Autostraddle March Madness: Better Halves — Baby Gays

As much as I’d love to regale everyone with stories of the women’s Elite Eight — I’m really on pins and needles about the NC State/UCONN match-up — and the men’s Final Four, I’m pretty sure if I don’t hop right into the results from the Sci-Fi/Fantasy region, some of y’all are going to come after me with pitchforks. So let’s recap what happened:

I was intrigued by the Arcane and Astrid & Lilly Save the World match-ups because both of those shows are still relatively new and still finding their fanbases. That said, Arcane is tied to a popular gaming franchise so perhaps it came to the contest with a built-in advantage. The final vote totals were close but Vi and Caitlyn of Arcane were able to pull off the narrow victory and go onto compete in the Round of 32.

We’ll see if Arcane‘s advantage can carry over into the next round where they’ll face defending Autostraddle March Madness champions, WayHaught. Waverly and Nicole were able to pull off easy victories in the first round, defeating ThunderGrace handily. Will the Earpers continue to show up for their faves or can Caitlyn and Vi pull off the biggest upset of this tournament?

While we all wait with bated breathe to hear about the fate of Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman on the CW, fans of both shows are showing up for this year’s bracket competition. I thought the presence of two couples from Batwoman — plus, everyone’s undying love for Rose Bridget Regan — meant that they both be assured of a place in the second round but that’s not how things shook out. The Co-Captains for Life, Sara and Ava, made a strong showing in their opening round match-ups, easily beating a challenge from Pam and Renee.

But while Renivy may have gone down in defeat for the Batfam, the great ship WildMoore will sail into the next round. These two match-ups were some of the most talked about of the first round — more than a few people were like, “HOW DARE YOU?!” — and they lived up to the hype. Much to my surprise, Sophie Moore pulled off a decisive victory in the first round, dispatching Kelly Olsen of Supergirl with ease. What’s more astounding is that despite facing such a strong challenger.

Alex Danvers proved to be a greater challenge for Ryan Wilder but the fandom gave Batwoman a small lead in the early hours of voting and she never relinquished it. Of course, that means that it’s an all CW semi-final in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy region: Batwoman vs. Legends, Wildmoore vs. Avalance. Oomph, I suspect I’m going to get another round of “HOW DARE YOU?!” messages on social media.

So those were your Sci-Fi/Fantasy winners…how’d that translate into our bracket competition? After two rounds of voting, we only have just one perfect bracket remaining. I slipped a few spots on the leaderboard after a middling showing in that round but I’m hoping to rebound in . What about you?

Now we move on to the Baby Gays region…which, to me, feels like the easiest of the four regions. That said, maybe teen dramas aren’t your cup of tea so picking a favorite might prove more difficult. As usual, the voting will go on for 48 hours and then we’ll be back here on Tuesday to reveal the winners and the updated bracket. Let’s take a look at the field.

Background: a young Black woman smiling and watching TV with a remote in her hand, teal squiggles are illustrated on the sides of the photo. Foreground text in purple against a dark gray and teal background: Autostraddle March Madness / Casey Gardner vs. Fabiola Torres. Voting ends 3/30.

Casey Gardner, Atypical

Relationship Status: Bruin in Love

Izzie Taylor’s life is full of chaos. Her mother’s at the center of chaos, often drunk, leaving Izzie to shoulder more responsibility than she should at her age. Understandably, Izzie resents how absent her mother is and her mother chastises Izzie for her anger and bitterness. Her mother alternates between tossing her out and inviting her home to take care of the other children. It’s a cruel existence and one from which Izzie cannot wait to escape. It’s Casey that offers Izzie a refuge, a port in an otherwise harrowing storm. She gives Izzie a space to just be where she’s not asked to do more than a young teenager in love should.

Fabiola Torres, Never Have I Ever

Relationship Status: Reigning Queens

“I’m not cool,” Fabiola Torres admits as she and her girlfriend, Eve, have their Cricket Queens victory dance. “I don’t know anything about pop culture and I don’t know how to use hip phrases like ‘what’s the tea?’ And I feel unsafe in ripped jeans. The only thing besides my family friends and you are robots.”

