The episode opens with Stef and Lena chatting about dinner in the Great Lesbian Kitchen. Stef looks like she could use a shower while Lena looks fresh in her cute little striped shirt and I am distracted as I wonder: 1) Would I look cute in that shirt? 2) If I stand up and lean in, can I see down Lena’s shirt? What? She leans on tables a lot and it’s become a game I play to entertain myself.
The kids enter at various points (except for Jude who is absent this episode) – Marianna in short shorts, Callie in a shirt that screams “Flashdance with Owls!”, Jesus in a tank top so we see his bulging boy biceps and Brandon looking like he’s going to a chess match. I then realize that Lena’s shirt is a pajama top. No wonder I like it – it’s 3 p.m. and I’m still in my pajama shorts.
Jesus wants to know what they are having for dinner because he wants to impress Lexi’s parents and Stef gives a fancy answer in a faux British accent before exclaiming, “Mama’s making halibut!” Halibut! The other other white meat. Then, Stef says, “We’ll do our best to assure them we’re not running a teen brothel.” Marianna complains that they never had Lexi’s parents over when they were friends and I’m glad she spoke up because, for a minute, the world was revolving around someone other than her. Jesus mentions that he was invited to go to Jesus Camp and Stef worries the Christians will say mean things about his family and I understand but, Stef! There will be Christian Frisbee!
Callie and Wyatt are hanging out in an empty house and I don’t trust that this is his house after the Beach House Breaking and Entering Date and neither does Callie because she asks him if it’s really his house. He then leads her upstairs to prove it to her.
Digression 1: He leaves the door open and there is not even a screen door so the house is just wide open. Who does that? Bugs or weird neighbors could get in! I may be sensitive to open doors since my new summer hobby is yelling “Shut the door before the bugs or burglars get in!” I don’t really say the bugs and burglars part because my daughter has a fear of spiders and my son has a fear of burglars. True story.
Wyatt and Callie go upstairs and he shows her a mural in his closet that he drew over the years. We are supposed to be impressed but, as a mom, I couldn’t help but think, “How many coats of paint will it take to cover that thing!” But Callie doesn’t have to worry about priming the walls so she likes it. Wyatt wants to define their relationship and Callie obviously doesn’t want to talk about it and Wyatt it’s stilted and awkward and then Wyatt invites Callie to come to his foreclosure party.
We see a close up of Piano Fingers and it’s Brandon working on a song for an audition. Lena watches and tells Brandon they’ll be proud of him no matter what and Brandon returns to the piano and plays the song again under the watchful eye of an uneaten bagel sitting on top of his keyboard.
Digression2: We don’t let the kids have food in their rooms but Lena didn’t seem to care about the bagel in the bedroom without a plate. We are sticklers about this since we discovered our daughter was hiding an onion in her room.
Lena leaves Brandon to serenade his bagel and runs into Marianna who says, “Garrett invited me to lunch.” and I assume he invited her to Denny’s for a Grand Poetry Slam but nope. They are heading to Paco’s.
Callie goes to a support group for foster kids. Not a group for the Fosters’ kids because that would obviously take place in the Great Lesbian Kitchen and not in this dingy church basement. While the other kids bare their souls, Callie bares her teeth. Not really, she just plays with her iPhone. A girl named Sarah talks about being happy in her home even if it is temporary and Callie shuts off her phone and listens and I think, “She can relate because she is happy in her temporary home!” and then Callie invites the girl out for coffee after group to talk about life and my gut says this is an unsettling development but I ignore my gut and stuff it with tortilla chips.
Marianna goes to Paco’s and sits down in a booth and she’s meeting her birth mother, Ana! Marianna tells Ana that she doesn’t have any more money and Ana seems offended. Really, Ana? You’ve had one meeting with your daughter and you asked her for a big chunk of change – you don’t get to be hurt. Ana asks about friends and Marianna tells her that her best friend Lexi betrayed her by dating Jesus. I still don’t understand why this is such a big deal. Ana says that she missed Marianna’s birthday so she bought her a gift. Marianna looks shy and hopeful and I’m worried about what’s in the bag. It turns out to be a bear in a tiara which is sweet and much better than a dead squirrel. Not that Ana would give her a dead squirrel but that’s my go to thing when thinking of weird things in bags.
Digression 3: I thought the bear was sweet but my cynical friend, Deborah, was suspicious of the bear. She thinks there is a nannycam or drugs in the bear and I think it’s probably filled with love and regret and remorse.
