TVLine's Performer of the Week: Sara Ramirez

129340_1872A new feature in which we spotlight the past week’s shining star

THE PERFORMER | Sara Ramirez

THE SHOW | Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)

THE EPISODE | “Run, Baby, Run”

THE AIRDATE | December 13, 2012

RELATED | Exclusive: Patrick Dempsey Talks Grey’s Anatomy Series Finale

THE PERFORMANCE | Sara Ramirez knows how to navigate a dicey storyline (the Callie/Erica romance, the musical episode, etc.), so it doesn’t surprise us that she’s kicking major butt with the current Arizona-as-amputee arc. Nonetheless, we were taken aback by the depth, humor and restraint she brought to this week’s episode, in which Callie stopped being polite and started telling her wife — played by Jessica Capshaw, also rising to this storyline’s challenges — to “suck it up and stop whining and start living.”

In a lesser actor’s hands, the speech (which you can read in its entirety here) could’ve come off as selfish, insensitive grandstanding. But with Ramirez, Callie expertly straddled the line between furious — over their whole lives being “about that leg” — and fearful, that the intensity of her words may harm Arizona more than help her. And anxiety has rarely been better illustrated than in the seconds after she concluded her lecture, when she took a deep breath, pursed her lips and shot her wife a subtle “Don’t be mad at me!” glance. Arizona wasn’t mad. But we were — not at Callie, but about Ramirez. Well done.

HONORABLE MENTION | New Girl‘s underrated Jake Johnson, for making Nick’s extreme emotional baggage and premature old man grumpiness somehow sexy and endearing as he decided he wanted to make a go of it with Angie.

Which performance knocked your socks off this past week?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Louise says:

    Often I don’t agree, but this is one that I’m with you on.

    She was fantastic!

  2. Mike says:

    Yes! 8 years on this show and Sara is SOO under-appreciated. She is always fantastic, but last night was special. Kudos to the writings for doing a great job with this story and Sara for knocking it out of the park.. Pompeo, Oh and Wilson we’re also all on point last night. One of the strongest network drama casts STILL.

  3. says:

    That scene was awesome. The acting was flawless and is deserving of praise. I also think that the writers should be praised for the words which were powerful

  4. marge says:

    I mean, there were earlier episodes where Callie Torres was more heavily featured with meatier material (9×03), but Sara Ramirez is stellar in anything and everything.

  5. Rene says:

    I love Sara Ramirez and she is always fantastic, but that speech WAS selfish and very belittling of Arizona. Not even Sara could save it for me. The writers don’t seem to know how to write Callie this season. She shows very little to no understanding or sympathy of what Arizona went through. Supporting and actually sympathizing are two different things. Arizona was not whiny. She had VALID insecurities that were not unreasonable. Talk to any amputee and I can pretty much guarantee that Arizona’s insecurity had merit. If I were Arizona and had been spoken to like that by my spouse I definitely would have not gone anywhere with them.

    • Liana in San Diego says:

      Don’t agree…. Arizona has been wallowing in the pity party far too long. Callie handled it with aplomb…. letting her know that she’s with her, but enough is enough. Personally, I’m tired of AZ being so damned selfish…. not Callie. I’m sure that amputees feel and have many insecurities, and I’m not belittling the experience they have, but for Arizona to take it out CONSTANTLY on everyone around her is just too much. Enough already.

      • Rene says:

        Except she has taken anything out on anyone since episode 4. She’s made steady and very major progress since episode 4. Hell she laughed at herself when she fell in the OR in episode 7. She helped Callie prepare for her presentation with Derek. I wouldn’t call in any of that “wallowing in the pity party”. Arizona’s life has changed forever. Callie may want to act like it hasn’t changed, but it has and it’s not going to be just smooth sailing. There will be bumps in the road. Arizona isn’t just going to magically get over what happened. Life doesn’t work that way. She’s going to have really great days and she’s going to have bad days where her stump hurts and she can’t stand in a surgery or chase after their daughter. She’s going to have more falls. It’s a process that isn’t always going to be pretty. I was fine with Callie giving Arizona a kick in the ass to go, but I believe the writing of that speech was bad. It could have much better worded and had a more powerful effect on me. If Callie is allowed to have insecurities during the baby stuff in season 7, then Arizona is certainly allowed to have insecurities because she lost a leg.

