“Good Trouble” Tackles Lesbian Anniversaries and Trans Parenthood

Here’s a question for those of you in relationships: when’s your anniversary? It seems like a simple enough question — it’s just a date, right? — but which date is the question. First date? First kiss? First commitment? And if you’re one of those couples that’s reunited after a break-up, which firsts do you celebrate? Your actual first or the first since you reunited? It’s all complicated…and it’s the situation that Alice and Sumi find themselves in this week on Good Trouble.

Sumi thinks it’s their anniversary — the anniversary of the first time they kissed — but Alice insists that it’s not. Technically, it might be the anniversary of their first kiss but given that that kiss was followed by cheating, a break-up, and two years of not kissing, Alice doesn’t think it counts. Sumi tries to press the issue but Alice and her colleagues are going to spend the day writing at the Coterie and she has to prepare.

(L to R) Alice, Murray, Morty and Morrie gather around the Coterie table and work on future sketches for America’s Funniest Ferrets & Friends.

When Morty, Murray and Morrie arrive, they’re greeted, first, by their biggest fan, Kelly, who regales them with all her favorite characters from America’s Funniest Ferrets & Friends. Then, they get to meet Sumi…and when they find out she’s Alice’s girlfriend, they are, rightly, impressed (Alice snagged a girlfriend with a real job). Later, while working on sketches for the show, Alice’s personal drama with Sumi leaks into her work. Morty and Murray both agree that the break-up nullified any previous anniversaries but Morrie insists that a first kiss is a first kiss.

“Who remembers the date of a first kiss?” Murray wonders.

“Lesbians,” both Sumi and Alice answer.

Sumi pulls Alice away and takes issue with her sharing their personal business with her co-workers, particularly when they’re in the middle of a fight. Alice just keeps digging her hole even deeper: admitting that she didn’t even know they were fighting and pointing out that the consensus was against recognizing their anniversary. Realizing that she isn’t being heard, Sumi gives up the fight and storms out of Alice’s loft in tears. Later, Alice’s co-workers chide her for not fighting fair. Morty points out that arguing with your partner takes trust and honesty, both of which are requirements for a solid relationship. They send Alice off to finish her argument with Sumi.

With the sun peering through the window's of Alice's loft, Sumi pulls Alice close for a kiss.

Alice apologizes for sharing their personal business with her co-workers and for not fighting fair. But while she’s genuinely sorry for dismissing Sumi’s feelings about the anniversary of their first kiss, Alice offers a better explanation for why she’s not interested in celebrating that anniversary. It’s not about the kiss, it’s about them, Alice notes; she doesn’t want to celebrate who they were back then. Sumi’s sufficiently persuaded by Alice’s argument that she pledges that they’ll celebrate all their new firsts instead. Their first resolved argument, Alice’s first orgasm with another person. Worried that they’ll be overheard by Morrie’s bionic hearing aid, Sumi leans in closely and whispers in Alice’s ear…maybe she’ll just express her feelings — ahem! — non-verbally. Okay, that was very hot.

After her midday “break,” Alice returns to the makeshift writers’ room and finishes out the day. As they’re about to leave, Morty pulls her aside and acknowledges that Ferrets & Friends has been cancelled but he hasn’t had the heart to tell Morty and Murray yet. He assures Alice that she’ll be fine, after all, she’s got so much other stuff going for her but he worries about what he, Morty and Murray will do without the show in their lives.

Jazmin admits to her brother that she didn't give much thought to what it would mean to be a trans parent.

Meanwhile, Gael and Jazmin are signing Lyric up for baby classes. Nearby, a parent bemoans the non-binary options on the application process and insists it’s confusing for both parents and children. Kiddie Class Karen hopes aloud that her child never tells her he’s trans or non-binary. She finishes her application and disappears with her stroller. Both Gael and Jazmin are stunned silent by Karen’s audacity, neither knowing how to respond in the moment. Later, as they’re putting Lyric down for a nap, Gael apologizes to his sister for staying quiet but admits that he didn’t want to say anything that’d make her uncomfortable. Jazmin admits that she’s rarely clocked as trans and often has to decide whether or not to out herself. Because of how quickly everything happened, neither Jazmin nor Gael have really given much thought to what it means for them to be queer parents or for Lyric to have queer parents. Lucky for them, Gael lives at the Coterie with Mariana, a product of the greatest lesbian moms on the planet, so they turn to her for advice.

“[Our moms] told us that some people in the world wouldn’t approve of our family,” Mariana admits. “But they also taught us that love is nothing to be ashamed of. I think what was really important was that they didn’t hide who they were or make us feel like we needed to hide anything. I think that if they weren’t out and proud, it would have sent us a message that something was wrong with our family.”

Listen, I get what the show’s trying to do here — it’s all very kumbaya — but, particularly in this political moment, it feels wanting. I’ll spare you my usual soapbox but, sufficed to say, I don’t think the experiences of two cis lesbians (or a bisexual cis man) should dictate how a trans woman moves through an increasingly hostile and unsafe world.

Gael walks away from his latest mural: Jazmin embracing their child, surrounded by the colors of the trans pride flag, with the hashtag: #Transparents.

