Boobs on Your Tube: Top Chef’s Newest Chefbian Is on Fire!

You made it through another week, congratulations! Last week, Drag Race had a writing challenge!? Finally, a win for awkward queer introverts! Also, Kayla researched and assembled the 16 Bachelor Nation alum who have come out as queer (and 16 feels like more than one would think!). And speaking of our reality TV beat, exes Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz are into same girl in Vanderpump Rules’ most bisexual season. Julianne Moore’s Mary & George reveals that being good at gay sex doesn’t mean you can lead a country. Death and Other Details met its maker this week, which means it’s time to once again look back on 52 queer TV shows cancelled after one season. Drew is still wading her way through Riverdale and she’s chaotically recapped the second season as only she can. And listen, is it possible that Heartbreak High somehow got even gayer in Season Two?

Another year, another March Madness has come to a close. We are here to crown our newest champion, Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer 🏆. Please read Natalie’s post giving Willow her flowers, but also read it for Natalie’s reflection on the importance of queer teen television amidst anti-LGBTQ backlash attacking our schools. For this week’s “lost movie review,” Drew is revisiting the gay marriage of careerism in All About Eve. There’s a strong argument to be made that our current era of toxic queer women on-screen should tackle movie musicals next! Gabe Dunn talked with Vera Drew about The People’s Joker (an indie trans take on the infamous character that seriously looks so good) and the delusion of creating weird trans art.

Drew has your review of Zendaya’s latest bisexual catniip film Challengers and she cannot stop talking about this film, so you need to get into it. She also has been enjoying Newfest’s Queering the Canon: Besties film series and she’s here to report 10 Facts About Go Fish from Guinevere Turner and Rose Troche that are well worth your time. A lot of the Newfest screenings are going to be virtual through April 15th if you’re far away from NYC, but if you’re in New York and would like to attend in person this weekend — Carmen is doing the introduction to Set It Off tomorrow, and she’d love to see you!

Notes from the TV Team: 

+ Station 19 came with an update that Carina won’t be able to carry their next baby after all, but now Maya is considering it. So those of you who are hoping to see an even more expanded Marina family, do not give up hope! — Carmen

+ This week on Grey’s Anatomy, we get some small snippets of Helm and Yasuda together (still not enough for my liking, but there’s a set up for future plots to come at least). What we do learn is that Helm is quizzing Yasuda with flashcards for what I’m assuming is her intern exam, based on Grey’s Anatomy flashcard quizzes of the past. She’s also rewarding her for right answers with french fries (in public) or a strip tease (in private, and no we don’t get to see it!). Things seemed all good for the couple until we find out at the end of the episode that Yasuda had the opportunity to be on a big case… only Helm blocked her from it! For reasons still uknown! But whew, Yasuda was pissed. And that’s what I meant by there’s a set up for some future plots to come. Grey’s returns in three weeks, and it better not let me down! — Carmen

+ For a second season in a row, chefbian Britt Rescigno had her quest to win Food Network’s Tournament of Champions thwarted in the semifinals by Maneet Chauhan. But it wasn’t just the “Dancing Spice Queen” who made it difficult for Rescigno, it was the Randomizer, which saved its most dastardly combination for their battle. They were tasked with using hay to create an interactive dish with alligator, chayote, and xanthan gum. It was the most difficult randomizer spin in TOC history. Britt made an amazing dish of Alligator Étouffée but fell just short of her goal. With two final four appearances in two years, there’s no doubt we haven’t seen the last of Britt Rescigno (or her perfectly coiffed hair). — Natalie

+ Most of this week’s episode of All American focused on the football, so we weren’t left with nearly enough screentime for Patience and Coop. As the two await news of Miko’s likely release, they join Layla for some self-defense classes. The whole thing feels insufficient for Patience who seeks out more training from Layla’s new business partner, Ryan. — Natalie

+ In the show The Great North (an animated sitcom by some of the brilliant minds behind Bob’s Burgers) this season, Jane Lynch plays the Tobin family’s long lost lesbian aunt who had been living in a bunker for decades because her secret girlfriend married a man. One of the teen sons of the family, Ham, is gay, and in this week’s episode, he takes his aunt out to some gay bars to see what her vibe is, since when she went into the bunker, things weren’t quite as progressive as they are today. It’s a very cute, funny episode. — Valerie Anne


Top Chef: Wisconsin Episode 2104: “The Wright Way”

Written by Natalie

Rasika prepares her dish for this week's Frank Lloyd Wright inspired elimination challenge

Rasika just keeps on winning!

