Welcome to Boobs on Your Tube!
GLAAD released their annual Where We Are on TV report this week, which gave numbers to the trends we’ve been sensing and covering since Riese built our comprehensive TV database in 2017. It’s good news this year: There’s a record percentage of LGBTQ character on TV and for the first time ever, there are more characters of color than white characters! But as Riese notes: “There’s still plenty of room for improvement, which is a topic we touch on just about every day. We need more trans characters across all shows, and a lot more trans men, and more QPOC characters and more characters with disabilities and women and men should be even and wow there’s just a lot still to be done!”
This week on Autostraddle, Kayla recapped another wild episode of Riverdale, Carmen recapped another stellar episode of Black Lightning, Valerie Anne recapped Supergirl and the heckin’ gay return of Legends of Tomorrow. Drew Gregory wrote about seeing herself reflected in Supergirl’s Nia Nal. And Stitchers’ Anna Akana came out at the Streamys.
Here’s what else!
The Good Place 305: “The Ballad of Donkey Doug”
Written by Heather
Well, I guess now we know why The Good Place‘s William Jackson Harper — who plays Chidi, the most ripped Ethics professor in the history of the world — told a UK newspaper that Eleanor is “super bisexual.” It’s because he knew Eleanor was going to try to make out with his girlfriend!
Hang on, let me start at the beginning.
Last week Michael and Janet finally came clean with Eleanor & Co. about what they’ve been up to for the last several hundred years. You know, dying, going to the Bad Place, getting rebooted in the Bad Place over and over and over, getting reincarnated, etc. They all took it pretty hard, but Eleanor ultimately decided that, even though they’re doomed, they should form a Soul Squad and try to save other people. But before they can do that, Chidi’s gotta break up with Simone. If she finds out about the afterlife and the Soul Squad, it could doom her for all eternity.
To help Chidi figure out how to break up ethically, Janet sets up a simulation for him to practice. (“I do know everything about you, and Simone, and computer programming, and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, and the human brain, and everything else!”) Chidi tries a million different ways to get it right and finally Eleanor offers to just do it for him. She pops into the simulation to end things with Simone but the compliments she uses to soften the break-up blow turn into full-on flirting, which turns into hand-holding, which turn into Eleanor going, “Whaaaaat is happening” and leaning in for a kiss before Chidi zaps her out of the simulation. She does not care for that one bit! Neither do I! “It was just getting good,” both Eleanor and I snap!
At one point Eleanor also tells Chidi, “More guys should be bi. It’s 2018; get over yourselves.” The implication, I think, being that she herself is bi? I mean, even if that’s not what she meant, she has fallen for Tahani and now almost smooched Simone on the mouth, so that’s super canonical, baby.
I know this show already has a lot going on and the main cast is so fantastic it’s hard to root for guest characters to come in and take up space, but: a) I hope this is not the last we’ll see of Kirby Howell-Baptiste; she was brilliant as Simone. And b) I sure would like for Eleanor to legitimately date a woman, even if it’s not Tahani (although of course I obviously hope it’s Tahani).
All American 103: “i”
Written by Natalie
This week’s episode of All American was, by far, my favorite of those that have aired thus far. It felt as embedded in the culture — black culture, gay culture, football culture — as anything the show’s done until now. That said, “i” also felt like A LOT…too much, to be honest. This one episode tried to tell so much story — Spencer vs. his new team, Spencer vs. his old team, Beverly Hills meets Crenshaw, Coop gets a girlfriend, Coop comes out, Olivia and Leila’s attempt to revive their friendship, Leila remembers her mom’s death, Jordan learns what it means to be a black in America — that very little of it carried the emotional resonance that it should have.
Before school, Coop strolls into an early morning choir practice to see her mother before she and her father leave for a retreat. She slides into a pew and wordlessly flirts with a bohemian songstress. After rehearsal, Coop greets her mom and they settle into an easy rapport, trading jokes about the house party Coop might throw while her parents are away. They hug and Coop’s mom urges her to get to school but, as her daughter walks away, she calls out, “Tamia, no boys at the house after we’re gone.”
Later, Spencer laments that his new teammates at Beverly Hills High haven’t accepted him, but Coop reminds him that acceptance goes both ways. Maybe they’ll start accepting him, she says, if he opens himself up to them. Spence chuckles at the irony: how is Coop lecturing him about honesty and acceptance when she hasn’t even told her parents she’s gay? I get where you’re going with that, Spence, but for the record: those two things are not the same.
