Fall TV is finally here, and with it an improved Boob(s On Your) Tube! Here’s what’s new:
+ Boob(s) will now run twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
+ Boob(s) will now feature mini-recaps from other writers besides just me, including new folks and some of your Autostraddle faves.
+ Because Boob(s) will now be suplemented with other writing and also because I will soon have two awesome new interns to introduce you to, I’ll be publishing some more standalone critical thinking TV pieces this fall, including ones you’ve been asking for about often overlooked shows like Person of Interest.
+ Since last we talked, the Emmys happened and Empire aired a new promo during the awards and Cookie was looking at Marisa Tomei like this:
(Thanks for the screenshot, Nic!)
If you want to know where all the lesbian and bisexual women are going to be on TV this fall, Riese has written you a handy guide!
Thursdays on Cartoon Network
When Mey Rude tells you to watch something or read something, do it. Her taste is flawless. Getting to talk about stories with her, to hear her compassionate and insightful analysis of all the media she consumes, is one of the best things that’s happened to me since I joined the Autostraddle team almost a year ago. Back in March, Mey wrote about the season one finale of Cartoon Network’s super diverse and wonderfully queer Steven Universe, during which it was revealed that one of Steven’s moms, Garnet, is actually two Gems: Ruby and Sapphire, a married lesbian couple that is fused together!
During last week’s episode, “Sadie’s Song,” Steven coaxes his friend Sadie into performing at the Beach-a-Palooza Talent Show. Steven is equally enamored with her voice, her clothes, her hair, and her makeup, so Sadie’s mom teams up with Steven to glam squad Sadie. However, it turns out that Sadie only likes singing for the sake of singing (or swimming for the sake of swimming or playing softball for the sake of playing softball); her mom, however, goes over the top about every hobby she tries out and ruin’s Sadie’s fun. Sadie confronts her mom about it and her mom agrees to dial it back because she just wants Sadie to be happy.
When Mr. Smiley announces Sadie as the talent show’s special guest, she has this conversation with Steven:
Sadie: Ugh, how did I let this happen! I don’t want to do this!
Steven: You never did; it was always me.
He then goes on stage in Sadie’s clothes and performs one of my favorite Steven Universe songs to date: I can’t help it if I make a scene / stepping out of my hot pink limousine / I’m turning heads and I’m stopping traffic / When I pose they scream and when I joke they laugh … Everybody needs a friend / and I’ve got you and you and you / I’ve got so many I can’t even name them / Can you blame me? I’m too famous!
Oh, and hey, there’s a lesbian couple in the crowd!
It’s not the first time Steven has explored the idea of gender and it’s a revolutionary moment on TV, and especially on a show aimed at children. Everyone is crazy for Steven’s performance! Below are Mey’s thoughts:
I (and a lot of other trans women I talked to on Tumblr) definitely are hoping for and leaning toward the idea of transfeminine/non-binary/trans girl (or a combination of those things) for Steven, and not just Steven-as a boy who enjoys wearing dresses for a performance. There have been a lot of Trans Girl Steven headcanons for a while, especially after “Giant Woman,” where Steven sang “If it were me, I’d really want to be a giant woman” [when he saw Pearl and Amethyst fuse into a giant Gem], and of course [the season one finale], “Alone, Together,” where we see Steven being extremely comfortable and happy fusing with Connie and becoming an androgynous person who very much is also feminine, is wearing what most people would consider “women’s clothes” and is read by a lot of people as a girl. Then, in this episode we see Steven wearing not only Sadie’s skirt and halter top and heels, but also putting on makeup, and being very comfortable in that outfit. And earlier, when they were going through Sadie’s closet, Steven was obviously enamored with her clothes in a way that most cis boys wouldn’t have been. I’m not delusional, and I know it’s not super likely, but if the show did reveal that Steven is trans, it wouldn’t be out of nowhere.
After the episode I saw a lot of people in the fandom talking about how much they loved that the show let Steven wear a skirt and heels but “they weren’t girl’s clothes, they were Steven’s clothes” or saying that “just because he wore a skirt doesn’t mean you should start calling him a girl” or “it’s so cool that the show showed that boys can like feminine things too,” which are all technically true (except for the “girl’s clothes” one, because they were Sadie’s clothes), but they also had a weird feeling of transphobia behind them. While I agree that boys should be able to wear whatever clothes they want, and that it’s good to break gender stereotypes, trans girls should also be able to come out, and it’s good to let trans girls embody gender stereotypes by wearing skirts and heels and makeup, and to insist that that wasn’t going on made me feel more than a little uneasy.