Brandon is pacing on the stoop of the Charming Craftsman and we learn that Mike was supposed to pick him up 20 minutes ago.
Stef goes to visit her dad and takes groceries and they have an in-depth discussion of TV dinners. Stef has nightmares about frozen peas and Salisbury steak. I have nightmares about driving off a cliff but Salisbury steak is bad too. Stef mentions Jesus might be going to church camp and Dad of Stef likes that idea and Stef says, “Please, Dad. You know we don’t do church because we are godless lesbians.” She says everything but the godless lesbians part. He says he never understood why she quit church and she says she quit because he sent her to talk to a youth minister after catching her cuddling with a girl on the couch. Then, he tells her she had Mike and Brandon and “You had everything and you made the choice to be gay.” Stef tears up a little but stays calm and talks about how much she adores Lena and their family and says, “At the end of the day, who I love shouldn’t be an issue for you or anyone else. I made a choice to be happy.”
Digression 4: This scene made me tense so I thought I’d offer some levity. A few days after I came out to my mom, we were standing in her Not A Lesbian Kitchen and she leaned up against the counter, stared at me and said, “What was it, Vik? Was I too butch for you?” Yes, mom. Your El Camino made me gay.
Mike pulls up to the Charming Craftsman in his white mustang. White horse! Mike is the hero! He apologizes to Brandon for being late and says he fell asleep and Brandon says it’s the middle of the day and we all know that means Mike is an unemployed college student or he’s been drinking.
Callie and Support Group Sarah are sitting on a picnic table and Callie asks Sarah about her foster family and she’s a bit cold as she questions Sarah and I know I was wrong to dismiss my gut feeling before – Callie has an agenda. Sarah talks about her foster dad and foster brother enjoying golf and we can all sigh in relief that the straight family got the golf hobby. Callie takes a picture of Sarah which is weird and Sarah tells a story about her foster brother getting mad and breaking a golf club and she says it like it’s endearing and I don’t understand these girls. Eye boogers and golf clubs broken in anger are not adorable. Callie says something like “Liam did that?” and Sarah says, “I never said his name was Liam.” Run Sarah!
Later, at the Charming Craftsman, Callie and Marianna are hanging out and Marianna looks through the pictures on Callie’s phone. She sees a picture of Wyatt and describes him as “messy sexy” while I would describe him as a “modern day bad boy Leif Garrett.” I know – you are all too young to know Leif Garrett but look him up.
Digression 5: I didn’t know I was gay in high school but I knew that I wasn’t into boys. Despite that, I pulled out Leif Garrett from Tiger Beat and hung his picture in my locker. Even when I didn’t know I was passing, I was passing.
Marianna wants to know if Callie is going out with Wyatt and she says he is having a party and Marianna is all “YAY LET’S PARTY WITH MESSY SEXY!” and Callie is all “BUT JUVEY!” but Callie relents and agrees to go.
Stef zips up Lena’s dress while sighing and Lena says, “It’s just a dinner party babe.” Stef says, “It’s not dinner, it’s my dad.” They finish getting dressed and Stef says, “I’m telling you this. I will not be judged in my own house.” This makes me think two things: 1) I like stern Stef and 2) She is going to be judged in her own house.
Someone’s in the kitchen with Lena. No, it’s not Dinah – it’s Stef! Callie and Marianna come in and Stef’s all, “Mama’s cooking halibut!” Again with the halibut.
We could start a drinking game just for the halibut.
Marianna and Callie say they are going to Wyatt’s and Stef says, “The hair model? Oh, we like him.” I think Stef read my last recap. Stef asks if his parents are going to be home and Marianna implies that they are without explicitly stating that they are which means she didn’t really lie and I make note of this for future interrogations of my own children.
Brandon is waiting to go into his audition and Mike apologizes for making him late and Brandon gives Mike mean looks and then Brandon is called in to audition. He begins to play and messes up. He starts again and messes up again. Let’s all blame Mike.
Callie and Marianna show up at Wyatt’s Foreclosure Party to find people drinking and painting the walls and it’s smoky and loud which is TV drama code for “This will not end well.” Wyatt greets Callie and offers her spray paint or poster paint because the entertainment options include graffiti or potato prints. Callie asks him what he’s trying to accomplish and points out that people are destroying the house he’s lived in his whole life. Sure Callie. Now you want to talk about feelings? Wyatt gets mad and stomps away and chugs an entire solo cup of something alcoholic. I’m guessing Kool-Aid and cheap vodka because this doesn’t seem like a Pinot kind of scene.
