Birds on Your Tube: Sapphic Smooching Is Back on “Charmed”

Welcome to Birds on Your Tube, a column that used to be called Boobs on Your Tube before Carol took over. We welcome our new overlord.

This week, Autostraddle March Madness plowed full-steam ahead as you shaved the field down to 32! Drew recapped Drag Race. Kayla recapped Killing Eve. Natalie recapped Good Trouble. Heather wrote an essay about Killing Eve’s final season and how the only person Eve was ever fooling was herself. Heather also ranked foods she ate because of fictional characters.

Queer Academy Awards scholar Riese Bernard ran down the very true history of the Oscars. Plus she and Drew had some thoughts about this year’s nominees. Want a summary of just the queer stuff that happened? Don’t worry, we got you!

Notes from the TV Team:

+ Carina and Maya keep talking to each other about their potential sperm donor in the first five or last five minutes of every single Station 19 (this week it was the first five) without actually doing anything about it. It’s maddening!! The entire “get pregnant” plot was so unnecessary for this couple, but also it’s completely stagnated them from doing literally anything else?!? I hate it. Also this week Maya brought up that their potential sperm donor Jack is her ex-boyfriend, a fact from the early seasons that I forgot but I hate that, too. If you’re really into this plot, I’m sorry. I promise I am really trying to find joy in it.  — Carmen

+ Admittedly, when the Fresh Prince reboot, Bel-Air, was announced, I was definitely in the “who asked for this?!” camp. But now, after watching the show’s first season — which concluded its run this week — I can admit that I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. That said, I want better for Ashley. It’s great that they made the character queer but she’s barely a presence in season and has no identity outside of her sexuality. Stop making her so one-dimensional… these young queers contain multitudes! — Natalie

Charmed 403: “Unlucky Charmed”

Written by Valerie Anne

This week, Kaela is already making herself at home, cooking dinner for the family, happy as can be, already planning a game night. But she didn’t know that she was dancing onto a minefield, and within five minutes managed to trigger everyone’s trauma, leaving her alone with her delicious-looking meal and nary a soul to play Scrabble with. But the dinner isn’t all lost; we learn about an ex-girlfriend Kaela had that she caught collecting her hair. Yikes! Also you know Mel was distracted by her Ruby trauma otherwise she would have given her the queer eyebrows a la Sara Lance.

But Mel can’t shake the memory of Ruby and ends up having vivid flashbacks to the day that she proposed to Ruby and Ruby rejected her. After realizing she can’t keep running from these feelings, she invites Ruby over to get some closure. Ruby tells Mel that she really cared about her, and while part of the reason she said no to the proposal was because it came on the heels of Macy dying and Mel giving up her future baby, it wasn’t the only reason. As it turns out, she didn’t want to be the wife of a Charmed One. It felt like a one-sided relationship, where everything was about Mel and her family and the whole saving-the-world business, and Ruby wants to be with someone who really knows her. It’s probably not the closure Mel was looking for, but it’s closure nonetheless.

All American 413: “Jump On It”

Written by Natalie

Patience (with her hands clasped in front of her) finally has it out with Coop over the issues in their relationship.

Just before she’s arrested for her role in the cover-up of Mo’s murder, Coop pledges to make up for her past mistakes. She promises Patience a fresh start and imagines conquering the world together. But before they can work on their relationship and chart a new path forward, Coop’s arrested…and suddenly working on the state of their relationship takes a backseat.

Initially, Mrs. Baker recommends that Coop plead “no contest” to the charges against her to help her secure a better deal. Coop’s confident about skating on the charges, after all, Preach got off and he’s the one that actually shot Mo. But Mrs. Baker arrives with bad news: the DA is considering jail time for Coop after all. Nothing’s been decided yet, though, so Laura advises Coop to lay low until she gets an update from the DA’s office.

Meanwhile at the studio, Patience is working with Layla and Clay to put the final touches on her album. The good news doesn’t stop there: a last minute cancellation at a music festival in Palm Springs means there’s a slot available for Patience if she wants it. Of course, she agrees to do it, excited to have an opportunty to showcase her new music and something to keep her distracted from what’s going on with Coop. When she returns to the Baker house eager to share her good news, Coop interrupts and tells Patience about the possibility of jailtime. Coop foists blame onto Mrs. Baker but Patience insists that Laura has done nothing but try to protect her. Patience reminds Coop that everyone’s just doing their best to try and help her get through this.

