Did y’all see that Netflix lost more members than it gained for the firsts time in a decade? I personally want to blame this on them killing One Day at a Time, but apparently they’ve got a lot more bad habits than just that. Not us, though, our habit is just writing about gay and trans people on teevee and that’s the best habit in the world.
This week, Drew reviewed Heartstopper, which has a sweet coming-of-age story about a trans girl. Heather reviewed First Lady, which is bringing Eleanor and Hick’s love to life on-screen and also she reviewed season two of Gentleman Jack which she unsurprisingly loved. Kayla reviewed season two of Russian Doll , which won her over despite her reservations. Recaps, we got ’em! Natalie recapped an extra gay episode of Good Trouble and Drew recapped an always gay episode of Drag Race. Also, as a treat, for 4/20, Drew got very high and watched Elena Undone and it is an absolute a delight.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Reminder: the backdoor pilot of Niecy Nash’s new show kicks off this weekend on The Rookie. I’ll keep watch to see if anything gay happens. — Natalie
+ Apparently karaoke’s just my beat now? Because after Good Trouble Karaoke Coterie party last week, New Amsterdam returned this week with a karaoke outing of all our faves. Lauren Bloom takes the stage — stone cold sober, apparently — and performs “Uptown Girl” with Casey, as part of her quest to make amends. Also part of her quest? A taco hat which Casey forces to wear that night and the next day.
And while she tries hard to avoid Leyla — in an effort to give the resident the space she was after — they end up running into each other anyway. Lauren can’t resist asking Leyla how she is and Leyla answers honestly: there’s an issue with her visa and she’s in danger of being deported. Will we get another gay wedding to thwart draconian immigration laws? — Natalie
+ Gentleman Jack’s second season strides off on HBO this coming Monday. Look at for my recaps here every Tuesday for the next eight weeks! — Heather
A Million Little Things 416: “Lesson Learned”
Written by Natalie
When Katherine Kim decides to try lesbianing, she really does give it her all and while I’ve been excited to cheer her on, at every step, this week might have been a bridge too far. U-Hauling…already?! Oh no, Katherine…it’s too soon. But let me back up and explain how we got here.
Katherine shows up to Greta’s tattoo parlor with lunch — presumably an excuse for a midday hook-up — and storms past her assistant who tries to warn her about what she’s walking in on. Katherine steps to the backroom entrance just in time to hear Greta chastise someone for just showing up unannounced. Greta spots her in the doorway before Katherine can escape but struggles to find a way to introduce her guest. The guest, however, feels no hesitation and announces herself: she’s Julia, Greta’s wife.
Julia wants to take advantage of the hot real estate market and sell their condo but Greta wants to stick with their initial agreement to wait until their divorce is finalized. Katherine interjects and offers some professional advice but it’s clear, from the look Greta shoots her, that Greta wants Katherine to stay out of it. Things get heated between Julia and Greta…the exes trade barbs and neither are moved from their position. Julia wants to sell, Katherine wants to stick to the plan that they agreed to.
Later, Katherine takes Theo to a musicians convention to secure an autograph from his favorite rock star, his dad. With Theo distracted by the green room cake tray, Eddie laments that he has no fans. Katherine reminds him that people are taking time out of their real lives to get his autograph and that’s proof he has a fanbase. Eddie remains unconvinced but he’s grateful to Katherine for bringing Theo. Katherine asks where Eddie’s girlfriend, Anna, is and Eddie admits that she stayed home after an upsetting run-in with her sexually assaulting ex-husband. Katherine apologizes for having overstepped at game night and Eddie admits it was a lot of pressure on Anna to meet the ex-wife. That’s a feeling Katherine can relate to all too well after meeting Greta’s soon-to-be ex-wife earlier.
“Do you remember when our therapist said that when couples are passionate enough to fight, it means they have something to fight for? Well, the way Greta and her ex cared enough to be fighting, it felt like I was looking at two people five minutes away from make-up sex,” Katherine laments. Eddie urges Katherine not to overthink things — as she’s wont to do — and appreciate what she and Greta have together.
