A happy Friday to you, one again, our friends! It was a mostly chill week for queer TV and TV-related news, and that’s probably because the floodgates are opening next week and we’re gonna have queer TV coming out of our ears for the rest of the summer. However! We had some really rad things for you to read. First up, Drew’s long and lovely conversation with Autostraddle fave Jen Richards. And also Riese wrote about the sapphic storyline in Élite’s fourth season. It seemed like everyone was talking about Fear Street: 1994 this week, and so were with, with Kayla’s review.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ This week’s episode of All American featured a backdoor pilot for its forthcoming spinoff, All American: Homecoming. I was excited by the debut of the show’s non-binary character, Nathaniel (she/her), played by Rhoyle Ivy King. I look forward to learning more about her when All American: Homecoming premieres on the CW in 2022. — Natalie
+ grown-ish is back! Before the crew can return to Cal U for their senior year, they head to Mexico recharge and reconnect. You’d think that finally scoring a vacation away from their toddler would give Nomi reason to turn all the way up but, no…it turns out to be a completely uneventful trip. — Natalie
+ The reboot to one of my favorite shows, Leverage, has finally made its way to IMDBtv. AND!!! Thanks to the arrival of queer actress, Aleyse Shannon, the show turns canonically queer this season. — Natalie
The Republic of Sarah 104: “In Us We Trust”
Written by Natalie
The Republic of Sarah is the latest offering from the CW about a small town (formerly) in New Hampshire that declares its independence to save itself from a mining company willing to destroy the town to get to the coltan that’s buried beneath it. The declaration was the idea of the local high school history teacher, Sarah, so she’s nominated to lead the new republic and find a way to secure resources for a town that’s suddenly become its own country. Thankfully, Sarah’s not navigating this alone: she’s got her friends to lean on, including Amy “AJ” Johnson (Nia Holloway), one of the town’s police officers… who, between coaxing cats from trees, finds time to bed Alexis (Nicola Correia-Damude), the former mayor’s wife.
This week, the couple reconnects at choir practice: as AJ rehearses her solo, Alexis shoots heart-eyes in her direction, convinced that no one else can tell the difference between lesbian lust and love for the Lord. But when their post-rehearsal chat is interrupted, Alexis takes planning for their next tryst into her own hands: she vandalizes her own mailbox and goes to report it to the authorities. Of course, AJ is happy to take her — ahem — statement so they retire to her office for a midday romp. Then, as there getting dressed, this piece of dialogue happens:
AJ: Ah, that thing with your tongue…
Alexis: That thing with your fingers.
AJ: That thing with…
Both: The handcuffs.
While the moment itself is devoid of the intimacy it needs to make the scene really click, it also strikes me as some of the most explicit dialogue about sex I’ve heard on the CW. Good on you, Republic of Sarah. AJ and Alexis’ flirtation continues until a knock at the door sends them scurrying in opposite directions. AJ makes herself presentable enough to answer the door and a shirtless Alexis hides behind it. Thankfully, it’s just a delivery and the visitor disappears as soon as he arrives, but the damage has been done: Alexis is rattled and is convinced their relationship isn’t safe. Later, when she spots AJ at the local diner, Alexis ignores her entirely.
The couple’s paths cross again at the church: Alexis arrives just as Corrine and AJ are opening the choir cabinets so that everyone can get their sheet music. Sensing they need a moment to talk, Corrine — who’s not supposed to know but very clearly does — makes herself scarce. Still hurt by Alexis’ behavior at the diner, AJ chides Alexis for pretending like she doesn’t exist. Alexis admits that nearly being caught at the police station has her questioning whether everyone can see what’s really going on between them. When she saw AJ, she just froze. AJ acknowledges that what she and Alexis have has a limited shelf life but she doesn’t think it’s too much to ask that Alexis acknowledge her. Alexis doesn’t readily agree which tells AJ all she needs to know.
The next day, AJ shows up for work and Alexis is there, working as the department’s new receptionist. Alexis apologizes for what happened and offers AJ the assurances she was after. Their fight made Alexis realize how much AJ really means to her and the thought of losing that is scarier than any other possibility. She wants to spend more time with AJ and prove that she’s way more than just a warm body to her. AJ smiles and welcomes the new receptionist to the precinct.
After work, AJ meets up with Corrine at the diner and her friend quickly dispenses with the pleasantries: “So, how long have you been sleeping with Alexis Whitmore?”
Betty 204: “Sweet Tooth”
Written by Drew
Kirt’s cast is gone and so is her reluctance to fuck her friend’s girlfriend. Fed up with her gaggle of hopeless straight boys, Kirt leaves The Factory to go on a journey with Shelby. She’s been holding onto a map to the mythical Skate Church for years and she’s finally found the person she wants to discover it with.