Overall, no matter what was going on in this episode, we saw a boy or trans girl or person dressing in a way they wanted to, in a way that would normally get them laughed at, that would normally get them insulted and beat up, and hearing applause and seeing smiles. I want Steven to be a trans girl, I think that would be the most revolutionary and important thing the show could do with this storyline. But I’m also extremely happy with the episode no matter what. Steven Universe once again showed us that femininity isn’t bad, and that it’s something that all people can aspire to and be attracted to.
And this isn’t even mentioning the great story and message with Sadie and her mom, or the lesbian couple who appeared in several background scenes. This show is just so good.
It really is, y’all.
Mondays on Fox at 8:00 p.m.
The only TV show that has managed to make me want to hurl it into the sun besides Skins Fire was the first season of Gotham. As I have mentioned here and there and actually probably everywhere on the internet, unceremoniously trashing Rene Montoya — one of the few lesbian Latina characters in TV history and DC’s only openly queer person of color in the cinematic universe — was a shit decision by a cowardly group of creatives who refused to stand up to their entitled straight white male fanboy base. And then they turned Barbara Kean into a bisexual psychopath by murdering her parents.
I don’t trust this show and I do not recommend getting emotionally involved with it!
I did, however, watch last night’s season two premiere to see if all the sweeping changes everyone was talking about were real, and shockingly they were. For example, Barbara has more agency and actual characterization in the first 42 minutes of season two than she did in the whole of season one. Honestly, she basically spent all last year sitting in her apartment waiting for Jim to come home from work, smoking the occasional joint and taking a lot of bubble baths, scissoring Renee Montoya every now and again. So it’s remarkable that she goes on a joy ride to cause hijinks in the city in this episode — especially because she had to BREAK OUT OF ARKHAM to do it.
Yes, she’s in Arkham, a co-ed prison for criminally insane masterminds. She’s got swagger in there! She’s not intimidated by the menacing inmates, and unlike Piper Chapman, it doesn’t take her two seasons to get her hands on a contraband phone. She does it almost immediately and uses it to call and harass Jim Gordon, which is exactly what I would do with my phone if I also lived in this universe.
It’s hard out here for a Batman villain, especially a bisexual one. Ask Harley Quinn. But it can be cool too. I love psychotic villains you can root for, because they’re so dang charming. Like Loki in the Avengers Universe. Like Mona Vanderwaal on Pretty Little Liars. I’m not convinced these writers will keep this kickass trajectory alive for Barbara, but it was nice for a minute.
Saturdays on Starz at 9:30 p.m.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned the Survivor’s Remorse showrunner is Mike O’Malley (AKA Burt Hummel from Glee). I actually mean to mention it every week because there is something weirdly Glee-esque about this show, in terms of the balance it tries to strike with drama and comedy and the subversive humor it employs to tackle tough real-world topics. This year, for example, they’ve taken on racism, domestic violence, and now teen pregnancy — and it’s only episode five.
Also, O’Malley is way better at hitting that sweet spot than Ryan Murphy ever was.
So this week M-Chuck meets a pregnant 12-year-old teenager named Brittany living in a group home. Like super pregnant. Like nine months pregnant. Brittany didn’t realize she had any options because her group home mother is a devout Christian who believes her pregnancy is an immaculate conception. Brittany wants to keep her baby and M-Chuck wants to support her decision to do that, despite warnings from everyone in her entire family that a child cannot raise a child. M-Chuck won’t listen, though, and ends up throwing Brittany a baby shower on the Calloway estate, complete with ponies and bouncy castles and cotton candy. It isn’t until she sees Brittany hopping around in the castle — “I don’t see a sign that says pregnant kids can’t jump in here!” — that she realizes maybe her family is right.
She doesn’t regret trying; she tells Missy if her mom had subscribed to Cassie’s way of thinking, she’d “be in pieces in a medical-waste bin somewhere or adopted by white people who think Jesus loves all.”
M-Chuck has had a lot to do this season, and really only one of her storylines has revolved around Cam. It’s fresh writing for a lesbian character. I know I keep saying it, but I am super into this show.
Sundays on (Canada’s) Showcase at 9:00 p.m.