        • sunshine says:

          I thought this was about her performance not the story and last night SaRa’s performance was brilliant. Maybe the Callie speech could have been better but SaRa pulled out all the emotions with what the writers had handed her.

    • chris says:

      I love SaRa as well. She is an amazing stage actress. I believe her working with JCap as a scene partner has helped her tone down her “stage type”performances to be more nuanced, which plays better on the small screen. She and JCap are excellent scene partners and both deserving of accolades – they really elevate each others performances.

      That said I also agree with Rene that the writing for this couple and especially Callie has been awful awful awful this season. Its like they have a check list of steps an amputee has to go through and didn’t know what to do with the partner while they make their list, rushing through “the steps” with no thought to the characters they are writing for.

      Callie has come off amazingly cold, heartless, abusive, and self centered. I realize JCaps time was limited by maternity leave but for heaven sakes then, don’t write a story line like this for her/them if she is AWOL for it!.

      The writers have failed to stay true to the couple and mine the REAL drama between them. This scene/Callie’s speech that you are tipping the hat to SaRa for SHOULD have been followed by AZ calling her out. AZ is a doctor, she knew the risks and gave explicit orders NOT to cut off her leg. Callie broke AZs trust and made a decision for her that AZ clearly stated she had no right to make. AZ has always had trust issues with Callie, as she stated clearly after their first break up. THIS was the scene where that trust issue should have been mined.

      With so many comparisons to be made between how callies pregnancy/accident and AZ’s accident/loss the writers could have put a powerful scene together here that moved they characters forward in a big way. Rather we got a SELFISH Callie acting like AZ’s issues are nothing more than a terrible imposition on callie’s sex life – REALLY? They had gold to mine and they gave us lead. SaRa delivered it well – but frankly we have had little more than Callies tough love this season (get the hell out of bed/this is my life too/get over yourself I need sex) and at this point its hard to understand why AZ didn’t thrown the damn shoe at her rather than put it on.

      • Bradley says:

        Wow you JCap fans kill me seriously and I do mean JCap fans because your clearly not a Calzona fan. This is about Sara and her performance not Callie clearly some people are having a hard time separating the two. Also,her getting recognition for this particular scene is a about her performance not the SL. You know Sara can get appreciation for her performance she’s a brilliant actress and been a part of Grey’s for 7 seasons. Besides a few and i mean few JCappers who constantly complain about the character she seems to be very loved by the community(actress and character). I’m sure Jessica’s time will come only difference is you want see a bunch of Sara fans on here posting negatve comments about it.

        • chris says:

          LOL – I’m actually a member of SaRa’s fan club and have plunked down my own cold hard cash to see her perform in NYC more than once, and would gladly do so again and again. She is magic on stage. SaRa herself has commented on what a great acting partner she has in JCap and I am simply agreeing with her giving JCap such props. While a fan of both actors, SaRa’s performances on the small screen have IMO improved and become more nuanced since working off of JCap as a scene partner. That I think is evident in her performance in the scene being tagged here which she nailed. The point of my previous post was that I give her props for doing so much with so little by way of decent storyline, because to me the writers are just phoning it in this season with this poorly conceived and written amputation storyline. I’ve found the writing for Callie since 9×01 a disservice to SaRa’s character, making callie appear selfish, self centered and even abusive. While SaRa was able to temper the words given to her in this scene with her own facial expressions and delivery, the way this scene was written essential had Callie telling AZ to get over herself because she/Callie needed sex.- really? AZ loses a leg, goes through PTSD and major depression and all Callie can say is get over it I need sex? That IMO does not reflect well on Callie, and if the writers had any interest in staying true to these characters they have developed over the years they should have written this scene differently or at the very least ended it with AZ putting Callie in her place, The way these characters keep doing 180’s on Greys gives me whiplash, but thats my opinion and YMMV. Frankly, I give SaRa props for being able to elevate the poorly written material she is being given to work with and making these scenes note worthy through her own interpretation.and force of personality.