When Katherine and Greta reconnect, the tattoo artist is still seething from her encounter with her ex. Greta apologizes if Julia made her feel uncomfortable but Katherine admits that she was discomfited by how much passion clearly still exists between them. Greta corrects her: it’s not passion, it’s resentment. Katherine encourages Greta to let go of this fight and find somewhere else to live but Greta’s reluctant to let Julia win. Katherine reminds her Greta that she gets to makeout with someone that looks like Grace Park so, clearly, she’s the real winner here.
Later, Greta’s searching through real estate listings and thinks she’s found the perfect place nearby…but Katherine’s thinking, maybe Greta should stay a little bit closer. She offers to let Greta stay at her house “for a bit.” The idea gets an enthusiastic endorsement from Theo who’s excited to have someone else to play games with…so, of course, Greta agrees to move in.
Charmed 406: “The Tallyman Cometh”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week, The Tallyman continues his campaign against the Charmed Ones, saying he’s the wake-up call the magical community needs to see that they’re human justice warriors and only look out for witches, and ignore — or worse, kill — other magical creatures.
While he rallies his troops, the girls cook for Kaela to cheer her up, but it turns out Kaela has a perfectly rosy attitude about all this already. She knows they’re badass witches and that they’ll figure this out, together. Avoidance via optimism, can relate!
The trio gets a package from the Tallyman, and inside is a box with a riddle that doesn’t seem to do anything when they open it. Kaela brings it to the magical guy she’s been flirting with at the Blue Camellia, and when she opens the box he has to cover his ears because the dogwhistle is so loud. A metaphor, they point out, that’s rather on the nose. Once they sing the song it’s playing, they get tickets to “The Tallyman Cometh” and go to his dinner party of doom. There, they realize the spiders aren’t just spy-ders but they’re also bombs. Maggie uses the power of three to access her visions for the first time since Macy died, and sees that the Tallyman is going to target a gathering of magical creatures.
Working together with Kaela’s new beau, they stop the bombs from going off, which causes the Tallyman to throw and actual trantrum that ends in him exploding his own self.
After all is said and done, Kaela admits that she’s been avoiding her feelings about her bio parents and Maggie admits she’s been feeling guilty about Macy and they all agree to talk about their feelings more.
But don’t worry, the Tallyman was just a puppet in the bigger crusade against the Charmed Ones, and their woes aren’t quite over. The bartender still has tricks up her sleeve, and Maggie’s dad has a curse on his heart. I’m sure that’s fine!
All American 415: “C.R.E.A.M (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)”
Written by Natalie
Last week, Coop suggested that their friend group learn to “sit in the uncomfortable” instead of rushing to try and fix everything but this week, it’s clear that not everyone took that message to heart.
Things between Layla and Patience remain tense…the pair never really resolved their fight from a few weeks back and now, Layla’s taken to hovering over Patience as the release date for her still untitled album draws closer. We’ve already seen this season that Patience doesn’t do well when she feels suffocated so Layla’s persistence strains an already frayed relationship. For her part, Layla worries that Patience isn’t putting in the work: every time she sees Patience, she’s hanging out and doing nothing.
Meanwhile, Coop’s settling into her new gig at the retirement home. She stops by the room of Ms. Maritta, a resident with whom Coop’s developed a bit of a rapport, and finds someone rifling through Maritta’s drawers while she sleeps. Coop threatens to call security but then Ms. Maritta wakes up and greets her granddaughter, Skye. Coop’s clearly still suspicious of Skye’s intentions but she backs off and leaves the pair to catch up. The next day when Coop returns to Ms. Maritta’s room, she’s frantically searching for her emerald earrings that have gone missing. Ms. Maritta’s convinced that they were stolen by one of the other residents but Coop admits that she saw Skye rifling through her things. Ms. Maritta takes umbrage to Coop accusing her favorite granddaughter of stealing from her and tells Coop she doesn’t need any more of her help.
