The Legend of Vox Machina closed out its second season and Valerie Anne ran down the beauty and bisexuality of it all. Drew gave us another brilliant recap of Drag Race. And Valerie Anne and Nic did the same for the most recent(ly heartbreaking) episode of The Last of Us. Riese invited you to join her on Love Trip: Paris. And she also shared this week’s teeth tampon shenanigans on Perfect Match. Kayla is very excited for the new Dead Ringers! Riese also updated our list of LGBTQ+ movies to watch on Netflix.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Turns out all the work that Coop’s done to prepare Preach for his custody hearing has been for naught. This week on All American Coop manages to convince Amina’s grandmother that Preach really has turned his life around and secures a shared visitation agreement. With her most pressing case off the table, Coop will now have to pivot to supporting her boss and her friends through the loss of Coach Baker. — Natalie
+ Will Trent has been one of my favorite discoveries of the new year and while I’m still trying to suss out Keema Griggs Amanda Wagner’s disposition, I’m excited by the possibility that we’ll get to see more of Cora Lu Tran’s Nico in upcoming episodes. After a fight with a neighbor — actually, fight might be generous, Nico got their ass kicked for failing to pay protection money — Will offers up his garage as a new home for them. Nico’s built a strong connection with Betty the Chihuahua because the dog can sense their need for kindness…let’s hope that extends to Betty’s owner too. — Natalie
Harlem Episode 205 & 206: “Pridewp_posts& “Out of the Deadpan and Into the Fire”
Written by Shelli Nicole!
Quinn is going through it and instead of telling her friends she bombed the interview and is spiraling because of it, she lies and says that is out partying with the Vogue crew. Anyway — IT’S PRIDE ON HARLEM! Quinn is looking for an escape instead of dealing with her shit and she wants pride to be that escape. She’s dressed exactly as you think someone would be who is going to their first pride since coming out, and is kinda picking fights with her friends. She picks one with Angie who is moving out (abandonment) tries to get upset at the girlies at brunch when they ask where she is (deflecting?), and ends up getting Tye to go with her.
Tye feels like pride is whack (except for the Dyke March at Harlem pride duh!) and that it’s mostly corporate and white (and in my opinion straight) so she is throwing a pride party for her app instead. But she goes with her friend because she needs her — Quinn told her that she is going through it — but it is still exactly what she said it was going to be. Gay men trying to grab boobs and thinking it’s okay ‘cos they are gay (it is not), lotsa white people (LOTS), and hella corporate sponsors, including one for a POC queer app that is just like Tye’s! So she starts making moves to shut down her app, mostly because she doesn’t want her husband to get any part of it the divorce.
Oh yeah, Tye’s husband is getting half of EVERYTHING in the divorce (NOT FAIR!). We learned this when she runs into Plant Lady Aimee in the morning. Turns out she went through a divorce too and to help Tye feel better she offered her a free plant next time she is around the shop!
Anyway, smash cut back to pride and Quinn’s mum is working the parade giving out free hugs — and she is there helping out Quinn’s ex Isabella. It kinda sucks though ‘cos her mum is giving out hugs to everyone but her. Tye gives her a hug and they realize it’s time for her party to start so they rush over to make it in time! When they get there, Tye is ready to announce she wants to shut down the app, but she is interrupted by two women. One of them tells the story of how she is 56 years old, lives alone in the woods, and had resolved herself to being alone. Her nephew got her a month on Tye’s app where she ended up meeting her partner and she has never been happier and is no longer alone. Because of this story, Tye changes her mind, she’s not closing the app! Then it turns out so many people at the party are there with the person they met on the app and came ‘cos they wanted to thank her for helping them find a bit of love in this wild world!! IT WAS CUTE AND LIKE YES I ALMOST CRIED!
After all the cuteness, Quinn is just about to go into details as to why she is feeling off when she sees the crew from Vogue get off the elevator. She tries to make a run for it (she is drunk btw), and one of the crew makes a smart-ass remark which causes her to kinda lose it on them in the elevator. It’s all being recorded (IYKYK) and she gets kicked out. When security throws her out, people outside start recording part two of her breakdown! Mama cannot catch a break!!! She runs into Angie, and they, of course, make up, but we end Quinn’s first pride on a low note and the crew STILL doesn’t know what’s going on with her.
