Boobs on Your Tube: Are Those Wedding or War Bells We Hear on Black Lightning?!?

Welcome to another weekly roundup of the gay shenanigans that happened on your TV!

It’s officially March, and we’re starting a new monthly rundown of everything gay that you can stream!! Speaking of things you can stream, Carmen’s very excited about Netflix’s Gentrified and promises that it will drop brown queer love bombs all over your queue! And yeah, we really were on our Netflix bullshit this week with Love is Blind: 1. It’s a lesbian reality TV show for straight people and 2. We believe it appropriates lesbian cultural practices. “Dispatches from Elsewhere” includes a complex trans character in its immersive theatre plot. On Riverdale, Kayla investigates if Jughead, in fact, died. Natalie loved the black community healing on Good Trouble so much this week, she struggled how to even describe it words!

And Riese is very deep in the Season Three of The L Word and there’s no turning back now, she and Carly say goodbye to Dana on this week’s podcast, and would love you to vote on the best and worst moments of the season! Democracy!

Notes from the TV Team: 

+ grown-ish wrapped up the first half of its third season this week and it finished the way it started: confusing. Visits via Facetime from Nomi suggest that she will find her way back to Cal U eventually but when she gets back will her BFF, Zoey, be there? Maybe not, as the show’s central character seemingly quit school this week to focus on her career as a stylist. Sure, Different World made it without Denise Huxtable but still…WTF?! — Natalie

+ I know this isn’t gay, but WOW I REALLY WANT TO SCREAM ABOUT HOW ALEX KAREV WAS WRITTEN OFF GREY’S ANATOMY!!!! Ok Krista Vernoff, that was a choice. — Carmen

The baddest bitch is whomever is the last one standing.


All American 215: “Stakes is High”

Written by Natalie

Coop and Patience bring the Party to Beverly Hills.
With Patience having locked in her status as a true “ride or die,” All American returns this week with Coop intent on cementing their relationship status. Coop’s tired of just being friends…and besides, they both miss and love each other so why not get back together? But Patience is reluctant; she knows how the music came between them last time and with her career — including a summer tour — ramping up, she’s weary about dealing with Coop’s jealousy. Coop assures Patience that she’s ready to be her #1 fan and slides a song she wrote for her across the table to prove it. Patience is so touched by the gesture, she gives Coop her last perfect piece of waffle. Take that, Peter Kavinsky!

Patience and Coop celebrate their return to coupledom at the “Pajama jammy jamboree,” a party that Layla’s hosting at her house. Show up wearing wigs…which I recognize immediately as an homage to House Party 2 and Kid n’ Play’s classic style. I am, admittedly, disappointed in the All American wardrobe department: if you’re going to reference classic black cinema, why not go all out and replicate Kid’s pool ball covered PJs and Play’s smoking jacket? The DJ drops Kid N’ Play’s “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” and Patience and Coop take to the stage (they even do the dance!). Coop’s charisma shines through and Layla’s father can finally see it. He offers her a record deal and a slot on his summer tour. To his dismay, Coop asks for time to consider the offer and he acquiesces.

The next day, at the football jamboree, Coop’s still unsure of what to do. She doesn’t want to risk messing things up with Patience and she’s worried about signing a bad deal (#FREETHEESTALLION). Layla promises to look over the deal but urges her to take it: she’s too good not to take it. Later, Coop tells Patience about J.P.’s offer and, while she’d love to tour with Coop this summer, Patience doesn’t want Coop to sign with anyone who doesn’t love her for her. In the end, Coop takes Patience’s advice and signs with the one person who’s always had her back and who she knows won’t try to change her: Layla.


S.W.A.T. 314: “Animus”

Written by Natalie

Chris grapples with a tough case that hits close to home, this week on S.W.A.T.

I’ve always touted S.W.A.T. as one of the “least bad” shows within the police procedural genre. I celebrated the show’s diversity, its willingness to tackle more complex stories about identity and policing and its propensity for letting the women in its cast be the heroes. Last night’s episode, though, frustrated me. While it landed on a timely message about the, seemingly, never-ending battle for gender equality, it felt gratuitous in a way that S.W.A.T. has typically avoided.

Chris and her team are called to the scene of a small LA law firm. Three women are dead and the shooter’s on the loose. The detectives identify a possible suspect: the husband of one of the firm’s clients, who’d he’d been arrested for threatening his wife’s lawyer. But when his alibi checks out, detectives are forced to reevaluate. While they search for a new lead, Chris is approached by Detective Lynch and urged to consider being the subject of a media profile. She declines, of course, unwilling to draw more attention to herself, particularly given the pressure she’s under as one of S.W.A.T.’s only female officers. Before Lynch can make another pitch, Chris is pulled away: there’s been a mass shooting at a local sorority.

