‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Fans Frustrated That Nico Is ‘Only Used as a Prop’
Grey’s Anatomy has a history of doing things right in many ways, but some questionable actions have had fans confused by the show’s intentions. More specifically, their consistent introduction of minority characters that feel underdeveloped and discarded when their agenda is no longer serving a purpose for another character.
This is particularly the case with the introduction of Nico and the lack of background story surrounding the character since. Out of frustration, fans are pointing out how he is more of a ‘prop’ for the show than a real person.
‘Grey’s Anatomy’: What we know about Nico (which isn’t much)
Aside from being an attending orthopedic surgeon at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, we only really know that Nico Kim is openly gay, and he mentioned once that his family is very critical of him (which is why he never came out to them).
Other than that, fans have only seen Nico as Levi’s lover. Sure, we’ve also seen him as a talented surgeon in a handful of cases, but there’s no broader story than what we see of him from his introduction in 2018 to his goodbye in 2021.
In response to playing an openly gay couple on television, Alex Landi told E! Red Carpet & Award Shows, “Being the first male Asian surgeon, as well as the Asian community [and] LGTBQ community, have been very welcoming with open arms, and I’m truly very grateful.”
Fans, however, don’t feel as grateful about the role as the actor. In fact, they’re calling his character underdeveloped and left behind in other storylines.
What fans think about the lack of character development
In a Reddit post centered around the “show doing a horrible job at representation,” users discuss the lack of history and development given to Nico and other ‘token’ characters.
One respondent was quick to point out that Nico’s “only use is to be a token Asian and a piece of meat, without any kind of character development or back story.”
“Nico as a character is the definition of tokenism,” another fan agreed. “Only used as a prop to further his white love interest’s storyline and development.”
These revelations made more fans realize just how little they know about the surgeon. “I never really thought about the fact that I know nothing about him other than that he’s gay,” a third user wrote. “Who are his parents? Where did he come from? What’s he like on his own? What’s he like as a surgeon?”
Other characters who felt like a ‘token’ for the show’s diversity quota
This mishandling of a character isn’t the first time Grey’s Anatomy was careless about a minority character. Reddit fans also called out the show for using other characters with potential as just a side note — Quadri, Dr. Chee, Dr. Roy, Parker, Bello, and more.
“In Schmidt’s intern class, we get two gay interns, one trans, one Indian, and one hijabi, and one Hispanic doctor,” the Reddit poster wrote. “But they wrote almost all of them out of the show in a ridiculous manner it’s like they just wanted to say we have these people grouped on our show without actually having them as characters.”
While there have been cases where fans have praised Grey’s Anatomy for its diversity and genuine response to today’s current racial climate, the show’s handling of Nico (among other minority characters) has not been as successful. The truth is, the character lacks an entire background story most other roles have received with less time on the show, so fans hope to see better representation moving forward.