“Twenties” Episode 206 Recap: Stud 4 Soft Stud

Welcome back to your Twenties recap, episode 206 — otherwise known Hattie and Idina sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. In our last episode, Hattie and Ida broke up because Hattie was tired of being kept as Ida’s secret, which is also me being a bit reductive about what’s been a surprisingly nuanced conversation. Also, Idina’s been having a crush on Hattie since Season One! But first…

I know I’m usually here for shits and giggles, but I’ve been nervous to write this recap. So nervous, in fact, that it’s coming to you more than a day late — and I still can’t find the words to get it right! Which I apologize for, right from the top.

Patti LaBelle voice 🗣 “My love, Sweet love…”

To skip to the end first, just for a second (we’ll come back around to it later, I promise), when the Black & White images of Black lesbian couples started scrolling across the screen, my mind wiped blank.

And I’m sure it has everything to do with the fact that I’ve never seen two Black masc women on television hold each other in love, romance, and care like Hattie and Idina. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that no matter how many times we see portraits of Black lesbians in love, it’s still so rare that the power catches your breath catches in your throat  — a reminder that we’ve been here before. We’ll be here after. That if we could reach across time with our stretched fingertips, someplace, somewhere, someone would grasp them.

You should really be reading Nic’s Batwoman recaps.

And though we don’t often talk about other television shows in recaps (that’s not what you’re here for, right?) — I’m also sure that part of why my brain short circuited is that immediately before Wednesday night’s Twenties, over on the CW during Batwoman, a Black lesbian, Sophie, hurt by her Black lesbian crush (who also happens to be the superhero series lead, Ryan) took her gay feelings into a hot gay bar make out with yet another third Black lesbian, Renee, officially launching what I believe will be the first love triangle exclusively between Black lesbians on television… other than potentially the one we’re about to walk into on Twenties with Idina, Hattie, and Ida. These shows air BACK-TO-BACK.

You want to talk about not having the words for something? What is happening this fall for Black queer women’s representation is unmatched. There is not a single point ever in television history where you could even find something comparable. That’s where we are at.

(Also literally as I’m typing, I’ve got a text that Kyle Rittenhouse was of course acquitted on all counts, so.. yeah, just trying to survive the dizzying experience of being Black, being Black and queer, in America. Yup Yup.)

Nah — You ready to apologize for “IDFWU”? Because around here we put respect on Naya Rivera’s name.

Yeah, about that. My bad.

So this week we open with Nia running into Big Sean (WHAT UP DOE, DEEETROIT!????!) at a taco truck. I love Big Sean because I put on for my city and that’s a motherfuckin fact, but I cannot bring myself to care about Nia at this moment! I’m not sure what’s not working for me about the “Nia’s rise to social media stardom” plot? I do get why it’s a relevant story point for Nia’s character, as a former child star/aspiring actress. And I think there are points to be made about Millennials and Gen Z and how we live our lives Very Online. But something hasn’t clicked into place for me yet.

Big Sean and Nia make heart eyes and I love his Detroit accent that sounds like home. Moving on!

Hattie’s at the weed shop, as one does, when she runs into Idina. Idina asks how last night went. Hattie says she and Ida broke up. (Hattie: “I wasn’t gonna keep being her plaything”). Idina and her warm teddy bear brown eyes ask Hattie how’s she’s doing, then Hattie — and wait for it! — ASKS IDINA OUT ON A DATE.

Whew she fine. Carry on.

Pause. Let’s talk about how much I love Idina. The one thing we know about my good sis is that she’s been all over Hattie for a year now, just waiting to shoot her shot. She made her feelings known last season in a speech about homonormativity, Blackness, queerness, and the boxes we force mascs into that still reverberates.

My Narrator Voice, Rewind the Tape! Episode 108:

“Hattie, I’m a lesbian. Which means I like women, all kinds of women. I like soft women, feminine women, masculine women, trans women, Black women… so if you want to limit yourself to the type of women you date, that’s cool, but I do think you should reconsider, because I know you see me out in the world with my locks and baggy clothes, but you have no idea what I’m like behind closed doors. When I take my clothes off, when I let my hair down, you don’t know if I’m dominant or submissive, if I like it rough or if I like to take it slow… I’m pretty good at taking myself, what makes you think I can’t take care of you?”  — Idina, A Real One

And that’s not even going into all the things Idina has done for Hattie this season, inviting Hattie to her writers’ group and being on her Nicki Minaj talking bout “yes I do the cooking, yes I do the cleaning.” So of course the smart money was on Idina tripping over her own feet to say yes. But instead… Hold Up.

Idina isn’t a plaything either. She doesn’t want to be someone that Hattie messes around with because she’s bored. She deserves more than a rebound.

