Thursday, February 28, 2013

SGALGG: Oscars Edition

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming. So the Oscars were on Sunday. If you want a comprehensive recap of the big show (Cliffs Notes version: boobs song, sexist joke, Jaws theme, J-Falls perfectly) check it out over at AfterEllen. If you want to see a bunch of Straight Gals Acting Like Gay Gals together, well, you know where to go. No, wait, don’t go anywhere. Stay here, because that’s where they are. No, I mean it. Just scroll down.

Jennifer Lawrence & Anne Hathaway

Don’t they look like the toppers on a gay lady same-sex wedding cake? Replace those shiny naked golden men with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and it’s pretty much ready for the “I Dos.”

Catherine Zeta-Jones & Jennifer Hudson

I am telling you, I’m not going…down on you in front of all of these people. Wait until later, darling.

Amanda Seyfried & Jessica Chastain

Zero Dark Eyes Up, Chastain. Eyes up.

Norah Jones & Adele

Think of the beautiful music they could make together. Figuratively and literally.

Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts & Isla Fisher

Naomi is the shiny meat in this beautiful cobalt blue sandwich.

Sally Field & Amy Poehler

Kiss! Make it a threesome with Tina Fey! Or with Aubrey Plaza since she’s leering at you two together in the background already.

Halle Berry & Paula Patton

No, you’re prettier. No, you’re prettier. No, you’re prettier. No, you’re… Sorry, I’m imagining their conversation.

Anne Hathaway & Sarah Silverman

Unlike Zeta-Jones and JHud, they’re not waiting to be alone to make the magic happen.

Miley Cyrus & Kelly Osbourne

This is becoming a regular thing for these two. Same time, same place next year I can only assume.

Jennifer Aniston & Charlize Theron

The blurriness of this picture was obviously caused by Jen lunging toward Charlize because no one has the kind of restraint to hold herself back when presented with that much stunning.

Charlize’s Hair

I’ve never asked a haircut to call me before. But in this case, gurl, call me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FLOTUS Dance Party

It’s been an intense two days. And I just want to have some fun. And in doing so say how much I appreciate all of you kind, lovely people who come back day-after-day, week-after-week, year-after-year to read the assorted flotsam and jetsam that floats through my mind. And when I grow weary, you’re the ones who lift me up and remind me why writing for and about a vibrant and underrepresented community matters. And that makes me feel like dancing. And I’m going to take a few cues from the First Lady of the United States and try out my best mom moves in the middle of my living room. I’m partial to the “Oh My God, I Love This Song.” Hey, if I could do it half as well as Mrs. Obama, I’d be happy. FLOTUS dance party!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Write Stuff

Let’s get two facts out of the way right away. 1) I am not perfect. In fact I am practically imperfect in every way. 2) I am not AfterEllen. I just write for them and respect their mission. With that said, I feel it’s important to discuss this furious Hydra that has emerged from my post yesterday. Think I am kidding? Read the comments.

But first, some more facts. AfterEllen has only two full-time salaries staff employed by Logo. There is also an assistant editor and the rest of us writers are all freelance. All of my writing for AE since I started in 2007 is freelance, done in my free time for a small commission. I also work a full-time, 40-plus hour a week job that allows me to keep the lights on and pay my cable bill. I write about pop culture and the lesbian community because I love to do it and because it alternately thrills and enrages me when the two intersect. I hope and fight every day for a world where it is more of the former and less of the later.

I have been intensely interested in all things “Lost Girl” and Doccubus since early 2011, when I finally succumb to the smoking snippets I kept seeing on YouTube and marathoned everything I could find. I was left feeling giddy and energized and turned on. Because, this show is hot – an unavoidable repeating theme when your hero is a supernaturally powerful bisexual succubus who must feed off the sexual energy of others to survive. My love for the show, its characters and actresses should be unmistakable to anyone who has been following along these past two years when I’ve practically accosted people on the street and yelled, “Are you watching Lost Girl? Well you should be!” into their faces.

Which leads us to last week, where this happened. 1) I wrote a recap on Tuesday of the episode that contained the line “Look, I’m steadfastly, unwaveringly Team Doccubus. But, dammit, if Copubus isn’t all kinds of hot.” Because I thought it was hot. And I called it hot. And then 2) On Tuesday morning after seeing the intense flurry of more than 60 comments at that point (yes, I counted) on the recap, most of which were talking about Doccubus v. Coppubus and one of which even specifically discussing the shipping war that had erupted in the thread complete with corroborating animated gifs, I posted this tweet:

If you think that’s somehow throwing Doccubus under the bus and abandoning my favorite current ship on television, I am sorry. I see it as having fun with a show that has almost too many hot characters than it knows what to do with. I did not create Copubus out of clay and present it to the world as a shining statue to shipperdom. I just noticed it existed. And I joke because I’m entirely and unquestionably secure in by belief that Doccubus can handle and best any competition, real or imagined.

