Top Ten Feats of Lesbian-Storyline-Television Endurance


alex_marissa_ocWe are often such scavengers when it comes to lesbians on television. We’ll forage desperately and hungrily through minutes upon minutes of storylines we don’t care about on shows we’ve never seen before — aliens! Junior high schoolers! Telenovelas! Big Brother 10: Gomorrah! — to reach the two-minute morsel we care about so much more than we probably should:  the holy grail of promised homosexual content.

Is there a bisexual secretary? Turn it up! A lesbian kiss at 35:54? DVR it! Mischa Barton? Has a lesbian sneezed? Did she sneeze on a bisexual? Was it Jessica Capshaw?  Is she pretty, does her Mom know? How many episodes will her story arc last? Will there be tongue? Was this news given an entire post and three gigantic photographs on AfterEllen? taradies

Well, you bet we’ll be there, twitter-fingers ready to witness and sound off. However, sometimes we can cheat the system by watching a YouTube lesbian storyline compilation (e.g., Mistresses) but that’s getting harder with their copyrighted content crackdown [and just when you think you’ve found it … it turns out to be a montage of Kim/Sugar screenshots set to a Jason Mraz lullaby]. Let’s not forget once upon a time the only way to watch a TV show was on the TV when it actually aired or on DVD several months later.

Which is just to say that more often than not we’ve had to get our kicks the hard way — by watching the entire freaking show. What pain we must endure for three minutes of pleasure inevitably ending with the sweeps bisexual going back to her ex-boyfriend and the hot lesbian/bisexual guest-star departing blithely into the distance!

So today we’ll round up some of the B.S. we’ve sat through and tell you all about it! I had to recruit some interns to fill in the gaps on this one, and of course Crystal from Australia to give you the scoop on the negligable homosexual conduct down under.


10. Greek, ABC Family, Robin & Rebecca ’09

All For This One Moment: Robin &  Rebecca

All For This One Moment: Robin & Rebecca on Greek

Riese: I actually came up with this Top Ten topic while enduring the ABC Family hour-long collegiate comedy/drama Greek online. Every five minutes of this three-episode arc, the show online is interjected by the same 20-second Sims 3 advertisement, forcing me to not only suffer through some random pledge/brotherhood/hoo-ha PLOT to get to the buried “lesbian storyline” but also through a somewhat misogynistic computer game commercial about twenty times. Luckily I discovered a gay boy in the first episode of this arc and I specifically enjoyed his parts way more than the “lesbian” storyline that wrapped up in about three episodes. The gay guy is the black guy, so just a heads-up for when you’re fast-forwarding through freshman rush and bromantic hijinks, stop for that.


9. House, Fox, Thirteen ’08

All For This One Moment: Thirteen on House

All For This One Moment: Thirteen on House

Intern Lola: House always diagnoses the mystery illness of the week the same way: via a series of failed attempts that nearly kill the patient while acting like a jerk to everyone around him. Then there’s the smug satisfaction of his eventual diagnosis. There’s an approximately 15:1 ratio of wisecracks about bisexuality to actual girl-on-girl action. We witness the simultaneously boring yet exasperating heterosexual romance between the only queer doctor and the doctor you care least about. Also, there’s various other boring heterosexual relationships and a slightly gay bro-mance between House and Wilson. It makes The O.C look like The Olivia Wilde Special.


8. Once & Again, ABC, Jessie & Katie ’02

All For This One Moment: Katie and Jessie

All For This One Moment: Katie & Jessie on Once & Again

Riese: I know better than to fall for this now, but back in ’06 my BFF Haviland cndorsed Once & Again ’cause she loved it, which I assumed meant she’d watched the entire show’s run and … well … “loved it.” Apparently; by “it” she meant “Sela Ward.” As an expert on bisexual sweeps storylines, I knew pre-Haviland-endorsement that if I were to watch the entire series, I’d eventually be rewarded with a lesbian storyline starring professional lesbians Evan Rachel Wood & Mischa Barton. So I cued up my Netflix and began to plow through, waiting for: 1) the stuff Haviland liked, 2) The lesbians! I think I gave up mid-Season Two, when I tried to engage Haviland in conversation about the show and was met with a blank stare.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s a great show. Very well done.  Bbbbbbbut if I wanted to experience an attractive middle-aged couple navigate rocky post-divorce waters in a new relationship while their children come of age and struggle with various high school-aged people dilemmas in the suburbs, I would’ve paid more attention to my own childhood.

