It’s Frigay! And you know what that means! Boobs on Your Tube!
Ummm, so RuPaul really made Drew mad this week on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the results are a hilarious and smart recap for all to enjoy. It’s Halloween in purgatory on Wynonna Earp! Sophie’s arms had something to SAY on Batwoman, and we’re listening! Forever member of Team #LoveIsALie Natalie positively gushed about how romantic boundaries can be on Good Trouble. On Riverdale, Cheryl Blossom outdoes herself by throwing a vengeful key party — which honestly, is the kind of gay drama we’re here for. Stef watched Marriage or Mortgage — which is maybe a reality show about crime girlfriends? Drew declared Genera+ion a gay teen show that reminded her of secretly watching The OC in her own tween youth (and you know what? That’s good enough for us! More on Genera+ion below). She also wrote a stunning essay about gay age gap tropes in film and High Art. Over in podcast-landia, “To L and Back” is already up to episode 604 of The OG L Word, which means the END end looms close!
Our ever intrepid reporter Riese rounded up EVERYTHING we know so far about The L Word: Generation Q Season 2. And Natalie announced the brackets of March Madness, voting starts THIS MONDAY! So get your predictions in and get ready!!
Notes from the TV Team:
+ I feel like we’re slowly inching towards a point where Black Lightning gets more than a short blurb again? Anissa has promised to finally (FINALLY!) tell her parents about her secret wedding to Grace. And for her part, Grace connects with new!Jenn about being a shape shifter and what that feels like. Chantal Thuy is so good and patient in this role, and I’m just itching for this show to give her something good to do with it. When Black Lightning returns in April, Anissa and Grace will be on their honeymoon, so maybe I’ll get my wish. — Carmen
All Rise 210: “Georgia”
Written by Natalie
During Lola Carmichael’s maternity leave, All Rise is turning its attention to the people surrounding her and this week, it’s Judge Lisa Brenner’s turn. It’s been a busy time for the judge. She’s managing the courthouse through the pandemic, with too many cases, budget cuts and too few judges. In her rare free moments (and with the help of her son’s ex-girlfriend), she’s scrolling through the dating apps, hoping to meet someone new. It’s so rare that we see the experience of women — much less queer women — dating while older so I’ve loved the bits we’ve seen of Brenner’s pursuit of love… even if it hasn’t been successful so far.
But, as luck would have it, a breeze sweeps by as she’s exiting her dry cleaners, spilling the contents of her purse on the sidewalk and as Lisa bends down to collect her things, a beautiful stranger stops to lend a hand. “It’s a meet cute!” I shout gleefully at my television. They flirt over their masks but when a call interrupts their chance meeting, the stranger disappears… much to Lisa’s chagrin.
Later, Judges Benner and Laski (AKA Dr. Romano from ER) are arguing about the anti-bias seminar which they begrudgingly have to attend when the seminar’s instructor walks in… and (surprise!) it’s the beautiful stranger. Lisa doesn’t recognize her right away — “and here I thought I made a bigger impression,” Professor Georgia Jennings (it’s Root! AKA Amy Acker) flirts — but when Georgia puts her mask back on, it clicks. Oblivious, Laski interjects and notes that Benner’s docket is full so she won’t be attending the seminar but he’s looking very forward to it. He even puts on some cologne for the occasion.
Benner adjusts her schedule — she’s a bit more amenable to a continuance in her case now — to slip into the training seminar. She’s there long enough for some of Professor Jennings’ teachings about implicit bias and the faultiness of eyewitness testimony to impact how she views her shoplifting case. During a lunch break, she heads to the breakroom in search of some aspirin and she interrupts Georgia and Laski’s one-on-one session. It looks like flirting — and it is, at least from Laski — so Lisa retreats back to her courtroom.
Later when she’s supposed to be meeting with Georgia, Lisa hides out in the stairwell, embarrassed that she might’ve misread Georgia’s interest. She relents and has a professional one-on-one session with Georgia but when they go to say good-bye, Georgia clears up the mystery: She really wants Lisa to call her. The celebratory dance Lisa does when the elevator door closes is adorable and totally relatable: the gaydar still works!
