Welcome to a bright sunny Friday (or maybe it’s raining where you are, but you are sunshine to US!) and a brand new Boobs on Your Tube! It was another heavy episode of Batwoman and it left Nic with some reflections on the kinds of battles that Black people are forced to face alone. On Legends of Tomorrow, everyone… became cartoons? Kayla described Plan B as a high stakes teen sex comedy with a queer plot twist, so you know it’s great. The Changing the Game documentary arrives at Hulu just in time — as anti-trans bills targeting student athletes continue to gain momentum, let’s let trans athletes speak for themselves. And you know what else? Here are the 15 stupidest ways queer women have died on television
We also had two major interviews this week, so here is:
- Mae Martin on “Feel Good,” Labels, and Getting Kicked Off Hinge
- Stephanie Beatriz and Daphne Rubin-Vega on “In the Heights” and Queer Latinas Finding Love in the Everyday
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Things are definitely starting to ramp up on The Chi: Dre’s trying to support Jada as she grapples with her cancer diagnosis but, so far, it’s meant lying to Nina about her whereabouts. Meanwhile, there’s a growing rift between Imani and her boyfriend, Trig, and he ends up sleeping on the couch because of it. With Trig’s attention focused on community policing (?!), I worry that Imani will have to fend for herself when Shaad confronts her after finding out she’s trans. — Natalie
+ We Are Lady Parts dropped last week on Peacock and I’m here to report that it’s every bit as good as everyone says it is. The comedy offers a window into the lives of five very different Muslim women — including Ayesha, a queer Muslimah — living in East London who are trying to make it as a punk band. After reporting on the dearth of Muslim representation on the big screen, this small screen representation could not feel more necessary. — Natalie
The Bold Type 503: “Rolling into the Future”
Written by Natalie
For a good portion of this episode, I remembered why we all fell in love with The Bold Type in the first place. The show is at its best when it centers the friendship between Kat, Sutton and Jane and we get to enjoy that a bit this week… they even walk into Scarlet together, just like the good ol’ days. Unfortunately, Kat’s not there to reclaim the job that she was unfairly ousted from, she’s here to talk to Adena about working together on a project to help Zuri and other previously incarcerated women.
(I guess we’re all pretending that that whole horrible biphobic Adena storyline from last season never happened.)
Of course, Adena sympathizes with Zuri’s plight — “some people can only see what scares them,” she notes — and agrees to do the photo shoot. But before they can establish the parameters of the shoot, a phone call interrupts Adena. The call, and those that follow, pull Adena’s attention away but Kat also takes note of Adena telling someone else that she loves them. When Zuri and some of her formerly incarcerated friends join them in the photo studio, Adena explains the idea behind the shoot. Zuri relishes the opportunity not just to showcase that they’re more than their inmate number but also to remind folks that this is a women’s issue as well. Zuri’s words spark a revelation in Kat who says, “I think I know the perfect place for this.”
I immediately think that Kat’s going to head upstairs to Scarlet to pitch the idea for the dotcom but, no… she means the Belle. Kat and Adena pitch the multimedia installation to Darby, the Belle’s manager, but she decides it’s not the right fit. Kat’s shocked and pushes the Belle to live up to its progressive reputation. But Darby worries that, given Zuri’s involvement, the installation might send the message that the Belle is part of the problem — Kat rightly points out that it is — and she has to protect the organization’s reputation.
Later, Kat fumes about the Belle’s hypocrisy and is determined to hold them accountable. Adena reminds her that the project was about helping Zuri and tries (unsuccessfully) to reign her ex in. Back at home, Kat laments Adena’s resignation; she misses Adena’s fighting spirit and wonders if her new girlfriend — the person on the other end of those phone calls — is a bad influence. Eventually recognizing her misstep, Kat apologizes for her earlier behavior but before she can explain, someone in Adena’s apartment starts speaking Farsi. Adena tries to keep her guest hidden but they pull the door open and reveal themselves: it’s not Adena’s new girlfriend, it’s her mother.
Adena’s mother, Shamsi, invites Kat to join her and Adena for tea and, though the meeting proves brief, it offers an incredible window into why Adena is the way she is. Shamsi carries the scars of a failed revolution and wants to save her daughter from that fate. Adena, on the other hand, wants to use her privilege to make the world a better place. The mother-daughter argument provokes an epiphany in Kat: she recognizes the need to choose her battles more wisely.
