Happy Carolmas, friends, and welcome to another Boobs on Your Tube! First up, Carmen wants you to know that she’s cooking up a piece on this week’s This Is Us, but she wants to give it the full standalone post treatment, so look for that early next week. Second up, this week: Lena wore that white button-up again on Supergirl and Valerie Anne recapped that (and also the whole episode); she also recapped a v. sexy episode of Legends of Tomorrow. Carmen wrote about a harrowing episode of Black Lightning. Kayla recapped another bonkers episode of Riverdale. And our TV Team published our annual list of our favorite and least favorite TV characters of the year!
Here’s what else!
All American 106: “The Choice is Yours”
Written by Natalie
So, I know my reviews of All American generally focus on Coop — and I promise, we’ll get there — I hope you’ll indulge me as I air a bit of frustration about the show:
In my first review of All American, I noted that the biggest similarity between it and Friday Night Lights, the show to which every show about high school football will inevitably be compared, is that they’re both shows about football that aren’t really about football at all. The sport is just a way to expose the underbelly of these characters…we know, for example, that Tim Riggins can love something, despite his insistence to the contrary, because he loves playing football so much. While football wasn’t the heart of FNL, it was the connective tissue and the show recognized the importance of getting that part right; they were invested in an authentic portrayal of the game and the culture around it. Through six episodes of All American, I’m not sure the show understands that.
At first, I chalked it up to a cultural thing — football culture in the South, which I grew up around and was featured in FNL is just different than it is in Beverly Hills (or Crenshaw, seemingly) — but then I watched this week’s episode of All American and I realized that, no, it’s not a cultural difference: this show isn’t invested in showcasing football with any authenticity at all. If All American wants to be more, than The OC than FNL, that’s fine, but if this whole football story is a charade — and thus far, it clearly is — the show’s given the audience no reason to care about half the characters on the canvas…and that’s a huge problem. The body doesn’t function without its connective tissue.
I mention this because, “The Choice is Yours,” starts on the football field. The Eagles are down 24-20, when Spencer collects the kick-off, deep in Beverly Hills territory, with just 97 seconds left in the game. He runs the ball down the field, with his coach yelling things like “giddyup, daddy, giddyup” (*stares in disbelief*), and makes it to the opposing team’s 20 yard line. The most annoying thing about this scene, though — the thing that finally cements the fact that this is a show that doesn’t really care about football — is that it happens in broad daylight. Varsity football teams do not play in the daylight, not even in Beverly Hills…it’s called Friday Night Lights for a reason. But I digress…
It’s a phenomenal kick-off return and, afterwards, Spence takes off his helmet and looks to the stands for Coop, but she’s not there. After the game and a shift at work, he makes his way back to Crenshaw and finds Coop with Patience. Turns out, she opted to spend time with her girlfriend rather than going to Spence’s game…before the crew can settle on plans for the rest of the evening, Shawn pulls Coop away to handle some business. Spencer laments that Coop’s stuck under Shawn’s thumb and pledges to help her find a way out.
The next day, Coop’s at work, with Patience chilling nearby, when a couple of guys from a rival gang step into the barbershop. One sits threateningly next to Patience while the other brandishes his gun before sitting in Coop’s chair. She shoots Shawn a quick text message before giving the gun-wielding gangster, Bonez, a fresh line-up. When Shawn arrives, one of his guys ushers Patience out of the shop, and the rivals beef over Shawn having turned the barbershop — previously agreed upon as neutral territory — into a drop spot. Bonez threatens Shawn and its enough to make Coop weary.
Later, Spencer brings over an offer to expand the neighborhood block party, thanks to an offer from some of his Beverly Hills connections. Coop is offered the opportunity to emcee the event and Spence hopes that by getting in good with the producer behind the expansion (Leila’s dad, JP), Coop will be able to give him some of her music and, ultimately, break away from Shawn’s influence. Unsurprisingly, that doesn’t work at all, as Coop shows up late to the block party with Shawn. She wants to introduce Shawn to JP too…maybe he can help them both get out of the hood. When Spence tells Shawn to get lost, Coop gives her best friend, an ultimatum: if Shawn goes, so does she. Spencer relents and they both stay.