Hattie does that Jonica Gibbs thing where she stops being goofy and pours all her charm into you, “That’s not what this is, I promise. I want to get to know you better. Give me chaaaaaance.

And no one can say no to those dimples, so Idina agrees. STUD-4-SOFT-STUD DATE NIGHT!

(Nia goes hiking with Big Sean the Don. They fight about social media. See my previous commentary and insert it here, let’s keep it moving.)

Guess who skipped the musical season of Dear White People and came out on top?

Back at home, Nia’s reconsidering her life choices when her big sister shows up at the door! And omg it’s Kelsey the lesbian from the best seasons of Dear White People (actress real name: Nia Jervier).

Kelsey’s been sent by their parents to get Nia’s life in order because she’s getting dragged online for playing an over-the-top stereotype. Big Sister Dear White People also promptly kicks Hattie out of the house (I told you that Lauren’s invite for Hattie to stay at her house would come back!). She then has Hattie, Nia, and Marie over for a family dinner where she gives them the “sage advice” that sometimes settling is better than soul mates. I definitely understand her larger point, life can’t always be passion — you can grow in love with almost anyone you commit with — but also I hope none of my loved ones choose “settling” as their life choice, ya know?

Marie goes home to an empty house, very much heavily weighing Big Sister Dear White People’s commentary, while Chuck is out exploring his first time at a gay bar.

Chuck, at a table swirling a glass of red wine, is so nervous that even though he’s sitting still, it practically ripples off his skin. A very sweet man comes over to flirt, offering Chuck another glass. Chuck says if he drinks too much, too quickly, he will start singing — and he wants to make a good impression. Cutie man says, but maybe you’ll sing for me later? And listen, I swooned.

(Same night, Nia has Big Sean at her house. Still don’t know what’s going on, but I think they decide to keep flirting in the future? Emoji shrug.)

STUD-4-SOFT-STUD DATE!! AHHHHH!

[redacted]

[I SAID, REDACTED!!!!]

Let’s start with fashion, I know you want to know: Hattie’s in yet another flower suit jacket, but not the same one from Marie’s engagement party. She has on a white button up and a gold chain that shimmers with the warm glow of my own eyes as I stare lovingly upon (ahemmm sorry — not the point!!). Idina’s wearing a simple flannel button down layered underneath a black bomber jacket and again, a whole babe. Hattie and Idina are just are just two babes talking real soft and I am beside myself, do you understand what I am saying???

Idina hates traditional first date questions, so she proposes a twist on the genre. What if instead they ask questions like, “If you could only eat Mac-and-Cheese or Ice Cream for the rest of your life, what would you choose?” Which is flirty and fun until Hattie hits with the “What’s something you wish you weren’t good at?” — and once again, we feel the mood shift. This has become a Twenties signature, everything is lighthearted until it’s not, and I fall for it every time.

Idina wishes she wasn’t so good at taking care of others, just so that maybe — just maybe — someone might take care of her for once. And yes that’s a thug tear of recognition you see rolling out my eye.

Hattie asks Idina what she thought of Big Sister Dear White People’s advice: Can there be love without passion? Idina believes that love isn’t any one thing, sometimes it’s passionate and sometimes it’s boring (a word). Hattie’s never been good at boring, she moves from one thing to the next. But she’s missing the whole point; it’s not about what’s boring, it’s about what is steady.

Idina’s been here, Idina’s been steady.

And so, Idina takes Hattie home to her bed. The collage of black-and-white portraits of Black lesbian couples being to scroll, kissing, smiling wide mid-laughter, holding each other by our bellies, pressing to each other with our lips, old couples, young couples — and if I cried a thug tear before now it’s a tsunami. We are so beautiful, even when we only see ourselves. We deserve every tenderness and care that this cruel world can offer us. We deserve our own softness.

❤️

Hattie is nervous, she’s going to have sex and this time it’s going to mean something.

Idina holds her.

They kiss.

Then, they kiss again. Idina makes her laugh. They lay down. Idina grabs Hattie by the hips as they roll over. The camera turns sideways above them, panning out, but they are still kissing. Still holding. Masculine, and strong. And a year ago Hattie couldn’t see this for herself — she couldn’t imagine this vulnerability without a femme. She said so herself. But now she has Idina, who’s been her friend, her companion. Who’s grabbing her by the pockets of her Dickies and roaming her hands against her white tank top.

Beautiful. They are so damn beautiful.


Post-Credit Notes:

+ Is anyone else also having a problem connecting with Nia’s plot? Or am I alone in that?

+ Amount of times I thought to myself that Hattie would be a mistake I’d gladly make: 2 (“give me a chaaaaance” with those dimples, and then later with the same dimples on date night — honestly also during the entire last  hookup scene with Idina but as a high femme person I know that wasn’t my space or about me, so I’ll see myself out.)

