I really enjoyed last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy
. There was a lot of good stuff packed into the hour that I especially liked. I always love a good parental neglect storyline, and there were at least six such plot threads going on last night: Izzie (Katherine Heigl) and her mother, Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Thatcher, Lexie (Chyler Leigh) and Thatcher, Meredith and the chief (James Pickens Jr.), the little girl who shot her father 17 times, and Callie's ongoing aftermath with her family after coming out of the closet.
However, there was one thing that just bugged me to no end: when Callie (Sarah Ramirez) complained that she wouldn't be able to pay rent anymore because her daddy took away her trust fund. WHAT??? Seriously, are you kidding me? This is the most ridiculous and unnecessary plot point EVER.
People who are specializing in orthopedic surgery have to spend five years in residency. (At least, that's what my friend Gary who is currently an ortho resident says.) Also, since we know that Callie was briefly the chief resident before she lost the position to Bailey (Chandra Wilson). Becoming a chief resident is not required during one's journey to becoming a grown-up doctor. After you have finished your five years as a resident, you can stay at the hospital for an additional
to be the chief resident, or
you move to a different hospital to do a fellowship, or
you just start practicing medicine.
I've taken the time to look up salary rates for surgical residents. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges
, during the 2008-2009 academic year, the mean salary for someone in her sixth year out of medical school is $58,520. Even at the low-end of the scale, the 25th percentile earns $54,147, which is still above the national average. I'm pretty sure that Callie can afford rent in Seattle. Hell, I
can afford rent in Seattle; working for BuddyTV might be totally glam, but it's not as lucrative as I or my student loans would like.
Plus, as soon as Callie finishes her residency, she will be banking tons and tons of cash. Ortho is one of the highest-paid specialties in the medical field, and in Seattle, the average income for an orthopedic surgeon is $342,000
. I have no sympathy for her.
OK, but Grey's Anatomy
is a TV show and not real life, you say? We shouldn't expect real world figures to apply, right? Well, then, I will use evidence from the show itself to prove how stupid this plot detail is.
Callie shares her apartment with Cristina (Sandra Oh), who is a lowly second-year resident. Cristina, I believe, was in an MD/PhD program, so she probably doesn't have any student loans from med school, but then again, Callie had all of her education paid for already too. So if Cristina is able to live and eat and pay rent in Seattle, then Callie should be able to also.
Moreover, until she started hooking up with George, Callie was squatting in the hospital basement, so she could have been saving the majority of her hospital salary for five years. Surely, this amount can tide her through until she can find a cheaper apartment, if she needs to.
Probably the biggest thing that bothered me about Callie's fake money woes is that it was so unnecessary and trivializes the hugeness of coming out to one's family. Coming out to one's family is a huge, scary and risky proposition. If your family is not supportive, you can face complete alienation from them, as Callie is experiencing now, or even outright hostility. These consequences are arguably more important than getting cut off financially, especially if you are an adult and earning good money already. I hope that Grey's Anatomy
will explore this direction more and not harp on the money stuff.
Missed the episode? Read the recap of Grey's Anatomy: Episode 5.21 "No Good at Saying Sorry">>
-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)