Boobs on Your Tube: “American Horror Stories” Finally Has a Mostly Good, Gay Episode

Happy A League of Their Own Day to all who celebrate! We’ve got you covered on content, of course. Heather and Carmen are going to be trading off recaps. Heather dropped her series premiere recap today. If you want to read a spoiler-free review first, Kayla’s got you covered! Heather also interviewed Melanie Field and also Roberta Colindrez and Priscilla Delgado. Recaps are publishing every day, so don’t forget to check back for more this weekend!

Also this week, we got more The L Word Generation Q season three news, including a casting announcement about Margaret Cho. Alex Masse gave us an autistic reading of Stranger Things’ Robin Buckley. Valerie reviewed Sandman and recapped Motherland: Fort Salem. Kayla brought you some very exciting Yellowjackets casting news. And Natalie recapped two episodes of Good Trouble!

And, finally, in the world of film, Niko reviewed The Leo Baker Story.

Notes from the TV Team:

+ The most irreverent show on television is back: The Ms. Pat Show has returned for its second season on BET+. This season, Pat’s looking to deal with her past which will, no doubt, lead to some harrowing conversations with her eldest daughter Ashley. This time, though, Ashley isn’t coming home alone: she’s got a new girlfriend in tow! I’ll report back next week with any noteworthy developments. — Natalie

+ Call me crazy but I find it very odd that Only Murders in the Building seems to have forgotten about the whole Alice thing. You’d think Mabel would have mentioned it to the guys by now?? Added her to the suspect board? Something? But alas. No such luck. — Valerie Anne

+ This is just an FYI that the new HBO Series Rap Sh!t from Issa Rae features a character called “The Duke” a.k.a Chastity. She is a jack of all trades, a music manager, a plug for rappers visiting Miami, a tour guide, a sex worker wrangler, and more. It’s not like, outright said that she is dykin’ but she is VV dyke coded — I mean…the chain and braids alone scream it to me. — Shelli Nicole


American Horror Stories 204: “Milkmaids”

Written by Drew

A blonde woman lies on top of a brunette woman in embrace. The blonde woman has visible boils on her back.

This week’s episode of American Horror Stories is fun but I should not have watched it over breakfast.

It begins with an 18th century preacher who goes out looking for pussy and finds only puss. A sex worker named Celeste says her wounds have healing properties but as he sucks the goo off her finger, he decides she seeks only to punish his hypocrisy.

He takes his revenge by publicly shaming her and breaking her arm. Luckily, the town milkmaid, Delilah, is around to nurse her to health and give her a copy of Fanny Hill’s salacious memoirs. Celeste tells Delilah that her wounds really do have healing properties if the person truly embraces them.

As Celeste and Delilah argue about faith vs. science, they also fall in love. Delilah realizes that Celeste is not the “daughter of Lazarus” but rather that she has cowpox and that acts as protection against smallpox.

This episode isn’t exactly good. (Quotes include “There is nothing Godly about cannibalism” and “We’re going to cure smallpox!”) But it’s at least more interesting than the phoned-in episodes that have plagued the rest of the show. It’s an exploration of fetishization and homophobia and mob mentality and science. And it’s all a campy good time!

The episode was written by Our Lady J and directed by Alonso Alvarez-Barreda. I guess this is what happens when the show is trusted to creatives who actually have a point of view. It’s no masterpiece, but a horror anthology show doesn’t have to be masterful — just not boring!


P-Valley 209: “Snow”

Written by Natalie

Mercedes sits, wearing a denim jacket, staring at a large photo of her. In the photo, she's wearing her floss and knee high stileto boots, hanging upside down on the pole.

Katori Hall? Peyton Fulford? Who do I talk to about getting a copy of this photo for my wall? I needs it.

Before The Pynk’s Grand Re- Re- Re-opening, Mercedes joins Keyshawn, Roulette and Whisper to practice their set. It’s a return to same pole from which she fell for Mercedes and the fear persists. Fearing she might fall again, Roulette refuses to base for Mercedes and the two nearly come to blows. Since Mercedes can’t perform at 100%, Autumn recommends that she base for Keyshawn…and that’s an absolute non-starter for Mercedes. She lashes out at Autumn for being the root cause of her issues. Uncle Clifford tries to calm the tensions but Cedes has had enough: the Pynk will have to pull off its grand re-opening without her.

Clifford follows Mercedes outside and is greeted by her laments: she can’t do what she used to, Keyshawn’s better than her, she should’ve retired years ago. Uncle Clifford doesn’t give her the answers she wants and instead reminds her that “sometimes you…have to learn how to dream new dreams.” It’s advice that they both need to hear but neither are ready to embrace. Then, Mercedes gets a text from Farrah, inviting her to come to Memphis. It’s not an invitation Mercedes is eager to accept but, at this point, she wants to be anywhere but at the Pynk.

Mercedes arrives to see herself in large format photographs — taken before her solo tryst with Farrah — hanging in a Memphis art gallery. Around her, everyone’s abuzz, taking in “The Mercedes Experience,” in awe of the subject’s strength. Mercedes is taken aback by the sight: she’s never seen herself so fully through someone else’s eyes.

