Boob(s On Your) Tube: “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Black Sails” Put Bros Before Potential Love Interests

I am going to spend this weekend watching the new season of Grace and Frankie. What are you going to do? Rewatch Queen Sugar, I hope, because we finally have some writers to write beautiful things for you about this beloved show! Also, your prayers have been heard and Valerie Anne has written about Humans for you; look for that on Monday. Also, guess what else? Wynonna Earp is back and filming season two!

Also, Orphan Black has wrapped its series, which is sad, but also that means the final season will be upon us soon with ten more brilliant episodes. And Rosewood comes back next week. Until then, these are the TV things we published that I hope you read this week:

+ The Supergirl Musical Crossover Cemented Its White Bread Mon-El Problem

+ The Fosters Episode 417 Recap: Remember The Rain

+ Supergirl Episode 216 Recap: I Don’t Need a Prince to Save Me

+ 31 Most Critically Acclaimed Queerish TV Shows Streaming On Netflix and Amazon

+ The Good Fight Episode 106 Recap: Bad Troll Rising

And here’s what else.


Grey’s Anatomy

If Meredith had heard her take Yang’s name in vain like that, shed’ve murdered her dead.

The best thing about this week’s Grey’s Anatomy is Bailey hovering in the background and swooping in to meddle. First of all she does it when she finds out Arizona and Webber are fighting. She flits around behind Arizona while she’s making her rounds, trying to get her confess to her crimes, and when she does, Bailey is beside herself with glee. Arizona snaps, “You gave away his job.” And Bailey grins, “And you put your mouth on the person who took it. Mine was a business decision.”

Arizona and Webber finally talk it out and he says he thought she was on his team and she says she is — she didn’t expect to want to put her fingerbang on his competition! He takes a dig at her love life, but she calls him out for just being mean. He only keeps up the tough guy act for a second before relenting and agreeing that his feelings are just hurt. He’s going to get over it; he just needs a little time.

“Bros before potential love interests,” as Bailey always says.

The next time Bailey swoops in is when Owen and Amelia start in on each other in the hallway about babies this and who’s messed up worse that. Bailey’s frankly fine with it until Amelia invokes the name “Cristina Yang” right out loud for all the world to hear. That’s when she swoops in and nearly snaps their necks, but reaches deep for her benevolence and banishes them off to the stairwell instead.

I don’t want to talk about the cases of the week. They’re too sad. Cancer, of course, but also the death of a woman who was married to and still in love with her husband after SIXTY YEARS. Seattle Grace Mercy West has honestly never even heard of such a thing.


The Real O’Neals

I’m homeless but at least I’m not being written by Ryan Murphy.

Allison and her goldfish, Catfish Everdeen, moved in with The O’Neals this week, claiming her parents’ divorce at first but finally admitting they kicked her out because they found out she’s gay. No, she didn’t come out to them. They read her Jennifer Lawrence blog. And also saw her kissing her girlfriend. Eileen isn’t feeling it. Allison weirds her out and keeps startling her so much she throws punches Allison blocks with her (literal) catlike reflexes. Plus she’s eating like two boxes of frozen waffles a day. Eileen finally cracks and decides to let Kenny keep his lesbian when she overhears Allison’s parents say they’re sending her to conversion therapy. She also steals their pie as punishment.

I could’ve done without the overbearing Asian parents get schooled by middle American white mom thing. And I can continue to do without the thing where Allison is only in on the joke half the time. I am excited to see Allison more regularly, though. She’s very funny in a Luna Lovegood and Dara Morgendorffer’s lovechild kind of way.


Black Sails

Written by Valerie Anne

Bae before bay.

Eleanor is still dead. The episode after she died they made me look at her dead body for a solid five minutes. All while her stupid husband whose stupid fault it is she’s stupid dead was sitting there wallowing in his manpain. It was awful.

