So many changes at “Grey's Anatomy,” so little time to absorb them. Even as we're gearing up for the exit of Cristina (Sandra Oh), now comes word from The Hollywood Reporter that two cast regulars — Tessa Ferrer (Leah) and Gaius Charles (Shane) — won't be back for season 11. For fans of the show, this may or may not be considered bad news.
Chances are, most of us didn't get hooked on either one of these characters. Sure, Leah created a stir with her fling with Arizona (Jessica Capshaw), while Shane almost killed a patient due to lack of sleep and possibly post traumatic stress. But as the weeks have passed, they've been increasingly shunted to the sidelines.
Their fellow residents Stephanie and Jo have been luckier, landing more easily relatable, A-story plotlines (Jo is in a rollercoaster relationships with Alex, while Stephanie was publicly dumped by Jackson in the worst way imaginable). Leah and Shane, on the other hand, have been pricklier. Leah's initial crush on Arizona took a dark turn when it became obsessive, and while she seems to have gained some perspective on her behavior in recent weeks, it may have come too late for viewers. Shane's bloated ego (and his affair with Cristina) weren't exactly cuddly, either.
As “Grey's Anatomy” has aged, the show has been merciless (and possibly rightfully so) in dumping new characters who haven't immediately clicked or had reached the end of their usefulness. Remember Reed and Charles from season 6? You can be forgiven for forgetting them (they were shot by Gary Clark), but another resident, April Kepner, stuck around. It's hard to envision the show today without Sarah Drew, who has become integral to the action at Grey Sloan Memorial.
It isn't just new characters who get the boot, either. Remember the plane crash? Losing Lexie and Mark wasn't easy, but it got eyeballs, plus it freed up some space for a new bundle of storylines, too. We won't even get into the whole Izzie/George/Preston thing, which was (as we all know) perhaps a little more complex than just a conversation in the writers' room.
I don't think there's going to be much crying for Leah and Shane (which is not to disparage Ferrer and Charles' performances, by the way). While viewers like complex, sometimes troubled characters, both of these residents may have been uncomfortably unlikable — a pompous workaholic and a neurotic, bitter ex — for a show that's been hugely effective at creating characters we recognize and root for. Here's to new romances, battles and, yes, characters. Even the spaghetti that doesn't stick on “Grey's” is usually pretty tasty, at least for a while.
Are you sad about losing Leah and Shane?