Happy Captain Marvel release weekend, Boobs Tubers! Heather has reviewed that feminist masterpiece right here! This week in TV, our TV Team made a list of shows we loved and lost and were really sad about. Valerie Anne recapped an episode of Supergirl that featured some much needed Alex/Lena interaction. Carmen recapped Anissa and Grace’s first fight on Black Lightning. Natalie recapped a really solid Alice episode of Good Trouble. Heather wrote about last week’s Stephanie Beatriz-directed #MeToo episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, ranked some cats, and invited you to delight in the new season of Derry Girls.
Some reminders from the TV Team:
+ Harlots is coming back to us on July 3rd. — Valerie Anne
+ The upcoming CBS show Why Women Kill cast one of its lesbian characters. — Valerie Anne
Here’s what else!
grown-ish 211: “Face the World”
Written by Natalie
There is something about falling in love — or, if you’re Nomi Segal, “in like” — for the first time that makes you feel invincible. You walk a little taller. Everything looks a bit more vivid and alive than it did before. You are imbued with this new confidence that makes obstacles that once look insurmountable seem conquerable. And so, of course, it’s at this moment — which happens to coincide with Parents Weekend at Cal U — that Nomi decides that she’s going to tell her parents that she’s bisexual. She shares her decision with her girls first and, of course, they’re all supportive…even if Skylar does say, “They probably won’t take it that hard because you’re only kinda gay.”
“Okay, not how that works,” Nomi responds, before grabbing a shot to toast her upcoming big moment. With her academic hearing for cheating looming, Zoey is feeling particularly nostalgic and takes a moment to pay tribute to her friends: she calls Nomi, the Clyde, to her Bonnie; she celebrates Skylar and Jazlyn as her sisters who, like her actual sister, Diane, are cute, independent and really scary; and salutes Ana as her true “ride or die.” Things haven’t changed too much because Nomi eschews all the nostalgia and urges Zoey to do the same thing in her hearing that men have done for years: just answer “I do not recall” to every question that’s asked.
The next day, while Zoey’s at her hearing, Nomi’s playing tour guide for her parents. Her mother notices all the attractive men mulling around and asks Nomi if she’s met anyone special. Nomi admits she has and, after her mother asks if he’s Jewish, Nomi pauses — flashes back to her makeout session with Professor Hewson Shane — and admits, “I don’t know what she is, Mom.” Her parents look at each other stunned and Nomi waits anxiously for their reaction.
Unfortunately, though, we only get Nomi’s parents’ reaction second-hand: Nomi shares it with Shane when she shows up at her house afterwards. Her father is convinced her bisexuality is just a phase while her mother is worried that Nomi will drop out of college and run off to Broadway. Things are uncertain but Nomi is radiating. She’s positively giddy and as happy as we’ve ever seen her.
“I didn’t even do it, by the way, because I felt like I had to, I did it because you made me realize that I wanted to. I mean, like, the events that you took me to, the talks we had, the connection between us,” Nomi exclaims, stroking Shane’s arm. She’s experiencing the greatest high of her young life and then, because Shane’s gonna Shane, it quickly comes crashing down.
Shane asks Nomi if they can catch up tomorrow and, as Nomi acquiesces, she realizes that there’s another woman in the professor’s living room. Heartbroken, Nomi tries to walk away but Shane calls her back to talk. Nomi takes the other woman’s presence as proof that she misinterpreted Shane’s feelings.
“You didn’t misinterpret anything,” Shane concedes, adding, “I thought you understood the reality of this.”
But Nomi doesn’t understand: they’re both adults who like each other so what’s stopping them from being together? Maybe at a different time and in a different place, Shane and Nomi could see where their chemistry leads but not here, not now…which seems like something Shane should’ve considered BEFORE she made out with her student. The disbelief registers on Nomi’s face — a mix of shock that things aren’t going like she thought they would and surprise that she hadn’t seen this ending coming — and she walks away, dejected.
