The Oscar noms were announced this week, and so Riese made you a Real True History of LGBTQ+ Nominees For Best Actress Oscars because everyone else kept getting it wrong (and that drives her nuts!). The reason people were getting it so wrong is because Kristen Stewart and Ariana DeBose both got nods, so there was lots to talk about! Also this week in movies, Shelli reviewed Pure and Analyssa reviewed The Fallout. Shelli also brought us a piece from Amari Gaiter about The Color Purple’s queerness, and the hopes they’ll get it right this time!
A lot of TV was on hiatus because of the Winter Olympics, but do not fear! Heather made some memes from Batwoman’s new promo photos. Sally brought us news of Cat Cora on The Real Dirty Dancing. Valerie wrote all her love into a review of the newest episodes of The Legend of Vox Maxhina. And Drew recapped both Euphoria and Drag Race!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ All Rise is coming back! The Simone Missick fronted legal drama will debut on its new home in June. This week, the show confirmed that Marg Helgenberger will recur as Judge Lisa Brenner, but so far, there’s no word on whether we’ll see Audrey Corsa and Samantha Ware reprise their rolls as Sam and Ness. — Natalie
+ After six months of sobriety, Sam is starting to feel her body again on Single Drunk Female and her body is telling her one thing: it’s horny (this episode, in tribute to sober bisexuals everywhere is titled, “Sober for the D and V”). She strikes out with James and then again on the apps before “[having] a fun hook-up with a girl she meets at a sober dance party.” — Natalie
4400 112: “Group Efforts”
Written by Shelli Nicole
It’s the aftermath of Rev being stabbed by Manny. After discovering his body, Logan goes to get help but when everyone comes into the room his body is gone. Keisha wants to call the cops but Shanice talks her into waiting and asks to figure out what happened internally. She’s worried if the cops come they will use it as part of the government’s fight to make the 4400 seem scary and harmful, Keisha understands and gives her a day to make moves. Hayden accuses Mildred of being the one who hurt Rev. He thinks back to the vision he had of her bringing armed men into the hotel, and is convinced that she is going to do harm to them all.
Mildred’s backstory takes us to the 70s. She was dropped off at a commune (which is more like a cult with a Manson-Esque leader named Caleb who is brainwashing them like wild) when she was 8 and her sister, Millicent, is there too. Her sister wants to see the world but Mildred wants to stay on the commune, where she thinks it’s safe. Millicent later tries to leave and Mildred said she will go with her, but on the night of it’s revealed that she told their leader about Millicent’s plan and they all stay at the commune.
Back in current times, Claudette stands up to the 44roum (what the folks who are part of an online forum and anti 4400 call themselves) while they smash the windows of the bar and leave something for Mildred — it’s her sister Millicent’s bracelet. She thought she was at Ypsi Med but do they have her instead? She HAS to go and save her. Claudette is also the one who informs Keisha that Manny has the power to go invisible, something Jharrel conveniently left out when they were wondering who could have been the one to stab Rev. Later, when Jharrel is looking for any sign of Manny, Claudette reveals to him that she actually already knew his brother (and from where) and he gets upset and storms away.
LaDonna and Mildred go to rescue Millicent but it was a setup — She is one of the 44roum. Millicent got taken by the green light and was immediately sent to Ypsi Med (we still don’t know what her power is) where it seems like she was brainwashed, for the second time in her life. She brings up Mildred’s mommy issues (deep cut sis!) and tries to get her to be one of them but it doesn’t work. So she sticks Mildred and LaDonna in a room and they end up being rescued by Claudette and some of her crew.
Back at the hotel, Shanice uses her power with Logan in an attempt to see what happened. In her vision she sees him discovering Rev’s body and running for help but she also sees a green flash happen in the room — did Rev get sent back to his time?! She tells Doc and he gets all sciency and is ready to figure out what in the hell went on. He leaves the hotel in disguise to get materials and answers and hops in a Black truck with the secret source who is giving it to him.
In another room of this huge ass hotel, Keisha and Jharrel set up Manny. They have a conversation that forces him to appear (just like they wanted) and when he does Jharell handcuffs them together. He confesses to killing Rev but said it was only because he needed the 4400 to have their powers to prepare for what’s coming. Hayden’s vision of Mildred was not her coming to hurt — but coming to help. The 44roum are outside of the hotel ready to break in and upstairs, Manny tells his brother that the green light didn’t take him to 2021, it took him to 2062 — he’s back from the future to make things right.
Claws 410: “Chapter Ten: Mercy”
Written by Natalie
Over 40 episodes of Claws, I’ve learned to calibrate my expectations. Between pills mills and strip clubs and casinos…between Rednecks, Russian mobsters and Haitian gangsters…I’ve learned not to expect it to make too much sense. So was I surprised when the FBI accepts Uncle Daddy’s death as a suicide, even though it’s obvious he didn’t die at his own hands? No. Am I surprised when Dr. Ken and his nurse walk into the police station, dressed as ICE agents, and get Virginia out of lock-up? Not really. And I am surprised that even after all the dirt they’ve done — including killing multiple people — that the Nail Artisans crew escapes, relatively unscathed? Not even a little bit. I know what this show is.
