entertainment

9 reasons why a decade of Cristina Yang wasn't nearly enough.

Note: This post contains spoilers. 

Consensus tell us the female characters that TV viewers like watching most, are four things:

1. Happy

2. Caring

3. Uncomplicated; and

4. Stereotypically beautiful.

Sandra Oh as Christina Yang.

Within that very narrow definition, heroines on the small screen can have all the individuality they like – but not a shred more. Break the mould? And you break the ratings.

While the female villain can embrace the darker side of herself, be mean-spirited, or have a complex past (she still has to be hot. Because TV.) women protagonists have always been of a painfully similar ilk.

That is, until exactly  10 years ago, when Cristina Yang walked onto our screens.

Dressed in scrubs, wielding a scalpel, a wise cracking mouth and an unshakeable confidence in her own abilities, Cristina Yang quickly established herself at the most interesting character in Emmys and ratings juggernought Grey’s Anatomy. 

Tonight, those few Australians who have stuck with her through 10 seasons of old-fashioned-not-illegally-downloaded-free-to-air-TV-viewing, will say goodbye to her. Yang (played by Canadian actress Sandrah Oh) leaves the series for good.

And I know this sounds trite, ridiculous and teenage girlish… but I’m kind of devastated.

Cristina Yang gave ambitious, careerist and straight-talking women permission to be who they are and not apologise for it. She showed that a woman can be loving and loyal to her friends, in the same way she can be to her partner. She was bold enough to imply that a person’s soulmate doesn’t have to be the one they marry. She proved that children are not and should not have to be the sum total of an adult woman’s existence. She said that it was OK to want to be the best, to strive for perfection, to take no prisoners and to put your career ahead of everything else.

And she did all of that while being the first Asian character I’ve seen on TV whose role was not wholly personified by her Asian-ness. Throughout every season of Grey’s, Christina’s cultural background was just there; a rarely-remarked upon fact of lineage rather than the reason she was cast in the first place

10 years of Cristina Yang wasn’t nearly enough for me.

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Even as the series became increasingly absurd and there were bombs, plane crashes, ferry disasters, suicides, medical miracles, lunatic gunman, lost limbs, post-traumatic-stress, bazookas, lost babies and disloyal boyfriends in abundance – I stuck with it because of her.

Because she said things that I’ve thought in my head a thousand times but never dared to say out loud.

Because she was brave, unashamed, ambitious, brilliant and uncategorisable…

Here are the nine reasons the fans will miss her the most:

1. Her unconventional, emotionally charged and deeply loyal friendship with Meredith Grey.

2. Her (almost) unwavering faith in her own ability to get the job done.

3. She genuinely wanted to be valued for her brain and not her appearance.

4. Her uncomfortably frank and brutally honest advice.

5. And while she gives top advice to her mates, she never believes her own bullshit.

6. The fact that for her, calories aren’t something to be counted – food is fuel for your body.

7. Even in the darkest times she finds a way to keep going, and to rally those around her.

8. She’s honest about her emotions and is the anti-cheerleader personality

9. She believes when the whole world goes to shit, dancing is the only option.

Here are some of our favourite Cristina moments:

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