We can argue until the cows come home and those cows have babies and then those baby cows come home and they have their own baby cows and so on and so moo about which ships are our favorite and which deserve more coverage and which are getting shortchanged. But in the end hopefully you can see that my ultimate goal is always for there to be more and better LGBT stories for us to enjoy. I am inclined, despite my misanthropic nature, to still believe the best in people until presented with the opposite reality. I would hope you afford me that same courtesy instead of attributing nefarious motivations to things which you do not fully understand yet.

Because here is what I believe about these stories that flicker across that glass box in our living rooms. We, the viewers, are entitled to the best stories possible. We are entitled to authentic characters and real portrayals. We are not, however, entitled to our favorite pairing living happily ever after. We simply are not, as much as we want it. We can hope for it and advocate for it and fight with our last breath for it. But writers do not have to give it to us, they only have to give us the most honest story they can.

And there is a real nuance to this point, and the nuance is everything. I get mad and will always be mad at Ilene Chaiken because her stories were not authentic. She gave us wonderful characters and amazing relationships, but then she jerked them around like a mad puppeteer and we all saw the strings and wished so much we could cut them. I am thankful to her for creating the show, but I wish she had let it live free of her personal agenda.

Same goes for Ryan Murphy and “Glee.” The show can, when it’s truly on, give us stunning moments of universal empathy where something which the wider world did not understand before becomes crystalline before all of our eyes. Kurt receiving the unconditional love of his father. Santana cracking open the hard shell she protected her soft heart with. These moments moved us. But then characters flitted and floated and look, something shiny. And he insisted we should be happy we got Brittana in the first place. But, at least for me, it wasn’t just about giving them a happily ever after. It was giving them a real reason for not riding off into the sunset together. I am thankful to him for creating the show, but I wish he had let it live free of his personal agenda.

I am not, however, mad at say a Joss Whedon or a Shonda Rhimes because as crazypants and tragic and disappointing as some of their plot twists may be, they do it in pursuit of their stories, not just their own desire to bend the world to their megalomania. But now I’ve veered into a philosophical discussion of my television-based worldview. Which, you know, embarrassing.

If you think my or AE’s coverage of “Lost Girl” is lacking, tell us where we can improve. But also be realistic. “Lost Girl” gets recaps, actress interviews, news updates, viewing guides and general commentary about it on the regular. The site has done interviews with the stars of the show every year the show has been on the air. Not too many series with major LGBT characters have afforded us the same courtesy and access. This is no small feat for a non-mainstream media site to accomplish. Almost every single post about the show gets promoted into the marquee on the AE homepage. The only reason I do not include a Twitter roundup of “Lost Girl” fans comments like with some other shows is because this show airs in two different countries on two different days. And it would become too cumbersome and time consuming for me to track, review and catalogue hundred of tweets over a two-day period. I am but one girl with a computer, and sometimes even I need to sleep.

You want a wide-reaching article about “Lost Girl”’s impact on popular culture? Sure, one might be due. But also realize AE is a commercial news and entertainment site and as such it goes where the audience is. “Glee” gets more coverage because “Glee” has a larger audience. That’s just another fact. Last season it averaged around 7 million viewers per episode where “Lost Girl” hovered right around 1 million. And “Pretty Little Liars” averages around 2.5 to 3 million viewers a week its last season. And if you think all of the coverage of “Glee” of late has been positive, you just weren’t paying attention.

As for AE coverage in general? Well, as I mentioned, I’m not the one steering that ship. But I will say the site over the years has evolved and while it is not perfect, because nothing is, it strives to give full and far-reaching coverage of what has become a very diverse universe of lesbian media. No site can be all things to all people. And, yes, it devotes some coverage to subtext because, again, there’s an audience there who asks for it. If you do not enjoy the subtext coverage, I politely ask you simply do not read it. Because there is plenty of coverage of maintext you can read instead. This season alone the site has recapped “Lost Girl,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Glee,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Bomb Girls,” “The Good Wife,” “Degrassi,” “Chicago Fire,” “True Blood,” “Last Tango in Halifax,” “White Collar,” “American Horror Story: Asylum,” “Emily Owens MD,” “The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons,” “Project Runway” and “R&B Divas” – all shows with a major lesbian and/or bisexual character and/or contestant. The only shows it currently recaps with subtext? “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Once Upon a Time.”

(Please note and respect that I am emphatically not here to debate the merits of subtext. That is another post for another day.)

Bashing the people in your community who chose to write about and champion our representation, out of nothing more than love for the medium and a desire to see our lives reflected back honestly to us, doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t make TV writers write more LGBT characters. And it doesn’t create a utopian universe of LGBT visibility. All it does is make the people who do the writing weary. That’s not a threat, that’s just a fact.

p.s. You pick a fight with Heather Hogan, you pick a fight with me. She has done more to promote visibility, service fandom and make the world less lonely for people like us on the outside looking in than anyone I know. That’s my homegirl. And you can’t talk shit about my homegirl in my house.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sink the Battleships

To quote my favorite red-haired witch, love makes you do the wacky. Love for another person. Love for our families. Love for our friends. Love for our favorite fictional characters. And love for what those fictional characters represent.

