Happy Last Friday in July! It’s time for Boobs on Your Tube! This week, Himani got serious about the ways that Never Have I Ever keeps missing the mark when it comes to Fabiola, queerness, and how we talk about race. We also took a serious look at Netflix’s reality show My Unorthodox Life and its bi (and ex-Orthodox) erasure. Kayla caught us up on Bravo’s Family Karma, which is where she says queerness and cultural expectations clash (also that it’s fantastic and chaotic, she didn’t say that last part we’re just assuming because… Bravo). Callie and Mariana got into some sleuthing on Good Trouble. And we also revisited Cheryl Dunye’s ICONIC Watermelon Woman on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ If you watched the second season of Why Women Kill, then you know there is a slight (and mostly off-camera) gay twist at the end of the season. It’s not really enough to write about, especially without spoiling the whole plot, but if you know you know and if you didn’t? Now you do. — Carmen
+ Canadian import Burden of Truth returns for its annual summer run tonight on the CW. — Natalie
+ Also? We’ll finally get to see the fallout from Nina’s affair as The Chi wraps up its fourth season on Showtime on Sunday night. — Natalie
+ With no support from Luna’s deadbeat dad, Nomi’s been left to navigate parenting alone on grown-ish. It’s a task made even more complicated by classes, studying for the LSAT and a campus daycare that abruptly closes its doors. Thankfully, Ana’s there to help, providing a list of vetted babysitters, and to remind Nomi that she’s got a village behind her. — Natalie
Motherland: Fort Salem 206: “My 3 Dads”
Written by Valerie Anne
It’s fall break for the witches this week, and while poor Abigail has to listen to her three dads interrogate potential husbands for her, Tally goes home with Raelle on an incredibly gay adventure. Like, okay, I understand that Tally grew up on a commune of exclusively men, but she is practically draped over Raelle during this whole trip. She sits practically on her lap on the couch, she tells Raelle’s dad stories as if she’s the visiting girlfriend, she even asks Raelle to serenade her! Which she does!! Obviously I am looking forward to what will surely be a dramatic and tense reunion of Scylla and Raelle but they are doing nothing to convince me that I shouldn’t be shipping Raelle and Tally. And, as we’ve covered, I am trash. I remain trash.
The episode ends with Raelle getting tranq’d and Tally SCREAMING her name as the Camaria descend. But luckily, Scylla and Almost-Definitely-Not-Dead-Willa Collar just found out Raelle was a target so help is on the way. Let’s just hope they can get there before her beautiful vocal chords are removed.
American Horror Stories 204: “The Naughty List”
Written by Drew
Other than a stock footage collage of “girls” who all seem more likely to fuck each other than the bro protagonists, this week’s American Horror Stories was not relevant to our interests. But it did stir up some larger thoughts about the show I want to touch upon.
“The Naughty List” is a satire of online influencers that makes Black Mirror seem subtle. It’s both over-the-top and boring. It feels like it was written by a 60-year-old cis white man, because, well, it was: the same writer as the previous episode, Manny Coto.
The reason why I was excited for this anthology spin-off is because this format can offer unique creative freedoms to artists who wouldn’t otherwise receive them. A stand-alone 40-minute episode is more or less just a short film and Murphy has worked with a multitude of talented writers and directors he could’ve trusted to come up with their very own horror story.
Imagine if Janet Mock had gotten to write and direct her own short! Or Maya Forbes! Or Tina Mabry! Or Silas Howard! But no. Of this seven episode season the first two were written by Murphy and Brad Falchuk and directed by Murphy. Three were written by Manny Coto with one more directed by him. And this week’s was directed by Henry Winkler’s son.
The Duplass’ Room 104 wasn’t the most consistent show, but it did provide an opportunity to so many talented female filmmakers and filmmakers of color to make something interesting. This could’ve done the same.
Next week is directed by Sanaa Hamri and written by Ali Adler so I’m optimistic. But one good episode won’t make up for all the missed opportunity.
Raising Kanan 102: “Reaping and Sowing”
Written by Carmen
On Power: Raising Kanan, Jukebox is continuing her teen rich girl/poor girl romance with Nicole.
Ok wait — just to quickly recap if you’re new here, Power is an entire universe of Black family crime dramas on Starz that’s spun no less than five spin offs in progress. As it relates to our specific gay needs there is Jukebox — whom we originally met in the original series as a lesbian dirty cop with a singing voice that would make you weep, played by Anika Noni Rose. Juke is the cousin and best friend of the series’ original Big Bad, Kanan (played by 50 Cent). In the prequel spin off, Kanan and Jukebox are teenagers growing up in Queens in the 90s. Wonderful! Here we go!
