It’s Friday! You made it! Reward yourself with a cold glass of lemonade or a cold glass of beer (or combine them to make a shandy) and also with Boob(s On Your) Tube. This week our TV team published our favorite roundtable yet. (Do you have suggestions for TV-specific roundtables you’d like to see? Let us know!) Kayla recapped an excellent episode of The Bold Type. We made a list of 20 happy lesbian/bisexual romantic TV storylines to warm up your heart. Erin’s still lovin’ that heterosexual show, GLOW. And, y’all, Incredibles 2 is heckin’ gay.
Here’s what else!
Claws 204: “Scream”
Written by Natalie
We’ve known Quiet Ann, the lesbian lothario who works security and does pedicures at Nail Artisans, for 13 episodes now, but until Sunday’s episode, we never really knew her. With a brilliant performance from Judy Reyes, we really get to know Quiet Ann this week, in an episode that coincides with the worst day of her life.
Quiet Ann awakes to a call from the Department of Children and Family. They have a baby for Ann and her partner. Reyes’ face flashes with the hope and disappointment of someone who’s wanted a child for so long — remember, her parents took the child Ann had at 17 and sent it away — but the dream has been snatched away because the family that they would’ve invited the child into is no more.
“They call me Quiet Ann because I don’t talk much,” she reveals through her inner monologue. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a voice, whether or not I’m heard… Well, that’s another story.”
Heartbroken over her loss, Ann ignores messages from Virginia, Jenn and Desna and makes her way out of her beachfront trailer, in a wetsuit. Ann’s a surfer — here they call her, Surfer Ann — and, as she paddles out to catch the morning waves, we’re reminded that there’s still so much about Annalisa “Quiet Ann” Zayas that we don’t know.
With her future family out of reach, the timing is perfect for her actual family to reemerge – and by perfect, I, of course, mean awful. Everything is awful. Poor Ann. She hasn’t seen her family in four years but her brother, a charming closeted state senator named Henry, stops by the salon to invite her to celebrate her father’s birthday with them. Henry assures Ann that their parents have mellowed as they’ve grown older, but when Ann shows up to dinner later, she finds the same judgmental parents that she’s always known.
Her brother announces his gubernatorial run and their parents are elated, before the conversation shifts to chastising Ann for her life choices. They criticize her job — why work at a salon, when she has a degree and speaks five languages — and her lack of ambition. They bring up her ex-husband and encourage her reconnect with him. After all, he forgave Ann after she tried to kill his girlfriend.
“Mommy, you know I’m a dyke,” Ann shouts back, before excusing herself to the bathroom to calm herself. While the inhale of marijuana smoke calms her momentarily, the juxtaposition between her unforgiving mother and the mother Ann could’ve been is just too much for her and she sobs openly in the bathroom.
She returns to the table, lit AF, and refuses to be quiet any more. Believing that most of their dissatisfaction stems from disapproval of her sexuality, Ann outs her brother (oh, Ann, no!) as she sits back down at the table. To everyone’s surprise — Henry’s, Ann’s and mine — their parents could care less about his sexuality. Her parents didn’t disappear from Ann’s life because they were angry about her sexuality, they disappeared because she went to prison and hasn’t lived up to her potential since.
“Everyone’s gay!” Ann’s mother says, in that way that sounds initially like a joke, but then she adds, “I’m gay. Your father’s gay,” and you realize she’s serious. It’s like your favorite fanfic has come to life. EVERYBODY’S GAY! Ann’s parents have been each other’s beards for years and “Aunt Cecilia” was really, Ann’s mom’s girlfriend, on the low.
Later, back at the salon: there’s always been an unspoken hierarchy to Claws, but the crew’s successes and failures have all been collective ones, rooted in friendship. Zlata, the leader of the Russian mafia that’s taken over the pill mill/money laundering operation, wants to affirm Desna as the Boss. After years of struggle and getting no respect from the higher ups, Desna buys into Zlata’s philosophy, treating her crew more like employees and less like friends. She orders Ann to pick up supplies, to drive her back to salon, to rub her shoulders, to clean the bowls in the pedicure stations and to muscle the construction crew into finishing their work on the new clinic and Ann does it all, begrudgingly.
But when Desna is about to realize the dream that Ann so desperately craves — the one she gave up to protect Desna — Ann has had it. The dam breaks and it leads to a scary confrontation between Ann and Desna.
She blasts Desna, “You haven’t even been there for Jennifer. And you haven’t even noticed how unhappy I’ve been! You’ve been so caught up with Zlata and [Dr. Gregory] Ruval and having it all, right? What do I have? What do I have?”
In her defense, Desna (and us, TBH) didn’t know the full extent of Ann’s relationship with Arlene because Ann never told her but Desna also never bothered to asked. Apologies are offered — though the reconciliation, particularly with Polly, seems tenuous — and the girls encourage Ann to go back to Arlene and try to patch things up, especially now that Arlene’s no longer a cop.
For a moment, it looks like Ann might get her happy ending…not the kind they’re serving up at the strip club formerly known as She She’s, but an actual, real life, happy ending…but even as Arlene seems amicable to a reconciliation, she’s shown, with a badge on her hip, stuffing Dr. Brickman into an unmarked police cruiser. She’s still a cop AND Ann has just confessed to drugging her on voicemail!
Oh, Ann, we were so close.