Lisa does call Georgia, twice: once to get her professional advice, then again to talk about her case’s resolution. The successful conclusion calls for a celebration, Georgia suggests, and the couple have their first date!
Genera+ion 104: “Pussy Power” and 105: “Gays and Confused”
Written by Drew
The gay teens are being gay on the gay teen show!! Two new episodes of Genera+ion are here and they’re everything I hoped for after the fun but uneven first three. Justice Smith continues to charm as angsty Chester and Nathan’s post-coming out is deeply resonate — even if we spend a bit too much time with his homophobic mom.
But it’s this week’s second episode that’s a real treat, as the show leaves behind narrative tricks to spend a day with Greta, Riley, and Chester. School has been canceled due to wildfires and the kids decide to enjoy this Southern California version of a snow day.
Riley selects Chester as her Ferris Bueller and her ride to replace her mom’s orchid. He has a cool car and his energy screams Wildfire Day. Her instinct pays off as Chester teaches her to drive using a clit metaphor. At first I was annoyed with the gender essentialism of Riley’s surprise at Chester’s clit metaphor, but then we learn that Riley isn’t the seasoned queer her outfits may imply. She’s actually never hooked up with a girl.
I still think the show could’ve been clearer with the language here and I think Chester would have called out Riley’s binary thinking a bit more specifically. But I’ll let it slide since Riley is a baby queer and to Chester, a new friend.
They then pick up something far more exciting than an orchid — Greta. Haley Sanchez is playing Greta so well, finding nuance in the shy and awkward. She feels authentically uncomfortable without that being all that defines her. Greta may not be confident, but there’s a confidence hiding underneath. Or if not a confidence, enough desire to make up for it.
Greta takes them to a place where she volunteers. She shows off her basketball skills — gay — and takes them on the roof to look at the smoky views. Then they go back to Greta’s aunt’s place to have dinner, giving us the opportunity to spend more time with Ana who is a total delight. (Ana is played by Nava Mau and I said this in my recap but you should watch her short!) It’s especially fun to watch Ana grill Riley about her intentions as Greta desperately tries to rush out of the bathroom and stop the embarrassment.
The day ends back at Riley’s house for a sleepover. Riley takes pictures of Chester and Greta in her gay uncle’s clothes. Greta is wearing a tux and top hat and it’s incredible. Lying on Riley’s bed, Greta tells Riley she doesn’t usually like having her picture taken but she liked it with Riley. Chester, sensing the vibe, excuses himself to the floor.
Chester sings a lullaby of Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl” as Greta inhales Riley’s presence in dreamy quick cuts. “I saw you,” Riley says. “I saw you,” Greta replies. Greta moves in closer and lets her head rest on Riley’s. Both girls smile as they slip into their dreams.
Charmed 306: “Private Enemy No. 1”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week on Charmed, we have the return of the endlessly delightful Abigael, who reaches out to Mel for help while relentlessly flirting with her. Somehow, Mel is not wooed by her, despite Abi’s effortless charm, but does agree to help her, which is how they learn that the monster that has been tormenting Abigael in the night… is, well, Abigael.
Perhaps one of the reasons Mel is so easily able to brush off the sensual advances of Abigael despite having Poppy Drayton’s face is because she’s currently dating the adorable Ruby, who is being very patient and supportive while Mel tries to find a cure to her witch allergy. Ruby is willing to work to make a social distance, non-physical relationship work, but Mel feels guilty, like she’s trapped Ruby into a more difficult scenario than she signed on for. Between a coworker flirting with Ruby via muffins the guilt warps and transforms into jealousy, as guilt is wont to do, and when Ruby comes over to discuss and hears Abigael’s sultry voice floating out of Mel’s living room, things get a little rocky for a minute. In the end Ruby promises that she won’t cheat on Mel with the muffin girl, and that she’s willing to make this work as long as Mel is willing to trust that she’s being honest when she says she’s fine with this arrangement. Even though my recommendation would be to open it up to a third, the third being Abigael.