It’s a tough mid-season finale for Nomi (though, admittedly, not nearly as tough as Zoey’s) and it’s anyone’s guess how she’ll recover from her first real heartbreak. Will she revert back to her series of one night stands or will she discover that there’s more to the queer community at Cal U than bad performance art? We’ll find out when grown-ish returns this summer.
All American 114: “Regulate”
Written by Natalie
Since Coop launched her plan to avenge Shawn’s death, it’s been hard to understand her thinking: how does this end? Is her goal to see Tyrone in jail or dead? And if it’s the latter, how does tender-hearted Coop grapple with the having caused someone else’s death? And what about her: does she really think, after this whole business is done, she’ll just be able to go back to her old life, as if nothing happened? Why does Coop think she’ll be able to escape this situation unscathed…if at all?
It’s that last question that’s wormed its way into Coop’s subconscious. Preach called her Trojan Horse strategy out last week and if he’s loyal to Tyrone, she could be in danger. She’s not sharing her worry with anyone else, though, but the concern manifests itself in her dreams. The nightmares jolt her and Patience awake but when her girlfriend asks about them, Coop makes excuses for her subconscious. Instead of pushing Coop to reveal more, Patience turns over in bed, exasperated, hoping that this mess will be over soon.
Meanwhile, Spencer’s going all out for his little brother’s birthday and, of course, Coop’s ready and willing to help out. But when Spencer announces he wants to have the party at the park that the community cleaned up and pushed the gang’s out of, Coop worries about Tyrone’s reaction. Spence assures her it’ll be fine — it’s just a kid’s party, after all — but sure enough, Tyrone shows up later, angry that Spencer would deign to have a party at the park. Luckily for Spencer, some of the neighborhood’s OG gangsters take his side and dare Tyrone to defy them.
After picking up supplies for the party, Coop heads back to her apartment to find Tyrone and the crew waiting for her. Given her background with the church, Tyrone wants Coop to lean on a pastor whose church needs protecting. Preach throws some more subtle jabs at Coop and, if that wasn’t scary enough, when he’s questioned by a member of his crew, Tyrone threatens to take care of Spencer when the time is right.
At the party, Patience mulls around with Spencer and his girlfriend while Coop plays happily with the kids. Smiles are few and far between these days, Patience notes, given everything that’s going on with Tyrone and her recurring nightmares. That’s news to Spencer and when Preach shows up to pick Coop up for a job, he confronts his best friend about it. She brushes off his concern about the nightmares and when Spencer asks if Preach is fueling those nightmares, she swears that the newcomer is cool. Spencer doesn’t believe her and urges her to get out. They can find another way to deal with Tyrone, he assures her, but she says — she knows — it won’t be that easy.
“Nah, you know what ain’t easy?” Spencer asks, rhetorically. “Knowing my best friend’s life is headed for a box. Either a pine one or a 6-by-8 cell.”
While Spencer may be right about this (and he is), this entire thing just grates. This whole storyline is predicated on Coop being so absurdly naive that it borders on implausible. Stop doing this, TV writers; stop making female characters stupid so you can make your male character look heroic.
Coop walks over to Preach and tells him she’s not going with him to do the job. He warns her about blowback from Tyrone but Coop says she’ll handle whatever comes. But Preach never tells Tyrone about Coop going AWOL so Coop thinks he might be opening to turning against the leader. Using information she got from Laura Baker, She reveals that Tyrone had Shawn killed and she doesn’t understand why that doesn’t offend his sense of loyalty…afterall, Shawn was like family to him. She pushes Preach just far enough to recognize that Tyrone needs to be dealt with but as she steps out of his car, it’s clear that his idea of retribution isn’t exactly what Coop had in mind.
Charmed 113: “Manic Pixie Nightmare”
Written by Carmen
Welcome back, my little pixie dusts! Ok, maybe that pun is a little cold-hearted given the theme of this week’s Charmed (in which a magical pixie causes havoc and harm), but it was too cute to pass up.
Also too good to pass up? Pointing out that Judd, the dead film student at the center of this week’s magic case made a student film called “Woke: The Journey of a Straight White Male Ally” and you guys he worked so hard at it! A full THREE DAYS!! Won’t anyone think of the efforts of mediocre white men??? Ok, I digress.
