Boobs on Your Tube: “Grown-ish” Trades a Performative Lesbian Lovefest for Nacho Night

Happy one week until A League of Their Own drops! I am going to focus on that because if I start thinking again about everything that was cancelled, it’s going ruin my weekend! We did have some good things this week, though. Riese released your monthly queer streaming guide. Heather wrote about Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous getting gay in the final few episodes. And she reviewed Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. Valerie recapped Raelle’s return to Motherland: Fort Salem. On the movie front, Nicole reviewed They/Them and chatted with Theo Germaine.

Notes from the TV Team:

+ Pansexual actor and professional nerd Ashly Burch has a new cartoon out on Disney+. It’s called The Ghost and Molly McGee and I expect it to get gay at some point. I can’t remember the last time Burch played a straight character. — Heather

+ One of my favorite shows of 2021, Reservation Dogs, returned for its second season on Hulu this week and, through two episodes, I can say its showing no signs of a sophomore slump. It remains funny and charming — Paulina Alexis’ Willie Jack, in particular, is hilarious in the opening episodes — but is also this poignant meditation on grief that resonates so deeply. I can’t recommend this show highly enough. — Natalie

+ Hey, In the Dark remembered Leslie is pansexual! Of course, it came in the form of Murphy saying she’s “kind of a lesbian” when referring to how fast she moved in with her boyfriend, but it’s the gayest thing that’s happened on this show all season… — Valerie Anne


grown-ish 503: “No New Friends”

Written by Natalie

Zaara accuses Junior of stealing her earbuds. She's wearing a blue flannel top over a short white tank top and black pants.

Thanks to the wonders of gender inclusive housing, Junior Johnson ended up sharing his first-year door room with Zaara Ali and, sufficed to say, the relationship is not going well. Their constant tension confounds Junior who isn’t used to being not liked…which, as someone who watched this character grow up on black-ish, I can tell you is invariably not true. But I guess that’s what we’re doing over here…pretending Junior has always been popular.

He catches up with Slick and Zeke to get some perspective on why Zaara might not like him. Zeke insists that Zaara’s just a hater and encourages Junior to let the hate motivate him, while Slick chalks it up to typical lesbian vs. straight man beef. Junior insists that he’s not your typical straight guy, he’s voted for gay causes (it’s giving me “Get Out” vibes). Slick questions whether Junior has any gay friends and when he can’t name one, other than his aunt, they realize that Junior’s just not down with the culture.

Taking Slick’s words as a call to action, Junior tries to demonstrate how down he is by decorating his and Zaara’s dorm room. Rainbows and portraits of queer celebrities tacked up on the walls, Carol queued up and some vindaloo fondue…it’s bad, it’s so bad. Understandably, Zaara is uninterested. Junior throws his hands up in frustration and insists that he’s made a legitimate effort to connect with her. I wish the show had taken the opportunity to note that Junior wasn’t really interested in a connection with Zaara so much as he was interested in flaunting his own allyship…in the same way that corporations do during Pride month. I suppose that’s expecting too much though.

“I don’t want your lesbian lovefest or your anal organizing. I don’t want a BFF and if I did it wouldn’t be some silly looking straight dude like you. I just want a roommate that leaves me alone!” Zaara yells. Junior takes his vindaloo and leaves.

The roommates don’t see each other again until they cross paths at the Shirts and Skins party and the fight continues. The pair trade barbs and Junior accuses Zaara of being too chicken to head inside the Skins room. They both strip down and head inside. And though the whole thing is horrible and awkward, the experience thaws the tension between them. Over nachos, Zaara reveals the real reason she’s been so standoff-ish: she’s nervous that she’s failing at her lifelong dream to become a doctor right at the start of its pursuit. Junior encourages her to not be so hard on herself and urges her to let him know how he can help. Their friendship cemented, the pair head back to their dorm room together, listening to music on shared earbuds.


The Chi 506-507: “Bring It On Home To Me” and “Angels”

Written by Natalie

A bra-clad Fatima sits up against her pillows and headboard, smoking a spliff (in her right hand) after her latest tryst with Victor.

