Hey did you see Dani’s shout out on Late Night With Seth Meyers this week? Very cool! And a perfect way to get back into the swing of FALL TEVEE! Also this week, Riese made an essential list called 42 TV Shows With Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Characters Cancelled After One Season and updated us on the latest news from the set of The L Word: Generation Q. Kayla reviewed the very adorable new Aussie teen show Heartbreak High. And Sa’iyda reviewed Viola Davis’ The Woman King.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ 9-1-1 returned this week and, already, Henrietta Wilson has a lot on her plate: a family, medical school and an intense job at Station 118. In fact, she’s so wrapped up in studying for her finals that she forgets about her lunch plans with Athena until her best friend shows up at her door with takeout. But despite the demands of her current rotation, when Bobby dangles the possibility of Hen becoming Interim Captain while he’s on his honeymoon, she jumps at the chance. She relishes having gone from the person no one expected to be a firefighter to someone who’s capable of being a captain. — Natalie
+ I was hard-pressed to imagine the second season of Reservation Dogs would match its freshman run — one of my favorite debuts in recent memory — but with each new episode, I wonder if its sophomore run might actually exceed it. Grappling with grief continues to be the show’s through line but this week’s episode, “Offering,” added so many layers to it: how grief can upend our lives and how our past can heal our present. It’s really, really beautiful and makes for one of my favorite episodes of television this year. — Natalie
+ Home Economics returned this week and the biggest news is that Denise and Sarah are still trying to have a baby (actress Caitlin McGee is currently pregnant, so I predict a third child for Denise and Sarah very soon) and arguing over the merits of public vs private school while the family takes a day vacation
paid promo to Disneyland. Nothing groundbreaking, but it’s sweet and fun. Sometimes that’s enough. — Carmen
+ On Raising Kanan, Jukebox took a backseat so that we can learn more about Detective Burke and her ex-girlfriend, who’s about to once again become her current girlfriend. I appreciate that Raising Kanan has multiple lesbian regular characters, still a rarity in most TV but Detective Burke is irritating (in her defense, she’s supposed to be) so it’s hard to get excited for her. This week’s episode had what I’m pretty sure is the first lesbian sex scene in the Power Universe, which is something, but for a show that’s as famous for its sex as it is for its violence, it was surprisingly a complete snooze. — Carmen
+ New/Returning shows over the next week: Reasonable Doubt (Hulu), The Rookie: Feds (ABC) and Welcome to Flatch (FOX). — Natalie
+ Hello I’m here to report that I am officially ON the Big Sky beat. The cute baby gays from early S2 are gone, and trans woman Jerrie is currently on an off-screen mission, and somehow Jenny and Cassie are still not together, but Reba is here and even though Jensen Ackles and Luke Mitchell are threatening my newest crackship, I have my eyes peeled for queer activity. — Valerie Anne
+ For a brief second in this week’s episode of She-Hulk I thought Nikki and Mallory were going to date but then Mallory mentioned she’s been married for a long time so alas, not in the cards just yet. However, in this episode trans actress Patti Harrison played Jen’s old friend who asked her to be a bridesmaid and she was a delight. — Valerie Anne
NCIS: Hawai’i 201: “Prisoners’ Dilemma”
Written by Natalie
Personally, things could not have started off more blissful for Kacy on NCIS: Hawai’i: Kate awakens to breakfast in bed from her thoughtful girlfriend. Lucy might’ve overdone it on breakfast — every thing is bigger in her native Texas, she reminds Kate, including breakfast — but the couple is the picture of domestic bliss. Professionally, however, is another story, as a terrorist from the mainland (Herman Maxwell) makes his way to Hawai’i and threatens to attack a global military training exercise (RIMPAC) being held on the island.
The couple get to work together: first, scouring the crowds at RIMPAC, looking for Maxwell’s sympathizers and then working with Ernie to find out more about the terrorist’s past. They provoke a new line of thought for Ernie and, as he hunts for answers online, he asks Lucy and Kate to talk…to give him some white noise to help him focus.
Because Ernie is the captain of the Kacy ship, the couple opts to share news of their relationship. The things that they’ve learned about each other are absolutely adorable and they both agree that their relationship is working. Thanks to all their “happy talk,” Ernie calms his brain enough to figure out a connection between Maxwell and a college professor visiting the island. The team pulls the professor in but he doesn’t recognize Maxwell’s picture.
Ernie asks Lucy and Kate for more white noise but this time, Kate refuses to “talk about how much [she] loves Lucy” in front of the professor. Lucy smiles at the inadvertent acknowledgement and it’s just enough white noise for Ernie to de-age Maxwell’s picture, sparking recognition in the professor. The team’s able to use the information from the professor to help bring down Maxwell and keep everyone on the island safe.
After work, the couple settle in at home, celebrate a job well done and lean fully into their honeymoon phase. It’s saccharine sweet and looks to continue next week.
