Boob(s On Your) Tube: “The Fosters” (Kind Of) Goes There With Mariana and Emma

Goodness gracious, that The Bold Type finale. Also, did you see The Carmilla Movie trailer is here? Riese is recapping American Horror Story: Cult for you; her review of the first episode is right here. Our writers weighed in on their favorite queer shows this summer in a quick roundtable. And here’s what else is happening as summer TV winds down.


The Fosters

The MVP of The Fosters is consistently Cierra Ramirez. She can do anything. But my favorite thing is when she does comedy. For example, shouting, “MY OWN DAMN BROTHER?! THIS IS THE WORST PROM EVER!” when she sees Jesus kissing Emma who, only moments before, had been pretending to be Mariana’s girlfriend to put Logan’s girlfriend at ease because she (rightly) thinks Mariana is into him. I know I should be over girls kissing for fake reasons on TV, but unlike shows in the past that have used it to satisfy the male gaze and drum up publicity, this kiss came out of nowhere and was played for laughs, but not at the expense of queer women. Emma was just trying to be a good friend, and also she was drunk, and Mariana doesn’t think anything’s weird at all about being queer because her moms are lesbians. Also, you know I’ve been shipping Mariana and Emma since day one.

Also, honestly, Mariana deserves a good time at her own prom! She saved it from being cancelled by their supervillain principal by planning it from the ground up and executing it in the roller derby warehouse. Like in a day she throws a whole beautiful prom.

That wasn’t even the gayest thing that happened in The Fosters finale. The gayest thing that happened was Stef’s high school best friend and now-neighbor Tess admitting she was into Stef in high school, in a gay way, and wondering if maybe he marriage sucks because she’s gay. It was an inevitable confession and Stef handles it like a champ, especially considering the fact that the coming out is sandwiched between seeing her straight kid make out with her son’s ex-girlfriend and another one of her kids telling her that ICE has shown up at prom to Ximena.

The episode opens with Ximena giving an impassioned speech at an immigration rally talking about how Trump’s America is not the America she believes in, but outing herself as undocumented in the process. Stef’s idea is to arrest Ximena for something minor because she has jurisdiction over ICE, but Callie and AJ don’t wait for that to happen. While Stef is pushing back against ICE, she and AJ get in the car and go on the run with Ximena. She does let Stef know what’s happening as it happens, though, which means she’s learned something since last season’s finale. Stef tells them to go to a church and get Noah’s pastor mom to meet them there, so Ximena can declare sanctuary. It’s harrowing and heartbreaking and it aired the very same night Trump announced he was ending DACA.

Sometimes (a lot of times) The Fosters tries to do too much, but some of that too much is some of the best storytelling about current issues we have on TV. The episode ends with the ICE agents chasing Ximena, Callie, and AJ into a church, and then the three of them standing in the sanctuary with police lights flashing outside and turning the whole place red.


Killjoys

Written by Valerie Anne

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to finally get to write about Killjoys. For three seasons, I’ve been enjoying this fierce, funny, feminist show about a badass bounty hunter in space (Dutch) and her team (John and D’avin). The show has been shades of queer before — the bartender, Pree, is a staple in the bar that serves as a hub for the team; Delle Seyah Kendry was not shy about her affections for Dutch and Dutch hate-flirted right back. (My favorite exchange of those was when Delle Seyah said, “I snap and you come,” and Dutch quipped back, “You must be one hell of a snapper.”) but there wasn’t any real queer lady storyline to write home about…UNTIL NOW.

Okay, fast forward to Season 3, Dutch has learned that there’s a woman named Aneela who looks exactly like her running around, and she’s trying to figure out who exactly she is. She’s basically a meaner, slightly creepier version of Dutch, so when Delle Seyah finds herself face-to-face with this familiar but unfamiliar face, and that face wants to kiss her the way Delle Seyah always wanted Dutch to, she finds it hard to resist.

Maybe for Delle Seyah Kendry, it’s one part attraction, one part survival instinct, but all parts sexy and you can’t gal pal this relationship because they woke up together and very specifically talked about how great the sex was.

And even if it’s partly a power move on Kendry’s part, Aneela’s feelings are as real as her feelings get, because when she can’t find Kendry, she collapses in sadness. Gander, the grouchiest of the Hullen, shows Kendry that Aneela isn’t really as in charge as they let her thin and sends her off to get a “treatment,” he thinks he’s won. But he underestimated two things: How powerful Aneela is and how much she values the few she does care about.