So, instead of plastering the Belle with poster-sized prints of Adena’s work, Kat projects the multimedia presentation on the Belle’s fascade. It’s amazing, gets Zuri a job offer and brings back together so many people’s OTP… but, at home, I’m thinkin, “oh, Kat… you about to lose yo job.”
Written by Natalie
With this year’s network upfronts not offering much in the way of showcasing any new apparent queer representation, it was the perfect time for Outfest to debut OutFronts, a digital festival that put all things LGBTQIA+ in television, front and center. The festival featured panels on some of our faves: RuPaul’s Drag Race, Motherland: Fort Salem and The L Word: Generation Q. But I especially want to call your attention to two of my favorite panels:
The CW’s LGBTQ Superheroes Panel: One of the benefits of these virtual panels is that the actor gets to be in their own space which, ideally, leads to them being more comfortable and being more thoughtful than if they were in front of a raucous crowd. I saw some of that in this panel as Javicia Leslie, Nicole Maines and Chyler Leigh talk about the pride and pitfalls of breaking new ground in DC Universe. The candor was surprising and endearing… just when I thought I couldn’t love these ladies more. Also? At one point, Chyler Leigh admits to trying to sneak in a kiss between Lena and Alex on Supergirl (AgentCorp, ftw!).
BET Presents: TWENTIES and More: Starting with her reviews of BET’s Boomerang reboot, Carmen’s talked a lot BET’s evolution: from a network too scared to say the word “homosexual” to a network finally integrating queerness into its portrayal of blackness. This panel, featuring Cierra “Shooter” Glaude and Brittany Inge, delves into that history and looks ahead to BET’s brighter and gayer future.
You can check out all of the Outfront panels (for free!) at outfestnow.com.
New Amsterdam 314: “Death Begins in Radiology”
Written by Natalie
A case of cosplay gone wrong gets rolled into emergency this week and Bloom issues a diagnosis before handing the case off to Dr. Reynolds. As Bloom’s making her way back to the ED, she spots Leyla in the hallway and her face immediately lights up. Still in a bit of shock, Leyla reveals that she’s been matched with a residency program… only, she didn’t match at New Amsterdam, she matched with a hospital in Spokane, Washington. Lauren tries to mask her hurt but it’s clear, even if Leyla’s too wrapped up in her news to see it.
As soon as Leyla goes off to call her mother, Bloom rushes to the office of New Amsterdam’s residency director, Dr. Henry Shelton, and chatises him for ignoring her recommendation of Leyla Shinwari. He tells her to get in line: doctors and board members have been calling him all day to complain about their faves not being selected. Shelton insists there’s no spots left but, once the door’s closed, let’s Bloom know that the Dean of Medicine might be open to creating an additional slot for the right price. Dismayed by the illegal — and potentially career ending — suggestion, Bloom angrily storms out.
Lauren locks herself in the supply closet where Leyla used to sleep and dissolves into a fit of rage and tears. And, yes, some of those tears are about Lauren — a person never sure she was worthy of love nor capable of giving it — potentially losing this relationship she’s built with Leyla, but there’s more to her pain than that. Everything about Leyla’s residency match echoes the root of Lauren’s addiction. Only this time it’s not Lauren absconding to Washington in the middle of the night… now, she’ll be the one left behind, like her sister, who continues to cycle in and out of rehab. Leyla leaving is a profound threat to Lauren’s sobriety and she knows it.
Later, Lauren and Leyla celebrate her residency match with a champagne picnic. Leyla admits feeling guilty for not seeing through her own excitement to recognize Lauren’s feelings. Leyla explains that she’s excited about the opportunity but not about the prospect of leaving Lauren. She pledges to make their relationship work because she loves her but before Lauren can respond, a call interrupts. Leyla silences the ringer but Lauren urges her to answer. It’s Dr. Shelton who offers the newly created resident’s slot in ED to Leyla. Lauren feigns surprise and, when asked about her involvement, she assures Leyla that this accomplishment is all hers.
At some point down the road, it seems likely that this secret will blow up Lauren’s career and relationship but, for now — as she hugs the woman she loves — it all seems worthwhile.
Top Chef: Portland 1811: “Blind Ambitions”
Written by Natalie
I’m a crier. I’m used to crying while watching television. Emotionally overwrought gay angst? I’m crying. An episode of This is Us? Guaranteed tears. One of the classic season finales of Grey’s Anatomy? I’m watching with wine and a box of tissues. But I was wholly unprepared for the sorcery of this episode of Top Chef which had me full ugly crying by its end. It was a lot.
