Remember back in the day when television would just take summers off? We’d all have to watch reruns of our favorite shows and wait patiently for new content to resume in the fall. Those were dark times…thankfully, there’s no shortage of queer content to consume this summer and, of course, Boobs on Your Tube is here to round it all up.
Here’s a look at what we’ve already covered this week, ICYMI: Riese wanted more time with the characters of Peacock’s Queer as Folk reboot. She also celebrated all that was good and gay about this year’s Emmy nominations and noted some of the gay performances the Academy missed (Justice for Devery Jacobs!). Niko plotted her escape into the oasis that is Bob’s Burgers.
Valerie Anne recapped a yuletide-filled episode of Motherland: Fort Salem and pondered whether to give plaudits to The Boys for narrowly avoiding the Bury Your Gays trope. Meanwhile, Natalie gave us a double dose of Good Trouble recaps: one that had us worried about a break-up, the other that had us clamoring for a reunion.
And, of course, Heather gave the straights a handy guide for assessing a project’s relative gayness.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ I was totally charmed by Ayo Edebiri in the new FX on Hulu series, The Bear (renewed for Season 2!), so I was pleasantly surprised to see her pop up as a baby gay in the new Netflix teen rom-com, Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between. Edebiri plays Stella, the quasi-closeted best friend/recent high school graduate who’s trying to work up the courage to talk to the girl she’s been crushing on before the summer ends and everyone goes their separate ways. — Natalie
+ My favorite British export, Ackley Bridge, returned for its fifth series this week on Channel 4. This season it’s Chloe — the same girl who kissed Nas in season three — that gets a queer storyline…though, admittedly, it’s not as developed as I’d like. That said, Kaneez is still the absolute best and I’d watch the entire series for her alone. Just saying — Natalie
+ Ms. Marvel wrapped up its first season on Disney+ this week and, honestly, I cannot recommend the show more highly. The show’s fifth episode, “Time and Again,” was penned by queer poet Fatimah Asghar, and it’s one of my favorite pieces of television this year. The series finale (“No Normal”) maybe, possibly, hinted at Zoe’s queerness (it’s in the comics but this is Marvel, so you can never be sure). — Natalie
+ Still no sign of Alice in Only Murders in the Building. Maybe she was a queer fever dream we all had? But this week, the infamous Lucy shows up, with her classic Gen Z “shrug” attitude toward queerness and gender. She joked about something being queer-coded, and wistfully longed for a day where she could watch Charles fumble like a dad “when I inevitably change my pronouns.” It was cute. — Valerie Anne
P-Valley 206: “Savage”
Written by Natalie
(Just a heads up: Mercedes’ storyline notwithstanding, this week’s episode of P-Valley was a heavy one. Please heed the show’s trigger warnings.)
When she was just 15, Mercedes Woodbine had a baby…and her mother forced her to relinquish custody of her daughter, Terricka, to the baby’s much older, married father. The baby’s father died but, on his deathbed, he made his wife, Shelle, promise to keep his daughter away from Mercedes. Shelle keeps that promise — even as she drowns herself in alcohol and even as it’s clear that she resents Terricka’s existence — because, above all else, she hates Mercedes more. Nevertheless, Mercedes persists, working to make her more respectable in Shelle’s eyes. This week, Mercedes delivers groceries to a hungover Shelle, only to be subjected to her scorn.
As she leaves Shelle’s, Mercedes gets a call from Coach asking her to return to Memphis to showcase “The Mercedes Experience.” But it’s not Coach that’s eager for its continuation, it’s his wife, Farrah, who just won’t stop talking about it (at which point, I yell, “I bet she won’t!” at my TV). Mercedes is immediately on high alert — worried that Farrah has shared the details of their tryst — but she plays it coy, insisting that she only wants to spend time with Coach. He begs her to oblige his wife, just this once, but Mercedes resists…until Terricka calls and she accepts Coach’s request just to get him off the phone. Unfortunately by the time she clicks over to answer her daughter’s call, no one’s on the line.
