Why Did Applebee’s Destroy the Lesbian Love Story in Their New Take-Out Commercial?!

Last week Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar released a commercial to promote their new To Go Window, set to the tune of Melissa Etheridge’s 1993 super smash hit, “Come to My Window.” Did you know at the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar’s To Go Window you can order: pasta, wings, quesadillas, celery sticks, mozzarella sticks, nachos, salad, a steak, more pasta, and more wings? I learned that from the commercial. Did you also know that “Come to My Window” was the first single from Melissa Etheridge’s Yes I Am album (as in Yes I Am Gay) which she dropped right after she came out as a lesbian and that the very gay lyrics were written about her gay girlfriend Julie Cypher who crawled through her window for the explicitly gay purpose of scissoring? I did not learn that from the commercial; I already knew it in my brain and heart because “Come to My Window” is one of the most popular gay songs ever written.

Why then, Reader, did Applebees’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar straightwash the lesbian love story right out of the ad?!

Here is Samantha, let’s call her. Sam. She’s walking through the parking garage at the mall after an early evening of shopping and she’s hungry and the first thing she thinks of — okay, the first thing, even though there’s for sure a Sbarro and Chick-fil-A in that mall, and she could have either of those delicacies with an Orange Julius — is driving to an Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar.

In the rain. Driving there in the rain, in the dark. To an Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar.

Is it for the food? Reader, we both know it is not.

What’s it for then? Why go out of your way in treacherous weather to get a to-go steak? Oh, of course, Alex — let’s call her — is the one delivering the food.

I wonder what Alex means to Sam. I wonder if we can tell by the look on Sam’s face when she sees Alex coming to her window, by the light of the moon. I wonder if we can tell by the way she gasps when Alex reaches toward her. And Alex, with a smile on her face, in a torrential downpour, at her job where she probably makes minimum wage and gets tipped ten percent on a bill for a literal one-dollar margarita. The eye contact. The things they do not say.

Love. It’s love. And the whole time they’re beaming at each other in this thunderstorm, let me remind you, Melissa Etheridge is crooning a song that features the lyrics, “I don’t care what they think. I don’t care what they say. What do they know about this love, anyway?” and “I’ll be home, I’ll be home, I’M COMING HOOOOOME.”

It’s a beautiful lesbian love story. It’s basically the plot of Carol — and then Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar ruins it by sending Sam home to her husband.

Nice queerbaiting, Applebee’s. I hope you don’t choke on your stupid wings, Chad.


Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1035 articles for us.


  1. Honestly, my first guess would be that this is her brother and they are watching old home-videos of Sam playing softball and joking about why they didn’t figure it out sooner. But they are so happy Sam found love at Applebee’s!

  2. You are realllllly overthinking this sweetie…Its a commercial…Its a song! After all…Its just food. Cant you do better than this? Appreciate her voice if nothing else. This song could mean a million different things to a million different people…Drop the lesbianism crap. #noonecares

  3. I figured that they did the ad as a quick little fantasy for the bored housewife, who yearns toward her female server to the tune of Melissa’s anthem, but then lands safely back home with her incredibly unimpressive-looking hubby. Would corporate America use repressed lesbian urges to sell take-out meals? I think they would.

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