How To Have a Woman Sleeping With Her Boss Without Demeaning Her: Christina and Preston from Grey’s Anatomy

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Note: I wrote this mid-s2. I haven’t seen much of s3, but I understand the dynamic changed somewhat in s3.

The biggest thing I love about Grey’s Anatomy is the relationship between Christina Yang and Preston Burke. He’s her boss, but they’re equals in the relationship, something as refreshing as it is rare. So, in no particular order, here’s Scarlett’s guide on How To Have a Woman Sleeping With Her Boss Without Demeaning Her.

  • Have her swear him to secrecy over their relationship. She’s seen what happens in these situation – the woman always gets treated as if she got those plum jobs through him, not because she’s brilliant at what she does – and she’s too far-sighted to have that happen to her. Bonus points for having him act like a petulant child and running to the boss to tell him anyway.
  • Have her frankly disagree with some of his opinions, with such a casualness that the audience knows it’s her God-given right to frankly disagree with men.
  • Have her call him on it when she thinks he’s made a bad judgement – both personally and professionally. Have him forced, through her reasoned-but-passionate tactics, to reevaluate his reasons for coming to that judgement.
  • When they fight, have them both at times be portrayed as the unreasonable one, the wrong one. Have it neither a case of the woman deferring to the man, or the women being Perfect.
  • Have her be upfront about what she wants – but when he denies a reasonable request, have her resort to all sorts of tactics (ranging from clever to ruthless) to get what she wants – in other words, don’t have her take ‘no’ as an answer to a reasonable request.
  • Show him as insecure in the relationship.
  • Show them doing mundane things, like whose turn it is to take out the garbage, and being in bed sleeping.
  • Give her a life outside the relationship. Have her going out with friends.

For regular watchers of the show, did I miss anything?

Comments

  1. scarlett says

    <blockquote>I’m not sure how that helps HER look good. It might if she handles it well. But
    if his bad actions reflect on her in any way, it could be to make her look like
    a poor judge of character, in that she thought he could be trusted and he can’t.</blockquote>
    I can’t remember how she reacted to that, but I liked that she was quite reasoned in wanting to keep their relationship and he went over her head. I liked the reversal of dynamics in HER not wanting to flaunt the power that comes from dating her boss and HE overrules her in an underhanded way.
    The reason I stopped watching was because I read the spoilers and saw a complete disintegration of her character. In the first two seasons they had a really interesting dynamic of both trying to have the power in the relationship and constantly having to negotiate compromises, which I liked, because I think most relationships are like that, but s3 saw her more and more ceding to his control. I was so disgusted that I never watched the eps and I thought seriously about junking this article, but I liked it so added a qualifier that it didn’t apply to s3 Christina :p

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    For those experiencing great confusion, we’re having server troubles, and the comment Scarlett’s referring to got eaten. I said the bit about the boyfriend blabbing to the boss COULD just make her look like a poor judge of character, unless perhaps it was in how she handled his breach of trust that made her look good.

  3. scarlett says

    I still have the email in my inbox, so it went like this:

    This is a good list. And I get that you’re including the bits that make the guy
    look bad not because you think that should always happen, but just for
    the purpose of making sure it’s the woman we sympathize (after all, that’s why
    women have had to look bad and unreasonable in other romances – so the audience
    would be sympathetic to the man, or because the screenwriters were).

    But this one sentence I’m gonna nitpick a little: “Bonus points for having him
    act like a petulant child and running to the boss to tell him anyway.”

    I’m not sure how that helps HER look good. It might if she handles it well. But
    if his bad actions reflect on her in any way, it could be to make her look like
    a poor judge of character, in that she thought he could be trusted and he can’t.

  4. Jennifer Kesler says

    Ah, very cool! Thanks for posting it.

    Yesterday was not a good day between BetaCandy and the Intarwebz. :D

  5. scarlett says

    I’ve actually forgotten how she handled Burke going blabbing – can anyone remember?
    Going on what I remember, I’m thinking that maybe Christina was unreasonable in wanting to keep it from the chief of surgery – both their bosses. Staff members sleeping together in a situation like that is something I think the boss needs to know. If Burke threw a surprise coming out party and invited the whole hospital, that would have been something else entirely.

    And I have a journos habit of hoarding information like emails, letters and contact details – every so often it comes in handy :p

  6. SunlessNick says

    In the very first episode I saw, she was trying to get a personal conversation with him in between surgeries – not interrupting any work the way Meredith or Derek might – but Preston replied that he couldn’t be her boyfriend while they were at work. She then asked if that meant that when they were at work she could sleep with other people. I liked her a lot right then.

  7. scarlett says

    Yeah, that was one of my fave Christina eps. I thought she had a valid point, that if you choose to have a relationship with someone you work with – and Preston did the pursuing – thEn you can’t just switch it off AT work.

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