Boob(s On Your) Tube: We Are Not American Horror Story’s Michigan Lesbian After All

This was such a week! Riese wrote about TV not one, not two, but three times! She reviewed the new season of One Mississippi, and also Top of the Lake: China Girl, and also mini-recapped the latest American Horror Story (below). Our staff weighed in with some Emmy predictions. We’ll be live-blogging Sunday night; I hope you’ll join us!

Here’s what else.


American Horror Story: Cult, Episode 702, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Written by Riese

This week on American Horror Story, I cemented my suspicion that I am not, in fact, the Michigan Lesbian. Maybe you saw the tweet? A witty lady named Gabi RT’ed our tweet about this season of American Horror Story being about a Michigan lesbian horrified by the election of Donald Trump and said “we are all the Michigan lesbian” and it was RT’ed a billion times, including by me, because it felt true.

But my friends! It was not! WE WERE ALL WRONG. None of us want to be the Michigan lesbian. Due to my endless wells of love for Sarah Paulson, my persistent public whining about needing screeners, and a popular mainstream show centering a lesbian couple, I’d promised to recap this season but I just can’t — I’m gonna do Boobs Tube mini-caps. This one is longer than usual though ’cause I’d written a regular recap draft prior to deciding not to write a regular recap and listen, you don’t need to know this, it’s too many words already.

So! This week’s episode created all kinds of boogeymen and bizarre characters taunting and terrifying Ally into hysteria while making no legitimate point or solid political statement, thus undermining itself at every turn.

The opening scene sees Ally waking up circa Very Late O’Clock to find that a monster or somebody in a monster mask has crawled into her bed, a la the Big Bad Wolf. Is it real? I don’t know. You don’t know. Ally doesn’t know. But she thinks she knows! She runs wildly into the kitchen to find her wife and grab a knife, which’s a good thing to have when you’ve lost your shit and your roommates are mortal, exclaiming “THIS CAN’T BE MY IMAGINATION!”

This is fine. This is fine! I’m the butch here, I can kill this spider. Ally’s gonna be so impressed. I got this! This is totally fine.

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” says Ally’s partner Ivy. Have you ever put a stack of paper plates on a table, and then picked up one paper plate, and then set it on your windowsill and taken a few steps back and stared at it? That’s Ivy’s personality. Ivy has been “taking this” for like a week or maybe a month or several? Who can say. Maybe it’s been years, who’s to know. Does Ryan Murphy know? Do any of us know anything? Are we going to war with North Korea? Is the earth on fire? I don’t know. Unlike me, Ivy likes to draw definite boundaries around how much emotional torture she can take simply because she owns a house with somebody, loves them, and feels responsible for their emotional well-being. So, the local lesbian couple stalk around the house with a knife, eventually landing back in the bedroom.

Ally doesn’t know what’s real anymore. Ivy does: “What we have together? This is real.” But their Intro to the Concerto to End Lesbian Bed Death is interrupted by Oz, who was having Twisty the Clown nightmares. But aren’t we all, America? Aren’t we all.

From there we move outward into the local community, where mobile phone video taken by Meadow and Harrison (who turn out to be Ally and Ivy’s new neighbors of suspicious and unclear political affiliation) has gone viral. The migrant workers who beat Kai up after he threw actual urine at them have been shipped off to ICE, and Kai has a mouthpiece, a man-bun, and some bruises. He says Trump was right about immigrants being rapists and criminals. He’s running for City Council. His platform is “I will take your fear away.” The world is on fire. “Look at my face, Michigan!” Kai declares. No thanks!

Kool-Aid? You think I could’ve gotten this result with Kool-Aid? This is MANIC PANIC. Write that down.

Ally is suspicious of the new neighbors, who’re moving into the Changs’ former home with a truck full of dead-body size barrels. An emboldened white supremacist employed by Ally and Ivy’s restaurant wants to fire all the immigrants, especially Pedro, but Ally says “I won’t fire an immigrant in this climate.”

DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING SINGING THE SONG OF ANGRY MEN

Winter, world’s worst nanny, continues giving Oz the gift of eternal nightmares, which includes a Twisty the Clown doll. He’s mad at her for telling his Moms that his story about the Changs’ murder was bogus, but she insists it’s okay. They just thought he was imagining things. Listen, my Lesbian Mom fired a babysitter for letting us watch America’s Most Wanted one time. I would definitely fire Winter in this climate. Also I still have nightmares from that episode of AMW. “People are going to believe what they are going to believe.,” says Winter. “The trick is figuring out what they want to believe, and then giving it to them.” Okay but Oz is eight.