Coop is her best charismatic self as the emcee at the block party and Shawn manages to score a promise of help from JP…it’s enough good to break through Shawn’s cynicism so he promises to shut down the drop at the barbershop. He’s finally starting to see a way out for him and his daughter so, of course, it’s exactly at that moment when the rival gang shows up to keep him firmly rooted in this world. Bonez and his crew demands his money, Shawn refuses to give it up and shots ring out. Everyone else is ducking for cover but, after making sure Patience is safe, Coop goes running towards the shots, worried about Shawn’s fate.
By the time she to the scene, the police are already there and Bonez is dead. She tries to rush off and find Shawn but Spencer stops her. The best friends finally have the fight that’s been inevitable since the day Spencer moved to Beverly Hills and Coop climbed into Shawn’s car. Coop claims that Spencer doesn’t know what’s going on in the hood right now and he chastises her for blaming him for not knowing when she told him to go to Beverly.
“That’s what I do. I look out for my people and despite what you think of Shawn, I believe in him the same way I believe in you,” Coop says. Spencer doesn’t want her bringing Shawn’s mess to his house, endangering his family. It’s the first time Spencer’s ever distinguished between Coop and his family — usually, they’re synonymous — and it stings. Coop acquiesces: she’ll move out tonight.
Later, Spencer shows up at Shawn’s door and begs him to be the person that Coop believes him to be; if not, Spencer promises, they’ll be having a very different conversation. Once he leaves, Shawn opens the door wide and we see Coop, listening from his couch.
Star 308: “Roots and Wings”
Written by Carmen
When I brought our attention back to Star, I did so with a word of caution. This is soap that doesn’t mind playing with tropes to get the most heightened (or often, eye-roll worthy) response. Sadly it turned out that I was right. It looks like Simone and Nina are over before we truly even got to see them begin.
To recap, bisexual teen R&B star Simone Davis had been fantasizing about her hot, married boss Nina ever since they had that drunk hook up that one time. At the time of their hook up, Simone was also still married, to Angel, who helped her get out of foster care. But you see, Angel got deported back to the Dominican Republic. Simone lived with him for a while, but on her 18th birthday decided to ask for a divorce. Which is what lead her to getting drunk one night in the club and into Nina’s bed. Simone told Nina her real feelings for her, but before Nina could respond Simone got scared and walked away. It’s been tearing her up inside.
Good! Now you’re all caught up. So guess who came back this week out of nowhere? That’s right, Angel! Simone’s soon-to-be ex-husband! In what was a truly horrific and tasteless take on illegal border crossing, Angel has decided to re-enter the United States. Unfortunately he gets kidnapped by smugglers who want Simone to pay SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS for his safety!
Simone doesn’t have that kind of cash lying around, but do you know who does? Nina. They go to meet the smugglers together with lots of time for long, forlorn gazes at each other. Simone thanks Nina for the money, Nina tells Simone that she would do anything for her happiness. (That turns out to be true! One look at Nina’s Mercedes Benz and the smugglers ask for even more money, she gives it right over.)
Once Angel is safe and clean and fed in a hotel room that Nina is paying for, the record executive stops by for a visit. She tells Simone that she’s been thinking a lot about what she told her a few weeks ago. It’s now or never, and she doesn’t want to live a life without happiness anymore. She feels lighter and brighter with Simone than any other time that she can remember. Usually I don’t trust Nina because she always has an extra plan you don’t see up her sleeve, but this time – I felt it in her eyes. I don’t know if she ultimately would be what’s best for Simone, but she definitely wanted to try.
Then she kisses Simone right on the lips.
So of course, that’s when Angel walks right back in. He scoffs and runs out the door, Simone on his heels. And then – this is the part I can’t get over – after not so much as muttering Angel’s name since the second episode this year, Simone tells him that it’s been him that she wanted all along!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?
I want to be very clear about this, it’s not that I have any issue with a bisexual character choosing her male lover over her female one. I don’t. It’s not even that I think Angel is worse for Simone than Nina (I’m pretty sure neither are to be trusted, ultimately). It’s that no one has heard from this dude in over six episodes!! Not a single mention. Simone’s major romantic arc all fall has been about one person and one person only – that was Nina. Despite her gratitude towards Angel for saving her from institutions as an underage teen, she left the second she turned 18. She wanted a new life and independence, she said.
So why is she getting back with him?? I have no idea. Is Nina going to take this heartbreak out on Simones burgeoning career? I’d bet all my Monopoly money on it.
