[Requested: Quotes Around Arizona’s amputation and PTSD]
“Arizona’s “really interesting journey” is “one of the journeys I’m most proud of. The acting has been incredible. We just want to let it be what it is,” - Shonda Rhimes
TV Guide Mag: Lastly, I know we have to keep secret the fate of Arizona, but what can you say about the work you’ve been watching Jessica Capshaw do in her scenes?
Ellen Pompeo: I’m not really around when they film those scenes, but what I can say is the scenes Jessica has are really intense and definitely challenging. But I think Jessica’s going to knock it out of the park and it’s going to be great for the show!
‘Calzona’ Fans, Buckle Up!
Under a strict gag order not to discuss the fate of her on-screen wife, Arizona, Sara Ramirez (Callie) instead discussed the impact that "Calzona” has had on viewers. “Jessica [Capshaw] and I talk about this a lot, and we’re both really grateful that people are invested,” she shares. “I know I am. And we hope that they will continue on this journey with us, because it’s definitely going to be an intense one.”
“This is not a story of defeat”
By the end of last night’s Grey’s Anatomy (S9 premiere), Mark Sloan was dead, Meredith and Co. were no closer to stepping onto a plane ever again, and it was revealed that plucky pediatric surgeon Arizona had lost a leg following the plane crash that derailed their lives. If your jaw was on the floor and your heart was aching, Jessica Capshaw understands what you’re going though.
“[Executive producer Shonda Rhimes] told me she was so excited about this story, and when she told me what it was, I think I felt about it like everyone did last night, which was totally shocked,” she says. “It was something I’d never even pondered, which is why she’s the master storyteller. It took me a while to wrap my head around.”
Almost the entire episode played coy with Arizona’s outcome (Why is Callie crying?!) but now that the secret is out, Capshaw says the next episode will delve into the situation that led to the amputation and explain the anger that Arizona is harboring toward her wife. “She’s pissed,” she says. “She’s sad; she’s mad. She’s lost something and she thinks she’s lost something at the hands of the person who’s supposed to be the most important person in her life and take the best care of her.”
But while Calizona fans might cringe watching the two at odds, Capshaw says, “The beginnings of it and finding this journey is going to be really dark and complicated,”. She’s also confident that the hostility won’t last. “It can’t go on forever,” she says. “Callie is her partner, Callie is her support, Callie is her person. Karev is her person. Those people will be absolutely instrumental on every level but there will also be someone who comes in and helps her.”
Who exactly? She won’t say. But it’s not someone new. “[This person] will be someone who is not in her immediate circle [but] is a new person to her,” she says.
In all, Capshaw says, “I don’t think anyone is intending to tell a story of defeat. She will rise. But again I hope it’s going to be a very authentic and heartbreaking portrayal of how you do that.”
THR - Jessica Capshaw
Grey’s Anatomy’s Arizona Robbins is alive – but in no way does she resemble the happy, peppy, perky doctor who first zoomed through Seattle Grace sporting a pair of light up wheelie sneakers.
After a summer where showrunner Shonda Rhimes was mum on Arizona’s fate, Thursday’s ninth season premiere kept viewers guessing if Jessica Capshaw’s beloved pediatrics surgeon had become the latest victim in the plane crash that claimed the lives of Mark (Eric Dane) and Lexie (Chyler Leigh).
Unseen throughout nearly the entire hour, it wasn’t until Callie returned home after watching her best friend take his last breath and march in to confront Arizona, who is very much alive – but missing her leg.
Left with a broken leg – with exposed bone! – in the plane crash, Arizona reveals that her left leg had to be amputated. Angry and depressed, Arizona has been shutting everyone out, including her orthopedic surgeon wife Callie – who she revealed was the one responsible for her loss of limb.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Capshaw early Friday to discuss the big reveal, what Arizona’s road to recovery will look like and how the events of the crash will impact one of TV’s few openly gay couples.
The Hollywood Reporter: Huge episode for Arizona last night. Did you watch live and follow fans’ concerns for Arizona via Twitter?
