Welcome to your weekly queer TV round-up! Do you want to talk about Sense8? Here’s Mey and Aja and Gabby’s roundtable about it, as promised! Do you want to talk about Clipped, The Fosters, Defiance, and Complications? OK, here we go!
Tuesdays on TBS at 10:00 p.m.
Remember when Brittani interviewed queer writer/performer Diona Reasonover, and she told us about her new comedy Clipped? Well, TBS launched the first episode into the world last week, and it’s really cute! Diona plays Charmaine Eskowitz, a black Jewish queer gal who channels a healthy mix of April Ludgate and Casey Klein in every hilarious interaction she has with her customers and colleagues.
Clipped is a half-hour sitcom about a group of longtime friends who work together at a Boston barber shop called Buzzy’s. It’s very Boston. So Boston. It’s the most Boston TV show to ever Boston. The accents, the way the Celtics and the Patriots appear in every other conversation and on every other piece of apparel, the Sam Adams references. And also Norm works in Buzzy’s. Norm from Cheers! He plays a gay barber married to a gay cop played by the dad from Family Matters!
The creative team behind Clipped was also behind Will & Grace, which will tell you a whole lot about this show’s humor. Charmaine calls Norm and his husband Brokehip Mountain because of how they’ve been together 42 years. When their boss threatens to fire one of them to cut costs to pay for their healthcare, and then recants because he loves them all too much, she says, “And they say the douchebag’s heart grew three sizes that day!”
I think you should watch this. In the whole history of sitcoms, there have only ever been a small handful of queer female characters who play leading roles. This TV season saw the addition and cancellation of Marry Me and One Big Happy, so at this moment in time, Charmaine is it. She’s the only one. And she’s a woman of color! And she’s played by an actual queer woman! So, yeah, let’s give this one some attention.
Thursdays on USA at 9:00 p.m.
I wasn’t really psyched on Complications when I first heard about it, despite the fact that it boasted Jessica Szohr — who was awesome at playing awful Vanessa on Gossip Girl — as a lesbian nurse. The problem is that USA burned me good with White Collar, a similarly-premised show that also promised a woman of color playing a kickass queer character, but basically ignored her for five years in favor of straight white dudebro shenanigans. And in terms of white dudebro shenanigans Complications is a straight-up Dark Knight origin story.
John is a doctor who shoots a gang member to save a young boy and becomes a health care vigilante in his attempt to keep himself and the boy safe, but — praise the heavens! — Jessica Szohr’s Nurse Gretchen is the Nightwing of the whole shebang. Shebang. She’s John’s right-hand sidekick, but she’s bigger than that and will ultimately outgrow it and become a vigilante of her own. She’s misanthropic. She’s seen the system fuck up too much to believe she can do any real good in the world. So she decides to mirror John’s efforts to make real change, in really illegal and HIPPA-ly unethical ways.
In the pilot, John does some identity-switching between a dead and alive patient, and Gretchen changes a patient’s chart and helps her lie about having the symptoms of meningitis to get away from her abusive boyfriend. It’s dubious on both counts, but it’s also successful.
I hear this week Gretchen is going to take a hostage. Very excited for that. I always knew Vanessa Abrams was going to grow up to be a righteously indignant felon!
Fridays on Syfy at 8:00 p.m.
Doc Yewll only makes a brief appearance on this week’s Defiance, to patch up Datak Tarr when Stahma wheels him home with a gunshot shot wound, and also to let Nolan know that she’s not doing her doctorly duty because she owes him anything, so spare her the thank yous. (He drugged her and stole some of her Indogene skin last week, remember, for the purposes of healing the Omec daughter.)
Oh, but that’s not the queerest part of “Broken Bough!” Stahma and Datak have returned to Defiance on the orders of Rahm and the Votanis Collective, for the purposes of bringing down the town, but Stahama’s never only playing one game at a time. So yeah, she helps Datak plant some shrill-infested weapons to destroy Defiance’s stockpile so they’ll be defenseless when the VC shows up. But she also finds T’evgin hanging out at the NeedWant and starts working an angle on him immediately. Stahma is so good at manipulating people with her lies because she always mixes some real soul-bearing truth in with them. For example, Stahma tells T’evgin she can help him learn to coexist with the humans because she learned to coexist with the humans, because she fell in love with one of them. (KENYA! COME BACK!) He’s intrigued by her vulnerability, her knowledge of the ancient poems of his race — which, she’s quick to point out, would have been off-limits to her on the Omec home planet because of misogyny — and because she’s also coyly flirty with him. You flirt with a face that looks like Jamie Murray’s face, it’s going to get you places, during all phases of the apocalypse.
