The Winter of Our Lesbian Content: This is a Glee, Skins & Pretty Little Liars Megapost

Remember that beautiful week — when was it? It seems like so long ago. Was it only two weeks ago? Were we ever so young? Were we ever so teary-eyed and wet-pantsed and surprised and shocked and touched and awed and optimistic about everything in the whole wide world?

Reader: we were. And we had reason to be. You couldn’t fly a crop-duster through a Burbank backlot without hitting the head of a lesbian/queer/bif-ckingcurious storyline.

Now that your triweekly serving of Lez is officially over (for the time being) and we still don’t know who A. is or which conventionally attractive lesbian Emily will take to next year’s Winterdeath Ball or whatever it was, it’s time to look back on the season that was. It’s time to dwell excessively upon the clear-pored Sapphic or semi-Sapphic humans who graced the screen of my laptop this past winter (because I don’t have a teevee, but you probably do, so this might just feel totally different for you than it does for me).

Am I watching “Landslide” again as I type this? Maybe.

This past season has been unquestionably the most lesbionic TV season of all time. This must be how gay men felt for the 356 years Will & Grace was on the air, along with Queer as Folk, Sex and the City, Dawson’s Creek, The Office, Entourage, Noah’s Arc, Degrassi, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under OR MAYBE even how they feel right now with Modern Family, Glee, Nurse Jackie, Shameless, Gossip Girl, 90210, Lost, Weeds, Big Love, Ugly Betty, Brothers & Sisters, Greek, Mad Men, True Blood, The United States of Tara and basically every single show on Logo.

I talked about why we’re getting so much gay TV at the end of my Glee recap and so I’ve only got this to add: This season we were permitted to dream.

This had not been the case before now. Much like the feeling of ordering from Burger Fresh in the early 90s, we don’t expect the people in charge to get everything right. We don’t expect a homoerotic ‘ship to sail or sexual tension to get a follow-up episode or parents to “come around” to their gay kid. We expect at least one dead and one converted lesbian.

But, again like the feeling of ordering from Burger Fresh in the early 90s, we tuned in just the same because TV provides convenient at-home delivery. That’s right, Burger Fresh delivered. In MICHIGAN. So what do you want, a cheeseburger with the-wrong-kind-of-cheese and extra unordered-bacon-even-though-you’re-Jewish delivered to your doorstep? Or do you want to look into your freezer to see what’s worth re-heating from last year? You follow?

This season we felt slightly less like Lesbo Bevis & Butthead or desperate superfans because the little things we picked up on — Mini’s attraction to Franky, Sanatana and Brittany’s chemistry — actually got fleshed out, even just a little.

We’ll be rating these shows on a Lesbo Rating Scale from “Angry Lesbian” to “Happy Lesbian.”


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Skins UK (e4)

[all our posts on skins]

Queers:

Franky - genderqueer and pansexual (relatively confirmed)
Mini - bisexual or a lesbian (suspected)

Dude I Hate Who Coincidentally Ruins Everything:

Oh, f- you in the ear Matty, you dark brooding super-complicated emo quasi-rebel, Avril Lavigne is darker than you are in your darkest hour. Courtney Love would smash your face in in a fist-fight and Jordan Catalano would be a better boyfriend. You thrive in the land of vulnerable women because you wear black a lot, which is edgy, and also you’re SO SO loyal to your OH SO COMPLICATED heart and its OH SO COMPLICATED feelings and you think if you curl your lip like that then somehow your reckless disregard for the subjects of your emotional attention will pass as genuine confusion rather than selfish, fickle, and pretentious. UGH UGH UGH.

I do think it’d be interesting to see our favorite genderqueer pansexual fawn Franky to date a dude so I’m not even mad about the fact that she seemingly ended up with Matty instead of Mini for gender reasons.

Just — Lawd do I hate this character. Everything he did made me groan.