Jessica Capshaw: (Laughing) And yet it’s so little screen time! I watched on TiVo 45 minutes after it aired and during commercial breaks I was looking. I primarily got on Twitter originally because it seemed like it would be a great way to talk to people who were watching the show. When this story line happened, it seemed like the best thing to do to service the story is not say anything. So when I couldn’t talk about work, I became the most boring person on Twitter!
What was your first reaction to finding out Arizona’s fate?
I was shocked. I don’t know that there’s to hear that idea and not be shocked. It was shocking and it was meant to be shocking and to go on shocking and to provoke and tell a story that is a rare one. It’s a rare story in the sense that we think that while there are many people who have had to amputate or will have to amputate, it’s not something people are aware of in their daily life. It’s still something where it’s rare to see someone who is an amputee and a lot of times I think you might see someone who is but might not know about the disability. I don’t think I thought of it, it wasn’t even in my ether that it could happen to one of the characters on the show.
Arizona lashed out at Callie for being responsible for her amputation. Will she hold Callie responsible?
It’s a very complicated reckoning. If you lose something that’s that important to you like a limb – and it’s the only thing that Arizona said in the preview: “Don’t let them take my leg” – she sees Callie as her guardian. It’s really hard: the worst thing thing that’s ever happened to this woman is going to come as the hands of the person that’s supposed to be the best thing in her life. That’s a very rich dilemma. The story is going to be about how to come to terms with that and how to figure that out. Of course there’s going to be blame and Arizona definitely sees herself as a victim in this. This happened to her, she didn’t do anything to make this happen.
How will Arizona continue to punish Callie for being the one to perform the amputation?
You’re leaping to a conclusion in that last sentence but you’ll find out what happens. That’s going to be the story: How do you come to terms with something that devastating happening to you at seemingly the hands of the person who is supposed to love you and take care of you the most. She’ll be figuring that out.
How will we see them as a couple work to overcome Arizona’s loss? Arizona was there for Callie during her recovery after the car crash.
Right?! They’re very accident prone, these two (laughs). That’s further on down the road. When something this devastating happens to someone, it gets to be their time to figure it out for themselves. As much support as you could possibly get around you, at the end of the day it’s still you alone figuring it out. You can be supportive but you have to come to terms with things so that you can then show up for other people and allow other people to show up for you. The beginning of the story is much more about the actual occurrence of this loss.
Are they strong enough to work through this?
What will Arizona’s path to recovery look like? Will it get worse before it gets better?
There’s a strong commitment to telling the story authentically. It’s going to be as close to what the real story would be if this happened as it possibly can be. There’s loss, rehabilitation, how will she become mobile again, using what devices. That’s going to be a big thing. The intent is not to spend the entire season with her struggling and trying to find the way. There will be some resolution and understanding as well as some coming to reckonings if you will early on. It’s not all darkness and brimstone; it’s trying to get through this. There’s no light without dark and there is no dark without light. You have to have both to understand what the other is in relation to itself. That’s what the beginning of this season is for her.
How will the crash change her relationship with Alex (Justin Chambers) considering she’s the one who yanked him from the Boise flight upon learning of his decision to go to Johns Hopkins?
Arizona’s two most important relationships at Seattle Grace are Callie and Karev. Her relationship with Karev has always been very intimate; she’s always been a mentor to him and told him to believe in himself more than he thinks he should even believe in himself. She felt very betrayed by the end of last season when he was going to leave after she’d done all she’d done. She yanks him of the plane and look what happened. Arizona always has been so perky and present and always says things you’d wish you’d say in a moment and has the outlook that you wish you’d had. For first time, she’s actually saying things that sound a lot more honest and in the moment so there’s definitely blame and resentment. She is a devastating circumstance and she blames everyone.
Could we see her take some legal action against the hospital or see her parents return?
I don’t know, anything is possible.
If she can’t turn to Callie and there’s this blame with Alex, who will Arizona lean on for support as she tries to work her way out of this?
She’s trying to work her way out of this and ultimately she will find some peace with [Callie and Alex] – not without putting in the work and the time – but also is not a person joining forever but a new character in her life who will certainly help. Since they don’t know her and are independent of her world there, it’s all fresh and new and this person now knows her just in her current circumstance.
Sounds like a therapist.
No, not a therapist.
Wrapping up, how will this ordeal fundamentally change who Arizona is?