Detroiters 202: “Jefferson Porger”
Written by Carmen
Comedy Central’s Detroiters came back this summer for its second season, but you’d be forgiven for missing this little sitcom that could during its first debut last year. Unless you love Saturday Night Live/ UCB/ Second City style sketch comedy or hail from Detroit yourself (I do!), there was little reason for you to check out a bro comedy about two best friends who run a struggling advertising agency together in America’s Comeback City.
Well, the television pickings are a little slim this summer, so you might have free space on your schedule. I’m here to tell you that Detroiters will gleefully help you pass the time! It’s super easy to pick up, no need to start at the beginning! Detroiters is a goofy, eccentric, heartfelt love letter its namesake city. Show creators and co-stars Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson are both from the metro Detroit area and purposefully film the show there. That’s important. Almost every mainstream depiction of the Motor City is grim and broken — no one leaves room for joy when they’re talking about Detroit. And that’s shameful, because it’s a city filled to the brim with life and laughter. There’s a reason that so many comedy greats (Lily Tomlin, David Alan Grier, Keegan Michael Key, and, ugh, Tim Allen) were born and raised in the D.
Detroiters is produced by Lorne Michaels, so in addition to local celebrities, you can bet on lots of cameos from SNL alums if that’s your jam. The main protagonists, Sam and Tim, are mostly enjoyable, silly, dudes who can be a bit self-centered, but learn from their mistakes and love genuinely (they both remind me a bit of Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta in Brooklyn 99). Most importantly, and obviously the reason we’re all here, drumroll there’s a queer woman of color rounding out the supporting cast.
Lea works as Sam and Tim’s video assistant. She was a recurring character throughout the show’s uneven first season and has a bigger role in its already stronger second season. Her sexuality is subtly revealed in the second season’s second episode, when a co-worker, an elderly white woman named Sheila who has been with the advertising firm since their 1950s Mad Men style heyday, makes a bad joke.
You see, Sheila and Lea are off to have a “No Boys Allowed- Girls Only” lunch, which Sheila is delighting in as a throwback to her youth. She teases on her way out the door, grabbing Lea by the shoulder and winking at their male co-workers, that “we’re not that way.” It’s off-color, sure, a joke from a bygone era and definitely a microaggression, but Lea doesn’t seem too bothered by it.
Later at lunch, the two are doing some major cross-generational bonding, laughing over sandwiches and lemonade, when Lea’s girlfriend Scarlet pops over to bring Lea her missing keys and a gentle kiss on the lips. It’s sweet, simple even. And all the color drains from Sheila’s face.
For a second I worried that Detroiters was reaching for the obvious “old people are homophobic” storyline. Instead they make a delightful swerve. Sheila’s broken up because she immediately recognizes how offensive her joke from earlier in the day was to her new friend. She doesn’t want Lea to think, and I’m quoting directly because it’s too adorable not to, that she’s “racist against homosexuals.” No, Sheila may be an old white woman, but she’s no bigot! And she’s gonna go out of her way to prove it!
The rest of the episode is basically Sheila endearingly tripping over herself time and again in some sort of “ally Olympics” for Lea. A rainbow flag for the receptionist desk! A 1970s style pin up model for Lea’s office wall! At one point Sheila even hires her next door neighbor to pretend to be her lover (lol), just to prove that she’s down with the gays. Whatever it takes! The hijinks are sweet and Lea finally gets her to calm down. She knows Sheila’s heart, and she recognizes the earlier mistake for just what it was. Awwww, you guys!!
Anyway, Lea’s played by Lailani Ledesma, a local Detroit actress who landed the part because she happened to be working her shift as a waitress when the show’s producers were eating at her restaurant. It’s a local girl getting her big, national break and if that’s not enough to warm your heart, I don’t know what is.
Ackley Bridge 205
Having learned absolutely nothing from the mishap with the dating app last week, Nas ventures in again to the digital dating world. She’s indefatigable — swiping left and right, chatting with prospective matches — much to the frustration of her mother, who wants Nas to put down the phone and open up to her instead. But Nasreen persists and, eventually, “meets” Sameera, a young Pakistani lesbian who’s recently come out to her husband. Having someone who sees truly sees her (figuratively speaking, of course), compels Nas to open up in ways she hadn’t before…in a way she couldn’t before.
“[My mom] really went out of her way to try and understand me, what I was going through, how she could help,” Nas admits to Sameera. “I think somewhere along the line, one of us just stopped listening.”
The only thing? Sameera doesn’t actually exist. Nas is being catfished by her well-intentioned, but totally invasive, mother. When the truth comes out — in perhaps, the worst way possible — Nas is livid, both with her mother and her best friend, Missy who seemed to be in on the joke. Ultimately, after commiserating with Naveed, the gay boy she was once about to marry, Nas decides to stop trying so hard to chase love and trust that it’ll come to her.
There’s a moment in this episode when Mrs. Paracha tells Missy that when the community finds out about Nas’ sexuality they’ll “rip her to bits.” It gets lost in the humor of this show but the stakes for Nas are impossibly high and so ensuring the strength of her support system is just as important as getting Nas the love interest she deserves. I loved seeing it. — Natalie
Queen Sugar 306: “Delicate and Strangely Made”
Natalie told me that Charley’s newly hired private investigator may be a lesbian, or at least she mentioned an ex-wife, but honestly I don’t know. What difference does it ultimately make? I haven’t watched since Nova kissed Remy. It hurts my heart too much. I’m always happy for representation, and a queer side character with a small role is still better than nothing, but given what’s going on with Nova – this all feels a bit like salt in the wound. I promise to pull myself together and catch up before our next BOYT and then we can talk more then. Ok? — Carmen