Lesbians on 'ER' won't cause coronaries
By Bill Goodykoontz
May 3, 2001
When Kerry Weaver embarked upon a full-on lesbian relationship on ER earlier this season, no one raised a fuss.
Which is odd. A lesbian kiss on Roseanne a few years back was one of those hell-in-a-handbasket moments, to hear some tell it. Last year's steamy kiss between Calista Flockhart and Lucy Liu on Alley McBeal still managed to make headlines.
Weaver's relationship comes into play again on tonight's ER, and no one has bothered to boycott NBC. The temptation is to think, "Great, society has finally advanced beyond criticizing how other people live their lives." But I don't think that's the case.
More likely, it's that, in a show that routinely features explosions, unlikely affairs, leading-man brain tumors, births, deaths and all manner of overblown insanity, a leading character's shift in sexual orientation is no big deal.
While the Weaver-as-lesbian plot is still an obvious ratings ploy, ER's general hurly-burly allowed the relationship to develop slowly.
"In real life, when you're in some kind of huge transitional phase, you don't know how it's going to come out," says Laura Innes, who plays Weaver. "We try to keep that in mind."
Innes herself doesn't know how things will turn out.
"Maybe she's not (gay)," Innes says. "Maybe this is something that's coming out of a phase, or out of just this person, or out of whatever she's going through in her life."
(Innes also doesn't know why Weaver walks with a crutch. "It's a little mystery.")
Whatever the outcome, the actress says she welcomes the development.
"It's sort of like, 'Wow, this really shakes things up!' " she says, "especially for a character who is very controlling and very work-oriented, and the audience sees her in basically a certain way." As in, evil, manipulative shrew.
"This seems like a way to absolutely stir that up and make her kind of feel differently about everything in her life. . . . Weaver doesn't get that kind of material very often," Innes says.
True. It doesn'tinvolve explosions. Not yet, anyway.
Laura Innes and Elizabeth Mitchell in the Media
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