If you look at the past season and a half, a lot of stuff has happened to her. She left for Africa but when she came back, from then on out, everything happened to her: she found out her girlfriend was pregnant, she became a mom, she got in a really big car accident and now is in a plane accident. There’s been all this stuff that’s happened to her and she’s been very resilient and steadfast and consistent in her character. But this might just be the thing that tips the cart and makes her take a step back and actually be in the moment of how painful this is. Through the car crash, the baby and everything else, she’s always been “the good man in the storm” and the apple cart is getting turned over; she’s going to start wondering why all this is happening to her and how she can start making things happen in her life as opposed to happening to her.
FIVE THOUGHTS ON ARIZONA, FROM SHONDA RHIMES
1. It felt real to me that Arizona would lose her leg. That someone we love so much would go from being ambulatory to WORKING on being ambulatory, that we would begin to understand what it is like to be differently abled from watching a person we love BECOME differently abled.
2. To all those of you who posited that Arizona lost a leg because she’s a lesbian, I say: WHA….???!!! Or maybe I should say: “There was a second shooter on a grassy knoll, Area 51 isn’t just a myth and AIDS was created by the government.” Or you know, “THAT IS INSANE!” We don’t punish people for their sexual preferences. That is so 1985. We allow people, no matter what their sexual preference, to have complex storylines. Arizona is a lesbian who also happens to lose her leg in a plane crash. Why? Because a) Jessica Capshaw is an AWESOME KICKASS actor who deserves a chance to showcase what she has to bring to the table (fyi, as does Arizona’s wife – Sara Ramirez) and b) I felt it important to develop a storyline that detailed what happens when an able-bodied person loses a limb and then how that person resumes their life. It’s upsetting to me that “disabled” is a word that never enters into a conversation about how we live our lives. So, y’know, if you think she lost a leg because she is a lesbian, I say “GET A LIFE.” Or maybe “LOSE A LEG.” And then see how you feel about a sexy adorable person who happens to have a residual stump. Think about it. And then GET WITH THE PROGRAM. Please. Thank you.
3. Callie is no hero. And I mean that. I think it must be terribly difficult to be Callie right now. To have your partner hate you. To have your sex life taken away. To have your best friend taken away. Arizona has been taken from her and Callie is doing her best to survive that. Callie is our “good man in a storm” (FYI: that’s a phrase I have to describe people who are awesome in the face of danger – thank you, LEVEL 42 for making my junior and senior years of high school complex!) and she is doing the best she can. And we love her for it.
4. Callie and Arizona are going to have a fun romance-y, sexy love life again. And you are going to see it this season. That’s important to me. I stated in the Writers Room that Arizona could not lose a leg unless we were going to see how a person missing a leg could be sexy and fun and romance-y. So get ready for it – Arizona is gonna get her mojo back in a BIG WAY. And (spoiler alert!) it’s gonna happen before Valentine’s Day.
5. I want to say a word about Jessica Capshaw. And how fearless she is. Because she is. FEARLESS. OUT OF CONTROL FEARLESS. I tell her, “Let’s show the world an adorable lesbian doctor” and she says “okay.” I say, “I’m gonna cut off Arizona’s leg” and she says “Bring it.” It’s a pleasure to get to work with someone so game for the story. So game for representing things rarely seen on network TV. I love my job. I love getting to write for her.
This season is BIG. I’m in a happy place, y’all. Which means Happy THINGS are happening. I’m freaking the Writers out with all the Happy Things that are happening. But it feels right and it feels real. So I’m going with it.
Thank you for watching.
Thank you for believing in Arizona and Callie. Thank you for loving a lady –loving woman and her lady-loving-wife. I wish that we could all be so lucky as to find true love like this.
‘Grey’s Anatomy’s’ Sara Ramirez Previews Arizona’s Long Road To Recovery
Arizona’s road to recovery following the amputation of her left leg has been a rough one on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, but the process received a jump start when Bailey baited her back to Seattle Grace to help with a case.
With the assistance of a prosthetic, Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) took a giant step forward when she indirectly turned her anger about the loss of her limb toward Bailey and angrily made her way to the hospital, bringing a huge smile to her wife Callie’s (Sara Ramirez) face in the process. It was the first major positive sign of her return to form that will continue Thursday when she makes her official return to work.
