“Twenties” Episode 204 Recap: Tall Femme, Short Stud Date Night

What’s up and welcome back to your Twenties recap 204, otherwise known as my favorite episode of the series thus far and also Ida will you marry me. Last week, Chuck starred in an adaption of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and we found out that he had some homosexual situations with his ex-college roommate back in the day. We thought it would be biphobic, but actually we were into it! And now…

This week we start with a quick run around the friendship group. Marie and Chuck have their first of six months (omg!!!!) of marriage counseling and Marie wants to know why Chuck came home so late last night. Hattie’s a little embarrassed to be delivering packages on her old studio lot. Nia is finally verified on Instagram.

Marie and Chuck have their first pre-wedding counseling with Reverend Ty. Harmon, who uses they/them pronouns (Yesssss sib!!). The Reverend tells Marie and Chuck that we’re going to start with a compatibility test, and we should have the results in a few days.

Studs with dimples talking about WRITING. No notes. Head empty. Mind ya business.

Studs with dimples sitting with their legs wide and talking about WRITING. No notes. Head empty. Mind ya business.

Hattie is at Idina’s apartment for her first real writers’ group and of course she already fucked up the assignment. She didn’t read any of her group members’ scripts, and when she starts talking fast about how it’s hard to balance writing with her job, Idina cuts her off. They all have jobs; this group doesn’t believe in making excuses.

Narrator Voice: Completely not relevant to the scene at all — but it is important to ME that you know that I own Hattie’s Erkyah Badu verzuz Jill Scott sweatshirt as a crop top and it’s one of my favorites; it’s so soft looks great with all of my sweatpants. Black women! Amirite?

Idina gets everyone to give Hattie a second chance. Hattie, already now the fuckup of her new peers, sits back as she starts to take in all the other writers talking around her.

After the group Hattie helps Idina clean up. They talk about the importance of accountability, and laugh a bit, but the main reason I’m bringing this up is because remember that crush Idina had on Hattie last year? The vibes remain. Idina couldn’t stop making eyes if her life depended that shit.

As long as Hattie wears this uniform, all I hear is bom-chicka-wow-wow.

After the writers’ group, Hattie is all dressed up in her BDE (Narrator Voice: 😈) uniform when she gets an unfortunate phone call from the homie Louie Anderson.

She’s been fired. Again. Reasons why include: She has no upper body strength, which is a sadness to me personally; she talks too much; and she’s always on her phone. Hattie’s mama got her this job, so she’s going to have some real explaining to do.

Immediately after the bad news drops, Ida texts to see if Hattie wants to meet up tonight for dinner. Hattie’s in a bad mood, but Ida promises she knows how to make Hattie feel all better, by taking her to her favorite spot, and yes all those italics are necessary so that you know she’s talking real dirty.

DATE NIGHT!! DATE NIGHT!! But first!

You’re telling me that when I’m not home you’re still playing Kanye? KANYE? That’s divorce right there.

Back at church, Marie and Chuck are doing another session of couple’s counseling. They ace’d the parts of their compatibility test that were about finances and family, but there’s some real discrepancies around sex. I thought we were gonna beat around the bush, but they get right to it — Chuck tells Marie he’s bisexual. They shouldn’t get married.

Marie tells him that she knows. She’s always known.

Rev Harmon affirms for Chuck that just because he’s bisexual, that doesn’t mean they can’t get married. Chuck tears up, it’s just this journey is so confusing and he’s just getting started. The Rev understands, it took a long time for them to be comfortable in who they were, too.

There’s more to it, but we have a lot to cover in this episode and much like our new bestie Chuck, I’ll cut to the chase —  I’ve always assumed that one of the reasons BET has historically been, well frankly, so homophobic was its ties to the conservative Black church. It matters to have a non-binary minister. It matters that we’re in church when Chuck first tells Marie he’s bisexual. It matters that everyone affirms him. None of those details, on this platform, are coincidental. And they deserve to be seen.

(This will sound sarcastic, but I sincerely love how every scene of Marie and Chuck is staged like these two people have never touched each other. I’ve never been more rooting for a couple not to make it.)

At home, Marie and Chuck are sitting in their living room. Everything feels tight. Sterile. You know when you’re a kid and you’ve pulled the rubber band too far between your hands and you know the minute you let go, it’s gonna snap back on you and burn, but until you let go the tension is so freaking tight that it also hurts and there’s no way out of this, only pain? That.

