Boobs on Your Tube: This Lesbian Love Triangle on “Charmed” Is For Real

Ah, Boobs Tubers, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Netflix cancelled One Day at a Time. Carmen wrote about it yesterday right after the news broke. Lots of fans and critics have had lots to say about it, of course. It trended on Twitter all afternoon. Todd Vanderwerf over at Vox unpacked his guess about the decision behind the cancellation (everything’s a guess about Netlflix’s process; no one knows anything about any of their numbers) and even the New York Times is here to remind you Netflix is not your friend. Campaigns are already mounting to find a new home for the show, with Lin Manuel-Miranda — who you’ll remember played a part in Brooklyn Nine-Nine getting picked up at NBC after it was cancelled at Fox — is already on top of it. #SaveODAAT for real!

This week, we finally heeded your cries and wrote about Juliantina. NBC heeded your cries and Lilly Singh is now the first woman, queer woman, and woman of color to take over a Big 4 late night show. Carmen recapped the penultimate episode of Black Lightning‘s second season. Valerie Anne recapped a delightfully Dreamer-heavy episode of Supergirl. Natalie recapped Alice getting closer to figuring out how to halt her self-destructive habits on Good Trouble. Riese and Kristin Russo announced their new The L Word Podcast. Riese and Valerie Anne chatted about how the gayness on Shameless surprised them. We recognized Holland Taylor’s domme energy. And Heather reviewed Captain Marvel.

Some reminders from the TV Team:

+ Some TV premieres and returns that might be relevant to your interests: Shrill (Hulu, 3/15), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW, 3/15), Billions (Showtime, 3/17), 9-1-1 (Fox, 3/18) and Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists (Freeform, 3/20). — Natalie

+ The #FightforWynonna is still going strong despite condescending announcements from ADW. I can’t survive a ODAAT and a Wynonna Earp cancellation this year, so I’d appreciate it if someone would save both of these shows?? — Valerie Anne


All American 115: “Best Kept Secret”

Written by Natalie

Coop enjoys a meal with her dad, Spencer and Patience.

Life is good. For Now.

This week’s penultimate episode of All American starts on a light note: Coop’s dad regaling his daughter’s girlfriend and her best friend with a story from her youth. It’s refreshingly normal — parents telling your friends embarrassing stories is a hallmark of youth — and a nice reprieve from the the darkness that has shrouded Coop’s story for weeks now. But the reprieve is a brief one because the moment Coop’s dad walks away from the table, talk turns back to the violence that looms on the horizon.

Patience and Spencer are both weary about what Preach might do now that he knows it was Tyrone that put out the hit on Shawn. Coop dismisses their concern — Tyrone deserves whatever’s coming to him, she says — but Spencer knows she doesn’t really believe that. He knows Coop’s no killer and she can’t allow Preach’s actions to make her into one. Patience reminds Coop of the promise she made when they reunited — that she’d help her girlfriend stay true to herself — and worries Coop’s actions will upend that. It’s enough to give Coop pause and she goes directly to Preach to try and talk him out of avenging Shawn’s death. This goes about as well as you’d expect. Coop warns that if he goes after Tyrone and gets caught, it’d be his third strike and he’d be sent to jail for life. But Preach sees right through Coop’s excuses and calls her out on her real reason for wanting to change course.

“This is about the fact that you ain’t down with your role in all this,” Preach tells her. “It’s a different beast when you set it in motion. That’s why this life ain’t never been for you, Coop.”

Preaches sees through all Coop's excuses.

The game is the game. You’d know that if you grew up here or watched even one season of “The Wire.”

Undeterred, Coop continues to push Preach towards a different option. If they just let Tyrone know he’s not welcome in Crenshaw — if he knows his options are leave or die — he’ll just leave town. Preach acquiesces in that way that someone does when they don’t agree with you and absolutely will not be doing whatever you said, but also really want you to stop talking. Coop, graduate of the Jared Kushner School of Diplomacy, walks away confident that she’s avoided getting blood on her hands. But, of course, that delusion gets shatter later when, while walking with Patience, Coop finds out that the hit on Tyrone is still on, she’s just been disinvited by Preach. Stunned, Coop tells Patience that she has to get to Tyrone before the crew does.