“Initially, Callie’s really trying to not get in the way of Arizona’s first day back,” Ramirez told The Hollywood Reporter during a visit to the Hollywood set Wednesday.
Callie’s support is par for the course this season, which has seen the doc navigate the emotional fallout of a broken promise to Arizona that she would ensure she kept her leg.
“Callie is trying to help from a distance and has some safety nets planted out in case anything goes wrong,” Ramirez says. “She’s trying to help her wife, but from afar because she doesn’t really fully understand what it is her wife needs.”
While nobody expects her to be 100 percent back in the saddle immediately – and in classic Grey’s form, not all will be smooth sailing – Arizona’s return will at first feel almost seamless with the peds surgeon also reuniting with Alex, who unbeknownst to Arizona was the one to perform her amputation.
“She almost folds right back into the hospital,” Ramirez says. “She’s kind of just back and Callie is still working with Derek and eventually you’ll get to see Arizona and Callie work together at the hospital, which will be nice.”
With Arizona’s professional life nearing a full recovery, there’s still the couple’s personal life that’s yet to really be addressed considering the verbal and emotional woes the duo has been faced with in the aftermath of the deadly plane crash.
“After she comes back to the hospital, you’ll definitely see outside of the hospital that they try taking baby steps toward what they remember having,” Ramirez teases, noting that Alex’s role in Arizona’s amputation is always in the back of Callie’s mind. “They have to deal with the fact that it’s not as easy as they’d hoped. It was getting rough there for a while but Callie continues to show up and to try as best as she knows how because she loves her wife.”
“The tragedy makes the lighter, funnier, intimate moments so meaningful and so much more powerful because the audience is so hungry for it when it finally comes,” she says of “Calzona’s” story line.
That opportunity could arise at Bailey’s (Chandra Wilson) wedding when Callie and Arizona discover some new things with each other. “We have some fun, light moments to look forward to,” she says with a smile. “Maybe some rekindling.”
Post-Traumatic-Sress-Disorder To Loom Over SGH: 'Grey’s Anatomy’s’ Jessica Capshaw Previews Baby Steps for Callie and Arizona and a VERY 'Spooky’ Story Line
During this week’s episode, Arizona begins suffering from Phantom Limb Syndrome and will turn to a colleague for assistance as she attempts to continue the healing process.
Grey’s Anatomy’s Arizona Robbins is on the road to recovery from the deadly plane crash that ultimately claimed the lives of Mark and Lexie – and her leg. But according to co-star Jessica Capshaw, she’ll hit a major hurdle Thursday when Arizona begins suffering from Phantom Limb Syndrome. During the hour, Capshaw tells The Hollywood Reporter that the “spooky” story line will rattle Arizona to the point of her turning to a Seattle Grace cohort for support in shaking the very real feeling dreams.
THR caught up with Capshaw on Wednesday to preview the episode and discuss Arizona’s recovery, mending her relationship with Callie (Sara Ramirez) and if she’ll ever find out about Alex performing the amputation.
THR: Arizona is suffering from Phantom Limb Syndrome. How will we see her battle that?
Jessica Capshaw: It’s very real and the writers have done such an incredible job of being so responsible for researching the challenges that Arizona would face. It has felt like a very important part of the storytelling in terms of what someone might go through who has had this happen to them.
It starts in dream sequences with Arizona understanding this pain through her dreams. She ends up trying to hide it from Callie because she really wants to move on. After the grief and the loss, Arizona is trying to rebuild and figure it out again. She wants to keep [her suffering] separate from Callie because she wants to magically make it disappear. But it is unrelenting so she ends up seeking council.
After it doesn’t go away, Owen (Kevin McKidd) ends up helping her with different therapies. It’s a great story – it’s kind of spooky and a little bit dark but with the same heart that beats throughout the entire tone of the show. It’s like a child when you dreamed of falling out of bed and felt like it was a real sensation – these are dreams that feel that real to her.
The loss of one’s leg – or any limb – is a deeply profound thing so then having this situation when she feels it not there, it’s mind-bending.
THR: Might we see her flash back to her four days in the woods before being rescued?