Eve seizes on Fabiola’s admission and confesses that she loves her too. She doesn’t care about whether or not Fabiola’s cool. She never needed for Fabiola to know who King Princess is or to be an expert in L Word trivia. As she is, Fabiola is the most beautiful person Eve’s ever met…and that’s enough for her.

Background: a young Black woman smiling and watching TV with a remote in her hand, teal squiggles are illustrated on the sides of the photo. Foreground text in purple against a dark gray and teal background: Autostraddle March Madness / Taissa vs. Rebeka. Voting ends 3/30.

Taissa, Yellowjackets

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

I love that I immediately picked up on Taissa and Van as a couple before it was canonically established outright due to how protective Taissa was of Van when the plane went down, particularly in episode two of Yellowjackets when Taissa was ready to FIGHT Jackie for abandoning Van in the plane fire. Taissa may keep messing up due to reasons outside of her control, but I do think she cares deeply about Van. The masks she made for both of them were sweet (and impressive — we love a crafty gay!). You know what they always say: Girlfriends who are attacked by wolves in possibly cursed woods together…stay together? — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Rebeka, Elite

Relationship Status: In a Relationship

Mencía’s relationship with her family has long been strained: even if no one says it aloud, they — and, particularly, Mencía’s father — blame her for the car accident that killed her mother and seriously injured her brother…a blame that Mencía’s internalized and that fuels her behavior. When Mencía joins with the students in protest of her father’s draconian rule at Las Encinas, things only get worse. Her father strips her of her allowance and Mencía, unwittingly, stumbles upon a new way to make money. But when she gets in, dangerously, over her head, it’s Rebeka, who comes to her rescue.

“When I got home [after a dangerous encounter], I had an excuse ready, but nobody asked because they couldn’t care less,” Mencía laments. Rebeka’s the only person that really sees her and thinks that she’s someone worth rescuing. There’s nothing that Rebeka wouldn’t do to protect Mencía…even Mencía doesn’t know how much.

Background: a young Black woman smiling and watching TV with a remote in her hand, teal squiggles are illustrated on the sides of the photo. Foreground text in purple against a dark gray and teal background: Autostraddle March Madness / Rue Bennett vs. Coop. Voting ends 3/30.

Rue Bennett, Euphoria

Relationship Status: Fuckin’ Done

I’ll let Rue make the case — affirmative or dissenting, I’m not sure which — for herself (from her final season 2 monologue):

“Jules was my first love. I’d like to remember it that way. I don’t know if that’s actually true, though. I think I was high for too much of it. I know it wasn’t easy for her. And I hope she forgives me. I stayed clean through the rest of the school year. I wish I could say that was a decision I made. In some ways, it was just easier. I don’t know if this feeling will last forever… but I am trying. I remember Ali said, ‘The thought of maybe being a good person, is what keeps me trying to be a good person.’ Maybe there’s something to that.”

Tamia “Coop” Cooper, All American

Relationship Status: Holding On

Soon after Coop and Patience get together, Coop starts trying to build her brand as a musician. After winning a local rap battle, she uses the studio time with JP Keating to produce her first real song and hopes she can leverage it into a record deal. But when JP hears a version of Coop’s song with Patience on the chorus, it’s her that the superstar producer takes an interest in, not Coop. Patience isn’t new to music — she’s a member of the church choir — but making music has never been her dream…at least not until Coop opens her up to the possibility.

Coop pushes Patience to new heights. When Patience doubts herself, Coop’s there to remind her how good she truly is: “you’re even better than whatever they think you are. Just gotta do you, Patience, and go get it.” When Coop can’t complete her scheduled tour dates, she urges Patience to fill her slot. It hasn’t always been easy…and it certainly hasn’t been without conflict…but Coop is helping Patience live the dream she never even knew she had.

Background: a young Black woman smiling and watching TV with a remote in her hand, teal squiggles are illustrated on the sides of the photo. Foreground text in purple against a dark gray and teal background: Autostraddle March Madness / Raelle vs. Greta. Voting ends 3/30.