At Patience’s urging, Spencer arrives back in Crenshaw just in time to Coop’s meeting with Tyrone (Coop jokes that she has to take Spencer’s number out of Patience’s phone and it gives me horrible How to Get Away With Murder flashbacks). She confronts Tyrone and lets him know that it’s in his best interest to leave town. His crew has turned on him, she tells him, and at any moment, anyone of them might take a step to avenge Shawn’s death. Cornered, Tyrone says, “guess y’all leave me no choice” and stalks off. Coop and Spencer retreat to a house party to toast their success, that degree from the Jared Kushner School of Diplomacy is really paying off.

Coop, Spencer, Laila and Patience are dismayed when the Beverly Hills crew shows up.

There goes the neighborhood.

Couched between all this darkness, “Best Kept Secret” also brings us back to the heart of the show: the friendship between Spencer and Coop. They find space at the party to talk about Spencer’s father’s return and the one-time affair between Spencer’s mom and his football coach. He laments that it took so long for his parents to be honest but Coop sympathizes with what they must have gone through. Their actions were rooted in shame…and she understands that because shame is what kept her in the closet for so long. She encourages Spence to understand where his father’s coming from, if not for him, then for his younger brother, Dillon.

But then, a return to the darkness, as while on a walk home, Patience and Coop stumble upon Preach, clinging to life as blood pours out of his bullet-riddled body. Apparently, he and Coop were the only people who didn’t see this hit coming.


Legacies 114: “Let’s Just Finish the Dance”

Written by Valerie Anne

It’s pageant time in Mystic Falls, and in an effort to distract from being a school of witchcraft and werewolfry, the Salvatore School is hosting, and Lizzie and Josie are going to enter. Though Penelope can’t figure out why Josie would participate in such misogyny. Penelope is PISSED to learn Josie is only competing to bail at the last minute to let Lizzie win.

When Lizzie realizes one of the judges is her dead enemy’s mom, she decides to train someone to win in her place. Josie tries not to be crushed when Lizzie picks Hope over her. Hope, full of frenetic energy from watching her boyfriend die and come back to life and also from her ex-boyfriend coming back to town, agrees.

Penelope convinces MG to let her be Josie’s escort for the pageant, which confuses Josie, but Penelope keeps saying she’d understand if she read the note. While they rehearse the dance, Penelope whispers that this is the death of feminism, but Josie ignores her because it’s her cue to fall so as not to score too high. But Penelope, in a move that’s a metaphor for their whole relationship, refuses to let Josie throw herself on the ground for her sister. Penelope knows if Josie were being honest, she wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and win this pageant. Josie looks at Penelope like she just read her soul out loud and storms off.

Josie quickly figures out how Penelope knew so clearly what she wanted. For Christmas, Penelope gave everyone enchanted pens so she could read everything they wrote, like the perfect little chaotic witch she is. Josie calls her obnoxious, selfish, and evil and insists that she really does want Hope to win, for Lizzie.

Upset, Penelope goes outside and steals Landon’s liquor and drops a truth about Hope remember his mom that sends him spiraling. When she finishes ruining his life, Penelope attempts to ruin mine by wearing a jumpsuit with a cape to escort Josie to the final dance.

Penelope in a black jumpsuit with a cape escorts Josie in a black dress down the stairs

I mean, how dare.

Penelope tries to make Josie sees what she sees, which is a girl who could win this pageant on her own merit, a girl that should hold her head up high, and at first it seems like she might…but at the last minute Josie takes the fall to make Lizzie happy.

Penelope wonders aloud what Josie will do when Penelope isn’t here to fight for her anymore, encourages her yet again to read her letter, then walks away.

Josie finally reads Penelope’s letter and realizes Penelope is leaving the school. When she tells Lizzie, Lizzie says she already knew, she was just so happy to be rid of her, she didn’t bother telling Josie. Josie realizes how right Penelope has been all along; Lizzie really doesn’t care about anyone but herself. Not only would she have loved to wear her mother’s dress, but Hope would have liked to know that her father, Klaus, is the one who picked it out.

Hope’s vampire ex can hear the fight and relays the message to Hope and she finally hits her breaking point. They announce her the winner of the pageant but all Hope can do is cry and try not to literally explode the whole room. Lizzie sees this all-too-familiar scene and runs to Hope, pretending she’s hugging her in congratulations, but in reality whispering that Hope should give into the pain and cry it out.