However, in this week’s episode, Max honored Eleanor’s memory in a few ways. First, she met Eleanor’s grandmother. Mustachio Jack went to talk to Grandpa Guthrie originally but soon learned that the Guthrie apple didn’t fall far from the tree and it’s actually Grandma who is secretly in charge. Jack, being one of the only men on this show who didn’t constantly underestimate the women (probably thanks to knowing Anne so well), knows his chances of getting through to Grandma would be better if he brought another woman who knows how to pull the strings behind the scenes was with him, so he brings Max with her.

Grandma is impressed by how far Max has climbed over the course of her life, and it’s clear she’s taken with her. Max goes to dress Anne’s wounds and tell her that she’s close to making a deal that would help them unseat the Governor, but Anne doesn’t want to hear it. She growls at Max for talking about the future like they’re in it together. She was glad Max didn’t give her a bullshit apology, but Anne says what they had is broken, and she’s not sure it can be fixed.

Max leaves, sad but not wanting to push Anne out of her comfort zone, and our old friend Idelle walks in. She says that Anne killed her friend Charlotte, and Idelle hates her for it. Wanted to have her killed, even. But Max wouldn’t let her. Idelle says Max has fought tooth and nail every day of her life, and despite having reasons to give up every day, she never does, and she fights on, and she might even win. And even though Idelle makes it clear she doesn’t understand why, Max wants Anne to be by her side when she does.

Later, Anne finds Max sitting outside in the snow. Max says she was offered the deal from Grandma Guthrie, but she said no. Anne sits down, perplexed. Max says Grandma Guthrie’s final step in the plan for a partnership to take over Nassau was to marry Max off. Grandma had assured her she wouldn’t have to sleep with her husband, he would just be the puppet, the face, she’d still be the one in charge, but she’d be married to this man she doesn’t know.

Max tells Anne that she has been in awe of Eleanor since the moment they met. The way she talked, the way she carried herself. She learned from her strength and her cleverness, even as she loved her. She learned for her weakness and her mistakes, even as she fought her. But in what would be Eleanor’s final days, when they were brought together by a common enemy and a common goal, Max realized that there was final lesson Eleanor had to teach her. Eleanor regretted not leaving with Max. Or at least was having second thoughts, wondering what could have been. Grandma Guthrie asked Max if Eleanor was happy, and Max’s face twisted up, perplexed, and she asked, “Happy?” like it was a word in a different language. Max doesn’t want to wonder, she doesn’t want to have regrets, she doesn’t want to make the same choice Eleanor made. Max is seeking out happiness in people over happiness in Nassau. Max is choosing love over power. Max is choosing Anne.


Legion

Leslie said it’s a Come As You Were in the ’90s Party.

Nothing gay happened on Legion but known bisexual Aubrey Plaza is going to get nominated for an Emmy for this thing and so Valerie wants you to know about it. This show is weird as hell and I don’t know how to explain it without spoiling it for you so what I’ll say is that Plaza plays Lenny “Cornflakes” Buster, a mental institution patient who turned into a phantom and then turned into a therapist. That’s bonkers enough, but what makes her role truly special is it was written for a middle-aged straight white dude. When Plaza got the part, she insisted they keep the role exactly the same, so there’s a brilliant androgyny to both the way she dresses and the way she acts. When you watch her work and you think about who the role was actually written for, you’ll get a subversive chill of delight right up your spine. Unsurprisingly, Plaza told Vanity Fair she prepped for the role by thinking a lot about David Bowie.

I assume she meant 1690s.

So, you know, put this on your radar. People keep comparing this role to April Ludgate, and Merlin knows I loved April Ludgate, but there’s something so dark and charged about Lenny that Plaza is just alive.

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer 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 928 articles for us.

23 Comments

  1. Just finished season 3 of Grace and Frankie and let me tell you, it’s a good one! Maybe my favourite so far and definitely on par with season 1.
    The music choices were superb, the characters as quirky, charming and loveable as ever and despite them addressing several new and old topis over the course of only 13 episodes, the cluster of connected storylines remained coherent and concise. There were so many funny and heartwarming moments I’m still a little teary-eyed.

    ps: My adoration for Lily Tomlin runs deep and this series does nothing to convince me that she is NOT a benevolent alien life form sent to earth to make our queer exsistence a bit easier through adorableness and laughter.