Raelle, Motherland: Fort Salem

Relationship Status: On the Run Together

Raelle and Scylla don’t have your typical enemies-to-lovers trajectory. In fact, it’s sort of more like lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers if we’re being honest. There was a long time that Raelle (and thus us, the audience) wasn’t sure if Scylla was trustworthy, because they don’t live in a world where their relationship could just be their relationship; there were bigger forces at work. Political forces, rebel forces, magic forces. It didn’t help that Raelle’s found family, her team, her sisters, also didn’t trust Scylla. But things aren’t always as black and white as good vs evil, and when it comes down to it, her sisters just want Raelle to be happy, and Scylla makes Raelle happy. — Valerie Anne

Greta, genera+ion

Relationship Status: In Love

When a suspected school shooter sends the campus into a lockdown, Riley and Greta end up together in the library. Riley’s anxious…though less about the potential shooter and more about being trapped in a small space. She fidgets nervously and breathes deeply. Greta recalls this “heart-racing thing” that she experienced after first seeing E.T. and the way her mother would soothe her: whispering a rhyme and gently stroking her hand. Riley asks Greta to show her and she does…reciting her mother’s rhyme (“Sana sana, colita de Rana, si no sanas hoy, sanaras mañana.”) as she rubs circles on Riley’s hand.

There’s a visible calm that comes over Riley with Greta’s touch. There’s a visible calm that comes over Riley anytime Greta’s near. Greta makes Riley’s life better.

Background: a young Black woman smiling and watching TV with a remote in her hand, teal squiggles are illustrated on the sides of the photo. Foreground text in purple against a dark gray and teal background: Autostraddle March Madness / Izzie Taylor vs. Eve Hjelm. Voting ends 3/30.

Izzie Taylor, Atypical

Relationship Status: Bruin in Love

For most of Casey Gardner’s life, she’s tried to go unseen. Her brother commands a lot of her parents’ attention so she strives to be the one thing about which they don’t have to worry. The only place where the spotlight shines brightly on her is when she’s on the track and even that starts to feel uncomfortable after a while. Izzie’s different though. She seeks connection, she raises her voice, she is unafraid of making waves. No one ever stood up for Izzie while she was growing up so she feels an obligation to stand up for others.

Izzie’s activism doesn’t turn Casey into an activist — she participates in the protest against Clayton’s dress code, begrudingly, and breathes a huge sigh of relief when she escapes punishment — but it does model what it means to challenge authority. Izzie teaches Casey that there arer things worth making waves for and without that, I’m not sure Casey ever starts to prioritize her own happiness. She makes Casey better.

Eve Hjelm Never Have I Ever

Relationship Status: Reigning Queens

I was, admittedly, a little surprised to see Fabiola and Eve among the Selection committee’s top eight couples in the Baby Gay region. Sure, they are adorable together, particularly Fabiola and her robot creation, Gears Brosnan…but ever since I watched the second season of Never Have I Ever, I’ve wondered how we’re supposed feel about Eve.

If I’m being generous, I can chalk up Eve’s efforts to bring Fabiola along to concerts and trivia night as a way for Fabiola to get to know Eve and her interests a little better. And surely, her heart’s in the right place with her dogged pursuit of the Cricket Queens crown…as a way to empower a new generation of queer kids. But how does Eve not recognize the ways in which Fabiola is compromising who she is to be who Eve, seemingly, wants her to be? When Fabiola shows up to dance looking more like Eve than herself, why doesn’t Eve — who claims she loves Fab and doesn’t care if she’s cool — say something in recognition of the misstep? I love a happy ending as much as the next queer but make it make sense.

Background: a young Black woman smiling and watching TV with a remote in her hand, teal squiggles are illustrated on the sides of the photo. Foreground text in purple against a dark gray and teal background: Autostraddle March Madness / Van vs. Mencía. Voting ends 3/30.

