Boobs on Your Tube: Hen and Karen Get Gay Married (Again!) on 9-1-1

Friends, we heard your pleas! Meg Jones Wall wrote a list of reasons every queer should be watching Our Flag Means Death! Carmen rounded up the best queer sketches from A Black Lady Sketch Show’s gayest season yet! Riese made you a little quiz so you can figure out which fictional high school you should have attended! Heather recapped the most recent episode of Gentleman Jack! Kayla had a little scream about this lesbian cruise episode of Hacks! And Heather had a yelp too, about Ser Anzoategui‘’s episode of Pinecone & Pony.

Notes from the TV Team:

+ I’ve got a write-up about Derry Girls’ final season and the wee lesbian storyline coming for you next week! — Heather

+ For the first two seasons of 9-1-1: Lone Star, Brianna Baker’s Nancy has been a background player. She was a paramedic but she didn’t have much of an identity, she was just there. But this season, Baker was upped to a series regular and we’ve gotten to see more of Nancy. Last week, she hooked up with one of the station’s firefighters, Mateo, and all I could think was, “wait, so she’s not a lesbian?” Apparently, somewhere along the line, I’d gotten it in my head that this character was definitely gay, even if the show hadn’t told us.

But while I was busy being perplexed, Carmen was actually paying attention and alerted me that Nancy was indeed a member of the alphabet mafia. In last week’s episode, Nancy slyly acknowledges her bisexuality (“I’ve been the tallest kid in my class since third grade and at least a head taller than pretty much anyone I’ve ever dated. Even if they’re in six-inch heels”). — Natalie

+ The gay is coming back to Top Chef: Houston as the Final Four — Evelyn, Buddha, Sarah and Damarr — head west to Tuscon, Arizona (one of only two US cities with the distinction of being a UNESCO City of Gastronomy) for their last set of challenges. There, the final four will visit with Top Chef: Portland‘s Maria Mazon and be judged by Kristen Kish. — Natalie

+ I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that The Young and the Restless played host to its first ever gay wedding this week, as Mariah and Tessa finally said “I do.”

It was a beautiful event that felt very rooted in the characters…and unlike most soap weddings, it went off without a hitch. It felt particularly poignant to hear Elizabeth Hendrickson — who once played one half of daytime’s first queer supercouple — note how historic the moment was. — Natalie

9-1-1 518: “Starting Over”

Written by Natalie

Toni presides over the marriage ceremony for Hen and Karen.

For years, Henrietta Wilson and her mother had the kind of relationship that was okay as long as it was kept at a distance. But, when the pandemic left Toni unemployed and unhoused, her daughter was there to welcome her into her home. Slowly, but surely, they started to mend their relationship but time hasn’t healed all the wounds Toni once inflicted.

After Hen regales her family with a story about hair extensions gone disgustingly wrong (believe me when I tell you, you don’t want to know more), Toni changes the subject: she and her boyfriend, Clive, are engaged. Hen’s a little surprised by the news — she assumed her mother had given up on the institution of marriage — but Toni admits that seeing Hen’s successful marriage up close has convinced her that all marriages aren’t dumpster fires. Toni suggests holding the wedding ceremony in the backyard of Hen and Karen’s house. Hen is elated by the suggestion but Karen is morified: as much as she loves Toni, she cannot imagine allowing her to get married in the same spot where she and Hen were married…a wedding which Toni did not attend. Hen is stunned by Karen’s reaction: after all, she found a way to let it go.

“You didn’t see the look on your face. You met me at the altar and turned to see if she was there and there was an empty chair…I watched your heart break before we even said ‘I do.’ It wasn’t the happiest day of our life, Hen,” Karen reminds her. Toni overhears their conversation and apologizes for the heartbreak she caused. Karen feels guilty enough about it that she immediately changes her mind and throws herself into planning Toni and Clive’s nuptials.

When the wedding day rolls around, Chimney, Buck and Eddie all show up for the festivities. Hen’s surprised to see them but Buck assures her that they wouldn’t have missed this. Confused, Chim tells Hen to talk to her mom. When Toni shows up, she informs Karen and Hen that she’s not getting married today. Karen’s indignant — she did all this planning and has all this food — but Toni assures her there will be a wedding today, just not hers.