Kenya Rosewater gets another shout-out in the episode, which makes me think she/her clone will for sure return this season. Amanda nearly murders Stahma with her eyeballs when she and Datak roll back into town, and after Amanda has Berlin arrest Datak, she visits him in jail and shows him Kenya’s St. Christopher medal. Then, she forces him to bow down and swear his fealty to Defiance.
He does, but it’s a damn lie. A) The shrill. B) Rahm walkie-talkies a command for him and Stahma to blow up the arch.
It’s a bummer because Irisa could have killed Rahm when she and Nolan invaded the VC camp earlier in the day, but she’s got some PTSD from all the weird murders she did last year when she was the alien Jesus. Nolan, though? Still not trigger-shy. He shoots a whole bunch of Castithans at the VC camp, and then he shoots Pilar — who actually gets to say the phrase, “Come with me if you want to live” at one point early in the episode — after kidnapping back Alak and Christie’s baby. He returns the kid to Stahma and Datak, even though Irisa has a really hard time letting it go.
This week, maybe Amanda and Stahma will hate-fuck to get over losing Kenya? A girl can dream!
Mondays on ABC Family at 8:00 p.m.
Like I mentioned last week, we’re moving our coverage of The Fosters to Boob(s On Your) Tube because it’s just impossible to fully recap all the remarkable queer shows on TV right now. So:
This week, in honor of Father’s Day, Stef and Lena invited all their kids to invite all their dads over for brunch. Because Stef and Lena are saints on this earth, that includes Connor and his dad, who has spent his entire life on this show trying to thwart Connor and Jude’s attempt at being in big gay love with each other. The guest list probably also included Robert, but he decided to have Callie out to his yacht for brunch instead, because of course he did. Robert should have his own show called That’s So Robert where he sails around on his yacht and cries about all the things he thinks he deserves but doesn’t have, like his right to be called a hero for trying to blackmail a kid into living with him, or a daughter without mental illness, or a pony. (JK, Robert has ten ponies.)
Jude’s dad comes over, hoping that Callie will be there, ready to forgive him for drunk driving and killing her mom. But she’s not. Jude tells him right away not to worry about how he went to jail for DUI and murder and stuff because none of the other dads know and Jude won’t tell them. What Jude also won’t tell his Pops is the thing about the big gay love, something that pleases Connor’s dad immeasurably (“the less people who know, the better”), but comes out anyway because Connor’s dad screeches it when Lena tells him the boys are out at school. Jude’s Pa, he’s like, “Hey, you know what’s worse than getting bullied at school? Getting bullied at home.” He’s just happy that Jude found someone to love (and be loved by) in this cruel, unyielding world. Donald is a good guy who made some terrible mistakes.
Mike didn’t get Ana’s baby like he wanted, but Stef and Lena offer him a whole other kid: a teenage one named A.J., who you know as the guy who stole the spray paint that got Callie fired from her job at the foster center. Mike feels so good after noticing that Brandon is hungover — from getting duped into getting drunk with that mean girl at classical music camp, who was just trying to make him look bad in front of their teacher — and offering him some advice about not drinking and driving that he decides he will, in fact, foster that A.J. kid. First, he’s got to get licenses, so Stef and Lena invite A.J. to live with them and their eleven kids (and one shower) for a couple of episodes.
Sofia flips out at the yacht brunch, accusing her parents of plotting to send her away to Radley Asylum for the Criminally Insane because of how they keep whispering and shutting up when she walks into a room, but Robert finally confesses that they’re doing it because they’re separating. See, he didn’t think Jill had proven she was good enough to be with him, so he had an affair, but then she was so chill about the way he tried to buy Callie from Stef and Lena that he realized she did deserve him after all. But she’s kind of mad about the cheating, so I guess he’s moving to the yacht.
Callie realizes that humans are all awful and wonderful in their complicated ways, so she runs to the bus stop to forgive Donald for all the shitty shit he did. Like mothers, like daughter.
Mariana spends the day walking around the block with Ana, too afraid to go into her grandparents’ bakery for their Father’s Day event. She confesses about sleeping with Wyatt. Ana talks her off the ledge of self-slut-shaming, explains why maybe Mat didn’t want to sleep with her in public on the beach the night before he left, and finally escorts her into the open arms of her birth family for pastries and hugs.
At the end of the day, the kids give Stef and Lena some flowers because dads are good and everything, but loving, supportive parents are what matter, and Stef and Lena are the very best ones.
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