  2. I love the way Valerie Anne writes about Black Sails and it makes me want to finally watch this show even more.
    Everybody says Legion is so good and I don’t have time to watch it, uggh

  3. Ahhh I’m so glad Legion is getting attention! I’m so ridiculously attracted to Aubrey Plaza’s character, especially in the past couple episodes. Also it’s just completely unlike any other comic book shows I watch (in the best way).

  4. “Also, guess what else? Wynonna Earp is back and filming season two!”…yeah we know but like they’ve been filming season and actually they are close to filming the finale.

    Greys: This is what I can’t stand about Shonda Rhimes, after she puts her characters in the blender of emotions she’s always like “but I want them to be happy” or “they’re endgame” and it’s like if you want that do that instead of doing this other thing that just frustrates fans. Like she could’ve written Owen (even though he is not my fave) and Amelia happy, write in Caterina’s real life pregnancy and have them face conflict in other ways but nope their idea was just to recycle the same story he had with Cristina.

    I watched Parks and Rec with Aubrey but I was used to that character now I feel that every other character I watch for her it just won’t be April OR I will just remember how she went up drunk on stage at the MTV awards.

    Call the Midwife finished it’s season (series in the UK) last week but it’s not been mentioned in this column at all. They return for the Christmas episode around Christmas time (duh!) with hopefully more Patsy and Delia and then airing for 2 more years into 2020.

    Also Heather, one of the lead women on the Canadian show Workin’ Moms is 1/2 of a lesbian couple raising a kid, the show features Katherine Barrell too for all those WE and Haught fans (Kat is not 1 of the lesbian moms though, her character is more “that” mom). Something to check out if you can, though I think it only has 2 more episodes left.

    • @cyclone, I’m curious: did you watch Private Practice?

      Because, yes, they could’ve written in Caterina’s real life pregnancy and given Owen the family he’s always wanted, but it wouldn’t be true to Amelia’s character. Running is what she does.

      • Especially after the way she lost her first child. She still feels an enormous amount of guilt over that(due to the drug use). Not to mention it wasn’t that long ago that she relapsed. Amelia and Owen have been toxic for each other from jump. They seem to fall apart every time their is conflict so the last thing they need is a baby right now anyway.

    • Everybody says that Arizona doesn’t have any chemistry with Eliza but almost all the couple now have no chemistry and that includes Owen and Amelia. I never thought it was a good idea to pair them two but I was saying IF Shonda decided to do that then why just recycle what Owen had with Cristina.

      And I did watch Private Practice but half the stuff that happened to Amelia they don’t incorporate into her character traits on Greys. She ended Private Practice happy with that other doctor, she wasn’t dark and twisty I think Owen makes all his women that way.

      And helping Meredith raise the kids, I thought Amelia was in a place to that she could see herself having kids of her own. I know she won’t forget but she will move on.

      Maybe its me but most of the time I see Amelia as a sort of comic relief in the hospital but every now and again (mostly with Owen) she has these depressing moments, like I said Owen brings it out in all his women

  5. Oh, Wow. A Legion mention. It’s honestly one of my favorite new shows in years. It’s like no other comic book show on tv and that probably has a lot to do with why it isn’t getting nearly enough attention like the rest. If you went into it blind you wouldn’t even know it’s a Marvel show. It’s such a weird show that takes a lot of risks and the entire cast is amazing. I mean they put Jean Smart, Jermaine Clement, Bill Irwin and Aubrey Plaza on the same show people.

