Pop Culture Fix: May-December Lesbian Couples Coming To A Theater Near You and Other Stories

Welcome to world’s greatest Pop Culture Fix, a weekly love affair where we catch you up on all the relevant pop culture news of the day!

Top Stories


+ Indiewire notes that three potential Oscar contenders — Grandma, Carol and Freeheld — all feature May/December lesbian relationships. (The same article also mis-genders Elle Fanning’s character in About Ray, etc.)

Carol (November 20th), directed by Todd Haynes — based on “The Price of Salt,” stars Cate Blanchett (age 46) as a divorcing socialite who gets involved with department store clerk played by Rooney Mara (age 30).

Grandma – Lily Tomlin (75) plays “an acerbic lesbian intellectual” who breaks up with a “worshipful woman” played by Judy Greer (40).

Freeheld – Julienne Moore (54) will play New Jersey police officer Laurel Hester and her domestic partner will be played by Ellen Page (28). Freeheld is based on a true story involving a couple with a 19-year age difference.

This excerpt seems particularly relevant to our collective interests:

“Grandma” starts off with an epigram courtesy of lesbian poet Eileen Myles, who has had a relationship with writer Leopoldine Core, 36 years her junior: “Time passes. That’s for sure.”

Weitz was especially pleased by Myles’ reaction to “Grandma”: “She said that by the end of the movie, she felt it was like Elle was a gunslinger walking off into the sunset. Like Shane or something.”

Weitz also recalled telling Tomlin, “This is a lead in a movie with a 70-something woman and there is no bed-death scene. And, by the way, she has a hell of a lot of living and vitality left.” YES. Also relevant to your interests: 10 Lesbian Couples That Don’t Mind The Age Gap.

+ Apparently some students at Duke are refusing to read Fun Home because they are ignorant assholes. I mean “for moral reasons.”

Several incoming freshmen decided not to read “Fun Home” because its sexual images and themes conflicted with their personal and religious beliefs. Freshman Brian Grasso posted in the Class of 2019 Facebook page July 26 that he would not read the book “because of the graphic visual depictions of sexuality,” igniting conversation among students… “I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it,” Grasso wrote in the post.

+ A school in New South Wales’ decision to air a documentary about growing up with lesbian parents — directed by an ex-stdudent — was met with protest from many parents. The school then decided to offer children the option of sitting out the screening in the library, where I can only hope there are no copies of Fun Home.

The Teevee Shows

ew1379-ahs-hotel-gaga-cover+ Entertainment Weekly‘s got Lady Gaga on the cover in anticipation of her debut in the new season of American Horror Story, HotelGaga will play a bisexual blood-sucking countess involved in a love triangle with “similarly blood-hungry Donovan (Matt Bomer) and the newly turned male model Tristan (Finn Wittrock).” Angela Bassett will also be playing a queer character — Ramona Royale, “an actress/former lover of The Countess’s seeking revenge.” Out actress Sarah Paulson says of the season, “There’s something about this season that’s got real heat to it. It’s pulsating. Every season has a different tone or a color. And I think this year for sure would be blood red.” Previously, Angela Bassett told AfterEllen of her character, “I would say she is fluid. From what I gather, from what I’ve read, Elizabeth is so charming, enticing, persuasive. I’m just attracted to her. It’s something that’s attractive about her that makes me a little bit more open to this idea.”

+ Hey-ya Hey-ya, the lesbians are back! (On Masters of Sex) and they’re gonna have a baby!

+ GLAAD is really excited about the PBS show First Person, because First Person is amazing, and I’m not just saying that because of my bone-deep eternal love for First Person host Kristin Russo.

+ Candace Cameron Bure will be joining The View, where she can share her anti-gay, anti-feminist and pro-Chik-fil-a opinions with a rapt audience every weekday morning indefinitely! Also Joy Behar is coming back, ideally she will serve as Candace Cameron’s foil on aforementioned issues.

+ Heather Hogan would like to help Pretty Little Liars quit the transphobia, like the “he. she. it” tweet they blasted into the world earlier this week. Seriously y’all: honestly, neither of us like writing screeds about why this or that show messed up. I can’t even hear the word “problematic” without wanting to spend the rest of my life hidden underneath a rock reading books printed on papyrus. We want the shows we love to love us back. I don’t want lesbians to sleep with men and I don’t want a transgender woman to seduce her brother and treat four innocent girls like dolls in a profoundly screwed-up bunker from hell. When shit like this happens, it’s tragic and exhausting.

+ TV directors are overwhelmingly white and male. SURPRISE!

+ Margaret Cho will play Dr. Ken’s sister on the new sitcom Dr. Ken (which, by the way, looks kinda terrible?)

+ I know you probably have zero interest in hearing Ilene Chaiken talk, but the thing is that she’s talking about SEASON TWO OF EMPIRE WHICH COMES BACK SO SOOOOON!!!!


+ We are getting somewhere with Issa Rae’s pilot!

+ A.J Langer (Rayanne from My So-Called Life) is now a countess and spends most of her time running a castle. Also she has fibromyalgia, like me! That’s not in the article, I just wanted you to know.

+ I feel like if this happens, there has to be a lesbian lead character: Shondaland is developing a drama project about a group of Catholic nuns fighting off the closure of their convent.



+ Taylor Swift continues her all-star tour, this time with an appearance by Our Lordess Ellen DeGeneres, following a duet with Alanis Morissette. Last night she played with St. Vincent and Beck!