Capshaw: No but there is a flashing of sorts . It’s more dreamy but there are parts where she harkens back to what she was before the limb loss.
THR: Would those flashbacks involve wheelie sneakers?
Capshaw:(Laughs) No, but that would be great! With the way viewers seem to feel about the wheelie sneakers, I feel like that will be the ultimate vindication that she’s completely back when she can rock those!
THR: Arizona and Callie made tremendous strides during their getaway at Bailey’s wedding. How might that progress? Might we see her call Callie “Calliope” again soon in that sweet Arizona fashion?
Capshaw: I don’t know the last time she called her Calliope! I think it’s been forever! As I said in the beginning of the season, we’re not teeing up a story of defeat. Ultimately, we want to see both of these characters find their way back to the relationship that they were in prior to the devastation [of the plane crash]. Arizona is coming back to herself as a doctor and making her way back to herself as a partner and as someone in a relationship and figuring out how to show up for that. Everybody wants to hurry for the big happy ending but the journey back to it is incredibly interesting as well. I get it, I root for characters that I love on TV shows but the truth is you wouldn’t want to watch them be happy every single week. I love watching them take their baby steps and figuring out how to go back to being what they were before this loss.
THR: There’s still the elephant in the room that Alex, not Callie, is the one who performed Arizona’s amputation? What will her response look like when she does find that out?
Capshaw: I don’t know what they have planned for that. I’m surprised it didn’t come up earlier when Arizona was in a really dark place and probably would have flipped out. The Arizona we’re seeing now is coming to terms with everything. I don’t know how much that will change the game for her. I feel like when you’re feeling bad, everything is bad and you want to blame everyone. But when you’re feeling good, at the end of the day, what does it matter if it’s gone, it’s gone. I don’t feel like it’s been played out to be this looming secret where there are people standing behind doors whispering about it. It’s been one of those things that just hasn’t come to light yet. When it does, it certainly will be interesting to see what happens.
THR: Same-sex marriage is now legal in Washington – might we see Callie and Arizona renew their vows with another ceremony, big or small? Callie mentioned that it wasn’t legal at the time during their formal ceremony.
Capshaw: That’s definitely a writer question. I’m sure they have a feeling about that. Whether it was legal or not, the way we played it as characters is they’re married. They’re no less married because it’s legal or illegal. I feel like Arizona is a married woman.
SEASON 10 (Post Super Storm)
Shonda Rhimes is a busy lady, but when she’s not working on her two hit ABC dramas, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” she’s trying to calm the masses on Twitter who scream questions at her in all caps and then get angry when they don’t like the answers. It’s funny to watch it unfold, time and time again, but mostly that level of passionate fandom is a testament to the characters Rhimes has created on both series.
HuffPost TV caught up with Rhimes at ABC’s Television Critics Association Summer 2013 cocktail party on Sunday to try to help quell some of the Internet anger happening in the off-season.
But as you “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” fans can attest again, no answers will ever appease everyone. So, read on to hear her thoughts – about everything from the “wonderful” Scott Foley hatred and more “Scandal” twists to come in Season 3, to Calzona-related rants from “Grey’s” fans and more.
For “Grey’s” Season 10, the superstorm is still happening when we pick up in the premiere, and there’s a mudslide and injured firemen and a lot more drama, but dealing with the fallout of the Calzona cheating has posed even more drama than, I think, if you broke up Meredith and Derek …
Shonda - Oh, I don’t know about that! [Laughs.] I’d probably have to go into hiding if I broke up Meredith and Derek.
True. I’ll say it’s close to that, then. But they’re one of the few – if only – strong, lesbian couples on TV.
