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 Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?

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g-unit

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PostSubject: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:39 pm

Not been on the board that much but thought that I'd pay you Roomies a little visit. I'm still transitioning back to real life so I've tried my best to stay away from anything Roomie, but it is not easy. The Roomies are like a drug!!! Laughing

Anyway, just wanted to get everyone's take on Ray's amputation. Looking back in retrospect, I have a few questions. Was that the right way to go for the Roomie storyline? Was that the most convincing way for Shane to exit without killing his character? Did Ray getting his legs cut off make the Roomie love story stronger? What direction would you have gone?

Jump in at any time and express your opinion on the matter. Smile
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Sandalwood

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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:19 pm

A resounding NO to all of your questions, G!

The amputation had NOTHING to do with the Roomie storyline and EVERYTHING to do with ER just wanting one of its typical Romano-esque helicopter finale shockers/cliffhangers. Shane was leaving and they couldn't do anything about it, so they ended it in a way that would explain why he likely would never show up again but yet leave a small window open in case they needed him for a return (ie, like if the Roomie fans screamed bloody murder, which we did!). I totally and firmly believe that.

Ray could have been in a coma or lost one leg -- something that could have given him a reason to leave Chicago temporarily but not been as demoralizing as losing both his freakin' legs. It was SO wrong. I would almost suggest that he could have made a personal decision to leave Chicago to remove himself from the Neela/Gates situation, but he would have been on contract at County and wouldn't have broken it.

I'm still SO MAD that they did that to Ray! Especially considering all the illogical holes in I Don't (I've posted about this before) that set up that whole reason for him to be out drinking and standing in the middle of the road.


Last edited by Sandalwood on Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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GalwayGirl

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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:21 pm

Hi G-Unit.

Have been back and lurking for a while and have just written a piece which I guess is my swan song, on why I got involved with this whole storyline which I think answers your question.

So here goes. Looking forward to feedback.

Sorry, its so long and convoluted.
--------------------------------------------------------------

I may as well admit I eventually weakened and watched the finale and it really was excellent.

It highlighted for me, once again, that I am first and foremost an ER fan.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, why if I’m first and foremost an ER fan was I seduced by the Save Reela campaign? To be honest I’ve asked myself that many, many times. Over the Easter Holidays, I met another fan and was relieved to discover that she was a very ordinary, down to earth woman just like me. At least, I think I'm down to Earth! She was someone who enjoyed TV and good TV writing. I posed the why question and her answer was the same as mine. The ending of Ray’s tenure in ER was quite simply not fair.

So what other reasons?

Yes, I was rooting for Ray and Neela but no more than I have for other couples over the years. If there had been a fair conclusion to their respective stories, I would not have been overly disappointed if they had not gotten together. But the ending was not fair. Ray did not deserve to leave as a defeated, broken young man, broken both mentally and physically. Neela did not deserve to pine for him for a full year with no clear sense of what his fate was or where indeed she was going.

Other much-liked characters have left and they have not evoked the same reaction, why? Susan’s and Elizabeth’s departures mirrored each other in many respects, and lets face it, neither got a fitting farewell. Both had been unfairly treated professionally at county but we knew they were strong capable women and were moving on to bigger and better things. The same was the case with Benton. Carrie’s departure was more optimistic and we wished her well confident she would make a go of things. Jing-Mei’s departure was rather dramatic and focussed on the death of her father rather than on the fact that she was leaving never to return. I think I just assumed that she would, at some point, return and did not give her a lot more thought. In each case, there was nothing major to engage our interest in their story.

So what was different about Ray’s departure?

One difference was the timing. The other is that I really cared about what happened to Ray. I wanted to learn that he had coped and recovered. I would like to have witnessed some of his struggles as he went through Rehab. But that was never the way with ER. That would have taken us too far from the nerve centre that was the ER. Thus, we were left in limbo with regard to Ray’s fate as indeed was Neela.

What do I mean by timing?

Well, all the other characters listed above left relatively quietly at the beginning of or mid-season. So, even if we cared, we were quickly absorbed by other story lines. Life always goes on! But in Ray’s case, he left at the end of a season in exceptionally dramatic style that begged the question what happened next?

At the same time Neela gets injured in similarly dramatic fashion. That was done for no other reason than to bring the viewers back for one more season and what was supposed to be the final season. We were all left waiting and wondering what was to become of Ray and Neela.

Then season 14 started and there were only passing references to Ray. Morris and Pratt emptying his locker. Gate’s enquiring about him from Neela and her nonchalant response! We were none the wiser about the situation between him and Katey. We were led to believe they were still in contact but no more. We saw Neela tear a strip off her with regard to who was responsible for Ray’s accident and then nothing. Katey disappeared off the scene as well. Another reference point gone, yet people still wondered.

