You made it to the end of another long week, so here are some Boobs on Your Tube! First of all, it was Bombs Away on Legends of Tomorrow! Pose took us to a fantasy wedding with incredibly mixed results. You absolutely must see the trailer for the new Black queer (and steamy as all hell) series, A Luv Tale and then stay for the accompanying history lesson about 90s Black lesbian culture. Kayla watched Army of the Dead and got all your Tig Notaro is a Babe questions, answered. And did you know that a 60 second scene from The O.C. over fifteen years ago could be your gay root?
The major television news this week was Lena Waithe’s Master of None and wow did we have that covered from all angles with three pieces:
- A review: Lena Waithe’s “Master of None” Could’ve Settled for Being Black and Beautiful, But It Chose Complicated Instead
- An interview: Lena Waithe on “Master of None” and Making Messy Beautiful Black Lesbian Art
- A roundtable: “Master of None” — Sparks of Queer Black Brilliance in an Unsatisfying Story
And now, Some Major BREAKING GAY ASS NEWS: The 50 Lesbian and Bisexual TV and Film Characters With the Dyke-iest Swagger
Notes from the TV Team:
+ Well my friends, Black Lightning took its last bow. I had wished that the final episode would be a return to form, but unfortunately instead it continued the middling, confusing, spread-too-thin pace of the final season as a whole. And even more tragic, and also continuing a trend of the last few episodes, our beloved Grace and Anissa were afterthoughts. What Nafessa Williams and Chantal Thuy did with those two roles, given the little they were given to work with over the years, was nothing short of miraculous. I’ll always be thankful for them and look forward to supporting whatever comes next, long after this show. — Carmen
+ The Bold Type is back and you know I’ve got some feelings about that. I’ll be back with a full recap next week. — Natalie
+ After a tearful goodbye to Nia a few weeks back, Hen and Karen cross paths with their foster daughter again by happenstance: she and her biological mother show up at the same park. Nia rushes to greet them — a comfort to Hen who worried about being forgotten — and it’s just so cute, I might explode. The meeting is awkward at first but eventually, Karen and Hen invite Nia’s mother to join their family for a picnic. — Natalie
+ S.W.A.T. wrapped up its fourth season and Chris will spend her summer in Germany training at the Tactical Leadership Institute. Here’s hoping she spends her trip with a cute fräulein to occupy her time, instead of spending it on the phone with Street trying to figure out how to make their relationship work. To be clear: I’m less bothered by the prospect that Chris would be with Street than I am about the disproportionate impact it would have on her career, as a female officer. We’ll see if S.W.A.T. addresses that in season five. — Natalie
+ Maya told the team on Station 19 about her engagement and of course they were all “yayyyy wedding” and then she responded, “haha no Carina is skittish enough about marriage, no big wedding.” But then guess what, they convinced her! So next week: YAYYYYY WEDDING!! — Carmen
+ Tonight is the season final of A Black Lady Sketch Show. You should watch. You deserve nice (and hilarious) things. — Natalie
+ PS: The trailer for the new gay Gossip Girl is here. You know you love me. XOXO. — Carmen
All American 313: “Bring the Noise”
Written by Natalie
Last week on All American, Mo becomes as explicit about her revenge plot against Coop as we’ve ever heard her: she wants to steal Coop’s future the way she stole her brother’s. But her accomplice reminds her that as long as Preach is around, Coop’s protected… and Mo spends the episode trying to get Preach on her side. She fails, of course, but what’s worse for her plan: Coop ends this week’s episode perhaps closer to Preach than she’s ever been.
Mo’s attempted seduction of Preach wasn’t totally for naught, though… the reminder of his old days selling custom t-shirts sparks something in Preach and, this week, he seeks to recapture it. He designs a new t-shirt for Coop and pitches himself as the way to step her merch game up. Coop’s impressed by the t-shirt and takes the idea and Preach’s request for capital to Layla.
The young producer likes the shirts but is skeptical that Preach is the right person to handle Coop’s merch. Layla explains that artists make a lot of money on merchandising and she worries that Preach isn’t experienced enough to handle it. Coop insists that Preach has a lot of experience with selling and moving product and is convinced that he’s the right person for the job. Layla agrees to a meeting with Preach and, sufficed to say, it does not go well. Preach takes offense at Layla questioning his abilities and stakes his claim to handling Coop’s merch. Layla points out all the aspects of the merchandising game that Preach just isn’t prepared to handle. Preach pushes back but Layla asserts her rights — as the label owner — to control Coop’s branding. Tired of being dismissed, Preach walks out of the meeting. Coop tries to stop him but he reminds her that he’s the one that put her on in the first place.
Later, Coop is at a party to celebrate Grace’s graduation — which suggests, I hope, a small thaw in her relationship with Spencer — when she gets a call from Layla. She insists that Preach is too volatile to work with and insists on doing things her way. Coop reminds Layla that this her career and opts for a different path: she needs someone that’s looking out for her and who understands where she comes from, so she makes Preach her new manager instead.