Chuck wants to know what Marie is thinking. She’s thinking about a lot of things, how easy it is to treat relationships like careers — checking off a list. Get a college degree?✔️ Find an amazing partner?✔️ Find a great house to live in?✔️ Get engaged…. ✔️

Chuck was so busy checking off the list, he never stopped to think about who he really wanted to be. And listen, I know this is Chuck’s story to tell — but I believe this has also been true of Marie. She’s been unhappy for as long as we’ve known her, and it’s not the same as the Big Emotional Journey of a late-in-life bisexual coming-of-age of a Black man (it’s not!), but in her own way, she’s been suffocating under the weight of who she’s expected to be. This is also her chance for freedom.

She wants to marry Chuck, and Chuck wants to marry her. But not like this. At Marie’s suggestion, they agree to open up their relationship — at least for a while. At least for long enough to find themselves.

Not gonna lie, I might be looking for murder.

I still volunteer as tribute.

Ida is making good on her promise to take Hattie out for date night. Of course they both look scream-worthy, like a hot couple looking for a third. (Side note: Is “red” their official background color? Side note to that side note: Do Hattie and Ida have a ship name? Because it would be so helpful to type less letters.)

Still, Hattie feels uneasy. And maybe that’s because it’s dawning on her that up until this very moment, all of their date nights have been playing board games in Ida’s bedroom. She wants to know, did Ida rent out the restaurant to be romantic — or because she doesn’t want to be seen with Hattie in public?

Ida: I like my privacy.

Hattie: No, you like your privilege, and this is just another way for you to protect it.

Ida: You know what? I think I lost my appetite.

Hattie: Every day you when you walk out of your house, you get to be this light-skinned, straight-presenting, curly-haired woman that doesn’t have to deal with half of the bullshit that the rest of us do.

Ida: Wow.

Hattie: Yeah, “wow.”

And for everything that comes after, there isn’t an easy right or wrong.

Ida is privileged. Light skinned Black women have privilege. Femmes with aesthetics that “pass for straight” have privilege. Immense privilege within our own communities that benefit us economically, protect us from hatred and violence, even from first glance. At this point in her life (because we don’t know her history) Ida is so wealthy that she can buy out an entire restaurant for a fun “date night.”

Flat out — Hattie should call her out on it. Ida could (and should!) be doing more to hold space for the fact Hattie is not walking in her world. She should be leveraging her many privileges to better support her partner. I don’t necessarily want to applaud Ida for doing the basics, but for a woman who is so infamously guarded, I’m relieved that she doesn’t shut down. She listens. She reaches out for Hattie’s hand and offers her warmth.

Ida: Hattie, have you ever broken through a glass ceiling?

Hattie: No, I haven’t.

Ida: You get scarred by it. You accumulate bruises that don’t ever go away. My first five years, I cried myself to sleep every night — because I didn’t have any friends or any support. My family started giving up on me because my dream was taking too long to come true. So I’m sorry that you can’t tell that I like women by looking at me, and I’m sorry that I have a white grandfather, but you know what? Those are things that I can’t help.

Hattie: But you can acknowledge it.

It’s true, Hattie doesn’t necessarily know the cost of being that first one through the door. What it means when every day you wake up and it’s another day of being alone. And there’s this voice telling you that you can’t give up on your ambitious outlandish dream, even when you’re ripping open your own skin and crushing your own bones to fit into a pretzel to make it there. If Ida’s guarded, she very well might have reason to be.

And so, no — none of it is right. It’s honest. It’s as honest a conversation between two queer Black women as I’ve ever seen on television. No white gaze to filter. No straightness to wade through. Only us. Asking how we can be better accountable to and for ourselves.

Hattie: People take one look at me and they know that I’m gay as hell and I’m Black as hell. And I can’t hide from it. You can.

Ida: I don’t want to.

Hattie: I can’t tell.

Ida: I have shared a lot of my life with the world, and I was hoping that this was one thing that I could keep to myself.

Hattie: There’s a way to be discreet without disowning who you are.

Queer Black women with nothing left to hide. Seeing each other’s fears, and vulnerabilities, and that familiar dinged up, rusted armor we put on to walk in this world.

And promising not protection — because that’s never really possible, not truly — but something like love.


Post-Credit Notes:

+ I couldn’t fit it into the recap, but Nia’s plot this week also included more flirting with Marie’s co-worker and then going on a lil drinks date with him… I still don’t know this dude’s name! But he tells Nia that he’s ready to break up with Lauren (Hattie’s white ex co-worker who has all the funny lines! Welcome to the recap properly, Lauren!! I’ll never forget your name again!)

