Boob(s On Your) Tube: “The Fosters” Breaks More Ground With Callie and Aaron’s Sex Scene

I watched the screener for next week’s The Bold Type and all I want to do is lie down on the floor and stare at the ceiling for twenty years in such a daze. I wish it had a full first season! I wish Freeform would go ahead and announce a season two! For now, Kayla is keeping up with her recaps and Valerie Anne is going strong on Wynonna Earp and have you heard that the new season of American Horror Story centers on a Michigan lesbian who loses her marbles when Trump gets elected? I hope Riese gets some royalties!

Natalie’s gonna get you all caught up with Claws next week, Valerie Anne’s gonna catch up up with Killjoys and Dark Matter in two weeks, and Riese and I are working on a fall TV preview for you.


Younger

There was no Maggie on this week’s Younger but Jessica Stein is really getting grabby with Liza’s boyfriend (slash Jessica Stein’s ex-husband). She comes to the office party at her former mansion and gives Liza a tour and pulls her tongue out of her mouth and wraps it around her neck every time she sees Charles talking to another woman, which is all the time because women are half the population. While Jessica Stein is doing that and Liza’s trying to convince her there’s no hot yoga instructor to worry about, Josh is potato-sack-racing with Charles and punching him in his head. (Josh is at the company picnic because Kelsey hires him to draw an adult coloring book for $10K.) The potato brawl forces Liza to tell Kelsey she kissed Charles and Josh saw her, and prompts Kelsey to beg Liza not to sleep with him. Liza doesn’t … for now.

Maggie’s back next week!


The Fosters

The Fosters really does feel like it’s back on track this season, for the most part. Family drama over whatever police shenanigans Callie keeps getting caught up in any day, in my opinion. It’s a rough weekend at the Adams Foster household, though, because Lena’s parents come to visit and it turns out that her dad has slipped into the early stages of dementia. He rushes out to buy a fancy car for the family, which is Lena’s first sign something’s wrong. Dana has to explain that they can’t keep Stuart’s gift and then she has to explain why he bought it in the first place. She is so deeply heartbroken and angry and so is Lena. Sherri Saum and Lorraine Toussaint are such a glorious tag-team. But Stuart does some beautiful things, too. He tells Stef he’s proud of her, that he thinks of her like a daughter. And he tells Lena he’s sorry he said, “I still love you” when she came out. He realizes now he didn’t need the “still.”

It’s hard as heck for Lena to have this conversation and wonder how many more of these moments with her dad she’ll be gifted, and it’s hard for Stef, too. But it’s also freeing for her. Remember how her dad was a Christian homophobe who wouldn’t even come to his own daughter’s wedding? Well, he’s always been that way. He caught Stef and Tess cuddling a little when they were teens and he sent her right to church so Jesus could wash her gayness away. It obviously did not work. And Stef never told Tess that’s the reason she pulled away from her in high school. Because she was in love with her. When Tess hears it from Stef, she’s like, “Ha ha. Cool, it’s whatever. I definitely never, ever felt that way about you” in a way that proves she felt exactly that way about Stef. No way that’s gonna blow up before the summer finale!

And then there’s Callie and Aaron, who finally have sex and it’s just really, really wonderful. It’s wonderful on one hand because they’re a couple of teenagers who went at their own pace and had sex when they felt like the time was right for them, with no pressure from each other and no shame from the patriarchy. And it’s wonderful on the other hand because I don’t think we’ve ever seen a positive sexual experience with a trans teen on television before. He’s great and Callie’s great, and the whole thing is sweet and empowering and romantic from every angle. The music, the candles, the playlist. It’s like something from a teenage dream. I’m so glad this storyline exists in the world for trans kids out there who are living through the terror of the Trump presidency.

Elliot Fletcher, the trans actor who plays Aaron, did an interview with TV Guide after the episode and said, “I hope that people watching this show can see how it’s not only normal, but how loving and sweet and romantic it can be. In a lot of ways trans people are fetishized or thought of in a weird sexual deviant kind of way. That’s kind of weird and not the case. This episode does [a really good job] of showing just how normal and loving this relationship is and it doesn’t matter that Callie is cisgender and Aaron is transgender.”

Grey’s Anatomy‘s Chandra Wilson always directs some of the best episodes of The Fosters, so it’s no surprise that “Chasing Waterfalls” was all hers.

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor 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 854 articles for us.

35 Comments

  1. I listened to an interview on NPR about this scene earlier in the week. They had Zachary Drucker, Queen of Sugar actor Micheal Brian Smith, and Peter Paige. He said he originally wanted the son on the Fosters to be a trans boy, but the network pushed back. So, they went around that, by including trans actors like Tom Phelan and Elliot Fletcher. He also mentioned they don’t have any trans writers in the writers room so he had to get outside help for scenes like this. That is how you do it, by including us in conversations about us. It’s great to see this on tv, and I hope we can see more positive trans scenes, including GBQ trans man(don’t know of any), GBQ trans woman(we got Nomi and Amita, but that’s not enough and was short lived), & trans on trans(not sure that exists on mainstream tv yet).

