Boobs On Your Tube: “Charmed” Has More Fully Realized Queer Women of Color Than Any TV Show Ever

If you’re a gay lady, the biggest thing happening on TV this weekend is the Final Four! Or you could catch up on Valerie Anne’s recap of the Supergirl team-up we’ve all been waiting for, and a very AvaLance episode of Legends of Tomorrow. If you want to cry in a good way, Natalie’s got you covered with her season 1A finale recap of Good Trouble. Also this week, we talked about Tara’s death on The Walking Dead and Drew Gregory wrote a beautiful essay about how she identifies with Sex Education. Also, Heather had some feelings about Derry Girls’ brillant prom episode.


Some reminders from the TV Team:

+ Lena Waithe’s The Chi officially returns for its second season on Sunday (Showtime, 4/7) but if you just can’t wait to see it: Showtime has made the premiere available on Youtube. — Natalie

+ Some other TV returns that might be relevant to your interests: Killing Eve (AMC/BBC America, 4/7), You Me Her (Audience, 4/9) and The Bold Type (Freeform, 4/9). — Natalie

+ The first season of All American made its way to Netflix last week and, as I mentioned in my review of the season finale, the CW’s paying attention to its streaming numbers to see if All American deserves a second season. If you missed it on the CW, be sure to check it out on Netflix…we deserve more Coop in our lives. — Natalie

+ Into the Badlands is back for a final run of episodes but I’m not caught up yet I’M SORRY I’ll have updates about our precious murderbaby Tilda soon I promise. — Valerie Anne

+ Legacies is on Netflix! GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW! — Valerie Anne

+ Also I guess it’s the week of the CW employees’ retreat or something because almost everything is on hiatus this week and turns out my entire beat is almost exclusively CW shows…speaking of which, there was nothing gay about last week’s episode but I wanted to remind you that the Series Finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs TONIGHT! — Valerie Anne

+ Hi there me again just wanted to throw in a little plug for The Magicians. I know I’ve mentioned it before when they hint at lady queerness but this season has just been really great and I wanted to shout it out. — Valerie Anne

+ I know I said I’d write something about Jane the Virgin this week, and I promise it’s coming. It’s two-thirds of the way there! — Heather


The Good Fight 304: “The One with Lucca Becoming a Meme”

Written by Natalie

This week’s episode of The Good Fight picks up soon after the last: Maia finds herself before the firm’s disciplinary committee explaining the circumstances that led up to her arrest. She’s candid about everything — accepting responsibility where the fault was hers (the broken glass) and affixing responsibility where it wasn’t (the drugs planted by Roland Blum) — and, after some discussion, Diane tells her goddaughter that she’ll escape this whole mess relatively unscathed.

Maia faces the disciplinary committee, following her arrest.

Facing the music.

But, based on a dizzying set of circumstances that don’t have much to do with Maia at all, she does not escape this mess unscathed; in fact, she gets fired. Usually, that’s the kind of tidbit you save until the end of a recap like this one but nearly every other moment in this episode, many of which don’t involve Maia at all, lead to her dismissal from Reddick-Boseman… so it’s important to acknowledge that upfront.

Before Diane’s promised escape, Maia will have to submit to a drug test and a perfunctory investigation and, from Maia’s reaction to the drug test news, it’s clear that she may not have done the drugs found in her car but she’s definitely done something (the fentanyl lollipop from the season premiere, it turns out). She reaches out to Lucca for insight on what she can expect — it’s her first drug test after all — and, as is her wont, Lucca tries to assuage her friend’s worries.

Maia’s exasperated but so is Lucca: she’s fresh from a “Mommy and Me” class where she had to endure all 12 verses of the “Baby Shark” song. It’s that unique mixed of love with a touch of resentment that’s come to typify Lucca’s embrace of motherhood on The Good Fight but the white woman sitting next to her on the park bench only catches the resentment. Side-seat Sally critiques Lucca’s parenting and accuses her of being the child’s nanny. Lucca responds with her quintessential dry humor, leaving Side-seat Sally baffled.