When Gael and Jazmin show up for their baby class, Jazmin introduces herself as a transgender woman and shares her pronouns. Spencer follows, sharing his pronouns and affirming how proud he is to be married to Jazmin. Then Gael introduces himself as Jazmin’s queer brother and announces to group that they’re all co-parenting Lyric together. Kiddie Class Karen feels chastened by their introductions and approaches Jazmin after class armed with a half-hearted apology. She insists that she doesn’t have anything against transgender people but Jazmin challenges her to look at why she felt comfortable saying what she did. In his sister and her response, Gael finally finds the inspiration to pick up a paint brush again, painting a mural that affirms Jazmin as a transparent.


Good Trouble Coterie Sundries

+ Mariana is really going through it, y’all, and I am seriously starting to worry about our girl. The pressure at Speckulate continues to ramp up and she’s forced to tell Evan — even though it threatens his recovery — that there’s a not-so-covert effort by the Board of Directors to remove Evan as CEO and take the company public. He needs to raise $20M to thwart their effort and that requires him to, among other things, liquidate his assets, including Bulk Beauty. Mariana realizes that, in order to pay Evan back, she and the Byte Club will have to sell their app.

And if that wasn’t enough, Mariana continues to involve herself in Joaquin’s shenanigans: helping him locate a young woman who went missing after her stay at Silas’ farm. To his credit, Joaquin tries to keep Mariana away from his investigation but she’s determined to make Silas pay for what he’s done and won’t be deterred. It’s a lot for one person to take on all at once, especially on top of the trauma that she experienced herself…and I worry that Mariana might be headed for a breakdown.

+ Well, Chekhov’s gun finally went off: Ivan tracks down Luka outside Dennis’ new restaurant and threatens him if he doesn’t return the money he stole. Dennis’ shady business partner interjects and gives Luka the $500 he needs to pay back Ivan. But, of course, the shady business partner is going to be shady so he sends his henchman to get the $500 back from Ivan — an exchange that Luka witnesses — but still tries to hang the debt over Luka’s head. I hope that Luka tells Dennis what’s going on…this situation is going to get bad very, very quickly.

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Natalie

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 400 articles for us.

12 Comments

  1. Thanks for this review (and all of them). I love love love this show (despite its imperfections) and look forward to your recaps each week. I’m in the UK so won’t even watch them for months but I have an unhealthy relationship with spoilers at this point and I like knowing what’s coming. Thanks again!

    • Thanks for saying that, @jodiekate. You’re so kind.

      And don’t feel bad, I have the same unhealthy relationship with spoilers. I DVR Top Chef on Thursday nights and I’ll spoil the outcome for myself so I don’t have to watch any of my faves go home.

  2. I’m glad Alice and Sumi are finally getting to show some real love between them, it just seem like their story is written as friends first, couple second. Compared to the other couples, they barely get any intimate or sweet moments on this show.

    • The “she’s a keeper” interaction was so sweet! I know those guys are grouchy and condescending, but the sincerity of it really shined through for me and I totally agree!

      I remain grateful for these reviews and space to chat about this show, but goshhhhhhh are these writers making it hard to watch. Dream sequence beginning? The ridiculous cult and now missing person mystery they just refuse to leave behind? Just stopppp.

      I’d be very curious if there’s ever a reported piece that puts these writing decisions into context. Are they just tired? (don’t blame them!) Is there a new team? Have they somehow just run out of ideas? I just don’t understand why they keep doing this genre hopping and all these random new characters.

    • Ruth, I definitely get that POV…and, honestly, I wished they’d interjected more of their story — falling in love with each other again after a bad break-up — in this season to lighten things up. I feel like the show uses them (well, Sherry Cola mostly) to balance out the heavy storylines with comedy but I think showing the intimacy between them would have accomplished that as well.

  3. I loved everything they did with Alice and Sumi and Alice’s writer grandpas this episode, it was truly very charming, and as usual, I found myself wishing it was a show unto itself.

    • Now there is a show I would keep watching!

      Also, tiny side note. One of the guys in the group was one of the husbands on the 90s drama Sisters, and I just kind of love him cropping up again in a role supporting an awesome woman.

  4. I’m really loving Gael’s storyline now that the back and forth with Isabella is over.

    Agreed that Mariana’s answers about her family could’ve had more depth.

    Every time we see shots of one of Joaquin’s clue displays on the wall I’m just like…I CAN’T! Lol. There’s something about them that looks so staged, like a satire of a missing person clue wall, does anyone else feel that way?

    • I’m glad that Gael is really driving his own story rather than just reacting to whatever Isabella’s going through but I feel like they’ve just dropped a really relatable portion of his story: how to provide for his child financially as an artist. He’d been so concerned about making money while he was working for Yuri and now it’s like… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      It would’ve been interesting to see him struggling to provide…or even being jealous of what Jazmin and Spencer could offer. At what point does he put his art to the backburner — like his grandfather did — and step up as a provider. Maybe he gets a job as an art teacher…I thought he was really great when he was working with Davia and the kids. Or maybe he could’ve gone back to being a graphic designer at Speckulate. It would’ve given him and Lyric the security of a regular paycheck and benefits and, as an added benefit, it would’ve given Mariana an ally inside the company.

      That said, his current storyline means more screentime for Hailie Sahar and I’m always a fan of more of her.

      As for Joaquin’s murder board, I just want it to be over.

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