So even though Aneela is taking a goo bath, Kendry’s screams cut through to the land of memories the goo transported her to, and Aneela’s connection to Delle Seyah ground her in reality. With the help of her handmaid, Brynn, and her feelings for Kendry, Aneela fully emerges from Gooville and she. is. PISSED.

Realizing her girl is in danger, she goes on a damn murder spree to find her. It’s beautiful. The women end up rescuing each other and they ask each other on the classic second date of torture and ice cream.

Aneela calls Kendry her tether, and the two start formulating a plot to end all plots.

Okay so while she was kidnapped, Kendry had been impregnated by a baby made from Aneela and D’avin’s DNA, which wasn’t what Aneela had intended (she was the one who developed the science to make it possible for Hullen to reproduce) but it doesn’t change the hungry way she looks at Delle Seyah, so it’s fine.

In the finale, Delle Seyah infiltrates Dutch’s ship, speaking of parlay, and telling Dutch something I thought was interesting: “Every proper villain is someone else’s hero. I guess she’s mine.” Delle Seyah had been almost murdered and left for dead, stripped of her power and her humanity, but Aneela gave her all of that back. Plus with bonus kisses. So Delle Seyah and Aneela work together to bring their plans to fruition and I won’t give too many details away in case you haven’t seen it yet but it’s a really great finale.

I will tell you my favorite exchange, because I think it encapsulates why my favorite Twitter nickname for them is Murder Girlfriends. At one point, amidst the chaos, Kendry sees Aneela, and before they part ways they share a mid-war/this-could-be-the-last kiss and Kendry says, “Be careful,” and Aneela responds simply: “Be brutal.”

Killjoys is set in that fun type of space world where sexuality seems fluid across the board, but it was nice have a canon queer relationship build and be pivotal to the main plot of the back half of the season, especially with a regular character who had been the most obviously into women to date (or at least into Dutch/Dutch-faced humanoids). The show overall has been just a delight every summer, with little things I love in it, like a sassy spaceship, really killer fight scenes, quips galore, a totally always-platonic friendship between a man who likes women and a woman who likes men, and of course, my favorite always, themes of found family.


Odd Mom Out

Written by Valerie Anne

Hey, Odd Mom Out had a queer storyline last night! The main character, Jill, finds out one of her fellow moms had a lesbians-until-Labor-Day affair with another mom and that one left her husband but the other didn’t, and after Jill encourages the one mom to follow her heart, she uses a boom box app to play their spin class workout song and they get together, living happily ever after (for the rest of the night) in the beaver exhibit at the Natural History Museum

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 884 articles for us.

26 Comments

  1. Well, I JUST commented on the other TV-related article how much I would love for Valerie Anne to write about Killjoys, so… THIS IS AWESOME! I’ve fallen head over heels in love with how this show handles representaton. Their attitude seems to be: they exist in the real world, so OF COURSE they exist in this fictional one, too. They are written as well-rounded characters who generally kick ass and who happen to also be part of a minority.

    Needless to say I highly recommend watching Killjoys! And if anyone needs more convincing besides Valerie Anne’s review, this comment by Tiny Valkyrie should do it: https://www.autostraddle.com/these-were-our-favorite-lesbian-and-bisexual-tv-shows-this-summer-393392/#comment-817870

  2. Between the doubled over laughs I got out of the Mariana x Emma make out session and the palpable fear/ pain/ worry I have for Ximena… I am still not over The Fosters finale.

    Top to bottom, that was one of the best episodes they’ve aired in a very, very long time.

  3. I have been meaning to catch up on Killjoys before I get bogged down by all the new seasons of my returning fall shows.

    I do remember the actress who plays Delle Seyah from Below Her Mouth. She was in that opening scene and quite a scene it was. I wish they had given her more to do in the movie because I found it mostly unbearable to watch with the lead actress who gave a very wooden performance.

  4. It was a mixed bag in soaps this week…let’s start with Bold….

    What seemed last week like a potential for Maya (Karla Mosley) to finally get a worthwhile storyline on The Bold and the Beautiful turned out to be the beginning of Zende’s exit storyline. As I mentioned last month, Rome Flynn is leaving the show, so the show’s ushering his character off the canvas while they search for a new actor to play Zende. Frustratingly, the writers chose to rehash an old story about Maya’s insecurity over Nicole’s (Reign Edwards) relationship with Baby Lizzy…which, quite frankly, wasn’t good the first time they tried it and is maddeningly tedious this time.