The real shortcoming of the Claws finale, though, is the departure it took from the one thing that’s grounded the show since its first episode: the relationships between Desna Sims and her brother and the Boss and her crew.
For most of the Claws‘ finale, Desna’s out of reach — setting up the details of their escape — and her absence is deeply felt. She’s not there to convince Jen to join the crew on the run…that’s left to Polly, who convinces Jen by securing the one thing she couldn’t leave without, her children. She’s not there when police storm Virginia’s apartment, guns blazing, and arrest her for Georgia’s murder. She’s only available via Facetime to say goodbye to her brother. But the biggest disappointment, for me at least, came as we only got the story behind the reconciliation between Quiet Ann and Desna as part of an audio letter Desna sends to her brother a few weeks after her “death.”
Ann had always been Desna’s consigliere and, without Ann to guide her this season, Desna became an unrelenting boss. Their schism was the driving force behind Claws‘ entire final season… but instead of treating it like the pivotal storyline it was, the show treats it as an aside. Ann and Desna reconcile off-screen and concoct the plan to fake their own deaths and escape to Cuba to live freely. It made for one of the most disappointing finales I’ve seen in a while.
But despite the disappointing way it ended, I’m happy for the 40 episodes of Claws that we got. Mostly, I’m happy that we got to see Niecy Nash in all those jumpsuits… but also that Niecy Nash — who had been a scene-stealing supporting character for years — got the chance to helm a show. Hopefully it’s only the beginning.
grown-ish 412: “Mr. Right Now”
Written by Natalie
Five months after Luna was born, Nomi tracked down Phil, the one-night stand she had after breaking up with Professor Hewson Shane, to tell him he was a father. The shock of it all sent Phil running and left Nomi to navigate parenthood on her own. But then on one fateful night, Nomi runs into Phil again: back in LA, two-fisting forties at a college party. When he reaches out afterwards, the only thing that Nomi can offer is a hearty “fuck you” via text.
But this week, Nomi prioritizes what’s best for Luna and responds to Phil’s requests. She introduces him to Luna and, slowly but surely, they start to build a connection. But when Phil can’t prioritize Luna’s second birthday party, déjà vu sets in. All Nomi can think about is how Phil shirked his responsibilities as a father and she can’t forgive his past mistakes. When Luna has a little accident while she’s left alone with Phil, Nomi uses it as an excuse to push him out of their lives. Ana tries to push Nomi to reconsider, noting how much happier Nomi’s been as part of a little family than she was as a single mother, but Nomi won’t relent.
Phil shows up later, insisting on seeing Luna, but Nomi refuses. She chastises him for picking and choosing the moments where he commits to being a parent and he reminds her that she took that decision away for him by keeping Luna a secret. While Nomi’s back is turned, Luna chokes on a piece of broccoli and Phil rushes in to save her. The incident scares Nomi and forces her to reassess where she stands with Phil. She apologizes to him for overreacting and acknowledges that she can see that he’s trying. She admits that she got scared and lashed out but he reaffirms his commitment to being there for Luna on a daily basis: he gets his own studio apartment nearby.
Another interesting storyline on grown-ish this week involved Jazz admitting her discomfort with the gender-bending clothing choices of her boyfriend, Des. When she pushes for him to wear a tux to the track team’s formal dinner, instead of something more feminine, he acquiesces. But on the night of the dinner, when Jazz shows up in her a red, off-the-shoulder, ball gown, Des greets her in black belted dress with a neon green top. He realizes that he can dim his own light while she works to overcome this hang-up of hers. Des invites her to join him — the real him — at the dinner but Jazz can’t do it so Des kisses her goodbye on the cheek.
The Real Dirty Dancing: “Episode 2”
Last week on The Real Dirty Dancing I was dying (of cringe) while they were dancing. This week things have moved faster than a U-Haul down the interstate and we’re partner swapping already!
Because Cat and Tyler were crowned Week One’s best Baby and Johnny, they get to decide who they’ll pair up with for the rest of the season (a whole 3 episodes). To help them make such a monumental decision, each winner gets to spend time with their potential partners. For Cat, this means heading over to the lake to see which guy is the best/worst at The Famous Lift, and how many times she can get dropped in the water. Spoiler: the answer is a lot of times!
First up is Howard the Backstreet Boy, who failed at lifts last week because looking at the other ripped guys makes him weak with low self-esteem. Will he do better knowing that he is the only thing keeping our fearless lesbian mother of 6 (!) from belly flopping into the unappetisingly green water? Absolutely not!
