Friday, June 28, 2013

My Weekend Crush

Happy Pride, you great big homos you. As is my tradition, I try to feature an LGBT person, place or thing to close out Pride Month each year. Call it the fabulous finale, if you will. And this year, given the historic nature of our celebrations, I couldn’t think of just one person, place or thing to celebrate (though trust me Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Wendy Davis were close seconds). Also, I already crushed all over our hero, Edie. Instead, I thought I’d share a little of that feeling, that feeling of pride which makes it such a special, unique, rare disco butterfly of an event. Sure, there’s the partying and overconsumption of whatever you want to over consume. But there’s also the community, which is such a generic thing to say, but also true. Because what I feel most this week especially, but most weeks truly, is proud. I’m proud of us for fighting and clawing for our rights. I’m proud of us for never backing down, never settling. I’m proud of us for demanding and continuing to demand equality. I’m proud that we’ve used love – that most universal and transformative positive emotion – to changes minds. It also helps that we’re cute. So, I guess, this year my crush is on all of you. Good job, us. Happy Pride Weekend, all.

p.s. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram (dammit, yes, I have one now, too) for SF Pride posts filled with nothing but The Gay this weekend.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gayzzoli Ahoy

Our totally gay non-gay gals returned this week. And I, dutifully, have returned with your Rizzoli & Isles Subtext Recaps. I do this because, well, it has to be done. Also because the show is so much more fun when you tune out the ridiculous romantic scenarios with dudes and just enjoy the chemistry between the women. Or, like at my house, have your cable suddenly cut out anytime Jane or Maura inappropriately touch and/or awkwardly touch with someone of the opposite sex. Of course, the show makes my job easy. And Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander make it even easier. And the promo videos – be they behind the scenes of photoshoots or previews from TNT themselves – make it the easiest. I mean, come on.

Check out the season's first Gayzzoli Recap a little later today on AfterEllen. UPDATE: Read the first #Gayzzoli Recap of the season here. Just like riding a bike. A big, gay bike.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Decision Day

Between Voting Rights Acts gutting yesterday night, Texas abortion bill voting shenanigans last night and SCOTUS marriage equality rulings today, I fear the only winner when all this is over will be wine. So until we know, let's all have a glass (who cares that it is 7 a.m.) and hold hands. I'll be back here after the decision comes out to cheer/jeer/get drunk with you all.




Yes, we won today. Yes, we have to keep fighting. Yes, there are 37 other states where marriage equality needs to be secured. Yes, employment non-discrimination needs to be secured. But today, we fucking celebrate.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Waiting for SCOTUS

We will know (as early as today, as late as Thursday) exactly how the Supreme Court feels about our marriages. Whether it condones us or condemns us. As their current session comes to a close the rulings on DOMA and Prop. 8 are imminent. And the closer they get the more I start to feel a mad rush of anxiety, excitement, fear and impatience. I feel all those feelings, all at once and all together in a muddle of hope and terror so strong I don’t dare not breathe. It feels like we’re all holding our breath. Because what those six men and three women say is – quiet literally – the law. Sure, they don’t make laws, but they uphold or strike down those that exist and in doing so are the definitive final word on our land. And so, we hold our breath.

Will we move forward, will progress prevail? Or will we be forced to wait until justice catches up with inherent equality? Ugh. I can’t face the best of times/worst of times uncertainty.

All I know is we’re ready, and love can’t wait any longer.

UPDATE: Tomorrow will be the last day of the session. So we will know, one way or another. Nerves don't fail me now.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Another layer of Skins

Time to hold hands through the cat flap again. It seems like an eternity, at least in pop culture years, since 2010. Allegiances can shift from episode to episode, season to season. And in three years so many ships have come and gone through out ports of affection. But all it takes sometimes is a glance, a smile, a hug to be reminded why you fell in love in the first place. And so it is with the return of “Skins” in its three-part redux titled “Skins Pure,” “Skins Rise” and “Skins Fire” in July. No offense to Cassie and Cook, but it’s “Fire” I’m – yes, going there – on fire to see. The story follows Effy and, most important, her flatmate Naomi. And where Naomi goes, there also goes Emily. Because, through everything, we’ve always known them to be brave. A reminder.

So now here comes “Skins Fire,” brining back the drama older and we’ll see about the wiser. Gone are the tumultuous teens, replaced by those turbulent twenties. I fully expect angst and drama to follow. I have no idea what to expect from Naomi and Emily. But I know seeing Lily Loveless and Kat Prescott in each others arms again is enough, for now.

