Friday, May 25, 2018

My Weekend Crush

You didn’t think my Fake TV/Movie Wife Tina Fey would be the subject of a whole-hour long interview and I wasn’t going to write about it, right? Whew, good, I thought we knew each other well enough by now. So my Tina went on David Letterman’s new Netflix show, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” earlier this month. I’ve finally had a chance to watch (and catch her season-closing SNL hosting gig) and I’ve now had my requisite Tina fix and feel amazing.

Two things really stood out for me in her interview with Dave. And they were both gentle yet firm and unmistakable rebukes of his worldview. The first, which has been written about a lot, is how she shut him down on his praise of her SNL Charlottesville/Sheet Cake sketch.

At the time, I like many people really loved and commiserated with its message. This fucking Nazi shit is so infuriating we all just want to scream into a sheet cake and hope it goes away. But, of course, the problem with that is evil doesn’t just slink off if you pay it no mind. In fact evil grows in the darkness, and now in broad daylight as well, fueled by an administration that that insists there are good people on both sides of the “Nazis versus Non-Nazis”-debate.

So in this interview Tina fully addressed the subsequent controversy over her sketch and admits its errors. In short, she chunked it. But then Dave doubles down on his praise and attempts to show himself the arbiter of all that is funny and needs no apology. But, again, Tina isn’t having it. Politely, but clearly. She admits her mistake and says those – like Dave – who don’t see its errors are also mistaken.

Earlier in the interview, she had a more subtle moment of pushback against Dave again. He brings up the topic of women in comedy and the lack of female comedy writers on late night television. And believe it or not he tries to “aw shucks” his way through his systematic exclusion of female writers.

Dave: I know this is a topic you don’t like talking about and it’s a topic without an answer, but women in comedy. And I know you’ve been very generous to women, in correcting an oversight. Now, when I had a television show, people would always say to me — I would do an interview with something somewhere, and they would say, “Why didn’t you, why don’t you have women writers?” And the best I could come up with was, “I don’t know.”

Tina: Yeah.

Dave: I didn’t know why there weren’t women writers. I don’t know. There was no policy against women writers.

Tina: Right.

Dave: And I always thought, “Well, geez, if I was a woman I’m not sure I would want to write on my little nickel-and-dime dog-and-pony show anyway cause we’re on at 12:30.”

Tina: Yeah, we do want to write on it, though.

Dave: Yeah. But that is my ignorance. And I feel bad for that, and it’s changing. Has changed.
Like I said, it’s subtle but it’s there. Ah, Tina, thank you for always being you. And also thank you for bringing back old Sarah P. once more, with feeling.

Happy Tina watching weekend, all.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

You're A Good Woman, Murphy Brown

Oh my TV gods, did I miss Murphy Brown. This was my one of my absolute favorite TV show growing up. I loved “Murphy Brown,” who helped inspired my journalistic and writer aspirations with her take-no-prisoners style. The Murphinator was, and is, a lot to aspire to. And she continues to be the kind of brassy, bold voice we could use a lot more of in this day and age. Plus, they upped the awesome quotient by adding Tyne freaking Daly. So if the alt-right gets Roseanne, I’ll happily take Murphy Brown as one of our champions over on the left. Can you imagine these two going head-to-head in a debate? Oh, wait, we don’t have to. We remember the 2016 election. Murphy can’t come back soon enough.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Mi Vida Television

Look, I know we’re all behind on the shows we want to watch, let alone the shows we’re thinking about watching. And I know I recommend a lot of things (but, seriously, you’ve started watching “Killing Eve” – right?). But if I may squeeze one more show into your busy schedule let it be the Starz show “Vida.” Why “Vida?”

Before you take a deep breath and say, “Ugh, I can’t possibly add another show – UGGGGHHHHHHHHHH,” let me tell you this. This is a half-hour drama with a six-episode first season. So we’re taking, quite literally, a three-hour commitment to watch this series. Hell, I spend three hours flipping through the free movies On Demand sometimes – so, yeah, it’s not hard to fit in.

But why fit it in? Well, first off it’s a well-written drama about two estranged Mexican-American sisters who return to the East Los Angeles neighborhood where they grew up to take care of family affairs after their mother, Vida, dies suddenly. Yet in its short half hour frame it brings up issues of cultural appropriation and white gentrification while also weaving in themes of sexuality, ethnicity and family. And, again, have I mentioned it’s only a half an hour?

It’s also queer as fuck. Vida leaves behind a secret (well, at least to her daughters) wife, played by non-binary actor Ser Anzoategui.

And her eldest daughter, the above-it-all cosmopolitan professional Emma (played by Mishel Prada, left in the below photo), is also not-so-secretly queer.

The fluency in both gender and sexual fluidity comes directly from the source. The show is created by out queer writer/producer/showrunner/playwright Tanya Saracho. Her past credits include “How To Get Away With Murder,” “Looking,” and “Devious Maids.” The show itself is the first series in television history to have an all Latinx writer’s room, which also has many queer writers as well. That writing advice of “know your subject,” well, it shows.