But Coop’s learned the hard way to trust her instincts and stalks Skye’s Instagram for proof of the girl’s treachery, while she’s supposed to be watching Spencer and Jordan’s game with the group. Skye’s IG is filled with the girl in designer dresses and Coop’s convinced that she’s pawning Maritta’s stuff to feed her lavish lifestyle. Asher’s girlfriend, Jaymee — who is just meeting the friend group (including two of Asher’s exes) for the first time — speculates that there’s something else behind Coop’s interest in Skye. It’s an awkward joke and only injects more tension into an already fraught situation…at least for Patience. She tries to escape the tension but Layla interjects, attempting to talk shop, even after Patience asked for a reprieve.
Coop urges Layla to respect Patience’s process and know when to back off, while Asher defends Layla’s interest in doing her job. Coop accuses Asher of only defending Layla because they used to date…which interjects a bit more awkward into Jaymee’s first meeting with the group. But rather than being thrown by the revelation, Jaymee’s amused by it: they live together, they work together, they’re a vortex. At first, everyone takes exception to the comparison but, slowly, they start to all realize it’s applicable. But Coop insists it’s not coloring her view of Skye…she’s just suspicious of her because Skye is a thief. Sure enough, Coop’s suspicions are confirmed when Skye posts a picture of Maritta’s earrings on her IG stories.
Coop heads back to the retirement home to share what she’s discovered with Maritta but Skye’s already there. She admits that she took the earrings but not to do something nefarious: she had the earrings reimagined into a necklace so that her grandmother could wear them more often. Coop apologizes for the misunderstanding but Skye’s just glad her grandmother has someone around who cares about her. She invites Coop to slide into her DMs next time she has a question for her.
Meanwhile, at the post-game celebration, with Layla no longer pressuring her, Patience stumbles on the perfect name for her debut album: “Welcome to the Vortex.” Personally, I still don’t get it, but everyone looks very excited.
All American: Homecoming 108: “Just a Friend”
Written by Natalie
It’s impossible to imagine a story about college life at an HBCU without incorporating Greek Life. They are an indelible part of the culture. But representing those organizations is a fraught prospect, as the team at Insecure learned last year, so shows are challenged to stay true to the culture while also staying far, far away from misrepresenting any of the Divine Nine. Already, we’ve seen Greek Life at play at Bringston University with JR’s fictional frat, Kappa Epsilon Kappa, but this week, the ladies get a turn, with the introduction of Psi Kappa Zeta.
Both Nathaniel and Thea are aspiring members of the PKZ and volunteer to help out with their upcoming Black & White ball. They’re both recognized by the sorority’s leadership: Thea, thanks to her spot on the tennis team, and Nathaniel because of her past participation in PKZ events. Thea would be a continuation of her family’s legacy — her grandmother was a member of PKZ — but Nathaniel would be forging new ground as one of the sorority’s first non-binary members. After helping decorate for the ball and recruiting Damon to be part of the group’s date auction, Nathaniel feels destined to take a spot on the sorority’s spring line.
But Nathaniel overhears the PKZ girls talking about her involvement in the sorority and how she’d be used, essentially, to fill a quota. Her presence would dispel rumors that the PKZs aren’t LGBTQ-friendly. Nathaniel is uninterested in being in the group for optics and withdraws themselves from consideration. Heartbroken, she cries as she reminds them that they would’ve been lucky to have her as a member.
Nathaniel retreats back to the dorm where she commiserates over ice cream with Thea. One of the girls from PKZ shows up and apologizes for the other’s behavior. She wants to lead a new wave of PKZs — a more inclusive wave — and she’d welcome both Nathaniel and Thea as members.
NCIS: Hawai’i 119: “Nuture”
Written by Natalie
Recognizing that his friend is still smarting from her break-up with Whistler, the team’s team maven, Ernie, offers Lucy a solution: a session with the Kahuna for Ho’oponopono, the Hawaiian practice of healing and forgiveness. Lucy tells Ernie that she’s fine but Ernie wonders if she could be — or should be — better than fine by now. She thanks him for the gift but it’s not entirely clear that she’ll actually make the appointment. Ernie pushes her again later but when Lucy offers an unpersuasive assurance, he takes a different tact. He wonders aloud what Whistler did to break Lucy’s heart. With every imagined scenario, the heartbreak on Lucy’s face becomes more evident — the tears well in her eyes — until she says his name in response…a quiet plea for him to just stop.