Isn’t it funny how the ultimate love triangle on Lost Girl didn’t turn out to beLauren/Bo/Dyson like the writers intended in the beginning, but actually Lauren/Bo/Tamisn and it’s not really a love triangle at all because there are only five episodes left and Lost Girl is rewarding all those Doccubus shippers who fought so hard to keep this show on the air so long? I think that’s a really rad and wonderful thing, and such a testament to the power of queer fandom.
… unless they end up murdering Rogue Lauren.
This week, Lauren and Bo make out a little bit. Bo is still getting used to Lauren sucking her chi if you know what I mean and I think you do. Tamsin accidentally busts it up. She’s got some mail at Bo’s; it’s a check from Hades for tracking down his daughter, so she stomps right back to him and tells him to die in a fiery explosion and stuff his money up his butt, etc. The thing is that Hades knew Tamsin would fall in love with Bo and that’s why he sent her after his daughter, because now that Tamsin has experienced true love and true rejection, she can harness that power and be a great leader in his coming war to destroy the world.
Obviously he is building an army. And guess who he wants to lead it? Bo, duh.
But Bo cannot be bothered with saving the world or dealing with her evil father at this moment because Lauren wants a smoothie and so Bo goes to the smoothie store to get Lauren a smoothie because that’s the most important thing to her in the world right now. Bae wants frozen fruit; bae’s gonna get frozen fruit.
Tamsin finally does find Bo and tells her that she’d rather be her friend than nothing at all, and oh also, maybe she could pretend to join her dad’s Dark Magic army to take him down from the inside before the series finale? She thinks that’s a pretty great idea. It’s no bananaberry blast with protein powder, but it’s good.
Oh, man. But what if BO DIES?
Tuesdays and Thursdays on YouTube
Written by Karly
Will the giraffe shirt reign of terror ever end?! Laura is still wearing it! This week, Perry comes back with no memory of where she’s been (or “bean” as Danny pronounces it. Those Canadians). Nobody brings up the footage of Perry’s obvious possession, probably because they’re still reeling from the Hollstein breakup and Mattie’s death.
Vordenberg swiftly orders our tiny heroes dead over the PA system. While the gang (with an unsurprisingly UNINJURED Danny) boards up the apartment, Laura takes a moment to finally reflect on her black-and-white worldview. How could she have expected Carmilla to be “good” when Laura put all her faith in Vordenberg and when she gave Danny the weapon to kill Mattie? But loud growling and screaming from across the campus interrupt her moping. Catmilla is having a go at the anglerfish’s blood so she can have the extra juice to kill Vordie, or to kill everyone. Exact motives are unclear. But the mobs keep her back for the time being.
With Carmilla not even in the background this week, Laura and I have to pay attention to the bigger plot development. So with Perry’s advice (she’s totally possessed, you guys!) they go over the dean’s records and they find out the dean wanted the anglerfish dead as well, and maybe she knew how to defeat Vordenberg. Next week Laura hopefully changes her shirt, Carmilla comes back (and revives Mattie? C’mon, please), and they finally figure out that Perry killed all those people.
Team TV coverage you may have missed
+ Faking It Episode 214 Recap: So Liberal With Her Scissors and Other Things
This week on Faking It, Lauren and Amy dress up like A and creep around the No-Tell Motel while their pals live it up in Los Angeles!
+ Uzo Aduba and Viola Davis Make History At The Most Feminist Emmy Awards Ever
Openly gay writers/directors Lisa Cholodenko and Jane Anderson took home trophies. Jane Lynch snagged another win. And Transparent pulled down three Emmys, too!
+ A Gay Girl’s Guide To Fall 2015 TV
Despite tepid reviews for most of this fall’s new shows, we’ve got plenty of new and returning lesbian and bisexual characters to be very excited about as well as quite a few lady-helmed productions.
+ Fan Fiction Friday: Jane the Virgin Stories, an Interview With a Fan Fic Pro and Even More Fandom Delights
Welcome to the all-new Fan Fiction Friday, now with even more features and fandom celebrations!
+ Mo Welch and Dannielle Owens-Reid Are Making Lesbian Webseries Magic with Plus One
“If someone had been like, “You are going to write a thing and it’s going to be fully produced and you are gonna star in it and it’s gonna be really good,” I would’ve been like, nah.”
+ Faking It Episode 213 Recap: Survey Says “Lesbian”
This week on “Faking It,” Reagan wants one thing, Amy wants another thing, Karma wants something else, Lauren wants a different thing but also a similar thing, and I want an iced tea. Unsweetened!
See you Friday!