Farrah approaches and admits that her progress — towards happiness, towards reclaiming her passion — is all because of Mercedes. That admission isn’t coupled with any promise of compensation…neither the $40k that Farrah and her soon-to-be ex-husband owe or Mercedes’ cut of gallery sales…and surprisingly, Mercedes doesn’t ask about it. Instead her focus is on the photos and how they reflect a strength she doesn’t see in herself anymore. She admits that she was starting to think that she’d never get back on the pole again. Mercedes points out that, even in the photo, she had to transfer her weight to her weak side. But Farrah can’t see Mercedes’ weakness, only her strength, and jokes that she hopes they’d never meet in a fight. Mercedes promises she doesn’t have to worry about that.

Farrah: Would you…fuck me again?
Mercedes: No. That was business, not pleasure. (pauses) Well, maybe a little bit of pleasure.

I’m bothered that Farrah doesn’t run Mercedes her check (and also by that god-awful wig). But that exchange? It’s the moment that I carry away from this episode. It’s the moment that frustrates me more than any other this season (aside from Derrick still being alive). It feels cold and cheap. However this relationship started, these are two women who genuinely see each other and whose lives have been forever changed by the other…and to reduce it to a fuck or business or even “a little bit of pleasure” undermines that intimacy. That’s not to say that they should end up together but that it felt reductive in a way that I can’t imagine this show being with Murda and Clifford or Keyshawn and Diamond.

Reinvigorated, Mercedes returns to the Pynk and sees everything with whole new eyes. A chance meeting with Lil’ Murda in the Paradise Room — her first time back since Murda Night — reaffirms her legendary status. Much like the trip to the gallery, Murda makes plain Mercedes’ legacy: someone who created and impacted art.


All Rise 310: “Fire and Rain”

Written by Natalie

Ness lies on the landing of the courthouse steps after being stabbed. In this show, she's wearing a denim blazer and a pink scarf on her head that drapes over her mouth as she lies on the ground.

Whenever a show switches networks, TV critics and fans alike spend a lot of time trying to assess the differences…how the old version of the show — say, One Day at a Time on Netflix or Lucifer on FOX — compares to the newer iteration (ODAAT on Pop or Lucifer on Netflix). It’s less about the show themselves and more about what it reveals about the networks. I mention that to say: there’s absolutely no way that this episode of All Rise would’ve made it to the air on CBS. It’s only because the show’s on OWN that the writers are able to be this provocative: the entire hour is a thinly veiled reference to the January 6th insurrection.

The case seems pedantic enough, at first: a mega-influencer named Brandon (natch!) is on trial for, essentially, being the head of a crime syndicate. Brandon sends “coded” messages to his fans via social media and they swarm his chosen store, stealing the merchandise and bringing it back to him. When Brandon’s not granted bail, he threatens Judge Carmichael but she refuses to budge…and, on orders from Brandon’s right-hand man, his cultish followers descend on the Hall of Justice. They wreak havoc in the courthouse, vandalizing the building and terrorizing everyone there.

It starts out as a good day, though: Ness gets the results of her second attempt at the bar exam and this time, she passes! She rushes to meet her boss at the HOJ for a pre-scheduled meeting and to share the good news but is thwarted by Leo Sikes, Brandon’s henchman. She refuses to let one asshole ruin her day so she opts to take the stairs instead. As she climbs up to the eighth floor, she crosses paths with Leo again and chastises him for letting the elevator doors shut in her face. Without saying a word, he draws close to Ness and stabs her in abdomen. He walks away and she collapses onto the floor, blood spilling everywhere.

Ness tries but fails to reach her phone and for most of the episode, it looks like Ness will be the insurrection’s first fatality. Thankfully, Ness’ boss, Amy, happens upon her and calls for help. It doesn’t come immediately so Amy presses her coat to Ness’ wound. Efforts to keep Ness conscience using bar exam trivia are fruitless and Amy tries to drag Ness’ body to get medical help. Luckily Mark arrives in time to assist her. They’re able to get Ness to the paramedics and she’s transported to the hospital.

We won’t know until All Rise returns from its midseason break whether Ness survives her injury but if she doesn’t, I’m going to be pissed. This storyline has all the trappings of a “Bury Your Gays” story from the early aughts…and, surely, this show — that’s already disappeared some gays this season (where is Dahlia?!) — wouldn’t be so regressive, would it?


For All Mankind 310: “Stranger in a Strange Land”

Written by Valerie Anne

Ellen positively BEAMS at Pam

Goodness gracious how I missed that SMILE.

I won’t lie, I found this finale to be a little disappointing. Maybe it’s because they used the one character I knew they wouldn’t kill in the “high stakes” Mars excursion so the threat didn’t feel real, maybe it’s because they killed my hero Molly Cobb…but I think mostly it’s that after such a monumental moment for Ellen last episode…she’s barely in this one.

