Well, 2012 was no 2011, but it was still a pretty good year to be queer on scripted television. Look at all the ladies!
2012 saw the return of perpetual homosexy favorites such as Callie Torres & Arizona Robbins on Grey's Anatomy, Emily Fields on Pretty Little Liars and Pam De Beaufort & Tara Thornton on True Blood. Some of last year's best queer characters, such as Franky Fitzgerald from Skins, got de-queered this year, and others, like Frankie Alan from Lip Service, ran away to New York City. But while Pam was looking for Eric and Callie was apparently really busy off-screen, lots of other queer ladies took center stage in 2012: we saw lots of new faces or new prominence for old faces. So, without any further ado, our expert opinion on the Top Ten Queer Ladies of Television 2012.
Top Ten Best Fictional Lesbian, Bisexual and Otherwise-Inclined Television Characters of 2012
10. Anne Juergens (Molly Ringwald), Secret Life Of the American Teenager
Because "coming out" isn't just for young people, this year we saw a well-handled lesbian storyline in the most unlikely of places: ABC Family's cloying moralistic prime-timesuck The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Bonus: professional player-of-lesbians Anne Ramsay, the mother of Anne's daughter's boyfriend, helps Molly Ringwald's character through her late-in-life revelation.
9. Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi), The Good Wife
During season three, we saw a lot more of Kalinda kicking ass, taking names, and banging a chick or five in her spare time. I might not watch The Good Wife just to see her in action, but every scene she's in is just a little sexier and smarter than the others. Season four brought the unfortunate return of her dreary husband, meaning we were subjected to a whole lot of violence and semi-consensual sex. The only good that ever came of that plot line was the ice cream scene. But it's Christmas, you know, and I come bearing good tidings of great joy. Thanks to an all-around dislike for her husband, he'll be gone ASAP, leaving Kalinda to do her thing the way she does it best – solo. (-by Laura)
8. Lauren Lewis (Zoie Palmer), Lost Girl
After discovering that Lauren Lewis, aka Dr Hot Pants, had a secret comatose girlfriend, Bo kicked off 2012 by dating someone who was not Lauren. It was not ideal, in fact it caused me to boycott the show for a while because I don't support Bo and/or Lauren having intimiate relations with people who are not each other. Doccubus4lyfe, amirite. Their smokin' hot tension picked right back up after Bo killed Lauren's girlfriend, an event that probably would've been a deal-breaker for other fictional queers who are not so clearly meant to be together forever. If Bo and Lauren don't become an official couple in 2013 then I might just die or at least go back to not watching this show for a while. (-by Crystal)
7. Imogen Moreno, Degrassi: The Next Generation
Tied with Sophia Swanson for the "Number One Critter" award, Imogen's discovery of her feelings for another lady and subsequent "coming out" to friends and family were perhaps the biggest non-events in the history of the queer girl television. I've never really fallen for Fiona Coyne, Degrassi's resident lez and Imogen's now-girlfriend, but Imogen — Imogen is awesome. Well, she's awesome now. She was significantly less awesome prior to the queer storyline — all the shit she did in attempt to snag Eli ranged from sketchy to "totally fucked up." But that seems to be in the past and here she is now with all her passionate feelings about theater set design and her total dorkiness and cute girlfriendness and difficult family situation handled with relative grace! Adorbs.
Within Lip Service's first three episodes, Frankie fled for New York City and Cat got hit by a car and died! Although I missed Frankie dearly because Hotness, the show sans Frankie/Cat was pretty damn good, owing mostly to the star turns by previously sidelined Tess and Sam and the new sexy Australian doctor, Lexy. Out lesbian actress and musician Heather Peace worked overtime this season as Sam was thrust into emotional turmoil over Cat's death, our recapper fell head-over-heels for Tess and Lexy injected some sorely needed common sense and doctor-hotness into the high-drama of a social group rapidly fraying at the seams. Also: sex. We're crossing our fingers for another season — ideally a little sooner than last time.
5. Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), American Horror Story
American Horror Story, the weirdest creepiest most fucked-up show on television, thrust a lesbian into center stage for its second Asylum season — and cast a lesbian (Sarah Paulson) to play her and another lesbian (Clea Duvall) to play her partner, Wendy. Set in 1964, Lana Winters is an ambitious low-ranking journalist who visits the Asylum to write about the serial killer Bloodyface, but when she gets there realizes that the bigger story is the asylum's appalling conditions and rampant abuse and corruption. But before she can make much headway on her story, she's committed to the asylum herself to "cure" her homosexuality. Things get more f*cked up from that point forward.
4. Sophia Swanson (Michelle Ang), Underemployed
Unfortunately for the entire world, Sophia Swanson is a kickass character stuck on a lousy show with a bunch of self-interested assholes and it'll probably get cancelled. But fortunately, Sophia Swanson is an unexpected ray of light on an otherwise-heteronormative world — and, at least for the first few episodes, she's positioned as the story's narrator. Plot devices bungled by other lesbian storylines were delightfully subverted in Underemployed and for the first few episodes, she's been granted ample screen time to grapple with her newfound sexuality, coming out to her friends and parents, and dating a woman for the first time. As the season plows forward, however, Sophia's romantic life seems to be taking a backseat. Still though: I want to eat her face.
3. Paige McCullers (Lindsey Shaw), Pretty Little Liars
Paige went away for a little while. And when Paige came back, Paige was mega-hot, seemingly relatively emotionally stable and self-aware, and dapper as fuck. We were lead to doubt her a few times this year, but she came out clean every time — and hats off to Lindsey Shaw for creating some genuine lesbian sexual tension with Emily Fields! We even got some Paige Backstory, which hopefully means she's not gonna get killed in January.
2. Betty McRae (Ali Liebert), Bomb Girls
Bomb Girls, a Canadian television series that blasted into our lives with unexpected amazingness, tells the story of the women who built bombs for the allied forces in the 1940s. Betty is the toppy-sexy-uber-dyke-lezzer-lezoholic who never met a pantsuit she didn't like. She's tough and smart and overall seems like the kind of girl who could fix your cabinet or save you from a shark attack without flinching. Fellow factory worker Kate is also clearly a lesbian, but also clearly in deep denial about it, as the finale suggested. It's rare that we ever see our history on stage like this — what it was like to be a gay woman back then — and therefore the whole situation is just all-around fantastic.
1. Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera), Glee
If what we've seen so far is any indication, Season Four will slowly sideline Santana Lopez into the recesses of our lesbian memories, so this might be our last chance to honor the one and only Santana Lopez, the best thing to ever happen to Glee, ever. Also: duh.
ETA: I don't watch Grey's Anatomy, so I asked my fellow team members if Calizona should be on the list and they told me that Grey's sucks this year and the lesbians haven't gotten enough screentime this season to warrant a spot. But y'all in the comments tell a very different story, like apparently, "Callie Torres had to make a life or death decision that involved the amputation of her wife’s leg! And Arizona, in turn, has had to re-learn life now as a disabled (differently abled) person. And after a long, dramatic, heart wrenching, and beautifully acted 1/2 season they are FINALLY finding their way back to each other." That sounds pretty list-warranting to me! So, honorable mention:
Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) & Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw) - Grey's Anatomy
As per ushe, if your favorite character isn't included here and you've got feelings about it, we encourage you to comment in all-caps using as much punctuation and self-righteous indignation as possible!