    • Oh wow, I am going to go look for this interview! That’s amazing! Thanks for the heads up.

      ( And yes, yes yes! Voices in the writers room/ directors chair/ other voices behind the production. THAT’S how we are going to finally get real change in our representation. I am happy to hear that The Fosters is helping to set that example.)

      • It’s a great interview, and I really love Zacahry, and she talks about why they chose the young trans girl to play young Maura on Transparent. And Peter Paige talks about how things have changed since he was doing Queer as Folk, though he mentions some gay men didn’t like him showing young gay teens making out. And everyone was like really, some adults gays do realize they are gay teens too.

    • I am not really surprised to learn that their original plan was for Jude to be trans. The first few episodes definitely had seeds that could very easily have grown in that direction, if the network had let it happen. It’s a pity it didn’t happen, but they made the best of it, still managing to break ground with Jude as well as including trans characters in their supporting cast.

      I can’t stop thinking about what might have been though, and the more I think about it, the more I hate that it didn’t happen, because I can think of so much very natural and character driven story it would have given the show, and I think they would have presented a wonderful story that would have always been on Jude’s side while still gently educating their audience in that relatively non-judgemental way that they have. Such a loss.

    • Elliot Fletcher played a gay trans man on Faking It but that was a guest part for just a few episodes. A better example would be Roscoe Kaan on House of Lies, who was a biracial, genderqueer bi teenager and a series regular.

  2. Elliot Fletcher gives such great interviews. I also respect how he made it clear via a statement posted on Twitter that he doesn’t share Aaron’s views on free/hate speech as touched upon in last week’s episode – particularly because that episode aired a few days after Charlottesville. He talked more about it in this interview: http://popcitylife.com/2017/08/22/interview-elliot-fletcher-fosters-exclusive/

  3. I didn’t know that Chandra Wilson directed this week’s episode, but looking back that makes so much sense. She’s developing into such a real talent! Didn’t she also do the “MacGyver” Surgery on a Plane episode of Grey’s Anatomy this year? That episode had an admittedly ridiculous premise, but ended up being A LOT of fun and I give her much of the credit for pulling it off.

  4. I am looking foreword to recaps of Killjoys and Dark Matter. Both are fun female led shows that deserve some love.

    Also has anyone noticed how all Canadian made sci-fi/fantasy tv shows seem to share a pool of twelve actors? I swear, Lost Girl, Wynnona Earp, Killjoys, Dark Matter and Orphan Black swap extras like playing cards. It’s become a bit of a scavenger hunt for me, figuring out where I recognized that minor character actor from. I feel like a giant serial killer style billboard with colorful thread may be called for.

    • I’m surprised Killjoys and Dark Matter aren’t talked about more because they really do have some fantastic female characters no matter what their orientation. I really hope they get renewed or at the very least don’t leave us on a cliffhanger. Dark Matter, especially, has a lot of things they need to wrap up.

  5. I loved Callie and Aaron this week. Elliot Fletcher sure has done a wide range of shows covering this very plotline and compared to how it was handled on Faking It this is certainly a lot better.

    Also, Dark Matter’s season finale is tonight and it’s still a wash whether it’s going to get renewed or not, so covering it in two weeks may wind up being futile, depending on how that goes! I really hope it survives, though. It’s the only genre show with queer female rep that’s actually any good, no offense Carmilla and Wynonna Earp.

  6. I stopped watching the show awhile ago but this episode was good. Only show I have been watching with LGBT characters is Wynonna Earp really… too bad Orphan Black is gone!
    Kinda gave up on Supergirl already and after the interview about Maggie today, I am not keeping my hope up for it.

  7. I agree that Fosters has been better this season. The drama seems less manufactured and melodramatic. This Waterfalls episode was good, and the Callie/Aaron relationship has been really sweet. We’ll see as we get closer to the season finale and the need for DRAMA (all caps).

    I’m also taking a wait and see on Supergirl. I’m relieved that they aren’t killing Maggie. We’ll see how they handle the actresses request to be a recurring character versus a series regular (not that she had a ton of screen time anyway…it would have been nice to incorporate her better with the cast through relationships with more than just Alex). The news that Mon-El may be back in some capacity nearly kills it for me, particularly if Kara’s rumored “dark” turn is all about him, and devolves nearer to tiresome Arrow angsty territory.

    Plus, while I’m willing to forgive, I still feel a stupid little bit of hurt that the cast feels free to make fun of fans for supporting non-canon gay relationships between characters. And I wasn’t even a fan of the relationship that was the butt of the joke! And I’m not a child!