I never even made it to the lesbian part (or the anorexic part, which I was also excited about) and ultimately resorted to scratching my lesbian reveal endurance exercise and just watching the lesbian parts on YouTube. That being said, the lesbian parts were really tastefully done! And coincidentally just got started when the show was unceremoniously axed! Bravo, people-who-made-My-So-Called-Life!


7. One Tree Hill, The WB, Anna & Peyton ’05

Anna & Peyton on One Tree Hill

Anna & Peyton on One Tree Hill

Intern Katrina: The lesbian episode of One Tree Hill opens with some good old-fashioned heterosexual makin’ out between a generic brunette couple while main character Lucas lurks around in the doorway, with an unbearable voice-over reciting a Tennessee Williams quote about loneliness. Meanwhile, Lucas’s half-brother Nathan is plagued by the sudden presence of his sister-in-law, who has a penchant for bending over and always finding some excuse to be wet (rain, shower, beach). And if all of this isn’t testing your gaytience enough, Peyton, that straight girl that we all fell in love with in high school—I mean, that Anna has feelings for—shares the majority of her scenes with Jake, this guy who mysteriously shows up in her room in the middle of the night to discuss unanswered e-mails.


6. Home and Away, Australia’s Seven Network, Charlie & Joey ’09

All For This One Moment: Joey and Charlie on Home & Away

All For This One Moment: Joey and Charlie on Home & Away

Crystal: I have made up stories about what else happened in Summer Bay – I’ve used real names of cast members but obvs it’s all straight from my imagination. Aside from the lesbian storyline (which I recapped already), um: well, Leah fell in love with Roman, who joined the army and got killed, leaving Leah widowed again.

Irene got sent to rehab after VJ found her stash of hillbilly heroin in his toy chest, Belle joined the Summer Bay convent and Robbo got injured when Xavier discovered lighter fluid and burned down the caravan park. Meanwhile Charlie broke my heart when she had hetero sex with Hugo, Aden and Colleen started the Summer Bay chapter of Fight Club, Alf moves in with Harold Bishop and Ruby found out that Charlie is really her mother. Oh wait, if you believe the forums (and why wouldn’t you) then this last one really happens, which means I probably did suffer through at least something irrelevant.


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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.


    • I have to say that on the theme of enduring non lesbian parts of shows…Skins is actually amazing. Not only is the emily/naomi story-line well done/hot but jeeze the rest of that show is just as good.

      also this post is full of truthiness, the things we do to watch two chicks make out on our tv screens (worth it/not worth it?).

    • I think that the Emily/Naomi relationship was amazing and JJ was interesting, but I fast-forwarded through the rest of the show when I watched it on YouTube. I couldn’t have cared less about the Effy/Cook/Freddie “love” triangle.

      But… Emily and Naomi are super cute together and I sort of love both of them (especially that scene where Naomi kisses Emily against the locker).

      • Yeah, I only watched scenes with Naomi/Emily/Katie in them. Couldn’t give less of a shit about Cook, JJ or Freddie, and I didn’t enjoy Effy or Panda much when they’re onscreen with the boys (and obv this method catches them when they’re onscreen with Nay or the twins).

        Still a great show, though. I am 24 and I still fell 100% for Naomi Campbell.

  1. Oh, yeah, and Buffy was actually a good show!
    All My Children sounds so intense and not even worth watching. Also LOL re: South of Nowhere. That show was pretty ridiculous too, but at least the lesbians were there for the whole time and none of them got booted off the show.

