Boobs on Your Tube: “Queen Sugar” Finally Dealt with Its Queer Erasure Problem!

Happy Stranger Things Weekend! Yes, we have a lot of Stranger Things feelings about the new Stranger Things lesbian character! Have you finished binging it yet? Carmen stayed up all night and she couldn’t be happier with that decision! Read all about it! Also, Rachel watched the new “sexually fluid” season of MTV’s dating show Are You The One? along with some of your favorite Autostraddle writers, and they were surprised by how much they did not hate it! Natalie got us all up to date with a double-trouble recap of Good Trouble. Riese and Kristin guided us through The L Word’s Season One penultimate episode on the latest To L and Back. And finally, Valerie sent us into the holiday break with the biggest, gayest, possible smile on our faces with the news that WYNONA EARP IS OFFICIALLY COMING BACK FOR SEASON FOUR!!

Here’s what else!

Notes from the TV Team: 

+ It’s confirmed: Juliantina, the ship that dominated our March Madness competition this year, will sail again! The producers of Amar a muerte announced that not only will the pair get a spin-off series, they’ll also get a movie! Congratulations to the fans for making that happen! — Natalie

+ Carly Lancaster, the closeted first daughter of Atlanta, returned to OWN’s new soapy drama, Ambitions this week. You can watch Ambitions‘ first three episodes right now on Youtube. (It’s got a Romeo & Juliet twist that hopefully doesn’t end with any dead queer women!) — Natalie

ADVERTISEMENT


Burden of Truth 205: “Cold, Tired and Hungry”

Written by Natalie

Through its first four episodes, Burden of Truth has been telegraphing a break-up for Molly and Luna. Even after the physical distance between them closed, the emotional distance remained. We all saw it coming, but no one imagined it happening quite like this.

After being arrested, Luna’s processed and left in an interview room. Mercer questions her without a lawyer present. Thankfully, before she can further incriminate herself, Owen intercedes, pushing Joanna to step in and stop the interview. Mercer’s skeptical of Owen’s allegiances — he once dated Luna’s mother — and pulls him off the case but that doesn’t stop Owen from doing all he can to help Luna’s defense. But neither his help nor Joanna’s can help Luna avoid time in a detention center. She’s denied bail and sent to Brockstone.

Slowly but surely, the light dims in Luna’s eyes. Under pressure from Mercer, Taylor changes her story, implicating Luna in a pre-meditated crime, causing the prosecutor to up the charge to first degree murder. Her face still bruised from an altercation with a fellow inmate, Luna’s mother delivers news of a possible plea deal: four years instead of the 25 years she’d face if she’s found guilty. Whatever little hope Luna has left, she extends to her sister and lawyer, Joanna, who’s working tirelessly to get her out of jail… but that leaves no hope for the belief that her relationship with Molly could survive a prison sentence.

“Whether it’s 25 years or four, we’re not gonna survive this. We’re not gonna make it through this, Molly,” Luna tells her girlfriend when she visits her in prison. Luna’s cold and emotionless as she delivers the news, brushing aside Molly’s tearful pleas and pushing her away. “Your life got suspended once already. I can’t do that to you again.”

Joanna proves worthy of Luna’s faith as she finds a lead on a potential suspect but, without anything definitive, she can’t advise her sister on what to do about a plea deal. In her hearing, Luna refuses to accept guilt for something she didn’t do and pleads not guilty.


grown-ish 216: “Self Care”

Written by Natalie

Well, the secret’s out.

With an extended break from school, Zoey takes the girls — Ana, Nomi, Jazz and Skyler — to her family’s (almost) empty house for weekend of self care. That plan goes out the window, though, when Jazz, tired of coloring “dumbass mermaids” (irony!), pulls out a bottle of vodka. As they’re filling up their cups, Nomi strolls into the living room, reading passages from Zoey’s diary. When she stumbles on an entry where middle school Zoey imagined all the things college aged Zoey would accomplish, the eldest Johnson daughter is left embarrassed that she’s gone so far off course. Jazz can relate: She thought she’d be an Olympic medalist by now.