“Have they not met me?” Coop asks, rhetorically. “How can I be anything else? Seriously, I’m not responsible for their blindness.”
When Coop and Spencer show up at his house for the family barbecue, Spencer’s teammate, Jordan, is helping his mom in the kitchen. Guess who’s coming to dinner? Spencer wanted people to get to know him and where he’s from so, much to Spence’s chagrin, Jordan’s going to do that. And guess who else is coming to dinner? The bohemian songstress from choir practice, Patience (Chelsea Tavares). She easily finds her space in the crew and Jordan, after he proves himself with some incisive hip-hop knowledge, does the same.
After an impromptu football game breaks out, Patience and Coop walk around the neighborhood, continuing the heavy flirting that started earlier at the church. Coop admits that she’s never said the words “I’m gay” before because she’s never felt the need to, she’s not hiding who she is. She admits she likes Patience and invites to her house to hang out. Inside, Coop shows off her musical chops and Patience is impressed. She compliments a bashful Coop and then leans in for a kiss (or three). The pair spends the night digging through Coop’s record collection before falling asleep on the floor, only to be woken up the next morning by Coop’s mom.
Convinced that Patience is trouble, Coop’s mom urges her daughter to stay away from her. Coop asks if her mom only thinks Patience is trouble because she’s gay and, if so, what does that make her, because she’s gay too. Her mother refuses to believe it, her daughter’s confused, she says…confused by girls like Patience.
“I am gay,” Coop says, more firmly this time. “And there is no amount of prayer that’s gonna change that. Trust me, I’ve tried.”
Her mother throws down an ultimatum — if Coop doesn’t want to abide by her parents’ rules, she can no longer live in their home — and without hesitation, Coop decides to she’ll go live elsewhere. It all happens way too fast and because of that, the scene isn’t as compelling as it should be. Plus, it shortchanges what could’ve been an interesting (and heretofore, untold) story about the lives of gay youth forced to live under “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies at home. Later, Coop shows up at Spencer’s house, everything she has stuffed into two duffel bags, and collapses in tears in Spencer’s mother’s arms.
Charmed 102: “Let This Mother Out”
Written by Carmen
Welcome back, Charmed Ones! Did you catch my review of the series pilot last week? Here we are, already on episode two, and the gayness won’t stop coming!
First things first, Mel and Niko are getting back together. Their reunion sex last week wasn’t a one-off occasion. In fact, when Niko asks if they are starting over from scratch or if she can drop by with Italian sandwiches like nothing ever changed, Mel smiles into her cellphone and says, “bring the sandwiches.” They are soooo cute, I almost can’t stand it! (Reader, I can COMPLETELY stand it. I already want some more!)
Niko stops by for lunch – she even remembered Mel’s extra pickles! Aww! – but gets called back to the police station before their picnic can really take off. She gives Mel her “We’re Getting Back Together” present, The Cure’s 1987 Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me in mint condition, and fits in few quick kisses before she’s off! Mel wants her to bring back those handcuffs for later, if you know what she means, and I think we all know what she means.
But not too fast, you see, because Niko grabbed the wrong thermos by mistake. The sisters created a truth serum to find out if their Whitelighter, Harry, can be trusted. Unfortunately, Niko took the truth serum instead! WHOOPS! We’re hilariously clued in to the mistake when Niko tells the suspect she’s interrogating, “Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, plus those two were drunk, so we have no case.” Yeah… that’s not what you expect from a cop on the job.
A completely oblivious Niko calls Mel to tell her that she loves her (and also, that Mel is the worst driver she’s ever seen). At her admission, Mel figures out the mix-up right away! She rushes to the police station to escort her girlfriend to safety before her mouth cause any more trouble and it becomes a relay race of funny slip ups. Niko tells one white male officer, “It’s called personal space! Respect it!” She tells another, “I cannot translate the Moo Shu Palace specials for you BECAUSE I AM NOT CHINESE!”
Side Note: Niko apparently deals with a lot of microaggressions in her workplace. It’s not easy being a queer woman of color on the police force.
Niko ends her grand performance with my favorite line of the episode, declaring that her trademark glasses are fake! “I just wear them so people will take me seriously. I am hot. I don’t know why I try to hide it!” Amen, sister.