All Rise 217: “Yeet”
Written by Natalie
When All Rise‘s central character, Judge Lola Carmichael, went on maternity leave, the show broadened its scope: allowing us to peer into the lives of all the people around her. But now, with Lola back and All Rise down to its final episode, the show has far more characters whose arcs they need to complete and a a finite amount of time in which to tell those stories. Maybe it was inevitable that someone’s story would be sacrificed… and maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that it was Lisa Benner’s.
Last we saw Judge Benner, she was clutching an engagement ring after a call with Georgia and this week we get absolutely no resolution on that front. No proposal, no epiphany that she was moving too fast, no mention of Georgia at all, in fact. Instead of being in a wedding, Benner only officiates one: a renewal of vows between Lola and her husband, Robin. It’s a disappointing, especially because seeing older queer women on television is so exceedingly rare.
But thankfully out other queer couple gets more screentime this week: Ness accompanies Sam to her office in the Halls of Justice — with Sam quizzing her along the way — and Sam notes how nice it’d be if they could carpool together to work each day. Ness admits that she’s uncertain what her future holds: she’s just trying to keep her options open. But after her interviews, Ness decides not to join the HOJ; instead, she opts to join Rachel and Amy at Audubon & Associates. She shares the news with Sam on who’s slightly disappointed because carpooling would’ve meant spending more time together. The two kiss until they’re interrupted by a shocked Judge Carmichael.
“You have exquisite taste,” Lola comments, after Sam makes her exit.
“Oh, I know,” Ness answers. “I have an eye for individuals who win progress without wavering.”
Ness offers her mentor some perspective for her upcoming campaign. She encourages Lola to let the citizens of Los Angeles know what kind of advocate they have in her. I really sad this show got cancelled…I would’ve loved to see this mentor/mentee relationship flourish (or flounder) once Ness became a practicing defense attorney. Instead, we’ll have just have to imagine what could’ve been…Ness becoming the next Lola and Sam and Ness finding a way to make their relationship work, despite being on opposite sides of the judicial system.
Top Chef: Portland 1809: “Portland-ia”
Written by Natalie
Welcome to the gayest episode of Top Chef this season… maybe ever… because not only did we get Maria Mazon — fresh off her first elimination challenge win — we got a quickfire challenge judged by Carrie Brownstein and an elimination challenge involving Kristen Kish and Melissa King. Lady gays abound on this week’s episode of Top Chef and, of course, I loved it.
Paying homage to Portland’s reputation as the hipster capital of the world, the quickfire challenge asks the cheftestants to make a dish using hipster ingredients — hemp seed oil, non-dairy milks, etc. — and vintage equipment, including (gasp!) an electric coil range. Maria channels the early aughts vibe of the competition and makes a classic tomato soup which wins over guest judges, Carrie and Fred Armisen (who are, of course, hilarious). She finishes in the top three but Dawn edges her out for the quickfire victory (her prize? 15 extra minutes of cooking time).
For the elimination challenge, Padma asks the cheftestants to create a recipe that will take only 90 minutes to prepare. On top of that, the chefs are told to write the recipe like someone who is not a chef will be following it. Maria decides to make Gallina pinta, a dish that pays tributes to her Sonoran roots, but struggles with writing the recipe, due to her ADHD.
If this were a normal season, this would be the challenge where the family members come in and have to recreate the dish based on what’s on the recipe card. But because Top Chef‘s operating in a COVID bubble, that task falls to the judges/former cheftestants… and, as luck would have it, it’s Kristen who ends up recreating Maria’s dish from the recipe card. The recipe itself isn’t that difficult to follow — perfect for the home cook — but when Kristen gets a look at all the meat that’s required, she laments, “Eight pounds of meat, six people… it just… it’s too much. Maria, it’s too much.”
After the 90 minutes of cooktime, Maria and Kristen both deliver their bowls to the judges. Maria’s bowl is filled to the brim and Kristen’s version looks like a good replica. The Season 10 winner is exasperated, though:
Kristen: Girl, what the hell was that? You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me.
*Riotous laughter from the table*
Kristen: Did you cook the whole thing? The five pounds of meat?
Kristen: For six people?
Maria: Because I’m Mexican.
The judges like the food and commend Maria for making a dish that a home chef could make (even if her recipe created leftovers that’d last a month). She finishes in the top three so we’ll get to see Maria cook again next week! Kristen also replicates Dawn’s dish and she also earned a spot in the top three. Melissa’s attempt to replicate Chris’ dish, though, was a mess… though it was through no fault of her own. Every now and then there’s a chef on Top Chef who fails at making a dish they’re normally good at — in this case, Chris and pasta — and just keeps making it in an attempt to prove themselves. It rarely works… and it definitely didn’t work this week because Chris got eliminated.
Nancy Drew 217: “The Judgement of the Perilous Captive”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week was light on the gay content because Nancy kidnapped her secret grandfather, tying him up in the house of her secret mother and accusing him of murdering her secret grandmother. She then used her sort-of-boyfriend to trick said grandfather into leading her and her secret dad to proof of secret murder. Also, surprise! Nancy has had a wraith wrapping its creepy hands around her neck since they saved the Bobbsey Twins from the woods that one time. And you know, there have been moments, flashes, especially re: her not-so-secret dad Carson, that I felt like Nancy wasn’t being herself, but I figured it was just because she was going through a lot. Turns out, it was a little more than that. But that’s a problem for the future Drew Crew!