Nomi reminds them that they’re just 19 and have plenty of time to establish their careers and love lives. But when everyone points out that she’s got it easy — she’s a straight A student from a rich family with no relationship drama — Nomi shares one thing she’s dealing with: her relationship with Professor Hewson Shane.

Everyone — except Zoey, of course — responds in disbelief. Nomi explains that she got an “A” in Shane’s class on her own accord and they didn’t start dating until the semester was mostly over.

“Even so, she’s still the professor, and you’re the student. You don’t think that’s a messed-up power dynamic?” Jazz asks.

Surprisingly, Ana jumps to Nomi’s defense: they’re consenting adults, no matter what the age difference is. When asked for her opinion, Zoey says she supports whatever Nomi decides is best for her. The twins are unmoved. Sky dismissively promises to pray for her and Nomi notes that Sky’s reaction is exactly why Shane told her not to say anything.

Nothing gets resolved — it gets eclipsed by the horror of Sky’s bathtime with Zoey’s brother, Junior — but at least we got to witness a conversation. So often, when we see teacher/student relationships on television, we don’t get to see this conversation at all or it happens solely between the student and their disapproving parent. While I would’ve rather seen grown-ish come down definitively on the side of “this is messed up,” there’s power in seeing this conversation take place between peers at all.


Ackley Bridge 303

Written by Natalie

Nasreen Paracha and Missy Booth were more than just best friends, they were soulmates. Brought into the world on the same day, in the same hospital and same ward, they were inseparable for most of their lives. It’s like Kaneez toasted the pair on their 18th birthday, “Missy, Nasreen, she couldn’t be who she is without you… I don’t know what she bloody going to do now when she leave you behind here.”

While it wasn’t Nasreen who left Missy behind, Kaneez’s prediction held true: without Missy, Nasreen doesn’t know what she’s going to do. In her grief, she quits Ackley Bridge, rejects her admission to Oxford — she’s had enough change in her life — and gets a job at a local factory. After she finishes her shift, Naveed is there to greet her and invite her to his party on Saturday. She’s reluctant and he laments that she’s abandoned the plans they had to conquer the world. Plans, Nasreen reminds her former fiancé, aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

To her credit, Nas does make an effort: She shows up at Naveed’s party and tries to be social, but then the grief hits again and she sequesters herself in the bathroom. Chloe Voyle barges in and checks her make-up in a bid to win Ackley Bridge (bisexual) playboy Cory Wilson over. Even as Nas’ grief consumes her, no one else seems bothered enough to even mention Missy. The silence is getting to Nasreen — Missy used to fill all the quiet spaces — and Chloe assures her it will get better, eventually. Overwhelmed by emotion and Chloe’s rare display of kindness, Nas leans in and kisses her just as Naveed walks in. Nas is mystified by her actions and Naveed tries to lift her spirits with some good news: He got into drama school.

“We ain’t got long together Nas and I don’t want to waste what time we’ve got. I know, it’s not the same without her, it’s not without you neither. I miss ya,” Naveed tells her.

“I do too, but I don’t know how to be me without Missy,” Nas confesses tearfully.

Naveed promises to be there for Nas, if she’ll just let him. He admits, though, that he doesn’t know exactly what to do but Nas assures him that somehow, he always has.


Queen Sugar 404: “Skin Transparent”

Written by Carmen

It’s time for Nova’s cross country book tour to promote her memoir – you know the one where she inexplicably lays bare every dark Bordelon family secret except for any substantial secrets of her own – and the kick off is right at home in New Orleans. No one in her family will attend.

However, perched beautifully in an aisle seat is a friendly face that will never not make my heart skip a beat. Nova’s ex, Chantal. We haven’t seen her since Season Two, when Nova made the decision to dismissively introduce her as a mere “friend” to her then current boyfriend, Dr. DuBois. It was the beginning to a series of painful storytelling decisions that lead to Nova’s queer erasure on screen. It appears that by re-introducing Chantal to the audience, Queen Sugar is invested in correcting those past mistakes.

