Boobs on Your Tube: “grown-ish” Says Goodbye to Shane

Hey, did you know Kat Barrell came out? It’s true! Also this week, Nel recapped Pose; Natalie recapped Good Trouble; Heather ranked some gay hats; and Riese got drunk watching Are You the One?

Some notes from the TV Team: 

+ Hey guess what I’m going to EH Con Canada in a few weeks and can’t wait to report back all of the Earpy shenanigans I get into! Basically I’m just excited I get to yell about Wynonna Earp for at least another year. #Win4Wynonna — Valerie Anne

+ I did get caught up on Jane the Virgin and Younger; next week, I’ll write about them! (I’m sorry; we’re fundraising and it’s so much exciting work.) — Heather


Siren 213-214: “The Outpost” & “The Last Mermaid”

Written by Valerie Anne

After fixing Maddie and Ben’s brains so they’re not being fried by Ryn’s siren song, the trio make love…

maddie and ryn in bed

I love these poly fools.

…but the military is watching. Luckily, Maddie finds the hidden camera, and knows that they have to be extra careful about what information Ryn gives them.

It’s mating season for mermaids, so Ryn and Levi decide to go back to the water to mate. There haven’t been little mermaids in a loooong time, and their species is in danger of dying out. Maddie decides to do some science to help figure out why birth rates are so low. (Spoiler alert: it’s humans.)

When Ryn comes back, she’s not pregnant, and Ben and Maddie realize it’s because the water it polluted. They decide to have Ryn mate with another mermaid while in human form. They’re not sure it will work but Ryn says, “Whatever this baby is, it’ll be family.”

Ryn learns that Ben’s family was involved in a mermaid massacre long ago, and she’s PISSED he never told her. When Ben confronts her, and it’s the most emotional we’ve ever seen Ryn. We’ve seen her rage, but when she tells Ben that his ancestor’s love started with a love like Ben loves Ryn but ended in her family being slaughtered, her eyes are filled with tears. She tells him she can’t trust him now and storms off.

Maddie explains to Ryn that we’re not our families, and that Ryn has to trust that the love the three of them has is good love.

But Ben keeps taking secret hits of Ryn’s song and is weird about Ryn mating and starts to hallucinate hurting Ryn. So. Maybe his love IS bad.

Ryn makes up with Ben, and he tries to keep his shit together while Ryn takes two lady mermaids inside to teach them how to mate as a human. Maddie goes in to “make sure they’re comfortable” and for some reason we stay outside instead of following her to where everyone is #hornyformermaids.


grown-ish 218: “Nice for What”

Written by Natalie

There’s nothing technically wrong with Nomi’s relationship with her former professor. Their relationship began, essentially, after Shane’s stint as Nomi’s professor was over. They’re both consenting adults and whatever power differential exists between them is both understood and accepted. So, technically, nothing’s wrong. But, in the real world, where Nomi’s forced to keep her first real relationship with another woman a secret, something about Nomi’s relationship still feels very wrong…and this week on grown-ish, Nomi starts to realize it.

After spending the night at Shane’s place, Nomi wants to ride to campus together but it’s a no go: Shane’s carpooling with another professor and she doesn’t want her to know that she’s dating a 19 year old. But while Professor Weedon’s still none the wiser about her relationship with Nomi, Zoey clearly knows, as Shane discovers when she stops by the campus bookstore. The awkward interaction sends Nomi into a panic — she wasn’t supposed to tell — and leads to yet another fight between the roommates. And just like the last time Zoey and Nomi fought, neither of them are entirely wrong.

Later, Nomi tries to reassure Shane that Zoey will keep their relationship a secret but Shane’s unmoved. She’s stunned to learn that Zoey’s not the only one of Nomi’s friends that knows and, unsurprisingly, she doesn’t trust any of them, including Nomi, to keep it a secret. Doing her best season five Jenny Schechter impersonation, Shane accuses Nomi of betrayal, leaving her girlfriend stunned.