Side-seat Sally has some suggestions for Lucca.

This week’s great offense: Mothering while black.

Surely by now you’ve seen enough BBQ Beckies and Permit Pattys to know how this story’s gonna go: Side-seat Sally calls the police, Lucca is rightfully indignant and video of the incident goes viral. Lucca becomes a meme and shortly thereafter, she’s flooded with anonymous racist e-mails and phone calls and they’re troubling enough that the senior partners assign Jay to escort Lucca to and from work everyday.

A weird thing happens after you’ve experienced something blatantly racist like Lucca has: the mildly racist things that you swallow everyday start to taste a bit more bitter. The microaggressions that you used to brush off — the things that happen so often that you barely notice anymore — now have neon signs around them, daring you to keep ignoring them. In the moment, with Side-seat Sally and the police officer, Lucca can’t do anything but be accommodating, knowing all the ways in which the situation could go wrong… but later, she doesn’t have to be… so Lucca doesn’t ignore the neon signs, she calls them out.

And that goes over about as well as you’d expect… because at Reddick-Boseman, two groups who hate to be called out on their microaggressions collide: white people and capitalists. Everyone gets defensive, immediately, even as they retreat to their corners and acknowledge that Lucca’s right. But after a conversation with Jay, Lucca realizes how much of the racial dynamics she’s been ignoring and she asks Jay to get her the firm’s salary numbers.

But when confronted with the data, Lucca’s resolve weakens: it’s easy to be against inequity, generally, but when it threatens your livelihood or your friends’ livelihoods, it’s harder to confront. Lucca doesn’t want to hurt Marissa but when Jay realizes he’s being paid the same as a white investigator with much less experience than him…. well, that genie’s not going back into the bottle.

Jay confronts Adrian and Liz but they can’t provide a satisfactory defense for the pay gap. When Jay accuses Adrian of paying Marissa more because she’s white, he gets defensive and immediately ends the meeting. The truth about Marissa’s salary is a mystery to all the parties in that meeting: Jay doesn’t know that Marissa’s caseload is greater than his because all the firm’s white associates go to her while Adrian and Liz don’t know that Julius is using firm money to cover the cost of her consulting work for his campaign.

Alone, Adrian admits to playing along in a racist system, “The ugly truth, Liz: women are valued less than men because we think the men can leave us for better paying jobs. And black people are valued less than white people because we think the white people can leave us for better paying jobs. I hate it but that’s the reality and that’s what I have to deal with.”

Diane breaks the news to Maia: she's been fired.

A casualty of war.

Jay’s still mad, though and, despite Lucca’s warning, he e-mails the salary data out to the entire firm. It sets the whole firm afire and ultimately leads to Maia’s dismissal. She had been given the office of a black associate. She had been arrested, acquitted and arrested again, only to be let off with a slap on the wrist, while a black associate who was arrested for drug possession was fired, with cause. The disparate treatment becomes untenable and Maia gets fired.

The Good Fight has always sought to skewer politics on the left and the right but, for most of its run, has reserved its more brazen attacks for the current administration. In “The One with Lucca Becoming a Meme,” the show eschews its usual subtle critiques of liberalism and goes for something more searing. The episode’s main plot and its secondary story — which ends in a trans woman being outed to help Diane’s secret society bring down the president’s approval in certain swing states — are both about who and what we’ll sacrifice to achieve our desired outcome. What it worth it? Was it just? The Good Fight leaves that to you to answer.


