"For the most part, people hate new people," Sarah observes. "The fans get very uncomfortable when anybody comes in to interrupt the status quo. Because the fans get used to the way the show runs, they get used to seeing their favorite characters in all the scenes, and then new people come in and now new people are occupying more screentime, and people who have not fully invested in them get annoyed."
So Sarah gets where we're coming from, especially because April wasn't always so likable. But some extreme fans even wished Dr. Kepner dead.
"I absolutely experienced that … Oh my gosh, the amount of people that tweeted or wrote in that I should have been shot in the gunman episode… They wished I'd been shot in the head. People hated me. [Laughs]"
But Sarah says there is light at the end of the tunnel for the recent cast additions, and she commends the writers for devoting more time this season getting us to relate to the newbies.
"That's just how it goes," she muses. "When you jump into an established show, you are torn to shreds by the fans until they get to see more sides of you, and we introduce them as slowly as possible in the show so that they're as palatable as possible so that then you can fall in love with them."
Sarah also tells us that she'd advise Camilla, Jerrika, Tessa, and Gaius to wait out this "hazing" period: "It can take a good two seasons to make that transition."
"But I know that for me, as an actress and just as a person who has an ego — like, who has any ego, as we all have an ego of some sort — It was hard," she continues. "I had to just not look at anything online for a solid two years … And now people love April, so it just takes some time. It just takes some getting used to."
There you have it, folks — a spot-on fandom diagnosis and prescription from one of our fave TV doctors!