“You’re the one who sold me on this whole, like, ‘live out loud, be proud of my sexuality’ thing. But all I’ve done these last few months is, like, sneak around, lie to everybody, and ditch my friends to be with you when you would have me around,” Nomi says, her voice breaking under the emotional weight of it all. “I’m just so tired of being afraid of disappointing you. I’m tired, actually, of disappointing myself.”

And that’s how Nomi’s first real relationship ends: with some sadness, a shared margarita and a commitment to making her happiness a priority from now on.


Claws 306: “Fly Like an Eagle”

Written by Natalie

A few week’s back, I recapped a frustrating episode of Claws that culminated with the show’s lesbian character sleeping with a man. I was disappointed to see Claws and the writer behind my favorite episode of the show thus far resort this unimaginative trope. That said, in that recap, I should’ve been clearer about the source of my frustration.

There’s part of me that’ll always be a little weary of “lesbian sleeps with man” storylines, given the trope’s history of being used to invalidate lesbianism but, if it were in service to a broader storyline about our varying understandings of sexuality and/or identity, I’d be open to it. I’d still be concerned about television’s propensity to restrict that conversation to its female lesbian characters — Roller “buttons are for gluttons” Husser’s never going to hook up with Toby on Claws, no matter how many drugs he does — but I think there’s value in seeing that fluidity represented. But Claws isn’t interested in having that conversation, a point they made abundantly clear last week when, predictably, Quiet Ann turns up pregnant.

This week, Ann shares the news of her pregnancy: first, with the baby’s father. When he stymies Desna and Ann’s efforts to get more information on the governor, Ann threatens to tell the man’s wife about her pregnancy. Once they’ve gotten the blackmail material, Desna lauds Ann for her quick thinking but Ann reveals that it’s not a joke: she really is pregnant. Ann admits that she hasn’t told Arlene yet because the cop has seemingly changed her mind about having children. Desna encourages her to tell Arlene and, eventually, she does…the news stunning Arlene and compelling her to ask for a minute to wrap her mind around it.

When the minute’s over, Arlene steps into Nail Artisans and asks Ann to get married. Ann enthusiastically accepts and asks if Arlene’s okay with having a baby. Turns out, Arlene had never changed her mind about having children, she was reluctant to experience the heartbreak that comes with the adoption process again. Arlene’s elated about the baby: “we’re pregnant,” she says as she bends down and kisses Ann’s stomach.

And truth be told, I’m elated about the baby too — Ann’s always wanted a child and I grew to want that for her — but I think we could’ve gotten to this point without employing a troubling trope.


Ambitions 105: “Killing Me Softly”

Written by Natalie

Through the first four episodes of Ambitions, the relationship between Carly Lancaster and Lori Purifoy has taken place exclusively within the confines of Lori’s Atlanta condo. And while that’s too be expected — Carly’s the closeted daughter of Atlanta’s mayor and Lori’s the head of public relations at Purifoy Pharmaceuticals, a company Carly’s mother is suing — it’s made it hard to invest in the couple as anything more than the occasional booty call. Turns out, though, Carly’s having those same misgivings: frustrated by the fact that all she and Lori never go anywhere or do anything other than hook up.

“Look, if it gets out about us, the press is going to have a field day, so this is it…this is what we’re doing and, for now, this is going to have to be enough,” Lori explains. It’s not just about the sex, Lori assures Carly, she really likes her but this is just the way things have to be. But like her tenacious mother, Carly is undeterred by their current circumstances and invites Lori to come to her monologue slam the next night. Carly’s performing at a bohemian spot so far outside their usual circles, no one will know either of them and they’ll be free to be a real couple for at least a short time. Lori encourages Carly not to over-complicate things but Carly wants more…and she knows she deserves it.

The ultimatum is enough to push Carly outside her comfort zone and to the club where Lori is performing. In front of an audience that’s none the wiser, Carly delivers a thinly veiled monologue about discovering her sexuality and finding love with the member of a feuding family while Lori flashes a knowing smile. After Carly’s finished, the couple embraces and Lori assures her she’s not ashamed of their relationship. They share their first public kiss without realizing that the intimate moment’s been captured by a random onlooker. It’s not clear that the photographer recognizes Lori or Carly but it’s hard to imagine that that her portrait of “young love” doesn’t get discovered by someone who does. I cannot wait to see Robin Givens’ Stephanie Carlisle Lancaster react to the news that her daughter’s sleeping with the enemy.