  2. I love Buffy, but if you’re going to start watching it, don’t start at the beginning… find some recaps and then start mid/late season 2. Willow is still straight then, but the episodes are so good, and you won’t understand what’s going on if you start in too much later.

  3. I admire the immense courage it takes to admit that you have NOT seen Buffy.
    I highly recommend the situation be corrected at your earliest possible convenience. That is all.

    • Seconded.

      Like really, if there is one show you have to see, it is Buffy. Particularly since every great tv show made after it exists because Buffy showed what tv could do.

  4. Oh, but I love Greek! Some of the plot lines can be a somewhat trite, but I think it really captures a lot about the college experience. Plus, there are some great one-liners with awesome pop culture references. And Dale, Rusty’s right-wing Baptist roommate, is actually hilarious.

    But I guess I could be biased because I was once–very briefly–a sorority girl…

    • I think I could be biased because I was once — for errr two years — the girlfriend of a fraternity boy, and it was such a weird culture, so I think probs seeing it again brings me back in a not-so-good way? And almost all my friends were in sororities, our last year of school I lived with eight Kappas and Natalie. Hm.

      But at the time, I really did like that MTV show about sororities. Now I just wanna SEE THE LESBIANS!!

      But yeah I realize Gawker said it was the best show you’re not watching, and people seem really into it and it’s gotten good reviews, so I think probs I am in the minority here?

  5. I have so many feelings about this topic. In high school I had this VHS tape that I would record every lesbian scene on TV onto. I watched Party of 5 that one time there was some lesbian storyline. I recorded the Ally McBeal where Lucy Liu kissed Calista Flockhart (I actually watched that show religiously, but that’s another story for another post), and I started watching both Buffy and All My Children after hearing about lesbo scenes. AMC was impossible so I gave it up but Buffy is amazing and Riese, you can borrow all of my DVDs whenever you want (Buffy marathon anyone?).

    In the past few years I stopped doing it but good lord, I used to know every single lesbian scene on tv ever. Sigh.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only person here who owns all 7 seasons of Buffy on DVD. My first year of college I tried to take them all but those suckers are HEFTY so I broke and only brought season 4 as that is the college/willow coming out/buffy & spike getting married but not really season… haaah

      • Hello you are not alone. I have all the seasons on DVD too. I started with VHS tapes and had 20+ of them filled with Buffy episodes. Obsessed? Maybe.

  6. I sat through all of season 2 of the OC even though i hate that show just to see mischa barton and olivia wilde’s relationship… I still love that couple..

    I also started to watch buffy the vampire slayer because of the lesbian relationship, but stopped. This was recently when buffy isn’t new.

  7. Ohh great post.

    I will admit, I used to be a humongo Buffy fan. How can you not love it? Good actors and actresses. I wasn’t a huge fan of Alyson Hannigan with Amber Benson, but Alyson and Iyari Limon was pretty good. Just saying.

    There isn’t enough of this on TV anymore… And if it is, it’s too cheesy and always ends badly.

    I just started watching Skins, we’ll see how that goes.

  8. ohhh i endured 6 of those 10 shows. i’m not ashamed in the least. buffy is my fav show ever, i watched from the very beginning and was so very pleased when joss whedon rewarded my loyal viewing with the gaying up of willow.

      • true, but there was a decent amount of gay subtext in the buffy/willow dynamic. at least there was when i closed my eyes and imagined it.

        • I feel like in the show there was more Buffy/Faith subtext… and there’s the fanfic to prove it ;)

          • They were going for a Buffy/Faith kiss in S3 but the network wouldn’t allow it so we got the infamous kiss on the forehead instead. SO I AM TOLD.

  9. Ooooh Riese (and interns). I am so happy and have lots of feelings. I’m glad you come up with these awesome top-ten lists that make my heart sing. But I also think it’s sad we have to hunt for lesbian story lines. Shouldn’t they just be old hat by now? And everywhere? On every show? Always? Yes. I think they should.