I told you we’d need that cat flap.

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Weekend Crush

Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one, well, let’s just call it our standard bearer. As my grand lesbian movie rewind experience continues, I spent last night reliving that romance in Reno, “Desert Hearts.” The 1985 classic holds its own all these years later. Sure, it also may have invented the U-Haul (or in this case Union-Pacific) lesbian. But, my, don’t parts still reach in and put a string of lights around your heart. The second Cay’s convertible roared into reverse and her hair whipped across her aviators we, and Professor Vivian Bell, were goners. But it was That Kiss. That in the rain, through the window, dripping wet kiss that made our hearts truly soar. That set the bar for all other lesbian movie kisses to follow. Heck, movie kisses in general. And what a high bar it was, indeed. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. Need to watch the whole thing for yourself now? You can rent and stream it from Wolfe on Demand or, of course, my new BFF Netflix.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Delirious times

In honor of Pride Month I thought it’d be fun to watch some “classic” lesbian movies. OK, not necessarily “Maidechen in Uniform” classic. But more like old favorites. And today that old favorite is “Lost & Delirious.” You know, that tragic boarding school tale of first love lost.

The last time I saw it was the first time I saw it back n 2001 when it came out in theaters. So last night I had another look, thanks to my new best friend streaming Netflix.

The first thing you’ll notice is how young everyone looks. Piper Perabo is young. Mischa Barton is young. Jessica Paré is young. And there’s also young Emily VanCamp, Caroline Dhavernas and Meaghan Rath. So, so, so young.

The next thing you’ll notice is so much more of the movie is about general falconry. Seriously, there’s a lot of tending and feeding of that bird. I know, I know – metaphor. Though I’d definitely blocked the whole live mice thing out of my memory banks.

What might hit you after that is how so very melodramatic and emotional and angsty and crazypants the whole affair is. As a depiction of passionate, tumultuous, obsessional first love it’s not necessarily wrong. I mean, who hasn’t gone a little nutters, neglected personal hygiene and stabbed romantic rivals after a particularly bad breakup? Quoting Macbeth in the middle of the woods at night, we’ve all been there – in our hearts. Love makes you do the wacky.

And finally, you might wonder if this movie would ever get made today. The impossibility of two girls falling in love and living happily ever after is at the crux of the story. How it seems so absurd to think the world – your parents, your friends, your classmates – might accept who you really are. Certainly, sadly this still happens today. Homophobia is alive and well and continues to thrive and threaten our happiness and lives everyday. But for a movie to wax eloquent about the inevitable tragedy of two modern teenager girls falling in love in the United States (or was it Canada), well, that now seems quaint and a little absurd. And that’s a good thing.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Fall Gal

Thank the television Gods for the BBC. First BBC America brings us “Orphan Black,” a rich, complex, thrilling clonespiracy starring the dazzling Tatiana Maslany. And now BBC2 (now streaming on Netflix) brings us “The Fall,” a rich, complex, slow-boil psychological cat-and-mouse game starring the magnificent Gillian Anderson. The next time I see a Union Jack I fully intend to salute it in thanks of this bounty of quality roles for women on my television.

A few of you have recommended “The Fall” to me in the past few weeks, and I’ve finally taken your advice and had a look. While the pace is entirely different than the edge-of-your-seat addiction of “Orphan Black,” “The Fall” has a deliberate tone and thoughtful reserve that cannot be denied.

Mostly this comes from Gillian herself, who has refined her talents to a fine point over the years. She makes the most of silence, letting it wash over her all the while we know underneath roils an even sharper mind. I love actresses who can play intellect well. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she has also grown elegantly into her features over the years as well. Seriously, Scully grew up quite nicely. Quite nicely, indeed.

While “The Fall” moved slowly, at times almost too slowly, it’s the performances and uncomfortable luxury of seeing the mundane and horrifying daily life of a serial killer that keep you there. It gives basically nothing away to tell you that former “Once Upon a Time” star Jamie “The Sheriff” Dornan plays the killer, as it is revealed in the opening minutes of the first episode. Though with short hair and face scruff, I kept thinking he was a dead-eyed Ashton Kutcher instead.