Meanwhile, Marianna is catching up with Kelsey. You remember Kelsey? The Skittle addict? She is fresh out of rehab and drinking beer because she learned a lot about chemical use and abuse while she was away.
We leave the adolescents to make poor life choices and head to the Dining Room of Discomfort where Lexi’s mom, Sonja, says, “When Lexi asked for our permission to date Jesus, you can imagine our hesitation.” Stef and I suspect the judging is about to begin but it turns out that Sonja just has general dating concerns. Lena suggests rules about curfews and closed doors and Sonja suggests supervised visits and then there is a knock at the door.
A plot device.
Enter Stef’s dad, Frank, who says, “I didn’t realize you had company and thought this scene needed drama for drama’s sake! Did someone say halibut?” Lena has obviously forgotten that Stef is upset with her dad because she invites him to join them. I am very disappointed in Lena’s ability to read Stef and more disappointed that Frank can’t read the situation and stays. Somebody pass Stef another bottle of wine.
Mike finds Brandon after his audition and asks how it went and Brandon says, “You were late and you stink of booze!” I know we don’t have smell-o-vision or anything but I thought Mike actually looked like he smelled of booze. Brandon explains that he messed up and Mike gets his white Mustang to drive right into the audition room so he can save the day!
Back at the Foreclosure Party, Marianna tells Kelsey that Lexi and Jesus are dating and that Lexi’s parents are having dinner at her house. Kelsey wonders if they are talking about the morning after pill. Marianna is stunned and Kelsey explains that she is the go to gal for pills but she couldn’t help with that one so they went to Lena and Stef. Marianna begins to drink the Kool-Aid.
Back at the Dining Room of Discomfort, Frank says, “So, Jesus, tell me about this camp.” I hate this conversation before it begins and wish I had a solo cup of vodka. Stef says they aren’t sure they want him to go to camp. Sonja explains that it’s going to be fun because of the Christian Frisbee and Stef says they have a difference in core values and I want Stef to stop talking. She explains that she doesn’t want Jesus to hear anything about how people think his mothers’ relationship is wrong. Sonja shakes her head and says, “No, no, no. We totally support this family.” Frank says, “You do?” and I say, “Shut up Frank!” Ernie says, “Of course we do. What’s more Christian than family?”
Digression 6: This is a great message. It is and the scene was contrived. The writers were trying too hard to drive home a message and my head hurts from being hit with it.
At the Foreclosure Party, everyone is drunk but Callie. There is a Close Encounters of the Red Solo Cup Kind situation going on in the living room as someone has built a giant tower of them and then drunk guys barrel through them while Callie captures it all for Instagram. Something gets broken and Wyatt is all “BREAK EVERYTHING BURN THIS PLACE DOWN RAWR!” He goes upstairs and Callie finds him destroying his old bedroom with a crowbar. He breaks a table that wasn’t there earlier in the day and then bashing the ceiling light. What did that ceiling light ever do to you, Wyatt Hair Model Leif Garrett? Wyatt’s having feelings which makes Callie have feelings but I have no feelings at all because the actor who plays Wyatt is so bad that it’s completely unbelievable. Or I am dead inside. Reader’s choice.
Callie then delivers what is supposed to be the ultimate in emotionally manipulative monologues, “It’s just a house. It’s not you or your family or your childhood. It’s just a house.” Callie sells the scene but Wyatt is writhing around in her lap and overacting to the point that I had to turn away. Wyatt then pries part of his mural out of the closet and suggests they leave. Callie looks for Marianna but finds Talya instead. This is a house of horrors!
Back at the audition, the uptight teacher tells Brandon he’s lucky to have such a “relentless father.” Are we supposed to think highly of Mike now? He got drunk, fell asleep, made Brandon late for his audition and then bullied the teacher into giving Brandon a second chance. It’s gross. How’s that for intelligent commentary? Brandon doesn’t get the scholarship but the teacher agrees to take him on at $150 per hour, 2 hours per week.
Speaking of yucky guys, Frank is still yapping about the church and it’s view of The Gays and he tells Sonja and Ernie that the church is not in favor of same sex marriage because devout Catholics like the Riveras have no clue as to what the church says on the matter. Sonja says, “Well, we are.” Thank you, Sonja. Now, can we all agree that Frank is not dinner party material? Finally, Jesus speaks up and says, “Seriously moms, have some faith in me.” I’m not dead inside because this gave me feelings.