I know this; I feel it too. But sometimes I forget. Like when I joke about enjoying the hot so-called shipping wars between Doccubus and Copubus on “Lost Girl.” Wait, back up, let’s begin at the beginning. The wires and lights in a box currently only has one, yes one, TV show centered around a singular lesbian or bisexual female character. That show is “Lost Girl.” Sure, lesbian and bisexual female characters are parts of other leading ensembles – “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Glee.” But not centered around them, which makes Bo Dennis that much more important.

And also important is the relationship Bo has had with one Dr. Lauren Lewis since the very start of the show. From first touch, these two have had electric chemistry. And we’ve waited, through starts and stops and girlfriends in a coma, until these two were in an honest to goodness, lasts more than one episode real relationship. And this season, we finally have it. Doccubus is here and it is glorious.

But now, as happily ever afters make for very dull television, there is a wrench. Bo (a bisexual Succubus who must feeds off of the sexual energy – or chi – of victims to live) needs to do just that with people other than her human lover/girlfriend/hotpants Lauren. Welcome to TV’s interesting open same-sex relationship.

As such, last week Bo and former No. 1 frenemy Tamsin, the Valkyrie Dark Fae police detective with a mean right hook, made with the kissy face. Sure, it was a necessity so Bo could go on. But it was still a kiss and as such was, empirically speaking, kinda hot. I am just a red-blooded American gay gal and I call two hot ladies together hot when I see them being hot together.

That does not, however, invalidate my feelings for Doccubus. That does not invalidate how much I enjoy/support/respect Bo and Lauren’s relationship. Nor, do I think, it in any way undermines them. But, judging form the heated explosion of Doccubus v. Copubus comments to last week’s recap, everyone does not feel the same way.

Look, far be it from me to say who you can and can’t ship as a couple. Just was we all have an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, so do we have the right to pursue all three through the semi-obsessive devotion to a fictional couplehood that may or may not exist in the aforementioned universes. Love your loves, ship your ships. And if you must start playing battleship, do so without denigrating the quality of someone else’s boat. At least that’s how I look at this big board game of life.

So, on this hiatus week for “Lost Girl,” let’s all take a breath and enjoy the show. More fans getting more excited about a real or wishful coupling means more people are invested in the show. And more, from a TV perspective, is always better. And shipping need not be a blood sport. Can’t we all just get along? Also, Doccubus4Lyfe.

UPDATE: Look, if you don’t like playful discussion of Copubus, that’s cool. I am solidly and forever Team Doccubus and have been since I started writing about the show in early May 2011, both on my site and on AfterEllen. I have recapped the show for AfterEllen since Sept. 2011 when I began weekly reviews of the second season and then wrote simultaneous retro recaps at of the first season to coincide with the U.S. airings. AfterEllen has been covering the show since November 2010 when we ran our first interview with Anna Silk. That’s less than two months after the show premiered in Canada. So to make bizarre claims of bandwagon jumping is beyond ridiculous. And to attack other talented AE writers who I respect and am friends with is not allowed on my site. And, once again, your facts are wrong – she interviewed them before the season but Showcase asked us to hold them for fear of spoilers, then she reinterviewed them entirely later in the season when the old information was obsolete. Those new Q&As ran within days of her interviewing them.

My post today was about getting along in fandom. About not attacking each other and enjoying the stories both put before and those we weave ourselves with passion and respect. If you want to yell at me about subtext, that’s your prerogative. But that’s not the discussion I am trying to have here. And to conflate the two brief comments I’ve made about Copubus with the homophobic rantings of some troll elsewhere is beyond insulting. This is my personal, non-commercial blog which I run because I love pop culture and lesbians and whenever and however the two intersect. If you bite all the open hands extended to you, all that will be left in the world are mangled stumps.

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Weekend Oscars

I have loved the Oscars since I was a little girl and used to beg my parents to let me stay up past my bedtime to watch gorgeous people in extravagant outfits thank their parents and agents and Meryl Streep. So leading up to Oscar Sunday, I get those same excited butterflies. Even when the show is deathly dull, which it undoubtedly will be for unconscionably long stretches, I can’t help but get caught up in the occasion. Something about that little naked golden man makes even the most beautiful, glamourous and talented people in the world turn into blubbering fools. It’s fantastic.

But this year I find myself in the unusual situation of having seen none – yes, NONE – of the best picture nominees. For whatever reason 2012 was a slow movie year for me and I only got out to see a handful of them in the theaters, none which were apparently Oscar worthy. Sure I wanted to see some of the films (chief among them “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Silver Linings Playbook”), but it just hasn’t happened yet. So I go into this year without any obvious favorites and with no real reason to act enraged or elated when someone wins or loses. So instead this year I am flat-out base my rooting system on who I think will be the most entertaining/delightful/bizarre acceptance speeches. If I’m just watching it for the show, it might as well be a good one.

So, if you want to follow along with me as I live-tweet this year’s shindig, these are the nominees I’ll be throwing my support behind. Once again, these picks are not based on quality or deserving it (though a few do both), but instead on solely what I perceive will be my personal sense of viewing enjoyment.

1. Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress
Jennifer Lawrence is hilarious, quotes “Mean Girls” and “The First Wives Club” in her speeches and generally seems like the BFF we all wish we had to watch the Oscars with. I want her to win all the awards always.
2. Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway quoted Tina Fey and also will more than likely cry. Her pixie cut is really cute, too. And she was one Princess of Genovia.
3. Joaquin Phoenix for Best Actor
Please, you know that speech would be a fucking disaster. If we’re really lucky he’ll give it with a frog on his head.
4. Tommy Lee Jones for Best Supporting Actor
But only if he promises to do his Grumpy Cat impression throughout his speech.
5. “Frankenweenie” for Best Animated Film
If Tim Burton wins we’ll be treated to many reaction shots of Helena Bonham Carter and whatever crazytown gothic carnival ride of a getup she decided to grace us with.
6. “Skyfall” for Best Song
Because any day Adele gets to go on stage, open her mouth and say things into a microphone is a good day.
7. A Meteor that takes out host Seth MacFarlane
To be honest, this is what I’m rooting for the hardest. And just in case I think the producers should have Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and/or any other hilarious female comedian who would do a better job hosting this thing waiting in the wings.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shaken, still stirred

For whatever reason – craziness of a shortened holiday week, fighting off a cold, late February doldrums, alignment of the moon – it has been a very trying week. So yesterday, I put Florence on repeat and shook it out for about 15 minutes. I found it quite cathartic. If you are having a similar kind of week, feel free to boost my self-help remedy. If not, save it for a rainy day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hot Rod

How do you solve a problem like Michelle Rodriguez? On the one hand, she’s amazing. Hot, fierce, unwilling to compromise her vision of self for the confines of conventional femininity. On the other hand, she’s perplexing. Protesting, some would say way too much, about how much Mitchie likes sausage and other things that alienate her from her steadfast lesbian and bisexual female fanbase.

So I, like many a gay lady, had the same reaction when that “Fast & Furious 6” trailer came on during the Super Bowl earlier this month. No. 1, Oh, for fuck’s sake, why is there another one of these? And No. 2, oh, fuck, that’s Michelle Rodriguez in a tank top. Then a distant No. 3 was, wait, didn’t her character die? Stripping all sexual politics away, Michelle appeals to lesbians (not all, clearly, but oh so many) on a very basic level. Her toughness, her strength and her absolute smoking hotness in a tank top tap into our communal primal vein.

Which, I think, is why it’s even more disappointing when she’s erratic when we expect her to be empowering. I don’t pretend to know, for 100 percent certain, M-Rod’s sexual orientation. (Though I do have a female friend who swears she hit on her at a party.) Nor do I want to take away her right to, if it is indeed the case, come out on her own terms and in her own time. I just wish, from all of us, that she was as cool at dealing with her queer female fans and their complimentary wishful thinking as she was while kicking ass and wearing a tank top in the movies.

While I have, very proudly, never seen a single “Fast & Furious” movie from start to finish, I will say whenever the movie comes out I plan to search the series of tubes feverishly to see the fight between Michelle and Gina Carano that starts at the 2:23 mark in this trailer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sweet lady drunken hookups

Drunken hot girl-on-girl hookups just in time for sweeps week. Sweeeeet. For my SEO, I mean. For us, the viewers? Well, let’s talk about it. So, yes, Quinn and Santana totally did it. Like drunken squeals, naked limbs, tousled hair did it. Like this is what happens when collegiate sexual curiosity meets and an ex dancing within feet of you with some dude who does a terrible Sean Connery impersonation and is mixed liberally with fake IDs and an open bar. And, to be honest, I didn’t really mind it.

And, as long as we’re being honest, we really like it when girls hook up. Don’t lie. We like it. We dream about it. We root for it. We petition for it. We create elaborate fandoms built around it. We really, really like it. Just like you always want the cute girl you just met to be gay, or the celebrity you love to be gay, we want the characters we like to be gay – and gay for each other. We crave having our experiences reflected back to us, for other people to be like us, even if just on screen. So, Quinn and Santana hooking up with was, in concept, A-OK by me. Also, Santana’s exuberant cheer at the prospect of getting to know the last member of the Unholy Trinity in a biblical sense was pretty damn priceless.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The question then is whether Quinn and Santana hooking up in action was A-OK. And, it was and it wasn’t. Was the way their mutual bonding, drunken flirting and ultimate exploration played out realistically? Yes, yes it very much was. Since we’re on that honesty train, there’s a reason they call alcohol a social lubricant. If you haven’t had a drunken hook-up, it’s probably only because you’ve never been drunk. Which is of course fine. But liquid courage is real thing and mutually enjoyed by both the straight girls who need a reason to drop their inhibitions (along with their drawers) and the gay gals who need a reason to not care that the girls are straight. And Quinn and Satnana have a real history and a real connection that dates back to the first season of the show. They are indeed two ends of the same bitch-goddess spectrum. So, yes, in execution the Great Quintanna Explosion felt authentic.

But then there’s that bit about how it wasn’t. Because as amazing as seeing their post coital bliss and epic sex hair, I wish we weren’t seeing them for sweeps week. Timing, along with size, matters. Look, I’m glad in the great music chairs game of couplehood that is “Glee,” the Valentine’s Day episode gave us four couples bound for the bedroom and half of them were gay. But I’m less happy that the it has to happen on one of the few period a year that TV networks try to pump up ratings to be able to maximize ad rates. The Lesbian Sweeps Kiss has a long and frustrating history stretching form “LA Law” to “Friends” to “Party of Five” to the “The O.C.” to “Heroes” and I could go on.

