Boobs on Your Tube: How I Met Your Father Finally Made Use of Its Lesbian Ellen, Not That Ellen, the Other One

TV kind of ground to a standstill this week with winter shows wrapping up last week and the Winter Olympics scaring everyone else into hiatus! But! We had a couple things to cheer about. Drew recapped Euphoria and Drag Race. Valerie reviewed the penultimate season one episode drop of Vox Machina. Valerie also caught you up on Shay Mitchell playing gay again in Dollface. Shelli brought you finale thoughts on 4400. And Yash reviewed River Butcher’s new stand-up special.

Notes from the TV Team:

+ Queens wrapped up this first season this week, and when I tell you they never went back to Jill and Tina, even after last week’s cliffhanger! THEY NEVER WENT BACK! Who knows why?? It’s a storytelling decision that baffles me! And honestly I’m not sure the show is coming for a second season anyway, so big emoji shrug over here! What a disappointing gay ending to an otherwise mostly fun soap.  — Carmen


How I Met Your Father 106: “Stacey”

Written by Carmen

Ellen in How I Met Your Father, an Asian lesbian, is in a flannel purple dress and a confused look on her face in front of a kitchen wall with pots hanging above her head.

One of my Top Five Biggest Secret TV Shames is how much I loved How I Met Your Mother when it first aired. It’s very straight, and very white, and if you know me at all (you do!) then you know it couldn’t be further from my typical television realm. The bigger secret is that I’m far from the only member of the Autostraddle TV Team to love HIMYM, but we have all been so ashamed to out ourselves online, so for now it will be me who falls on the sword.

Hilary Duff’s sequel series on Hulu, How I Met Your Father premiered last month kind of rockily. Critics pretty much panned it, but I didn’t hate it so I decided to stick around, and I’m so glad that I did! Is HIMYF excellent sitcom television? No. That’s Abbott Elementary. But it passes time and I always laugh at least once and it makes good use of Hilary Duff’s charms. I’m hoping that it keeps growing and finds its way to some of the warmth, friendship, and reoccurring bits that made How I Met Your Mother a classic for nearly ten years. But for now we have our resident lesbian, Ellen (Tien Tran), her older brother Jesse (Chris Lowell — or Dell for all my Shondaland/Private Practice fans), and that is where our story this week picks up.

Ellen moved to New York after her divorce where she previously lived on a midwestern diary (I think?) produce farm to become reunited with her older brother Jesse, because the two were separated as children due to their parents’ divorce. Jesse’s had plenty to do in the first batch of episodes because if Hilary Duff is Ted Mosby… I guess he’s Robin Sparkles? But Ellen’s been criminally underused. A few weeks ago that started to change when Ellen had a really moving monologue about how Jesse failed to protect her as a big brother when they were kids and now doesn’t really know her at all. It ends with them bonding a little as Jesse teaches her to jump a subway turnstile when her MetroCard won’t work (y’all that’s big time illegal) and this week that bonding is put to the test when…

Ellen finally swipes her post-divorce V Card (the show’s words, not mine) and it turns out her lady lover is Jesse’s new girlfriend! AND THAT JESSE MET THIS WOMAN THE MORNING AFTER ELLEN’S HOOK UP. Yes. No I’m serious. Yes.

The comedy of errors around how both siblings figure it out is pretty paint-by-numbers, as is the fact that the woman in question turns out to be so annoying that both siblings fight the urge to kick her out immediately anyway. It’s simple and easy. But also maybe that’s the point? Maybe the point is that if you’ve ever watched a 90s sitcom (or How I Met Your Mother which is technically a 00s sitcom, but spiritually a 90s one) and wished, “damn I wish these mindless and low stakes high jinks kept this same energy but was 40% more gay” — then this is your show. I watch it while I brush my teeth or after I’ve put on my pjs, and I never regret it. I bet you won’t either.

Let’s go Lesbian Ellen. Not that Ellen. The other one.


The Real Dirty Dancing: “Episode 3”

Written by Sally

A black and white still of Cat in a white tank top and Corbin in a black tank top with Cat leaning back into Corbin with their hands above their head

Last time on The Real Dirty Dancing, Cat Cora made it two wins from two and I realised I wasn’t going to escape from recapping this show that easily. This week, we’re off to the woods for the toughest challenge yet: not falling off a log!

Each couple has to move in sync on the log, which we are told is a great test of their trust in each other, but is surely mostly about their balance? Anyway, my hopes and dreams are finally realised when Antonio the NFL player falls off the log! Who’d have thought that one of the two professional athletes among the contestants would be the one to slip? Now I realise that all the expected elements of this show that have been missing (big glitzy performances in front of live audiences, high-profile celeb judges etc.) have obviously been skimped on because of the need for an insurance policy that covers log-based injuries. Thankfully, Antonio is ok, and the show can continue without the threat of bankruptcy!

Everyone is dancing to “Do You Love Me” by The Countours. Each pair is wondering how they can up their game, now that a place in the final is at stake. They all want to make it through so they can do that Iconic Lift™!

Cat and Corbin are still on their game, and Cat hardly needs to remind us how competitive she is and how much she wants to win (she does though). To top their victory last week, they are planning all sorts of trickery and lifts that make my shoulder sockets hurt just looking at them. As if they weren’t already short of time to practice, each couple is forced to have a break where they open up to each other and fill some airtime with oversharing. Cat talks about growing up without much money but a lot of love, and how good her parents were when she came out in the 80s aged 19. It’s nice to get a glimpse of her past, especially when the usual narratives of coming out pre-2000 are about rejection.

Before we get to the final dance, we have an interlude where each couple mimics the famous “loverboy” scene where Johnny and Baby crawl across the floor to each other. If that Goop Sex Lab show taught me anything about myself, it’s that I cannot cope with M/F couples crawling around each other, and I barely make it through this sequence alive.

Thankfully showtime is here! Today’s special judge will be…Twitch’s wife! While I suspect this is another cost-cutting measure, she does actually have the dance credentials for the job, so I’ll go with it.

Tyler and Anjelah dance a confident routine, while Antonio and Brie perform a dance that’s certainly athletic and acrobatic, if a little rough around the edges. Cat and Corbin kill it again, with what feels like a much more thought-out routine than the others, dancing a cat-and-mouse narrative with a gasp-inducing lift-slash-drop at the end.

Sadly, Antonio and Brie are heading home, probably because Antonio was cursed by the log of doom. Cat and Corbin have made it through! There’s no designated winning couple this time, but I think it’s pretty obvious they were the standout pair in terms of dance ability. Their remaining rivals, Tyler and Anjelah, will still be formidable opponents though, largely thanks to Tyler’s swagger.

Next time: they will finally dance before a live audience! Nobody will be putting Baby in the corner, but there’s a strong chance they’ll be dropping her in the middle of the dance floor!


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Sally

Sally lives in the UK. Her work has been featured in a Korean magazine about queer people and their pets, and a book about haunted prisons. She never intended for any of this to happen.

Sally has written 60 articles for us.

7 Comments

  1. Anyone that watched the most recent episode of Bel Air (Episode 4) wanna confirm my interpretation that Ashley is gay?

    Also on to some straight issues:
    Anyone else really rooting for and mostly watching grown-ish for Vivek&Anna right now?
    Can definitely also recommend Abbott Elementary, could only love the show more if they had some queer women characters.

    • I can’t confirm about Ashley specifically (I haven’t watched the episode yet, but plan to this weekend or Monday) BUT I can say that a lil birdie in my broader universe hinted that one of the girls is eventually gonna be gay one day. So probably? yes?

      Also rooting for Vivek and Ana, yes! And love Abbott Elementary!

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