I’m only through three of the five-episode season (it’s more recurring mini-series than regular series), but I’ve also truly appreciated the show’s unvarnished look at sexual politics. Gillian’s senior police investigator Stella Gibson is a no-muss, no-fuss, wham-bam-thank-you-man kind of lady. And she does not appreciate, nor tolerate, the double standard that says guys who have sex are super studs and gals who have sex are unqualified sluts. Ladies can have and enjoy sex and still be good at their jobs – big shocker. Nor does she want to perpetuate the virgin/whore pigeonholes women get pushed into. It’s something that needs to be said more, on television and everywhere else because it’s still fucking happening all the damn time. (p.s. Slightly off topic, but like come fucking on, Serena Williams, you should never say about a 16-year-old rape victim, “I'm not blaming the girl, but…”)

Now I could talk about ingrained sexism and slut shaming all damn day. But what you really want to know is is there any gay in “The Fall.” Well, of course, kittens. No spoilers, but we do find out there’s a gay gal in the mix. And just to make the talent pool even more ridiculous, we also get some Archie Panjabi because too much of a good thing – that “thing” being gifted actresses working with smart material – is never enough.

I’m hoping, in the last two episodes, my patience with the show pays off (don’t spoil it for me, folks). But either way a second season has already been commissioned. So more Gillian being smart on TV seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tank Top Tuesday

Oh, tank tops – I’ve missed you so. So, as you might have noticed, it’s been a little while since our last unrestricted Tank Top Tuesday. So let’s just go for it. Like jump right in. Like, boom, say hello to Kerry Washington and her tank top. Yeah, just like that. Sometimes I forget I don’t have to write as many of these word things to make a good post. But then I remember. You’re welcome.

Anna Silk
Production has started on Season 4. Come back, “Lost Girl,” I’ve missed
Boobs O’Clock all the exciting succubus drama.

Anna Torv
It’s an Annas we miss convention.

Anne Hathaway
Annes, too.

Grace Park
What’s she doing now that she left “Hawaii 5-O?” I hope it’s a show I’ll actually watch.

Scarlett Johansson
She is the main reason I’m going to see the next Captain America movie (besides Chris Evans’ tight little tushy – what, I’m only human).

Angelina Jolie
I find it rather strange and unseemly (cough, Melissa Etheridge, cough) to publically criticize another woman’s personal health choices. Whatever decision a woman makes for herself with fully informed consent is not, in my opinion, “fearful.”

Brandi Carlile
I just got tickets to see Brandi this summer. Excuse me while I go have a Big Gay Squee moment.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sing it, sister

I’m – as many of you know already – not really a reality TV fan (other than almost everything on HGTV and sometimes Food Network and, on one of those lazy Sunday nights, “Hoarders”). But sometimes the realities of reality TV (real enough for you, just wait, there’s more) make me realize I should probably sit up and take notice.

And the reality I’m talking about today is out contestant Michelle Chamuel, who is in the finals of “The Voice” tonight. As on of three finalists on the hit reality singing show, she is competing for the top prize. And I’d very much like her to win. Not just because she’s a gay lady (though, believe you me, it helps) but because she’s different. Of course she can sing, but there’s also delightful nerdy quality about her – and it’s not just the glasses.

Though, did I mention she can sing?

Pink, Robyn and Cyndi? Sold.

And of course she has other cool qualities:

She wears (colorful) lady jackets.

She rocks (stylish) sensible shoes.

She makes (incredibly) intense singing faces.

She understands the (extreme) ridiculousness of pleather.

All that and she could be (at least to my knowledge) the first out gay lady to win a major American singing competition. Which would be pretty damn cool. So go, Michelle, go. The finales are tonight and results will be announced Tuesday. So, I guess what I’m saying is, please go and vote for the cute, slightly dorky glasses-wearing gay lady in the colorful blazers, America.

p.s. I know there was another out lady contestant this season (hey, Karina Iglesias) and in the past. But Michelle is the only one left to vote for.

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Weekend Crush

I like “True Blood” because after the regular fall TV and serious spring offerings (Can we cool it on the beheadings and castrations, “Game of Thrones?”), I’m ready for some straight-up vampire craziness to lull me into the blissful embrace of summer. And this season, more than any other, has me really excited. Why? Because Pam and Tara, dammit.