Ally is terrified to arrive home and find that Winter has let Oz wander cross-street to engage with the new neighbors, and so Ally and Ivy head over to retrieve their lost boy. Harrison and Meadow are super-honest clearly-duplicitious beekeepers who pounced on the Chang house knowing it’d be discounted on account of being a Murder House (see also: AHS Season One: Murder House.) Harrison is gay, and Meadow had skin cancer and doesn’t like being touched, so that’s how their marriage works. Also a deep love for Nicole Kidman. They’re co-vice presidents of the Michigan chapter of the Nicole Kidman Fan Club. Meadow invites them in for some Crystal Light Lemonade, which is offensive.

Look Mom it’s Billy Eichner from Billy on the Street!

Samantha in the Boardroom. Miranda in the Bedroom. I know it’s not ideal, but it’s who I am.

When the alarm at the restaurant is triggered later that night, Ally volunteers to go check it ’cause Oz clearly fears being alone without Ivy and sending Ally to the restaurant alone at night to check for a break-in is supreme Horror Movie logic. Once safely inside the dark knife-filled chamber of horrors, Ally is drawn to the meat locker where she finds, among the dead carcasses of animals, AN ALMOST-DEAD ROGER, who quickly becomes a Dead Roger. I hated him, bye.

Ally reacts to this event by putting bars on their windows and doors and allowing Harrison and Meadow to give her a gun just in case.

Honestly, we moved to Michigan for the deer hunting.

Ivy brings Ally’s creepy psychiatrist home with her to have a little talk with his client, and then Ivy leaves to “pick some herbs for the restaurant” which I hope is code for medicinal marijuana. Ally tells her psychiatrist that she’s been skipping appointments ’cause feels vindicated. “My phobias were a perfect reaction to what I instinctively knew was true,” she tells him. “The world is fucked up and the election made it worse. and I’m gonna do whatever it takes to keep my family safe.” She also explains that she had a “kneejerk liberal” response to the offering of The Gun, but then got over it, which is foreshadowing.

Detective Samuels, a grown-up Child of the Damned, wants to pin Roger’s murder on Pedro, because he’s racist, and he sends cops to Pedro’s home to check his papers even though Pedro is a U.S. citizen. “It’s scary to be brown these days,” he notes. And yet this show is about a white woman who is afraid of honeycombs and clowns and voted for Jill Stein.

Could you go back a few clips and just explain again how it is that lesbians have sex?

….

Kai stops by AllyIvy’s to campaign for City Council and say forboding, terrifying things like, “You need to give a humiliated man some way to redeem himself in his own eyes or else he’s at risk to be drawn into darkness, like Germany after World War I.” Ally denies him the opportunity to come inside and speak to her about some of his ideas, so he resorts to yelling about her iron bar doors and how she’s clearly not the bridge-building liberal she claims to be hiding behind her iron gate and holding a knife. “It’s so easy until it’s you they’re coming for,” he says, baring his teeth.

Winter, who’s already gotten Oz to take the same pinky-promise pact she made with her demented brother, refuses to tuck him in, and when he asks if the monsters he sees in his dreams are real or not, she tells him just to ask them!

She then moves on to Ally, who’s staring at a bottle of Xanax. Winter informs her that Xanax is not the only way to unwind. For example, has she tried “red wine, bath salts”? Upstairs in their totally chill and normal bathroom, Winter draws a bath like she’s planning to murder a small animal or tie-dye some very delicate underthings, or else, you know, try and squeeze her way onto the LGBT Characters in a Drama Series wiki page by engaging in light bathttub petting with a lesbian, JUST LIKE SHE DID TO SAM IN SCREAM QUEENS. But just as Winter lowers her definitively heterosexual nails between Ally’s legs in hopes of fingerfucking a horror movie into Ally’s cervix, the house alarm starts blaring and all the power goes off.

Uh nope, that is also not my G-Spot

Ally’s grabbing candles and flipping out, Harrison stops by to yell LESBIANS WE’RE UNDER ATTACK, THE BLACKOUT, IT’S TERRORISM!, and Winter flees the scene ’cause her ceramics are at home. When Ally calls Ivy at the restaurant, her phone dies, sending Ally into an even hotter panic. She grabs her poor child Oz, oh and also HER GUN, and just runs maniacally around the house like a lunatic. Meanwhile, Ivy puts together a care package for Pedro to deliver to her panicking wife.

You know where this is going, yes? Pedro heads over to AllyIvy’s with the box. Ally is running around with her poor child Oz and ALSO HER GUN. Pedro knocks. She’s startled. Before looking to see who’s at the door — killer clown or normal human? — she shoots.

At which point I put away my proverbial pen and screamed into a pillow.


Younger

Written by Heather

We don’t make mistakes.

Just happy accidents.