We’re here to talk what gay, and what’s gay is that this week Mel and Jada are laying around in their post-sex t-shirts and post-sex hair when Mel gets an urgent text from her sisters that she has to come and save the witchy day. Jada’s reading over her shoulder and wants to know when she’ll finally be invited in to Mel’s heart and the ongoings of her family. Mel counters by asking when will get to find out about who the S’Arcana broke out of Tartarus (otherwise known as “demon jail”). So now it’s Jada’s turn to clam up!
She wants to let Mel all the way in, she really does, but that secret is not just hers to keep. That secret is about sisterhood. And they aren’t there quite yet. Something that fascinates me about Mel and Jada is this entire cat-and-mouse situation they have going on. Mel is falling for Jada with real feelings, and has come clean about working undercover for The Elders, but she doesn’t feel safe enough yet to let Jada into the Charmed Ones bubble that ultimately cost her Niko. Jada’s built this aura of being a witch that’s open to everything, but she holds the S’Arcana cards close to her chest. As much as Mel and Jada’s relationship feels genuine, it also feels like each one is waiting for the other to crack first. They are waiting for vulnerability. But when that moment eventually presents itself, will they handle it with care or pounce with opportunism? Only time will tell.
Plus, last episode Mel was on a “it’s not a date I swear” with Niko and this episode she’s tied up in the sheets with Jada! So I don’t think that a little guardianship is bad for either woman right now. They just aren’t there yet, and there’s still far too much baggage. That’s ok. Lesbians have a reputation for U-Haul relationships, but personally I don’t see anything wrong with taking it slow and easy.
Uggh, that’s until your baggage shows up at the front door. Or in this case, via a phone call. You see, Niko called Jada! Well, Niko the private investigator called Jada (not Niko Mel’s ex-girlfriend, because Niko still doesn’t remember that she is Mel’s ex girlfriend! Queer relationships are complicated, OK?). Anyway, Niko wants to relay the message that Jada’s parents would like to see her. The problem is that Jada’s parents still think that she’s a part of a cult; they don’t know that their daughter is a witch.
Distraught, Jada reaches out to Mel. And here’s that moment of vulnerability that we were just talking about! Jada explains it all – how she’s adopted, how when she found out that she was a witch her first impulse was to turn to drugs and danger, how she doesn’t know if her parents will love her if they find out the truth. But maybe, just maybe, if Mel went with her to meet her parents, it would turn out ok.
And faced with all those raw emotions and fragile hope, what does my girl Mel Vera do? SHE FREEZES COLD.
Stammers. Then, dead silence. That’s all Mel has to give. So, Jada does what any of us would do in that situation, she backtracks quickly! It’s fine. It’s totally fine. Haha. Who would want to meet the parents anyway, right? It’s much too soon.
Mel, seemingly realizing the hurt she’s caused, agrees to go with Jada at the end of the episode. She holds her hand as they bravely cross the parking lot. She reminds Jada that there’s nothing to be afraid of. These are her parents and they love her.
That is until the unmarked black van pulls up and, before either witch has the chance to react, shoots Jada square in her shoulder with a crossbow!
Until next time! Dun-Dunnn-DUNNNN!
Boomerang 104: “Call a Spade” & 105 “The Let Out”
Written by Carmen
I promised you last week that I would be back to catch us up on Lena Waithe’s Boomerang update for BET and that time is NOW! As you can tell, I’m excited – is it because there’s a central, black lesbian couple on television that I actually get to write about? (yes) Is it because that couple is loving and funny and supportive and keeping far away from TV tropes? (yes) Is it because that couple exists on a show that’s rooted in a show that unabashed about its blackness? (absolutely yes) And is it because one half of that lesbian couple is a gorgeous stud played by Kim Alex Hall, whom I very much ready to call Daddy if she lets me? (hello yes I have eyes)
Let’s get down to business. In the last two weeks Boomerang has given it’s lesbian lead character – Tia, the strip club dancer and aspiring rapper, a new girlfriend, Rocky. Tia’s very much the loudmouth, fearless, extrovert of her crew and Rocky’s energy is much more steady, subdued either. Her name is apt because she comes across as Tia’s rock, the grounded roots that allow Tia to fly. She’s protective and whip-smart funny, she takes no mess from Tia’s friends. She’s also the kind of person that when your friend’s god sister finds herself in jail (it’s fine! She was just drunk!), she’ll let the whole crew borrow her car for a girl’s trip to go get her ass before her parents find out. She understands what it means your friends are really your family. And when you’re best friend/ manager fails to get your song debuted at the club, she’s gonna call her out on it, you know? Because no one messes with her bae.
