Goranson returned after Sarah Chalke had taken over the part (and did an excellent job!), and they did the "Identical Beckys" musical number. I thought it was hysterical, and it is my fondest memory of that show. I even rate it up there with the last scene of the Newhart finale as one of my favorite all-time scenes.
Answer: Roseanne was always good about winking at itself, which is why it could get away with "replacement Becky." (It helped that Chalke was so good at it.) I still think it would be a bad idea for Grey's. Though the way things are going, it doesn't look like you'll have to worry about losing either the character or the actor. And as for the show including a story line to accentuate the need for gay tolerance or some such message, I think the subtle approach is best. (In the recurring cast, we already have the gay bartender, who brought his boyfriend on a fishing trip with the guys.) If there's any knock to take at Grey's, it's that the patient-as-metaphor device is often too on the nose. If they brought in a new gay character to make a point and to counteract the recent bad publicity, wouldn't that be just a little too obvious?