  6. twilight123 says:

    I’m glad that Sara is getting the attention she deserves! She is one of Grey’s most underrated talent, and she is giving pure gold in this storyline!

  7. wordsmith says:

    As great as this scene was, I don’t think it can top Kristina Braverman’s devastating just-in-case goodbye video to her kids on Parenthood. In my book, Monica Potter wins this week hands down.

    • wordsmith says:

      Of course, I know she already got the nod a month ago, and you’d like to spread the love around a little, which is fair enough.

  8. sunshine says:

    Deserved and so much more.

  9. KD says:

    Kudos to Sara Ramirez. Such a great actress!

  10. maki says:

    don’t call it selfish! Why isn’t Arizona the selfish one cause of her leg!?

    People be aware that the biggest gift on this world is to breath!
    Marc and Lexie died! She is still standing! I have disabled people in my family and they are fighting cause they are still breathing! Arizona should be so lucky cause she is just lumping! Big deal!!!!
    Some people don’t have both legs and both arms and acomplish great things. The important thing is to have love in Ur life! If U have it ENJOY cause U never know when it will be Ur last!!

    • Katie says:

      So did your disabled family members come to that realisation instantly? It’s a process. Arizona is three months post amputation and amputation recovery is measured in years, not months or a mere 12 weeks. She’ll get there. People need time to adjust to major life changes and challenges.

      • Amber says:

        Considering Arizona is only a role it’s not really necessary to get so defensive on her behalf.

        • Katie says:

          Except Arizona is representative of those with disabilities, many of whom are told, usually by able bodied people, the “right” way to react and deal with their lives and judged for how they do so. I’m not defensive for Arizona, I’m defensive for them. But it’s not the topic at hand here and I should probably have left it alone.

  11. Helen says:

    Sara Ramirez was amazing in all of her scenes tonight. She handled comedy and drama perfectly. Kudos 2 u Sara.

    • MarinaLopes says:

      Concordo, Sara é uma atriz de muito talento e sensibilidade. Ela sempre consegue flutuar entre o drama e a comédia sem perder a mão, sempre na medida certa. Em qualquer pequena aparição ela dá um show de interpretação. A JCap reconheceu isso quando disse em entrevista que “ela realmente sabe o que está fazendo”. É verdade.

  12. Wes says:

    I just want to say thank you for recognizing Grey’s Anatomy. The series started so strong and had some ups and downs but it back at the top again for sure. Shonda Rhimes has given Sara’s character such a great story arc this season and her acting has definitely been superb. So as a Grey’s fan I thank you for acknowledging it’s great cast, if only the Emmy’s or the Golden Globes would pay attention to them again.

  13. Josh says:

    Peter Krause doesn’t even get an honorable mention?

  14. Eliza says:

    I’ve always loved Callie. Sara brings so much warmth and heart to that character and she knocked it out of the park with her speech especially her reactions afterwards. Brava!

  15. DarkDefender says:

    I’d give honorable mention to Pompeo and Dempsey for the effortless scene post Derek’s surgery.

    And maybe a nod to Damien Lewis for another solid overall episode of Homeland.

    • Amber says:

      It’s a shame only Sandra Oh and Katherine Heigl have been recognized by the awards community. Ellen Pompeo certainly has deserved some attention.

  16. Lauren says:

    I think you guys should do a Comedy Performer and a Drama Performer, that would be amazing. I think it’s hard to compare comedy performances and dramatic performances. Plus I love this feature and am greedy. :D

  17. Billie says:

    Sara Ramirez is Grey’s Anatomy performer of the week, every week, imo. She is just a solidly, solidly talented actor. And nobody does a reaction shot like her. She might have the most expressive face on television. She’s great at the subtleties too. Little things that make her performance seem so much more real. She hit it out of the park this week, that’s for sure. But if you’re ever stuck to find someone to fill out this feature (hey, it could happen) flipping to Ramirez’s latest episode should always be a safe bet.