Van, Yellowjackets

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

When Van first told Taissa she absolutely would not be joining her in the haunted attic where a literal corpse had been found, I was like ummmm but just think of all the secret smooching you could be doing up in the attic versus against trees like you’ve been doing which is cute but looks uncomfy! But then I was like oh, this is actually some good boundary-setting, good for you baby queers for not being COMPLETELY codependent. I’m absolutely holding onto hope that Van is alive in the present and has merely continued to set good boundaries with Taissa. — Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Mencía, Elite

Relationship Status: In a Relationship

Rebeka isn’t looking for love when she meets Mencía. If anything, after getting her heart broken by Samuel, she’s trying desperately to avoid it. But Mencía is persistent, determined to get Samuel’s name out of Rebeka’s head (and heart) and replace it with her own. Rebeka resists — she doesn’t want anything to blow up in her face again — but, at the same time, she admits that she can’t remember the last time things were so easy with someone else. Unsure of how to interpret Rebeka’s mixed signals, Mencía finds a way to know for sure if Rebeka wants more: she kisses her and Rebeka doesn’t immediately pull away. Afterwards, Rebeka avoids Mencía but Mencía won’t let her deny herself this thing that she clearly wants…a want that’s confirmed everytime they kiss.

“I’m sorry. Really, I’m truly sorry,” Rebeka confesses. “But I have too much baggage. I’m full of insecurities, full of fear, full of…”

But Mencía — who’s carrying plenty of her own baggage — encourages her to let go of her fear and just let her in.

Background: a young Black woman smiling and watching TV with a remote in her hand, teal squiggles are illustrated on the sides of the photo. Foreground text in purple against a dark gray and teal background: Autostraddle March Madness / Jules vs. Patience. Voting ends 3/30.

Jules, Euphoria

Relationship Status: Nothing. Fucking. There.

When Rue walks into her intervention in Euphoria‘s second season and sees Elliot and Jules’ waiting for her, she’s apoplectic. She dismisses Jules’ involvement at first but Jules insists that this is her fight too: she doesn’t want to see Jules kill herself. The suggestion only angers Rue more and she launches invective after invective at Jules — the cruelty is painful to watch — to which her girlfriend simply repeats, “I love you.”

Euphoria building towards this moment since early in the first season when Jules told Rue that she didn’t want to be around her if she didn’t stop using drugs. Jules is trying to be Rue’s better half — trying to do what’s best for Rue — but I suppose you can’t be someone’s better half is that person doesn’t want to be better.

Patience, All American

Relationship Status: On A Break

When Tyrone turns up dead, everybody thinks Coop did it. I can’t really blame them for it, Coop had the means, plenty of motive and the opportunity to kill Tyrone. Patience confronts Coop about her involvement and, though she denies being involved, she slides her bag beneath a couch at the Slausson Cafe when the police seek to question her. Having clocked the bag — and fearing that Coop really did kill Tyrone and might go to prison — Patience picks it up and, under the cloak of darkness, takes the gun, wipes it down, and tosses it in the river.

“Look, if that ain’t some Queen and Slim ride or die type of love, then I don’t know what is,” Coop admits after she deserves what her girlfriend has done.

Background: a young Black woman smiling and watching TV with a remote in her hand, teal squiggles are illustrated on the sides of the photo. Foreground text in purple against a dark gray and teal background: Autostraddle March Madness / Scylla vs. Riley. Voting ends 3/30.

Scylla, Motherland: Fort Salem

Relationship Status: Proving Her Love

Scylla spent much of the first season being hard to read; she seemed to care about Raelle, but she was also doing some dodgy things with the Spree. By the end of the second season, no matter her past actions or motives or how many times she lit her face on fire to put on/take off a disguise, one thing was clear: she loves Raelle. And she’ll do anything she has to in order to prove it.

The odds were stacked against them, but eventually Scylla and Raelle learn that even though it seems like they were on opposing teams, their goals are the same. Some relationships don’t survive trial by fire, but theirs did in every sense of the word. — Valerie Anne

Riley, genera+ion

Relationship Status: In Love

After spending the day hanging out together, Greta, Riley and Chase end up back at Riley’s place for a sleepover. Riley invites her friends to dress up in outfits she has stored in her trunk and pose for photographs. Greta usually hates her picture being taken but she doesn’t hesitate to make an exception for Riley. She dons a tuxedo and top hat and looks absolutely amazing. After perusing the results, Chase opts to crash on the floor, leaving Greta and Riley to share the bed. Greta stares at Riley but averts her eyes when it’s Riley’s turn to stare at her.

“I saw you,” Riley whispers.

Greta smiles and whispers back, “I saw you.”

And while that dialogue is very much about that moment, it also feels like it’s about this budding relationship…this space between them where they can both be their full selves. They see each other in a way no one else does.

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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 410 articles for us.

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