The whole work/life balance thing can get a little out of whack when your wife is also your boss.
That’s the case for Dr. Ben Warren on Grey’s Anatomy, and that power dynamic was a major focus in last week’s episode, when Ben performed an impromptu surgery in the psych ward — which forced his wife, Chief of Surgery Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) to suspend him.
As star Jason George tells Yahoo TV, the conversation about their marital and work relationship is far from over. Here’s what he had to say about Ben’s position in the hospital, as well as his take on this week’s “hilarious and really touching” episode with guest star Rita Moreno.
Ben had a really interesting week last week. He’s kind of in this weird place, where he’s a resident, but also married to the chief.
Look, the whole conversation about gender equality, pay equality, who’s the breadwinner in the house — this is all of that taken to steroids, Hulk levels. You say you believe in gender equality and you say you believe in supporting your wife if she’s the breadwinner — well, guess what, not only is she the breadwinner, but she earns multiple times what you earn and she’s the boss!
That’s fun to play and to explore, because the reality is Ben has had years as an anesthesiologist, he’s been watching surgeons forever, and he’s a rock star resident. He’s the guy that Webber picked. On paper, he’s the man, except for the fact that his wife is his boss, and it gets weird. So, when he screws up or when he goes rogue, it’s not a regular resident doing it. Ben has a comfort level that comes from years of working as a doctor, but not necessarily the experience that comes with years of working as a surgeon. So, that’s a cool push-pull thing.
He has a conversation with the other residents, where they think he gets special treatment. But it doesn’t seem like Ben gets any at all.
Ben gets the short end of the stick, that’s the real deal! That part I laugh about, because my mom was a teacher who taught learning disabled kids in middle school back in Virginia. She was the president of the teachers’ union where I grew up. She knew most of the teachers that I had, and she had three sons who were smart kids and good kids but knuckleheads who would see if they could get away with stuff. I was captain of the track team and vice president of the student council, but I also knew how to break into the school in a way that nobody could catch me. This is what she had to deal with.
So, I completely understand Ben’s situation where he’s, like, it looks like he has a cushy situation because of his personal relationship. The reality is the teachers would be harder on us than anybody else. We couldn’t get away with anything. So, Ben can’t kind of screw up — he can’t screw up at all. The tiniest screw-up will get him more grief at home, where the average resident might get a “don’t do that anymore.” Ben’s going to get a whole conversation where he’s told “you reflect on me,” yada yada.
What can you tell us about this week’s episode, which guest stars Rita Moreno?
First off, Rita Moreno. She received the Kennedy Center Honor while we were shooting. And I was running to rehearsal and she’s sitting there, just Rita Moreno. She’s got the EGOT, for crying out loud. And still gorgeous! I just looked at here and was like, “I’m sorry, this is lame. You haven’t even met me yet, but I just need a hug.” She comes on in this fantastic role of an ex-wife who can’t stand her ex-husband anymore because he’s gotten with this younger woman. She ends up having an interesting journey. And she’s hilarious. [Thursday]’s episode is hilarious and really touching.
You sound like you were kind of starstruck!
Not kind of! Just flat-out starstruck. There are very few people who do that to me. But Rita Moreno is one. I’m impressed and respectful if you’re a phenomenal actor. I’ve been on the SAG-AFTRA board and been banging around town for a minute, so for me, it’s a phenomenal person. There are those folks who stuck their nose out… She had no problem standing up for Latinas in the world and for people who needed an advocate. Her, the Harry Bellafontes of the world. She has my respect as an actress, but she has my admiration as a person.