This week, Top Chef forgoes its usual quickfire challenge and sends the cheftestants on a tour of Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. The chefs are asked to pair up — Rasika teams up with her running buddy, Danny — and create two dishes, inspired by Wright’s work and his theme of duality. Among the stops? Wright’s former home and drafting studio, Taliesin. The episode doesn’t delve into the sordid history of the locale — a crazed chef went on a rampage, killing Wright’s mistress and six others, and setting the space ablaze — but I almost wish they had. Maybe it would’ve made the chefs appreciate the stakes and maybe it would’ve prepared me for the absolutely cutthroat double elimination that takes place.

“Everything is seemingly similar but strikingly different,” Rasika notes, as the looks around at Taliesin, and it becomes the foundation of the dish she’ll develop with Danny. They plan to create plates that look similar, but with contrasting colors and flavors. Rasika makes a daal quenelle with a carrot puree, rasam (an Indian consommé) and pickled beet root. Danny matches her by preparing a spinach and scallop mouse with zucchini puree with pickled zucchini batons. Both Rasika and Danny are alums of French Laundry and you can see it in the way that they cook. They’re both technical marvels, determined to produce planks — him of zucchini, her of beet root — that are identically cut (down to the millimeter).

But Rasika reminds the audience that she’s not interested in cooking traditional fine dining food. She’s taking her food — Tamil cuisine — and elevating it to the level of fine dining. As Danny samples her rasam, Rasika notes that it’s her grandmother’s recipe and she’s guiding her like Remy from Ratatouille. She’s so adorable, I love her.

Rasika and Danny are the first to deliver their plates to a stellar judging panel, including Top Chef: World All-Stars winner Buddha Lo, three-Michelin Star chefbian Dominique Crenn, and a sleeveless Kristen Kish. The judges love their dishes and Tom raves about Rasika’s textures and levels of spice and acidity. The pair get the win — and $10k to split between them — and, for having prepared the better of the two dishes, Rasika wins immunity for the next challenge. The chefbian is on fire!

The rest of the cheftestants do not have a good night. For the first time I can recall in Top Chef history, the losing team is so obvious that Tom doesn’t even want to bother with the pretense. They’re invited to judges’ table and told to pack their knives and go. But the safe chefs don’t avoid critique entirely: Kristen and Buddha join the remaining 10 chefs in the stew room and tell them to step their game up.


9-1-1 705: “You Don’t Know Me”

Written by Natalie

After asking Mara's consent, Karen sits down, in her silk pajamas, to talk to Mara before bed. Mara is wrapped up in blankets, including the pink one she won't let go of.

“Did I miss an episode?” I kept asking myself while watching this week’s episode of 9-1-1. I appreciate that there was a two month jump between seasons but it feels like we’ve missed so much. How’d we get to the point where Eddie and Marisol are moving in together? All we’ve seen of their relationship was them flirting at hardware store and now they’re U-Hauling? Did the show make Buck bi and turn Eddie into a lesbian? How did we get to Chimney and Maddie’s wedding already? There’s been no mention of it. And, most importantly, for our purposes, how did we get to a point where Hen and Karen would be showing off pictures of their future daughter and this is the first we’re hearing of it? Hen was suspended earlier this season and we couldn’t get even a throwaway line about its potential impact on their adoption?! Make it make sense.

But, as jarring as it is, it’s where we are: with Chimney and Maddie giving their daughter’s baby clothes to Hen and Karen, as they anticipate the arrival of their newborn. We barely get to see them revel in their joy before the social worker, Deidra, calls to pull the rug out from under them: the grandmother has decided to keep the baby. But Deidra pivots, asking Karen and Hen to consider taking in an older child — a 9-year old girl — who’s currently living in a group home. The girl’s already experienced so much loss but Deidra’s convinced that Karen and Hen are her very best chance at a winning life. The couple smiles and immediately looks forward to meeting this special girl.

Deidra brings Mara over and introduces her to Karen, Hen, and Denny. She doesn’t respond to the changes, she simply clutches her blanket tightly. Denny offers her his teddy bear to make her feel more at home and she accepts it, only to destroy it later. Later, after they’ve all retired to bed, Karen wakes up to find Mara standing at the foot of their bed, watching over them. It’s like a scene out of a scary movie, it’s so unnerving. Hen offers to take Mara back to her room and the child lets out a piercing scream. It’s the first sound they’ve heard from Mara since she arrived. Hen manages to settle her down but has to spend the night sleeping next to Mara’s bed on the floor.