+ Ruby Rose has been a DJ since way before she was on that Netflix show.

+ MTV has announced the musical performances for their big show on Sunday. DON’T WORRY, Macklemore will be there. Also Kanye West will be receiving the Vanguard Award.

Moving Pictures

Jane Lynch and Jennifer Coolidge are on board for a new Christopher Guest flick, Mascots.

+ The cast and crew of the female Ghostbusters will not apologize for being female to all those fans who don’t realize that females are the absolute greatest and should be in charge of everything. SO THERE.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3197 articles for us.


  1. Grandma got inside my bones, man. I saw it Saturday night and I have not stopped thinking about it since then. It’s the best I’ve ever seen Lily Tomlin, and I’ve seen Lily Tomlin be the best a hundred times in my life. I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about Marcia Gay Harden. I hope she gets a supporting actor nod for her role. She was a fucking force.

  2. Those three movies look like they’re totally gonna make up for the travesty that was Jenny’s Wedding. I’m so excited.

  3. Oh hey, how relevant! I’m writing a play called May/December (I’m really bad at titles), which chronicles the relationship between a 45 year-old woman and a 25 year-old woman.

  4. As a lesbian in a May/December marriage, I approve. Also, when I first heard about Freeheld happening, I actually screamed.

  5. Am I the only one counting down the days until “Carol” hits theaters?
    I am so excited about that movie already!

  6. hi,
    i liked sarah silverman and betty on masters of sex SO MUCH but after last week’s episode with the fucking gorilla i’m not sure i can continue with this show.

    it is so fucking weird to watch a thing about empire and have ilene chaiken pop up in the middle, smugly explaining how she is going to ruin this show in its eleventh hour.

    aaaaand all of those things about american horror story sound amazing; having angela bassett as a scorned ex-lover is ALWAYS a solid move.

    • I’m really hoping the gorilla was a one episode bad decision on the part of the writers. It’s sort of forgivable if it’s based on research Masters and Johnson actually did in real life. But I have no idea if it is, and I have not the will to Google.

      I was hopeful during that one episode where it looked like Libby and Virginia and Bill might become a three person relationship, because I really like Libby, but awwwwww. Darn.

  7. Speaking of St. Vincent playing with Taylor Swift, Annie Clark posted a pic from the concert on her instagram last night and said what a good show it was and then a bunch of her hipster fans threw an absolute tantrum. One dude even said he was going to unfollow her. It was hilarious/pathetic.

  8. I like that Duke has Fun Home on their reading list, I also like that students are allowed to choose not to read it. Freedom, y’all.


  10. I am super stoked about all three of those movies. Not as stoked that they are all directed by men.

  11. Hey, chiming in with a fact check on the story about Gayby Baby.

    The Guardian says that there were no objections from the parents, and that although the

  12. Thank you for the PLL write-ups, Heather. I’m so fucking disappointed in the show and upset that they keep being transphobic. I feel cheated. I only hope, as you say, we can turn this into a teachable moment, or the writers somehow redeem themselves. I am so tired of transphobia.

  13. The NSW Premier (the equivalent of a Governor) Mike Baird has banned any NSW schools from showing the film. In happier news, the VIC Premier Daniel Andrews has posted a Facebook status in support of the film, its message and tolerance overall.

    It’s a shame that such negative publicity has been cast on Gayby Baby. BUT inadvertantly the film has been given so much free publicity, and hopefully even more people will go and see the film.

    The really annoying thing is that none of these outraged people have seen the film. I’ve been it, and the film is just gorgeous. It’s not a political statement. It’s not trying preach a “pass marriage equality” stance to the audience. For the viewer it is simply a look in to what it is like to raise children. And for these families there is extra stress, due to societal bullshit about same-sex families. The film focuses four stories:
    – Gus, whose parents are worried about his obsession with WWE and its macho nature
    – Graham, whose parents are trying to help him catch up in school
    – Ebony, whose parents are worried about what high school she will go to the following year
    – Matt, who is having an existential crisis about his faith, upon learning the church believes his parents’ relationship is wrong
    These are all such relatable stories, that pretty much all parents have to face. It’s a simple way to show people that same-sex parents have the same struggles as all other parents, and that all they’re trying to do is provide the best for their kids. Terrible, right?

  14. It’s so backwards that the The View decided to hire Candace because she’s against same-sex marriage. They saw her being discriminatory towards Raven, and thought, we should hire this person!!! Would you trust your employer if they made decisions like that? That is so messed up. Being a bigot shouldn’t gain you a job. I don’t care if it’s TV.

  15. i know empire isn’t exactly representing us at the moment, but i seriously loved season one and can’t wait for season 2!
    feel a little weird about IFC’s being a part of it, but i loved the character development in season one and fell a little in love with so many of the actors.

  16. it’s real sweet that people want to “help” pll but to me the fact that this shit continues to be perpetuated by them doesn’t indicate any sort of willingness to admit how deeply they fucked up or try to undo the harm.

    i don’t have any interest in trying to continue to give creators, writers, directors, cast, crew etc the benefit of the doubt about good intentions because it hasn’t been borne out by any of their actions.

  17. There is also a 4th movie about May/December lesbian relathionship coming out this week in France (I think it was released last year in the US). It’s called “Sand Dollars”, it’s about an old european women getting involved with a young sex worker in Dominican Republic. Definitely not your traditional romantic movie, but I’m looking forward to it! http://www.indiewire.com/film/sand-dollars

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