Also, also, also — “You sit there all day, doing nothing, looking mildly over it and expect people to cater to you — oh my god am I a cat?wp_postsThis was something Angie said to a cat and it’s similar to the realization I had when I started being around folks who had cats.
In the next episode, we wake up with Tye who has just had a fivesome with Zoe and friends — we also wake up to Zoe kinda judging Tye when she finds out she may want kids in the future and is starting the process of freezing her eggs. Tye is scared of needles (she has to do injections as part of the process) and none of her overnight friends are willing to help her. Very glad Tye had such a good morning because later in the afternoon her divorce proceedings are finally wrapping up. Her now ex-husband (who she hasn’t had contact with in over a decade) got half of everything, the total — $1,588,000.12. After this payout, he is not allowed to contact or talk to her in any way. He tries to after he gets the check and she cuts him off quickly.
It seems he doesn’t get the message though because later as she hyping herself up to do her injections at her apartment, this nigga comes knocking. She is about to turn him away but instead tells him how she feels. How what he did hurt her and so did the things he said during the divorce process. She admits to leaving him years ago to start the search for her true self, and asks him why he never did the same. He rips up the check from their proceedings, they share what seems like a moment of forgiveness, and he helps her with her shot :)
Lastly, we have Quinn, who finally tells the girls what she has been going through and they are right by her side through it all (minus Camille who is a bit busy) and they plan a trip to Puerto Rico to get out of all their heads!
Also, also, also — COUNTESS VAUGHN MAKES AN APPEARANCE AS THE VOICE INSIDE ANGIES HEAD!! There is a moment where Angie has to do her own hair and makeup for the film she is in after the hair stylist — who is white — ditches her. She is about to give up but Countess reminds her that the little Black girls who watch The Hallmark Channel at Christmas want to see themselves on screen. She later makes a remark that one of the quickest ways to knock a Black woman’s self-esteem is thru her hair and omigosh I felt that! She wins though, looks wonderful, and gets loved on by her new boo!
All American: Homecoming 211: “I Can Tell”
Written by Natalie
While everyone else is stressed about midterms, Nate’s still walking around campus in her flyest pantsuit, campaigning for SGA president. The latest polls have her falling behind Nico and she needs to scrouge up some additional supporters. At Simone’s suggestion, Nate plans an on-campus event to give students space to “relax, relate, release” — a nice callback to another HBCU-centric show, Different World — from the stresses of midterms.
The event starts off tense, as both Nate and another competing candidate, Wilinda, find out that the common room’s been double booked. Simone suggests that they share the space, urging Nate to see it as an opportunity to reach out to twice as many voters. As she’s making the rounds, Nate overhears a student lament to Wilinda about how the lack of regular meeting space forced her bible study group to disband. Nate interjects and the student recognizes her from bible study. Wilinda scoffs at the notion that Nate has a relationship with God.
“I just think people of faith should, you know, live out their faith in their everyday lives,” Benita Butrell Wilinda asserts. “I mean, it’s easy to say that you’re a believer but if your life isn’t bearing fruit then you’re just talking.”
Nathaniel offers a strong rejoinder. She talks about how others shouldn’t be judged if their faith walks look different and then, smartly, pivots back to the ways that Nico has contributed to silencing faith groups on campus. Nate’s pushback earns him interest from all the onlookers (at least until Nico chimes in with an offer of free food) but, as a viewer, the whole exercise leaves me cold. That moment was for Wilinda, for all the Wilindas watching from home. That moment isn’t for Nate…it isn’t a true affirmation of the faith that we never knew existed until just now…that moment isn’t for the Nathaniel Hardins of the world. They don’t need to be told that queerness isn’t incompatible with faith, they’ve always known.
I love that Nathaniel Hardin exists. I love that she exists within the confines of this fictional HBCU. I just wish she existed for some other reason than to provide teachable moments for all these cis, straight people.