The next morning, things get worse: Denny touches Mara’s blanket and she tosses a coffee mug at his head, causing a gash that requires seven stitches to repair. Neither Karen nor Hen are the type to give up on anything, especially a child, but they have a responsibility to protect their son. They call Deidra to begin talking about sending Mara back. But a call persuades Hen to approach the situation differently: she delves into Mara’s history, acquiring her parents’ records from Athena. Hen learns that Mara’s parents were addicts who use crime to support their habit. They died of an opioid overdose on the same night. Maddie gives Hen and Karen access to the 9-1-1 call that reported the overdose and the couple hears Mara, pleading for her parents to wake up.

Suddenly, Mara’s actions make sense. She was scared that Hen and Karen wouldn’t wake up so she came into their room to watch over them. Later that night, Karen steps into Mara’s room — asking for Mara’s consent each time — and assures the young girl that she doesn’t have to be brave all the time. But because she understands that Mara’s comfort will take time, she gives her a baby monitor: with the camera pointed directly at Karen and Hen’s bed. Mara will always know that the couple is there and that they are safe. Karen says goodnight and, as she leaves, Mara responds, “night, night” — the first words she’s said since she arrived — and I’m convinced that everything’s gonna be alright.

Hen in her "best person" suit for Chimney's wedding. Hen is wearing a black suit with white piping running down her left shoulder. She's wearing a black bow as a tie with flower affixed to her breast pocket.

But maybe not alright for Chimney who is MIA on his wedding day with his best person, Hen, none the wiser, and with Eddie and Buck dressed like Miami Vice stand-ins. I have no idea how we got here but Hen looks amazing in that suit so I will allow it.


Beacon 23 Episode 201: “Godspeed”

Written by Valerie Anne

Lena Headey as Aster in a space pod, looking like she is asleep

Sleeping beauty.

I don’t want you to say I’ve never done anything for you, because despite being very disappointed by how queerness was portrayed and treated in Season 1, I have tuned into Season 2 for you. Mostly to see if Lena Headey’s Aster survived the head wound she was given in the Season 1 finale.

The episode begins in chaos, everyone attacking everyone else, the humans on board are mad, the AI version of Aleph is mad, everything is bad. When the chaos dies down a little,
Halan takes Aster’s body and puts her in the pod she arrived in and Harmony comes to say goodbye. Halan takes a jump ship and releases Aster’s body into the artifact, much to everyone else’s dismay; the rebels wanted to explode the beacon, Aleph wanted to go into the artifact himself. When Aster’s pod enters the artifact, the artifact releases a burst of blue light that starts to break down the Beacon. Halan plans to take off into space, maybe go back to his father’s colony, but Aleph takes control of his pod and takes him back to the Beacon. When he gets back inside, all the other humans are dead, and Harmony is deprogrammed, which might as well be AI murder. Aleph tells Halan he’s abandoning him at the Beacon, alone, while he goes and deals with the rest fo the rebels.

So I’m not sure what the rest of this season is going to look like. If it will be Halan trying to survive and escape the Beacon, if he’ll be alone for the rest of the season, or what. But I’ll keep watching, for you, and I’ll come back with updates if Lena Headey returns, or if a wild space lesbian appears.

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 709 articles for us.

Natalie

A black biracial, bisexual girl raised in the South, working hard to restore North Carolina's good name. Lover of sports, politics, good TV and Sonia Sotomayor. You can follow her latest rants on Twitter.

Natalie has written 400 articles for us.

Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 558 articles for us.

5 Comments

    • Aside from two things:
      – A possible moment in the first episode, and
      – Two women hinted at in the finale, one of whom is dead before the show even starts
      This show is very straight. I’d say it’s almost aggressively straight.

  1. This season of Top Chef has been excellent and what a joy it is to see Kristen up there every week! She brings a really lovely energy to the show. Rasika has truly been on fire and I love the risks she takes…can’t wait to see her continue to crush it

  2. Apparently, Jonathan Nolan also wants to follow his brother’s path.
    It’s sad because I always thought that at least he cared a little about us queers, unlike his brother.
    On the other hand, I feel that the most important reason for Fallout’s good scores on imdb is because Fallout is completely heterosexual, because many people who give the series a perfect score refer to or hate The Last of Us.
    Unfortunately, the series is not so faithful to the game, not having a queer character is just one of them.

  3. Hey Autostraddle, are you aware of the canadian web series Nesting? Best friends trying to get pregnant fall in love. The falling in love happens very late in the season but it’s worth watching.

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