Queen Sugar 702: “Slowly And Always Irregularly”
Written by Natalie
Nova slinks back into her home, rousing Dominic from his nap on the couch. She’s been out all night — talking to Mo about the council meeting, supporting Miss Parthena following the eviction from her farm and then strategizing with Mo about what to do next — and she neglected to call her boyfriend and update him on the situation. What makes the situation particularly frustrating for Dominic is that Nova’s solution — hosting a ring shout at the farm — is right in his wheelhouse as a cultural anthropologist. In fact he’s taking a group of students on a “field trip” to the Sudan next week to learn more about the origins of the ring shout. Nova is impressed by Dominic’s display of nerdery.
To recruit a crowd for the ring shout, Nova reaches out to her ex-girlfriend, Chantal. She’s glad to help, of course, but wonders why she’s here and not Nova’s “new boo.” When Nova can’t offer a legitimate explanation, Chantal fills in the gap for her.
“You’re still doing that thing,” Chantal acknowledges. “That thing where you pull away the moment your love life is working and you turn to everyone but your partner because you’re scared of depending on them.”
Wounded by the righteousness of that read, Nova apologizes for Chantal having had to deal with her rough edges back then. She hopes that the ring shout is another way to make amends. Nova emphasizes that Dominic is amazing but admits there are parts of herself — the rawest parts of herself — that she doesn’t feel comfortable letting him see. Chantal encourages Nova to let Dominic in…to let him see her, warts and all. They clasp hands and, of course, Dominic catches them in that intimate moment.
Chantal and Dominic settle into an easy rapport (“he’s an upgrade from the white cop,” she snarks) but Dominic is clearly unnerved by the space she and Mo claim in Nova’s life…a space to which he doesn’t have access. Later, in bed, he admits his worry to Nova and she tries to reassure him. She promises that he’s the only one who gets all of her.
We’ll see how well that promise holds up while Dominic’s out of town.
New Amsterdam 501: “TBD”
Written by Natalie
I am sympathetic to shows forced to contend with a central cast member’s abrupt departure. Writers have to turn on a dime and find a way to hasten that exit that honors the actor and the show’s narrative. It’s a difficult task that’s rarely done well (see: Callie and Alex’s exits on Grey’s Anatomy) but it’s no one’s fault, that’s just the nature of the business. But I have no such sympathy for the writers of New Amsterdam.
This show has known, since the end of its third season, that Freema Agyeman was not long for this world. They were gifted a fourth season with Agyeman and, instead of winding it down in a way that would usher Helen Sharpe off the canvas sensibly, they gave us this episode. An hour of gaslighting BS. Now, granted, I don’t usually concern myself with what the straights are doing but: 1. a lot of the queer women who watch New Amsterdam started watching for Freema Agyeman and 2. bad writing is like a fungus, it spreads.
And, sure enough, that fungus spread over nearly ever aspect of New Amsterdam‘s season premiere.
It’s been months since Lauren let go of her money, her apartment, and her relationship to ensure that Leyla could settle her visa issues and, in the interim, she’s been couch surfing. Why does a character we know is wealthy need to couch surf? Who knows, but it does give the show the opportunity for some misdirection with Floyd and Lauren. The pair wind up in bed together because Floyd’s couch triggers Lauren’s sciatica.
He pushes her to go back to her apartment — she lives in a two-bedroom, after all — but Lauren knows if she goes back while Leyla’s still there, they’ll just fall back into bed together. Better her bed than his, Floyd notes, before telling Lauren that she’s gotta go. When Floyd stands firm, Lauren scours the ED for another place to lay her head. Ultimately, though, she bites the bullet and heads back to her apartment.
Leyla opens the door — the show’s lone remaining South Asian character being sidelined in an episode that features a Bollywood storyline is an odd choice — and seems taken aback by the suggestion that Lauren move into the spare bedroom. But, of course, she agrees. First, though, Leyla has to tell her something. But before Leyla can get the words out, another woman slides up next to her and drapes her arm across Leyla’s shoulders. Lauren just stands there, smiling awkwardly, at this threshold of her own apartment, as this stranger (Bix, played by Jamie Abbott AKA Kate McKinnon’s better half) says, “oh, you must be Lauren.”
It almost doesn’t matter to me who the stranger is — if she’s Leyla’s new hook-up or just a friend — but to have her in Lauren’s apartment without having asked Lauren first? MESSY…and it’s messy in a way that Leyla’s character has never been. And, gosh, the optics of it all? It’s bad…so very bad. But it might not be an issue for long: it looks as though Shiva Kalaiselvan has been bumped from recurring to guest star for the season. If so, this is a miserable ending for a story that began with so much promise.
Vampire Academy 105: “Near Guard, Far Guard”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week, the Guardians are sent on a training mission, and while they’re out in the field setting up, as good-natured ribbing is being shared on all fronts, Rose teases Meredith about her crush on Mia, which Meredith defends by saying Mia has a heart…if you dig around for it…and also she’s not going to apologize for her heart, okay? And speaking of Mia, when it becomes clear that the Guardian trainees are in more danger than they bargained for, the Moroi come to their aid. Which means all four members of my two current ships (Rose, Lissa, Meredith, and Mia) are all on site trying to give me a big gay panic attack.
Luckily the pairs are equally as worried about each other as I am about them so they all protect each other and it’s cute. Mia even goes so far as to use her magic to strangle one of the snobby bullies and might have ended up going too far if Meredith hadn’t been there to talk her down.