“Lucy, I-I hope none of those things happened to you, but something did, and you’re sad. Really sad,” Ernie acknowledges. “But you’ll be fine. Eventually…I just want you to get there faster.”
After the team solves their case — a weird one about animal smuggling and chemical weapons — Lucy returns to Ernie’s lair to let him know that she’s made an appointment with the Kahuna. And while normal people would be dissuaded from pressing a friend about their painful break-up after witnessing them crying earlier, not Ernie! He persists with one more question and, finally, Lucy opens up…and finally, we get the story of how she and Kate first met. It’s not the flashback episode that I wanted but, hell, I’ll take it.
Turns out, when Lucy met Kate, they were just two strangers at a bar. It wasn’t supposed to be a thing: Kate was only in town for a few days for a meeting. They avoided all the specifics and just enjoyed each other’s company for the two nights and three days that Kate was there. Then, six months later, she walked into HQ…an officer from the DIA, just transferred to Hawai’i. They decided not to complicate things — their work relationship was still so new, after all — and opted against rekindling their relationship.
“Was that hard?” Ernie asks.
“You’ve seen her. What do you think?” Lucy answers. Oomph. It’s all so deliciously angsty…and it manages to answer a lot of the questions I had about their history…I can’t wait to see what the rest of this season brings.
Top Chef: Houston 1908: “Restaurant Wars”
Written by Natalie
So let’s take a step back for a second: during the 17th All-Stars season, the winning team of Restaurant Wars was led by an out gay man. Then, during the show’s 18th season, the winning team of Restaurant Wars was led by an out gay woman. And this year, during the show’s 19th season, the winning team of Restaurant Wars was — spoiler alert! — also led by an out gay woman. This cursory examination of Top Chef history proves to me that you can’t win Restaurant Wars — the second most coveted victory during a Top Chef season (falling closely behind actually being the Top Chef) — without gays leading your team. That’s just science. Go Gays!
But let’s step back and recap how Ashleigh Shanti managed to score her first elimination win of the season.
The chefs forego a quickfire challenge this week and jump straight into the elimination challenge. Padma shows up with a knife block but instead of leaving teams to chance, the knives just assign the captains — in this case, Nick and Jae — who subsequently get to choose the members of their team. It’s at the point, I think, that the game is won: Jae’s first two picks are the chefs that have been most successful in the competition (Evelyn and Jackson) but Nick focuses on selecting the chefs whose cooking styles compliment his own (DeMarr and Ashleigh). Buddha also ends up on Nick’s team…and though he isn’t skilled in Southern cuisine, he’s proven to be adaptable…so Team Nick is off to a great start.
The chefs have 36 hours to bring their restaurant concept to fruition and things just fall into place seamlessly for Ashleigh’s team. Buddha volunteers to handle the front of the house responsibilities given that he’s not as familiar with Southern cuisine. DeMarr suggests dishes that pay homage to the women in the chef’s lives — dubbing the restaurant “Matriac” — and, given that focus, recommends that Ashleigh handle the Executive Chef duties.
“All I know is restaurants but in Asheville, North Carolina, people don’t typically come to my city to eat. Even though I’ve been on the James Beard list, I was getting comments in my dining room that it was too spicy and I started to feel like my food was unapproachable,” Ashleigh admits. “Being deemed the Executive Chef and playing such a big role in the creation of our restaurant, I feel like I can be me.”
Ashleigh thrives in the role. In addition to putting her stamp on Matriac’s appearance and handling expediting in the back of the house, she delivers two dishes of her own: a salmon tartare with buttermilk pearls, shaved fennel and peaches and gumbo z’herbes with red rice and seasoning meat. Though there’s a bit of a bottleneck with the salmon tartare, Ashleigh keeps a level head and service goes swimmingly. At Judges Table, Tom compliments the team for producing a restaurant in 36 hours that felt like had existed for months…they ran like a well-oiled machine. Ashleigh’s gumbo, in particular, earns rave reviews and Tom asserts that Leah Chase — one of the martriachs of Southern and Creole Cuisine — would’ve been proud.
The team pockets $40k and, perhaps more importantly, Ashleigh comes out of the challenge more confident in her own food. Let’s hope that’s a harbinger of good things to come!