“Henrietta, let me say this: I’m sorry I didn’t come to your wedding,” Toni admits. “I had my reasons, my excuses — I didn’t understand, I wasn’t ready, I needed more time to catch up with the way the world was changing — but the truth is, honey, I was just wrong.”

Toni thanks Hen for forgiving her for what she did but acknowledges that they all lost something that day and, today, she wants to get that back. So, with her mother acting as the minister, her Station 118 family in the crowd and her son walking her down the aisle, Hen recommits to loving Karen for the rest of their lives. It’s a beautiful moment — especially with the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine” soundtracking it — that feels a bit like a series finale…but 9-1-1 will be back in the fall for its sixth season.

All American 420: “Murder Was the Case”

Written by Natalie

Patience flirts with Coop in her bedroom. Patience is wearing a white tank top.

Since the shooting, Coop’s been flailing: struggling to find purpose in her life after having her dreams snatched away from her. She clings to the thing that reminds her most of her old self — Patience — and suffocates their relationship in the process. Losing Patience and the threat of jail finally forces Coop to reconsider where her life is going and commit to making some changes…and, suffice to say, those changes are not going unnoticed. 👀

(Sidenote: The title card of this week’s Halloween-themed episode of All American features a colony of bats, squawking, as they fly past the logo. Too soon, CW, too soon!)

Patience wakes up to find the smell of Coop’s breakfast still lingering in the kitchen. She’s surprised to see Coop up this early but Coop explains that Mrs. Baker has an early morning deposition that she wants to sit in on. Coop’s excitement about her new job is palpable and Patience notes that she hasn’t seen Coop like this in a long time. You can almost see Patience’s thirst start to re-emerge but Coop, unwittingly, quenches it with news that she’ll be attending JJ’s Halloween party at the Beach House, with Skye…in a couple’s costume, no less.

But when things between Asher and Spencer grow tense enough to make having the party at the Beach House untenable, JJ petitions for a change of venue, moving the party to the Baker house instead. Still adhering to their break-up rules, which maintain the Baker home as neutral territory, Coop disinvites Skye from the halloween party and is left to solve the murder mystery with Patience. They’re tasked with investigating JJ’s future murder while playing as their future selves. According to the mystery game, in ten years, Coop will be a judge and Patience will be an award winning singer turned actress. The prediction pushes Coop to imagine a future she never dreamed of before. Patience notes that Coop looks happy now and Coop admits that the new job has been good for her. Patience confesses that she likes the new version of Coop and her ex-girlfriend agrees.

After the party ends, Patience questions why Skye gets to be with this new version of Coop. She asks Coop why she’d change for Skye but not for her. Coop insists that she didn’t change for anyone but herself. She acknowledges that Patience was right — she didn’t have anything going on in her life then — but now she does. Again, Patience wonders aloud why she didn’t get this version of Coop and draws her closer, pulling her in for a kiss. They fall into bed together but, before things can get too far, the Baker house is stormed by the police.

NCIS: Hawai’i 121: “Switchback”

Written by Natalie

Lucy looks over at Kate, as she interrogates a suspect.

When a Marine Corporal is murdered after trying to intervene in a domestic dispute, the NCIS team is called to investigate. Lucy arrives on scene, still exhausted from the night before, and Jesse assumes her date must have gone well. Lucy corrects him: she stayed home and was up late binging The Great British Bake Off. Frankly, it’s the most relatable the show has ever been. Once the team secures images of the Marine’s murderers — the domestic dispute was just a rouse — Kate joins them and shares what the FBI knows about the assailants. She explains that the FBI is monitoring travel in and out of the island and, later, they’re finally able to flag the wife, Anna Freeloff, at the airport. After a harrowing chase and fight, Lucy’s able to arrest Anna and bring her in for questioning.