In the End:

In Skins‘ Season Five finale, our suspicions that Mini has a Big Fat Lesbian Crush on Franky are confirmed, mostly because she does that thing that you did to your best friend in high school where you pretend to be Dr. Phil (“you deserve better, don’t go be with that boy”) / Oprah (“You’re my best friend! I protect you from the world!”) to cover up that you’re actually Ellen (“I like girls! Be with me! SURPRISE!”) . But also because Mini stores photos of Franky in her cell-phone spank-bank, tries to kill Matty, and constantly wants to touch/hold Franky. Oh, and Liv calls Mini out for her “girl crush.”

What precisely transpires in the poppyfields of Somewhere in the United Kingdom where Rich and Grace are going to get married is unclear — Franky thought 9/11 was beautiful, Franky just wanted to be normal for once, she takes a lot of drugs, freaks out when Matty tries to have sex with her which might be because she experienced some kind of sexual trauma earlier in life. Franky runs away, there’s a scene in a church basement where Liv starts to kiss Franky’s back to appeal to Matty but it doesn’t, Liv and Matty break up, and then, at an impromptu wedding reception with a Midsummer’s Night Dream theme, Franky arrives, texts with Matty about being a glorious headfuck thing, and then runs into his arms and is held. This could be a friendly hug or a love-forever hug, hopefully not the latter because as aforementioned I find Matty irritating.

Rating:

Skins was, per always, an excellent television program this season, which earns bonus points. Also extra for trotting out TV’s first genderqueer pansexual and for making aforementioned genderqueer pansexual so f-cking cute!

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Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family)

[read all our posts on pretty little liars]

Queers:

Emily – lesbian (confirmed)
Maya – lesbian (confirmed)
Paige – lesbian (confirmed)
Samara - lesbian (confirmed)

Dude I Hate Who Coincidentally Ruins Everything:

A., Ian, Officer Garret, Ezra, Aria’s Dad, Caleb, Lucas, Noel Cahn and basically every male character on this show who took up minutes of the finale that should’ve been spent on Emily making out with girls.

In the End:

The final episode of Pretty Little Liars was super-busy with all of this “plot” and “murder mystery” nonsense and contained only one lesbian reference in the whole entire thing. Where was Paige? What if Paige is A and we didn’t even know about it?! What if Sounder killed Jenny?

Emily’s Mom wants to move to Texas to be with their Dad, but there’s no way they’re taking Shay off the show so let’s not even bother with that besides to say that Hanna teases Emily regarding if Texas “beauty queens” are her type. Which is super-adorbs.

Emily is e-mailing Samara so that love connection is open, Paige is nowhere to be found and Maya is apparently completing her 16th week of the Most Intense Marijuana Treatment Program of all time. When she comes back she’ll probably be allergic to everything.

Ultimately Emily’s storyline was a refreshing departure from expectation. Emily stood up to her Mom (who eventually came around, somewhat), felt liberated after her secret was revealed, and even refused to participate in someone else’s closeted antics.

The last lesbian scenes of the season are expounded upon in our recap of the second-to-last episode of Pretty Little Liars.

Rating:

For TV’s most admirable lesbian character, a “9.”

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Next: Skins US and Glee

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Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1763 articles for us.

70 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    Gah! Artie. I freakin’ hate that character. I really hope they actually address that he’s a misogynistic, manipulative prick – but then it’s Glee, and inconsistent at best, so I’m not holding my breath.

    I just…I mean it’s hard not to hate him because LEAVE BRITTANY ALONE! Seriously. I feel about that character like I felt about Willow, in that the actress made it impossible not to give a shit.

  2. Thumb up 1

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    Pretty Little Liars recaps continue to be awesome/hilarious, the show continues to generate fantastic fic, and I continue to not watch it because I can’t take even ridiculous.

    Glee hooks up Santana and Brittany and plays up the Faberry too and calls Artie on his misogyny and writes out Will Schuester and increases the ratio of episodes worth watching.