Chantal reminisces out loud that “even though we didn’t work out” it doesn’t mean that she’s not cheering for her ex-girlfriend’s success (an acknowledgement that’s already an improvement over Chantal’s last time on the show). Then, after noticing Nova’s alone without her family, she asks if everything’s OK. She offers to be a friendly ear in case Nova wants to talk or, you know – full pause as she licks her lips and lowers her voice down an octave – Anything Else. At Night. At Chantal’s Place.

And in case you missed the implications that Chantal is laying down as gently as a brick, she leans across the table, strokes Nova’s face gently, and kisses her! Nova’s stunned, eyes wide and blinking. Chantal uses her thumb to wipe off any excess lipstick from Nova’s face and walks away.

Later, after having yet another family fight (seriously, the Bordelons could stop talking to Nova forever at this point and they would be well within their rights), Nova decides to call Chantal. They flirt briefly over the phone, a glass of wine in hand for each, before Nova invites Chantal over for a midnight hook up. That’s when Chantal gets frustrated.

Nova knows where Chantal lives. If she wanted a hook up, she could have come over herself. Instead she wants Chantal to leave the comfort of her living room and drive across the city. Chantal’s been working on knowing her worth the last few years, but Nova still wants everything on her own terms. She’s unwilling to bend or inconvenience herself for others.

Is that a mouthful analysis for just a hook up? Sure, but also Chantal’s right. She’s often served the role of Nova’s conscience on Queen Sugar. Once again she cuts right through her ex’s bullshit.


Drunk History 411: “Fame”

Written by Carmen

We’ve talked a little bit before about Drunk History on Ye Olde Boobs Tube, but if you’re unfamiliar, here’s their deal:  a comedian and/or historical expert gets verrrry drunk and then, while inebriated, tells the story of a famous historical person or event while a professional actor reenacts the tale for the camera. This week that leads us to Tessa Thompson taking on the mantle of one of the great actresses of the 20th century and femme legend Eartha Kitt.

Unfortunately, the bit is a little shorter than usual (Drunk History fit in a lot of “mini stories” into this week’s episode, as opposed to focusing on two longer segments), so there isn’t a lot of goodness to recap. BUT if you are invested in watching Tessa Thompson wear peak 1960s glam and purr in a leather cat suit – which I assume you are, because you’re a human being with eyes – then there’s still lots to enjoy!

As a matter of history, I learned a lot that I didn’t know. Namely that Lady Bird Johnson used her power as First Lady to force the CIA to look into Eartha Kith’s personal life and essentially ruin her career. Kitt insulted President Johnson over his lack of invested work in helping poor women, and as a result Lady Bird had her blacklisted! She couldn’t work in the United States for nearly six years and had to move to Europe! I’d definitely vaguely heard that “Eartha Kitt was blacklisted” before – but I had no idea the beef was so personal and went as far up as the White House!

So, to recap: Watch Tessa Thompson play dress up and learn a little bit of black femme history that you maybe didn’t know before. Sounds like 10 minutes well spent, if you ask me.😉

The Autostraddle TV Team is made up of Riese Bernard, Carmen Phillips, Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Valerie Anne, Natalie, Drew Gregory, and Heather Hogan. Follow them on Twitter!

The TV has written 109 articles for us.

5 Comments

  1. “While I would’ve rather seen grown-ish come down definitively on the side of “this is messed up,” there’s power in seeing this conversation take place between peers at all.”

    I’m behind but I can’t say I’m surprised considering the Black-ish episode where Junior’s high school teacher checks him out as he’s leaving from class. Like…

  2. I danced around the room when Chantal came back! She remains the most consistent of Nova’s love interests, and honestly, one of the few people who seem to get through to Nova. I’m curious to see if they’ll bring her back again this season.

    +

    Re: “Grown-ish,” I definitely agree that it’s powerful to see the talk happening between peers. Powerful to see young adults talking about it critically rather than waving it off, or celebrating it, like shows have done in the past. I’m holding out hope that they eventually come down on the “this is messed up” side as that relationship ends.

  3. Not sure whether anyone on the TV team watches “Fear the Walking Dead,” but after introducing a visibly queer character (Al) last season, they finally acknowledged her queerness with a lady-loving-lady episode (S5, E5 – “The End of Everything”) – on the last day of Pride month, to boot! It even ended with a sweet gay smooch!

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.