The next day, Lucy crosses paths with Ernie and admits that she and Skylar seem to be going nowhere. She admits to flaking on their dates and concedes that maybe she’s not ready to date again after all. Ernie suggests an alternative theory: “maybe you just want to vibe with someone else? Someone taller, maybe? Blonder? Wears a badge?” Lucy shirks but Ernie reminds her that, sometimes, the heart just wants what it wants. But Ernie isn’t just staking his claim to be captain of the #Kacy ship (at least while Jane’s away), he also has news: Anna’s lovesick husband, David, is still somewhere inside the airport. The team’s able to take him in without incident. Though David is seemingly a pawn in the corporal’s murder, he refuses to give up any information about the plot in an effort to protect Anna.

Kate joins the team — just as Lucy’s flaking on another date with Skylar — and tries to figure out what they’ve gotten from the Freeloffs. She suggests they leverage the power of love to get David to talk…and, at the mere mention of the word, things grow tense at NCIS HQ. She invites Lucy to join her in the interrogation. Inside, they do that thing where they’re talking to David about his circumstances but also talking to each other about their relationship…and it is so angstfully delicious.

“David, we know you were in a tough spot. You don’t choose who you love or how they behave,” Lucy admits.

“And sometimes, people get in a tricky situation where one bad decision leads to a whole slew of them,” Kate adds.

David reveals the person who ordered the hit on the Marine and gets to reunite with his wife, temporarily, for his efforts. But their reunion turns out to be even more temporary than anyone expected, as a bomb strikes their vehicle, killing them both. I only hope this isn’t an ominous sign for Lucy and Kate’s future.

New Amsterdam 421: “Castles Made of Sand”

Written by Natalie

Lauren, wearing a horizontal striped sweater, tries to push Leyla away as she makes an advance.

Things in Lauren Bloom’s apartment are awkward: Leyla’s moved back in but the ease that they used to have is gone. They walk on eggshells around each other now…with Leyla afraid to ask for more than she already has and with Lauren afraid of overstepping the confines of their new friendship. But they’re both trying hard to make their new arrangement work, at home and at New Amsterdam.

Thanks to the shutdown of a nearby elder care facility, Lauren and Leyla come to work to find the Emergency Department being overrun by former residents. Lauren shifts in to crisis mode, transferring other patients to other areas of the hospital, but all her efforts barely makes a dent in the problem. One of the residents requests hot tea with lemon for her sore throat but Lauren opts to take a look in her mouth. The resident assumes that she has the same strep throat that’s been spreading throughout the elder care facility. But when Lauren looks around, noticing the intimacy between the patients from the elder care facility, she realizes the real issue: a gonorrhea outbreak.

Bloom diverts the ED’s traffic to other trauma centers and works with Drs. Shinwari and Walsh to try and get the outbreak under control. Most of the patients are more than willing to talk about their sex lives and their refusal to use condoms, but a few are angered by the doctors’ audacity. Leyla’s mortified by the task — “In Pakistan, we don’t ask elders such things.” — but Lauren notes that it’s the silence that’s causing the problem. One patient, Ms. Forsheim, who lied about her sexual activity, becomes unresponsive due to an abscess blocking her airway. Lauren immediately moves to drain the abscess and restores the patient’s breathing back to normal.

Later, Bloom approaches Ms. Forsheim again and tries to have a conversation about her sexual activity. The patient acknowledges needing the gonorrhea treatment but, otherwise, refuses to talk about her sex life. Still carrying the scars of having come of age in an era where women were scandalized for having sex out of wedlock, Ms. Forsheim admits she’d rather give up sex than talk to a stranger about it. Lauren manages to subvert Ms. Forsheim’s weariness by answering anonymous questions from the elder care patients. They ask about sex after a hip replacement, condom usage and lube. Lauren manages to put all the residents at ease. Eventually, even Ms. Forsheim raises her hand to ask a question, “What do you say if…if you like foreplay best?”

“I would say,” Lauren answers, pausing for a beat before dropping the punchline: “get in line behind Dr. Shinwari.”

Leyla’s mortified for a moment but then completely charmed by Lauren’s humor. When they arrive back at the apartment, the pair share a laugh about their day. The awkwardness between them is gone and the heat ratchets back up. Leyla chides Lauren for calling her out. Lauren admits that she got carried away but insists that what she said is true. Not always, Leyla assures Lauren, as she steps toward her. Recognizing where this could go, Lauren steps back and acknowledges that it’s a bad idea. Leyla agrees and steps toward her again. Lauren protests again and Leyla agrees but neither want to walk away from this moment. They seemingly fall back into bed with one another.

