Welcome back to Boob(s On Your) Tube! It’s already been a busy year for our TV team; we’re working around the database Riese built last year of every lesbian and bisexual TV character ever with a new plan to bring you the best and most comprehensive TV coverage on the great wide queer internet. And we’re off to a good start! Carmen’s recapping the Black Lightning, Valerie Anne’s back on that Supergirl beat, Kayla’s #GayKarolinaWatch2017 paid off big time on Marvel’s Runaways, Natalie reviewed the pilot of grown-ish, Riese got us hyped about Vida and rounded up all the queer tidbits from TCA, and we published a truly beloved Style Thief that caused us absolutely no grief whatsoever!
If you haven’t yet checked out Riese’s 2017 year-end TV round-up, do that now; it’s a masterwork.
Here’s what else is going on!
Fresh Off the Boat 412: “Liar Liar”
Written by Heather Hogan
I continue to be surprised and delighted by how Fresh Off The Boat is handling Nicole’s storyline. Her coming out episode was one of my favorite queer TV episodes of the entire year in 2017, but the show hasn’t stopped there. “Liar Liar” finds her finally ready to ask her crush out on a date. When she finally works up the nerve, Eddie agrees to go along with her for their first hangout and is horrified when she besmirches Jim Carrey — it’s 1997; she and Eddie have seen Ace Ventura 20 times and are quoting it nonstop to each other — disavows Third Eye Blind and pretends to speak French.
He convinces Nicole she has to be herself, so they go to the coffee shop and Nicole confesses that she thinks Jim Carey is hilarious, has seen Third Eye Blind in concert a lot, and is super faking being bilingual.
Nicole’s gal pal says she could have gotten over the low comedy thing and the pedestrian taste in music but she just cannot be with a girl who only speaks one language. It’s such a great and unexpected punchline. I’ve said it before but: I was Nicole’s age in 1997 and watching a teenager just come out on that timeline, be supported by her friends and family, and be rejected for not speaking French is so ridiculous and wonderful it’s time-machine healing my closeted baby gay heart.
grown-ish 104: “Starboy”
Written by Natalie
We’re four episodes into the inaugural season of grown-ish (which earned an early renewal this week) and, in every episode, Nomi, the show’s bisexual character, hooks up with a different person. I’m less bothered by how the depiction skirts close to a tired trope about bisexuals—that is, bisexuals as inherently promiscuous—than I am about the fact that all the people that Nomi hooks up with are nameless. Don’t get me wrong: the “bisexuals are promiscuous” trope can be problematic but the effort to avoid that stereotype forces bisexuals to be almost prudish.
The namelessness, though? That bugs me. Nomi’s been with five people—the girl in the bathroom, Jason Derulo’s cousin, the girl that works at Chipotle and, in this episode, the girl from the bar and the dude from the bar—and not a single name is given. And while I’ve watched enough TV to know that when grown-ish finally does give one of Nomi’s hook-ups a name, it’ll be because she’s serious about that person and, inevitably, it’ll propel her towards coming out to her family, the namelessness still feels a bit like erasure. But let’s back up…
In “Starboy,” Nomi’s out at the local sports bar on a date with the aforementioned nameless girl from the bar (GFTB) and when she inquires about the bar’s cheapest beer offering (ah, college!), the aforementioned dude (DFTB) interjects. He offers to buy Nomi a drink, while flashing a flirty smile, and she politely declines, letting him know that she’s on a date. To make up for the misunderstanding, he offers to buy them both a drink and, as Nomi looks ready to accept, her date interjects that they’re not looking for a threesome. DFTB assures her that that’s not what he meant but
GFTB isn’t having it and suggests he go elsewhere.
“I just hate straight guys with the whole lesbian-fantasy thing. It’s so cliché,” GFTB explains. Once she learns that Nomi’s bisexual, GFTB starts to make her exit. She is not interested in being Nomi’s experiment — a line that’s so familiar, it makes me shutter — and invites Nomi to call her when she’s done with her “bi phase.”
Understandably indignant, Nomi yells across the crowded bar, “You know, it’s L-G-B-T-Q! Respect the letter, bitch!” At our next Bisexual club meeting, I’m suggesting that as our new slogan.