Charmed 117: “Surrender”

Written by Carmen

I’ve tried not to pick sides in this cute ‘lil witchy lesbian love triangle. Much to the show’s credit, over its first season Charmed has made strong arguments for both Niko AND Jada as they circled around Mel Vera’s heart. If you’re a believer in first loves, and the purity of romance, in sweeping epic tales of OTPs that find each other no matter what the universe throws at them – the Niko Hamada is your girl. If your interest lies in the throes of raw passion, in bad girls with sensitive souls, in the hard fought trust and vulnerability that comes with the messy pain of letting someone in to know the real you – then you’ve probably found yourself swooning for Jada a time or two. Quite frankly, we’ve never had three queer women of color characters who are this fully developed at the same time on a network television show. So in that aspect, no matter who Mel ultimately chooses, we are all winners.

“I’ve been binging Pretty Little Liars on Netflix! My eyes have glassed over and I still can’t stop! Why are there so many As?? What’s a black glove?”

But y’all, my girl Jada took some stumbles this week! First, Mel goes to her asking for help on Harry’s behalf. Harry, the Vera sisters’ Whitelighter, has been stripped of all his powers by The Elders for failing to protect the girls from one of The Elders’ own – Charity – who turned out to be the murderer of the girls’ mother, along with a slew of other Elder witches, and psychologically tortured Macy for a good chunk of the last episode. The fact that The Elders themselves also didn’t snoop Charity out either never seems to cross their minds. Corruption and the willful blindness of those in power and whatnot. ANYWAY! Without his Whitelighter powers, Harry is aging into an old man and will die within a matter of days. He asks Mel for one last wish, to see Fiona (the great love of his life) one more time before he dies. Mel takes that request over to Jada because Fiona’s been regaining her strength with the S’Arcana as they prepare for their witch revolution. And then, Jada flat out denies her.

Jada turns cold, going as far as to call Harry an “Elder patsy” who will only get in the way of what the S’Arcana have planned. She warns Mel that a war is brewing, and the time has come to pick a side. Mel can’t believe it! She can’t believe that this is the same Jada who once gave so willingly, who helped Mel save Harry earlier this season when no one else would. She’s furious to see this side of her girlfriend’s apathy and threatens a final breakup between the two (Noooooo!!!) before storming off.

“Say something bad about Spencer Hastings again, and see what happens!”

Jada turned Mel away at the request of Fiona, who is 100% not as altruistic as she first appeared. Jada believes that Fiona will be the true leader that the S’Arcana have been waiting for, but Fiona is too invested in enacting revenge to be in anyone’s best interest. Jada learns that lesson the hard way at the end of the episode, when she confronts Fiona only to find herself on the receiving end of an icy threat that continuing to challenge with the powerful witch will mean death upon her S’Arcana sisters.

“I was always #TeamEmison, but really I just wanted Emily to get the f*ck out of Rosewood”

So yeah, it’s really not a banger week for Jada. Meanwhile, Niko and Mel continue to grow closer as their paths cross, this time over a cult leader who’s actually a demon. I never bothered to learn his name because he will always be Caleb from Pretty Little Liars to me. Apparently after his Happy Ending with Hannah, Caleb has been up to no good! He uses his – and this is a direct quote – “phallic looking knife” to steal the vibrancy of women so that he can stay eternally young, like some kind of demonic viagra. The Charmed Ones save the day, but Mel sets the stage so that Niko can think she’s the real hero instead. Unfortunately, Mel has pulled this trick on former Detective Hamada before, and Niko is starting to put the puzzle pieces together.

With just a few episodes left, there’s no way this season ends without Niko discovering that Mel’s a witch, right? Or at least that she and Mel used to date before Mel wiped her memory (though, whew that would be a heartbreaker). Next week another PLL alum will be joining the cast for a bit as the girls’ new Whitelighter, but I want to float a little unsubstantiated theory I’ve been cooking up: What if Niko becomes the new Whitelighter??? I don’t quite remember the rules of magic in this regard, but I do know that Piper dated and eventually married her Whitelighter in the original series. What if the reboot picks up baton?

PS: There was no where else in the recap to fit this, but ummmm Niko’s fiancée? She’s HOT.


