Saturday, 15 October 2011

Confessions of a fangirl

I first took notice of Kevin McKidd when he appeared on Grey's Anatomy. I'd stopped watching GA during Season 4, but caught the season finale with the house of candles and decided to give Season 5 a try. Owen caught my eye, and I remembered how much I liked Cristina Yang and Miranda Bailey, so I kept watching. Slowly, I started to want know more about Owen Hunt and the man who played him, Kevin McKidd.

I can tell you when I became a Cristina/Owen fangirl. It was during episode 5-10, in the scene where Owen takes Cristina to the Vent. In the exact moment that Cristina laughed for the second time, I was hooked. I remember thinking, "Anyone who can make Cristina Yang laugh like a little girl is someone I want to watch."

Fast-forward to this summer. Kevin McKidd decided to do the Tough Mudder Event in California, bringing attention and donations to Save the Children: East Africa. He worked with his fan club to establish "Thank you" gifts for different donation levels. One of the gifts was a group video chat with Kevin himself.

At first I didn't think I'd want to do that. What would I say? Besides "Talk Scottish to me"? He'd shown himself to be a great communicator through his Twitter feed, but I was still hesitant. Then I happened to be online when he joined a group chat with his fan club. He was so personable and friendly that I decided to go for the video chat. It was for charity, after all! And he raised over $14,000 for a very worthy cause.

Kevin McKidd

My group session was on October 13. And it was awesome. Myself and other fans Skyped with Kevin, aided by the lovely moderator, Leanne. I've gotten tons of requests for details, and I've shared some. This is my attempt to capture everything I remember.

The first thing is that Leanne said we were surprisingly quiet, given how vocal we can be online. Heh. Kevin asked where everyone was from. I represented the Canadian fangirls.

I think we were all trying to be polite and give everyone a chance to speak ... or were too shy/starstruck. Consequently, nobody wanted to break the ice. I'd prepared a couple of questions so I decided to not be such an introvert, and ask the first question. I asked if he'd prepared a back story for Owen or was he given one by the GA writers?

Kevin replied that he wasn't given much at all. He senses that Owen has a sister, who may appear in the future. He thinks Owen's father died a while ago, of a heart condition, so Owen's mother has been on her own for a long time. Owen is very close to his mother. Kevin likes working with Debra Mooney and hopes she'll appear on the show again.

I asked if Owen's mother has a first name (something I've wanted to know for my fanfiction). Her name has never been determined, but Kevin thinks it's something like Imogen.

I had another question prepared and it was a huge one - "the Teddy thing". I asked if that was a hard story to sell, because we fangirls certainly weren't buying it. The battery in Kevin's laptop started to die, so he had to briefly drop out of the chat and find the charger. When he came back, he asked me to repeat the question and then answered it, with a lot of detail.

Kevin talked about how in the early seasons of GA, the writers created MerDer, then split them up with a triangle the next season. They tried to do that with Cristina/Owen in Season Six - Kevin said he "sensed" that Owen was supposed to go off with Teddy while Cristina spent some time with Jackson. Kevin and Sandra didn't like this, but as actors they decided to go along with it. What happened next was that the fans were far more angry about the plotline than the writers expected. We were so vehemently opposed that the plot had to be changed. (Fangirl power!)

Most of us in the chat, if not all, had something to say about the Triangle of Doom. We could not believe that the Owen of Season Five could ever love two women at the same time, and Kevin agreed. I referred to the Writers Blog where Shonda shared that some of the writers really believed that Owen could, and we shared some strong opinions about that.

Kevin talked a bit about that - he said that the writers were not ill-intentioned, but what they envisioned in the writer's room as an interesting story to tell, did not materialize onscreen as something that the fans could accept.

I want to stress that while Kevin may not agree with some plot points, he was very professional while discussing the writers. He was respectful. Katherine Heigl could have taken some tips from him.

I'm glad I brought up the Teddy thing, it was interesting to hear Kevin be candid about how it failed. He also talked about the differences between most men and women - a woman could conceive of being in love with two different people easier than a man could. And he doesn't think Owen can be in love with more than one woman at a time.

I'm not sure if the other women in the chat want to be identified publicly, so I'm not naming names, though I hope they will their memories to this. One asked him about an interview in which Kevin had said that Cristina was supposed to have been pregnant at the end of Season 5, and Season 6 was going to be about them raising the child together. Kevin said that a pregnant Cristina was supposed to have been the cliffhanger, but he doesn't recall ever being told that she would go through with the pregnancy.

We also talked about the current abortion storyline. Kevin is emphatic that it's not over yet. They just did a table read for 8-09, and there will be a catalyst for Owen and Cristina to really confront the issue. I felt that he tried to put on a professional demeanour about the storyline, but I don't think he's really enjoying playing it. He talked about how Owen and Cristina get the "darker" storylines. I said it was frustrating to have drama all the time, when Callie and Arizona only had to deal with chicken pox. I blurted out "I want Cristina and Owen to have chicken pox!"

"I want chicken pox!"

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Kevin had a chuckle and pointed out that they did just deal with food poisoning.

The session wasn't all venting about GA. He loves working with Sandra very much - his whole demeanour changed while he talked about her, he clearly adores her.He agreed with us that it would be cool to see Owen and Meredith clear the air between them, maybe get stuck in a situation where they have to talk with each other.

He definitely feels that Cristina and Owen are "end game", no matter what. He thinks Cristina is a hard person to be married to, where she is so stubborn and headstrong and self-centred, until hit with the truth. It's very clear that he wants Owen to always be Cristina's love interest, that's what he was hired to be and what he wants to be.

Other details ...

Kevin knows how to block people on Twitter, but prefers to just ignore them. He's only blocked two people.

We got to meet Pippa, one of his dogs. When the chat session got quiet, I asked if his ukulele was nearby. It was! He played it for us - I think it was "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". I can't be sure. I kept thinking, "Kevin McKidd is playing the ukulele for us! Kevin McKidd is playing the ukulele for us! Kevin McKidd is playing the ukulele for us!".

Kevin doesn't go to the fan forums to read what people are saying about his work - it messes with his vision of his character too much. He did read the ABC message board for a short time. James Purefoy once suggested that he check out Television Without Pity. Kevin is never going back to TWoP again. :-)

He's looking for another event like the Tough Mudder, or maybe something that involves a mountain. He doesn't want to do a triathlon - he can't swim very well, and the training that he would have to do would take him away from his wife and kids too much.

Some people have approached him and congratulated him on his promotion to Chief of Surgery.

In conclusion, I'm very glad that I participated. I learned quite a few things about Cristina/Owen, but more importantly, Kevin is very friendly and gracious, and made it a great conversation.

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