Monday, July 02, 2007

Train Wreck, Thy Name Is Isaiah

Not wish bad health on anybody, but I hope for his sake, Isaiah Washington catches a bad case of laryngitis within the next few hours.

In case you haven't heard, the ex-"Grey's Anatomy" star has not taken his firing well. Ever since using an anti-gay epithet and outing former co-star T.R. Knight last year, it's been one fiasco after another for Washington, including an on-set fight with former co-star Patrick Dempsey.

After a public apology and other acts of contrition, Washington was still fired from the show. I can understand he was upset by this, but his action over the past week or so has quashed the modicum of sympathy I might have had for him.

Washington has lashed out against Knight, claiming he should be the one fired; and he has lashed out against ABC, claiming he was fired because he is black. Kind of makes you wonder how sincere he was about his apology in the first place.

Washington isn't just walking across a minefield here for his career, he's practically running. Tonight, he appears on "Larry King Live" (CNN, 9 p.m.), which has become a haven for celebrities who have said and done stupid things and want a sympathetic interview to rebuild their image. No one does the softball, witless interview better than Larry King. Just take a look at the Paris Hilton interview last week.

Washington, however, may not have the savvy of Paris Hilton. (God, that's a phrase I never thought I'd type.) Washington has been lashing out at everyone the past two weeks, and now he has 44 minutes of airtime to do the same. He may not just burn his bridges, he may actually napalm them.

First, Washington ought to remember he uttered the slur, then repeated it during an interview at the Emmys. If the situation were flipped, and one of his former co-stars had uttered a racial epithet, Washington probably (and justifiably) would want that person gone.

Second, where has Washington been burying his head the past several months to think ABC's motivation was racial? The producer of "Grey's Anatomy," Shonda Rimes, is black and I'm guessing had a little bit of say in the matter (though probably not much.) What of the backlash against Michael Richards? Think he's going to work again any time soon? Or Don Imus?

People have a low tolerance these days for any sort of bigotry (thank goodness), be it against blacks, whites, gays, Jews, Latinos, Asians or any other group. (Which is how it should be, IMHO.) If anyone of any persuasion says anything offensive, he or she must be prepared for the consequences.

Washington says he is still fielding offers for TV and film work; if that's true, he can still salvage his career. But if he continues to lay the blame everywhere but his own two feet, he is risking further trouble.

My unsolicited advice? Use the time with Larry King tonight to claim that you have been stressed out the past couple of weeks and didn't mean the things you said. My guess? Washington does the exact opposite and continues his ugly implosion.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: Well, in a night full of so-called reality TV, the Washington interview might be the best pick. I thought we were well rid of "The Real Wedding Crashers" (NBC, 8 p.m.), one of the more appalling ideas to come out of the reality factory in recent memory, but I check my TV grid and it seems to be back.

On a better note, historian Simon Schama looks at the artist Bernini in his series, "The Power of Art" (PBS, 10 p.m.)

Among the new dramas airing original episodes are TNT's "The Closer" and "Heartland" at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively.

Also new are "Kyle XY" (ABC Family, 8 p.m.) and "Big Love" (HBO, 9 p.m.), which will hopefully keep longtime blog contributor Zodin2008 happy.


zodin2008 said...


I would happier if you would LEAD OFF your 'Picks of the night' with the far adn away best shows of the evening, "Kyle" and "Love". You lead off with Reality dreck you yourself don't even watch?

Isiah Washington, please, please go away. I am also even more sick of this person then Paris Hilton. Yes, really.

But Larry King, more to the point (and as suggested by CNN co-star, Anderson Cooper), should retire. His interviews have always been a joke, he's an obnoxious, phony blowhard, who does no real research anyway. Instead he just fills his airwaves with the most controversial figures of the moment.

I am not necessarily a Michael Moore fan on some of his views, but Moore has just made a Documentary about how screwed up the U.S. Healthcare system is (on this issue, I agree w/ him) but Moore's hour got bumped last week for PARIS HILTON? That should have gotten Larry King fired--but in today's society, it got him his best ratings in 10 years.

That, disgusts me. But it also points to the fact when dreck like "American Idol" is the highest rated show on T.V. and smartly written drama like "Veronica Mars" can barely get 2 million viewers.

Anonymous said...

I agree that people shouldn't show bigotry to any group of people. It is too bad, though, that it is so acceptable to bash Christians and no uproar is heard.

Phillip Ramati said...

I'm generally against the bashing of any group, with the exception of the French. Anon, are you talking about news programs or dramatic TV?

Anonymous said...

i dont know if you caught the interview, but now he's blaming patrick dempsey and trying to say that the word he used wasn't a derogatory slur...

Phillip Ramati said...

I didn't catch the interview, though I did read the post-mortem. Larry King, being the hard-hitting interviewer that he is, apparently never asked Isaiah why he's had other on-set altercations with other people previous to "Grey's."

But from what I hear, Isaiah apparently came off more calm and rational than he has in his previous interviews.

I do hope this is the end of this whole thing, though I fear that it isn't.

Anonymous said...

I was referring to the hollywood crowd in general. The Oprah types who "preach" tolerance and, yet, are intolerant of those whose views differ from their own (namely, Christians).