'Grey's Anatomy' Fans Don't Hate Levi — He's Just On-Screen Too Much

Grey’s Anatomy might be told through Meredith Grey’s eyes, but it has become an ensemble show about the entire staff at the hospital.

Dozens of characters have come and went since the show’s premiere 16 years ago, but some were more fleshed out than others. Dr. Levi joined the show in recent years, but many fans wish that the writers would give Jake Borelli more to do with the character he plays. 

‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Levi’s strange dilemma

 Fans on Reddit have a lot to say about Levi. U/girlsorguyswhocares thinks that the character is excellent because of Borelli’s chops and charm. However, they echoed the sentiments that many other fans on Reddit shared.

Borelli gives his all to the role, but something is missing in writing. To them, he’s a great actor in a memorable role that the showrunners don’t know what to do with. 

“I like [Levi]! I wish they did a bit more with him as I feel like he’s become a bit of a caricature/unnecessary comedic relief. I enjoy his friendships with Jo and Helm,” they wrote. “I think the actor is great and seems passionate about his character and being in Grey’s universe. I find it funny because my favorite scene of him is in Station 19, where he only spoke for like 3 minutes, but he was great! I admit I don’t totally love him and Nico – it’s too messy for no reason.”

Fleshing out the good stuff

U/mercydeath offered similar sentiments to other posters. They believe that the problem to be a lack of a fulfilling character arc after four seasons. 

“I like him, but I don’t think he warranted being a series regular. Four seasons in, and he hasn’t really had a proper story. He didn’t even have a coming out story,” they wrote on the site. 

Despite these sentiments that the character deserves more to do, it doesn’t mean that he’s a waste of time. Grey’s Anatomy began in 2003 and has shifted with the times when it comes to representation, but it’s had a few hiccups along the way.

People recently noted how Isaiah Washington was infamously let go after an onset skirmish with Patrick Dempsey ended with Washington outing TR Knight in front of the cast and crew with a homophobic slur. 

While Washington eventually came back to give Burke some closure, Levi offers an opportunity for representation that isn’t spurred by bigotry and homophobic language. While the character might not be up to snuff in terms of his development, Borelli spoke about its impact on the world at large.

Beyond ‘Grey’s’

Borelli has long noted that he rarely saw representation that normalized the gay experience as a young, closeted teenager. He often saw people like him portrayed as outcasts, victims, and terribly-written stereotypes. However, when he took the role of Levi, his coming-out story, botched or not, was already in their sight.

Borelli, himself, came out amid the fictional storyline to give the fans a glimpse behind the curtain and show what kind of personal struggles went behind his powerful performance. 

“I finally felt seen and understood from a piece of art,” Borelli told Entertainment Weekly. “I’ve had so many comments from fans of the show who are finally feeling seen by this story, and I just want to let them know that I feel seen too. I’m right here with you, and we’re all in this together.”

Shows like Grey’s can play a significant role in promoting LGBTQ representation in media. While society is progressing, it, like Hollywood, still has a long way to go.

Now, the writers can take Levi and give him more to do. Otherwise, they may look back and see a missed opportunity to give one of the most popular shows on television a true-to-life three-dimensional character a spotlight.

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