    Eventually, Maya convinces Rick (Jacob Young) who convinces Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) to offer Zende and Nicole the chance to design and model, respectively, in Paris. I imagine when we see them again, Zende will have a new face…

    Over on General Hospital… *frustrated sigh*

    Valerie, Kristina and Parker cross paths.

    This week, Kristina volunteers to take care of her niece, as her sister, Sam, keeps vigil at her comatose husband’s bedside. The outing doesn’t go as well as Kristina had hoped and she can’t get Scout to stop crying. Thankfully, though, Parker happens by and she’s easily able to settle the baby down.

    Kristina slyly redirects the conversation to their encounter at the Floating Rib and notes that it’s great to see Parker moving on after her divorce. The professor clarifies that she wasn’t on a date–just having drinks with a friend–and that she hasn’t dated anyone since her divorce. Parker explains her reticence to jump back into the dating pool and then apologizes for unloading her baggage on Kristina, given their fraught history. Kristina brushes off Parker’s concerns and calls their history water under the bridge. Parker pledges to follow Kristina’s lead and remain open to new possibilities. Parker recalls the scene she witnessed at the Floating Rib and just as Kristina’s about to explain what happened, Val walks up.

    Reading the situation, Valerie continues to pretend to be Kristina’s girlfriend which, again, seems to draw Parker’s ire. They exchange pleasantries before Parker leaves Kristina and Valerie to their lunch date. Once Parker’s gone, Kristina acknowledges her ex’s jealousy but admits that she doesn’t know yet what she wants to happen with Parker.

    So I can’t sugarcoat it: that was bad. I know people are like, “well, it’s a soap, what do you expect?” but it was a soap when they made me overlook the problematic dynamics between Kristina and Parker and feel invested in their relationship. “It’s a soap” is not a valid excuse.

    Molly calling Kristina inconsiderate? Kristina somehow forgetting how to take care of a baby? Parker suddenly having a sibling and an old friend in Port Charles that Kristina (and the audience) never knew about? The whole conversation about their relationship’s history felt divorced from what we’ve seen on the show previously. Kristina was confused and she’s sorry for hurting Parker? When did that happen? Also, why is this “mature version” of Kristina–who learned so much after her brother’s death–engaging in these juvenile games? I could really go on and on…everything about this week’s scenes were AWFUL.

    Was Jean Passanante, GH‘s former head writer who recently retired, the entire force behind this storyline? Is that why it’s so terrible now? Does whoever is writing this storyline even care about these characters? Have they even watched the storyline they crafted for over a year? It certainly doesn’t seem like it. Get your shit together, GH.

    If you want to watch the good and the bad of Kristina and Parker’s storyline, you can catch-up online here. Take your time, though, because based on the spoilers I’ve seen, we might not get new Valerie/Kristina/Parker scenes for a while.


    So, this week on Young and the Restless marked a real turning point for me in terms of how I think about this storyline. Since the talk of a Mariah/Tessa pairing first surfaced, it’s felt like this pairing has been on shaky ground. How would the show’s conservative fanbase react? Would TPTB be able to withstand whatever backlash came and push forward with the story? Would the new head writer build on the foundation that Sally Sussman laid or scrap it altogether? Would the writers be up to the task of crafting a same-sex love story in a way we haven’t seen before? Nothing about Mariah and Tessa felt certain.

    But the week started with the inclusion of Mariah and Tessa in the show’s promotional ad–which is kind of a big deal–and then continued with Mariah, Tessa or both characters being featured in every episode of the show this week. Suddenly, the ground beneath this storyline started to feel a lot firmer…and liking this pairing feels a lot less like setting yourself up for a fall.

    Still, the actual romance part of it is moving at a glacial pace…and while there is plenty of evidence of Mariah’s attraction to Tessa and Tessa’s deep affection for Mariah, they’re not being explicit about it yet. Eventually, this flirtation is going to wear thin and the audience will need more to believe these two as a viable couple, but for now, I appreciate the character development we’re seeing.

    Recapping the entire week of content would take forever, so, instead I’ll just encourage folks to check out this week’s episodes (or the clips). A few thoughts though:

    1. At some point, they have to put everyone out of their misery and end the relationship between Devon and Mariah. He’s still in love with his ex, she’s clearly falling for someone else…and it’s just painful to watch them pretend they want to be together for the sake of antagonizing Hilary.

    2. Relatedly: when this whole trafficking story wraps up and Mariah and Tessa are left to explore their feelings, the emotional fallout is really about Noah’s reaction, not Devon’s. It’s about how he handles the betrayal from his girlfriend and his sister. For the sake of drama alone, I’m glad they showed him some this week and I hope they’ll continue to build on that.