Later, at the condo, the trio toast “The Mercedes Experience.” Coach steps aside to prepare his “love potion” in advance of their threesome and as soon as his back is turned, Farrah tells Mercedes that she can’t stop thinking about her. Farrah slips her hand onto Mercedes’ thigh and under her dress but Mercedes stops her progress. She worries about drawing Coach’s ire and warns Farrah not to fumble her bag. Chastened, Farrah withdraws and agrees to pretend like there’s nothing between them.
This, of course, is easier said than done…because when “the experience” gets underway, neither Farrah nor Mercedes maintain their poker face. They are so wrapped up in each other — with Farrah desperate to please Mercedes and the attraction radiating on Mercedes’ face — that I honestly think they forget that Coach is there. At some point, he pulls away and just watches them…and knows exactly what’s happened. But rather than being turned on by the scene, Coach’s ego is hurt and he lashes out. He pulls Farrah out of bed and accuses her of cheating on him. She dismisses his rantings but he insists, “I know what two women [who have] been together look like!”
Mercedes tries to calm Coach down but he accuses her of turning his wife out. He insists that in the 19 years they’ve been married, Farrah has never thought about pussy but Farrah steps up and admits that she likes pussy too…probably even more than he does. She holds it up as proof that he doesn’t really know her…that they’ve spent so much time focused on his dreams and his fantasies that hers have been overlooked. Mercedes interjects — “yeah, what about her dreams?” — and it allows Coach to redirect his ire.
He drags Mercedes from the bedroom and chastises her for her betrayal. He cancels their sponsorship agreement but Mercedes insists on collecting the money she’s owed. He refuses — “y’all both done broke my heart,” he claims — and Farrah can’t be bothered to defend Mercedes in the moment. Instead, she simply hands Mercedes her shoes and retreats. Once again, Mercedes has had the rug yanked out from under her by someone who professed to care.
Cedes heads back to Chucalissa to drown her sorrows in Hennessy when her night gets even worse: her teenage daughter shows up on her doorstep, crying, and hands Mercedes her positive pregnancy test.
All Rise 306: “I’ll Be There”
Written by Natalie
I have, of course, been fiending for Samantha Marie Ware’s on-screen return as Vanessa “Ness” Johnson on All Rise but it feels particularly serendipitous that it happened this week of all weeks…and that, according to the actress, she’s working “on one of the most safest & inclusive sets [she’s] ever been on.” Good things for Samantha Ware forever and ever, amen.
Angling for more responsibility at Audubon & Associates, Vanessa gets it when Amy assigns her a will reading for a new client. The will has a no-contest clause so no one’s expecting any fireworks but, of course, fireworks happen. At the will reading, a ring coveted by Vanessa’s client, Ada, is awarded to her cousin. Ada insists that she was promised the ring and begs Vanessa to do something. Vanessa’s reluctant — and tries to wait on Amy to return — but Ada pushes and, eventually, Vanessa offers their objection. The unanticipated challenge has its consequences: Ada could be fully disinherited, including being forced to return the $400k her grandmother gave her for college. Vanessa assures Ada that she’ll make things right and turns to Amy for advice on how to proceed. She urges Vanessa to find proof to substantiate their challenge.
After some research, Vanessa discovers that the will had been amended just three months ago and that Ada had been promised her grandmother’s ring. She brings the information to Amy who suggests that perhaps Ada was being disingenuous and she and her grandmother had had a falling out. But Vanessa’s convinced that Ada’s shock over the change was genuine and promises to find out what precipitated the change three months ago. She finds her answer in a digital picture of the grandmother’s 82nd birthday: a scar on her right elbow. Vanessa reaches out to the late grandmother’s doctor to get facts to support her theory.
When the parties reconvene, Amy begins the proceedings by noting that Ada’s grandmother had the ring re-sized…so now it fit Amy’s hand perfectly. Ada’s uncle dismisses the suggestion and assures the parties that his mother just changed her mind. Then Amy lays out the evidence Vanessa found: signs of elder abuse that coincided with the will’s amendments. Ada’s uncle denies the charge but when Amy threatens to take the case to the DA, he relents and gives Ada the ring she sought. Grateful, Ada promises to sing Vanessa’s praises to her potential future boss. It’s a much needed win for Vanessa after failing the bar exam.