Thus far, I’m enjoying this soapy take on a lesbian version of Romeo & Juliet. The writing is good and feels authentic — lesbian playwright Trey Anthony helmed this episode so that helped, no doubt — but the direction doesn’t match the dialogue. Even as the words ask you to invest in this pairing, the direction seems intent on reminding you that these are two ostensibly straight actresses playing gay…and it hamstrings the entire storyline. Hopefully, it’ll improves as Ambitions grows.


Grand Hotel 504 – 505: “The Big Sickout” & “You’ve Got Blackmail”

Written by Carmen

Tell me you have some Latinas kissing on TV and I’m there with my tacones on!

Have you heard of ABC’s Grand Hotel? It’s a telenovela-style summer prime time soap about the Mendoza family, who run the last family-run hotel and resort in Miami Beach. There’s Santiago Mendoza, the patriarch, and his second wife Gigi (Roselyn Sanchez, in my favorite of her roles yet!). Santiago and Gigi have a gaggle of adult kids that round out their blended family, including: Alicia, home from Business School and primed to take over her father’s legacy; Javi, your resident fuckboy; Carolina, the princess; and Yoli, Carolina’s awkward twin who in her mother’s eye has never lived up to her sister’s beauty. Did you guess already that Yoli was the gay one? Hurray! You get a prize!

After the hotel staff stages a sick-out in protest because Santiago garnished their annual raise to payoff a blackmailer who knows about the dead girl, Sky (she’s a former line chef at the hotel, the entire season is about the coverup of her murder. It’s a soap, ok?), the entire Santiago family rolls up their sleeves and gets to work to keep the hotel afloat. Yoli is assigned mopping the floors in the spa. There she meets Marisa, who pings Yoli right away.

Yoli admits to not having a lot of experience in having relationships with women, plus she’s terrified of her Mom finding out, so Marisa agrees to sneaking around the hotel for the time being. The problem is that Alicia has been tasked by her father with patrolling inappropriate hotel staff relationships (thanks to her brother the entire staff is now calling her the “Sex Policia” – get it?) and a fellow spa worker ratted out Marisa for getting it on in the massage parlor, so now she’s about to lose her job. Yoli has to come out to her step-sister in order to save her.

At family dinner, Yoli takes Alicia out on the patio. She tells her, “You wouldn’t get it because you’re the favorite in your family… but I’m not. And I can’t afford to give my mother any ammunition to love me less than her precious Carolina.”Alicia may not know what it means to hide her sexuality, but she’s touched by Yoli’s vulnerability and promises to keep her secret anyway.

Marisa is thankful to Yoli for coming out to save them. She knows how hard first girlfriends can be. That’s when Yoli confesses – Marisa isn’t her first girlfriend after all. She’s had a previous one, but that didn’t end well. It’s the reason she’s being so cautious this time around.

Oh and that previous girlfriend? It’s SKY – THE GIRL WHO’S DEAD! DUN-DUN-DUNNNN!

Before we realized it was gay, a friend of mine asked if I was going to stick with Grand Hotel. I told them that I would. I like my summer evening rosé with a side of light hearted soap opera twists, overdone make up, and sky high heels. If you find yourself craving similar in these swampy summer nights, you could do a lot worse than Grand Hotel. Tell Gigi that I sent you!

The Autostraddle TV Team is made up of Riese Bernard, Carmen Phillips, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Valerie Anne, Natalie, Drew Gregory, and Heather Hogan. Follow them on Twitter!

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5 Comments

  1. I still think this Claws storyline is 10-15 year old lazy tropey writing and their is no excuse for that these days. Especially as television gets more and more progressive. All this storyline tells me that they have run out of ideas when it comes to the lesbians so they are resorting to the same old tired tropes that get recycled again and again with tv lesbians because they don’t have the talent or I guess, knowledge, to write anything else for them. Let me guess, next the dad is going to sue for custody.

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