I’m should be heartened by this ending, I suppose — they’re back together, after all — but it feels too impulsive, too soon. This feels like a rebound, not a reconcilliation. Leyla and Lauren skated past all their issues and now I’m worried that the grounded beneath them will soon give way. As Jimi sang, “castles made of sand, fall in the sea eventually.”

A Million Little Things 420: “Just In Case”

Written by Natalie

Clark and Maddox embrace, while sitting on a log in the forest.

A Million Little Things always ends its seasons with a cliffhanger. At the end of the first season, as his daughter’s being born at a hospital across town, Eddie steps up to finally reveal that he’s the father of Delilah’s baby. At the end of the second, Eddie salvaged his sobriety only to be struck by a car and left paralyzed. At the end of the third, Gary put a bag over the head of music teacher who abused Sophie. I mention that to say: this is AMLT‘s season finale so I spent the entire hour waiting for the rug to get pulled out from under me…worried that the celebratory moments we’d witness would lead somewhere bad for Maddox or Katherine or Greta.

Rome shows up to school at Sussex Prep with his resignation letter in hand but the Dean of Students refuses to accept it. In his view, Rome was just protecting a child who couldn’t protect themselves and that’s exactly why he hired Rome in the first place. Plus, he notes, Maddox’s parents have decided to pull him out of Sussex Prep so the school will likely lose their donations anyway. Rome goes to the Ainsworths’ to resolve the situation but his arrival only brings more blame. Clark Ainsworth accuses Rome of manipulating his child — who’s run away after hearing her parents’ plan — but Rome insists that all he’s even wanted to do is to support his students in a way that he hadn’t been.

“My classroom didn’t make Maddox trans,” Rome acknowledges. “If anything, it was the first place he felt safe enough to be who he really is, and this morning, you and your wife decided to take that away from him.”

Clark laments losing the child he thought he knew but Rome reminds him that Maddox is the same child that he raised. The conversation sparks an epiphany and Clark knows exactly where Maddox is. They find him, nestled in a spot he and Clark used to go to together. Clark invites Rome to be an intermediary in their conversation but, when Clark finally uses the correct pronouns to talk about his son, Rome is convinced Clark can handle it on his own.

Meanwhile, Katherine’s still hurting over her break-up with Greta and her son — who, apparently, has been friend-zoned by Shanice’s daughter — recognizes that she’s gotten her heart broken. Even Katherine’s mother — who we last saw scurrying away at the sight of Katherine kissing Greta — can’t ignore her daughter’s sadness and heads to the tattoo parlor to intercede on Katherine’s behalf. Frustratingly, the conversation takes place entirely off screen but whatever they said to Greta worked. She returns to the Kim house and reunites with Katherine.

And so, the season concludes, with Katherine, Greta, Theo, Eddie and Katherine’s mom enjoying a family dinner together…with Katherine oblivious to the fact that Eddie’s girlfriend has been arrested for her involvement in her husband’s death. Also? Despite assurances to the contrary, their best friend, Gary, is fighting cancer once again.

Charmed 409: “Truth or Cares”

Written by Valerie Anne

Charmed: Kaela smiles at her sisters

I smile like that if I were dating Aisha Dee, too.

This week, Mel gets trapped in a magical snow globe with the bad bartender, Sunny. While they’re in there, they get to talking, and Mel learns that the magical creatures are sick of the Charmed Ones’ witch supremacy. Sunny tells a story about the time she was run off the road just for being a magical creature, and how it seems the Charmed Ones didn’t care. Instead she sees the news about witches saving witches and killing demons like they’re a monolith, because witches see all non-witches as evil until proven good. And Sunny is tired of it.

As they snuggle for warmth, Mel says she wants to work with her and other magical creatures to change this. Her and her sisters are doing the best they can with the powers they were bequeathed with little to no guidance on how to use them, and she’s willing to work with the magical creatures to make sure they’re helping the whole magical community, not just witches.