Hope cries on Lizzie's shoulder

I support this unlikely friendship.

Josie catches Penelope right as she’s leaving for her witch-only school in Belgium and Josie asks her not to leave. Penelope looks defeated; she’s been looking for a reason to stay for weeks, but Josie never gave her one. She can’t watch Josie put herself second for Lizzie’s selfish whims over and over, especially because her pen magic told her about The Merge. She gives Josie the notebook the pens wrote in so she can learn for herself and wipes away Josie’s tears.

Penelope uses her thumb to brush Josie's single tear off her cheek

BUT WHO WILL WIPE AWAY MINE

She says someday Josie will understand why she did what she did. And she kisses her goodbye.

Penelope kisses Josie gently, lovingly, one last time

I DON’T KNOW WHEN I BECAME SO INVESTED IN THIS SHOW ABOUT MAGICAL TEENAGERS BUT I AM EMOTIONAL

Penelope tells Josie she loves her with her whole obnoxious, selfish and evil heart. And then she leaves while the rudest song ever sings, “If I’m not here to love you, what am I here for?”


Charmed 114: “Touched by a Demon”

Written by Carmen

Ok. I know that gays have home remedies for everything, but this is madness.

Last week’s Charmed ended with a cliffhanger as Jada was shot with an arrow by two individuals in an unmarked black van at the exact moment she was supposed to meeting her long-lost parents thanks to Niko’s private investigating. Whew. That was quite a sentence, are you still with me? Good! This week we pick up shortly after where we last dropped off, now with Mel helping Jada to disinfect her wound (using a bottle of liquor) and bandage it up. Apparently the wound won’t heal magically because the individuals who shot Jada were witch hunters with enchanted arrows. This doesn’t explain why Mel didn’t just take Jada to a hospital with real disinfectant and real bandages. But, let’s just go with it.

It turns out that the witch hunters are actually the rich entitled adult children of someone Jada hexed a while back to give away all his money. Or at least I think that’s what happened? The explanation moved pretty fast, and it’s at least 50% possible that I still have our real life entitled rich people and their bratty children scandal burned in my brain. So these people are seeking Jada out for revenge because they’re broke now. They hired Niko under the false notion of being Jada’s parents in order to do it. We learn all of this in these funny moments where Mel “freezes” Niko mid-sentence and mid-investigation so she can have witchy side convos with Jada before subsequently “un-freezing” her. The dynamics between Jada, Mel, and Niko are deliciously complicated. The show took most of the season layering them in and now Charmed gets to reap the rewards of that slow burn in all these little moments. I am so here for it!

Much like Mel and Niko in the first half of the season, Jada and Mel have quickly become the romantic core of Charmed. Their chemistry is magnetic. Mel and Niko felt warm and worn in together, it was sweet and easy to care for right from the pilot. Mel and Jada are challenging and exciting. They feel dynamic; perhaps it’s the pushback that Jada is always willing to give The Elders?

We’re supposed to believe Jada’s a “bad girl,” but she’s also the only one willing to expose The Elders for the liars and manipulators that they really are. For example, she mentions to Mel that there was a much easier, less invasive way that she could have protected Niko instead of a memory loss spell – some kind of magical witness protection program. Do you know who never brought that up? Charity, the head Elder. Just like Charity never mentioned that there was a way to rescue Harry from demon prison, a ‘lil trick Mel also had to learn from Jada and the S’Arcana.

Jada believes that The Elders don’t see Mel’s humanity – she’s a Charmed One; a weapon that they want to control. They aren’t telling Mel everything she can learn about her powers (the hottest moment of this week’s episode if you ask me? When Jada teaches Mel that she can use her powers as a time witch to magically dissolve the witch hunters’ rings. She ends the moment with a quip, “Not to sound like a broken record, but The Elders should have taught you that months ago”). The history between the S’Arcana and The Elders is smoldering and I really wish the show would dive right into that pool. I’m so ready for it! We may be getting there soon, with Macy deciding to trust Charity with her demon secret over Mel’s objections. I don’t want anything to come between Mel and her sisters, obviously, but I’m interested to see what this new take on “The Elders can’t be trusted” can do for the show.

You had me at…

Hello.