+ Hattie found out she got fired on Obama Blvd

+ Amount of times I thought to myself that Hattie would be a mistake I’d gladly make: 0

+ Amount of times I thought to myself that Ida would be a mistake I’d gladly make: 0 (and no one is sadder about this than me)

Quote of the episode: Ida: “Oh you just going to eat me out of house and home?” / Hattie, chuckling under her breath: “See.. I could have made a dirty joke right then, but I ain’t gonna do it.”

+ Related to the above point — Ok I lied, there was at least ONE moment when Hattie was a mistake I would gladly make.


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Carmen Phillips

Editor-in-Chief Carmen Phillips is a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer with a PhD in American Studies from New York University. 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 389 articles for us.

16 Comments

  1. Great recap once again!

    Ben is being pretty bold with Nia for someone who is in a relationship but Nia seemed into it so I hope he breaks up with Lauren quickly. I don’t want Nia out here creeping with him.

    I do like Idina but Ima need her to chill out lol I hope she and Hattie can have a good friendship and nothing more……..#TeamIda

    I’m interested to see where this self discovery and open relationship with Chuck and Marie goes. Ultimately, I don’t think they want to be together but time will tell. Hopefully it doesn’t get messy. I’m here for mess tho!

    Date night was too real and I’m glad it ended on a good/hopeful note cuz I wasn’t too sure it would. I hope they can have patience with one another to navigate this (relationship? Situationship? Have they DTR’ed? lol). I feel Ida B is trying but she’s a 40 something closeted woman so it’s gonna take a little time. She’s gotta tear those walls down. I’m rooting for them tho. Although the trailers for next week don’t give much hope lol

  2. Pleasantly surprised by the honest and mature conversation Chuck and Marie had. The leo in me is still hoping for a bit of mess, and to be honest there probably will be. Let’s see how fast it takes for Marie to be under Teyana Taylor’s husband or the white boy, whoever comes first.

    The best thing about having a show like this with black writers and a black audience in mind is that you get to have these unfiltered conversations about race and colorism and gender presentation without it sounding cringey or any hand holding for the viewers. It’s nice to have these two characters have a nuanced talked without there being a a clear “bad guy”.

    Also this is almost the exact conversation I wanted Bette and Pippa to have in tlw but after seeing this I don’t even want that show to attempt it cause I’ll just roll my eyes. But that’s a whole other conversation.

    And if Idina’s so sad about Hattie I will always be there to comfort her. With open arms. And open legs. And an open mouth.

    • “The best thing about having a show like this with black writers and a black audience in mind is that you get to have these unfiltered conversations about race and colorism and gender presentation without it sounding cringey or any hand holding for the viewers. It’s nice to have these two characters have a nuanced talked without there being a a clear “bad guy”.”

      YES. This is it. This is exactly it for me. That’s the whole thing.

  3. “Hattie: People take one look at me and they know that I’m gay as hell and I’m Black as hell. And I can’t hide from it. You can. I’m really hoping she was talking about being gay because there’s no way Ida B could hide being Black.

    • I think it’s very fair that Ida can’t hide from being Black (in the same way that she can “hide” from being gay — though I think there’s some complications as well around the ways that erasure can be a double edge sword for femme cis women too). I also think that as a dark skinned Black woman, Hattie walks through the world very differently from Ida, who is light-skinned. And that’s part of what the comment is speaking too.

      There really are no easy answers! But it’s fair to say that in some context, Hattie’s comment could be seen as saying “Ida wasn’t Black enough” — I don’t personally think that’s what she was saying, but I see it.

  4. Hi. Living in Turin, NW Italy, I don’t get to see these programmes, not that I have time at the moment. Howevs, love reading your stuff and it’s always witty and really pointedly detailed.

    I would gladly make the mistake of Hattie or Ida. Am I desperate or a slut. Or maybe you have higher ethical standards from me (no criticism intended). Love you loads. Frà 💜🤗🌈

  5. I was in awe of the scene when Chuck came out to Marie, and so impressed with her response. I’d assumed she must have known or she wouldn’t have been so affected by his possible flirting with the waiter. I love that this isn’t going to be a cheating situation (at least at first) for Marie or Chuck. It’s a refreshing take.

    And not to get on Carmen’s bad side, but I’m hoping for eventual Idina and Hattie. I love the Hattie Ida storyline. They’re hot and fun and probably a bit of what each of them needs at the moment. But the show is doing such a good job showing the realities of the age and life stage difference that I don’t think it’ll be a forever situation. It’ll be hot and formative for both, and I hope they have fun and learn more about themselves and what they need in a partner before it ends.

    I love this show and these recaps so much (even if I am playing catch up)

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