Everything about Victor’s burgeoning relationship with Fatima is screaming that it’s a bad idea. He’s on the precipice of launching a campaign for City Council and using a fake relationship — with a cis woman — to bolster his standing with the community. Worried that acknowledging his attraction to and love for trans women might derail his candidacy, Victor needs Fatima to keep their relationship a secret…but Fatima doesn’t want to be anyone’s secret. Their difference seem intractable but they give into their attraction anyway.

“I feel like a mistress,” Fatima admits after their latest tryst, while Victor dresses to meet his fake girlfriend, Tierra.

“You think I want to keep this shit a secret?” Victor retorts. Fatima responds that she doesn’t know and the truth is, Victor doesn’t know either.

At church, Victor makes the rounds with Tierra on his arm and the congregants fawn over their relationship. In a private moment with Victor, the pastor is effusive in his praise of Tierra but warns about rumors that the relationship is fake. Though it goes unsaid, it feels like the show’s first acknowledgment that the community knows about his past relationship with Imani — how could they not? he was literally about to propose to her at Smokey’s — and, as a result, down the sincerity of his current love connection. Victor insists that he’s a man of his word and, in the process, answers his own question. Does he want to keep this shit a secret? Absolutely.

But Fatima isn’t interested indulging Victor’s indecision. When he turns up a few nights later, looking for a late night booty call, she turns him away at the door…and what’s more, it’s clear that she’s got someone else inside. Victor returns home, sullen, to consider what to do next. He realizes that if he doesn’t claim Fatima for real — out loud and in public — he’s going to lose her to someone else.

But maybe there’s another option? Tierra stops by the house and counsels the would-be candidate on how to spin his teenage brother’s impending fatherhood. She laments that it’s not her that’s pregnant…because a candidate with a baby would benefit the campaign (that’s some damn dedication to the cause!). Victor questions whether Tierra’s trying to turn their relationship into something more real but she assures Victor that he isn’t her type…though her flirtation definitely suggests otherwise. She admits, though, that Victor is growing on her so who knows where this might go.


For All Mankind 309: “Coming Home”

Written by Valerie Anne

For All Mankind: A splitscreen of Ellen giving her speech and Pam watching from home proudly

ELLEN WILSON SAID GAY RIGHTS. Literally. I am Pam, Pam is me, we are proud.

Because this show is determined to span the most amount of time in the least amount of episodes in television history, we open this episode with a five month time jump, but if Ellen thought she was in the clear about the Larry Situation, she was wrong.

Ellen’s VP wants her to sign a bill that would essentially kill the future of space exploration, and when she refuses, he pulls her aside and threatens to investigate deeper into the accusations against her husband a few months back. He threatens to get Congress to force her to hand over the recordings that were taken in the Oval Office, so Ellen and Larry listen to it to see how bad it is and…it’s pretty damn bad. They explicitly confirm that the affair was real and that Larry lied under oath. If this gets out, Larry will go to jail and Ellen will be impeached. So Larry offers a solution: he’ll hold a press conference and admit everything, and swear the President didn’t know anything about it. That way, Congress would be way less likely to approve pulling a recording that is technically private property. He made this mess, he’ll clean it up. Or at least, he’ll try.

At the press conference, Larry gets up to the podium and starts to stumble over his words, but then Ellen cooly interrupts and takes the mic. She speaks to the American people and reminds them about all the accomplishments they’ve seen over the past two years of her presidency, but then says despite all these successes, she has failed them. She has lied. Ellen says she wants to stop lying and so she tells the simple truth, she says it out loud. “I am gay.” She says she was born this way and looks a little lighter despite the press losing their minds about this news. We see that watching from home, Margo is smiling, VP is shocked, and Pam is tearing up. She looks proud.

As expected, the public has a mixed reaction, but they show cute footage of a lil pride parade of celebration as Ellen finishes her speech, saying she’s signing an executive order to let gay people serve in the military, and to give Will Tyler a presidential medal of freedom for his braver.

This couldn’t have been easy, and surely things will get worse for Ellen before they get better, but, whew, it has to be a relief to not be holding onto such a big secret anymore.


Only Murders in the Building 207: “Flipping the Pieces”

Written by Valerie Anne

Only Murders in the Building: A dream version of Mabel puts her hands on some upside-down puzzle pieces

I am notorious for making games harder than strictly necessary but doing a puzzle upside down sounds unhinged even to me.