Then disaster struck, the writers strike and what was supposed to be the final season became the pen-ultimate season. And so after a really good Season 13, lets face it Season 14 fell flat. The final six episodes aired post-strike with no mention of Ray. Although I always felt there was a tacit nod in “As the day she was born.” when right at the end of the episode Neela’s phone rings. Ray’s name is never mentioned but I remember thinking ‘could this be Ray?’ But no, it was a very unreliable TV repairman. That was because her reliable TV repairman, namely Ray was hundreds of miles away.

In the end, we had to wait until Season 15 to find out Ray’s fate. Yes, “Haunted” delivered. More than anything, I was glad to see how much Ray had matured and to know that he was doing well. But he departs and we are none the wiser as to what the future holds for both Ray and Neela.

Well now we know. We finally know.

In answer to your question G, was the Amputation storyline worth it?
If it had not happened and Ray's departure had been a little more final or indeed, more gentle would we really care? I think over time probably not!
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americanamuchacha020

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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:22 pm

A big NO to all the questions, they didnt have to have ray lose his legs, they could of EASILY just had him leave county, to get a fresh start and out of the nasty triangle, then return later to visit neela....but nooo, they had to go all dramatic about it. to me that amputation storyline is a huge bust... Rolling Eyes
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Ritto88



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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:51 pm

With ER, things always have to be ridiculously dramatic, we all know that.

If Ray were to leave solely because of the nasty love triangle, that would have been 1) unprofessional, 2) childish, I believe the writers were trying to create a problem where he would have no choice but to leave, where it would affect Neela tremendously. They basically killed him off with every opportunity to bring him back.

Did they have to have it so devastating as double amputation? No, not really. But in doing so, Ray became this sort of tragic hero. It was a storyline that they didn't have to write too much about just as long as he recovered (shown in Haunted). It added so many layers to Ray forcing growth and maturation. It was a basic show of evolution without having the actor really there for a while.
Plus the fact that Neela chose a man with no legs over a man with everything. Although we as roomie fans saw far beyond Ray's prosthetics, it was a monumental choice to the everyday watcher. It gave Neela a chance to live up to what Ray deserved, whereas in the previous seasons - the roles were reversed. Neela was the one on the high horse and Ray was the one chasing.

So, no, i don't think leg chopping was the best choice; however, i do think it gave for great, thought-provoking television.
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Caro

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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:44 pm

Ritto88 wrote:
With ER, things always have to be ridiculously dramatic, we all know that.

If Ray were to leave solely because of the nasty love triangle, that would have been 1) unprofessional, 2) childish, I believe the writers were trying to create a problem where he would have no choice but to leave, where it would affect Neela tremendously. They basically killed him off with every opportunity to bring him back.

Did they have to have it so devastating as double amputation? No, not really. But in doing so, Ray became this sort of tragic hero. It was a storyline that they didn't have to write too much about just as long as he recovered (shown in Haunted). It added so many layers to Ray forcing growth and maturation. It was a basic show of evolution without having the actor really there for a while.
Plus the fact that Neela chose a man with no legs over a man with everything. Although we as roomie fans saw far beyond Ray's prosthetics, it was a monumental choice to the everyday watcher. It gave Neela a chance to live up to what Ray deserved, whereas in the previous seasons - the roles were reversed. Neela was the one on the high horse and Ray was the one chasing.

So, no, i don't think leg chopping was the best choice; however, i do think it gave for great, thought-provoking television.

I totally agree with you Ritto. I don't think that this scenario was the best choice, but it did have the merit of allowing both characters to grow and mature in a way that they maybe wouldn't have if something less drastic had happened, and it did allow the writers to introduce a subject that is up to now still rarely seen in dramas. I guess, like you said, when Neela finally chose him over everything and everyone else, the fact that they had gone through all that made that link they had even stronger.
I do think that seeing the light after going through something so dark does say a lot about Ray's character and the fact that he still wanted to be with Neela after all this is so powerful that it may have been difficult to relate something with such strength without having something so dramatic in the story.
But saying that, I also still think that it was such a heartbreaking storyline at the time that it is still really hard to justify it or find it a somewhat useful place within the roomie storyline.
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KG



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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:50 pm

Hey G-unit

I personally will never understand the whole two legs amputation and agree with Sandalwood that it did not have to be that dramatic- coma is way more understandable than what they did in the end.
I also agree with youGalway Girl - I liked the other characters that left and was not as affected as they were confident and established and it was to do with leaving the politics going on at county, although them killing Pratt off kind of annoyed me. But Ray was already in a low place and we do learn in haunted that he went to an even darker place mentally. There was no need to do that. And then to watch Neela going to that low place - her bday in s14. Although if Neela and Ray can go thru that - u know what they say ' What does'nt kill you, makes you stronger'. I guess S15 - the fact that they can overcome s13 with I don't and the honeymoon is over and be able to stay in touch when they are thousands of miles apart shows that they mean a lot to one another.
It was all so unnecessary!
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GalwayGirl

