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Fat Gay Opera Singer Steals The Show On Grey's Anatomy

Opera-singer I can't believe you don't love Grey's Anatomy. It was so good Thursday night. All kinds of crazy shit happened but it was the fat gay opera singer who stole the show for sure. That photo? That's not him. That's just a fat opera singer.

I can't just start talking about the fat gay opera singer right out of the gate. I must set the stage for him. I must till the soil in which he can bloom.

The central scene of this week's episode, upon which the entire show hinged, was a group of cast members eating lunch in the morgue while Meredith practiced a difficult surgical procedure on a cadaver. Note the startling juxtaposition of life and death, of perpetual hunger and longing against the background of stasis. Grey's Anatomy is fucking awesome. I don't care what you think.

So anyway, in this macabre setting, Yang is posing a question. Not just to them, mind you. But to all of us. A question that, if answered with sincerity, will illuminate the hushed whisperings hiding at the core of all our hearts. Did you notice how I said the whisperings would be illuminated, as if you could SEE sound? That's how weird the secrets at the core of our hearts are. They're synesthetic.

Yang, Asian, representing so many Eastern conundrums, asks "If you had to choose between the thing you love to do and the person you love, which would you choose?"

Go consult your heart. I'll wait.





For Yang, it's easy. She would pick surgery before Owen. After much hedging, Meredith finally agrees. She'd pick surgery over Derek. Izzie objects and launches into a tirade about a bunch of mushy crap like how jobs are temporary and you can get new ones but love is so lovey and love love lovelitude. Alex hears her out but disagrees. He sides with Yang and Meredith and you can practically see Izzie's heart breaking, right there in the morgue. Morgues will do that to you.

This theme gets played out amongst the characters with all kinds of sobbing and blood but, this week, it's a guest star who nails it.

Alex is treating a fat gay opera singer who lost his upper register because of bronchitis. But on Grey's Anatomy, bronchitis is never bronchitis. It's pleural mesothelioma. So the fat gay opera singer is instantly screwed. "I sing. It's my entire life," he yells, meaning FIX IT. But the guy's partner, Jeff, gets his feelings all bent out of shape. "Besides me?" he sniffles (he was being a total chick), but the fat gay opera singer just sits there, looking conflicted and not answering, which is of course, his answer.

Commercial break. Things are quiet at my house. Too quiet.

The doctors are discussing the possibility of removing all or part of the fat gay opera singer's lung. As you would imagine, he's freaking out. And during his plea for his lung, this is what he says:

“I’m big. Too big. I don’t fit in airplane seats. And, as Jeff is always telling me, my feelings don’t always fit the situation. If my food is overcooked in a restaurant, I get enraged. I want to kill the waiter. But I don’t. I politely ask him to take my meal back and bring it to me the way I asked for it. I spend my days making myself smaller. Acceptable. And that’s okay. Because at night, when I go onstage, I get to experience the world the way I feel it. With indescribable rage. And unbearable sadness. And huge passion. At night, onstage, I get to kill the waiter and dance on his grave. And if I can’t do that, if all I have left is a life of making myself smaller, then I don’t want to live.”

I stood up and pumped my fist.

And not just because the fat gay opera singer rehashed the tired old need to be yourself. It was more than that. For one thing, he located the need to make art in the realm of murderous rage, which is truer, more authentic, than the naive notion that the movement toward art is a delicate, pretty process. That's a pretty hardcore idea to parade across prime time television.

But, further, I loved how they cast an enormous man for this role, so he could set us up with the whole "I'm too fat for plane seats" bit and then have him undergo that subtle shift in meaning. We have to catch up with what he means. Because when he's talking about making himself smaller, he's not talking about losing weight. He's suddenly talking about you and me and the pressure the world puts on us to be smaller than we are. The world cramps our style.

So isn't the answer to Yang's question easy?

Or rather, it's not really a question, is it? If the fat gay opera singer can't sing, he's not him. So the question of choosing Jeff over singing is moot. I mean if he chose Jeff, Jeff would be left with a mere shadow of the fat gay opera singer. And, really, would Jeff even want to be chosen? Would you?

Is love even love if it makes you smaller? 

. . . . .
BHJ is holding it back. It hurts so bad. It's jumping right out of his flesh.

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that was the most amazing post. all I can say, on so many levels, is AMEN!


This is awesome.


I freakin' crying over a recap. Of a show, I might add, that I can pretty much guarantee would not have made me cry. Because I would have been too busy ranting over the damn fat-people-must-be-miserable-at-all-times TV imperative. But you made me cry. So, you know. You can be proud. Or ashamed. Whichever.


This is the best recap ever. Really. Love.

Fawn Amber

You are my new favorite.


Yes! awesome.


Awesome post, BHJ. I was just thinking about you yesterday, actually, because I was watching a movie with Sandra Oh in it, called Dancing at the Blue Iguana, and I know you're a fan of hers.

It is an awful movie, but she's awesome in it and her character is fascinating and complex. And hot! You get to see her gyrate around in nothing but a tiny, tiny black sparkly g-string. Which, I, for one, really enjoyed.

She's been my fave Canadian actress for years, so I'm glad that the world is finally getting to see her awesomeness through her role on Grey's.

Go Team Yang!

sweetsalty kate

Speechless. This was a great post.

a different Heidi

i was already pissed at my husband for failing to tape this episode for me (yes, i said "tape" not dvr, we only have a vcr. but it works, dammit!)

and now? well, shit.

thanks for a great recap. anybody know where to safely watch grey's online?


you know...WHY do they always make fat people miserable? i know it's off topic but i just want to see some beautiful person with herpes or something. just sayin'.


Izzie has BRAIN CANCER, and Izzie's a smoking piece of tail.


Nice recap of the episode. Although I saw where the opera singer was coming from, my first reaction to his speech was "how sad for him". I know people like him, and I really think they have a sad perspective on life. I love their passion for the one thing they do amazingly better than I could ever dream, but when that can't do that one thing they would rather be dead. How sad is that? There is SO much more in life! Don't change who you are, but don't give up on life. Figure out what else you can get out of life, and how you can effect others around you. His partner loved him and wanted to experience more of life with him, but he was selfish and wanted the one thing that gave him glory. Don't be a one trick pony! Get out there to learn to experience all of life while being true to yourself and not conforming to the world.


I read this in an article in the NYT today, and it made me think about this recap. The article was about Placido Domingo and Elaine Stritch.

"Opera regularly traffics in primal and heightened emotional states — grief, despair, rage, ecstasy — that would challenge the greatest stage actors to bring to life even in artfully wrought drama. Opera singers must strike a particularly tricky balance: the performance must be big, to match the size of the music and the scope of the feeling, but size must not swamp truth."



You know, I've thought about it before, but not exactly in the context you've nailed down here: I am in love with someone who lets me be 'big' and doesn't try to diminish it. He rides the lightning, and that makes all the difference in what comprises the Us.

This was a really great post; thanks for writing it.


Wow. I don't always watch Greys, much as I love it, because it usually makes me cry and sometimes I'm just not in the mood for that...but your recap filled the bill nicely.

Lovely writing. And no, Love should never make you smaller!

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