  10. this is all so sad / funny / true


    • ….Glen. And then Glen happened!

      They just never made us care about any of the other characters except the guy who got killed, I think. And Aiden’s storyline got really wonky.

      • remember the saucy latina who went to go be a dancer for justin timberlakes tour? That storyline was pretty important to me. Hah, i remember reading your re-caps and legit feeling bad you guys had to sit through it. But ya know once every couple of episodes spashley would hold hands and i would smile.

  11. Crystal: i have probs mentioned this. but VJ sat at MY table at jungle juice. child actors are so rude, everyone knows that table is mine. *cough* he ordered a McBagel (without the HP sauce),& a hot chocolate and i obvs didn’t recognise him, otherwise i would’ve gotten you his autograph to frame/tape to the fridge etc. I have no shame.

    my sister explained neighbours to me, which is a worry. apparently Sunny (why does the asian have to have a weird name?) is dating Zeke who is “too pretty for her”. This explains nothing, however next! Zeke is going dump her & make out with Lily Allen. Wait, how old is he?

    I’ve heard good things about Skins. I wish to see this show. Australian TV sucks.

    • I think maybe you told me that about VJ? I heard that Lily Allen is going to Ramsay St, I’m excited because I sorta love her.

  12. Double thumbs up recommendation for skins season 3. Emily and naomi actually get a quasi season finale in the penultimate episode. Don’t bother with the actual finale its a boring sausage fest revolving around freddie, JJ and cook.
    When I grow up I want to be emily

  13. haha awesome post, i also have watched most of those… and i’ve gotta join in and say you should really watch skins! the other characters have their moments and i’ve always watched the show anyway (especially cos it’s filmed where i live! yay!) but the naomi/emily thing really was handled well. like south of nowhere it definitely has its super ridiculous moments but its in a different league in terms of how much i can relate to it anyways.
    alsoo i really think you guys are doing such a great job with this website, you always get the balance between making really important points and humour spot on and all your articles are so interesting and well written, really appreciate all the time and effort you put in to it.

  14. I agree with you all re: Skins, the Emily / Naomi story was well done, and the entire show was well written. I hope they’ll continue the Emily / Naomi story in the fourth season.

  15. Yapppp…i totally agree..that scene where Naomi kisses Emily against the locker = HOT

  16. First off, The OC. I still don’t understand how I was able to watch it. Ever!

    Then to the matter at hand, the show I have a love-hate relationship with is Guiding Light. I started watching the Otalia clips on YT. Then came pbps, and soon I was watching the whole show on TVU, ’cause I wanted to know what people were talking about and the Otalia storyline made more sense when I knew what was going on in Springfield. I’m a sucker for soaps, that’s why I try to avoid them. Now I find myself not THAT frustrated on nOtalia days, the other characters are growing on me.
    And I love Otalia storyline, I haven’t found it cheesy, okay it’s still a soap, but WAYYY less cheesy than Bianca (granted I have only seen a few clips of Bianca). Otalia is nicely written. I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

    But generally in soaps, you don’t get the lesbian storylines in every epi, which sucks. Thanks to internet, mostly, nowadays you know in advance what is going to happen, though.
    There really hasn’t been a secret kept silent in awhile. At least I can’t recall one right now. I’m going to blame my sleepiness if (=when) someone proves me wrong :D
    Okay done with my novel now..

  17. I MISS the days of minor lesbian storylines! These days I have to watch completely heterosexual shows and scrounge to find some girl-on-girl subtext. (Gossip Girl, anyone? When will they finally put the cards on the table and give us a damn one-off gay episode? If Autostraddle is to be believed, there are plenty of hot lesbians in New York!)

  18. wow, you must rectify this lack of Buffy watchage at the soonest possible instance! The initial Willow + Tara chemistry in ‘Hush’ in season 4…intense. Willow/Kennedy was hot too.