    Skins US is renewed, has no Tony or Abbud or Tea, centers on Michelle and Cadie with occasional Daisy and glimpses of Chris partying in the background and Stan being pathetic. And the writers decide that Cadie needs a worthy love interest and explore my crack-ship of Cadie/Eura. That storyline contains joint sessions with their therapist that are COMIC GOLD. The show has better music choices and inspires people to check out the REAL version.

    Skins UK manages to not fuck up a gen’s second season, not kill anyone, and not feature mental health professionals. Instead it focuses primarily on friendships, features Mini self-actualizing and pining over Franky (and wearing more suspenders!), and in the second half of the season has them get together in an enormously cute way that leads to a healthy and lasting relationship. Matty’s arc is focused on his brotherliness with Nick and he has no sex ever again. Rich and Grace continue to be happy. Nick gets together with Alo and/or Liv and/or both. The movie is made.

  3. Thumb up 1

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    I watched the Pretty Little Liars marathon up until the finale because I actually hadn’t even heard of it before stumbling upon AS – but seriously – WHO IS A??? This bugs me so much. You know when Hanna’s mom lets Caleb stay with them and she’s like, “You can call me *Ashley*.” I just thought she said that in a strange tone. I haven’t read all of the PLL recaps, so that may have already been addressed. Or maybe not…because it’s probably not a clue or anything.

    PS. totes love the rating scale system.

  4. Thumb up 1

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    “mostly because she does that thing that you did to your best friend in high school where you pretend to be Dr. Phil (“you deserve better, don’t go be with that boy”) / Oprah (“You’re my best friend! I protect you from the world!”) to cover up that you’re actually Ellen (“I like girls! Be with me! SURPRISE!”) . ”

    A million times, THIS.

  5. Thumb up 1

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    the main reason i began watching Glee was because i first saw the episode with this little nugget of gold “having sex isn’t dating. if having sex was dating, santana and i would be dating”. ever since then i’ve been waiting and hoping and now i am PISSED at brittany, if she loved satanas sweet lady kisses so much why the hell does artie matter? we all know he’d rather be with tina anyway

    • Thumb up 1

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      I dunno, but I just wanted to post so I could see the cute cat icon next to my tag.

      Cat people can do crazy things, so yeah, probably. But neither of the cats I live with would ever consent to wearing something like that. They’d claw your arm off first.

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        I will admit that I have put my cat in a hoodie (there are even pictures on fb), but it only lasted five minutes cause she hated it so much and acted like it was a form of torture and I felt guilty for wrestling her into it.

        I love new icon picture so much, it tempts me to get rid of my gravatar so I could have it by my name too

  6. Thumb up 1

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    “You know how if you go to a super tiny rural high school, the same guy will get cast in the lead of the school musical every year because he’s literally the only boy in school who can kinda sing, wants to be in plays, and knows how to memorize lines? US’s Tony is like that guy, only stupider.”

    Oh my god, now I totally realize who US!Tony always reminded me of! And this isn’t just restricted to small rural high schools – mid-sized suburban middle schools as well.

  7. Thumb up 0

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    These reviews Rock!! Really outstanding!! Does make me a feel a little out of it though, loved Glee from the beginning, but only recently just started watching Pretty Little Liars and never seen Skins…..SWEET….just checked and Skins is available for instant viewing on Netflix! – Season 1 in my que.

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      The “practically in Narnia” part killed me. I am currently laughing on the floor while I try to climb on the chair to type.

      I loved the part of “Never Been Kissed” when Kurt asks Blaine to come to his school to talk to Karovsky but the guy completely freaks out and Blaine, after having been pushed against the railings, says: “Well, HE’s not coming out anytime soon”. I always thought it was ridiculous. What good did Kurt think that being approached by another previously unknown gay boy would do to Karovsky? Did he really think it would be that wasy to make him come out?

  8. Thumb up 1

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    Riese, I have a feeling your rating would have been lower for Skins US if you had watched all the episodes. This was the worst image of lesbianism since the Symbionese Liberation Army. You nailed that it Skins US was all about pandering to straight audiences.

