I’ll be honest, if I had known the concept of Almost Family before I watched the pilot, I might have been less keen to check it out. But the fact is, I watched it at PaleyFest NYC where you sit in a room and watch a ton of pilots all at once, so all I knew about Almost Family was what the subway posters told me: that Brittany Snow was in it.
The squicky concept is this: a man runs a fertility clinic and decided to use his own sperm to increase his success rate. But not unlike Jane the Virgin, if you can overlook the very awful circumstances that set up the show (that the show itself does not deny are horrible circumstances; in fact, the pilot ends with the man being charged with sexual assault, as he should be) you’ll find a heartfelt connection between a few lost souls for whom this discovery is the straw on the overburdened back of their messy lives. The pilot is full of drama and humor and Brittany Snow’s eyes, and also, much to my delight, Gay Content.
While the show itself is mostly about Julia (Brittany Snow, and whose dad is the perpetrator of the crimes), it’s also about a retired Olympic gymnast named Roxy (Emily Osment) and an attorney and frenemy of Julia’s, Edie (Megalyn Echikunwoke) who I believe will be most of interest to you, gentlereaders.
When we first meet Edie, she’s feeling very out of her element in some kind of tantric yoga/sex therapy situation with her husband, who feels like they’ve lost their spark. She tries to reassure him that everything is fine, but we get a little glimpse into what might be going on with her when she gets to work and sees Amanda Doherty and immediately gets flustered and worked up.
Edie and Amanda end up getting lunch together under the guise of shop talk, but Amanda soon starts flirting and asking if they’re on the “same team.” Edie stresses a bit and assures Amanda she got the wrong idea (which Amanda is respectful of and even though just the way she looks Edie makes it seem like she’s about to swallow her whole, she backs down when Amanda says she’s married) but Edie will later describe this moment as a thread being pulled at; feelings she thought she was keeping under wraps are starting to be unraveled.
In fact, later, when her husband casually mentions something about a team, Amanda snaps WHAT TEAM DO YOU THINK I’M ON?! and it’s clear there’s something (or someone) she can’t quite get off her mind. Edie doesn’t even make it until the end of the episode before these newfound urges take over and she meets up with Amanda again just to plant one on her.
I love that Edie’s confusion isn’t going to be stretched out over the course of the entire season, and based on the previews for upcoming episodes, I think we’re about to go on a JOURNEY with Edie and Amanda. And I think we’re going to love it. Normally I’d feel a little weirder about a woman cheating on a man with another woman, because of the optics, but it seems like Edie’s husband isn’t really all in on the relationship either and is still harboring feelings for Julia, so maybe they’ll address that they were just friends who got too comfortable and avoid the ‘bisexual cheater’ trope. I personally have an extra layer of loving it already because I feel like Victoria Cartagena was always destined to give us a queer character to root for but Renee Montoya’s time on Gotham was cut devastatingly short, so this feels right in my bones.
Overall, I think this show is going to be largely about the friendships between Edie, Julia, and Roxy, which I love. They’ve all been victimized by one man’s crime, and that brought them together, but the fact is, they needed each other either way. They were all a bit untethered, and they all needed a hand to hold onto. And now, perhaps, they’ve found one or two.
I think the show, so far, is doing a great job of villainizing Julia’s father. He displays classic abusive behavior when talking to her — telling her she’s special, convincing her to help him cover up his crimes by telling her that HER life will be ruined too if he goes down for this, etc – and I can only hope they won’t, at any point, try to redeem him. I hope Amanda only fights that much harder to take him down when she learns Edie and her mom are victims of this man’s crime, too. I hope they keep zooming in on Brittany Snow’s eyes and letting Emily Osment sing. And I hope they get as gay as it seems like they’re going to get.