Also, I know Meredith and Mia are canon into each other and that’s where my full shipping heart should rest, but it’s hard when things happen like Lissa’s eyes going black from the darkness of tapping into her powers and then Rose’s going black, too because they’re so intrinsically linked. Besides, I can ship more than one couple on the same show. I contain multitudes!
Oh also, while all this was going on, Sophie single-handedly saved this show from burying a gay by healing her father of his fatal vampire disease, despite the toll it took on her.
House of the Dragon, 105: “We Light The Way”
Written by, Shelli Nicole
Okay, so this episode had everyone in an actual tizzy. It’s wedding season and in this world of Westeros that has pretty much never ended well lol. Anyway, Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor Velaryon (who are cousins) are engaged. Rhaenyra doesn’t actually wanna get married but she has to and after going on a tour of dudes (and pre-teens) who wanna marry her, she settles on her cousin Laenor because he is the least terrible option. Here’s the thing tho — lol he’s gay — with a messy ass boyfriend at that. Pretty much everyone knows (his family thinks it’s a phase and that marriage will help, the rest of the kingdom turns a blind eye) including Rhaenyra.
She whole time doesn’t care because lol she is fucking her bodyguard (and lied to people about it including her new stepmother/old friend/maybe old crush Alicent). So on their walk by a dreary ass sea, she suggests they just help each other out. They will get married, fuck a few times to have a kid or 3 to make the kingdom happy, and keep up appearances and smiles. BUT behind closed doors they can actually fuck whoever they want, so he can keep his little boyfriend and she can keep banging bodyguards. He was like “oh shit forreal” and she was like “yeah, I literally don’t give a fuck lol” and they smile, laugh, and agree because they are cousins who actually dig each other and just have been dealt an odd hand.
Short lived happiness though because his boyfriend was messy as fuck at the wedding and decided to tell the bodyguard he knows his secret — and so the bodyguard beats his brains out. Like, actually beats his brains out in the middle of the engagement party and kills him. Rhaenyra is like “wait, what the actual fuck?” and Ser Laenor cries over his boo’s dead body all “omg baby WHYYYYYYY?!?” and because it all looks bad their parents rush the wedding and they get married like an hour later.
Time for TV math! We all know this world hates queers, Ser Laenor boyfriend (Ser Joffrey — yikes at the name), was introduced for the first time in the series in this episode at the 24 minute mark and then dies 34 minutes later. His total screen time (alive) that I added up was a bit under 3 minutes total. That’s including quick flashes of him and his messy looks, the 15 second conversation he has with his secret bf at the wedding, and his full introductory scene which was only about 1 minute and 16 seconds long. This death was unsurprising to me, as was his intro but it pissed off lots of folks who watch the show. It wasn’t unsurprising because I read the books or anything (I didn’t) just because I know this world has no intent to being kind to queers of any sort but yeah — that’s what happened this week in Gay Westeros Weekly.
P.S. no further actual dykin’ yet with Rhaenyra or Alicent but hey WHO KNOWS WHAT COULD HAPPEN we are only 5 episodes in!
Monarch 102: “There Can Only Be One Queen”
Written by Heather
You know the end of the original Pretty Little Liars pilot when all the Liars huddle up around their beeping phones in their funeral dresses and read A’s first text out loud? “I’m still here, bitches, and I know everything!” You know that feeling you got when you watched that the first time? Like kinda spooked but also just absolutely delighted by how completely bonkers it was, and how committed the show was to being serious about it? Okay that’s the entire vibe of Monarch, a show that makes absolutely zero sense — yet! It is a glorious trashy delight. I honestly think it may also be the worst queer representation I’ve seen since like 2010. But! I don’t really expect it to last much longer than half a season, so I’m not sweating it too bad. We deserve pop culture trash too!
Anyway, this week is Dottie’s funeral. You think you know what’s coming, but you don’t. Because what’s coming is a hologram of Dottie, on stage, singing a duet of “Love Can Build a Bridge” with her sister, who hated her, and who had no idea that hologram was gonna pop up there next to her sister’s casket, holding a microphone with butterflies swirling around her head. The lead up to the funeral involves Gigi alternating between telling Nicky, “I can’t believe you murdered Mama!!!!” and “I hated Mama and you’re the only one in this family I can’t live without!” They also do a duet in the family’s piano/trophy shed, and Radar Online publishes an article that calls Gigi “The New Queen of Country Music.” She doesn’t want to take that title from her sister, but she wouldn’t mind taking it from her dead mom, whom she remembers, “Sent me to fat camp, and then gay camp, and then — one year, two-for-one — fat gay camp.”
And those are only the problems Gigi knows about. She has no idea her wife is cheating on her with her brother. (I told you it was terrible representation.) You know who does find out, though? Nicky. In fact, she spends a Gossip Girl amount of time stumbling over everyone’s secrets in this episode. Can’t wait to see what she does with them! I’m sure it will be as even more unhinged that what I’m imagining!
Beth Ditto, however, is a marvel on this show and I can’t wait to see where her acting career goes next.