That is what’s been happening over the last two weeks for our new home crew in Atlanta – a quick girls trip to bail out the lil’ sis that turns into a house party never to be forgotten (did I mention that Rocky has to knock some asshole out because he dared to put his hands on one of the girls? “I love her” Tia says in response, and trust – she’s not the only one) and later, a tribute to those precious first 30 minutes after the club closes, otherwise known as “The Let Out.” Both serve as background canvases for some of the most thoughtful and funny depictions of blackness that I’ve seen in a long time. What continues to absolutely floor me is that font-and-center to these plots is a black lesbian couple, just chilling with their friends – no excuses, explanations, or apologies. I have watched a lot, and I mean A LOT, of black television in my life. I have never seen this. And it’s presented so naturally, it’s almost easy to forget that it’s stunning or ground breaking.
It’s clear that Lena Waithe has packed Boomerang’s writing room with those who have a solid grasp for her subtle and laid back humor. Admittedly, I was originally expecting the show to be a bit punchier in its jokes (probably because the original Boomerang is designed around Eddie Murphy’s frenetic energy and therefore verrrrry over the top). Once I chilled a bit and leaned into the quiet of its humor and language as it’s being presented at me, I found myself delighted! This Boomerang has no fucks left to give; it’s here to just be itself. And that’s really working.
Seriously y’all. It’s still a little too early for grand declarations, but Boomerang has all the puzzle pieces to become one of – if not THE – most authentic portrayal of black humor and black millennial friendship on television right now. When all those pieces fall in to place the show sparks and sparkles! In particular, I have watched “Call a Spade” at least four times since it originally aired, and it’s better with each viewing. I’d put that single episode up against the ‘90s black girl blueprint Living Single or, for those looking for a more recent reference, Issa Rae’s Insecure and I’m more than confident it could hold its own.
And listen, if you know one thing about me, it should be that I DO NOT PLAY WHEN IT COMES TO LIVING SINGLE REFERENCES. So if I’m willing to say it, then it’s gotta be true.
Whiskey Cavalier 102: “The Czech List”
Whiskey Cavalier is a midseason addition to ABC lineup that’s a bit like the old TNT show, Leverage, only now everyone works for the government. While no queer folks have revealed themselves among the main cast yet, this week’s episode did feature a gay storyline starring Mellie Grant Bellamy Young…which is like my dream for all seven seasons of Scandal come true. — Natalie
The Magicians 406: “A Timeline and a Place”
I know I’m a week late on this, but Marina-23 confirmed her queerness in last week’s episode of The Magicians, talking about a girlfriend she had in her timeline who she screwed things up with, but found again in this timeline to fix it and live happily ever after with her. There had been some hints with Marinas past and present but it was nice to get some confirmation. This week the closest thing to gay that happened was that Marlee Matlin (aka Jodi from The L Word) made her appearance from the Mirror Realm, but that’s another story entirely. Oh also, while not explicitly queer, Julia talked to Kady in this sweet, gentle way in that raspy voice of hers and I almost died of gay. — Valerie Anne
Roswell, New Mexico 107: “I Saw the Sign”
Nothing gay happened on this week’s Roswell but I thought it would be relevant to your interests to know that Mama Adams Foster popped in! I yelped a little when Sherri Saum and her perfect hair floated into Maria’s bar, I won’t lie to you. (She’s Maria’s mom and she’s either a little detached from reality or TOO attached to realities not everyone is aware of. Or a combination of the two.) Still no confirmation on the Isabelle/Rosa front though… — Valerie Anne