Convinced of Nate’s righteousness — or whatever — Wilinda approaches her with news that she and another low polling candidate are dropping out of the race. Their withdrawal leaves Nate in a one-on-one race against Nico and Wilinda pledges her support and assistance as Nate’s new campaign manager.
A Million Little Things 502: “Think Twice”
Written by Natalie
Soon after first coming face-to-face for the first time, Katherine’s ex-husband, Eddie, and her new girlfriend, Greta, pretended to be siblings and that brother/sister energy has persisted in their relationship. There’s genuine affection between them but it’s wrapped up in an endless string of jokes and barbs. But now that rapport’s being tested: Eddie just won’t go away.
In the wake of his break-up with Anna, Eddie’s become a fixture at Katherine’s place. His ex assures him that it’s fine but after he and Theo interrupt the couple’s alone time, Greta can barely mask her frustration. Recognizing that he’s become “the house guest that never leaves,” Eddie grabs his food and makes a hasty exit…but the moment is lost. It’s spicy food and Legos for Katherine and Greta tonight.
The next day, Greta shows up at Eddie’s place to apologize. He recognizes the moment for what it is — a result of a guilt-trip from Katherine — and advises Greta to just avoid eye contact next time. Greta takes the tip but insists that Katherine was right: she shouldn’t have been so curt with Eddie the night before. Eddie admits that he’s been hiding out at their place to avoid being alone…which is a very weird thing to say given that, in the months before his break-up, Eddie was alone all the time because his then-girlfriend was in prison…but whatever. It’s the last season of AMLT and I’m just happy for more bro time between Eddie and Greta.
(Also? Cameron Esposito’s hair looks especially fetching in this episode.)
Greta encourages Eddie to get back out on the dating scene and Eddie admits he’s taken a tentative step towards doing so: setting up a dating profile. Still, though, he’s reluctant…unsure if anyone out there is looking for a “recently divorced Mov’n driver with a substance abuse problem.” Greta corrects him — he’s a “Five star, recently divorced Mov’n driver with a substance abuse problem” she jokes — and takes over setting Eddie’s profile. Once she’s finished, she adds a picture of Eddie — one that includes his wheelchair in the frame, at his insistence — and launches the profile out into the dating world.
The faux siblings sort through the profiles and Eddie quickly finds a match: Amelia, 38 (played by Jessica St. Clair from Playing House). She likes his photo and invites Eddie to meet later for coffee. Greta leans back, proud of having accomplished her mission. It’s too bad, though, that Greta couldn’t go on the date for Eddie because he absolutely blows it. He accuses his date of having a wheelchair fetish and she responds by accusing him of not being as confident as he pretends to be.
Later, Eddie and Greta have a post-date debrief — Greta even puts off joining Katherine in the shower to hear how the date went — and Eddie admits that his date was right. He decides to stop looking for validation on the dating apps and considers going back to school.
How I Met Your Father Episode 204: “Pathetic Dierdre”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week, it’s time for Ellen to start her brand new job in the big city. Sophie and Val help her get ready in a nice suit and send her off, but as soon as she’s gone they admit they’re a little jealous, because she hasn’t been in the city that long and it already feels like her career is progressing faster than theirs. To ease their woes, they seek out an old friend they call “Pathetic Dierdre” (which…isn’t that creative, to be honest…Dull Dierdre would have at least had some alliteration.) But what they learn is that Dierdre saw them the same way they saw her; grass is always greener and all that. When Dierdre said “I bought a house” the girls heard “I’m moving to New Jersey on purpose” and those both have very different connotations. When the girls said they partied all night, Dierdre heard that they have no ambition and are hot messes. As they say, there are three sides to every story: yours, theirs, and the truth. All the girls got a big dose of reality and vow to stop being such mean girls.