I know this show takes the format of a podcast episode and, while there’s a through-line, each episode has its own mini mystery and story. But it is always very surprising to me when they go an entire episode without mentioning something pretty big that happened the day before? Though I guess Mabel doesn’t remember stabbing the guy on the subway, so maybe she blocked out the trauma of walking into her girlfriend’s art studio to see her reenacting her most recent traumatic event? I just feel like I have a lot more questions for Alice (namely: WHY) and I hope that we’re not going to just write her off as a crazed fan and never mention her again…

ANYWAY, this week, Mabel goes on a Coney Island adventure with Theo, all while unpacking her coping mechanism of simply blacking out hard memories. But as she starts to metaphorically flip the pieces of the puzzle over, she remembers things like saying goodbye to her dying father, and that she definitely did not kill Bunny.

The episode ends with a one-two punch: Glitter Guy has a picture of Lucy in his bag, and the city goes into a blackout.


Roswell 408: “Missing My Baby”

Written by Valerie Anne

Roswell: Shivani looks disheveled and stressed

Me at 3am when I realize I’ve lost three hours to TikTok.

This week we have three storylines going at once, and all three involve a queer person, and for that I am grateful.

In one, Maria realizes that it’s not her gift that’s letting her see messages from Alex, but maybe her inherent alien abilities. Realizing he might not be dead after all, she assembles a wee team and follows the clues to the alien quicksand, and they realize there’s a whole world underneath and that’s probably where they have to go to save Alex.

In the second, Isobel talks to Tesca and together they start unlocking lost memories of them training together when Isobel was small and they were both on their home planet. Tesca sacrificed herself to Jones to save Isobel, and he mind-controlled her into being his loyal servant. So now maybe, just maybe, she’ll be on their side.

In the third, resident lesbian scientist Shivani watches Liz handle alien tech with…intimate familiarity and she deduces that Max is an alien. Liz thinks she’s found a new member of the pod squad in Shivani, but later Liz finds her doing alien science. You see, Liz had made an alien mist that restored the alien powers Bonnie’s kiss took, but Shivani took a dose of it, and in her regular human body, it acted like the Limitless drug. Her mind open, she has all these ideas of how she and Liz can save her daughter, especially if Liz inhales the mist too. Turns out, Shivani and Allie’s daughter isn’t just sick…she’s dead. And cryogenically frozen. Shivani starts to beg Liz; she knows her sister was brought back from the dead, and she wants that for her daughter too. She’ll do anything. Liz doesn’t want to play god, and despite Liz poetically begging her not to be a casualty of her grief, Shivani, in her desperation, smashes the bottle of alien mist and doses them both, knocking them out.


American Horror Stories 203: “Drive”

Written by Drew

Bella Thorne in the drivers seat of a parked car leans over and fingers a woman in her passenger seat,

American Horror Stories was a little gay this week which is a bummer because I’d rather not dedicated any more time to this show that continues to be bad.

This week’s episode follows a “club girl” played by Bella Thorne — shoutout to someone on Twitter for succinctly explaining to me that she is a former Disney star — who is in an open marriage and just wants to partyyyyyy. But alas there’s a murderer targeting — you guessed it — club girls. Bella is in danger!

At one point her friend has Bella promise not to bang any more random dudes in the back of her car and she obliges — by banging a woman. That’s not exactly what her friend meant so the friend shows up and quickly chases “the skank” away before accusing Bella of being a sex addict.

The big twist is that Bella herself is the killer. So we go from slut-shamey, polyam-shamey, bi-shamey, victim-blamey, and move into full-blown regressive tropes. Her justification for killing people she deems full of themselves is that she was bullied for a birthmark on her face. A birthmark that Bella Thorne doesn’t actually have and that her character spends most of the episode covering with makeup.

Like many episodes of American Horror Stories, this would all be really offensive if it weren’t so underdeveloped and poorly done. Guess we can call that a win?


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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 402 articles for us.

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 256 articles for us.

3 Comments

  1. Maybe it’s just cause I’m old, but I think gender inclusive housing sounds like a bad, awkward idea.

    I think it’s just as terrible an idea as coed communal bathrooms in some random short lived college based tv show when I was that age. Don’t remember anything about that tv show except I thought that was dumb.

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