Camping 107: “Birthday Party (Part 1)”
I can’t believe I am still suffering through this show. It’s filling me with so much hate! Except for Harry who did a little babysitting this weekend so Orvis’ parents and friends could drop some ecstasy. They watched a little Body Heat and ate a little Chef Boyardee right out of the tin can like a couple of cartoon hobos. I love Harry. (And really do loathe these other monsters.) — Heather
Sally4Ever: “Episode 3”
Speaking of monsters, Emma has somehow made me feel like Sally’s horrible stale white bread fiance David was a batter fit for her. Her was terrible and boring and gross but at least he wasn’t a literal sociopath! This week Sally and Emma go to a dinner party where Emma decides to seduce their host because he’s a director and the first phase of her plan is getting him to hate his wife. First she insults this poor woman’s cooking and then she says “It must be hard to come home for that” and Sally can’t get her to shut up or even leave the party. I believe when I finish watching this series, nothing will ever make me uncomfortable ever again. — Heather
Legacies 105: “Malivore”
Penelope was back this week with a vengeance…quite literally. Her and Josie went toe to toe and at one point Josie accused her of a low-blow and Penelope said, and I literally quote, “You used to like it went I went low.” I legit gasped and then laughed so hard. It was so perfect!!! It’s exactly what an quasi-evil ex-girlfriend would say! But Penelope really showed her hand this week when she orchestrated the downfall of Josie’s sister, Lizzie, because she doesn’t think Lizzie treats Josie well enough (which, honestly, true). It seems that Penelope blames the fact that she and Josie’s relationship didn’t pan out on the fact that Lizzie is such a handful she takes up most of Josie’s time and energy. Then Penelope basically said she’d burn the world down for Josie and I am HERE FOR IT. GIVE ME QUEER WITCHES OR GIVE ME DEATH. — Valerie Anne
It was not a good week for the lesbians on the Cobbles.
Rana gets word from her brother that her divorce from Zeedan is nearly done and then she’ll be free to marry Kate. They share a moment of happiness before Kate pivots back to her favorite topic: the baby. The fertility clinic’s given her an estimate on treatment…it’s a lot but Kate is sure that they can come up with the money. At her first opportunity, Kate asks her dad for the money and, though he’s reluctant at first, he eventually offers Kate and Rana the money and enthuses about his future grandchild. After a visit to the fertility clinic, Rana’s anxiety about the process boils over and she finally tells Kate that everything’s happening too fast and that she feels odd knowing the baby’s father will be a stranger. She can’t do it, Rana proclaims, much to Kate’s dismay.
Later, Kate assures her fiancée that everything’s fine and takes comfort in Rana’s assurance that she’ll get everything she wants — the marriage, the adventures and the baby — in time. But that comfort turns cold the moment Kate sees Angie with her son and her desire for a child is reinvigorated. She rushes to see Rana at work and pushes the issue again, only this time suggesting adoption. Rana’s stunned, having believed that they’d put this subject to rest for now, and the pair argue about it at the medical center.
Still livid after the fight, Kate drowns her sorrows in a bottle of wine while at work. Her boss, Robert, pulls her off the floor and listens to her cry as she talks about the importance of having a baby after having lost her brother. Robert laments that he’ll never have the chance to be a father, as Michelle (Kate’s cousin) doesn’t want to have any more children. Just then, a light bulb goes on over Kate’s head and she asks Robert to be the father of her and Rana’s baby. Girl, were you not listening to anything Rana said?!
Robert politely declines but when Michelle, once again, rejects his suggestion that they have a child together, you can see the wheels spinning. Meanwhile, Kate goes to sober up at her father’s pub, where he advises her to be more patient. She goes home to a worried Rana and pledges to put the baby talk on the backburner for now. And, of course, soon thereafter, Robert shows up at her doorstep and tells Kate that maybe that baby idea wasn’t so crazy after all.
Meanwhile, Sophie — oh, young and naïve Sophie — concocted a scheme to try and delay her mother’s trial so that her solicitor (AKA, Sophie’s girlfriend, Paula) could acquire evidence that’d discredit the prosecution’s star witness. But, of course, the scheme doesn’t go as planned and, ultimately, does more harm than good. Paula’s rightfully incensed that her girlfriend made a decision without considering her and breaks it off. I don’t know if this is the last we’ve seen of Paula but I hope not. — Natalie