But, as it turns out, Nomi doesn’t respect the letter nearly as much she claims. Later, she returns to the sports bar accompanied by DFTB. He’s charming and caring and wins over Nomi’s friends by plying them free food. When GFTB spots Nomi and the DFTB from across the room, she flips them the bird and Nomi returns the gesture, before explaining the situation to her friends.
— grown-ish (@grownish) January 18, 2018
You could almost hear the record scratch. One second, when talking about Nomi’s bisexuality, everyone’s like, “respect the letter, bitch,” but when confronted with male bisexuality, those same people, including Nomi, are like, “uh, maybe not.” While I get what the show was going for—there is, undoubtedly, a double standard for bisexual men, compared to bisexual women—having Nomi express that biphobia was jarring to say the least.
Fingers crossed that this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Nomi’s newly revealed internalized biphobia because, otherwise, grown-ish isn’t nearly as progressive in showcasing sexuality as it seems to think it is.
The Fosters 510: “Take Me To Church”
Written by Carmen
The Fosters picked up their new season directly from their summer cliffhanger, with Callie and AJ helping Ximena take sanctuary in a local church. They ran into that church with ICE right on their heels and now they are safe, if only for the moment. Callie gets back on the phone with Stef, and Ximena calls her attorney. They know that as long as they are in the church, Ximena is safe, but they’re unsure of what happens next.
Stef calls Lena to get Poppy and Mariana. If you need a refresher, Poppy was born in the United States, but her parents and sister, Ximena, are undocumented immigrants. Ximena had DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status, colloquially she’d be known as a “Dreamer” (as in the “Dream Act”, a bill that would protect undocumented children who were brought into this country, but is currently being held hostage in congress because America is often a heartless place). Ximena let her DACA status lapse because she was afraid that with the increased ICE raids happening in immigrant communities under the Trump Administration, she would be tipping agents off to her family’s new address.
Lena brings Poppy to her home just in time to see her parents get arrested.
They won’t tell her which deportation center they are taking them to. Poppy will have to go into foster care. Meanwhile, Ximena learns from her attorney that by letting her DACA status lapse, she forewent her protected status. He will keep working her case, but the best thing that they can do is increase public awareness and put pressure on ICE. So, Callie turns on her phone and puts her video skills to good use on Facebook Live. By the next morning, the church is surrounded by supporters and activists. ICE leaves, but Ximena is far from safe. She has to stay inside the church for the foreseeable future. At least Poppy will be staying with the Fosters (a twist that was perhaps predictable, but no less heartwarming) until the sisters can be reunited.
The Fosters season five premiere was perhaps one of my favorite hours of television that the show has put forth. No one is better at humanizing political issues, and they are putting all of their skills to use with Ximena and Poppy’s storyline. As I’m typing this, we are merely hours away from a possibly government shutdown, largely due to arguments over the Dream Act and DACA immigrants. Last week, the racist president occupying the White House referred to countries like where Ximena and Poppy are from, countries like where my family is from, as “shit-holes”. It’s overwhelming to wrap your head around. But in the middle of the very real storm, there is this story. There is a face that you can name and see and love and learn from. When they rise to the occasion, nothing tops this show. I’ll be sad to say goodbye when they take their final bow this summer.
In the middle of these high stakes, there’s some silly teen antics incredibly relevant to our interests. Callie and AJ are feeling tense around each other, because AJ still has feelings for Callie and Callie still isn’t over Aaron, blah-blah. When Callie gets snuggled into sleeping bags on the church basement with Ximena, both girls having discarded their prom dresses for donation t-shirts and sweats, this happens:
Ximena: So, you and AJ have history or what?
Callie: Yeah, I never told you that?
Ximena: hmmhmm…. I mean, he’s hot.
Callie: Yeah… Are you interested?
Ximena: (Chuckling) No. I don’t date boys.
Ximena: I’m gay. I never told you that?
Callie: Ummm, NO. (Laughs) I mean, it doesn’t matter or anything.
(Both girls laugh together)
Ximena: I can’t believe I just came out to you in a church. I hope I don’t get struck by lightning.
