Here at Autostraddle, we try to keep our thirsting after straight women to a minimum. But since it’s Divorce Week, we felt like it was the right time to make an exception. After all, any married straight woman is just a divorce and fling away from being queer.
That’s why the Autostraddle TV Team has gathered to say which fictional straight women we think should divorce their husbands and marry us. Or, you know, at least have a life-changing affair.
C.J Cregg (The West Wing)
Obviously I love a writer and the goldfish bit was ace and I’m glad C.J. found someone who could match her witty banter (although on an Aaron Sorkin show, witty banter is a universally inborn trait, so it’s not that special) but I just am not sure that Danny Concannon would be a better husband for C.J Cregg than, say, Abby Bartlett or even Donna Moss; or perhaps, to venture out of world, Diane Lockhart or Kalinda Sharma or Sara Ramirez’s character in Madam Secretary. Or Kerri Russell in The Diplomat! C.J Cregg is just very tall, you know, and very smart, and she does great work at that podium and in the White House, and she wears great suits, and she needs some rest overall because I worry about her sleep schedule in general, but that aside, I mean, come on, this is a woman’s woman!
J.J. Jareau (Criminal Minds)
This was a hard question to answer, but not for the usual reasons roundtables are hard to answer. This one was hard to answer because most of the married TV characters I could think of that I loved and wanted to marry were either already divorced/widowed, married to women, and/or not canonically straight. Even some of the straight married women I thought of had decent enough relationships that I didn’t want to interfere. So instead of thinking through the countless women I’ve loved over the years, I decided to instead think of husbands I hate, and that did the trick.
Immediately I thought of my least favorite (non-abusive) husband in all of television, and more importantly his perfect wife: J.J. Jareau. Sure, in the canon universe of Criminal Minds, the truth is, J.J. should leave her husband for Emily; they are a genuinely ideal pairing and it makes no sense the show has never gone there. BUT if we’re opening this world to include me, Emily had her chance, it’s my turn now. I love J.J. so much; she’s smart and she’s tough and when she was the family liaison, she was always so cool-headed and comforting. I just know my general anxiety would go down by at least 50% if we were married, just because her presence is so calming to me. Also her husband, Detective Potato Head, is awful. He’s boring and has a bad fake accent and he’s intimidated by J.J.’s badassery and tries to keep her down from becoming the best she can be and it simply couldn’t be me. J.J. deserves better!
Iris West-Allen (The Flash)
Earlier this year I told Valerie that one of my TV goals for 2024 is to watch more gay shit, but joke’s on me I guess, because it was harder than I thought to come up with a female character who’s canonically straight AND who’s married AND who would also be better off married to me. After running through such iconic characters as Claire Huxtable, Harriett Winslow (because ACAB), dark-skinned Aunt Viv, and Maggie Pierce from like three Grey’s seasons ago, it hit me. Iris. West. Allen.
How did The Flash fail both Iris and Candice Patton, you ask?? Let’s first pretend that Iris and Barry weren’t essentially adopted siblings (they were); even then, their first wedding was interrupted by literal Nazis, and Oliver and Felicity were on their Kurt and Blaine shit and decided to make it a double wedding because audacity. I would NEVER have let that stand; Iris deserves the spotlight! Sure WestAllen eventually got a vow renewal, but imo, there’s no coming back from Nazis. Time and time again, Iris proved to be the smartest in the room but did anyone listen?! I bet if they had, Barry wouldn’t have broken the timeline fifty-leven times. Plus, remember when Iris was replaced by a doppelgänger and it took Barry forever to realize she wasn’t herself? Couldn’t be me, sir. Imagine being the emotional center of Team Flash, incredibly smart, AND having a face card that never declines?! Yet somehow you’re often reduced to just “Barry’s lightning rod”?! No ma’am. Iris, girl, in the magical universe I’ve created where I’m already friends with Ryan and Sophie over in Gotham, you and I could live a beautiful life filled with mutual respect, dance parties, and monthly queer brunches with the Supergirl and Batwoman crews. In the words of the great Dove Cameron, I can be a better boyfriend (husband) than him!