Nancy Drew 208: “The Quest for the Spider Sapphire”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week’s episode is all about our girl Bess, whose grifter past finally caught up to her when a man named Stephen appears, claiming to be Bess’s ex-husband. We soon learn that he’s actually Bess’s literal partner in crime, and that their relationship was never romantic, or even sexual. The marriage was all part of their scam. Before leaving to find her family in Horseshoe Bay, Bess escaped their toxic partnership by planting evidence on him and calling the police, and he is here now to return the favor.
Present day, Stephen convinces Bess that he’ll leave her alone for good and not expose her criminal past to the Marvins if she steals Diana’s fancy, expensive spider sapphire bracelet. Bess is all grown up now though, and decides that instead of stealing from her new family, she’s going to come clean about the girl she used to be. This seems to work at first, Diana already knew and didn’t care because she was family and her actions speak louder than her criminal record. But then Stephen raises the stakes by kidnapping Nancy and George.
While kidnapped, George’s fear makes her more vulnerable and Odette takes over, and it seems Odette has a little crush on Bess, saying she has pretty eyes, calling her an English Rose who smells like lilies. Nancy tries to use this opportunity to figure out how the body sharing works and how to maybe get Odette out, but Odette doesn’t want to die, not again. So for now, George will have to learn how to share her body with the lesbian inside her; it seems like she could benefit from a visit to Star City to talk to Caitlin Snow/Frost.
In the end, Bess steals the bracelet and saves her friends, but Stephen was just here to wreak havoc as payback, because he slipped the bracelet back into Bess’s pocket, making Aunt Diana think she was up to her old tricks, and thus disowning her from the Marvin family she had worked so hard to become a part of.
Legacies 307: “Yup, It’s a Leprechaun, All Right”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week on Legacies, I really thought they were setting up a Cleo/Hope romance, trying to get Hope to move on just in time for Landon’s unfortunately inevitable return. Cleo offers Hope’s art up for a school fundraising auction, tells Hope her hair looks nice, barely leaves the tribrid’s side. Cleo wants to help Hope heal so they work together to turn Landon Sludge into magic mud, their hands moving together like it’s that one scene from Ghost. But something else is up with Cleo (she doesn’t like killing monsters because her sisters were killed… leading me to wonder if she’s a Bennett witch) and despite her anti-violence speech she explode the leprechaun that is this week’s Malivore Monster, possibly to keep Hope from finding her way back to Landon? I am incredibly suspicious of Cleo’s intentions with Hope but obviously I still ship it.
Meanwhile in the Human World (it’s a mess), Josie gets nervous about a lunch date with Finch and distracts herself at the Salvatore School instead, until she eats a truth weed and confesses to MG that she’s nervous about caring about Finch because the people Josie loves seem to always leave her, hurt her, or both. She’s just… scared. MG tells her to tell Finch that, so Josie heads off to do just that.
When Josie gets to school, Nathan tells her that Finch was really mad Josie blew her off, and to “be careful” because of his sister’s bad experience, to which I say fuck you sir, and to which Josie says, “I don’t intend to be careful at all.”
Still hopped up on truth weed, Josie finds Finch and tells her that she got spooked by how much she liked Finch, and that she has a lot of baggage, but she wants to do this with Finch, for real. She wants to go on a real date. At first Finch still seems mad but then she puts a helmet on Josie and says they should pick a time for their date and they scoot away into the night together.
This Is Us 510: “I’ve Got This”
Written by Carmen
We haven’t had a chance to talk about before in this column, but I love Phylicia Rashad as an actress. In particular, I enjoy this latest chapter of her career where she shows up as the bougie (and often stuffy), yet glamorous mother of famous Black factional characters. I love her as Michael B. Jordan’s mama in the Creed franchise, and wow do I love her as Beth Pearson’s mother in This Is Us.