This Is Us 318: “Her”

Written by Carmen

When This Is Us returned from its winter hiatus, it refocused all of its energy on the adults of the series, which meant we didn’t get to spend much time with Tess Pearson after her pitch perfect, tear jerker, heart wrenching and heart fulfilling, big, messy coming out in November. This week was the show’s Season Three finale and they thankfully found the time to give our girl one last sweet scene before heading off to break.

It’s picture day at school and Tess is stressing out!! She’s tried on everything she owns like five times, but none of it is good enough. I think we all know that feeling when your clothes suddenly feel foreign on your body. Nothing feels right. Everything is ugly. Or itchy. Or makes your body lumpy in ways you never noticed before. I’ve had many a good cry on my bedroom floor amid piles of Forever 21 t-shirts and ASOS jeans. It probably started around the time I was Tess’ age and I only wish I could tell you that I outgrew the habit. But here we are, and here she is, when her Uncle Kevin opens the door.

How has it been THREE WHOLE YEARS since the last Rihanna album?? HOW??

She tells him that she didn’t want to bother her parents with her emotional baggage (well, she says “stuff” and not “emotional baggage,” because she’s a tween, but just go with me here). Randall and Beth have been so busy with their new careers and fighting with each other, Tess has been trying to stay out of their way. This is when I thought the show was going to reveal that Tess had a cute young crush on some girl in her class, but what came instead was so pure and true to the coming out experience, it caught me completely off guard.

With some loving, gentle nudges from her Uncle, who joins her on her bedroom floor, Tess opens up:

I thought coming out to you guys would be the hardest part. But instead, I just have a million more questions about myself. Like, what clothes make me feel like the real me. What books should I be reading? What movies should I be seeing? … when will I finally decide to tell my friends?

Her eyes are wide with worry, her voice so soft it’s almost a whisper. My heart just clenched! I felt a pang from deep within me that wanted to reach through my television and take this baby gay black girl up in my arms! I wanted soothe her, to tell her that we’ve all been there. I also realized how little resources there are for being gay as a kid. What roadmaps can you follow? So many teenagers find Autostraddle as they’re trying to navigate the rollercoaster of coming out and coming in to themselves for perhaps the first real time. I know that as a 20something, this very website was my lifesaver. But what if I had been eleven? Where would I have even turned?

Before I could fall any deeper into my rabbit hole of anxious thoughts (Tess and I have a lot in common), Kevin says something so astute I could hardly believe it came from the Hollywood Hunk at all: “I don’t think we figure out who we are all at once. I think it happens over a long period of time, just like… piece by piece, you know?”

Piece by piece. That’s how we get there. Simple, clean, to the point. And more than anything else, comforting. And if you think I will ever get tired of watching a young gay black girl find love and support from her family, people who only want to shower her with care and remind her how absolutely special she is, then you have another thing coming.

You can watch the entire scene for yourself here:

(PS: Tess apparently came out to Kevin via text message! How very Gen Z of her 😉)


Quick Hits

General Hospital

I missed this surprising bit of news last week: GH has recast the role of Valerie Spencer. Paulina Bugembe will takeover the role left empty when Brytni Sarpy jumped ship to The Young and the Restless.

It’s a puzzling move by GH who lost Sarpy to their daytime rival because the actress was underutilized: viewers would literally go months without seeing the character, despite her connection to the show’s core family AND being one of the town’s few police officers. Hopefully, Bugembe’s casting means that the show’s committed to giving Valerie a good storyline…one that hopefully reconnects her with Kristina. — Natalie

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 91 articles for us.

23 Comments

  1. God this episode of The Good Fight was brutal. It was also so interesting to watch as a woman of color because even though I’ve come to love Maia and Marissa and want them to succeed, the arguments being made against them were sound and I felt genuinely conflicted much like Lucca. Marissa’s defensive comment of “So you think I’m racist?” to Lucca reminded me of SO many conversations I’ve had with white friends. It looks like this is going to be a running plot line for the season, and I’m interested to see where it goes.