Also making an appearance on this week’s All Rise? Judge Justice Benner, who steps back into the HOJ to deliver news about an appeal that’s about to make its way into Lola’s courtroom…a case that was, initially, handled by Lola’s new boss.
The Chi 504: “On Me”
Written by Natalie
Can I be honest? Through three episodes of The Chi‘s fifth season, I’d been a little bored. The kids were talking about video games and NFTs. The mothers have formed this support group overnight, with no pretense. Nina and Dre’s reconciliation was happening entirely off-screen so we’d go from obvious tension between them to overtly affectionate displays without explanation. Shaad had completely recovered from his long stint in prison and was now…well, I don’t know what he’s doing, really…but at least they let Jason Weaver sing. And, of course, the show was stepping into my absolute least favorite storyline: a campaign story.
I didn’t want to complain — after all, this show has a tendency to do way too much, so it doing absolutely nothing should’ve been a welcome reprieve — but still, I wanted something to inject some energy into this season. Enter Kandi Burruss’ Roselyn. The former mayor’s wife who attempted to step into the role, as he recuperated from a shooting, is back. Do I understand why? No. Does it actually make sense? No. Do I care? Also, no…because, if there’s one thing that you can count on from Roselyn, it’s that she’s going to bring absolute chaos…and this season desperately needs that.
And, sho’ nuff, just a few minutes into the episode — before the show’s theme song even hits — there’s Roselyn, delivering a healthy dose of chaos: she climbs out of bed and gets ready to meet the day…and who would happen to be in her bed? Tierra, Douda’s “play niece,” who he recruited to play Victor/Trig’s girlfriend during his campaign for city council.
Later, we learn that Roselyn’s been involved in all Douda’s machinations from the jump. She inserts herself into the operations at ROCK — as the co-director, natch — much to Tracy’s chagrin. It’s Roselyn who got Victor’s record expunged so that he could run for City Council and she’s been using Tierra to manage his campaign from afar. She sends Tierra to Trinity house — the safe haven for women that Imani helped create — to highlight Victor’s role for the campaign, even through his reluctance. Tierra succeeds in not only getting a picture at the formerly secretive safe haven, she convinces Victor to hold his campaign’s first town hall there.
At the town hall, Victor gets a question from a local reporter named Fatima about him taking credit for work of a black trans woman. To his credit, Victor showers Imani — and the other black women holding the South Side down — with praise and it seems to win over the skeptical reporter. Later, Victor and Fatima get to talking and sparks fly…so much so that Shaad notices. He pulls the would-be candidate aside and urges him to go after what he clearly wants, but Victor insists that his fake relationship with Tierra is, essentially, going to help get him elected.
Still, though, he approaches Fatima outside to get her number so that they can continue their conversation. Fatima clocks Victor’s fake relationship right away and she calls him out directly. Victor doesn’t deny it, instead, inviting Fatima to go somewhere and talk. She hands him her phone, he passes along his number and she promises to leave her notebook at home next time they meet.
Meanwhile, Nina and Dre are faced with an important decision about Lynae, the kid they took in at the end of last season, whose brother has been arrested for murder. Without her legal guardian, the system’s been activated and Lynae might have to go into a group home. Dre insists that they intervene — step in and become foster parents for Lynae — but Nina is reluctant. Her hesitation seems almost cruel (especially when it happens in front of Lynae) but eventually it becomes clear where it stems from: Nina doubts that her relationship with Dre is going to last so she doesn’t want to bring a kid into what could be a broken home.
Roswell, New Mexico 405: “You Get What You Give”
Written by Valerie Anne
I know that Riley Voelkel is only queer news to me (and other Originals fans) so I’ll get the Cam stuff out of the way quickly: I was glad Tesca borrowed her face again for this episode; it’s a good face. But I’m super bummed it sounds like she’s leaving again. I was kind of hoping she’d just got for a different pod sibling…alas. Okay on to our queer alien…
On the heels of her breakup with Anatsa, Isobel follows Kyle to Mexico to continue their hunt for clues about the new alien triad. She tells Kyle that she tried to come out as an alien to Anatsa but before she could even get it out, Anatsa bailed. She understands why she did, but she’s still heartbroken. She blames herself, saying it was the only good relationship she’s ever had. Isobel say she had to get out of Roswell to clear her mind, and that it is a “relief” to be around Kyle.
