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A Parting at "Brothers & Sisters"

By admin Published: January 3, 2008

JR Baitz Photo from

Series creator Jon Robin Baitz (pictured) has been ousted from the show, and has written a long, two-part essay about his departure for the Huffington Post. Here's a notable bit from the second part:

At Disney, my parking space is now the Robbie Baitz Memorial Bike Park, named by one Rachel Griffiths, one of the most loyal and brilliantly committed actors and pains in the butt I have ever worked with. I will miss being on set late at night, gossiping with the crew and the cast, and I will miss the wine in my office on Fridays, when writers and assistants and a few actors - all were welcome - would come in for some cheese and a bottle or, more often, actually six bottles.

I will miss the freaked out staff writers barely in their twenties, and the wise old pros who write the hell out of the show without me. I am still one of the executive producers of B&S, still enjoy friendly relations with the entire writing staff, and entire cast, still read scripts avidly, and I hope to be asked to write an occasional special, "it's time for a weird Robbie episode" episode (like "Mistakes Were Made," which was co-written with my friend Craig Wright, another playwright who left for his own show, Dirty-Sexy-Money).

But I am no longer the SOURCE for any of it, no longer the instigator of plot, and no longer the voice of the thing. It is no longer in my dreams. I do not wake up and make notes about future episodes. I can no longer argue for tone and can only watch as the demographic demands that have turned America into an ageist and youth-obsessed nation drives the storylines younger and younger, whiter and whiter, and with less and less reflection of the real America, which is made up, to the sorrow of the research departments, of people over 35 years of age and of many ethnicities and incomes. Then again, I will never again have to do a notes call wherein the fear and sea-sickness of the creative execs always prevails over taking a risk, resulting more often than not in muddy and flattening or treacly-sweet compromises after a stolid and pointless series of writerly objections. (And note to execs on my next show: you won't wanna be giving me too many of them. Sorry, I shan't roll over ever again.)

You can find the complete second part here and the first part here. The events in those two pieces may also have fueled a third, written between them. It's about politics but also about how "2008 means a return to dreams, and a rejection of the raw and brutal pragmatism that has coarsened American life so much in the past half dozen or so years."

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