    3. I’m a fan of soaps tackling social issues so I really want to like this trafficking story but so far it’s falling a bit flat for me. It feels like the whole town is involved in finding Crystal and shutting down the ring, but, aside from characters that we just met, no one has a firm stake in the trafficking ring. Is the app that Zach’s working on tied to the trafficking ring? Is he using Newman money to buy safe houses for the girls? None of those connections have been explained or explored and the story is weaker because of it.

    • Hi 🙂

      While I do agree that the writing for Parker/Kristina has been woefully inconsistent, I think you were a bit harsh in your assessment of their recent scenes.

      First off, I don’t believe their recent conversation was at all divorced from what we’ve seen on screen and from what we know about their relationship. Parker clearly hurt Kristina when she left her a note and ran back to her wife after their night together. She apologized for that during their picnic and apologized again on the bench. I think that’s reasonable, as she still cares for Kristina and wants to make sure they can move forward on good terms.

      Kristina hurt Parker when she slandered her professional reputation online after being suspended from Wesleyan (as she admitted in their recent talk) and when she threw their friendship by the way side and tried to exchange sex for a better grade. Imagine thinking that you’re friends with someone, only to later find out that your friendship didn’t really matter to them at all because they just wanted something from you. I’m a thousand percent sure that’s part of the reason why Parker was so hurt and angry when we first saw her interact with Kristina on-screen. Kristina apologized for propositioning her the morning after they had sex, but this was the first time she actually apologized for slandering Parker online.

      Moreover, I don’t really see how it would be unusual for the audience to just now find out that Parker is an aunt. She’s a recurring character; we’ve barely seen her onscreen; we have to start knowing more about her one way or another and this was the writers throwing a tidbit out there. There was also no indication that Kristina didn’t know she had a sibling, only that she might not have known that she had a niece/nephew. (Parker’s 2nd interaction with Alexis indicates that she might not have the best relationship with her family, so there’s a chance she avoids speaking about them).

      Bottom line, Kristina and Parker developed some pretty intense feelings for each other over the course of a semester. But that doesn’t mean they learned everything there is to know about each other in those four months…especially when Kristina was suspended toward the end of the school year.

      And about Scout….any adult whose had a baby has struggled to get it to be quiet at some point. Kristina’s not a mother and she’s certainly not alone in her struggle with that.

      So yeah, I just felt like you were being overly harsh in some places. I understand that the story is frustrating because the chemistry is there but the writing has been bad recently…but it’s also not all nonsense.

      • @superfruitagent, thanks for the response. Even though we disagree, I’m excited to have another soap fan to talk about the show with…and I’m glad that AS readers have a counterpoint to my review.

        I think you’re right about the intense connection that Parker and Kristina built–Kristina even went so far to call it love–but that just makes the writers’ choices even more stupefying. Am I surprised that the audience doesn’t know that Parker’s an aunt? Not at all, but Parker says, “I don’t know if I ever told you this, but I’m an aunt myself.” They have this intense connection–developed over fireside chats at Parker’s house–and she never told Kristina that she was an aunt, even as Kristina told Parker all about her family? That just seems implausible.

        And I get that the writers might be retconning a backstory for Parker to establish her more firmly as a character in Port Charles, but still…this was so, so sloppy. GH‘s writers should be able to craft a backstory for Parker without diminishing the relationship she had with Kristina and without diminishing Kristina’s character (like making her look clueless with Scout when we know she’s an experienced babysitter).

        Anyhow, I hope the writers are able to right the ship because I really like both these characters and the natural chemistry between the two actresses. It’d be a real shame if that chemistry continued to be wasted.

    • I’m new to autostraddle and I loved your soap recap – big reason I joined! I was just wondering if you recapped the 2 previous episodes of General Hospital that involved Kristina and Parker? August 16, 2017 (picnic rug scenes) and August 28, 2017 (Valerie kisses Kristina)? If so, can you please direct me to the links? If not, would you consider recapping them as I’m interested in your take on matters? Cheers!

        • Hey Natalie!

          Thanks for your replay. My thoughts…

          Let’s start with the good! Truthfully, GH managed to deliver an organic, richly layered, and beautifully crafted love story between two women. Yes, the hearts of queer women all over the world were broken following Parker’s cowardly Dear John letter, but we believed. We were invested. When Parker returned for a second time, the prospect of joy turned to heartbreak again after Parker and Kristina had their difficult conversation, something that brought closure to both Kristina and Parker’s relationship, and for the fandom-even if they were seeking further relationship development and a happy ending. It was not unexpected.