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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:14 pm

Unnecessary and OTT it may have been but it did make for compelling TV.
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xray



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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:52 am

I think it was the right way to go since SW was leaving. It would not have made sense if they just transferred him somewhere else...the amputation was one of the only things that would have kept him from Neela and kept us pining for them to be together, so yeah, it was realistic and made their story stronger (for me) however, it should have been followed better....they should have done a better job of hashing out Neela's feelings instead of the tiniest (and boy do I mean tiny) little hints given sporadically....It was great tv, but it could have been even better I feel. I don't think a coma would have been the way to go...not enough angst...not enough drama....it would have just been "when will he wake up". The way it was done kept us suspense filled for sure and up and down emotionally and looking and hoping for hints & clues as to what would happen next.
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Sandalwood

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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:44 pm

I made the mistake of watching a youtube video of the HIO scenes (by 'mistake', I just mean it depressed me all over again No ; the vid itself was touching), and I want to ask: why do we keep saying Ray needed to mature and grow up? What was so wrong with him that he needed to undergo double amputation as a way to make him evolve into a better man? He was a good man to begin with. All he did was love a girl.

In the early days when his character was introduced, we could say, yes, he's a player, immature, not sure of what he wants. But we saw his growth through the seasons that followed... he focused on medicine, grew as a doctor, fell in love with a woman. He evolved into a pretty admirable man before the accident. I don't think a double amputation was in order to force him to grow up more and discover some underlying strength.
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g-unit

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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:35 am

Sandalwood wrote:
He evolved into a pretty admirable man before the accident. I don't think a double amputation was in order to force him to grow up more and discover some underlying strength.

Good observation Sandal! You are that Ray showed growth as a character before the accident. If there is one difference that I observed from Ray after the accident was his strength in dealing with Neela. He no longer was the pining puppy when it came to her. His love for her was still there but he no longer put her above himself. He finally accepted that life goes on with or without her and was at peace with the idea that he and Neela may never be together. He was content to be her friend if that's what she wanted. As long as she was happy he was happy. He let Neela make the move to him this time. I was pleased to see that because there were times in season 13 where he came across as weak and pathetic. But the post amputation Ray was not about to waste his time pining in the corner for Neela. So he was definitely much stronger in that aspect.
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Sandalwood

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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:59 am

g-unit wrote:
But the post amputation Ray was not about to waste his time pining in the corner for Neela. So he was definitely much stronger in that aspect.

Oh yes, I'd agree with that. I'm just saying it didn't need to be that extreme to force this realization on his part. The sense that I got from Ray after the accident was that he was so OVER it -- the drama with Neela, the waiting, the pining, the perpetual hope. It had all led to this tragic outcome for him.

It's like that saying, No good deed goes unpunished. We know from HIO that Ray was bitter about where all his patience and hope with Neela had led ("And for what? So you can keep running back to Gates."). We learned from Haunted that he wasn't even speaking to her for a while.

It is upsetting to me as a Roomie fan to know that all of Ray's patience was not justly rewarded in S.13. I mean, while he did come across as weak in some moments, he was really trying to be noble by not pushing her too much after her husband's death. Neela was an emotional mess to deal with anyway -- it led her straight into the arms of Gates, which was another blow for Ray. He stuck around much longer than a lot of other guys would bother to. (Of course, he had his issues too with trying to retaliate with Katey.) And just when things were supposed to "turn the corner" for Neela and Ray, along comes a truck.

He was starting to show Neela that he wasn't going to idly stand by anymore when he called her out during I Don't about her indecision being her baseline. Weak Ray wouldn't have done that. I think he would have started to take more control of the situation with her, even if a truck hadn't come along.
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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:26 am

Personally, I dont think him getting by a truck was necessary, it just broke alot of roomie fans hearts in the process and the honeymoon is over, wow....i cant watch that episode without tearing up, Ray's feelings really deepened in S 13 however i noticed it took everything in him not to blow up over that. Ray wasn't the player like he was in S. 11, S. 12 is when he started to really evolve. Ray was already growing up in S. 13, so I think eventually he'd pull himself out of that mess and let neela come to him on her own but ER just wont let a couple go out that easily, its always drama. It hurt to see Neela so depressed in S. 14 but ya, without ray, her character def lacked alot of life and she just sunk REALLY low. But ya, even neela said so herself fear stopped her from doing things she really wanted to do, Be with Ray was a big one. However...Neela's face when she saw Ray and how hard she hugged him says alot....but yep...losing his legs wasnt necessary...they could of taken him out another way.. still be dramatic just not like that...-_-
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g-unit

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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:46 am

Let me just state for the record that I hated the amputation storyline and will never embrace it as the best choice to deal with the storyline. I understand the reason they did it, but I will never like it. With that said, the fact of the matter is, is that it happened. And like Galwaygirl stated, it made for good TV. So my feelings about Ray's strength towards Neela after the amputation is simply an observation. The fact of the matter is that he was stronger and wiser in his approach towards Neela post amputation. I along with everyone else hate the fact that it took his legs to get chopped off in order for that to happen. But that is the reality nevertheless.
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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:41 am

I know that's how you feel, G. Smile We're on the same page. I'm just a little slower in getting over it. The fact that HIO still has that effect on me is proof that it made for compelling TV. But there could have been other compelling storylines that I would have embraced more (and that would have been more "fair" to Ray). Ah well -- coulda, shoulda, woulda --guess it doesn't matter. What's done is done, as you rightly noted.
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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:46 am

Sandalwood wrote:
I know that's how you feel, G. Smile We're on the same page. I'm just a little slower in getting over it. The fact that HIO still has that effect on me is proof that it made for compelling TV. But there could have been other compelling storylines that I would have embraced more (and that would have been more "fair" to Ray). Ah well -- coulda, shoulda, woulda --guess it doesn't matter. What's done is done, as you rightly noted.

I think Ray's expression on his face in the video chat as they talk to county is priceless Laughing It's like After all the crap they went through, in the end, nothing could keep em apart, not even gates or simon Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:33 pm

We care about the characters and wish no harm upon them, so we're less willing than the writers to put them into turmoil just for the dramatic potential. Nobody deserved the pain they suffered. And, both of them suffered greatly.

The Ray/Neela storyline was compelling before the amputation and it would've been compelling if S13 had ended with Ray keeping his legs and even if they had entered the relationship. Of course, with Shane West leaving, it's another story. It's harder to weigh outcomes when you're pushed in one direction because of something that cannot be helped.

The amputation storyline did turn it into this epic kind of thing. The fans wanted them to get together even more and it just became about so much more than unrequited love and jealousy. Again, I think what Neela and Ray had before with issues of widowhood, moving on, friendship, etc. were intriguing and just as able to pull at the heart strings. But, the accident just pushed it onto this whole other level. Instead of overcoming a love triangle, they'd overcome time, distance, soul-crushing tragedy-- epic, right?

However, the resolution to the storyline was really, truly beautiful. In the end, we were able to rediscover why we loved the characters and why we loved them as a pairing. I could've gone without the hole that was S14, but whatever. I've learned to appreciate the story as a whole. It was quite the love affair.
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PostSubject: Re: Was The Amputation Storyline Worth It?   Fri May 01, 2009 11:12 am

Wow I think you guys pretty much covered it all!! But I'll just add my two cents.....

I love this couple and I agree that making Ray an amputee was completely unnecessary!!! I remember how upset I was after I watched it thinking how I couldn't believe they actually did that to Ray. But this is ER, filled with the unexpected and dramatic where someone can't leave County without getting a brain tumor, getting your arm chopped off by a helicopter blade and then having one fall on you, getting stabbed, or nearly losing your medical license first!!!

But I still say doing that to Ray was just cruel and heartless!! Yes, Ray was a good person but going through that made him more mature and helped him to appreciate life but like was already said, Ray was always a good person with that heart of gold, I always liked his character, and he was already down the path of self improvement and maturity and focusing on being a doctor when he left. I agree that I also wouldn't have liked it if he left because of jealousy and hurt and of the love triangle and decided to just run away back home. That would have been immature and childish. But seeing as how we're devoted Reela fans, would we have been happy with any storyline they came up with? No!! We don't want Ray to leave, but why did he have to leave like that? The thing that really upset me the most was that he was so pissed at Neela when he left. It's not bad enough that they took his legs away, but why did they have to have him leave so bitter, upset, and such a broken shell of a man?

Them making Ray an amputee still makes me really upset to this day, and I think they could have used another storyline. I think what they were trying to do was make it different than the storyline she had with Michael where he just up and left her high and dry. Ray loves her too much so he wouldn't do that to her. So the storyline with him getting a job back in Baton Rouge and moving there, that storyline had already been done countless times before with Michael and Ross, as well as Susan and Weaver, so that wouldn't work. But I also had another idea, I was thinking maybe they could have made it so that Ray's mother suddenly got terribly ill so he had to return home and take care of her. That would give him a valid reason to leave, not because he wants to but because he needs to take care of his mother, and everyone gets to keep their limbs. Or is that still too much like Michael? I guess when you think about it we actually got off easy in a way, usually when someone wants to leave this show their character leaves in a body bag!!! At least they didn't kill him.
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