In their fact-finding mission, they discover that Kyle’s family has been protecting Isobel’s family for years, and the dread in my chest grows.
While they’re talking to a girl they found in a pod (casual), queer scientist Allie Meyers gets name-dropped, so maybe we haven’t seen the last of Shiri Appleby after all.
Later that night, Isobel tells Kyle that Anatsa taught her not to be afraid to love again, but that she wasn’t her person. They dance, and they kiss, and all my nightmares came true. Anatsa’s muffler isn’t even cold yet! I know they’re running out of episodes but I’m so annoyed that Isobel went from “I ruined the best relationship I’ve ever had with a woman I loved more than anyone I’ve ever dated before” to kissing Kyle in the span of ONE episode. I gave this show so much credit earlier this season when they had two queer relationships going at once, but then they buried one gay alive (I’m pretty sure he’s still alive) and essentially sent the other into the parking lot of no return! What gives, Roswell? What sucks is I think I could have gotten behind Kyle and Isobel if Kyle hadn’t been so obviously pining over Isobel while she was dating Anatsa, and/or if they had waited like two more episodes before smashing faces. Alas.
For All Mankind 306: “New Eden”
Written by Valerie Anne
Hoo boy, this week was a doozy. While no one got steamrolled by a spaceship, my heart sure did.
As all the astronauts and cosmonauts get settled on Mars, they send little videos back to earth. In his, sweet baby angel Will Tyler comes out. Just says he’s gay right out loud. And as you can imagine, this sends the Mid-90s Republican White House into a tizzy. Ellen is specifically stressed, as you can imagine. Her VP storms in, shouting about how 73% of the country thinks homosexuality is wrong and how if they don’t do something it will show weakness and THINK OF THE CHILDREN. He wants to have Will Tyler dishonorably discharged from the military, but Ellen just stares at him until he calms down and excuses himself while she considers her options.
Up on Mars, Danielle Poole is mad at Will for making the mission about this instead of about the fact that they’re on Mars. Later when his Russian buddy expresses concern about catching AIDS, she is quick to point out how stupid that is and come to Will’s defense.
Back on Earth, Ellen rewatches Will’s video alone in her dark office, and as Will tells kids to take comfort in knowing they’re not broken, that it’s the world that is broken, tears well up in Ellen’s eyes.
Her husband comes in and Ellen dismays that they’ve made so much progress on so many things, but not this. Her husband blames Will for coming out, which is rude. Ellen wants to DO something. She wants to make a change. She doesn’t understand why Will shouldn’t be allowed to serve his country if he so chooses.
Ellen tells her husband about the time she thought she was going to die so she told Deke about Pam, about everything, and he just looked so…disappointed. It broke her heart. He told her not to tell anyone, which gives her husband an idea. He basically comes up with the concept of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but they call it the Uniform First project…and fuck, it’s probably the most depressing thing this show has ever done. In this fictional reality where we have our first female president in the 90s (a lesbian no less even though she’s closeted), the first women and Black astronauts on the moon over a decade earlier than we do in this timeline, humans on Mars…we can’t imagine a better existence for queer people than Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? It bummed me out!
Anyway shit’s about to go down soon because the First Gentleman has been fooling around with the wrong people and loose lips sink White House closet…ships…You know what I mean.
Re: The Chi, the actress playing Fatima has written for Autostraddle some 7-8 years!! Just dropping this here: https://www.autostraddle.com/author/llerret/
It’s true, @yazminelili! I watched the episode soon after it dropped on the Showtime app and then sent Carmen an overly excited text message at 1AM telling her about it.
Probably could’ve waited until later that morning but… 🤷🏽
Softball queers are the best, JoJo Siwa edition: