Hey, hey, it’s your Boobs Tube! What a week, eh? First the news that The L Word is coming back, then the really encouraging Emmy Award nominations (more on that below, from Carmen), and to cap it all off, Mey ranked all 101 Disney movies by lesbianism. Also, Valerie Anne recapped Orphan Black and Wynonna Earp. Riese made a list of 33 lesbian and bisexual TV shows and movies you can watch on Amazon Prime. Laura Mandanas went on a heckin’ impressive scientific deep dive to discover whether or not a lesbian is getting poisoned on this season’s Game of Thrones. And I reviewed my new favorite show, The Bold Type.
Lucy Hallowell won’t be back to recap The Fosters this season. She’s got too many other writing assignments on her plate and also the rapid-fire drama and lack of mamas in the last few seasons really bummed her out. So I’ll be covering that in Boobs Tube starting next week.
Here’s what else happened this week!
Written by Riese
This new VH1 series, apparently inspired by Star Jones’ The View expose/memoir, stars Vanessa Williams as Maxine, the host of The View-esque Lunch Hour television program. Despite the noted lack of Rosie O’Donnell, Daytime Divas does pull off impressive feats of LGBTQ representation. Intern Zita from Faking It / Sydney from Pretty Little Liars / Apparently Her Real Name Is Chloe Bridges plays “Kibby,” a character very clearly based on Lindsay Lohan. Kibby is a bisexual child star with a shitty Mom who’s always hitting her up for cash. She’s got many publicized rehab stints and endured many drunk driving escapades and is freshly sober with the help of her mentor, Maxine. Unfortunately, her girlfriend only lasts two episodes, and since their breakup her romantic interests have mostly been men. I realize this is realistic and true to a bisexual character, but I am selfish and want every woman on TV to date other women, even the straight ones!
HOWEVER she is not the only queer part of this show, my friends! Fiona Gubelmann (who you may recognize from One Day At A Time) plays Heather, a Conservative Christian Character very clearly based on Elisabeth Hassleback. Her marriage has hit a rough patch, and at the center of this rough patch is an ongoing conflict with her husband over their child’s desired gender presentation/identity. Their child, who was assigned male and the name “Brad Jr” at birth, insists on wearing “girl clothes” and going by the name Ella. Heather is trying to be accepting, and lets Ella wear what she wants to wear at home, but her douchebag husband is furious and thinks this abomination can be fixed by making Ella play baseball and do other manly things. It’s a really interesting storyline that so far hasn’t been super-offensive.
Also look out for Empire’s Tasha Smith as a lesbian lifestyle guru and noted Broadway gay Norm Lewis as Maxine’s doorman/lover.
Janet Mock will be guesting on next Tuesday’s episode and I CAN’T WAIT. Objectively, this show is definitely terrible, but subjectively, I fucking love it.
While there was a lot to celebrate in terms of on-camera diversity in this week’s Emmy nominations, we can’t lose track of the fact that there remains a gender gap in directing and writing nominations. Queen Sugar got a shout out this week in a New York Magazine article addressing this unfortunate trend. Since our last recap, the last three episodes have all been directed by out women, two of whom are women of color, all of whom come with serious indie film cred. Aurora Guerro is a queer Chicana who wrote and directed 2012’s Mosquita y Mari, Maryam Keshavarz is the bisexual Iranian director of 2011’s Circumstance, and out director Amanda Marsalis gave us 2014’s Echo Park.
In fact, the continued queer women prowess behind Queen Sugar was honored just this month at the Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, OutFest. I’ve said it before, but I truly believe that this is how the nature of storytelling and media production is going to change, by finding greater opportunities behind, and not just in front, of the camera.
OK, so much has been happening for the Bordelons!
Aunt Vi and Charley are both suffering some professional and personal turmoil. The show has danced around Vi’s bouts with depression before, and it’s awe-inspiring to watch Hollywood as he literally gets in her bed with her when she can’t find the strength to get out of it herself, supporting and encouraging her through those dark depths. Charley is also getting some help, with the professional assistance of a therapist. Discussing mental health in the black community is still incredibly taboo in many circles. That can be particularly true for black women, who are often socialized to play into the stereotype of an impenetrable “Strong Black Woman.” I waited far too long to get the help I needed in part because of the stigma attached to asking for it. With both Vi and Charley, Queen Sugar is working to normalize these conversations and the potential ripple effect of that cannot be understated.
Speaking of mental and emotional health, Micah is still reeling from the aftermath of his arrest. Things come to ahead when he mistakenly elbows Blue in the face (Blue had jumped from behind to “surprise” his big cousin; Micah’s still jumpy and reacts on instinct). Later, Ralph Angel cautions his nephew that being locked up works to strip away every piece of humanity. And so, it’s their responsibility to show that they haven’t been broken. That they can still love and care. This is the longest Ralph Angel has ever spoken about his incarceration, and you can tell that it breaks through for Micah.
Darla, who lost her job and is under an incredible amount of pressure, does something unspeakably awful and selfish. She takes Kenya, Blue’s very best friend, and throws her out in the trash. Why? Because Darla felt irrationally jealous of her son’s love for his doll. She almost immediately recognizes her mistake, and Ralph Angel searching in a New Orleans dumpster for Kenya before it is too late.
While looking for Kenya, Ralph Angel gets stopped by the police. He realizes that he recognizers one of the officers, an old school friend with whom he has long been getting in and out of mischief. The officer, who goes by ‘Tione, is played by out trans actor Brian Michael. Once the two are alone reminiscing, Ralph Angel admits that one of the reasons he is supportive of Blue’s love for Kenya is that he remembers how hard it was for ‘Tione growing up. ‘Tione in turn takes the moment to thank Ralph Angel, not only for supporting him in school when they were both children, but for never outing him when the cross paths as both adults.
Finally, let’s talk about our girl Nova. Nova has a new love interest, Dr. Robert DuBois, the Stanford trained epidemiologist currently working at the Center for American Progress (henceforth known as The Good Doctor, because it entertains me). Nova and the Good Doctor don’t hit it off right from the start, but they pretty quickly find mutual interest, and I won’t lie to you: his cute nerd game is strong. Despite their building chemistry, Nova ends up leaving early from their latest date. Her sister needs her.
Nova and Charley haven’t had as much time alone together in the first few episodes as I wish they had; their relationship is one of my core favorites of the series. But, all that changes when Nova comes to Charley after a panicked phone call. Together in Charley’s new apartment, Nova begins preparing a cleansing ceremony. She takes incense, a lit candle, and a feather as she walks the parameters of the apartment. Afterwards, the sisters sit cross-legged on the floor and open up take out containers. They laugh, gossip, and console each other. There’s strength and love between them in the air. Sisterhood. Family.
Written by Natalie (Pecola!)
Two episodes into its first season, and just two days after the Trump administration rescinded Obama-era guidelines on transgender bathroom use, CBS pulled Doubt from its winter schedule, effectively canceling the low-rated show. But the network has plucked the show’s remaining episodes from the dustbin and is burning them off this summer. I’m going to try to convince myself that CBS is just doing a smart thing — I mean, they already paid for the season, they might as well air it — and that it’s purely coincidental that CBS’s most diverse show reappeared on its schedule as the network deals with its own diversity issues.
So why recap a cancelled show? Because there should be some record of its existence. There should be some place on the internet that recognized that there was a black trans woman on a legal show — not as the victim or the defendant, but as a lawyer seeking justice for others. There should be a place that celebrated a trans woman of color — possibly, maybe, probably — falling in love and being loved on national TV so — possibly, maybe, probably — other trans women can imagine that possibility for themselves. It should be noted, somewhere, that three trans women — Laverne Cox, Jen Richards and Angelica Ross — sat together, talking relationships, as girlfriends are wont to do, on national TV, as if it were a normal thing, because it is.
Cameron Wirth (Cox) is an Ivy League educated lawyer who works at a boutique New York City law firm called Isaiah Roth & Associates. Roth’s reputation is the stuff of legends — Cameron’s father’s admiration of Roth’s defense of the Black Panthers is what drew her to his firm. She joined the firm at 26, the same year she transitioned, and while she strives to be every bit the social justice warrior Roth was, she’s determined to do it while being her authentic self.
When we meet her again in episode three, she and her colleague, Tiffany (Dreama Walker), are preparing for the Voir Dire Process, hoping to find jurors who will be sympathetic to their case. Their client in this case is Mary (Lisa Ann Walter), a psychic accused of grand larceny for scamming Floriel Martinez (Wilson Cruz) out of $65,000.
While making their way to the courtroom, Cameron and Tiffany run into an old study partner of Cameron’s from Yale, Peter Garrett (Ben Lawson), who’s just moved to the city from Baltimore. He flirts a bit — noting how great she looks and how he’s no longer the scrawny kid he was in law school — but Cameron doesn’t respond. Undeterred, he asks her out for coffee and she says, “That’d be nice,” in such a way that’s both polite and unequivocal in her commitment to definitely not go out to coffee with him. Then, surprising absolutely no one who’s ever watched TV before, Peter turns out to be the new district attorney prosecuting Cameron’s case.
Later, when Peter springs up to tell Cameron that he’s added a last-second witness, he tries to shoot his shot again. This time, though, Cameron’s a lot less subtle: “Peter, that’s really nice, but I don’t date people like you. I don’t date men who put people in cages for a living.”
Ultimately, Mary’s found guilty of larceny and fortune telling and afterwards, Peter finds Cameron sitting on a bench in the park. He continues to flirt — in a way that’s more charming than creepy — and Cameron starts to soften a bit. When he asks her out for the third time, she replies, “It depends on whether you’re going to recommend jail time for Mary.” When he responds that he’ll offer two to six years, she simply says, “Wrong answer” and walks away. This time, though, she leaves with a bright smile, so you know that this is only the beginning for those two.
Peter reappears in episode four (“Clean Burn”), sitting in the back of the courtroom as Cameron finishes delivering her closing argument in a case. They engage in what, I suppose, counts as flirty banter among lawyers — debating whether Cameron’s closing was emotionally manipulative or if the facts of the case were against her — before Peter tries again to invite Cameron out.