You know what, this season of Younger, which ended this week, was just a goddamn delight. I’ve been ambiently warm about this show since it began but this season I actually legitimately loved every episode. I know, man, it’s surprising to me too: It centered on a straight love triangle. But it’s one that made sense and both dudes are really stand-up guys who love Liza for all the right reasons. But that’s not why I loved it. I loved it because it explored Kelsey and Liza’s relationship, both personally and professionally, in a refreshing and honest way after Liza came out about her age. I loved it because Kelsey got to be a bigger badass than ever in her career. (And I’m just a Hilary Duff stan, from way back.) I loved it because Maggie’s storylines were just so Maggie. And I think they took really great advantage of being in New York City this season in ways they hadn’t before. Ways that felt way more organic than Sex and the City ever did.

The finale finds Maggie and Liza flying to a small Irish town on a moment’s notice to attend Josh and Clare’s green card wedding. He says he just wants to see where it goes, you know, because he has something special with this girl and it’s not going to get to run its course if she can’t come back to New York. But then later he says the thing that’s no surprise to anyone, which is that he’s just gotta put a ring between him and Liza. This after he shows up drunk in her room and kisses her 12 hours before he’s supposed to tie the knot. Liza keeps the kiss from turning into something more, even though she’s tempted after she see Charles and Jessica Stein on Good Morning America talking about how they’re almost a happy family again. It’s a ruse! Jessica Stein does still love him and is trying real hard from the guest bedroom but he’s only got (heart) eyes for Liza. He calls her at the end of the episode but her phone is in a basket with all the other phones at the wedding.

However! The main wedding event is that Maggie hooks up with Clare’s mom. They bond over tea after Clare’s mom pulls her out of a peat bog with a tractor and then asks if she can show Maggie some of her art. Maggie’s eyeballs nearly pop out of her head when she sees the painting, which Clare’s mom says she’s been just creating on repeat since her husband died. She describes a landscape (kind of) but it’s definitely just the gayest paintings you’ve seen since, well, Jane the Virgin:

Anyway, Maggie obviously sleeps with her and when she tells Liza as Clare’s walking down the aisle she just rolls her eyes because of course. TV Land has already renewed Younger for Season Five, which feels just right to me.



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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Heather has written 572 articles for us.

21 Comments

  1. I think it is time Maggie becomes more than just the sage advice giving sidekick. They tempted us this season with a few potential long term partners for her but they all fizzled, would that be out of character for Maggie? How would we know we barely know Maggie.

    It surprised me when Josh showed up at Liza’s because he and Clare seemed to really be connected. I think Josh should move on though I had hoped it would be with Kelsey, anyway I want Liza with Charles.

    Pauline/Jessica Stein/Jennifer Westfeldt just annoys the shit out of me. I won’t be sad to see her go (hopefully soon).

  2. AHS is so bad. I can’t even explain. The only thing that keeps me watching is seeing two queer women have a normal relationship who love each other. But the rest upsets the hell out of me, I can’t deal with the slurs it feels like I’m being slapped in the face.
    I don’t know if I should be offended by:
    +the story centering around fears of being a minority, but the cast is pretty much lily white. And no that one guy does not count.
    +The two women seem tropey. I am happy there is a story surrounding a gay couple, but some of their fears feel like punishment for being gay. I feel like their relationship could be stronger.

  3. Ryan Murphy is the absolute WORST. He’s that subtype of gay man that idolizes divas, yet somehow simultaneously doesn’t actually respect women. If you’re not Cher or Joan Crawford, you’re useless.

    Gay misogyny is a special brand of misogyny, and usually for this type of guy, lesbians are the bottom of the food chain. Yes, he includes lesbians in his shows, but let’s look at his track record… the lesbians (or women who have queer relationships) in his shows always get crappy treatment. Santana and Britney’s magical disappearing, reappearing relationship in Glee, Paulson’s torture in Asylum, the “predatory lesbian” in Scream Queens. The only surprise in this season of AHS is that anyone thought it would be good in the first place.

  4. I’m so disappointed Diana and Maggie still have not met! I’ve been waiting patiently since Diana told Liza to set it up and… nothing. But otherwise this season has been great.

    AHS, on the other hand, I cannot bring myself to continue watching at this time.

  5. On-screen happenings this week on soaps were slim, but there were some fireworks off-screen, so let’s talk about it…

    After appearing on-screen everyday last week, Y&R dialed back Mariah and Tessa’s appearances to just one day this week. In the episode, Tessa’s still upset about not being able to locate her sister and Mariah’s trying to comfort her. Devon calls, wanting to clear the air with Mariah about their relationship, but she’s determined to stay and support her friend. Tessa urges Mariah to go, as she’ll have Noah to keep her company. As Mariah collects her things, Noah arrives and kisses Tessa on his way in…and Mariah’s face flashes with hurt, disappointment and a little jealousy. She rushes past the couple and to the Athletic Club, where Devon awaits.

