An Open Letter to Shonda Rhimes: Bring April’s Sexy Back
Dr. Kepner

Dr. April Kepner on a Dec. 2012 episode of Grey’s Anatomy



Dear Ms. Rhimes:

Most of the time, I love you and you make me regret not sticking it out in L.A. a little longer to become a screen- and television writer. But I need you to do something different with April Kepner.

I met Dr. April Kepner on Grey’s Anatomy for the first time two seasons ago. I had abandoned the show for several seasons and didn’t know most of the characters starring in it anymore. You introduced April to me as the girl who got Derrick Sheppard shot when a vengeful gunman invaded the hospital, and who managed to keep herself from the same fate by telling the gunman about herself. She had read that if ever threatened by a shooter, she should share details about her background, where she grew up, etc., to convince the perpetrator she’s a real person.

It’s been a while since that episode aired, but I don’t remember April telling the shooter she’s a Christian or that, at the time, she was a virgin. Her sexual inactivity, which has since become her sex life, has come up often on the show since then. She’s been teased for being a virgin by most of the staff, as others gave her choice back-handed support, and one even defended her chastity with violence.

pregnancy test - negative

At the end of last season, we found out she had been waiting so Jesus would be happy with her, and that Jesus was so disappointed in her for having sex that he let her tank her board certification exam and lose her job. And then this season, Jesus really taught her a lesson: she had a pregnancy scare, and said, “Thank you Jesus!” when the results came back negative.

And then that was it. She had made Jackson, the friend she was having sex with, feel so bad about leading her away from Jesus—and by doing that, she made him feel like an unsuitable soul mate—that Jackson decided it was best to end the relationship. But while Jackson has moved on to the intern, April hasn’t. Except for each of them purposely finding the other a date for Dr. Bailey’s wedding so watching another couple take their vows wouldn’t send them into lustful passion, sex hasn’t been on April’s mind.

And neither has Jesus.

Because I can relate to April’s commitment to purity in adulthood, it was interesting for me to see her sexuality and spirituality develop in tandem. Before the pregnancy test turned out negative, she was beating herself up for ruining her opportunity to wear a white wedding dress in a ceremony in an open field with butterflies, but also asking questions about why she was in her 20s, living in the 21st century, at a time when birth control is available, and following guidelines written at a time when kids purposely got married at 13.

The storyline is hard to sustain, but I feel like April was on the cusp of a revelation she never quite saw, a discovery about herself and her faith that many young women who share April’s beliefs will have to make. She was having sex and enjoying it immensely. I mean, it was literally mind-blowing, because she was questioning everything. In the episodes following the pregnancy scare, I kept waiting for her and Jackson to have a moment like Jackson and the intern had a couple nights ago, having sex in his car, or for April to get a chance with someone else. But it hasn’t happened yet. She’s been grouchy and googly-eyed, and her abundant awkwardness has resumed. Even dressed up for the wedding, no one found her sexy. Her sex life, once again, is a non-issue. I find that disappointing and unfair to the only self-identified Christian on the show.

It’s not that April has to take the chance with someone else or go all sex kitten on us. But I want her to have a moment where she’s at peace with how her sexuality and her religion will co-exist, because they can.

Not that you’ll ever come across this blog, but in case you do, thanks for reading.






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