Meanwhile, Ellen’s first day at work is…not off to a great start. She tries to imagine herself as a Rich City Bitch on a reality show but she ends up getting herself locked in a stairwell instead. She climbs 51 flights of stairs and sweats right through her suit, ultimately having to crawl through a vent and literally drop into her first big meeting at her brand new job. And now, maybe it’s because my uterus is kicking my ass this week and that tends to make me a little grumpier than usual, but I feel like Ellen is the only character on this show being treated as a cartoon character? Like all of their lives are a little outlandish and they all are victims of the overdramatization of a mom telling a story of her youth to her grown children, but everyone else also gets genuine moments of vulnerability and reflection. And I guess we got a little of that with her conversation with Rachel a few episodes ago, but I feel like she gets less of them than all the other secondary characters. I guess I should just be glad her queerness isn’t the butt of the jokes and enjoy when she gets screen time at all, but this week’s storyline made me cringe a bit.
Fantasy Island Episode 206: “Forever and a Day”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week’s island guests are familiar faces for anyone who, like me, was a teenager in the early aughts: Lane from Gilmore Girls and Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls! Keiko Agena plays Nancy, a therapist who wants people to stop taking so long to have epiphanies because she’s tired, and Jonathan Bennett plays Oliver, who wants to execute the perfect proposal for his boyfriend.
Oliver’s wish doesn’t come to fruition so the island gives him one of my favorite sci-fi tropes: a time loop!
Both Oliver and Elena are stuck in the loop, everyone else forgetting the days that pass. (Also this is neither here nor there but during one loop, Elena asks Oliver if it’s too early to drink and he says, “It’s like 74 o’clock” which made me giggle.) Both of them keep botching their tasks; Oliver’s proposal and Elena’s dinner with Helene and Javier. Eventually Oliver learns his proposal keeps backfiring because his boyfriend was going to break up with him. Oliver has been appeasing everything his boyfriend says, even when something bothers him. These little white lies built up over time and took up too much space, creating distance in their relationship. Oliver was holding onto the trauma growing up hearing homophobic things, and feels like he has to make the relationship work to prove he deserves love. His boyfriend assures him relationships don’t have to be perfect to be full of love, love he deserves. Once they talk it out, his boyfriend proposes to Oliver, and they agree to work on their shit together.
Meanwhile, Ruby tells Nancy about her tattoo and how it sometimes tingles with island magic, because she was once an elderly closeted lesbian but the island gave her a chance to be young again and live her life as an out and proud lesbian but then her girlfriend broke up with her. Nancy laughs a laugh of relief and is grateful to finally hear a problem she can honestly say she’s never heard before. Ruby offers to reciprocate the listening for Nancy and in that conversation she realizes that she’s been letting her job drain her cup but never taking time to fill it back up, leaving her feeling empty. But now she knows what she needs to do to keep being a kickass therapist, thanks to Ruby.
The Watchful Eye Episode 104: “The Nanny Vanishes”
Written by Valerie Anne
After hearing rumors about how she just disappeared, Elena meets up with Jasper’s last nanny, Morgan. Morgan explains that she had to sign an NDA, and she seems jumpy and paranoid while she tells Elena that Matthew was great, and she loved Allie, but that Allie wasn’t well. Says she was unraveling, seeing things and people that weren’t there, and her family didn’t believe her or support her. She’s nervous about people watching her, and after her cryptic warning about the Greybourne being good at making things go away, she scurries away.
Elena goes to talk to Ginny, and while she’s there, Ginny catches Elena snooping through her client’s house and gets mad. The mom is particular about where her things go, and Ginny could have gotten in trouble if Elena moved something she wasn’t supposed to. Later, to apologize, Elena asks Ginny to help her empty Allie’s closet for a charity auction, and since Matthew told her to take whatever she wants, she tries on one of Allie’s gowns. She thinks she sees Allie in the mirror, but when she turns around it’s Tory there to yell at them. When she realizes they were just doing what Matthew asked, she softens a little, and in a rare moment of visibility, she says that she and her sister were opposites. For example, Allie was effortless, and Tory has never been described that way. She asks Elena to take Allie’s dress off before leaving them be.