This week Jukebox snuck away from her crew in Queens (Kanan covered for her by saying she was booking some “studio time”) to visit Nicole on the Upper East Side. They two flirt and shop and when Nicole puts her foot in her mouth offering to help Jukebox pay for a shirt she incorrectly assumes she can’t afford — Jukebox sells designer bootlegs at an upcharge of $300 a pop in her spare time and her family are literal drug kings and queens, so I’m sure if Juke wanted the $65 sweater, she could make it happen — Jukebox sets her straight.
Outside the story they have a surprisingly nuanced (even if brief) conversation about assumptions of race and class for two teenage girls in the early 90s, but points were made so I’ll look past the improbably and allow it. It also ends with this very adorable exchange:
Nicole: By the way, that shirt was ugly. So I wasn’t gonna buy it for you anyway!
Jukebox: (looking off to the camera and smiling) You said you liked it.
Nicole: Eh, I like what you like.
Jukebox: … I like you.
They make up and kiss and I will not a tell a lie, for a violent drama about drugs and murder, it is damn cute. I’m jumping around a little here, but later that night Jukebox sings a cover of Whitney Houston’s “You Give Good Love” (come thru Black queer icons!) that it nearly sets the house on fire!!! It’s magnificent. Broadway star Hailey Kilgore (from the revival of Once on This Island) is giving it her all in making sure that Laverne “Jukebox” Ganner damn well lives up to her name.
Too bad that sneaking back home after her date with Nicole, Jukebox unexpectedly saw her friend D Whiz get into her uncle’s car. The problem, of course, is that D Whiz is murdered that night and now Jukebox is to be the only witness to his last whereabouts. See? This is why family and the drug business don’t mix.
Charmed 317 & 318: “The Storm Before the Calm” and “I Dreamed a Dream…”
Written by Valerie Anne
These last two episodes were a fight to the finish against the Whispering Evil. Also, of course, because this is how these things always work, Mel is in labor with her future baby and her future self hasn’t come back for it yet, but Josefina shows up just in time to do some magical midwifery to help stave off the birth.
Meanwhile, Abi and Waverly face their evil mother in order to give Macy her fire powers back, which she uses to help her sisters remove the Whispering Evil from Jordan’s body.
Thinking the danger is past, Abi packs her bags and goes on a farewell tour, because she’s going to live with Waverly for a while. I am so, so sad to see our bisexual badass go. She’s leaving the demon underworld with the promise to protect witches, and says she hopes Macy can forgive her someday. Macy wishes her peace and smirks when Abi asks to say goodbye to Mel.
Abi asks Mel to keep in touch, and Mel promises to. Abi smiles a sad smile of missed opportunity, She thanks Mel for helping her become a better version of herself, and when she offers a handshake of friendship, Mel gives her a hug instead. Abi looks surprised and relieved and lands one last jab at Henry before disappearing from our lives, much to my chagrin.
In the season finale, Macy has to drink a toxin to try to kill the Whispering Evil once and for all, but to prevent her dying too, her sisters have to put her in a suspended state and stay with her in her various dream land while she gets to do all the things she’s always wanted to do with her sisters: a carnival, skydiving, a picnic, a roadtrip.
Ruby even makes an appearance at the dream wedding! It’s nice Macy remembered her since the writers often forget. The Guardian shows up to talk to Macy and the lifeline spell breaks and Mel and Maggie are afraid they’ll lose their big sister, but Harry shows up, full whitelighter, just in time to cure the toxin… but her body is still so cold. Her insides are mush and she’s dying. So Macy asks Harry to just hold her, then asks to say goodbye to her sisters. Mel is desperate but Maggie knows the truth. “False hope is a time thief.” Macy tells them that she’s made her peace, she saved the world from the Whispering Evil and she’s ready to accept the price of that. But the truth is, she’s not going to die, not really. She’s going to become one of the Powers That Be. So she holds her sisters’ hands one last time and joins the Guardian. Future Mel takes the baby back and Ruby comforts a grieving Mel.
I don’t know what this show is going to look like without Macy and Abi. Madeleine Mantock and Poppy Drayton were easily the show’s two strongest players. I’d be worried about the Power of Three, but the original Charmed proved there are ways around that, plus the Guardian teased another Charmed One out there at the end of the episode. So I guess we’ll see what the future has in store. See you in Season 4!