Shonda - Yeah, but you know … here’s what I say: The definition of equality isn’t that you behave as a saint. The definition of equality is that you get to behave like everyone else behaves, for good or for bad. You get to make mistakes, you get to be flawed, you get to fuck up, you get to be who you are. It bugs me … I feel like screw everybody who says, “Oh they have to be perfect.” Let’s let them be human. I love that Arizona has flaws, and I love that Callie has flaws
Frankly, early in last season, one of the reasons why Arizona lost her leg in the plane accident was that I wanted to look at what it was like to have somebody that we all love and know to be sort of fierce and fearless become disabled, and what that would mean for them and how they would deal with overcoming it. But also, I didn’t want these characters to become stagnant. We’re able, because Meredith is our anchor, to find many interesting ways to deal with Meredith and Derek, but I didn’t want to get to a place where we were like, Callie and Arizona are in some sort of lesbian ghetto where they’re just happy and holding hands and they never get to experience any drama. These two women are amazing actors – Sara and Jessica have been so daring with these story lines – want to watch them act! They have amazing stories, and I want to see what happens with that. To me, we put everybody else’s relationships in danger on a constant basis, so why not allow them and afford them the same opportunities as every character on “Grey’s Anatomy” who screws up and deals with stuff and either gets back together or doesn’t?
I’m not saying whether they’re going to stay together or break up, but I had this moment where I thought, “If they don’t get back together, guess how many lesbian characters will get to be on the show, because people need to date.” That is not a bad thing. If they do get back together, that’s also a good thing.
Sara Ramirez and “Grey’s” producer Betsy Beers on Calzona in Season 10 - AE
“I just think they’re going through some stuff,” said Betsy, who also works with creator Shonda Rhimes on Scandal. “They’re both such great characters and you know, I think watching that last season finale and leading up to it, I see both of their points. I see where both of them are. I so feel for Arizona and what she’s been through and the sort of feeling that she needs to be who she really is. And I totally, totally, totally totally can’t even stand how emotional it is, what was happening, what’s going on. But I think, rest assured, it’s something that’s going to continue. It’s obviously a conflict which is going to keep going, something that has not been resolved yet. And there’s some really really really good turns that Shonda and the writers have planned.”
Although viewers would love to see smooth sailing for Callie and Arizona, the couple is treated like every other show on the soapy drama, which is to say they have issues just like everyone else.
“It’s unrealistic,” Betsy said of couples without hardships. “It happens to everybody. And you feel for [Arizona] and what she’s going through, what Callie’s going through, and it’s a real couple. It’s a real couple with a real relationship going through relationship conflicts and all couples go through that.”
She knows fans take it hard when their favorite couple has problems.
So far Grey’s hasn’t given a reason to think Callie and Arizona couldn’t get through their current trials. Both Sara and Jessica Capshaw are signed on for the entire season, and the writers know how strongly fans believe in their relationship, because they believe in it, too.
“They’re like everybody else, because they are like everybody else,” Betsy said. “They have problems like everybody else. And I think it’s a hugely important thing that we understand that we’re all the same. And that means the good and the bad. I’m excited to see what happens next because I’m so invested at this point. I’m so, so invested in it.”
Sara said she has felt the support of fans and the LGBT community, and that she feels it’s so important to play a character like Callie, who she says is “sexually fluid.”
“I hoped that it would be received positively, just the notion of someone discovering their own sexual fluidity,” Sara said. “I don’t know that that gets talked about a lot. I think even within the LGBT community there is some fear around that.”
While Shondaland continues to grow with new hit shows like Scandal and other producing projects in the works, ABC said they have no plans to stop working on Grey’s in the near future. Even better news: Sara said she’s in it for the long haul.
“I want it to go as long as Shonda feels passionate about telling stories,” she said. “When the writers run out of inspiration is when we should probably stop. But I don’t want to stop anytime soon. I love playing this character and I love the writing and I love the steps Grey’s Anatomy continues to take. So I’m on board.”
What steps will Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) take to deal with her PTSD?
Rhimes: I don’t think that Arizona realizes that she has PTSD that needs to be dealt with head-on at this point in time.
Will Callie (Sara Ramirez) try to help Arizona with that?
Rhimes: I don’t know that Callie is in an emotional position to feel like she could help Arizona at this moment in time. I have now just given you more than I’ve given anybody else about Callie and Arizona!
Can they come back from the infidelity?
Rhimes: I think they can. I love these two actresses. They’re so good in this relationship and how they work together. It’s going to be a challenge, and they’re going to have a really challenging, complex time dealing with what’s going on. That’s going to be a journey for them. Whether or not that journey brings them back together or makes them realize that they should be a part, no matter what they’re joined by a child. They’re joined by a shared history, and they’re joined by a hospital that they’re both board members and part-owners of. So, it’s not going to be that easy.