Also a problem for the future is that this week, George got confirmation from a living source that if she doesn’t get Odette disentangled from her soul soon, her lifeline will be significantly shortened. But the museum lady seems to think George has like ten years left so hopefully that means we have more than a few days to find a solution that will bring Odette (and Bess, honestly) peace while also ensuring George gets to live her best life.
Charmed 314: “Chaos Theory”
Written by Valerie Anne
This week was all about my favorite queer demon and it is FINALLY time for her redemption arc, which I’ve been waiting for from the jump; I always knew she wasn’t as purely evil as even she tries to make herself out to be.
The sisters have to prove to the Powers that Be that Abi doesn’t deserve to be imprisoned in the Tomb of Chaos in order to save Jordan. (Otherwise they would have just let her rot, which I shan’t be forgetting anytime soon.) Macy is the most anti-Abigael of the three of them and Maggie has to check on Jordan so they send Mel into the Tomb to talk to her. But Abi is in full Stepford Wives mode when Mel finds her, saying she’s accepted her fate and that she belongs here.
The Charmed Ones manage to look deep inside themselves for the good in Abi, and lay out for the Perfecti everything Abi has ever done to help them WHICH HAS BEEN A LOT. Abi tries to deny it but Maggie slips her a truth serum and she admits things like she’s been protecting the Charmed Ones because she’s knows they’re more powerful than her, and that she cares deeply about Mel and knows that if she’s ever going to return the sentiment, she has to be the person Mel thinks she could be. And whether Abi meant in love or friendship, I am HERE for this pairing.
Abi is still convinced she’s irredeemable, but after seeing all the good she’s done for them, and after learning that she was TORTURED for her ENTIRE childhood, the Charmed Ones’ hearts soften to the demon queen they stand up for Abi, setting her (and Jordan) free… possibly pissing off and/or destroying the Perfecti in the process. When Mel goes to see Abi, she apologizes for calling Abi irredeemable, and I’m hoping this means she’ll be helping the Charmed Ones with more regularity going forward. Especially as she tries to find a way to give Macy back the powers she stole.
This Is Us 516: “The Adirondacks”
Written by Carmen
There was a lot of ground to cover (and some very exciting/surprising fast-forward details, which aren’t gay so I won’t deal with here, but WOW Am I excited for five years from now!!!) in this week’s finale of This Is Us, but the writers made time for a little reconciliation between Tess and Beth.
When we last left them, Beth was trying so hard to get cool with Tess and her relationship with Alex, but it was distressing to Tess that her mom had to “try” in the first place, and the whole process has been painful for them both. This week opens with Beth once again just ramming an Earnest Truck down a Highway of Parental Good Deeds, going out of her way to tell Grandma Rebecca that Alex is the valedictorian of their 8th grade class (two things: One, I didn’t know 8th grades have valedictorians? And second, we love to see a smart queer bb, way to go Alex!)
Tess isn’t buying it. In fact, she’s spending most of her lead up to Uncle Kevin’s almost-wedding sulking in a corner with her arms around her chest. Now, anyone who’s been watching the show lately knows that “sulking in a corner” is kinda Tess’ whole deal lately (mixed in with “kind to grandmother” and “hates parents”). But this time, Beth goes up to her daughter and says that she’s going to risk sticking her foot in her mouth again, because she can’t stand seeing Tess this miserable.
There’s a classic Pearson speech that definitely made cry when I watched it (and then also cry 48 hours later the it came to me randomly in the middle of an afternoon). Beth looks Tess straight in her eyes and promises her daughter that she’ll never be a disappointment, “even if you murder somebody… I might have a few questions, but I’m sure you had your reasons.”
The speech gets Tess to open up. The culprit of her most recent misery? She feels uncomfortable in her Bridesmaid’s Dress. So, seeing an opportunity to support her daughter for who she is, Beth leaps into action. She, ummm, doesn’t get the bride’s permission, but she cuts up the dress into a punk rock skirt that Tess can wear with some Docs and a black t-shirt. I won’t lie Tess looks incredibly cool, and I would’ve straight murdered for that outfit when I was 13 — but if I were the bride I definitely would’ve preferred the heads up! (There’s no wedding, which is a whole different heartbreaker, but ultimate for our needs that makes this act fine.)
Tess smiles at her mom for what’s got to be the first time all season, and kind of owns up to being difficult during a difficult year. She admits, Beth gets more right than she does wrong. But she also tells her mom she might forget to say it again for at least… the next ten years.
And so here we are! The season-long tension between Tess and Beth wraps up a little too smoothly for my taste, to be honest, but hell This Is Us only has one season left after this (!!), so I respect the writers’ decision to give us some closure going into the summer hiatus.
Next year, fast forwards! And more tears!