  19. Nip/tuck anyone? Personally I hate this show, but Portia is in it so why not.

    ps.: Skins win the award for best lesbian storyline (apart from the L word and sugar rush of course).
    The Oc was cute because of Olivia Wilde, House was cute because of Olivia Wilde, but nothing compare to Lily Loveless and Kathryn Presscott … in my opinion of course.

      • what about the L word ?

        ok i’m joking

        but now you have to go and watch skins season 3, you’ll see you don’t need any endurance for this one. Only if like me you have to watch it with subtitle to understand their damn accent!

        I think being a french canadian is a curse, we don’t understand any accent!!!! We don’t get the french (France) speaking accent, even worse for the UK accent and sometime not even the american accent. And let me tell you that there’s not so much lesbian storyline in Quebec television history! So it’s a double endurance experience to watch tv shows for us poor lesbian living up north east!

        At least Montreal have one of the best gay scene!

  20. what about that soap opera about college life that MTV used to air late at night? there were def some gay couples and i think some les. anyone know the name of it???

  21. I don’t understand why the fuck they would want to do a dumb assesed storyline of making Charlie Ruby’s mother. Seriously, like the writers don’t hate her enough.

    I’ve pretty much given up starting watching show just because they have lesbian storyline, they are usually utterly lame. I only watched H&A because I always watch it anyway.

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  23. There are a lot of lesbian storylines. Even better than some posted here.
    – hospital central maca and eshter
    – los hombres de Paco pepa and silvia
    – guiding light olivia and natalia

    Just to name a few. Just watch on youtube.

  24. I love this, I hate how there’s always the dead boring hetro couples.

    Soon as I saw this I thought of the Millenium series by Steig Larsson; mainly Lisbeth and Mimmi’s friends-with-benefits relationship in the 2nd book. I really hope they play it up in the film like it is in the book (coz it’ll be reallyreally hot) because they skipped over a fair few things in the first one.

    And I really hope at the end of the 3rd film they show the part when they meet each other again in Paris (I think). Coz Lisbeth is definitely in love with her, no matter what she says. They should have got togther. They’re beautiful and amazing.

    I can’t wait for Friday now, I get to see this shit! :D

  25. ok i love alot of these shows but really no one watched AMC (all my children) bianca was great the righters sucked and we didnt get any girl on girl action a few kisses like 4-5 over 5 or so years but man i had the show recorded every day (i was in school like 11-13) thank god i had a water bed then i had 50some tapes of the show just to catch a glance between bianca and her love intrested all the drawers under the beed were filled up on one side for maybe a hole 10 min of semi lezie looks between the girls .. yeah i know alot of DRAMA but it was so good … ok so i was 11 and didnt have cable or a movie rental place in the town i was in but it was still so good .. the fanfic was better but the show was good to .. i know i just read it im lame lol :)

  26. Did I miss the disclaimer that said “We will never mention the show that started it all”? WHERE IS MY XENA GABBY LOVE

    Also, Buffy references but no actual Buffy? “Kill one of the lesbians” is pretty much a TV Trope article. (I couldn’t find it but I know I’ve read it.)

  27. i may be late on the uptake with this
    but ive watched 2 seasons of “Lost Girl” now
    a somewhat poorly acted fantasy drama involving human-mythical creature hybrids called fae
    for a fleeting romance between main charcter Bo (a fae who feeds off human sex drive) and human ‘hot doctor’ Lauren
    Bo seems to fancy everything that breathes, but takes a special shine to Dyson (a wolf, although commonly mistaken for a popular hoover), but he loses his ability to love when he lends his strength to Bo to kill her mum
    anyway that makes the path clear for hot doctor Lauren, however her comatose girlfriend suddenly appears and throws a spanner in the works
    But she got infected by these mind control guys and tried to kill Lauren, so Bo then killed her
    so maybe for season 3 Bo and Lauren get back together?
    I certainly live in hope, as the lesbian scenes when they eventually come are fairly worth watching all the crap in between for…

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