    I’m already exhausted by Babygate 2.0 with Owen and Amelia. Only in this case Amelia’s point of view comes from an even more emotionally place than Christina’s. Amelia had a child and she watched that child die in her arms. She doesn’t want to potentially be put through that again. Owen, for his part, is acting the same way he did with Christina and that was the beginning of the end of their marriage. Owen and Amelia should have NEVER gotten married to begin with. I can already sense where this storyline is going and it’s going to piss me off to no end if the writers eventually have Amelia change her mind just to give Owen the baby he so desperately craves.

  6. 1. I am halfway through the new season of Grace & Frankie and I FREAKING LOVE IT!!! As always.

    I know that it doesn’t necessarily overlap with the normal Autostraddle fare since there are no queer women featured, but I would definitely put this show up pound for pound as one of the most feminist sitcoms on TV (or streaming) right now. I love the primacy given to Grace and Frankie’s friendship and love for each other. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ways that they explore female sexuality after 65+. Which is something that almost never gets talked about! And is so important!

    I also love Saul and Robert’s relationship together and how they explore the terrains of coming out late in life. They are so sweet with each other.

    Plus, Lily Tomlin! She can do no wrong.

    2. The Real Oneal’s

    I can’t believe I still guilty pleasure watch this show. I think maybe it’s because I grew up a midwest catholic theatre gay? Anyway, I’ve come to the realization that my main problem with the show is how much I can’t stand Kenny- the gay teen protagonist. He embodies everything that I find frustrating about cis gay white men. It’s maddening! But, I find his siblings and parents funny and appreciate how much they support him.

    Which brings me to…. how much I loved the season finale and Alison moving into the house! I’m with Heather, I could have *really* done without the overbearing Asian parents stereotype and them getting lectured by a white woman. At the same time, the show is built around Kenny having such a charmed life, and I think it’s important that they acknowledged that not every gay teen is so lucky. A lot of us still get kicked out of our homes for being who we are. And those of us who do face that inexplicably painful reality are deserving of love and acceptance. Which is why I’m hopeful about the O’Neals extending their support system to Alison.

    We’ll see if they get renewed for next year (I suspect they won’t, but who knows). If they do, I think they have set themselves up to grow in new ways.

  7. 3. Grey’s Anatomy

    You guys, I have TRIED SO HARD! I have watched it live, and with fan videos, and cute gif sets. I have squinted and looked at it from different angles and picked it up and tried to look at it upside down! But, I CANNOT GET INTO ARIZONA AND ELIZA. It is so heartbreaking for me.

    I want to like them. I want Arizona to be happy! I want my favorite weekly staple show to have a queer lady romance that I can invest in. I want it SO BAD. But, my heart just won’t do it. I can’t find the chemistry between them.

    However, I would like to -even though this wasn’t gay- talk about the Jackson centric episode from two weeks ago! I floored with how much Jesse Williams has really grown as an actor. The whole scene when he finally gets the courage to introduce himself to his father- and then his father could only be bothered to talk about coffee? And how great his life has been without his son? The quiet reserve on Jackson’s face that just barely masked the sound of his heart shattering! It was so strong, but at the same time quietly vulnerable. I couldn’t take it.

    And Eric Roberts was such perfect casting!! Both as an actor and in the looks department. Jackson looked just like him! I truly believed that if Eric Roberts and Debbie Allen had a baby, it would come out looking like Jesse Williams.

    Ok, Fast forward back to this week- I am so with Amelia in this fight with Owen. I am not necessarily “with Amelia” in her choice of avoidance for the last few episodes, but I think she laid out very important points during their fight. INCLUDING that Owen suffocated Cristina over her lack of wanting a baby. It ultimately is what broke them apart (and his constant guilting her is one of the reasons I am still unable to enjoy his character).

    Owen has an obsessive need for a “normal” nuclear family that doesn’t line up with women he chooses as his partners. And that problem is not on the women in his life to fix. They are not broken “projects” that he can just make better by adding a baby. They are brilliant, strong, complicated women who have their own life priorities for their own reasons. He needs to deal with his hang-ups on his own.

    Bailey is the best: “ And your mouth on the person who took it. Mine was a business decision.” I HOWLED!!

