Chandra “Miranda Bailey” Wilson looked foxy at the 2008 SAG Awards, which is readily apparent just from looking at this photo. My Grey’s Anatomy rewatch reminded me that she’s also a great singer — she was in the Tony-nominated Caroline, or Change on Broadway — and I remembered the other day that she’s a HUGE soaps fan, has now appeared on General Hospital three times in three different cameo roles, and several times hosted the Soap Opera Digest Awards red carpet for SOAPNet, a channel whose demise I still lament. All this, and to me, she is the heart and soul of Grey’s. I know it’s named after Meredith, and Ellen Pompeo got the payday and the current season-long tribute to her character’s relationships just in case she decides to leave the show, but Miranda Bailey is IT. All those doctors would charge into war behind her. I’m sure if Ellen Pompeo leaves, they will use it as a chance to usher the show into the great beyond — but, they should hand the show and a large check to Chandra and let it roll for a while. Frankly, they should hand the large check to her anyway. (I ACTUALLY think that if they decide to cancel Grey’s, they’ll move any key personnel to Station 19, Miranda being one of them. But I still love the idea of Bailey getting to anchor it.)
Yet, as good as Chandra Wilson is on Grey’s, people don’t talk about her that much as an actress. Maybe that’s because she’s been on the show for such a long time. Who are the unsung heartbeats of your favorite shows, old or new? It’s often not the ostensible lead characters — the most famous, of course, being how immaterial Dawson was to Dawson’s Creek, when Pacey was out there running around being all charismatic, though Josh Jackson is hardly unsung. Back during Ben & Kate’s fun single season, Lucy Punch was a delight on it in a secondary role. Austenland is not a TV show, obviously, but I can never miss a moment to note how HILARIOUS Georgia King is in that movie in secondary-character work. New Girl was technically an ensemble, but it was framed as the Zooey Deschanel show for a long time, yet Lamorne “Winston Bishop” Morris is the treasure I most cherish from it. I am the only person I know who watched Trial & Error; I still miss Sherri Shepherd. And Jessica and I still shout, “Deal with it. WE’RE DEALING WITH THINGS NOW,” as an homage to Lem and Phil on Better Off Ted.