We’ve never talked about this before because Phylicia’s character (Mama C) hasn’t had much overlap with Tess Pearson, the anxious queer tween (excuse me, now TEEN) and social justice warrior Gen Z queen that we keep our eyes on. That is until now, when Mama C moved in to help take care of the Pearson girls while Beth and Randall drove to New Orleans and back in search of the story of his birth mother (another story for another day). Now Beth and Randall are home, but Mama C has yet to move out, causing real strife between the eldest Pearson women and Randall to have taken home on his back porch to escape.
One person who’s seemingly — and surprisingly! — taken well to Mama C’s presence is Tess. I was worried This Is Us was going to take a trope-y “homophobic grandma” route with these two, but instead Mama C delights at every turn. When Beth tells Tess to put away her phone during homeschool (thanks, Covid!) hours — Tess smart alecks her way through it, when Mama C requests it there’s no argument. When Beth once again messes up the pronouns of Tess’ best friend Alex — you’ll remember them as the cute queer teen rebel with the pixie cut and Doc Martens from the fall — and calls it an adjustment, Mama C counters that we’ve been using singular they pronouns for years, like “did someone leave their umbrella?” while Tess smiles triumphantly. And sure, it’s small! But do I love seeing Black grandmas show that transphobia and bigotry doesn’t come synonymous with old age? Why yes, I do.
Later, during a family dinner that’s gone awry, Tess blurts out to her mother that Alex isn’t merely her “best friend,” they are dating. Beth is baffled. She tries to pry more details out of her 13-year-old, perhaps how long she’s been… dating… to begin with (a few weeks, geez mom!). Tess turns to Mama C at the table, “See I told you she’d find a way to make it all about her!”
Ok, Tess’ bratty teen attitude really needs a new outlet, I’ll give you that. But with Mama C promised to be staying for the foreseeable future — I’m for one really excited for Tess to have an ally, and not an adversary, in her grandma.
Station 19 407: “Learning to Fly”
Written by Carmen
Andrew Deluca died last week. This week his big sister, Carina can’t get off the floor.
As in literally, the opening shot of this week’s Station 19 is Maya walking in on her girlfriend, splayed across the kitchen floor (a nice callback to Izzie mourning Denny by laying on the bathroom floor in her pink prom dress during Grey’s third season, if you ask me!). Later, Maya finds Carina fully dressed and sitting on the floor of their shower, willing herself not to cry (Hello Callie and Arizona in Season Nine!). There’s a lot of callbacks to famous scenes of Shondaland grief.
What makes them absolute stand outs is Stefania Spampinato. She is just… breathtaking. I’m really struggling to define what even makes her so great, but this is just a stunningly beautiful and lived in portrait of grief in every way, arguably my favorite performance on television this week.
Carina tells Maya that she can’t sit on the couch anymore because it’s too soft, and she can’t be soft because then she cries, and she can’t cry anymore because she has a headache. She can’t fall asleep because the bed is too soft, and then she cries, when all she wants to do is sleep — so that she’ll stop crying. So now she’s in the bathroom stall, where it’s hard. And at least that doesn’t make her cry.
She wants to scream away the grief, to make her throat hurt as much as her heart and her head, but she can’t seem to do it. So Maya takes her to the Station when no one is around and turns on the loud sirens of the engine. Then she turns to Carina and screams until she is red in the face. She screams until finally…. finally, Carina screams back.
Maya coordinates Andrew’s funeral. Maya drives Carina to Grey Sloan Memorial to be with the other doctors as they grieve. Maya holds her pain. Maya’s there, and for a woman who’s always struggled with emotions of her own, she’s not running away.
If you’ve struggled to get into Station 19, listen — I get it! There are a lot of firefighter shows on television right now. And it can feel like at Season Four it’s too late to catch up (plus, admittedly Station 19 had something of a rocky start!). But I’m a vet of Shondaland soap operas, and I am telling you — if you miss Callie and Arizona, if you miss classic and great Shondaland queer storytelling. This is it. Don’t miss your moment.
(PS: You can pretty much just start at Season Three, right when it gets epically good and gay, and you won’t miss much, don’t tell the purists I told you!)