    • You need the part of a deadbeat dad filled…call Eric Roberts.
      I don’t disagree with you about Jesse Williams’ acting, I’ve just never given it much thought. However, Jackson has has a stick up his ass for pretty much all of this season and most or seasons past.

      I think I stopped liking him when he interrupted April’s wedding or maybe before when the bus crashed and he wound up saving the kid and they had him walking back to the hospital in slow motion as the bus blew up behind him, I was just like “come on” making him be this big hero. Anyway that’s neither here not there.

      I liked the episode better than I thought I would but the bar was set pretty low since Jackson nor April are my faves and the episode was them centric. I don’t know how I felt about the story itself, I mean we knew really nothing about Jackson’s dad, but for some reason I feel like they changed maybe subtle history we may have heard to suit this episode and I find it hard to believe that this guy wouldn’t know what Jackson looked like.

      I understood why Daddy Avery needed to get out of the “family business” but did that mean leaving his family too? And then why did the family let Katherine stay on to run things? which I could understand if Daddy Avery died not just gave up the family name. That’s like now Avery staking a claim to the hospital and the Avery Foundation and everything. I mean I guess it could be argued that Katherine was keeping things afloat for when Jackson came of age so then why is she still running things.

      As for the climax of the whole episode. I understood both points of view, Daddy Avery was not a father to Jackson so why would he assume he was going to be a Grandfather to Harriet but I also don’t think Jackson gave him the opportunity to really tell his side of the story. I mean we met Grandpa Avery and saw how intense he was, there’s gotta be something there as to why Daddy Avery left. and Jackson just didn’t care to ask.

      Anyway sorry for the rant and that it was so scattered but nobody else has brought up this episode.

    • @c-p, as usual, you and I are on the same page with respect to the Jackson-centric episode–I thought it was great. Much like Bianca Lawson (to offer a timely Queen Sugar comparison), I think Jesse Williams has been shortchanged because of his looks and we haven’t gotten to see the full thrust of what he’s capable of as an actor. I was thrilled to see him get his chance to shine in that episode.

      One thing bothered me about the episode, though. When Bailey installed Minnick as the new head of the residency program, two people seemed the most upset: Meredith and Jackson. Before Meredith even mentioned hearing her mother’s voice echoing in her head, we knew why she’d take Richard’s side so forcefully. But we never really understood Jackson’s motivation…sure, he was close to Richard, but to be that fervent in his opposition to Minnick, Bailey and his mother over Richard’s demotion? It didn’t make sense.

      Except now it kind of does…here was the Avery Foundation driving away another father (figure) in Jackson’s life. I’m not sure, though, that that point was made clearly enough to provide context to Jackson’s behavior since Minnick came aboard. I wish they’d done that in this episode.

      (Also? I really wish April and Jackson hadn’t slept together. I’m not sure if that’s just because I really don’t like April or because it always feels manipulative to me to sleep with someone whose emotions are so raw…it’s probably a combination of both.)

  8. 4. I started re-watching Queen Sugar this morning over donuts and I just want y’all to know that it still holds up on second viewing!

    Not that I ever doubted.

    If you haven’t watched this show yet- it’s on Amazon and, depending on where you live, may still be available On Demand. Here is my broken record reminder that it’s worth seeking out :)

  9. I keep re-watching that last scene with Anne and Max in Black Sails and I still can’t get enough. It is just so perfect, like Anne’s shocked/grossed out reaction to the idea of Max marrying a random dude. Anne as a character doesn’t say much but the actress who plays her can show so much of what her character is feeling with one look. Max doesn’t even dare refer to what they had as a relationship, probably because it might piss off Anne or because they never really defined it. But she still is willing to risk losing everything for even a chance at repairing things with Anne. Knowing how hard Max had worked to get this chance at power in Nassau just makes her admission so much more powerful. Way back in season 1 and early season 2 I was upset Max and Eleanor weren’t getting back together but I really have come to love Max and Anne as a couple so much more. The director really did them justice. I looked her up and she also directed episodes of Orange is the New Black, Jane the Virgin, and Jessica Jones so I like to think she helped in giving those queer moments justice. I just wish they were given more screen time together because they really are such a great pairing. I’m still so angry about Eleanor Guthrie’s ending but I refuse to rant right now.