Sunny seems hopeful that this could work, but after Mel saves her life and she immediately finds herself confronted with Kaela waving a weapon at her, she knows it won’t be as easy as one idealist’s plans for change and she gets spooked. Mel has the chance to kill her but she’s not as ready to give up on this vision for a better future, so she lets Sunny go.

Later, when Mel and Kaela are joined by Maggie after she finishes defeating an evil stuffed elephant, Mel explains why she let Sunny go and they find themselves questioning the morality of something that was once the Charmed Ones’ soul purpose: vanquishing demons.

As Mel and Kaela hand Maggie a mug, Maggie recognizes the name of the company and the trio finally learns how Kaela is actually connected to them all: Macy had donated her stem cells to a cancer treatment Kaela received. They’re chosen family, but also they’re a little bit more.

Grey’s Anatomy 1918: “Stronger Than Hate”

Written by Carmen

Kai and Amelia lay together in bed with a cover up to their necks and playing in each other's hair. They are smiling in bliss.

So this is actually a fairly short catch up on Grey’s, if only because the queer storyline could be summed up in one sentence and also — if we’re honest here — was already covered when Amelia went to visit Hot Doctor Kai in Minneapolis a few weeks ago to have Hot Doctor Sex.

Hot Doctor Kai (sorry to keep saying it, but they were particularly hot this episode in that Henley shirt and I am only human) — they don’t want kids. Amelia, of course has Scout and also is a helping to raise Meredith’s whole little league team. So they are breaking up.

In slightly more detail, the episode opens with really hot post-sex cuddles, because of course. Then there is a party at Meredith’s because we’re introducing everyone to Scott Speedman (I should learn his character’s name) and Kai is also in attendance, which means they get a front row view to the whole wrassle of kids and the entire time they act like it’s ok but their eyes are definitely frantically saying “Get Me Out of Here.”

Later that night, after Ameila has put a fussy Scout down to sleep, Amelia and Kai sit together on the swings in Meredith’s backyard. It’s sad, if only because you see it coming, and they break up. Kai doesn’t want to lead Ameila on when they are so certain about his. They don’t want kids, that won’t change. I will mourn Hot Doctor Kai forever. That also won’t change.

I’m here to recap the gay parts because that is my job, but that’s absolutely, bar none, not what is most important about the episode. The case-of-the-week is an Asian grandmother who was violently accosted in a hate crime at a bus stop, mirroring the unforgivable wave of such violence happening in real life. It’s beautifully, heart-wrenchingly performed by all of the Asian cast members of Grey’s as they work together to save her life. I’m not sure who pitched the storyline to the writer’s room, but I was so humbled and grateful to see it. And that’s the reason you should be watching.

Station 19 518: “Crawl Out Through the Fallout”

Written by Carmen

Maya and Carina are walking together in the firehouse on Station 19. The sun is creeping through the windows, Maya is in a half-zip pull over sweater underneath a blazer, Carina is in a tailored tan vest and suit pants with a tie and her hair in a bun.

On Station 19 this week it’s time for Carina’s green card interview — which she is supremely nervous about (she’s in a suit with a vest and tie that’s giving all kinds of Italian custom tailor, but she’s still out-gayed by Maya in that half-zip pullover. Danielle Savre’s strong energy knows no bounds).

In the interview room, the agent asks how the couple met, and Maya keeps butting in with answers, to which the agent has to remind her over and over again that it’s not for her to speak. As we all know, listening to men telling her what to do is not something Maya does well. At all. To make matters worse, Carina goes on to recount their first meeting (at Joe’s Bar! Were we ever so young!)… with… um, we can say, “Dr. Orgasm style flourish” which only makes Maya embarrassed and agitated.

The interview goes on like this for a while, with the agent finally asking Maya about her demotion from Captain to Lieutenant at the firehouse. Maya says officially it was because of insubordination but unofficially it was sexism and homophobia (friends, she’s not wrong). Carina wants Maya to be quiet, a smaller version of herself for the important occasion, but Maya is wound tighter and tighter — a top ready to blow (pun not intended).