While the execution on screen doesn’t necessarily scream Sweeps Lesbianism, it none the less falls into the category. And that’s disappointing. Because it is precisely these kinds of unexpected moments that can be the most exciting for us. When we see our own life amplified. Like when a show about a bunch of singing and dancing teenagers in twenthysomething bodies opens up with two cheerleaders talking about sweet lady kisses on top of each other in bed at the beginning of October for no reason other than it just felt right.

p.s. Though, nice touch with Quinn’s badly needed swig of water. ‘Cause a girl can get mighty parched while getting mighty wet. Ahem.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Madam President

It’s President’s Day here in the states. And we’ve had a lot of them. Some better, some worse. Some of them great, some of them very much the opposite. All of them men. So, I’m just saying, it’s time. Also, our suits can be so much more colorful. 2016, ladies. Let’s run this mother.

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Weekend Crush

So finally, finally, finally I had a chance to watch that Swedish import “Kyss Mig.” I’ve wanted to see if forever but a combination of happenstance and limited releases and a little laziness kept me from it until a few weeks ago. I had, despite my tardy viewing, I had diligently declined to read reviews. Because spoilers (Darth Vader is Luke’s father, They were on Earth all along, Soylent Green is people) are the worst. So it was with an open mind and an anxious heart I pressed play. And, to my great relief, what I saw was lovely. Simply lovely.

Certainly the story is nothing terribly new. Two women meet (in this case soon-to-be grown-up stepsisters – OK, that part is a little new) and fall in love. One woman is engaged to a man. Another is an out lesbian. I could make a cheap it’s “Imagine Me & IKEA” joke here. But I’m clearly above that. What I will say is while the tale may be familiar, it’s the journey not the destination that really matters. And the journey this pretty little picture takes us on is one of stolen glances and palpable longing. Of expectations and reality. Of being brave enough to want out loud. Of emotions boiling madly beneath a serene surface. The film feels at once languid and intense. The acting, the cinematography, the score. Everything comes together through the eyes of its beautiful leading ladies ((Ruth Vega Fernandez and Liv Mjönes) to be that most pleasant and unexpected of surprises. A good lesbian movie that was definitely worth the wait. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Hiding Under the Porch Day

Look, I’m no fan of the Greeting Card Industrial Complex. But I am a fan of love. And I am a fan of the occasional good cry. So on this, that most militantly romantic of days, let us all feel the love together through the tears. Remember, even while it may not seem like it sometimes, there are plenty of Dug the Dogs out there in the world. And they have only to meet you to love you. So keep heart and happy Valentine’s Day, kittens. Also, you look very pretty today. I don’t say that enough. But it’s true.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dance Emergency

Sometimes a gal just needs to dance it out. And today, today is that day. So whether you’re dancing on your own, or in a packed room, or like nobody is watching, the floor is yours.

Nicki Minaj, “Pound the Alarm”

Crazy? Yes. Crazy fun? Definitely.

M.I.A., “Bad Girls”

Also crazy. Also a good thing.

Ellie Goulding, “Anything Could Happen”

I wanted to hear this song once more before “Glee” ruined it forever.

Robyn, “Call Your Girlfriend”

Even SNL cast members need to dance it out sometimes. And if you don’t think Taran Killam’s choreography is spot-on, check it out for yourself.

Right, now, doesn’t that feel better? And, please, feel free to share your secret dance stash. A gal never knows when she’ll have another dance emergency.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I know what Girls want

I fucking love “Girls.” Both the gender and the TV show. My love for both are intertwined and layered. My love of women, particularly smart creative ones, led me to the show. My love of the show, even its flaws and unflattering bits, deepened my love for women. While it’s certainly not chicken egg – girls, lower case “g,” came way, way, wayyyyy first – they compliment each other in unexpected ways.

So it is with curiosity, commiseration and concern that I watch the backlash and reaction to the show. Which is, in itself, a fascinating look at gender politics and other things someone at some college somewhere is no doubt writing a very wordy thesis about this very second. Criticism of the show, its whiteness and privilege, entitlement and narcissism, have been there since day one and everyone and anyone has weighed in with varying degrees of insight. (James Franco, whatever dude. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, thoughtful perspective, man.) Hell, even all the AfterEllen writers engaged in a spirited more than 60-string long email chain dissection of the show last week.

Now I have no problem with people pointing out some very valid concerns with the show, particularly those about the show’s lack of ethnic diversity. I am all for showing a more inclusive world, I am all for more perspectives and more otherness. Give me more, make it authentic, fuck tokenism. But I am also a realist who knows that no one television show can be all things to all people. Nothing can represent us all, can show every aspect of life’s unending kaleidoscope. So then what I ask, nay demand, is that it does the best it can with its small slice on the wheel.