They’re dispatched to another suspect’s house and, though he’s just as insufferable as the last guy, his alibi also checks out. The team’s able connect the two would-be suspects through their posts on an online anti-woman forum. Knowing the real shooter has to be among the board’s users, the LAPD pressures the site’s owner — a woman, natch — to turn over the relevant information. While they sift through the data, Lynch approaches Chris to apologize for pushing her to do the story. Chris admits the real reason she doesn’t want to do the interview: she doesn’t want to admit why she became a cop. Chris discloses that she was raped at 14 and, though she didn’t report it at the time, she says, “I became a cop because I got tired of being afraid…afraid of walking down the street, afraid it might happen again.” She finally told her family a few years ago but she never told the team, afraid that they’d look at her like a victim.

The team tracks down the name of the alleged shooter and use his posts on the forum to determine his next likely target. Chris manages to take down the shooter before he can hurt anyone else. But when she gets back to HQ, Chris can’t help but focus on the men from the online forum who are touting the shooter as a martyr. Discouraged, she laments that the world is never going to change enough but Hondo points out that it already has, that’s what all those men are mad about. As soon as the words come out of his mouth, Chris and Hondo are interrupted by the news of a copycat shooting, this time in Kansas City.

The experience makes Chris reconsider doing that interview. She says, “I realized I can’t let the people who hate me have a louder voice than my own.”


Station 19 307: “Satellite of Love”

Written by Carmen

Really living up to her name, Dr. Orgasm both begins and ends her day with Maya and some damn great sex. Going down on your girlfriend before the sunrise is one helluva a good morning — meeting her after a long work day with a homemade lasagna and a little office sex, pushed against bookshelf? Even better.

In between the two hookups, Maya’s having a hard time. Her team still doesn’t respect or trust her since she’s made Captain, and that leads two different firefighters almost facing certain death while out on a call, and one of those two having to have open surgery out in the field! When everyone gets back to the station, emotions explode.

Andy, who still blames Maya for stepping over her and taking the Captain job that Andy (rightfully) thinks she deserved, squares off against her former best friend, in front of everyone. And then Maya drops the gauntlet: The team may have their issues, but she’s no longer there to be their friend. That time has passed. They can either respect her as their Captain and stop second-guessing her decisions, or they can get the hell out of her station and she’ll find other people who can.

Begrudgingly, everyone falls in line (Andy included). If you ask me, threatening a mass firing is probably not the best way to gain respect, but Maya’s a robot who doesn’t know how to be vulnerable, so here we are.

I think that’s also why Maya bristles when Carina drops by the station with a little love lasagna. Maya tells Carina that they’re just hookups — she didn’t sign up for the whole girlfriend package — and Carina gets up to walk away. Maya, just for a minute, lets the mask slide:

“I’m broken.”

Carina retorts, “I’m not in the habit of fixing broken people.”

Carina has one foot out the door, but her eyes are stuck on Maya’s lips. Maya’s eyes plead for Carina to read what she can’t bring herself to say — that she doesn’t want to be alone, that she doesn’t know how to do this. And like it’s out of their control, bigger than they can handle, the two find themselves making out against the bookcase, Carina unbuckling Maya’s belt.


The Bold Type 407: “The Space Between”

Written by Carmen

Man, this season on The Bold type really has been a wild ride, huh? A season that’s brought me what’s probably one of my favorite episodes of the series (ah the masturbation sex party, were we ever so young? ) and undoubtedly two of my least favorites in quick succession. If last week’s pegging episode left me puzzled, then this week’s biphobia episode drove me berserk! (See what I did there did there? Illiteration, did you catch it?)

If you would have told me that a single episode of The Bold Type would include the return of Adena, a cameo by Raven Symone, and none other than Erin Daniels herself (#RIPDana #CancerSucks) in a guest starring role, and it would STILL be my least favorite hour of television so far this year — I would’ve cried from laughter, and yet here we are and none of it is funny.

OK, so here’s the deal: Kat’s bisexual, which I still stand by we already knew, but apparently this is new information. And now Adena’s back from being on the road as a Scarlet photographer! WELCOME HOME, WE MISSED YOU!! At first Kat and Adena come up with an exes pact to work together as friends and never discuss their personal life. Except Kat lets it slip that she pegged someone, and of course Adena is interested. Until she finds out that new “someone” is a “man someone” and then she becomes some crazy archetype of a biphobic lesbian that…. Is never who Adena was in the first place? And it all sort of falls apart at the seams from there.

I don’t want, in any way, to minimize the pain felt by bisexuals who are often met by gatekeepers in lesbian spaces. That pain is real and deeply felt and its our responsibility speak out against that kind of hate unequivocally. I also found the ways that The Bold Type tried to address this issue to be convenient, reductionist, and badly written.