After dinner that night, Elena finds cameras in the smoke detectors and calls in the queer nanny brigade for help. Alex and Kim join her for breakfast beers and have “the nannycam talk” with her. I love this queer bff duo so much. James shows up to join them and apologizes for missing his dead with Alex and even though Alex had just been complaining about it, they pretend they are actually so chill about it and accept his apology.
The episode ends with Elena putting a tracker in Tory’s bag despite getting an uncharacteristic apology, and when she gets back to the apartment with Jasper, she learns that her terrible boyfriend knew Allie and never told her.
Truth Be Told 305: “Freedom Is Never Given; It Is Won”
Written by Natalie
With Trey dead — silenced by a cop’s bullet that came way too fast for me — Poppy and Eva are sent back to the drawing board to find another lead that might help them find Trini or implicate Andrew Finney in the sex trafficking ring. At the studio where Trey was found, police found an inkwell and a stencil for a tattoo…one that Eva knows intimately. It’s the tattoo that once adorned her forearm — one that Finney branded all his prettiest girls with — and she suspects that Trini was about to be branded at the studio before being sent off to work. The two head out to find more clues: Poppy goes back to the police station to talk to Trey’s former girlfriend while Eva sets out to talk to Alicia.
Eva slides in next to Alicia at a campaign event. I’m surprised by how brazen she’s being, especially after the flash of recognition on Finney’s face last week, but I suppose it only underscores her desperation. Eva pulls Alicia aside and shares her concern that Alicia will be implicated in Finney’s illegal activities. At first, Eva couches it in speculative terms but when Alicia defends Finney’s character, Eva shares her truth even though she worries that it might cost her their relationship.
Alicia’s stunned by the revelations and quickly realizes that Eva targeted her to get closer to Finney. Eva admits that she did at first but that things changed as they got to know each other. Alicia insists that she can’t keep working for Finney, knowing what she knows, but Eva pushes her to stick with the campaign. She could be their insider, feeding them information about Finney’s schedule and donors. Alicia agrees to do Eva’s bidding but worries about having to pretend everything’s normal. Eva assures her that she can handle it because she’s been doing it for 25 years (which is not as comforting as Eva seems to think it is).
Eva intercepts Marcus (Trini’s dad and Poppy’s in-house detective) and prevents him from confronting Finney directly about his daughter’s whereabouts. Instead, they use the candidate’s schedule that Alicia supplied and follow him on his campaign stops. But when surveillance doesn’t yield immediate dividends, Marcus gets frustrated. He tries to understand what Eva’s endgame is here — surely, no principal cares this much — but he doesn’t stick around long enough for Eva to give him an answer.
Later, Eva returns to Poppy’s house armed with the treasure trove of data that Alicia secured for them. Just as they start digging into the information, they’re interrupted by a call from Aubrey — Trini’s boyfriend and suspected kidnapper — who alerts them that he and Trini are at a party in the Hills, next to a putting green. The call ends abruptly it’s enough information for Eva and Poppy to cross reference with Finney’s donor list and locate the likely location: Clairemont Hills.
Poppy tries to get a calvary together to ride to the rescue but to no avail: citing insufficient evidence, a judge rejects the request for a search warrant and her father’s motorcycle club has been arrested on trumped up charges. Poppy laments that if they suspected Emily Mills was at that party, the police department would spare no expense in their response. So what if, Poppy wonders, Emily Mills was at the party…or, at least, the Oakland police thought she was? Eva seizes on the suggestion and urges Poppy to take her podcast live. Poppy resists at first but eventually relents under the condition that Eva stays far away from Clairemont Hills.
Poppy goes live with her podcast, mentions “a tip” about the party in Clairemont Hills where Emily Mills might be, and calls for the OPD to stand firm on their commitment to bring Emily home. Predictably, they marshall all the resources that they couldn’t for Trini. Thankfully, they find her at the party along with dozens of other girls who wear Finney’s brand.
Everyone around Eva is consumed — by finding those responsible for Drea’s murder, by bringing Trini back home — and understandably so. But with every piece of evidence they uncover, it feels like Eva is teetering closer and closer to the edge. With Poppy’s mention of danger, I worry about what comes next for Eva.