Boob(s On Your) Tube: TV Land Unveils Its First Leading Lesbian Character

It’s time for your weekly run-down of all the queer lady stuff you (maybe) missed on TV this week! A lot of shows are on hiatus for the summer, but there are a few new things to sing about!


 

One Big Happy

Tuesdays on NBC at 9:30 p.m.

One Big Happy - Season 1

If we kiss, I’m three-for-three on smooching ladies I’m not related to on this show.

 

Good news, everyone: One Big Happy just keeps getting better! I’m still (still!) getting used to the laugh track and multi-camera thing; actors making Reaction Faces while the “audience” guffaws makes me feel weird inside. But my fears that the show was going to spend all its time setting up and focusing on a rivalry between Lizzie and Prudence over Luke were completely unfounded. The jokes keep getting funnier. I seriously cackle-laughed at least three times this week. And the main thing about the show is Lizzie, Lizzie, Lizzie. Lizzie is the main character, after all. (Thanks for psyching me out, NBC promo department.)

This week, Lizzie has a meet-cute at a woman at her gym, and it is for real super cute. Lizzie sets up a fake bowling league at the Bowl Hole so her friends can help her figure out if Kate from the gym is a lesbian. It hits all the notes of The Mission to Ascertain the Disposition and Intent of One Ms. Lara Perkins, and even name-checks The L Word in a sweet, nostalgic way. Kate is definitely gay. Kate is also definitely a nurse for Lizzie’s new gynecologist, The Baby Whisperer. They dance around each other hilariously as Lizzie tries to keep her open-backed paper gown closed, answer all the awkward questions about her bowel movements, and ultimately spills her urine sample all over Kate’s shoes.

It’s not that Kate doesn’t want to get involved with Lizzie; it’s that her boss has really strict rules about dating patients. It’s a no-go. But, instead of announcing her due date at the next appointment, Kate says, “Only 238 days until you’re not pregnant or a patient here!”

Lizzie has kissed two women on the show, has had two relationship episodes (last week’s with her ex, and this week’s with Kate), and Liz Feldman was right when she said One Big Happy finds a good balance between poking fun at lesbian stereotypes and also embracing them. It’s like being in on all the jokes, and that’s such a rare and wonderful feeling when you’re watching broadcast TV as a gay lady.


 

Younger

Tuesdays on TVLand at 10:00 p.m.

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Girl, no. Do not order a Cosmo.

 

It was a sad day when ABC Family pulled the plug on Bunheads. (I still firmly believe the show didn’t have traction because there wasn’t a queer woman on it; that’s where ABC Family’s bread is buttered, man.) But Sutton Foster is back on TV Land’s brand new comedy by Sex and the City‘s Darren Star, and this time her character has a lesbian best friend! Oh, and also Hilary Duff makes a triumphant return to TV here. So, there’s truly no reason you shouldn’t be watching.

The premise seems trite, but the writing is very good and Sutton Foster is the gosh dang best, so don’t judge it too harshly by what I am about to say. Younger is the story of Liza, a middle-aged woman whose teenage daughter is overseas doing a foreign exchange program, whose ex-husband left her for a younger woman (after refinancing their house four times to pay off his gambling debts), and who has been out of the workforce for almost 15 years because she was raising her daughter. She gets sidelined on every interview she goes on because she’s too old for the publishing industry, so her lesbian BFF, Maggie, decides she’s going to give her a makeover and help her pass for 26.

Liza lands a job as an assistant for a Diana Trout, a woman who is basically her age at a publishing company; befriends Kelsey Peters (Hilary Duff!), who is definitely 20 years younger than her; and starts accidentally dating a dude from Brooklyn who is in his early 20s. The show is smart and funny — the best joke is a book cover for a Pride and Prejudice relaunch that is Elizabeth Bennet all tied up in red silk like 50 Shades of Grey. The pilot was great.

There are so few TV shows aimed at women over the age of 35, and finding one that’s laugh-out-loudable, that features a leading lesbian character, and that promises four (of five) main cast members are women? Yes, please. Yes, forever.


 

The Good Wife

Sundays on CBS at 9:00 p.m.

GOODOLDDAYS

The good O days. Ol’ day. The good ol’ days.

 

This weeks The Good Wife pays lip service to marriage equality and offers up some pro-gay commentary on bills like Indiana and Arkansas’ new RFRAs, but only in one of Diane’s mock trials, as a bunch of rich white people sit around pretending to pretend to debate conservative and liberal ideology about the Gay Agenda. I would have much rather seen Kalindaa being integrated back into the show for Archie Panjabi‘s final episodes, because story is so much more powerful than talking points. Alas.

The once greatest bisexual character on TV spends the whole episode completely detached from the other characters. She has finally been fingered (sadly, no, not like that) for “falsifying email metadata” to keep Cary from going to jail. She runs to and fro, trying to plan and plot, and thinking hard about a way to silence the hacker who helped her — to keep herself out of trouble, and to keep Diane out of jail — but Finn finally takes a dollar from her, declares himself her council, and says, “Kalinda. You’re caught … I hate to say this because I like you, but if I were you, I’d come clean.”

Maybe she’s leaving the show by going on the lam. Maybe she’ll find out who killed Jenny Schecter.


 

Arrow

Wednesdays on the CW at 8:00 p.m.

nyssa

If you say Sara’s name to me one more time, I am going to Katniss you in the face.

 

What if Nyssa al Ghul is destined to be with Black Canary, no matter which sister is wearing the costume? Huh? WHAT THEN? Because that’s exactly the vibe Arrow is giving me right now as Nyssa continues to train Laurel, and keeps intervening to save her life.

This week, Nyssa dimes out Masao after some emotional manipulation from Oliver, whose go-to these days is, “This is what Sara would have wanted!” every time he needs Nyssa to do something for him. She gives Oliver & Co. Maseo’s location, but she refuses to go fight the League of Assassins with them because she loves Sara but isn’t ready to go to heaven yet. She says eleven different ways that she’s not going to be a part of their ambush — but when Laurel’s life/freedom is on the line, she does show up and she rescues her (which actually is what Sara would have wanted, Oliver.)

Oliver ultimately gets arrested by Sara and Laurel’s dad, but then Roy arrives on the scene claiming to be the real Arrow, and my straight white man face blindness strikes again. I honestly don’t care which one goes to jail.

Now how about some actual training scenes with Lauren and Nyssa, hmm?


 

Newlyweds: The First Year

Tuesdays on Bravo at 10:00 p.m.

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Cheers to never staying in on a Friday night to watch Glee again!

 

Sam and Laura finally go on their honeymoon to Thailand and Cambodia on this week’s Newlyweds, even though Sam gets super panicked about mosquitos at the last minute and they spend a good chunk of time seeing doctors and modeling their mosquito jackets. But Laura buys lingerie too! Their honeymoon is like The Amazing Race, except with more canoodling and less running around like some headless basnhees hollering at each other. (Remember that horrible lesbian couple from TAR four seasons ago? Carol and Brandy? They were so mean.)

Anyway, here are some of Sam and Laura’s honeymoon photos. Next week, I think they’re having a baby.

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Onward, my noble steed! Today, we revolt against the male gaze!

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Patriarchal ruins.


 

Person of Interest

Tuesdays on CBS at 10:00 p.m.

Shaw’s not back on Person of Interest yet, and I’m still getting caught up, but she’s coming back and I’m close to finished with season three! We’re both so close!


 

Bold and the Beautiful

Weekdays on CBS

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 3.49.15 PM

This script! Have you never even heard of GLAAD?!

 

Well, B&B continues to fumble its new trans storyline. The show is still playing the fact that Maya is trans as some dirty little titillating secret, with Maya’s sister, Nicole, using the information to blackmail Maya while continuing to use Maya’s dead name and say things about how she was “born male.” According the spoilers I read this morning, the men in Maya’s life are going to “uncover her secret” this week, so it should be really fun to see how that shakes down in a culture where black trans women are victims of brutal violence more often than any other members of the queer community. “We’ve been involved, right? I would have known,” is what her boyfriend yells when his arch nemesis finds out Maya is trans and tells him. At this point, I wish they’d never even started this storyline. It’s doing more harm than good, in my estimation. Like even just a bare minimum of Googling would have opened the writers’ eyes to how awful they’re being.

Our trans editor, the marvelous Mey, is working on a list of shows about trans people that are coming soon, so get excited for that, instead of this!


 

Weird Loners

Tuesdays on Fox at 9:30 p.m.

RAY_8314_hires1

I’m still catching up on The 100, okay? It’s a lot!

 

Weird Loners premiered last week, and it was pretty good! It has a very Happy Endings feel to it, and it is filmed in real live New York City, so you can see what Friends tried to convince you that you were seeing a million years ago! Apparently, Zara will be bisexual on the show. No hints of that in the pilot, but I’ll keep my eyes open for you.


 

Team TV coverage you may have missed

+ “Fresh Off the Boat” Balances Stereotype and Authenticity in a Very Gay Episode

+ “The 100” Gives Canon Bisexual Representation and A Queer Girl Ship, and It Taketh Away


 

Two more weeks until Orphan Black is back! What are you watching on the Boob Tube this week?


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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Heather has written 685 articles for us.

27 Comments

  1. I’m re-watching Orphan Black (because Tatiana Maslany) in anticipation of its return. (I almost hate to admit it, but I’m also re-watching Game of Thrones, but only for the Arya and Brienne storylines. Please don’t judge.)

    And I’m pretty much totally with you on One Big Happy Birthday. I’m liking it a lot.

  2. I finally decided to watch One Big Happy on Hulu the other night after putting it off for a while because some autostraddlers brought the trans woman joke from the pilot to our attention. But weirdly, I didn’t notice the joke while watching it. Did I just somehow zone out during the one, particular moment I was dreading or have they edited it out? Or maybe the version that aired on TV was just a slightly longer cut. Anyway, I hope they just decided to edit it out. I really wish Liz Feldman would make a statement on it, though.

    But yeah, the show is OK! The laugh track is definitely awful and it sometimes feels like a sitcom from the 90s, but lots of current sitcoms are guilty of that. But I chuckled a few times and sometimes I enjoy watching a show where I can basically just turn my brain off. I’ll probably continue to watch it on hulu every now and then.

    • I didn’t notice the trans woman joke either… just cisnormative things like Luke saying Lizzie’s body is a no-penis zone. The fact that I remembered that makes me feel like I would’ve remembered the first joke, but maybe my brain blocked it out, or yeah, maybe they realized it was awful and edited it out.

      • Yeah, I hated that joke, but Liz Feldman’s show, This Just Out, is full of crap like that. Ugh, it’s sad that we put up with so much shit that my reaction was, “Well, at least there was only a penis joke.”

  3. – Okay HH, when is the PLL recap?
    – Bobbi basically held Simmons purse like a good girlfriend, and then Simmons sold her down the river. *Sob* MockingNerd betrayal. Simmons also had a Skype date with Skye.

    • I think they actually shoot partially in front of a studio audience. (It’s still a laugh track amping it up, obviously, I just mean that it’s unlikely they’ll ever ditch that) (unfortunately)

  4. Glad you mentioned Happy Endings, a show I love love love!
    And I did watch Weird Loners and thought it was funny in a weird way. Though sadly it’s up against One Big Happy and it appears to be bringing low ratings for Fox so who knows, they might not order a second season if the soft ratings continue.
    I think it’s sad b/c Elisha and Zach were a couple on Happy Endings and now they are pitted against each other on competing networks.

  5. One Big Happy won me over. For real. I shouldn’t hve doubted Liz Feldman. Really hope they order a full season

    You convinced me to watch Younger.

    I thought I was the only one that remebered The Amazing Race’s Carol and Brandy. I believe they broke up after the Race.

  6. Hi Heather,

    When you’ve caught up on Person of Interest, are you (or another Autostraddle team member) going to write something about POI and Shoot? Because Autostraddle is very much missing what is (in my opinion at least) an important queer relationship on television.

  7. I wasn’t sure about watching Younger but I love Sutton Foster and your recommendation convinced me. It was super cute!

    Also today in my working from home TV keeps me company watching whatever’s on I discovered that Angela (played by Michaela Conlin who is gorgeous!) on Bones had a on-screen relationship with another woman.

  8. I pretty much like Younger and will keep watching it but also I feel like they are constantly talking about generations and how old people are and oh the kids with their crazy twitter machines!!! I mean people don’t say “this is the problem with your generation” that often in real life I think, and wouldn’t she know about instagram and shit from her teenage daughter already? ANYHOW! but it’s still cute, i just hope we can move past this joke onto newer jokes.

  9. Bunheads. Still not over it. I think like 5 people besides me watched it but WHATEVER. Sigh.

    So sad for Kalinda. I worship The Good Wife writers but I lost hope on her character. What a shame.

    Petition to remove the laugh track on One Big Happy. WHO ACTUALLY LIKES IT? WHO? I WANT THE NAMES.

  10. I love sutton foster.
    One time i kind of met her because i had to escort her from backstage to her seat at an awards show and i definitely felt like i was actually the one that had won.
    So please keep telling us about the show, as i am not yet convinced that i want to watch it even after your compelling points of persuasion

  11. I’m sprinting towards the middle of Season 3 of POI, and oh boy.
    I did not expect for Root and Shaw to be thus openly flirting, but what amazes me even more is Reese/Harold.
    I haven’t been shipping two guys since Hercules and Iolaus.
    It’s also pretty sweet of POI to basically fool around with the whole spy genre, and I’m very happy, that they’re getting their feet wet with the sci fi aspect of the show.
    That said, I’m still having a hard time seeing the people fighting for total surveillance as the good guys. I hope they’ll actually have some sort of discussion about that.
    Heather, if you ever feel bored, could you, maybe, draw up a gay girls “to watch” list?
    I’m having a hard time keeping up and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
    That said, I cannot wait for Orphan Black to return! Very scared/excited!!

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