The agent starts asking standard protocol questions, like “Do you plan to commit a terrorist attack?” Or “Do you engage in sex trafficking?” And Maya loses it — those are dumbass questions, because of course even if someone was planning on doing those things, they would lie about it! Carina’s temper flairs, telling Maya to stop laughing, it’s a serious matter. But their back-and-forth bickering works! The agent points out that this is an obviously married couple.

The plot twist? This was Carina’s plan all along, to fire Maya up and let her go.

Well, Maya’s not done with her fire just yet. At the end of the episode, thinking back to her untimely demotion, she catches Sullivan and the new Fire Chief alone. She knows they are dating, and unless she’s reinstated as Captain, she’s going to blow their cover.

Now usually I’m no fan of blackmail. And we all know I haven’t particularly been a fan of Station 19 or the Marina plots this season, but this really worked for me as a season finale cliffhanger. Last year, Maya lost her job because of unfair circumstances. And it’s thrown her for a loop! But when she jutted out her chin and held her ground shoulder-to-shoulder with the Fire Chief as she walks out the door, nearly body checking her — I whooped! For better or for worse, our girl is back. And damnit how I’ve missed her.

(OK but wait, speaking of season finale things — didn’t they say Carina was going to take a pregnancy test? Did we see the results, or did I black out and miss it? Who’s gonna tell me?)

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A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. You can follow her latest rants on Twitter.

Natalie has written 400 articles for us.

Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 559 articles for us.


  1. grey’s anatomy is joining the ‘queer couple has children as a focal point of the relationship’ but in a new and sad way! hot doctor kai doesn’t want kids, like ever, for real, thought about it and all, and seeing amelia at a found family dinner party with scout and the niblings made kai realize amelia was really a mom in a can’t ignore it way. did they break up about it? maybe! who knows!

    • i’ll admit i kind of zoned out once i realized they were having a serious conversation- i can’t seem to watch grey’s with more than two thirds my attention these days. rip hot doctor kai we hardly knew ye

      also! we do not yet know if carina is pregnant and i feel like the jack cliffhanger is going to be all wrapped up in that because of course it is! at least maya is ready to stare down people much more powerful than her until they feel shame in their hearts

  2. Hen and Karen renewing their vows broke me. (I still love that the actress that plays Karen was one of the Joanns in RENT). So much of that plot rang true. And Closer to Fine being not just the expected (of a certain generation) lesbian wedding, but encompassing everyone’s stories- chef’s kiss.

    On the other hand, I just cannot with NCIS: Hawaii’s couple. I clocked it a mile away from the first moment the two interacted in the first episode- the writing is so ham-handed. It doesn’t help that I don’t actually like either character, but the show overall is pretty good.

    • That’s interesting, anna. I agree that the writing for Kate and Lucy wasn’t great in the beginning but I thought they’d gotten a lot better (especially since they crafted the backstory of the relationship).

      That said, I’ve seen a couple spoiler videos from Mondays episode now and I worry that they’ve regressed…a lot.

  3. Charmed is better this season but there was a bit of the old Charmed creeping into last weeks episode. Harry accidentally brought Dexter back from the dead and learned some stuff about the bowl and just went “Well nothing strange here. I guess Ray isn’t dying that much, so I’m going to go drink!”

    Also I don’t know about that Stem Cell reveal. There was always going to be something but I was really hoping that it would just turn out that there was no actual reason for Kaela to be a Charmed One other than she was just someone who was worthy. If they ever reboot this show again I would like if they had a sisterhood of people who aren’t actually related to each other.

    And yeah we never did find out if Carina got pregnant or not. That’ll probably come up next season when they’re trying to pull Gibson out of the newest mess he’s stuck in.

    • “Gay” is a gender-neutral adjective. It’s also very useful for those of us who don’t vibe with the “lesbian” label, for whatever reason. (And no one owes you an explanation. I have a very good reason for preferring “gay,” but I can’t say I trust some flippant, bad-faith gatekeeper to handle the trauma behind that preference with anything resembling compassion or understanding.) The only person you speak for is yourself. You want to use “lesbian?” Go for it. No one here is going to stop you. But you don’t get to usurp the right of other people to define themselves just because it makes you more comfortable. Please choose to do better or go back to AfterEllen where mean girl-ing and gatekeeping are welcome.

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