          Now let’s discuss the bad! For TPTB to further explore Kristina’s sexuality would have been a true testament to their commitment and understanding of a queer woman character. Kristina’s journey, however, was stagnant, non-existent for more than a year. For crying out loud, Lexi Ainsworth won an Emmy award for her portrayal of Kristina-for this storyline-yet her character is virtually absent from our screens for more than a year? Inexcusable!

          The ugly! I sincerely hope I’m mistaken but it seems, by all accounts, the purpose of Parker’s return is simply to act as a catalyst for Kristina’s growth and to conclude the sexuality storyline-code for new romance with Valerie. For the record, Valerie has had less screen time than Kristina and the Kristina/Valerie relationship is anything but organic, it feels rushed-forced. TPTB have had an entire year to lay the foundations for a Kristina/Valerie pairing. Basically, we have 3 uncontracted actresses with no storylines of their own, all virtually absent from our screens for a lengthy period of time, and TPTB trying to interject a 10 minute Kristina/Val storyline in to a supposed days-gone-by Kristina/Parker storyline. The mind boggles and I literally have a headache from contemplating these matters. Whatever GH is selling, I’m not buying!

          The downright ugly! Parker is apologising to Kristina for not sending a note following Morgan’s death? Oh, writers, did you forget Parker sent Kristina a card? The predator dialogue has resurfaced. Alexis is back in helicopter-Mum mode. A supposedly matured Kristina is acting like an immature child, along with her sidekick, Valerie? This would be cute if it was toddler play group time. Parker at a lesbian bar giving a pool cue fifty shades of chalk? No. Just no! Do you not know Parker at all? An intended love triangle that feels anything but organic, to include a woman who professes she’s straight, repeatedly? Kristina’s heart eyes for Parker to lightning speed nonchalance after one kiss and less than 10 minutes of Kristina/Valerie screen time? Yes, Parker made Kristina aware she could be attracted to a woman, Valerie made Kristina aware she could be attracted to women not just a woman. But what happened to the Kristina who told Morgan,“The night we spent together, I never felt like that with anyone. If that’s not love, then I don’t know what is”? What happened to the Kristina who told Parker, “I want you, Parker”? Kristina was pining for Parker for a year, now confliction? Jaysus that was fast! I fully recognise this is a soap, that may be a reason but it’s no excuse. I expect at least a hint of writing consistency, please.

          Let’s face it, The Young and The Restless (Y&R) is simply getting shite done. TPTB have demonstrated their commitment; building a foundation, and carefully constructing this relationship in all the right ways. Admittedly, it’s a slow burn, but it’s smouldering, layer by layer, brick by brick-I’m invested! Furthermore, both Camryn and Cait are on contract, not recurring. These characters are also integrated into the canvas, involved in major storylines with other major characters, and their individual story’s exists outside of their budding relationship. This is reflected in screen time and character growth/development. The only genuine comparison between GH and Y&R are the lead performances and their natural onscreen chemistry; Camryn/Cait and Lex/Ashley have it in spades!

          Seriously, General Hospital should get their shit together, or leave the queer character storytelling to Y&R.The actresses deserve better. The fandom deserves better. Queer women deserve better. Shame on you, GH! Shame on you!

          A little tidbit… Daily Confidential have categorically stated that a love triangle between Kristina, Parker and Valerie was reportedly on the cards. The storyline was tabled at the eleventh hour due to Lexi’s schedule. Frank Valentini, in April of this year, also tweeted: “For her first experience, it made sense for [Kristina] to be drawn to someone older, but in the future, it’ll be some-one, however, her own age.” The writing is, and was always on the wall, but with Parker’s return I had renewed optimism. I was invested, again. I believed, again. I’m likely soon to be heartbroken-again.

          Oh, is there any chance Autostraddle can raise some questions with TPTB about Kristina’s storyline being table yet again?

    • I’m new to autostraddle and I loved your soap recap – big reason I joined! I was just wondering if you recapped the 2 previous episodes of General Hospital that involved Kristina and Parker? August 16, 2017 (picnic rug scenes) and August 28, 2017 (Valerie kisses Kristina)? If so, can you please direct me to the links? If not, would you consider recapping them as I’m interested in your take on matters? Cheers!

  5. Thanks for the Killjoys summary! I haven’t managed to watch this season because it’s not on my streaming service, but I still follow Killjoys Tumblrs and have been seeing the gifs so for a while I’ve been like “Did Aneela get Kendry pregnant?????”

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