  8. One of my favorite parts of new media TV is the amount we get to hear from the producers and actors about the show. Like, so happy that The Fosters is doing what it’s doing, but it’s those conversations and interviews and recaps ~outside~ the TV that are also helping push the conversation on trans representation, trans romance, real trans people, etc.

    I’m going to use The Bold Type to console me that Wynonna Earp is over. I’m an episode or two behind right now, and really looking forward to being able to back-to-back some new episodes (especially if one is going to leave me on the floor?!)

    Also, I 100% copy-paste Brabkeb’s comments re: Supergirl.

  9. Probably the best news from soaps this week came off-screen at The Young and the Restless‘ fan weekend. Teriah/Messa got a big vote of confidence from the show’s head writer and executive producer, Mal Young. It’s encouraging news for fans (myself included) who’d worried that the bigoted backlash would put a halt to the storyline before it ever really got started.

    [That said, CBS Daytime is showing their inexperience with building a fandom for an LGBT couple by flagging Mariah and Tessa videos online. If you’re trying to catch up with the couple, it’s going to be a bit more difficult.]

    On-screen, Tessa’s still worried about the fate of her sister, Crystal, who escaped an abusive foster home only to end up as part of a sex trafficking ring. Crystal sent Tessa a text to meet her but when she got to the seedy motel, Crystal’s pimp tried to dissuade her from continuing her search. Tessa’s still confiding her worries in Mariah and they’re developing a new level of closeness.

    According to spoilers, next week, Tessa shares the news about her sister with others that are looking for her and worries about what her secrets will do to her relationship with Noah in the process. Meanwhile, Mariah’s dealing with her own relationship troubles, as her nemesis/boss/boyfriend’s ex-wife tries to interfere in her relationship with Devon.

    Two things: first, I’m really starting to like this couple. They’re a slow burn, for sure, but even as they’re telling other stories, there’s evidence of a real love blooming (like how Mariah looks away everytime Tessa mentions her boyfriend). Also, both actresses (Camryn Grimes and Cait Fairbanks) are handling the aforementioned bigoted backlash like champs…which endears me to them both.

    Second, Greg Rikaart, who plays Mariah’s BFF, Kevin, is returning to Genoa city soon. Hopefully his return–which should happen early in September–should provide someone for Mariah to lean on, as she sorts out her feelings for Tessa. Interestingly enough, Rikaart had once pitched a gay storyline for his character but TPTB wouldn’t go for it.

    For as long as CBS Daytime/Sony allows it, you can find Mariah and Tessa’s scenes, here.

    Parker wasn’t on-screen this week on General Hospital, but Kristina was…her mobster father finds out that the woman who broke his daughter’s heart is back in town and he has a lot of questions. Kristina stands up for herself and it leads to yet another fight with her mother. The mother and daughter eventually reconcile, with Alexis promising to let Kristina make her own decisions.

    Kristina also crossed paths with her former Nurses Ball castmate, Valerie (Brynti Sarpy), at the coffee shop where she works. I didn’t read much into their exchanges but in some quarters, the scenes read as a chem test between the two actresses. I’m not sure I’m ready to buy that quite yet but I do wonder why Valerie and Kristina have developed this close friendship all of a sudden…especially when it’d make more sense for Kristina to have those conversations with her sisters. Plus, if the writers wanted to tell that story, they should’ve started it a year ago when Parker left Kristina to reconnect with her wife.

    That said, next week, Kristina and her new BFF are heading to the local watering hole for Lesbian Night and I can’t wait to see what happens. You can catch up on the entirety of Kristina and Parker’s storyline, including last week’s scenes, here

    • I like Kristina and Parker but I also kind of like the idea of Kristina/Valerie. I remember hating Valerie when she first came on the show. It didn’t do her any favors that the writers decided to have Dante cheat on LuLu with her. She does have a little bit of chemistry with Kristina and I think in testing them together we would get a definitive answer as to whether or not Alexis secretly is a little more homophobic than she wants to admit to herself if she suddenly manages to find a problem with yet another woman Kristina is interested in.

  10. Since Charles knows the reason why Josh punched him and he pretty much said “I deserved it” I really hope Josh can keep his coloring book deal.

    It may the unpopular opinion but I don’t like Aaron and I don’t like Callie and Aaron together. She faked who she was when they first met and then when she came clean and she made it clear she had a boyfriend he still pursued her which caused a rift with AJ (among other issues) that ultimately led to them breaking up and Aaron was right there. Plus with Callie’s art they were saying how she doesn’t know who she is, well maybe that’s because she’s never single to know who she is. She went from Wyatt to AJ to now Aaron with Brandon (puke) mixed in there. Like maybe know yourself first Callie before you know someone else.
    Yes I think it is important for people to see that a relationship where 1 of the people is trans isn’t any different but this show has made it their mission to play out every single topic that is plaguing the world from sex trafficking to hate speech/politics to trans issues to drugs etc. that they lost the heart of what this show was about which is the 2 lesbian moms raising this diverse family.

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