It started strong; Ellen looks at headlines with mixed reviews of her coming out when her VP comes in and tells her they’re talking about impeaching her, and that she should just resign. She disagrees, for many reasons, not the least of which is that she knows he’d defund NASA the second his butt hit the seat in the Oval Office. Frustrated, he says, “I won’t allow you to destroy the republican party.” And she confidently retorts, “Maybe it needs a little destroying.” I tend to agree.

Then a bomb goes off at NASA and we don’t see Ellen’s reaction to it. We do, luckily, get to see Ellen go back to Pam’s house. Both of them look far less tense when Pam opens the door. Pam asks where they even go from here, and Ellen admits she doesn’t know. But Pam steps aside and lets her in, and this time they’re both smiling.

The show jumps to 2003 at the end, so Ellen will be done with her presidency by the time we see her next, even if she managed to serve the rest of her term and another. I’m foolishly hoping for at least a flashback to these early days of reconciliation next season, but maybe we’ll get domestic Ellen and Pam? Ellen back working at NASA somehow? I don’t know. I know she’s not an A or even B plot on this show but she’s the main plot in my heart so I hope this isn’t the last we see of her gay journey.


Roswell 409: “Wild Wild West”

Written by Valerie Anne

Allie Meyers in a cowboy hat on a porch looking up at Liz

Yee-fuckin’-haw

This week, since Liz is still unconscious from the alien smoke bomb Shivani set off, Isobel and Max go into her unconscious mind to try to convince her to wake up. They’re immediately captured by cowboys and Isobel is shot awake, but Max is stuck in the mindscape, where Liz is sheriff. At first she’s confused, because the people around her look like her friends and family, but they’re calling Isobel Evans a gunslinger when she knows damn well she’s an alien swordswoman. But she slowly realizes she’s in a mindscape and decides to play along until she can figure out how to wake up.

And there to help her is Shiri Appleby herself: Allie Meyers is back!

Out in the real world, Isobel admits to Maria that she slept with Kyle and kind of liked it but after Anatsa, after everything really, she sort of feels like she destroys everything she touches. I think her pod squad would disagree.

In the mindscape, Liz faces off against another version of herself, a darker version, maybe even a stronger version. She has a choice: to fight what the alien drugs are doing to her, or to give in and let this other version of Liz take over. Once she wakes up, everything seems normal and fine; but we, the audience, get to see that Liz didn’t defeat her alter ego after all. She gave her the reins.


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Natalie

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 267 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 413 articles for us.

7 Comments

  1. I’m disappointed with the whole season of For All Mankind and especially how Ellen was used. She could have played a role and interacted with (or at least reacted to) any number of storylines, instead she’s so far away from the action. I’m glad at least she’s finally going to have sex again for what is probably the first time in a very long time! I bet that if we see her next season she and Pam will be married, because her coming out will have alerted the gay rights timeline.

    Also very sad about Molly’s death, although I’m sure she would be happy to have died a hero like she always wanted. Disappointed and surprised that Karen died too, especially when so many disappointing characters lived, especially the Stevens brothers. Margo’s storyline has been interesting this year and could continue to be.

    • The first season is still my fave. This one has a lot of unbelievable things happen: How was Kelly not on birth control? How was Danny still on duty after Ed knew about his abuse of drugs? He got off way too easy in his exile. I also totally thought Ed’s puncture wound from the accident would make him ill with some new bacteria that Kelly would have to figure out how to cure, which frankly would’ve been a lot better than the whole pregnancy thing (also who is still on phoenix to deliver that baby?)

      I do wish they had done the Prez’s section differently. More so we could see some of the social impact of her coming out, even in the immediate aftermath. And did her husband come out too, or has she completely taken the homophobic heat? That we don’t know if she’s resigned was frustrating.

      I was confused when Molly died! And how? Folks who paused to read the newspaper said it said it took a week to find her :(

      There’s also speculation that Karen might not be dead because there is no confirmation like Molly’s headline in the paper, and what Danielle tells Ed is vague. But she really should be dead – considering how close she was to the bomb, really they shouldn’t have found her body, let alone her being alive. I feel kinda bad for Jimmy – gas parents’ death really messed him up, he’s mad at NASA for it, and the terroristes took advantage of him. Danny should be shot into the sun and I how his wife leaves him asap.

      It’s going to be really interesting to see what Margo gets up to in USSR… And if she ever gets back to the US.

  2. To be fair, a lot happened almost immediately after the Alice thing happened and those all took priority over the Alice thing. Also in the realm of things that haven’t been mentioned in a while, they haven’t brought up the painting of Charles’s dad that killer apparently killed Bunny over.

  3. R.e. rap sh!t, in the last episode one of the characters is riding with Chastity in her car and says “Chastity gay, I know she got some Gatorade up in here”
    Which made me laugh cos like…wait what?! but yeah, she gay.

  4. I just need to thank you for this masterful turn of phrase: “an 18th century preacher who goes out looking for pussy and finds only puss.”

    That episode really did kind of work! As its own thing, as text, but also as subtext! And as a Covid allegory! I was pleasantly surprised.

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