Shelby’s brattiness and Kirt’s cluelessness make for a hot and funny pair. Whether they’re getting their hair stuck together with gum or going to a drive-thru Covid-era strip club, there’s a palpable chemistry that’s fun to watch. I like how the show doesn’t make a big deal out of its romantic pairings. People just float together and float apart, hook up and break up — it’s all very early 20s.
Speaking of break ups, Honeybear and Ash seem destined for one soon. Victoria has become a very present member of their relationship and Honeybear is having doubts about the whole thing. I wish more shows had throuple and polyamory storylines that didn’t end in immediate heartbreak, but this development feels true to Honeybear and Ash’s characters. They’re just at such different stages in their queerness and self-discovery. But Honeybear takes another — possibly misguided — step in her own journey, deciding to fuck the dude from the ferry.
While all of this queer chaos is going on, my favorite storyline of the season reaches something of a culmination as Camille gives up her brand deal after a shitty photo shoot. I love how we get to see the way our culture commodifies a skater girl aesthetic without wanting the truth of an actual skater “girl.” I’m not saying Camille isn’t a girl, but gender isn’t just about the umbrella label, and it’s clear she is not the type of girl these companies want her to be. Rachelle Vinberg co-wrote this episode and I hope we see more from her as a writer moving forward. There’s a messy truth to Camille’s arc — one that doesn’t need labels to resonate. At least for now.
Genera+ion 116: “V-Day”
Written by Drew
Nothing says chaos like Valentine’s Day. Except maybe a school dance. So it’s no surprise the first season of Genera+ion culminates at a V-Day dance. Or, rather, the after party.
Too cool for the rest of us, our cast of lovable teens quickly leave their gymnasium and go back to Riley’s. Drama quickly ensues. We don’t have time to get into all of it — my God Chester my love what are you doing — but let’s check in on our queer girls!
Lucia tells Riley that she likes her. She thinks they’re the same and if they’d both forget about Greta they’d realize they’re actually the compatible ones. Riley doesn’t really have a chance to respond because she is in full over-her-head-teen-party-host mode. Some kids wreck her mom’s play room and she goes in and finishes the job.
Crying and angry and confused, she’s met by Greta. They share a long, overdue hug. Greta apologizes, Riley apologizes, and then… Greta comes out as asexual! She says that while she can really like someone she doesn’t have interest in anything sexual. She says that she’s not sure how it could work but she didn’t stop liking Riley — she loves her. Riley says I love you too and they are cute and giggly.
And that’s all we get because we are interrupted by more chaos!! I’m excited to see where the show goes with the two of them and with Greta’s asexuality. I’m really happy this is where they’re going with her character, because of how rare it is to get ace characters and because it makes sense with Greta and the story told so far.
I hope we get a second season because this back half of episodes was remarkable and I love these crazy kids so much!
Motherland: Fort Salem 203: “A Tiffany”
Written by Valerie Anne
There’s something Going On with Raelle and on one hand I’m a little nervous (she touched the goo!!) because it’s making her speak in tongues, but on the other hand it seems to be protecting her, making her a viable candidate for the Unkillable Gay Squad. Also, War College seems to make her want to… I think the word they say is “handfast.” But essentially it’s their witchly duty to bear children, and Raelle tells the woman she is not interested in handfasting or in men and if she wants to have babies she’ll find a way someday. The whole handfasting thing is an extra layer of yuck to this whole terrible system of auto-drafting witches to a magical army. I just want our gals to break free of this industrial complex and start their own coven.
Meanwhile, Scylla is still in cahoots with Anacostia and I wish I could tell you I wasn’t rooting for an enemies-to-lovers track with them but alas, I am trash. Speaking of trash, we have two canon queer main characters on this show and it’s all I can do to not scream about Tally’s Sapphic energy. I don’t know exactly what it is but Tally just gives me queer vibes! I don’t know if it’s the close and soft way she talks to her friends or her big, emotional eyes or what, but I found myself accidentally shipping her and Raelle this week. Also apparently I will ship M with whoever is sparring with them at any given moment. Anyway have I mentioned I’m trash? I am trash!
In the Dark 303: “Somewhere Over the Border”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week, with Jess nowhere to be found, Murphy wanders away from their meeting point and ends up befriending a 16 year old closeted gay teen boy who starts to take her on a road trip to Felix but ultimately bails on her, leaving her stranded at an abandoned playground on the side of the road. While she’s there, she falls asleep and is woken up by Jess, who says she found her from the tracker in the stuffed bear she’s carrying. I knew it was too convenient, but couldn’t figure out if it was bad writing or a dream until Jess yelled at her for falling asleep while Murphy thought Jess was in danger. That wasn’t quite the Jess we know; she would have been more likely to yell at Murphy for falling asleep while MURPHY was in danger. And sure enough, after a fight that proves that despite outward appearances, Murphy does actually care a lot about Jess, Murphy wakes up, still alone. And our girl Jess? Still very much kidnapped. Hate to see it.