I don’t know where “Vida” is taking its stories, we’re half way though the short six-episode season right now. But I know I’m excited to see where we all end up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Hey, do you want some great gay news from a parallel universe? Of course you do. Anything but this darkest timeline we’re all being tortured in right now. Last week it was announced that Jennifer Aniston and Tig Notaro would star together in the Netflix movie “First Ladies.” The press release described the political comedy thusly:

“ ‘First Ladies’ is a political comedy about America’s first female President and her wife, The First Lady. When Beverly and Kasey Nicholson move into the White House, they’ll prove that behind every great woman… is another great woman.”
I read it twice to make sure I was reading it right the first time. A married female couple in the White House? Yep, this is a queer political comedy.

This is great news for a variety of reasons. One, it’s a high-profile project with two women toplining. Two, it’s a high-profile project featuring two women toplining playing queer women. Three, it’s a high-profile project featuring two women toplining playing queer women, one of whom is queer in real life. Four, it’s a high-profile project featuring two women toplining playing queer women, one of whom is queer in real life and that was written by two queer women (Tig and her wife Stephanie Allynne).

While reading coverage of this news, I found it interesting that hardly any of the media outlets overtly mentioned the film’s obvious LGBTQ themes. They all called the two women wives, but left it unsaid that not only does Jennifer play out first female president, she is also the first female and queer woman elected president. I can’t tell if that’s a sign of the times (like, no big deal, queer people exist) or a strange oversight (um, the historic nature of the first LGBTQ POTUS & FLOTUS seems worth a mention, no?). I think it’s probably a little of both.

Though, what I really, really want to know is how do I vote for this reality instead of our current terrible reality?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Putting the Fairies in Fairy Tales

Hey, did anything happen over the weekend? Oh, right, our former colonizers had a big fancy dress party. Look, I’m a human being and I’m not immune to some of the fancy, extravagant trapping of predominate heteronormative culture. So, yes, I watched Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding (tape delayed – 4 a.m. would even be too early for a gay royal wedding, yo). And because I am here for all of your queer lady needs, I managed to find the gay in even this super, duper straight affair.

So besides stardust spread by Oprah and Amal Clooney and her husband and others, we also had a little fairy dusty coming off some actors who have been in some of our favorite LGBTQ-inclusive shows. Hence Janina Gavankar (Papi from “The L Word), Troian Bellisario (Spencer from “Pretty Little Liars) and Gina Torres (Zoe from “Firefly”) were all in attendance.

And, I even managed to find a little SGALGG between Abigail Spencer and Priyanka Chopra.

God save all these queens, and then some.

Friday, May 18, 2018

My Weekend Crush

My three biggest heroine growing up were Princess Leia, Wonder Woman and Lois Lane. It certainly helped that their actresses were (and are) incredibly talented, intelligent, compassionate, hilarious, complex and downright awesome women in their own right. Also, uh, this may be the root of my thing for brunettes. News of Margot Kidder’s passing on Monday sent a wave of sadness through me. She so embodied the brassy persistence and irrepressible charm of Lois Lane. She turned the lazy stereotype of the girl reporter into something so much more human. And in doing so she became the only woman Superman would – quite literally – move heaven and Earth for. Her very public struggles with bipolar disorder, which led to an even more public nervous breakdown and period of homelessness in the late 90s, continue to show us a very human and humane person who knew that life was full of Kryptonite. To persist doesn’t take superpowers, just endless heart and tireless mettles. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Be Better, Dudes

Look, I relate to all of this. But the hummus part made me spit out my drink. We went to a potluck lesbian wedding last summer and there were – I kid you not – like seven tubs of hummus there. But, seriously, dudes – be better to the women in your lives. Be so much better.

p.s. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Evan Rachel Wood totally agrees.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Watch These Wives

Hey, remember when I got all excited because the second season of “Take My Wife” was finally available to stream and download? Well, I’ve finally had a chance to watch it (On Demand via Starz) and it’s great. It’s actually super duper great. It’s so good. I wish there was more.

I enjoyed the first season, which was good start and incredibly gay if a tad bit process-y at times (look, it happens, we’re lesbians). But the second season is even stronger, doing more showing than telling, and explores what so few shows on American explore. That being the rich, complex, interesting lives of queer women who in many cases don’t conform to the strict gender binary that has been foisted on pretty much all of us since birth. Plus, they’re funny! It’s a show that’s inclusive and funny – for real, it’s possible, people.

And not only is the second season of “Take My Wife” inclusive on screen, it was inclusive behind the camera as well. For season 2 they had an all female writers’ room that was also 43 percent women of color. Of the 47 acting roles, 22 were played by out LGBTQ actors. And they licensed eight songs to play in one of each of the show’s eight episodes – all by queer artists.

You can make really good, really gay, really inclusive content that people will enjoy. It’s possible, it’s being done. Now go watch and support it. And demand so much more of it.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Yes Bi, No Bye

Well that was a sort goodbye. Last week, after fan outrage that “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” was cancelled by Fox on Thursday, it was promptly picked up for a season 6 by NBC on Friday. While I have not been a super regular watcher, I do greatly enjoy everything about Det. Rosa Diaz (and the parallel coming out journey of bi star Stephanie Beatriz). This news is particularly wonderful because it would have been a terrible shame to let such a talented and diverse cast go. So welcome back, Nine-Nine. Thought I will admit my main reason for not being a regular is Andy Samberg (sorry, that’s my thing, I’m just not that into him…) So I am rooting for less Jake and more Rose when it returns. Hey, if a show can rise so gloriously from the dead a girl can dream bigger.