The episode started out easily enough, a quickfire challenge borrowed from the French edition of the show: the blackbox challenge. The chefs team up and step, individually, into a box where they have to identify the components of a dish without seeing it. Then they return to the kitchen and try to recreate the dish. After 15 minutes, that chef is tagged out and their partner repeats the process, without being able to discuss anything with their teammate. After that time is up, the teams five minutes together to go in the box, identify the components in the light of day and try to fix their mistakes.
Because Bryon failed to complete the Last Chance Kitchen gauntlet — which, frankly, seems to defeat the entire purpose of Last Chance Kitchen — there are only five chefs left in the competition so former Top Chef winner Brooke Williamson joins the cheftestants to even things out. Brooke is a quickfire master so having her on your team is like having a cheat code… and the fact that she’s paired with Dawn — the chef who’s won the most challenges this season — it feels like this challenge is over before it even starts. Indeed, Brooke and Dawn succeed in offering the best reproduction of Gabriel Rucker’s grilled squab dish and get the win.
When the chefs return to the hotel, they’re greeted by Brooke and Kristen Kish — the finalists from Top Chef season 10 — and care packages from home. Maria reads a letter from her 12-year-old son and this is when the tears start flowing. Their care packages include a set of ingredients selected especially for them by their friends and family which they have to use to create a dish for the elimination challenge.
Maria’s package includes chicken wings, a weekly staple in her house, and she opts to make those with a miso and ginger marinade. It’s a bold choice — stepping outside her comfort zone with those flavors at this point in the competition — but the wings turn out great. Maria plates her wings alongside a bean sprout salad that she questions right up until the moment that time is called. The judges seize on the salad as the weak part of her dish and it earns her a spot in the bottom two.
In front of the judges, Maria second-guesses her choice to cook wings but Padma corrects her: it wasn’t the wings that were the problem, it was the salad. Maria blames the salad’s flaws on the watery bean sprouts but the judges remind her that she didn’t have to put them on the plate. Gail correctly surmises that Maria’s choice was driven by her emotional attachment to the ingredient her wife chose. Maria tears up as she recognizes her error… and so do I. Tom seizes on Maria not trusting her instincts — she knew the wings were great and the salad wasn’t! — and she admits that she’s intimidated by the competition.
“I get it. There’s a self-worth. I have the same thing and that’s why I got kicked off,” Kristen admits, her voice breaking as she talks. “But once you realize that you are also good enough to be here, and other places after this show, everything will come together for you.”
This is the moment that really got me: hearing one queer woman of color telling another that they belong in this space… it was a genuinely touching moment that had me full-on ugly crying. Representation matters, it really, really does.
The judges consider which of the bottom two made the biggest misstep — Maria’s salad or Jamie’s rice — and ultimately decides that it’s Maria’s time to pack her knives and go. But before Maria can say her goodbyes, Jamie interjects and volunteers to go home in her place. She wants to give Maria the second chance (and the confidence boost) that Last Chance Kitchen gave her. Maria begs the judges not to let Jamie quit and asks Jamie to let her walk away with grace. Jamie relents and Maria walks out proudly, owning her success as a top five chef on Top Chef, season 18.
Legacies 314: “This Feels a Little Cult-y”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week felt like some good ol’ classic Legacies shenanigans with my favorite trio off on their own adventure. Josie asks Hope for help finding Lizzie, but the truth is Josie wanted Hope to find the same inner peace it had seemed like Lizzie found at her witchy retreat. However, when they find Lizzie, it seems like less of a summer camp and more of a midsommar camp so they decide to save Lizzie instead.
Oh and while all this is going on, Finch is developing her own place in the story beyond “Josie’s werewolf crush turned girlfriend” as she challenges the wolf pack alpha and instead of taking the power for herself, uses her power to influence real change.
But back to the cult camp. While at first the leader claims to be an empath who shares her powerful calm with her pupils, soon the girls uncover that she’s actually using Triad-poisoned gloves to control the girls for some kind of ritual that she feels like she can finally do once she has a tribrid in her midsts. Eventually they have to use their anger as their strength to break free of the spell they’re under, which saves Lizzie from having to be a human sacrifice, but since the cult leader leaps into the pit to act as the human sacrifice, they realize they’re not out of the woods yet. Literally. Also they will have a hard time finding their way out of the woods because before she jumped to her death, she doused Hope and the twins with her psychedelic potion so they start hallucinating each other as pandas. And honestly it was nice to see them laugh together again, even if it was drug-induced.
The episode ends with a creature emerging from the pit that looks an awful lot like Darth Vader, though whether that’s the creature’s true form or a shared hallucination is a question for future us.
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