Boobs on Your Tube: Is “Stranger Things” Really Giving Us a 1980s Teen Lesbian Happy Ending?

If you’re anything like me (Heather), you’ve already watched The Owl House a third time waiting for the new mini-movie season to start, and, well, good news: Vallie has written a beautiful essay about all the things that make the show so special for queer weirdos. Another brilliant essay? Niko Stratis on how much She-Hulk owes to transness. Drew wrote another Slow Takes; this time about that bananas Netflix holiday movie 12 Dates of Christmas. Valerie Anne recapped another all-new Motherland: Fort Salem and reviewed the Cara Delevingne and Selena Gomez lip-smashing in Only Murders in the Building. And Carmen can’t but wonder: What in the hell happened to Valkyrie’s promised girlfriend in Thor: Love & Thunder?

Notes from the TV Team:

+ The WNBA All-Star game is this weekend! 1pm Sunday on ABC! — Heather

+ Natalie told me I was going to love this week’s Loot and she was right! Michaela Jaé Rodriguez Sofia is, of course, my all-time favorite kind of character: hard shell and gooey caramel center. And this week, her softer side gets to come out even more than usual at a spa day. It’s just so dang adorable. — Heather


Stranger Things Season Four, Part Two

Written by Carmen

In Stranger Things, Robin and Vickie — two queer white teens in the 1980s, with short hair, Vickie is a redhead and Robin is a brunette — stand next to each other while making Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches in a shelter. They are smiling and laughing, and the sunlight shines between them.

If Molly Ringwald’s Sweet Sixteen had actually been like this, maybe I would’ve watched.

Well my friends, Stranger Things 4 has come and went. Vecna was defeated (for now) and Hawkins is safe-ish (for now). It’s also looking like the Upside Down has come Right Side Up and the underworld might be meshing with the current world. But hey! Let’s leave that cliffhanger for Season Five where it belongs — right now I’m here to talk about all things gay with our favorite lesbian Robin and her favorite crush, Vickie.

I’m going to zoom around a little here because Stranger Things is always much more about the monsters than it is about any personal relationship (though I still maintain that the straight relationships on the show do seem to get the largest pie slice of screen time, even by this measurement. And it’s something I hope Stranger Things course corrects for Season Five, a little bit for Robin — but more than anything, for Will. Moving on!). Robin runs back into Vickie at the army surplus center while the Hawkins kids are buying guns to shoot up the telepathic demon of the Upside Down with while he’s in a meditative state torturing children. Just normal teen highjinx. You know.

Robin is devastated to see Vickie, who up to this point she thought was single and (hopefully, possibly, based on her frequent Fast Times at Ridgemont High rewatches) queer, fully making out with her boyfriend. Maya Hawke really sells Robin’s disappointment and pain, even if the show moves through it quickly to get back to the sci-fi adventure Scooby Doo shenanigans at hand.

Later, after Vecna is defeated, opening up a crater through the center of Hawkins that most think is an earthquake, and Hawkins has returned to somewhat normal — Robin runs into Vickie again, this time while both teens are volunteering to make PB&Js at the earthquake rescue shelter. Turns out that boyfriend? Home for Spring Break, hates that Hawkins is a hellmouth, hates Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Vickie promptly broke up with him. When I tell y’all that Robin’s nervous cute little face at the news could light a thousand suns!!!

So of course they flirt — well, Maya Hawke makes excellent use of her perfect genetic make up for close ups while Robin smiles at Vickie, who is talking a mile a minute. They share eyelash glances, Robin holds her breath, and maybe.. just maybe… there’s a happy ending for this teen lesbian in 1980s demon spawn Indiana after all.

(For now.)


For All Mankind 305: “Seven Minutes of Terror”

Written by Valerie Anne

For All Mankind President Ellen Wilson stands on a pulpit in blurry news footage

The lesbian character being in 90s live news footage quality while the straight characters are all in 2022 Apple TV+ HD feels like an apt metaphor.

Hello and welcome to my wee rant about For All Mankind. Here’s the thing: We’re halfway through the season already, and we still haven’t addressed Ellen being a closeted queer Republican president in the 90s. She even went back to the NASA base and she didn’t run into Pam while in town or anything. And like, yes, okay, sure, I know this show is about astronauts but how many Space Races do they expect me to care about if they’re not also going to give me the gay storyline I grew attached to?! Instead, this season, they’ve leaned back into the incredibly creepy Karen/Danny storyline I thought we were finally rid of?? Why???? At LEAST give me more Molly Cobb, show! Anyway, as much as I enjoy having a mild panic attack watching people get crushed to death in space, I wish Ellen wasn’t being pushed into the background of this show. (And I mean that literally. Most often, when we see her, she’s just on a television broadcast in the background of a scene.) I don’t know who would jump into a show partway through, but if someone did start with Season 3, they would have no idea Ellen is queer, and that bothers me. I was willing to give the show a few episodes to finish catching us up on all that happened in the time jump but, as I mentioned, we’re halfway through now and my patience is wearing thin. Danielle Poole is the only thing keeping me going at this point. Here’s hoping the back half of this season is a bit gayer.


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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 402 articles for us.

10 Comments

  1. 1. Goodness gracious, is that Anne Shirley? 2. At least according to Jodi Balfour’s insta, there will be meaningful engaygement at some point in the season. What really bothers me is they’ve totally skirted around how this alt-history has affected the Republican-evangelical devil’s bargain. We know the ERA passed, so presumably Phyllis Schafly got knee-capped, but what else? Is Ellen anti-abortion? Publically anti-gay?

    • She is (and she’s played by out queer actress Monica Raymund as well). You can find our coverage of the show here: Hightown. They’ve been shooting the third season down in Wilmington so, fingers crossed, we’ll have a return date soon.

      I’m encouraging everyone who fell in love with Imani Lewis on First Kill to catch up with Hightown…Imani’s great in that show too.

  2. Yes… I watched Owl House for just the third time…

    …this week.

    —-

    Not gay, but how did I miss that Melanie Scrofano (aka, Wynonna God Damn Earp) is on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds? I wonder if she named her phaser Peacemaker, too.

  3. I love to see Robin smile but I have to say…I’m holding out hope for Robin/Nancy endgame. I’m a sucker for a surprising slow burn. Also, Robin and Vickie are eerily similar…feels fleeting.

  4. Robin’s treatment left me cold this season. First they retconned much of her previously established personality in an attempt to very awkwardly and unsubtly code her as neurodiverse (and I’m not saying Robin isn’t ND, but the way they went about it this season was painful AF), allow other characters to regularly comment on how WEIRD and KLUTZY she is, reduce her to a third wheel to Steve/Nancy for much of the season (because apparently there’s only room for one type of male-female relationship on the screen, and of course it’ll be the heteronormative one), and then shoehorn in a “happy ending” by pairing her up with somebody essentially identical at the very end. Because obviously the only type of person who could possibly connect with Robin is her equally socially awkward twin, and OBVIOUSLY that’s the only personality type Robin herself could possibly be attracted to right now. The show had an opportunity to show positive queer representation. They had an opportunity for positive ND representation. Perhaps even in the same character, because there is often an overlap between the two. Instead they tried to cram too many stereotypes into one criminally underused queer female character and fucked up both in the process. But will probably be showered with praise all the same.

    And let’s not forget that the show’s other gay character, who after two seasons remains closeted even to the audience, has consistently had the least screen time of the main group each season, and for the most part suffers alone each season.

    I’m so mad rn.

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