Next up is Antonio the NFL player who rockets Cat into the air with such force she flies over his head and straight back in the lake. Corbin, who Cat paired up with last time, makes a good go of it with great positioning, but his shaky biceps don’t look quite up to the job. Finally it’s Tyler, who Cat claims did the best job…and yet she still ended up being dropped in the water. In summary, I was shocked that Cat took all this dunking with such good humour and I really hope she doesn’t have to get her stomach pumped for leptospirosis.
Later, in “Johnny’s cabin,” Tyler is hanging out in minimal attire while he waits for each of the ladies to come and gyrate with him so he can check out their chemistry. This show has so many chemistry tests they should go ahead and fit out a whole lab with Bunsen burners. Cat declares: “as a gay woman I have never seduced a man before.” The same argument I made last week that she really doesn’t need to start now is roundly ignored, and Cat whips Tyler’s top off before suckering herself bodily to his abs. This is…not what I was expecting! I wonder if Cat’s interpretation of heterosexuality is based solely on the pool scene from Showgirls.
The show’s producers half-heartedly try and amp up the drama while Cat and Tyler deliberate over choosing their partners. Tyler shockingly goes for neither Cat nor Loni (his partner last week and clearly the most fun person here), and picks one of the other women. It would be super-awkward if Cat wanted Tyler, but fortunately she sticks with Corbin, displaying admirable loyalty to him and his professional dance training. This whole switcheroo leaves Loni with the sexless Backstreet Boy and I am fearful for her future!!
The couples will all be dancing to the same song, Hungry Eyes, and finally someone will be getting eliminated!
But first, the women need to pick an outfit from a rail of Baby-adjacent clothes and discuss their body issues. Cat chooses a pair of black knickers and a white t-shirt vest tied up into a crop-top, then declares that for a 54-year-old mother of 6 (!) she feels pretty good! Everyone feels very empowered by their outfit choices and there are many tears!
The couples finally crack on with practicing their dancing, with Twitch popping in to amp up the pressure every so often. Cat is trying to learn how to moderate her natural urge to lead so she can take direction from Corbin. Like last week, they are super focused and working on some pretty intricate lifts. I sense Cat is not a good loser so I feel confident about these two.
Our judge this week is Jane Brucker, who played Baby’s sister Lisa, famous for her hula hana talent show performance in the movie. She is looking for sex appeal and wants to see passion before polish! Cat and Corbin are first to dance again, probably because they give off the strongest “we got this” vibes. The duo complete a solid dance of appropriate dirtiness, and dazzle when Cat cartwheels into a lift then wraps her legs around Corbin’s face. The levels of trust and hygiene are through the roof and they claim another win!
One couple has to go home though, and sadly it is Howie the Backstreet Boy and Loni Love, my fave! I put the blame for this squarely on Howie’s unfortunately average shoulders, as he has struggled throughout to move on from his clean-cut boyband days. Loni cries because she has had the best experience! Certainly the show will be less compelling without her.
Next week: someone is definitely falling off a log!!!
Queens 112: “Let the Past Be the Past”
Written by Carmen
This week on Queens, we get back into a little bit of Jill’s love life. WELL FIRST! Her ex-husband (the homophobic pscyho who tried to kill her and shot Eve — Errr, I mean “Bre” — almost paralyzing her allowing Eve to take a long hiatus to London to have her baby) is convicted and sent to jail. On his way there, he gets to give a public statement that basically said “Homos Deserve to Go To Hell,” which was confusing because since when do convicted felons get to give public statements that go “rah rah yay hate”? Anyway, his ass is on his way to jail. Which leaves Jill lots of time for reflection. Now, back to her love life.
Muffin — quietly becoming the sleeper comedic MVP of the series — correctly notes that everyone’s working on their music except Jill, because she’s creatively blocked. Jill never felt more free than on stage, she literally came out on stage, and that love of performing shouldn’t be one more thing her ex-husband takes from her. Jill isn’t really feeling the message… until! UNTIL! Jill runs into Tina! Yes, her ex Tina! That she cheated on and publicly humiliated! Walking down the street in Beverly Hills. Looking fine as hell, I might add. (Muffin, perfectly timed as always: “Have you always been this tall?”)
What is Middle America Tina doing back in LA you ask? Well girl’s got a new girlfriend! (Again, YES! The drama!!) and Jill is really torn up about it. She tries to apologize to Tina for how terribly she treated her, but Tina basically says she’s moved on and has no room for apologies. But she is sad for Jill, though! Because the way she’s acting, Jill is going to end up alone — which is the exact thing she’s always been most afraid of.
So! Muffin tells Jill that if she really wants to get her apology across to Tina, she knows what she has to do: Get her ass back in the recording booth! And that’s exactly what Jill does, rapping what can only be described as the lesbian version of Jay-z’s “Song Cry” (or Jay-z’s “4:44” if you prefer your Hov “I fucked up” records to be of this decade instead of twenty years ago. He messes up a lot).
Does the song work? We’ll find out! At the end of the episode, we see Tina listening to the track in her car.