Boobs on Your Tube: Tess Pearson is the Coolest Gay Tween in America on “This Is Us”

Welcome to yet another Friday! In case you missed it, we had quite the busy week! Drew believes that Rain Valdez’s new web series Razor Tongue will save romcoms as we know them. Carmen signed up for yet another Ryan Murphy gay rollercoaster with The Politician. Heather fell in love with Cobie Smulders as the bisexual dirtbag PI Dex Parios in Stumptown. She also made a list of 15 spooky lesbian and bisexual TV characters to scare your hearts just in time for Halloween. Valerie is here to defend Renee Montoya’s (excuse me, Victoria Cartagena’s) honor in Almost Family and tell you all about Katie McGrath’s newest turn as the bisexual lawyer of your murder dreams in “Secret Bridesmaids’ Business.” Riese and Carly released another episode of To L and Back!

Now let’s talk Batwoman! The lesbian superhero hits the CW next week (October 6th to be exact) and to say we’re Very Excited would be an understatement! To help us celebrate and prepare, Heather teamed up with the CW to bring you a visual history of Batwoman’s most badass moments and 25 kickass cosplays to really set the mood. Also, did you catch her review of the big show in question? She really enjoyed it (yes, even Ruby Rose) and she think you will, too.

Notes from the TV Team: 

+ There wasn’t much gay in this week’s episode of 9-1-1 — a spectacular save from Hen notwithstanding — but I will go on record as saying it was probably my favorite episode of the show to date. 9-1-1 has always done a good job at being shocking but this week’s episode was riveting like a good action movie. Highly recommended! — Natalie

Grey’s Anatomy actress Jaicy Elliot (you know her better as Intern Hellmouth) gave an interview to Entertainment Weekly about her character’s ongoing crush on Meredith Grey, but I have to warn you — I personally found her take on it to be a little disappointing. — Carmen


American Horror Story 903: “Slashdance”

Written by Drew

The movie Sleepaway Camp ends with two reveals: the mild-mannered Angela is the real killer… and she’s a boy! Angela stands naked, penis visible, her eyes and mouth wide open. It’s grotesque. She’s grotesque. We’re grotesque.

My biggest concern going into this season of American Horror Story was not that the show would repeat the mistakes of the past. I highly doubted they would turn Angelica Ross’ Nurse Rita into some sort of cis idea of a one-note trans nightmare. No, my biggest concern was the opposite. I worried they would make her too good, an over-correction that removed her humanity by making her a saint.

Well! Three episodes in and my worries are gone. Because Nurse Rita is not Nurse Rita. No, no. Angelica Ross is actually Donna Chambers, doctoral student studying serial killers. When Brooke decides to leave to get help, Donna stabs her with a horse tranquilizer. Or at least she thinks that’s what is… she’s not a nurse she cracks with Ross’ signature humor. We then flash back and learn that Mr. Jingles’ escape was entirely Donna’s doing. She wanted the chance to study him unhinged. She wants to diagnose psychopathy to someday end it, and she’s willing to sacrifice some lives along the way.

The scene where she kidnaps the real Nurse Rita is absolutely delicious. Trans women may have a history of being portrayed as killers, but we rarely get this sort of freedom to be mischievous and deadly. Ross has so much fun with these moments and it’s so much fun to watch her.

Also not who they seem? Montana. Right when we think Richard Ramirez is about to kill her, she grabs him and sticks her tongue down his throat. And then she asks: “Why haven’t you killed her yet?”


Why Women Kill 108: “Marriages Don’t Break Up on Account of Murder – It’s Just a Symptom That Something Else Is Wrong”

Written by Natalie

A moment of respite before shit hits the fan.

Jade’s taking Tinkerbell out for his daily walk when they run into Taylor. She sits Jade down and tries to explain herself, as if it’s her behavior that warrants the explanation. She tries to recruit her (former?) girlfriend to help Eli avoid another overdose and Jade feigns interest, but when Taylor explains Eli’s propensity for buying others’ happiness while high, she’s suddenly a bit more reluctant. Jade asks for a few days to reason with Eli before they take more drastic measures and, for some reason, Taylor acquiesces. And sure enough, just as Taylor predicted, the next time Jade sees Eli — who’s been on a non-stop cocaine binge — he gifts her with a new car.

Only thing, though? Eli doesn’t actually have his screenplay money yet so he put the car on his American Express card….the AMEX card he shares with his wife, Taylor. They call her to confirm the charge and Taylor heads over to the house to confront Eli about the expenditure. Of course, instead of encountering Eli, she sees Jade pulling into the driveway in her new Infiniti Q60.