“Look, it’s obvious we have two very different viewpoints. That’s good. Maybe it’d be productive for us to sit down, discuss these issues over drinks,” he suggests. “Not a date. I’m just trying to open an honest dialogue between prosecutor and defense attorney. And maybe like…10% a date.”
Cameron shoots him a wry smile and agrees to the 10%. Later, though, she has some second thoughts and so she does what every girl does when worried about a potential date: calls her girlfriends. EXCEPT…this time, those girlfriends are two other trans women (Angelica Ross and Jen Richards) and, suddenly, a conversation between three friends feels monumental.
— Angelica Ross (@angelicaross) July 9, 2017
Later, it’s Cameron who’s observing Peter’s closing arguments before she confronts him outside the courtroom. She hits him with the questions and emotions that have been simmering all day: “Am I some object of fascination for you? It’s just boring to answer all the questions and work through all the feelings and wonder and worry if you’re going to be okay, or panic, or just want to be friends because when push comes to shove, you don’t have what it takes to really date me.”
To his credit, Peter is unfazed and, for the moment, his honesty and humor disarm Cameron. But, ultimately, she ends up standing him up — he’s already at the restaurant when she texts — opting to meet her secretive pro athlete boyfriend (aka MVP) at his place instead. What she has with MVP might not be perfect nor public, but he’s known and facing it is a lot less scary than facing the unknown with Peter.
When the two meet again, the air between them is ripe with tension — Cameron’s taken a harassment case involving a freshman at Hudson University, Tess Pratt (Molly Kunz) who was raped by her RA and is now walking around campus with a billboard and flyers, warning people about her rapist. After the University and the police failed to intercede, Tess donned the billboard to help her regain some semblance of control. Peter’s the district attorney who declined to file charges in the case. He believes Tess’ story but can’t waste taxpayers’ money on a case where a conviction seems unlikely. That said, he passes along an anonymous tip his office got: the name of another student raped by that same RA. Cameron thanks him for the information and apologizes for standing him up.
Nick (Kobi Libii), a first year associate who’s helping Cameron with Tess’ case, convinces the other student, Sophia Armstrong (Juliette Goglia), to come forward. Her testimony leads to their rapist’s subsequent arrest and, thanks to a call from Peter, the dismissal of the harassment charges and Tess’ reinstatement at Hudson University.
After Cameron offers her thanks, Peter says something that makes it clear that he’s spent a long time pondering why she stood him up. He goes back to what she said the second time he asked her out—” I don’t date men who put people in cages for a living”—and addresses those concerns fully.
“Believe it or not, I don’t take pleasure in sending people to prison,” he says. “Locking somebody away doesn’t undo any damage. The victim’s still suffering, if they’re lucky enough to have survived. The defendant’s life is wasted, and the defendant’s family is punished for something that they didn’t do. Nothing good happens.”
That’s not what kept Cameron away from the restaurant that night but it’s enough of a signal to Cameron that he’s serious about what’s going on between them.
Eight episodes remain in Doubt‘s first and only season and, despite my misgivings about the show more broadly (and there are many), Doubt is worth watching because Cameron Wirth’s storyline is one they get very, very right.
Written by Heather
Here’s what you missed on Younger: Josh broke up with Liza because she cheated on him and then Maggie fell for straight girl and told Josh about it and then Josh slept with the straight girl who came to Maggie and Liza’s apartment later wearing Josh’s leather jacket that Maggie had returned the day before so Liza didn’t have to see him. What a tangled web of Williamsburgery! If you’re thinking the common denominator in all these problems is Josh, reader, I agree with you. Josh is fine, whatever. He’s nice. He obviously really loves (loved?) Liza. His weird banjo band does sound pretty authentic to my southern ears. But I can’t stay mad at Liza and so I shall continue to blame Josh for everyone’s problems.
The other person who can’t stay mad at Liza is Kelsey. I’d been worried their fight was going to drag on all season long, and that Kelsey was going to end up having sex with Josh, but that did not happen! The other thing I thought, halfway into this week’s episode, was that Kelsey was going to be forced to play nice with Liza because Liza was going to get a job offer to run a New Adult imprint at a different publishing house. The second thing did happen, but what made Kelsey move past her anger and go to bat for Liza’s promotion at Millennial was love.
When Liza and Kelsey returned to civilization after a weekend in the wilds at a publisher’s retreat, Liza’s phone went berserk with messages from her daughter and her daughter’s roommate. Her daughter’s appendix had ruptured and she didn’t go to the hospital because she didn’t have enough money for the copay. Kelsey took in Liza’s pain and worry and watched her FaceTime her daughter in the hospital and listened to her get real about money and how she never could count on her ex-husband for anything. With that perspective, she marched into Charles’ office the next morning and said to take the money out of her paycheck to give Liza a raise and a promotion. (Charles said he’d find the money, not to worry about it.)
Now that they’re all made up I can focus on yelling at Maggie that she’s got way too much experience in this world to get her heart broken by a straight girl! If only I could text her Erin’s eight chill tips for moving on!