  18. John says:

    Good choice. Also Loved Yvonne Strahovski’s performance as Hannah on Dexter this week. Her “you should’ve killed me” line along with the look she gives Dexter was extremely well played.

  19. Mcyummy says:

    Totally agree Billie! Sara is a facial expression genius. Just look at the scene where she tells Arizona, “because you’re going to a wedding” and the face she made there was amazing. And that’s just one if many. Even how she can change her voice from funny to serious is brilliant. I feel her and Sandra Oh are the performers who rock the episodes where they are serious and dramatic in one aspect of their life and hilarious and comedic in another, all in the same episode. And I also feel Jessica Capshaw can play off Sara and stand toe to toe with her acting wise. So many actresses would have been horrible at being ArIzona, I am so glad they chose JCap. Her facial expressions are brilliant too!

  20. Carilie says:

    Completely agree with comments by Billie. Sara Ramirez is always on the money with the gestures, expressiveness, voices, emotions…every aspect of acting!!!

  21. Jessica says:

    Joseph Morgan’s brilliant portrayal of Klaus on Vampire Diaries happens every time he’s on screen…this week he was extra sensational.

  22. shauna says:

    loveeeeee sara!! shes amazing… glad they are finally almost back to being the calzona i love <3

  23. jax says:

    I agree that Jake Johnson is underrated. I think he’s the funniest character on New Girl yet Max Greenfield is getting all the accolades and attention.

  24. Tania says:

    It was a wonderful scene. Callie wasn’t trying to pretend Arizona should just be happy she’s disabled. She was trying to make her see that the only one making it DEFINE her is her. That she CAN have a full life – but nobody is gonna do it for her. She has to be willing to make the effort. Arizona was going to SKIP the wedding. She needed that speech.

    I think it should’ve been a tie, though, for performer of the week. Jessica Capshaw was amazing in everything she did this week, too.

  25. MarinaLopes says:

    Tem razão,Sara Ramirez é fantastica, sensacional, brilhante. Uma atriz de talento natural, intensa e verdadeira que alavancou o nível de qualidade da serie e que está um degrau acima do restante do elenco que é muito bom até. Eu ri muito e aplaudi de pé a cena em questão, mas quanto ao Emmy, não seria o primeiro que eu entregaria nas mãos dela…tá merecendo faz tempo…

  26. Jake says:

    Am I missing something? No question that Sara is a great actress but the shower scene was more powerful

  27. shuayb says:

    Reading this post makes me happy. Sarah Ramirez needs awards for her work. It was a gorgeous scene in an amazing episode.

  28. MarinaLopes says:

    Pergunta: Tem alguma informação sobre Anatomia de Grey , de preferência algo a ver com Callie e Arizona? -NG
    Ausiello: Eu quase me esqueci! Callie traz 2012 do Arizona Piedade World Tour partido a um fim abrupto na quinta-feira, no momento mais empolgante do episódio. Você vai aplaudir, você vai rir, você vai querer entregar Sara Ramirez um Emmy si mesmo.


  29. Vera Dornelles says:

    BRAVO SARA RAMIREZ! Já vi esta atriz em outros trabalhos em TV e vi alguns vídeos dela na peça Spamalott, Sara Ramirez é fantástica!! De longe a melhor atriz que tenho visto a muito tempo. Sua face é um espelho de duas emoçoes, seu talento é indiscutível!!
    Está merecendo um Emmy faz tempo!!! Rendo aqui as minhas homenagens de fã incondicional ao trabalho, carisma e talento desta bela atriz chamada SARA RAMIREZ!! Os escritores de Grey’s não estão fazendo justiça a esse talento: já imaginaram o que ela faria com um texto melhor?… enfim, amo Sara e desejo a ela o melhor que a vida puder lhe dar!!!