Callie: Yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaah [moves her sleeping bag in the other direction… you know, in case of lightning]
There you have it, folks! Ximena officially bats for #TeamGay. A lesbian, undocumented, radical, Chicana, feminist, activist, roller derby queen. I’m in love.
Madam Secretary 412: “Sound & Fury”
This isn’t an official write up, but we felt it was important you know that Kat Sandoval looked like this on Sunday:
— Sara’s Village (@SRamirezVillage) January 15, 2018
#BlackTie #KatStyle #Episode412 #SoundAndFury #KatSandoval @MadamSecretary @Zegna jacket, @Cucinelli pants, #Charvet bowtie, @RalphLauren coat @McQueen cufflinks #AO earrings, @Ferragamo shoes pic.twitter.com/ihv9hUmzgp
— Sara Ramirez (@SaraRamirez) January 16, 2018
Grey’s Anatomy 1409: “1-800-799-7233”
Written by Carmen
Jo Wilson is a Freaking Warrior Queen. It’s a nickname that she’s called herself before, but to be completely honest with you— I have never really bought it. I was wrong. She is made of steel.
When we pick up in the Winter Premiere, Jo is still standing face-to-face with Paul Stadler, her abusive first husband. She’s going pale, trying to catch her breath, while he goes on and on about “how good she looks”, and “it seems like she got the help she needed.” He tries to introduce her to his new fiancé, Jenny. Every look of his dead, cold eyes sends chills up my spine. He leans in close, he uses his right hand to play with his chin slowly, everything about him oozes manipulation and control. It’s all played small, little breath notices, almost as if you have to look in between the lines to see it— and that makes absolutely all the more terrifying.
Every part of my body is SCREAMING just looking at him, but Jo stays calm. She walks away. She goes outside to have a quick, panicked, cry of fear and desperation. And then she gathers herself together, goes back in, and confronts her abuser.
She’s resolute. She wants to be divorced, and that means that she has to get those papers signed. Alex wants to be there for her through this, but everyone knows that he’s too emotionally volatile for this kind of thing. Meredith promises him that Jo will never be alone. The ladies got this one.
Meredith makes good on her word, never leaving Jo’s side through the whole day. When they sign the papers, Jo shaking and flinching but never backing down, Meredith is there. When Jo confronts Paul, and tells him, “You don’t deserve anything good. You are a monster,” Meredith is there. When Jo realizes that it’s not enough to be free if it means leaving another woman in peril, that she has to talk to Jenny, that she must go back into the gates of hell, guns blazing — Meredith is there. She wraps Arizona into the plan and together they distract Paul long enough for Jo to have time alone with his fiancé, giving her Jo’s phone number just in case.
Later, when Paul angrily confronts Jo over the clandestine meeting — the simmering water that has churning behind his eyes all day, threatening to boil over, Meredith is there. She fakes calling security until he leaves.
Sisterhood, it’s the most powerful thing.
Another awesome, powerful thing? Cyber hackers! Grey Sloan Memorial is still being held hostage by cyber hackers for ransom. Luckily, Miranda Bailey has a secret card up her sleeve. It turns out that new Intern Casey is a bit of a cyber hacker in his own right, he once hacked into the DMV and has been banned by federal government from ever manipulating a computer ever again. Still, his hospital needs him and he is ready to answer the call of service.
Together Intern Casey and Dr. Bailey save the day! In a moment of glee, Dr. Bailey asks Casey, “Did you really hack into the DMV? Why would you do that?”
He smiles quietly, “Because my old license referred to me as female. And the DMV where I was living wouldn’t change it. So I did.”
It was such a sweet, satisfying coming out moment. Here is Intern Casey, a self-proclaimed “Proud Trans Man”, who got to save the day. Bailey smiles her classic Bailey smile, and all is good in the world.
If you are interested in learning more about Intern Casey and Alex Blue Davis, the out trans actor who is playing him, check out this great interview.
Speaking of interviews, if you haven’t read this one from Ellen Pompeo yet, you must. There are literally no words for good it is.
The episode’s title, “1-800-799-7233”, is the National Domestic Violence Hotline. It’s marks the first time in over 300 episodes that a title has no words in the title. What a way to go.