Sadly this is when our Comedy of Errors makes an abrupt turn. Niko confesses to Mel that she slept with Greta, her ex-fiancée, just last week. Technically Niko and Mel weren’t back together yet, but she feels bad about it. That’s why she bought Mel The Cure! It wasn’t a “We’re Getting Back Together” present at all. It was a guilt trip.
I worried this confession would lead directly to a break up before we even really got a chance to know the twosome at all. Thankfully, Mel’s little sister, Maggie, saves the day. Using her newly formed empathetic witch powers, Maggie reminds Mel that the past should be in the past. Niko wouldn’t have even told Mel the secret if the sisters hadn’t accidentally drugged her. Don’t burn a bridge over this.
Luckily for all of us, Mel agreed.
The Purge 108: “The Giving Time is Here”
Written by Carmen
Welp. That was a shit show.
I suppose our journey this week starts when Lila Stanton was just 17 years old. Standing in the full length mirror of her elaborately adorned gold bedroom, in a full length white gown, nervously biting her lip, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the eve of her wedding. It wasn’t. Instead, it was the eve of her First Purge Kill.
I have a lot of questions about this situation, such as: Why are the rituals for a First Purge the same as the already sexist rituals of marriage? Why was Lila in white? Why did she need “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”? Is there really just that little creativity among the fake-MAGA crowd?
Anyway, Liza’s dad goes on and on about how it’s normal to be nervous and how he’s so proud of her and how it’s courageous to kill the innocent (Well, he didn’t say that last part in those exact words. Except he kind of did.) Catalina, the Stanton’s maid who you may remember from her time leading The Revolution a few episodes ago, tells Liza to follow her heart. For a brief moment it almost looks like Liza won’t go through with it. As if she won’t kill this innocent old man sitting in front of her.
Then she lets a shot go right through his head in cold blood. I guess the pressure of giving up all that wealth and privilege in the name of “doing the right thing” was too much to bear.
OK. Back to Purge Night in our current timeline. Rick and Liza start bickering almost immediately when the episode picks up, while Jenna is still working through her PTSD over that neighbor they killed. At the end of one of their fights, Liza tries to bribe Rick. She’s now the sole heir to the Stanton fortune and she would like to still sponsor Rick and Jenna’s housing project — for Jenna’s own good, of course. Rick tells her that he can’t make that kind of decision on his own, and that’s when Jenna asks to be left alone with her former girlfriend.
“You sparked something in me. You knocked me off balance,” Jenna begins. Tears brim Liza’s eyes as she realizes where this conversation is headed. “It’s over.”
Liza doesn’t take the news well, and honestly I don’t blame her. She and Jenna were just declaring their love together a few weeks ago in our time, BUT EARLIER THE VERY SAME NIGHT in theirs. This is an out of nowhere, a complete 180! When Jenna thought Liza was dead, she was beside herself with grief. Now Liza is alive and suddenly it’s over? C’mon!
Liza, fully into her manipulative lesbian trope now, tries getting Rick to leave Jenna for $20 MILLION DOLLARS. Potato sack doesn’t take the money! Which I’m sorry, that’s ridiculous. If I’m a sack of potatoes and someone offered me 20 Mil, I’d take it in a heartbeat. Do you know how many fancy potato bags you can buy with that money? No more burlap sacks for you, sir!
Anyway, Rick turns Liza down and then she wilds out! She bangs him over the head, knocks him down, and prepares to shoot him dead in the eyes – just like the old man she shot during her first Purge. Jenna stops her at the last minute, and Liza lies! She says that Rick had turned violent and she was just trying to protect “OUR baby.” She was there when Rick and Jenna got pregnant, she was in the bed with them, and how dare they cut her out of their life now….
That’s when Jenna stabs her. Presumably to protect her sack of potatoes husband, but also because THIS PSYCHO ISN’T LILA! This is some trope filled personality transplant who showed up at the last minute because the writers decided that without taking drastic measures, her death would make no sense.
Lila Stanton rose from the dead, only to be murdered by the woman she loved. That’s her story. Ultimately, she was written terribly by writers who couldn’t be bothered to care. Writers who took the most ridiculous and harmful exit ramp possible, as opposed to writing a common sense ending to her arc.
Or as our Editor in Chief Riese Bernard put it, “THEY KILLED BOTH THE LESBIANS WTF!”