Kat first came out as queer years ago; if Adena was going to have a problem with Kat’s sexual attraction to men, she would have said it then. Kat ran for city council as a queer black woman. She’s listed on her professional website as Scarlet magazines FIRST queer black editor. If Kat and Adena’s social circle of 20something and 30something millennials and Gen Z, mostly POC and artists, lesbians were also going to be patently biphobic (which… given the specific demographic is already a push, but fine) — that would have definitely come up before now.

I could go on from here, go over all the plot in excruciating detail, but when discussing this episode with the TV Team, Natalie really put it best: it’s like the writers “infused the episode with politics circa 2004” and it’s actually the year 2020, so I don’t want to give more flames to this culture war than necessary. Biphobic lesbians are wrong. Bringing Adena back after her eight episode absence just to have her become mysteriously biphobic was wrong (and her apology to Kat after the fact, in my opinion, was weak at best). This entire episode was out-dated, badly constructed, and I am very happy to pretend it never happened when we resume the show again next week.


Black Lightning 315: “The Book of War: Chapter Two: Freedom Ain’t Free”

Written by Carmen

Every one of these last batch of Black Lightning episodes has been better than the one before. I’m not sure else what I’d have to do to convince that you if you used to watch the show and recently fell off, now is THE TIME to get back on board, but hey, just so you know — this week’s episode, in two separate instances, sent both Heather and Natalie to me in the throes of ALL CAPS MELTDOWN!!!!

First of all, sadly Thunder Grace did not actually get married. But we were so close. The sweetest millisecond from almost being there! And then of course superhero war broke out. Damn villains! Will they ever give us a moment of piece?

Wait let’s rewind. Last week, as you know, Anissa batted her eyes and told her family that she thought Grace was the one. This week, cuddled up together in the pajamas (Grace wore boxers and a white undershirt with a red lace sports bra, it was important to me that you know that), Anissa tells Grace that she could lay there together for the rest of her life. At first Grace laughs it off; Anissa’s prone to being a little corny, especially before or after sex. But Anissa’s serious. She’s never been more serious about anything in her entire life.

Now you know me, normally I complain about how the Black Lightning writers’ room likes to take short cuts with Grace and Anissa’s relationship. And having them go from surprise engagement to marriage in a single episode, especially given their rocky history, would normally sound alarm bells in my head. But when the family shows up for the dinner/wedding that no one saw coming, Lynn raises my concerns.

She’s worried that Anissa is jumping into things. Her daughter’s known to be impulsive when it comes to matters of the heart. And Anissa’s response is nothing if not grounded and level-headed (for a superhero show, that is): The team is moments away from facing certain death in a battle with Gravedigger. She loves Grace, and she’s certain she was always going to marry her some day. But if something happens tomorrow and Anissa hadn’t made this commitment to Grace ahead of time, she would never forgive herself.

And so Grace and Anissa put on matching white silk suits, and Uncle Gambi is ready to give the vows — and of course THAT’S moment that Gravedigger shows up to ruin my gay happy ending. Hopefully not forever. But definitely for right now.

PS: Speaking of gay weddings, please let Jill Scott’s Lady Eve know that I am always available. Thanks.

(Also! Jefferson refers to Anissa and Grace as “Thunder Grace” on two separate occasions throughout the episode! What a sweet callout to the most loyal fandom, who’s had to put up with the most shit, in the entire Arrowverse).

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!

The TV has written 141 articles for us.

21 Comments

  1. The overall message of The Bold Type’s episode about biphobia in the queer spaces and Kat Edison a biracial bisexual woman trying to find herself within a community with a nuanced conversation between 2 queer black people is *chefs kiss*

    The execution of using Adena el-Amin, a Muslim lesbian who’s had no prior indication of having an issue with Kat’s sexuality and has been so inconsistently written and sidelined these past 2 season is *deep negro spiritual sigh*

    Its like they brought Dana back to life to make up for killing Adena’s character.

    Also, I don’t know if you’ve heard this podcast This Lesbian Ship is Intense but its really good and although they haven’t done the recent episode yet, their last episode had all my opinions about using Adena as the source for addressing biphopia.

    Also completely random but has anyone checked out that show Twenties on BET with the black stud as the lead?

  2. Ummm…Carmen we will either need to fight to the death or share Jill Scott. I saw her in concert 4 years ago front row, she smiled at me and I’ve been hers ever since. Seeing her being so deliciously evil in this show has cemented our union. So…choose your poison.

  3. I actually thought that Adena’s reaction (sadly) made sense. Prior to Kat’s hookup in this episode, Kat had really only shown interest in women since she first got together with Adena. I wasn’t surprised that there was pushback about her “crossing back over” to men because that is a fairly common reaction when a bi individual has been dating one gender for awhile and then dates someone of another gender. It was validating to see Oliver’s support of Kat and be reminded that although there are gatekeepers, there are also inclusionary people who will celebrate non-monosexual identities.

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