+ Amount of times I thought to myself that Idina would be a mistake I’d gladly make: 1 (during date night. WELCOME TO THE LEADER BOARD, BB! Unlike Hattie and Ida, who stay messy, you actually aren’t a mistake I’d make. Hard working, good communicator, honest. I’d take you with open arms anytime.)

Quote of the episode: “I’ve given out a lot of love in my life, I’m ready to receive it.” — Idina


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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.

13 Comments

  1. There were lots of squees in this household. As an Ida type with a Hattie type (but with better age and power dynamics), who wishes we’d gotten Studsville as a series on a network, this episode was exactly what was needed and I adored hearing my partner squeal at seeing herself be twice loved. Oh, and Chuck/New Friend was also brilliant. Aftershow this week was also great and I am so thrilled to see some of my NC queer squad (Jojo and B Scott) be leading this Black queer moment on network TV.

    Thanks again for making it a priority to write about this. Nowhere near enough Black commentary on Black shows on any site, straight or queer.

  2. Church Carmen!

    You know what? I love that this show is black. Know what I mean? I love how it’s black without being that stereotypical blaxploitation or Tyler Perry type black. Ol’ light skinned Carlton the IV was kinda right when it comes to this subject only. I know these people. I’ve dated and am friends/family with these people. And oh shiiii there’s black gayness too! There I am! That’s me! Reflection and representation man. Ba da ba ba bah…lovin’ it.

    Not a fan of Hattie tampon-ing herself into another pum pum in search of love instead of fixing her life or of Idina potentially (but hopefully not) setting herself up to be a soybean burger bitch but that sweet lip session, which was a 20/10, did something to me. I’ve been damn so hungry like starving while grocery shopping hungry for gay black on black content on my tv and between this show and Batwoman I am being nourished. As for the butch/soft butch or butch/butch love, as Juvenile said, “I want it in my life. I need it in my life. Come put it in my life”. Yes please and thank you.

    Btw…I’m not knocking interracial or non-black relationships or shows at all because I’m all about tuning in and connecting with who/what you connect with. Taste that mf rainbow safely, consensually and often. However, on behalf of the black lesbian typing this long ass comment, who still wants to be fed let me say there is something magical about tv showing connections through shared blackness and gayness and letting both just breathe and exist without being annoying af or trivial af or muted because “non-black people won’t understand” or all of the above.

    I did take some Benadryl prior to typing this which is basically codeine to my sensitive ass and I’m pretty sure its kicked in. All apologies if it makes no damn sense. We good, right?

    • ANOTHER LONG COMMENT!!!!! A treat!!!!

      No but seriously you had me dyyyyyyying with this one! YES. Yes to all of it.

      “ on behalf of the black lesbian typing this long ass comment, who still wants to be fed let me say there is something magical about tv showing connections through shared blackness and gayness and letting both just breathe and exist without being annoying af or trivial af or muted because “non-black people won’t understand” or all of the above.” ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ X infinity

  3. “I definitely understand her larger point, life can’t always be passion — you can grow in love with almost anyone you commit with — but also I hope none of my loved ones choose “settling” as their life choice, ya know?”

    i might not mind if this were understood upfront, like communicating what the extent of the emotional connection was and both parties choosing or not to participate. would i measure how much i gave or accepted? maybe; if it was a choice i knowingly made, then whatever happens i would have chosen. but i would take it pretty hard to find out after the fact that the person i put all of myself into was not really in it.

    • Oh yeah I completely agree! I assume in that situation what’s being discussed is both parties agreeing together to grow into love in their marriage, not one person just like marrying someone they didn’t love and not telling that person. That would be so cruel!

  4. I like Hattie and Idina giving it a go but I don’t see this ending well. Our good sis needs Iyanla’s help fixing her life. Since she asked Idina out on the date, I’m assuming she paid but since she has no job or place to live, what coins did she use?

    No, you’re not the only one bored with Nia’s storyline. I see the importance of it but nah, I’m good! She’s not zen like she used to be. Big Sean is nice to look at though!

    This was the first episode without Ida and I miss looking at her on the screen. So, let the love triangle begin!

    • Yeah I also don’t see Idina and Hattie ending well (at least, not based on what we know right now) and tbh I’m already dreading it! I want the best for Idina!! But I don’t think Hattie’s there yet to be what Idina needs. I think she’s gonna genuinely try at it though.

      “ Since she asked Idina out on the date, I’m assuming she paid but since she has no job or place to live, what coins did she use?” BWAHAHAA Real questions that deserve real answers!!

  5. Carmen I’ve been reading your recaps but not actually watching the show but after I read this I was like fuuck it! Imma watch! And I’m glad I did. I’m crushing hard and I’m so happy to see my gay black fantasies on the small screeeeen. Hattie is fucking lucky! Shit!

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