  10. So, before I jump into my regular BOYT commentary, I wanted to note that Lexi Ainsworth of General Hospital has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy for her portrayal of Kristina Corinthos Davis. Unfortunately TPTB at GH have dropped the storyline (as soaps are wont to do), but, for a while, they produced a really exceptional storyline about a college girl question her sexuality after falling for her lesbian English professor. You can watch the entire storyline, here.

    Prognosticators have Lexi down as an early favorite and, hopefully, a win will inspire the writers to continue to explore Kristina’s sexuality.

    Grey’s Anatomy: So, #unpopularopinion: I’ve never been a big fan of Arizona’s. I actually stopped watching the show for a while when Jessica Capshaw joined the cast because it felt like Grey’s traded in one blonde doctor for a younger, more perky version.

    As a consequence of that, I’ve depended on character development to build that emotional attachment. In the past, that’s development’s been abundant: the recovery from the plane crash, her work with the tiny humans, her mentorship/partnership with Karev and, more recently, her friendship with Richard. Right now, though, we’re seeing none of that, and it’s making it harder for me to cheer for Arizona in anything.

    That indifference aside, I did have three visceral reactions to Grey’s this week…moments that had me talking back to my TV:

    “Girl, what the f*** is wrong with you?!” – me to Maggie, after listening to her disrespect her mother for the thousandth time

    Listen, I get that not all black people are alike–we contain multitudes–but, perhaps, the most unrealistic storyline ever told on Grey’s is Maggie talking to her mama like that. Nope, nope, nope…

    “She right, though.” – me after listening to Amelia read Owen for filth

    There wasn’t a single thing that Amelia said that wasn’t true and I’m so glad someone laid all his shortcomings out for him to see. Now, if only I trusted Owen to have enough self-awareness to work on his own issues, rather than forcing the women in his life to overcome theirs.

    “Love is a damn lie.” – me as I watched Lewis walk out of SGMH

    I know that they had 60 years together but it wasn’t enough…they still had so much to give each other and to everyone around them.

    Jane the Virgin: Why did Michael have to die, again? Aside from everyone being three years older, is there anything that’s happened in the intervening years that isn’t exactly what was happening prior to his death? The most recent episode just made the time jump seem even more pointless…

    • I stopped watching Grey’s when Hahn left as well! I mean, it was part of a more specific “boycott ABC” phase I went through when they wrote Hahn out into the parking lot of no return, and also marginalized the role of the trans character on Ugly Betty.

      I did go back several years later and watch the Arizona-introduction years, and like her character, but only after I’d been able to separate those events. I like how she’s an unabashed lesbian. I like how she seems bright and cheerful, but has dark roots. She and Callie never seemed to quite be able to communicate, which was really a weakness of Callie’s over the years. And she and Eliza are awkward, but so are Riggs and Meredith? At least they are now. And certainly Amelia and Owen.

      I’ve never liked the Owen character. I don’t mind that he has issues. Lord knows they all do. What I disliked was that he tried to never acknowledge he had issues, or work on them. He just took them out on Christina. And I just have no more patience for that from cis het white male characters. He’s a nice enough guy. He’s a talented enough surgeon. He’s a terrible partner, because he doesn’t understand his own motivations for doing anything. And he’s drawn to women that aren’t going to make him face his shit, for whatever reason. I cannot forgive him for how his issues played out to Christina’s detriment. And it’s telling that the same issues are playing out again with Amelia.

      However, I can’t even blame him, because Amelia doesn’t stick around and discuss anything with him. She makes her own assumptions and jets. She complains about his smothering, but we didn’t even get to see that, because they never had one coherent conversation about the issue. It was maddening. Is maddening.

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