Chicago Fire 705 “A Volatile Mixture”
One of my favorite things about our TV team is every single person knows who you’re talking about and exactly what you mean when you say “Erica Hahn.” It’s a throwback to Callie’s first on-screen girlfriend on Grey’s Anatomy and even though she left the show a literal decade ago, and even though Grey’s followed it up with arguably the most important queer women’s relationship in the history of network TV, all of us watched Erica Hahn disappear into the Parking Lot of No Return and there’s still a bitterness in us about it! Which is why we all grumbled “Leslie Shay” when we heard Chicago Fire‘s got a new bisexual character on the loose. We never forget being mistreated!
However, there is a new bisexual character on the loose! Her name is Emily Foster and she’s played by Annie Ilonzeh and she’s new to the team and so we’re learning more and more about her each week. This week, it’s that she’s “had boyfriends and girlfriends.” She tells Sylvie this after bemoaning her love life using a lot of gender neutral language for the entire episode, so even if I hadn’t known she was coming out, I would have known she’s bisexual ’cause I’ve watched a lot of television and talked to a lot of queer women in my life.
I need to warn you, though: Emily and Sylvie’s case this week involves a woman with a parasite IN HER FACE. — Heather
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 401-402
Valencia has been in both of the first episodes of the series, but Beth hasn’t even been mentioned. I’m hoping they’re still dating, but we won’t know until tonight’s episode. So far, the gayest thing Valencia has done is perform a séance. — Valerie Anne
The Flash 501-503
I just wanted you to know I’m still watching The Flash for you, but there’s still no sign of the supposed “LGBT” character they’re reportedly adding in season five, nor which of those letters it will be. I’m still hoping it’s Nora, played by Jessica Parker Kennedy, because she played gay so well in Black Sails. (Related, I can’t believe that Nora and Max are played by the same person; they couldn’t be more different if they tried. JPK has skills.) — Valerie Anne
Hey, look, GH remembered that Kristina exists this week! Yay!
Because Alexis can’t stop herself from meddling in her daughter’s life, she stops by Kristina’s bartending gig to offer her a “real job” at the offices of one of her clients. Kristina chastises her mother for interfering, yet again, and says she can figure out her future on her own. Not knowing her path is wearing on Kristina, though, and in a moment of weakness, she calls her ex, Parker. As you can imagine, that does not go well: Parker’s moving on and happy and, on the phone, Kristina feigns the same. Once she hangs up, though, she snags a bottle of tequila from the bar and goes to get drunk in the park. Later, her former brother-in-law finds an intoxicated Kristina and brings her home. Once she’s sobered up, Kristina admits that she feels stuck.
The next time we see Kristina, she’s back at work and who would be sitting across the bar from her but Lizzie Hendrickson. Unfortunately, she’s not Maggie Stone looking for someone to fill the Bianca Montgomery size hole in her heart, she’s the town district attorney looking for brunch and an opportunity to put Kristina’s father in jail. After a chat with her father, Daisy strolls up and tries to brighten Kristina’s day by inviting her to go to a bonfire and Kristina happily accepts. — Natalie
S.W.A.T. 205: S.O.S.
A lot of times, shows like S.W.A.T. end up adding female characters just to have a damsel in distress for the leading men to rescue but, thankfully, this show is different. Bisexual badass Chris Alonso gets to play the hero this week as she and Hondo sneak on a hijacked cruise ship (Lina Esco and Shemar Moore in wet suits? Yes, please). When Hondo’s taken hostage by three of the hijackers, Chris is left alone to locate and take down the team leader on her own. It results in one of the show’s best fight scenes to date and, though things looked dicey for a while, Chris ultimately gets the drop on the bad guy and captures him.
Throughout the whole episode, Hondo and Deacon try to push Chris to be a bit less cynical about love. She can’t imagine liking someone so much that you’d agree to be trapped with them for days at a time, with no escape…which…I mean…SAME. Chris admits that she’s been dating someone new but that the demands of the job make it hard for any relationship to thrive. Hondo tries to push back but his track record with relationships doesn’t disprove Chris’ thesis. But when our heroes return to dry land, they’re greeted by Deacon’s very pregnant wife and Hondo points to them as proof: “relationships and this job don’t mix – until you find one that does.”
Chris decides to put her cynicism aside and call the girl she’s been seeing, Kira, for another date. Meanwhile, I’m sitting at home thinking, “Maybe don’t call her.” — Natalie