Also fascinating? Mel and Niko. YALL NIKO HAMADA IS ENGAGED TO GET MARRIED!! To Greta, who was her girlfriend before Mel in the original timeline!! Say whaaaaaat? Oh man, the look of heartbreak on Mel’s face when she first finds out, I felt it right in my gut all the way across my living room. Jada’s sympathetic to her pain, which is much more interesting than going the obvious love triangle route of having Jada be jealous of Mel’s nostalgia for Niko (though Jada does get in a few mocking tones of “Oh I just love The Cure’s album” for laughs. And those laughs are totally worth it.)

Everything about Mel/ Jada/ Niko has me on edge in the best ways possible. I love them. I love that we can have a queer storyline that is sexy without being all about sex and is emotional and complicated without being rooted in petty jealousy. I love that there are three well developed and interesting women of color who are getting to be in love and deal with heartbreak and also kick demon ass every week. Charmed has snuck right into my heart in all the best ways! Right now, it’s my favorite piece of escapism every week. I hope you’re loving it, too.


Quick Hits

Derry Girls 202: “Ms De Brún and the Child of Prague”

Just want to quickly point out that the Derry girls and that wee English fella are all wearing rainbow pins on their school uniforms now to support Clare, and Clare herself is wearing two rainbow pins as a very obvious lesbian power move. — Heather

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 610: “Gintars”

I sure would like to meet Rosa’s girlfriend! In the meantime, please enjoy her stone cold glare in the face of Captain Holt and Amy’s delight. — Heather

Siren 208: “Leverage”

In the mid-season finale of Siren, the humans and merfolk work together to hatch a plot to stop oil drilling so the merfolk can go back to their ocean safely. At first, Ryn is going to spend the night with her clan, but wakes up at one point and finds her way back to Maddie and Ben. She wants to spend what could be her last night on land with these two humans she loves. She assures them that even if she doesn’t come back, she’ll always be with them, and places her hands gently on their hearts. Maddie tells Ryn they love her, and Ryn kisses them both. Then she asks for more.

So more they do! They all sleep together for the first, and maybe last, time. The music is romantic and the camera is slow and gentle, and they’re openly communicating about what they like and want. It’s beautiful, truly.

Ryn and Maddie kiss

I love one (1) human-human-mermaid throuple.

Before she goes into the ocean, Ryn puts her hand on Maddie’s heart and reminds her one more time: Ryn is with you.

We’ll check back in with this throuple in July! — Valerie Anne

The Good Fight 301: “The One About the Recent Troubles”

Maia puts her feet up at work.

Who gon’ check me, boo?

The Good Fight returned to CBS All Access this week with a great episode to launch its third season. It is The Good Fight doing what The Good Fight does best: interweaving the legal with the personal and grounding it all with some tour de force performances. In particular, there was a quiet devastation that came with Audra McDonald’s performance this week, as Liz is forced to confront the man her father truly was. So, so good…

But while it might have been good, the premiere wasn’t very gay: Maia’s regulated to the sidelines for most of the episode, as she deals with the side effects from a corneal abrasion. Worried that she’s actually been sidelined at the firm, she complains to Marissa and is gifted with a pep talk and a magical pair of confidence-giving sunglasses. It’s funny, I guess, and allows Maia to worm her way into a new case…so hopefully it’ll pay dividends in future episodes. — Natalie

General Hospital

Britney Sarpy toasts the end of her run as Valerie Spencer.

Oh, what could have been…

I’ve been trying to avoid wading into Kristina’s storyline about a new-age cult in Port Charles because, ultimately, that storyline isn’t about Kristina at all, it’s about her sister, Sam, and her connection to the cult’s charismatic leader…and I’m just not interested in that. But this week, the cult story crossed paths with a story I am interested in — Kristina and Valerie’s situationship — so here we are.

Part of a cult’s successful indoctrination is to isolate members from their friends and family that don’t support their new path and that’s where Kristina’s at now. Valerie’s looking to reconnect with her friend but Kristina’s determined to remain firmly ensconced in her Dawn of Day bubble. She invites Valerie to be a part of it but when she declines, Kristina lashes out. She doesn’t say it outright but Kristina basically accuses her of attacking Dawn of Day so Valerie doesn’t have to grapple with her issues about her sexuality. Kristina dismisses their friendship as toxic and Valerie agrees that it’s best to end things. Valerie retreats to another bar to drown her sorrows and we learn that maybe Kristina wasn’t entirely wrong…however well-founded her skepticism about DOD is, Valerie does have some issues about her sexuality to deal with. Unfortunately, it’ll take a recast for us to get any resolution.