Athena Grant-Nash (9-1-1)
Athena Grant lost her first fiancé to gun violence and his death would haunt her for many years. She’d marry eventually — for 14 years to Michael — but they’d divorce when he came out as gay. It is understandable, after such a tumultuous relationship history, that she’d retreat to someone safe. It’s understandable that she’d seek someone who understood her commitment to public service and that romance would take a backseat to companionship. She found what she needed in that moment in Bobby Nash. But what should’ve been a path towards building a supportive ride or die friendship — similar to what Hen and Chimney have — became a marriage that has persisted, even in the complete absence of any romantic chemistry.
Case and point: early in 9-1-1‘s second season, a massive earthquake strikes Los Angeles and, of course, Athena and Bobby are called to respond. After their harrowing day, Bobby insists on seeing Athena and shows up outside her home. It’s almost romantic — the desperation in his voice as he asks Athena to step outside so he can see her — but then she comes outside and he just hugs her. A hug?! That lack of intimacy has been the hallmark of their relationship from the beginning and Athena just deserves so much more.
(That said, I almost prefer the lack of intimacy to the moments where they try. It always feels so forced, not like two people in love.)
Athena deserves someone who understands her, someone who will be the Cagney to her Lacey, but what she deserves, above all else, is an understanding that she can have those things and also (!!) have intimacy in her life. She doesn’t have to settle for milquetoast kisses, she deserves to experience true passion. She should have someone who worships her for the queen she is and who spends every possible moment letting her know how much she’s loved. And yes, she’s older, but she’s never stopped being smart and sexy and it’s time she had a partner who made her feel that way.
I humbly volunteer to do what Bobby Nash clearly cannot. Maybe we can break out those handcuffs again. Would I have that all-consuming chemistry with Athena Grant that you want from a great ‘ship? Maybe, maybe not…but I’m hard pressed to imagine it being any worse than what she’s stuck in now. Give that lady a divorce!
Marianne (Scenes from a Marriage)
Ingmar Bergman’s landmark 1973 series is arguably the masterpiece of divorce art. But during its final episode we learn Marianne has remarried to another man — even as she returns for another dalliance with ex-husband Johan. Instead of jumping back and forth between terrible men, has she considered the magical world of lesbianism? The worse-than-mediocre remake with Jessica Chastain (poorly) dabbled in bisexuality, but it’s the original leading lady who needed to be rescued by queerness.
Okay, fine, maybe I just want to marry Liv Ullman and, since Marianne and Johan are based on her and Bergman, this would be close. But I also think Marianne would be happier in a non-monogamous relationship. She could even hook up with Johan every once in a while if she really wanted to. But my guess? Once introduced to the world of queer non-monogamy, she wouldn’t have time for that jerk. (Sorry Ingmar.)
Tami Taylor (Friday Night Lights)
There was a different editor on our staff (I won’t name names) who said, “Oh I want to pick Tami Taylor, but her husband is one of the few men on television I actually liked” and to that I say — sorry to this man.
Honestly, I was never a Coach Taylor fan to begin with, which makes this particularly easy for me. Sure dude was a just fine mentor to the Dillon Panthers or my personal favorite, the East Dillon Lions. I won’t lie and say that I never shed a tear or two! But that is quite simply not the same as being the partner that his wife needs. And you might be thinking to yourself, okay but Coach Taylor famously learned and grew as the show evolved. He became what Tami’s equal. He even ends the show by moving to follow her career ambitions, after years of her following his! And you know what? I don’t care!
Tami Taylor put on those aviator sunglasses and I was like, girl you need me. She flipped her hair to the side and I was like, girl you need me. Her y’all drawl? Girl. You. Need. Me.
All I’m saying is if Tami Taylor just so happened to divorce Coach, she wouldn’t have to use up her one and precious life having to convince her partner that her career was important and worthwhile. She wouldn’t ever have to pull together a last minute “team dinner” for 30 teenage boys with stomachs the size of refrigerators after a long day of work and with less than 24 hours notice. We deserve more than to spend our time having to sell others (especially those that love us most!) on our inherent goodness and worthiness. We shouldn’t have to explain why we refuse to make ourselves smaller just so that others can feel big, not when that should already be a given.
Instead Tami Taylor could live out the rest of her mommi life in nothing less than the immaculate peace she deserves. Because she would have me.
What fictional married straight woman do you want to marry?
Divorce Week is a celebration of taking a life-changing step, of coming out the other side of devastating trauma and being all the better for it. It’s co-edited and curated by Nico Hall and Carmen Phillips. Remember, you may be divorced, but you’re not alone.