    There, Devon apologizes again for standing her up, but she acknowledges that her anger is about more than that. She laments that Hilary might be right and that maybe there’s a better person out there for the both of them. Devon assures her that she’s the person he wants to be with and encourages her to give them another chance. She ultimately agrees but the look on her face afterwards suggests that she’s not convinced.

    Meanwhile, Tessa’s trying to tell Noah about her latest attempt to get her sister back, but he’s consumed by the expansion plans for his new chain of clubs/bars. Noah invites Tessa to play for a tour promoter that’s coming to town and at the grand opening for the new franchise in Ann Arbor. She’s so touched by the gesture that she opts against telling him that she’s been leaning on Mariah (again) instead of him.

    A pretty low-key week for the pairing but things should ramp up again in the next two weeks, if spoilers are to be believed. As short as their time this week was, though, it also felt like the most “concrete” affirmation of Mariah’s feelings that we’ve seen in a while–you can explain away a lot of the stuff that’s happened between Mariah and Tessa, post-kiss, but the look on Mariah’s face as the woman she likes (loves?) kisses someone else is unmistakeable. Hopefully, subtext will become text with Greg Rikaart’s return next week.

    Two final things on Y&R: first, the actress that plays Tessa, Cait Fairbanks, is a legit singer-songwriter, you can check out her work (including some of the songs she’s performed on the show) online. But, what you can’t check out online at the moment is the Mariah/Tessa storyline, which CBS has had taken off of Youtube. This seems unbelievably short-sighted and really indicative of how much Y&R remains stuck in the old mode of doing things, even as they progress with this same-sex storyline.

    The big news from General Hospital this week happened off-screen, as Daytime Confidential‘s Jamey Giddens revealed on the DC podcast that GH‘s writers were (are?) planning a lesbian love triangle between Valerie, Kristina and Parker. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask), according to Giddens, TPTB at GH were short-sighted and didn’t secure contracts for the three actresses, leaving Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina) free to find primetime work (which she did). Now, that storyline’s been tabled.

    I’ve never been one to harp on the contract situation–soaps have told plenty of good story with recurring players–because it never seemed like Lexi or Ashley were really interested in long-term deals. I do wonder, however, how much of that is about their desire for flexibility vs. an awareness that GH doesn’t have long-term plans for its characters. Ainsworth was great in the early parts of the Parker/Kristina story–she even won an Emmy for her work–and they rewarded her by not talking about her sexuality (or really, anything about HER) for nearly a year. Why would she sign up for that, long-term?

    The bigger issue for me, of course, is that I have zero faith in the writers to do a lesbian love triangle justice. If they’d spent the year since Parker had been gone, building the friendship/relationship between Kristina and Valerie, then I could see it working, but they didn’t do that. Instead, Kristina and Valerie are tossed together–expected to forge this close connection overnight–and we’re supposed to buy her as viable competition for Parker? No one’s going to buy that, no matter how good Ainsworth and Brytni Sarpy (Valerie) are.

    I hope the writers take the break that Ainsworth’s primetime gig offers them and really think about the story they want to tell. They have three really talented actresses and a fanbase that’s waited an entire year for this…they deserve better than the drivel they’ve been given.

    • Hey Natalie! Nice recap!

      I agree with a lot of what you said this week. I’m super excited to see what’s coming up for Tessa and Mariah! It’s interesting to see how their relationships with Devon and Noah are cracking in different ways. Mariah’s forcing a relationship with someone who clearly loves someone else and Tessa can’t bring herself to trust her guy with the heavier things in her life.

      The writers have set things up to be so messy when its all said and done because of how involved they all are in each other’s lives. I know they probably aren’t getting together for awhile, but I’m curious to see if Devon does away with them both in regard to his businesses when he finds out about them.

      (By the way, did you see the recent twitter buzz about the scenes Camryn filmed on Friday night? Seems like they were scenes with Cait if you look @ Cam’s instagram)

      You are definitely spot on with your commentary about GH. I don’t know what else to say tbh. The story just needs competent, consistent writing. I’m baffled at the idea of them bringing Ashley back just have her participate in some lame, half-assed triangle that they invested zero time in until a few weeks ago. We need outlets like Autostraddle to call these kinds of writers and showrunners out when they produce this nonsense if the soap press isn’t going to do it. I hope you get your own column soon.

  6. “Have you ever put a stack of paper plates on a table, and then picked up one paper plate, and then set it on your windowsill and taken a few steps back and stared at it? That’s Ivy’s personality.”

    This is the most genius and accurate character description I have ever read. Brava Riese 👏

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