Digression 7: My son recently asked, “When I get to high school and meet a girl I like, do you think having two moms could hurt my chances with her?” I know how Stef feels and we have to let our kids go out into the real world and face bigotry on their own and hope we’ve given them what they need to do it.
At Wyatt’s House of Chaos, Callie waits for Marianna to come out of the bathroom and snaps pictures of people drinking and painting and all I can think is, “I hope those pictures aren’t going to a shared photostream.”
Digression 8: Photostream can be dangerous. I know because Luisa was in Africa and texted me asking, “Why is our photostream filled with pictures of your hair and the cat?” I’m wild.
Callie continues to snap pictures and a buff guy in a gauzy white shirt enters the frame and Callie says, “Liam.” This must be the only party in San Diego. Maybe Callie will wake up and say, “But it wasn’t a dream. It was a place! And you, and you, and you, and you were there!” Sarah the foster kid told Liam that Callie was asking about him and he says, “You miss me?” in a way that tells us that Liam is not a nice young man. Callie starts to walk away and Liam grabs her by the arm and tells her to stop asking questions and stay away from Sarah. Wyatt and Marianna join Callie and they head out. The way Callie leads Marianna down the stairs is so gentle and sweet. The non-verbals were perfect. Callie sees Talya dancing drunkenly with guys and asks Talya to walk home with them but Talya says she’ll be fine and I have a bad feeling that that she won’t be.
Back at the Charming Craftsman, Frank is finally leaving and says, “That halibut was great.” Everybody drink for the halibut. Frank points out that Stef never asks him to dinner and she tells him he’s welcome anytime as long as he calls. I don’t want him to come to dinner ever again as long as I live or Stef lives or the show lives. He apologizes to Stef for the youth minister thing and driving a wedge between her and God. He leaves and Stef says nothing. I care more about the wedge between him and her than her and God. Lena comes outside and asks if Stef’s okay and Stef tells her that Frank apologized. Then, Stef says, “I think it’s fine that Jesus goes to the Jesus camp. They named it after him, right?” Even Stef can’t resist a Jesus joke.
Mike and Brandon are having burgers in a sports bar because this episode was a little short on gender stereotyping. Brandon thinks that $1200 per month for piano lessons is too much but Mike still has his white Mustang so he is sure he can pay for it. He’ll pick up extra shifts and get a second job working security. He ends his pitch with, “Let me be the hero for once.” I hate it. I can’t even hate it articulately. Just ugh. Hate.
Callie and Marianna arrive home and Lexi and her parents are still there. Callie gives Marianna a piece of gum and says, “Chew and maintain.” and I find their interaction kind of cute because they are not my drunken minors. The dinner party people hear them come in and ask them to say “hello” so they say “hi” and then Callie says it’s time for bed but Sonja hasn’t had enough drama for one night and wants Marianna to join them. Marianna stumbles a little and Stef is all, “Oh hell no! This night just won’t end!” Sonja mentions that Jesus is going to camp and invites Marianna and she says, “What? You’re gonna let them spend the night together when you know they’re having sex.” Worst. Dinner Party. Ever.
The Riveras leave and will likely never return to the House of the Rising Sun. See what happens when you make teen brothel jokes, Stef? Stef and Lena try to talk to Marianna but she is drunk and cuddling with her teddy bear. They head to their room and Lena says, “We should have made her take the nose ring out.” Yeah, Lena. Studies have shown that nose rings are the leading cause of underage drinking. Callie enters and I am ready to judge the hell out of whatever Stef and Lena say to her. Lena asks whose idea it was to go to the party and Callie squirms and Stef asks if it was Marianna’s and Callie confirms that it was. They thank Callie for not drinking and getting Marianna home safely and I want to hug them all because Callie is earning their trust and they are earning mine.
Callie goes to her room and places some ibuprofen and water on Marianna’s nightstand. She crawls into bed and gets an Instagram notification. Liam posted an Instagram pic and tagged her. It’s a picture of a tree and he says, “Isn’t that the tree outside your window?” The plot thickens.
Overall impression: It was contrived and there were too many dramatic layers.
Favorite line: “We’ll do our best to assure them we’re not running a teen brothel.”
Really? Did they have to do that?: I’ve had enough of Wyatt.
Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. We will never put our site behind a paywall because we know how important it is to keep Autostraddle free. But that means we rely on the support of our A+ Members. Still, 99.9% of our readers are not members. A+ membership starts at just $4/month. If you’re able to, will you join A+ and keep Autostraddle here and working for everyone?