  2. I feel like finding out Rose Leslie is a Tory and the daughter of a posh politician completely ruined my appreciation of Maia. Now whenever the character does or say something I can’t help but roll my eyes and scream “boo-hoo!”

    She’s become worse this season. I’m team everyone but her tbh.

  3. Responding to Carmen’s recap of this week’s Charmed … how damn badass was Mel when confronting the Elders over their treatment of Harry? Girl threw down, it was awesome.

  4. With regard to the Charmed love triangle, I would like to propose a solution: Polyamory.

    Secondly, I hope Jada sticks around for any reason at all, because I want to see Aleyse Shannon on my screen every week until the end of time.

    Thank you.

  5. Thank you for mentioning Niko’s fiancee’s hotness, I had a Soft Butch Swoon moment when she appeared on screen! That whole love tangle is giving me some complex feels.
    Also, Valerie Anne, I started watching Legacies and so far so cute! Apparently I can no longer resist watching half the Cw lineup as well.

  6. Getting some strong vibes about Kate Littlejohn and Sandra Bell on “For the People”. They work together on one case and Sandra is buying the same rainbow sticky notes as Kate and tidying her office. If these two don’t start dating the world is wrong.

    • I would love this pairing, but sadly I have gotten only very strong “very straight, goody two-shoes” character vibes from Sandra since the beginning of the series. Also, they have been hinting at a Leonard/Kate hookup since the first season.

    • @lilianh It definitely felt like that, didn’t it? Especially when Allison was talking to Sandra about Kate…it certainly sounded like there was more than just respect for another peer. But sadly, I agree with @avasommer: they’ve been laying the groundwork for Kate and Leonard since last season (even though he chose Texas over her) and Sandra’s definitely going to hook up with Ted before the seasons out…the writing’s on the wall there too.

      The Kate/Sandra and Seth/Jay stuff is only helping them establish personal relationships between the prosecutors and public defenders that didn’t exist last season. They’re hoping the camaraderie (a la the interns on the early seasons of Grey’s) will convince people to stick with the show. It was weird, though, that the show seems to have forgotten that Seth and Allison used to date.

  7. “Legacies is on Netflix! GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW! — Valerie Anne” This is relevant to my interests. Thank you.

    “What’s a black glove?” This tells me that Jada doesn’t read Autostraddle or didn’t read AfterEllen as she would know that it’s a Risen Mitten, not a black glove.

    “…to steal the vibrancy of women so that he can stay eternally young…” I wonder if that’s a play on how married men live longer than unmarried men, and married women live shorter lives than unmarried women.

    I’ve started watching “The Tick” season two, and I’m still hoping that Dot, Overkill, and Mrs. Lint become a throuple.

  8. the other day Karen from W&G and Rosa from Brooklyn kissed the girl on-screen and Supercorp won the March Madness- all in one day for me! Yesterday they fired Maia without even seeing her girlfriend this season and Karen was screaming that she’s straight into the microphone (dared to use the scenes from Ellen’s Puppy episode)… If this doesn’t specify the Gay and Bad day on TV I don’t know what…

  9. I love, love, love Charmed. It just snuck up on me, without any warning or so – because I just realized it’s the only show I’m looking forward each week.

    So about the Charmed ones – compared to the original:
    – Mel is supposed to be Piper, right? So there’s a chance she might get married to a Whiteligher? Maybe even Jada, since she’s half?
    – Maggie is Phoebe? Mingles with a Demon Lover and might eventually progresses to not only feeling stuff, but seeing the future?
    – Macy is the only one which I’m currently unable to place. Doesn’t really match neither Paige nor Prue.

    Also: I hope Mel eventually gets to rename their (her?) bar to M3 as a reminder to the P3.

  10. Legacies and Charmed are my two favorite shows right now I’m so glad to see the love. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Jada. I really hope she sticks around for season two and doesn’t go bad!

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