And with that, that is where I think “Girls” triumphs. Hannah’s experiences may not be yours. And there’s a very good possibility you wouldn’t even want to be her friend, or hang with her friends. She is at once a classic and singular American antihero. Classis in that she is the lead who does bad things and allows her weaknesses to show. Yet singular in that female antiheroes are rare and rarer still are those without violent agency like your Lisbeths or Faiths or even Starbucks. Others far smarter than I have already espoused on Hannah’s unique place in the antihero pantheon, but suffice it to say the female intellectual antihero is a character I could watch all day, every day.

Which brings me to the criticism of “Girls” and its creator Lena Dunham that bothers me the most. The arguments that essentially boil down to this: Where does this young girl who doesn’t deserve it get off? And it’s one that Dunham herself addressed in this week’s sly postcard of an episode, “One Man’s Trash.” The setup, for those who do not watch, was that Hannah meets a handsome, older, successful doctor Joshua, in the form of Patrick Wilson, after he complains about trash from the café where she works being placed in his garbage can. They embark on an unlikely and unexpectedly intimate two-day affair that challenges Hannah’s, and the viewers’, beliefs on happiness and who exactly deserves it.

On a meta level, it’s sadly predictable to see the criticism of the episode which, again, boils down to this: How in the world does fattie Hannah deserve to land hottie Joshua? We have soon conditioned to see blindingly attractive people hook up with equally blindingly attractive people on TV that when a dichotomy emerges we recoil almost instinctively in horror. Wait, let me add an important caveat to that, we recoil when the dichotomy favors the female we believe to be lesser. Other way around and no problem-o. If you think I’m kidding, please witness Kevin James’ entire career. So with this episode you have reviews convinced the whole thing had to be a dream because, bro, no way he wanted to bang her in real life.

One of the things I find most refreshing about “Girls,” aside from its unvarnished look at the self-centered floundering of one’s early twenties, is how it allows Lena Dunham to be naked in every sense possible. Yes, yes – we could have another long discussion about female sexuality and the inequality of exposed flesh in popular culture. Yet it’s almost exciting how Hannah represents the everywoman of nakedness. While she may not be the voice of a generation, one could certainly argue that she is the body of one. More women look like Lena would playing topless ping pong than her co-star super svelte Allison Williams, and that’s just a fact. Yet her very average, very normal body type is seldom shown on TV, let alone allowed to bare itself entirely.

Now, back to the episode itself, which beyond being meta is also a pensive look at our own feelings of self worth, definitions of happiness and trial runs at adulthood. As much as some viewers might think Hannah doesn’t deserve to be – if even fleetingly – with someone like Joshua, neither does Hannah herself. Because for all the grown-up things she thinks she shouldn’t want as a starving artist – “the fruit in the bowl and the fridge and the stuff” – she can’t help but be attracted to the comfortable trappings of domesticity. And she also can’t help but sabotage her own momentary happiness with her shotgun definition of intimacy and exhausting loop of introspection.

And so, it ends – just as quickly and quietly as it began. And I am left, as I often am after 30 minutes of this show, wanting more. More of these strange and often silly and certainly self-indulgent lives. More stories told by women of any and all ages. Of any and all races, sexual orientations, classes, experiences. Because there are far too stories told by women, created by women, run by women on TV in the first place. The world needs more Tina Feys, Shonda Rhimes, Mindy Kalings and, yes, Lena Dunhams. And while we might never all agree on the merits of “Girls,” I hope we at least can all be happy it exists in the first place.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ellen DeGrammyres

So, I’ve stopped watching the Grammys with anything more than the most passing interest for wardrobe malfunctions and lip-synch fails years ago. But yesterday after tuning in briefly and then turning to my good friend The Internet, to see what it thought, I was pleased to see that apparently Ellen DeGeneres won the Grammys. I mean what else can you deduce from these photos but that The Great Panted One and Portia had a ball and looked great doing it. Lesbians, we are in your music awards having all the funs.

Ellen & Beyoncé
This photo makes me wish they were in a Laverne & Shirley style sitcom where they shameel shemozzled schlemiel and schlemazeled down the street together.

Ellen & Adele
Adele wants to see that sitcom, too.

Ellen & Lena Dunham
I like how they’re both trying to pretend skeezy Willy Wonka isn’t standing creepily behind them.

Ellen & Nicole Kidman
Nicole clearly wants to kiss Ellen, but this is the most her face muscles can muster.

Ellen, Portia & Ryan Seacrest
I think Randy’s face says it all.

Ellen, Portia & Katy Perry
Best photo sequence of the Grammys, possibly ever.

Ellen, Portia & Kelly Clarkson
And then best photobomb of the Grammys, possibly every.

Friday, February 08, 2013

My Weekend Glee

Right, so I said I wouldn’t write about “Glee” until “Glee” gave me a good reason to write about “Glee” again. And last night, well, “Glee” gave me that reason. How do you begin to make amends with the Lesbian Blogging Community? Well, proving Santana is a member of that Lesbian Blogging Community helps. And name checking AfterEllen and Rizzoli & Isles lesbian subtext doesn’t hurt either.