Taylor rightly chastises Jade for accepting the gift when she knows that Eli’s under the influence but Jade thinks she’s earned the car, as a “thank you” for all the cooking and cleaning that she’s done. Taylor accuses Jade of using Eli (true) but Jade turns the accusation around on her and accuses Taylor of using her to distract her from her crumbling marriage (also true!). Jade points out that she’s the one that got Eli writing again and, finally, it hits Taylor: Jade’s the reason Eli’s using again. When Taylor asks her about it directly, Jade changes tactics, attempting to seduce her way back into Taylor’s good graces.

“Stop it. Stop it, Jade!” Taylor says, shoving her former girlfriend away. “Eli and I are a family. You are a houseguest. That’s all.”

Taylor tells Jade to pack her stuff and get out of her house but Jade refuses. She’s not leaving and she’s not returning the car. Now, if you’ve seen this show, or any of Alexandra Daddario’s past work, you know that her eyes are enchanting — it’s hard to look at her and not be hypnotized by them — but you know what would absolutely break that spell for me, personally? Someone putting a $40k+ car on my credit card and then refusing to allow me to return it. Or someone refusing to get out of house that I pay the mortgage on. At the very least, the police are being called, at worst, I’m beating somebody’s ass. But, I guess, since WWK doesn’t remember that Taylor’s a lawyer or have black female writers on staff, Taylor just leaves.

Later, Jade continues to poison the well against Taylor with Eli. She pushes him to change all the passwords to his financial accounts and to charge the locks to their house. While Eli’s asleep, she blocks Taylor’s number on his phone. But Taylor’s not giving up; she reaches out the one person who can give her leverage over Jade: her ex-boyfriend, Duke. In exchange for bail, Duke’s prepared to spill all the tea…starting with the revelation that Jade’s not her real name.


This Is Us 402: “The Pool: Part Two”

Written by Carmen

Big Blue Ivy Energy: “Brown skin girl / Your skin just like pearls”

Since we last left Tess Pearson on This Is Us, my girl had quite the summer. First, she won the Autostraddle Gay Emmys for best coming out story. She also moved along with the rest of her family from the New Jersey suburbs to Philadelphia. And she grew at least five inches. It’s been a time.

Tomorrow starts with the first day of school, and the only thing Tess wants is one really cool haircut. She grew out her gorgeous Afro all summer just for the occasion. If you remember, in last year’s season finale Tess confessed to Kevin that she had really been struggling with how she looks — she thought that “coming out” to her family was going to be hard part. But now everything just felt like a million more questions. What kind of clothes make her feel like her real self? What types of books should she be reading or movies should she be watching? Would she ever have the bravery to come out to her friends? Well, over the summer she’s decided that the first step to the new, more authentic her starts with a single hair cut.

There is something iconic about your first really gay haircut. The boldness of what you are communicating to the world, the unspoken belonging you are signaling to the people most like you. It’s so formative and one of a kind that we’ve talked about plenty on this very website. When you’re black, hair can take on an entire other story — one of home, paradoxically one of both pride but also self-loathing and pain. Beth, Tess’ mother, knows that all too well. So on the last day of summer Beth is beside her with with worry. Is Tess sure that this is the haircut she really wants? It’s a little extreme for such a young girl. Is she ready to stand out this much?

And quietly, to Tess’ father when their daughter out of ear range — will Tess still look like her? Is the beginning of Tess growing up and growing away from her mother. Is this the end of their baby girl?

But Tess spent the entire summer on pins and needles about this, she has never been more sure in her life. she bounces out of that hair salon with her two sisters close on her heels. She’s practically glowing. Tess has never looked more confident, which hard to do when you’re in Middle School and everything around you tells you to just blend in.

Beth can barely hold back her smiles, her face damn near breaks in two.

And Tess? She’s absolutely beautiful.

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!

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5 Comments

  1. @pecola I’m 100% with you on WWK. There would be so much furniture moving in that house because of bodies being tossed about not anyone actually moving. Eli is a spineless, weak willed whiny liar and not because of the drugs, and Jade is just a money grubbing opportunist. I think it’s more of the writers not writing Taylor consistently but it could be a lack of POC writers in the room too. Either way how does Taylor go from being a bad ass who shuts down sexists and beats up abusers to someone who walks away hang dog-like when her livelihood and family are being ruined? Because they set her up as someone who’s in your face and never backs down from a fight, how is she not wrecking shop right now and why the hell would she need the likes of Duke for anything when it’s her house and her credit cards and she’s a lawyer?!?!?

  2. I felt so bad for Tess at the end when you saw that the haircut although Fly AF, still didn’t make her happy and she regretted it and covered it up with the hat. I hope she finds her happy.

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