    For those who did not see Skins US. Tea likes sleeping with women for about 5 minutes of her episode. Then she falls for Tony, who has slightly more charisma than Andrew Shirvell. She spends the rest of that episode and the next 7 3/4 episodes mooning over how her and Tony have a special something. Then she crawls into bed with an unconscious Betty in a comically grand gesture.

    However with Glee, Pretty Little Liars, Skins UK and the unmentioned but enjoyable Coronation Street, there has to be a loser. Just surprised it turned out to be Skins US which going in would have been my prediction for the one to get it right.

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      OK, but during those 5 minutes of lesbianism, I loved Tea’s episode! I’ve enjoyed ALL of these awesome (unprecedentedly numerous) storylines, but not particularly identified with them (beyond “I like girls, too!”) EXCEPT FOR THOSE 5 MINUTES.

      It makes me smile so much to read the many comments from fans who saw themselves in Paige/Santana, that their scenes struck an emotional resonance powerful enough to change lives. My own internal acceptance process just was NOT a factor in my teenaged lesbian adventures. As I understand it, this is both fortuitous and really freaking uncommon, so I’d kinda just accepted I’d never see myself resembled in a TV depiction of highschool.

      Tea, the “hot lesbian friend” to keep around, being in-your-face OUT and sneaking into gay clubs with dubious fake ID to mack on girls she’d just met… is my kindred spirit. Watching those 5 minutes was OMG! AMAZING for me, but WTF? AWFUL after that! It was like seeing some weird dark alternate universe where I made (even more) terrible life choices and had (bigger) jerks for friends. (Actually, all of Skins US felt like some terrible alternate Skins UK universe.)

      On the up side, I felt like a mature and responsible well-rounded teen by comparison. I feel like Skins exists to make EVERY person’s crazy fucked-up teenaged self seem tame and rational.

  9. Thumb up 1

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    I want Brittany and Santana to get together like YESTERDAY!

    But since that won’t be happening/didn’t happen, Santana needs to accept her fine lezbo self, Brittany needs to comfort that fine lezbo self, Brittany needs to dump Stubbles McCripplepants, and then Brittany needs to run (dance) to her woman and lay the most mind-blowing, earth-shattering, heart-pounding kiss one human has ever laid on another human on those gorgeous trouty lips of Santana Motherfucking Lopez.

  10. Thumb up 0

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    How come you left out Coronation street, Riese?

    They’ve handled the lesbian storyline for more than a year. It’s unprecedented on soaps (or even tv in general)

    Corrie is the hero of the lesbian set :(

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    “This must be how gay men felt for the 356 years Will & Grace was on the air, along with Queer as Folk, Sex and the City, Dawson’s Creek, The Office, Entourage, Noah’s Arc, Degrassi, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under OR MAYBE even how they feel right now with Modern Family, Glee, Nurse Jackie, Shameless, Gossip Girl, 90210, Lost, Weeds, Big Love, Ugly Betty, Brothers & Sisters, Greek, Mad Men, True Blood, The United States of Tara and basically every single show on Logo.”

    Yes there are twice as many gay men as there are lesbians on TV, but cisgendered queer women see 500 times as much representation as trans people (who are usually villains or objectified anyway). And to be fair there have also been queer women on Degrassi, Nurse Jackie, Six Feet Under, Shameless, Weeds, True Blood and Queer as Folk.
    Representation of gay men on Lost and The Sopranos was scant at best, while Sex and the City was downright awful and objectifying.
    Have we forgotten Roseanne, Hollyoaks, Ellen, Buffy, ER, The L Word, Grey’s Anatomy, Bad Girls, South of Nowhere, Fingersmith, Tipping the Velvet, Rosie O’Donnell, Oranges are not the only fruit, Sugar Rush, Naomily, The Wire, Lip Service, Rachel Maddow or the Wanda Sykes Show? It’s not like this was the first lesbian representation on TV. And Glee isn’t exactly the show that has finally brought us queer characters. Sometimes it’s fun, most of the time it is mediocre and problematic.

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