Last night “Glee” broke the fourth wall once more to address the Lesbian Blogging Community, but in a way that neither shamed or insulted us. Instead it acknowledged our existence and by doing so addressed some of our complaints. In fact, they practically followed my good and wise friend Heather’s suggestions for how to get their shit together to a T.

Grovel? Well, Santana declaring has an “out and proud, lipstick loving, AfterEllen-reading girlfriend” means our existence has not gone unnoticed. Bring back Santana? Hell yeah, and by bringing her to New York instead of keeping her a Lima loser (cough, Finn, cough). Extend the same courtesies to your lesbian and gay relationships as you do to your straight ones? Santana kisses Elaine and Brittany – on the lips and everything. Give Santana a girlfriend? Well, sorta – Elaine turned out to be gay for pay and an Ani DiFranco T-shirt. Learn the word “endgame” and apply it to Brittana? Not quite yet, but I still hang on that four-letter word “hope.”

So is all forgiven? Well, no. I mean, I’m not so easy that one shout out to AfterEllen makes everything magically better. But I do appreciate the effort and am thankful for that first step toward reconciliation. We, the collective Lesbian Blogging Community, are an awfully demanding bunch. I should know, I try to please us every day. But I also think we’re by and large fair. So if someone tries to do better, I want to applaud and encourage that. Redemption is a hard and even harder earned. What happens next will make all the difference.

But what else impressed me just as much as the unabashed name drop was the nuanced handling of the Santana-Brittany-Sam love triangle. The entire Lesbian Blogging Community/Brittana fandom wasn’t accused of knee-jerk , not to mention violent, myopia. Instead Santana and Sam were presented as equals, vying for the love of a bisexual woman who was allowed to make her own decision. Sure, we might not be happy with her choice right now. But it wasn’t made because Sam is the boy or lesbian are nutters. Gender wasn’t an issue, just that eternal struggle between the head and the heart. Santana will probably always love Brittany – but she knows she has to move on for now and will do it in that concrete jungle where dreams are made and lesbians live in Tribeca communes.

“Glee” has always been that strange amalgamation of raw heart and self-aware snark. At its best it transcends its silly song and dance with simple truths that help us understand each other a little more. Or be so bitchy you just can’t help but laugh. And when it’s brilliant, it’s brilliant. That moment when you realize who you really are and how hard it will be to show that to the world, “Glee” knows how to do that. When it’s not brilliant, well, we all know what that’s like. While I never expected this show to be perfect, I do demand it keep trying to be better.

And, on a completely shallow note, I can’t help but be thrilled that Santana Lopez has a favorite Rizzoli & Isles Lesbian Subtext Blog. Which means Santana ships Rizzles. And I write Rizzoli & Isles Lesbian Subtext Recaps. Which means, wait, does Santana reads my blog? Fiction/reality, who cares. Everything is gayzzoli – even Brittana – and nothing hurts. Now that Ms. Lopez (and the always amazing Naya Rivera) has moved back in, I’ll be watching on the regular again. Just when I thought I was out, “Glee” pulls me back in. Happy weekend and watching, all.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Foster the future

I never thought I’d say this and mean it so sincerely but, thank you, Jenny from the Block. Because I don’t care about the rocks that she’s got, I just care that Jennifer Lopez is producing a new drama for ABC Family that centers around a gay female couple raising a large multi-ethnic family. The show is “The Fosters” and the moms are Teri Polo (from Meet the Parents) and Sherri Saum (from In Treatment). They play police officer Stef Foster and school principal Lena Foster, respectively and their kids will be played by young actors from “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Aaron Stone.” I’ve never watched any of those shows but if Tumblr is to be believed folks seem pretty excited about the Waverly Place kid. The newest addition to the family will be a “troubled teen with an abusive past” Callie, played by newcomer Maia Mitchell. She’s the one in the photo who looks like she hates ever second of being in that subway tiled kitchen with its vintage Fiesta wear.

Lots of things make me happy about this news, not the least of which is Teri Polo is wearing her cop uniform in all the pictures. But mostly the fact that this is the first show to center around two moms (and a mixed race couple at that) raising a family is pretty amazing. Granted, it bites at the heels of the pregnant lesbian cliché which we see around sweeps week when writers don’t know what to do with the lesbian characters once they’re done playing softball. But these aren’t women trying to become mothers. These are women who have are raising their teens and tweens and that’s pretty cool. The show was created and being written by two men (one with a pedigree including Queer as Folk), which, fine – I would have preferred female showrunners too, but you can’t have everything I guess. The show goes in production this spring and will begin airing in the summer.

“The Fosters” adds to ABC Family’s inclusive roster, which already include “Pretty Little Liars.” Strange but thankfully true, the channel that began as an extension of ultraconservative homophobe Pat Robertson’s Christian television ministry (yes, really, it really fucking did, is poised to become one of the most diverse channels on TV and help expands our public definition of family.