To that end, Patience invites their friends to the Baker house to cheer Coop up and watch Spencer’s first game. Coop’s not really in the mood for a party, though, and laments how much she’s lost in such a short amount of time. Asher points out that she hasn’t lost everything, though: her friends and her girlfriend continue to show up for her. But then Coop overhears Clay tell Patience her spot is reserved at the musical festival and takes umbrage to Patience living her best life while her life spirals downward. Suddenly, the issues that Patience and Coop have been putting aside for the sake of this latest crisis can’t be ignored anymore. The fight is bad but necessary and, in the heat of the moment, the pair break up.

The next day, when Patience comes to collect her things, she pauses to talk to Coop. They both offer apologies but ultimately agree that the decision to break up was the right one. Coop and Patience are officially done this time. Thank God.

Naomi 109: “Keep Your Friends Close”

Written by Natalie

Lourdes sits at the McDuffie's table, playing a game of Never Have I Ever.

Can I be honest? I want to like Naomi more than I actually do. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kaci Walfall — what a find she is — and Naomi’s pursuit about the truth of who she is, where she comes from and what she can do is compelling and entertaining to watch. But where the show frustrates me is with the interpersonal relationships which are wholly underbaked. As a result, any time the show tries to lean on those relationships, it falters as is the case this week.

Last week, Naomi hosted a party to celebrate her parents’ 20th wedding anniversary. She dips in and out of the party because upstairs she, Jacob and Annabelle are trying to find out who stole Naomi’s disc. Using social media, they’re able to determine that Nathan, Lourdes and Anthony were all in the area that night and could be responsible for stealing the disc. Also? They might secretly be aliens.

Naomi uses a game of Never Have I Ever (sans alcohol) to get closer to the truth. Things start innocently enough but then they get very specific, namely: why were you on Naomi’s street three nights ago? Anthony admits that he’s been pet-sitting for a family in the neighborhood. Lourdes refuses to answer the question, telling Naomi that it’s none of her business and has nothing to do with her. Naomi hears an even rhythm to Lourdes’ heart and it’s clear that she’s telling the truth. It’s Nathan who’s lying: he makes up a story about leaving his cleats in a teammate’s car and his heart rate spikes as he offers his alibi.

With Nathan as their chief suspect, Jacob recommends an alternative method for sussing out the identity of the alien: taking their picture, with film, and processing that film with a solution typically reserved for slides. They ask Anthony to take pictures at the party while Naomi heads to school with Lourdes to steal the processing solution. In the darkroom, the pair get close and share a charged glance. As they look through their boxes for the solution, Lourdes asks directly what got stolen. Naomi explains that her disc is missing and Lourdes is taken aback that Naomi would think that she did it. Naomi admits that she’d be off her game and is starting to realize she doesn’t know people as well as she thinks. Lourdes suggest that that’s a good thing…it allows you to accept people for who they are, rather than who you want them to be.

Naomi uses the opportunity to question, again, why Lourdes was in her neighborhood the night the disc was stolen, but Lourdes won’t budge. It’s personal, she insists, noting that Naomi keeps secrets from her too. For the second time tonight (the first time was with Nathan), Naomi feigns shock that someone could believe she’s keeping something from them even though she clearly is.

“There’s something going on with you. There has been for a while,” Lourdes acknowledges. Naomi tries to pushback but Lourdes continues, “It’s fine that you don’t want to tell me. That’s the point. Just know that if you ever do want to talk about it, I’m here.”

I won’t hold my breathe waiting for Naomi to take Lourdes up on that.

Top Chef: Houston 1905: “Don’t Mess With BBQ”

Written by Natalie

Pictured: (l-r) Jo Chan, Monique Feybesse and Ashleigh Shanti face judges table. One of them will be eliminated.

