Boobs on Your Tube: Raising Kanan Has One of the Best Teen Lesbians on TV, When Will People Pay Attention

It’s somehow already (or “it’s somehow finally” depending on your perspective on things) the last Friday of 2023!! Hope that hazy week between Christmas and New Years has been treating you well, let’s see what’s been going on.

First, ’tis the season — and by that we mean ’tis the season for Carol fans. Drew and Kayla celebrated by recounting how Carol finds the kink in age gaps for their latest “Anatomy of a Queer Sex Scene.” If you prefer your gay Christmas with 100% more cheese and ugly sweaters than Cate Blanchett and a dry martini, Sai has you covered. She watched Hallmark’s Friends and Family Christmas (their first with a main lesbian couple!) and promises it’s the cheese holiday romance that sapphics deserve. In honor or its Christmas Day release, Carmen did a research deep dive into over 40 years of history on The Color Purple’s lesbian kiss.

And here’s what else!

Notes from the TV Team: 

+ Good Trouble returns on January 2nd for what I believe will be its final batch of episodes. Get ready to say goodbye to Mariana, the Coterie, and the Adams-Foster Mamas one last time! I bet we’re gonna need some tissues! — Carmen

Raising Kanan 304: “In Sheep’s Clothing”

Written by Carmen

A close up of Jukebox smiling at the camera on Raising Kanan

I’ve long said that Jukebox is the heartbeat of Raising Kanan. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword when you think about it. Being the heartbeat means that the audience cares more about you, the mess and gunk of who you are, than most other characters. But often that care comes from having seen the character at their worst; it means that writers know they can put the character through the ringer and audiences will root for them to make it through to the other side time and time again.

As a Black teen masc lesbian, it’s rare for a character like Jukebox to be “the heart” and fan favorite of a series, but also it’s simultaneously… not rare for a Black masc lesbian on television to end up in a world of pain. And few have seen pain like Jukebox. I spent most of this week’s Raising Kanan, which for the first time seemingly in forever met Jukebox with good news, holding my breath for the other shoe to drop. By the time I realized that the sun was finally going to shine on Juke’s face after all, it was basically time for the end credits to roll.

It turns out that Jukebox did not ruin her audition last week (a national call to join an up-and-coming girls’ group), despite her Uncle Lou not showing up with her music at the last minute. Of course Juke, well aware at this point of her bad luck, has already signed up for a medical examination to join the army as a way to get out of Queens. They keep returning to this plot as a last ditch effort for her, and I’m starting to get nervous its foreboding nature. But for now at least, we’re saved from it — because the same music manager who waived Jukebox off the stage last week, is at her front door.

Once Jukebox invites the manager inside, her dad, Marvin, has some questions. First of all, he doesn’t want Jukebox joining any group that won’t accept her for who she is. I love this character development of Marvin going from a fuck up of a father (and deeply homophobic) to being Juke’s greatest protector? It’s new on him, but the suit fits well. Anyway, the manager promises that she wants Jukebox for exactly the package she already comes in. Every member of the group will have a lane: a diva, a girl next door, and a tomboy. The tomboy? That’s our Juke.

Kanan finds out about his cousin’s success and adorably swoops in the next afternoon to treat her to a night out on the city (at B. Smith’s restaurant! PEAK 90s Black Bougie Excellence!!) using his own burgeoning drug money — though Jukebox doesn’t know about the drug money part quite yet. At first she turns Kanan down, after all it’s better not to count chickens before they hatch. But Kanan beams, he asks her: How rare is it for someone from where they grew up to be given a blessing like this? They are given so few opportunities to celebrate wins, and he is of her. Usually I’m no fan of Kanan’s, but his love for his cousin is so pure, it’s hard not to see their innocence in each other’s eyes. And on this point Kanan is right, in the brief time that we we’ve known her, Jukebox has survived: her girlfriend’s overdoes, brutal homophobic responses to her coming out from both of her parents, and the death of her mentor. She deserves this one good thing.

Ahem, one good thing might turn out to be two good things. When Juke shows up to practice to meet her group mates (according to their new manager, their name will be “Butta” — and again I must say, PEAK 90s!!), she is met with quite the surprise. Her new singing partners? The self-centered “diva” know-it-all from the bathroom on her audition day, along with the sweet, shy girl who shared a mint with her after she threw up from nerves in said bathroom.

For sure at least one of those girls is about to be Jukebox’s new love interest. I can’t wait to find out who.

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 715 articles for us.

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