Also, Teri and Sherri make a really cute couple. I’d join the PTA for them.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Lost and found

You know those shows where the lesbians just share long, meaningful hugs and rare chaste kisses? Or where the lesbians aren’t really lesbians, despite totally being lesbians. Or there aren’t any lesbians at all, real or imagined? Yeah, “Lost Girl” is not those shows. “Lost Girl” is a show where the gay ladies get it on, a lot. Like Donkey Kong on. Like, thank God I get to recap this show and therefore have an excuse to stare at it for hours while making hundreds of screencaps. I do it for you, internet. For you.

p.s. Yeah, you should totally be watching this show.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The ABeyCs of Sexy

Sexy vs. sexism. It’s an interesting and eternal debate spurred today, in part, by some of your comments on my comments on Beyoncé and her fierce as fuck halftime show at the Super Bowl last Sunday. It is a debate that in its various incarnations basically goes: Why did Beyonce dance around in skimpy clothes? But, really, it could be any woman anywhere with Beyoncé as our proxy. Why can’t you just dress more modestly? Which, with all due respect, I have to say – really?

Now I expect this kind of reaction from the more conservative among us. In fact, it already has been aired – ever so predictably – on the heels of Queen Bey’s spiked heeled dominance of the Super Bowl. National Review writer Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote in a piece subtly called “Put a Dress On:”

Why can’t we have a national entertainment moment that does not include a mother gyrating in a black teddy? The priceless moment was Destiny’s Child reuniting to ask that someone “put a ring on it.” As I mentioned on Twitter last night, perhaps that case might be best made in another outfit, perhaps without the crotch grabbing. It seems quite disappointing that Michelle Obama would feel the need to tweet about how “proud” she is of Beyoncé. The woman is talented, has a beautiful voice, and could be a role model. And she is on some levels — on others she is an example of cultural surrender, rather than leadership.

So we can’t be proud of women unless they dress appropriately? Women can’t be good role models if they show off their bodies? Women expressing their sexiness is the surrender of our culture? So I guess we’ll all just put on turtlenecks and ankle-length skirts and tend to the children as intended. Let me get right on that.

But for those making the more feminist argument that a strong women shouldn’t have to show off her body to be a strong women, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of your concern. I agree, women should not HAVE TO show off their bodies to be strong, successful, sexy. No, they should not have to, but they should also be allowed to. And the key question for me in these cases is always choice, intent and control. Who is in control of the imagery? What is the intent of the imagery? Who made the ultimate choice in the use of the imagery? A hot model in a bikini washing a car selling a hamburger is different than a hot performer in a revealing outfit dancing in her self-produced halftime show.

We could argue, ad nauseum, about whether our culture of objectification really allows for a choice at all. If women, even when choosing themselves how to dress, ultimately have a choice because of our commoditization of the female form. And it is true, look only to what I like to consider Beyoncé’s opening act – the Super Bowl itself and its ads – to see women used as objects instead of individuals with their own agency to sell everything from luxury cars to website domains. But I don’t think it’s possible to look at Beyoncé and see a cultural victim.

Beyoncé clearly has control of her own image. Beyoncé clearly decides how she wants that image to be presented. Beyoncé is clearly making her own choice. And what she chose to show at the Super Bowl was a strong, talented, sexy as hell performer in command of every single aspect of herself from her voice to her dance moves to her hair flips and tongue licks and enjoying herself while doing it. While it was sexy, I would actually argue it wasn’t overly sexual. Hell, remember a few years ago when Prince ostensibly stroked his own dick, by way of his guitar, all through halftime? Here Beyoncé was using Beyoncé to sell Beyoncé. And, girl, did it ever work.

Women can chose to dress sexily or women can chose to dress more modestly. Choice is the key. Our choice. We shouldn’t be shamed for whichever choice we make. We should be celebrated. When we look as spectacular as Beyoncé while doing it, a little worship doesn’t hurt either.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Bey Bowl

Right, so I think we all agreed that Beyoncé won the Super Bowl. And then the lights shut themselves off because after seeing that much star power on stage they figured what was the point. But, seriously. It’s hard to think of a performer right now who is more universally liked (momentary presidential lip synching aside) than Beyoncé. I mean it. Think hard. She appeals across genders, races, sexual orientations, ages. Your mom likes Beyoncé. Your grandpa likes Beyoncé. Your 6-year-old niece likes Beyoncé. Football players like Beyoncé. Astrophysicists like Beyoncé. First Ladies of the United States like Beyoncé. Gay boys like Beyoncé. Lesbians like Beyoncé. Sure, she might not be the favorite artist on your iPod, but you will sure as hell make a point to stop and watch her kill it dead if the opportunity arises. And, boy, did it arise. Bold. Bonkers. Bendy. Bouncey. Brilliant. Beyoncé. And we haven’t even talked about that Destiny’s Child mini-reunion. Or her all-female band. Question. Why am I still talking when you could be rewatching Queen Bey?

p.s. If the copyright overlords take down the video, check it out in here.

p.p.s. And then there was this.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Friday, February 01, 2013

My Weekend Crush

I can’t. I still just can’t say goodbye to “30 Rock.” So I’ll just saying I’m going out for cigarettes. I’ll be back for dinner. But this weekend still needs its crush. So while I process my loss because the human heart is not properly connected to the human brain, please enjoy Charlie Theron’s new alternative lifestyle haircut. That, and her leather jacket, are certainly taking some of the sting out of last night’s finale. Some. Happy weekend, all.