Soon after last week’s double elimination, Padma enters the stew room, where the cheftestants are waiting. Her presence there is almost never a good sign…usually it means the already exhausted chefs have to jump right into their next challenge…but this time, she just gives them the heads up that they’ll be going on location with Top Chef winner, Brooke Williamson, for their next challenge. The location? J-Bar-M Barbecue. It’s Top Chef in Texas so you know they had to do it: a barbecue challenge.

Their elimination challenge involves putting their own unique spin on brisket. The cheftestants are given 30 minutes to develop a spice rub for their brisket, slather it on and place the meat in the smoker for a 12 hour cook time. Straight out the gate, I’m nervous about this challenge. I’m a Southerner who’s enjoyed her fair share of smoked meats and I know how badly this can go. A chef can make a seemingly great spice rub but if you’ve added too little or too much of a certain spice or if those spices don’t penetrate the meat, you don’t know if you’ve fucked up until 12 hours later…and by then, it’s too late to fix anything. The second thing that jumps out at me is the time: 12 hours of cooking time? While it sounds like a gift to finally not have the pressure of the clock, having too much time gives the chefs time to overthink and overdo. When you’ve got 12 hours, that’s a lot of time to imagine what else you could do. As they say, “idle hands are the devil’s playthings.”

Sadly, my worries are justified…and, worse, it’s our queer cheftestants that fall prey to them. Both Ashleigh and Jo end up in the bottom three for trying to do too much, rather than creating a cohesive plate of food. Jo’s pasta — which she says is her favorite thing to cook — and brisket dish proved underwhelming, particularly compared to Jackson’s stuffed pasta dish. But it’s Ashleigh’s kitchen pepper rubbed brisket in cream of collard soup that really disappoints the judges. The meat is underseasoned, sliced too thick and swimming in the cabbage soup. Unsurprisingly, Ashleigh’s the chef that’s told to pack her knives and go.

But Ashleigh’s not ready to head back to North Carolina yet: she wins her spot back by surviving a grueling back-to-back challenge in Last Chance Kitchen. The James Beard nominee will return to the Top Chef kitchen next week!

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A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. You can follow her latest rants on Twitter.

Natalie has written 405 articles for us.

Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 565 articles for us.


  1. Natalie. I understand about Naomi. I am invested but am not enjoying it as much I want to. Something is missing and sometime I feel frustrated at the plot. Still keeping hope that I will fall in love with it.

    • I’m glad it’s not just me with Naomi. I was really excited about the show when it was announced. However, with every episode, my interest wanes. For me, part of it is that the plot is moving extremely slowly. It would be fine to have a drawn-out plot if it was in service to character development. But I don’t have any more of a sense of these characters than I did in episode 1.

  2. Nothing on Astrid and Lilly? The finale had some really cute moments. Kind of a downer ending as far as Candace and Lilly were concerned (although they didn’t break up or anything), but not worthy of the backlash from some very loud and angry fans. The writers have had to block people who are accusing them of using/hating the LGBT community (for giving the biggest couple on the show a bit of angst). It’s honestly baffling.

  3. Lol, I can’t say that I was expecting Charmed to come out and admit how much they screwed up with Ruby and Mel’s relationship. Not in those exact terms but that if basically what happened here. Because yeah, that was Mel’s worst relationship so far and they’ve been a sliding slope downward ever since Nico.

    Ruby was such a nothing jumble of whatever they needed her to be that week. She started as Mel’s casual hook up buddy, then suddenly she’s a witch who doesn’t want to be a witch and they break up and then they get back together and suddenly they’re deeply in love even though we never see them together on screen and also Jealousy Muffins. And ultimately the only reason that she’s Mel’s worst relationship is that they never put her and Abigail together.

    So I guess I’m glad that they explained the break up I guess but I’m not sad to see Ruby go. Hopefully Mel’s next relationship will be better.

    As far as Naomi goes, yeah they’ve pretty much killed the Love Quadrangle at this point. I just don’t care if Naomi stays with Nathan or breaks up with him and gets with Lourdes or Anthony (And I like all three of the love interests). It’s kind of a bigger problem with the show that everything feels off and janky but in that particular I really don’t care what they do there.

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