Sadly, that’s the last we’ll see of Brytni Sarpy’s Valerie, as the actress will debut next week on The Young and the Restless. Maybe she can make out with some girls over there because, at GH, her talents were truly wasted. — Natalie

The Young and the Restless

Tessa rushes to the courthouse to reunite with her love.

Out on bail, fresh outta jail…

Sarpy will arrive in a Genoa City that’s been rocked by the JT Hellstrom murder trial. Mariah’s mother, Sharon, is one of the defendants, along with Nikki and Victoria Newman. The girls thwart their own defense by telling lie after lie and, once everything comes out, the Newmans’ attorney, Michael Baldwin, is forced to call Tessa to the stand. Hoping to help her girlfriend’s mother, Tessa tells the truth about her blackmail and the subsequent kidnapping. Personally, I have no idea why a lawyer thought this would be a good tact to take, but it’s a soap and soap opera lawyers are slightly less incompetent than soap opera police.

Still, though, Tessa’s confession makes the police department’s job easier, as they show up at Crimson Lights the next day and arrest her for extortion. Fearing that she might soon be without her mom and her girlfriend, Mariah bails Tessa out and they reunite, just in time to see her mother found guilty. — Natalie

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

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17 Comments

  1. Charmed has absolutely become my fave too lately. It’s uncomplicated fun every week. Some shows I want to like but can’t and others have good stuff but really annoying plotlines or characters. It’s nice to just love something.

  2. I am so NOT a fan of the Mel/Jada/Niko love triangle :(. I’m super attached to Mel + Jada now…Melda? Jada is hot!!! And Mel doesn’t have to hide who she is around her. I just love their dynamic. Also I’m totally with you guys I want to see more S’Arcana vs. The Elders stuff.

  3. I’m thinking that Landon is a toxic presence for Hope, and she needs to cut him loose. It’s more than just the jealousy that he displays in this episode. That’s just a symptom of what’s wrong. He suffers from low self-esteem, and he’s constantly, constantly, CONSTANTLY on Hope to reassure him, like a leech. It was very well illustrated when Lizzie told him to stay away while she helped Hope out with her stress. A few minutes later he comes to find her for no real good reason. I could easily see a scenario where in two years she breaks up with him, and he threatens suicide in order to make her stay with him. She needs to get out of this relationship right now.

    PS – Here’s that violin cover of “Just Dance” that Penelope and Josie were dancing to.

    • I started off feeling just generally “meh” about Landon but he’s really starting to grate my nerves. I agree that he’s bad for Hope. I don’t like how she turns into a mopey lovesick girl around him, it feels so far from who she is in any other situation. (Including when she’s being regular-type vulnerable with the people she cares about.)

      • Landon’s insecurities are driving me up a wall. I understand that they’re not easy to deal with, but he should be getting professional help instead of begging Hope for validation. She asked very little of him and he couldn’t give her that, which annoyed me.

  4. Valerie Anne, I think you won’t regret watching tvd and the originals – at least the first 3 seasons of tvd then they have the spin of to the originals. Getting to know Caroline before/if she joins legacies would be worth it alone. There is a bunch of characters you will love so much in those shows.

    • Yeah I think I love this show so much that I’ll probably start a binge of its parent series during the hiatus between S1 and S2!! And I’ve heard great things about The Originals specifically. Can’t wait to go on this 263-episode adventure! haha

      • The Originals is one of those rare spin-offs that eclipses it’s parent-show in quality and suspense. The first 3-4 seasons of TVD are fun (conveniently, the part of the show that about the Originals), after that it’s just chasing it’s own tail and making up bogus plotpoints to keep love triangles going (and seriously, no one remains dead in TVD. Even for a show on vampires it’s very annoying…). I really loved the originals for the dynamic role New Orleans plays in the series, as it’s almost a character in itself and for the focus on power struggles and family.

  5. I watch all my CW shows online, and Charmed has moved up to the front of the queue. I’m here for the love triangle, the demon sister, the demon lover…even Harry’s subplots. But I am so ready for the Elder/S’Arkana confrontation and the moment when I imagine that Mel will have to make a choice..maybe two choices at once?

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