Pam has long been one of my favorites and one of the more underutilized characters on the show. Unlike Sookie, I’ve always got time for her lesbian weirdness. And while Tara has occasionally annoyed the ever-loving shit out of me, she has been one of the most resilient characters on the show. I mean if you can come back from a shotgun to the head, you’re pretty much badass for life.

So when the two got together at the very end of last season, maker and her sire, it was cathartic. And we, like Jessica, all pointed at the screen and yelled, “I KNEW IT!” Yeah, we knew it. And we love it. Let us dream the impossible dream of a happy ending for these two. Or at the very least there had better be a lot more lesbian weirdness between them coming up this season. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How a Hart beats

I’m not even going to. I just wanted to share. I can’t begin to set-up. You know what, just press play. Press play and when you’re done laughing and hitting replay and laughing again, we’ll talk.

[Appropriately long pause to allow for laughter, replaying and more laughter.]

Yeah. I know. Right, so that was Hart, who also goes by Heartbeat, who is a young gay comedian from Southern California and is, as you can clearly see, very funny. Also pretty fearless. Also very, very funny. Also loves watermelon. And has adorable dimples. Yeah. I know. That just made my whole damn week, possibly longer.

Want more? Subscribe to Hart Beat’s YouTube channel right here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Do us part

I try not to follow celebrity hook-ups, breakups and breakdowns. I mean, sure, I sometimes see the screaming supermarket tabloids while trying to fight the urge to sneak a Twix bar onto the conveyor belt. But every now and then a celebrity breakup creeps into my consciousness and makes me say, “Aw, dammit.”

And earlier this week that breakup was Jane Lynch and Lara Embry announcing their divorce after three years of marriage. Say it with me, “Aw, dammit.” After three years of marriage, the women are separating and it bums me out. Because they seemed so very happy and so very happy together. And they were so sweet family with Lara’s daughter. But alas, not all things are forever.

This is both sad news and also sadly reassuring news. The sad part is obvious, because we all want to believe in the happily ever after. The sadly reassuring part is that gay couples are like any other couple – sometimes their relationships work and sometimes they don’t work. And it’s another reminder why legal marriage is important – not just for the benefits is confers with a commitment, but the clarity it establishes with the end of a commitment. The rights and responsibilities go both ways, and it is important for the law to recognize that as well.

I wish Jane and Lara well during what must be a difficult time. I hope it is as amicable as these things can be. I hope both can find lasting happiness. And in other news, Jane Lynch is single, ladies. Too soon? Yeah, probably too soon.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tweets from Hillary

Sassy. It’s such a great word (and a great, but sadly extinct magazine, RIP). And a word that almost never gets applied to straight men, much to their own detriment. Because sassy people (straight women, gay women, gay men, et al) are kind of the best. That cheeky boldness that indicates an understanding that it’s all ridiculous anyway so why not enjoy it.

Hillary Clinton is sassy. This is, I believe, one of the very few female-identified adjectives without pejorative overtones. She has personality and smarts, but is willing to take the piss out of herself and others. She is, in short, sassy.

And if you ever needed definitive proof that Hil owns her sassiness, look only to her newly established Twitter account, @HillaryClinton.

“Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD...”

Also, she used the famous Texts from Hillary photo for her Twitter avatar. And her very first tweet was a shout-out to the Texts from Hillary creators. Hilz is good at Internet, no?

This light-hearted approach to her official Twitter persona took (let’s say it, male) reporters by surprise. Women being funny? Powerful women being funny? Powerful women the media narrative have told us are shrill harpies being funny? Up is down, black is white. WHAT IS THIS MADDNESS?

Oh, shut the fuck up. Those of us who have actually been paying attention to the actual woman have known, for years/decades/forever that Hillary is one funny lady. And, if I may broadly generalize, I have found that female politicians tend to be much funnier and self-deprecating bunch than their male counterparts. Perhaps it is a defense mechanism to coping with such a tiresome boys club. Or perhaps it is because men just won’t tolerate a woman with as big an ego and as thin a skin as they themselves have. Who knows.

All I know if you didn’t already love this hair icon, pantsuit aficionado and glass ceiling cracker, you certainly should now. Bring us your tweets, Hillary. You sassy lady, you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

New year, same Gayzzoli

I have seen your future, and it looks – well, it looks a lot like “Rizzoli & Isles.” The gayest non-gay show on television is back with its mix of ridiculous chemistry and ridiculouser (not a word, but neither are there chief medical examiners for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that look like Dr. Maura Isles) crime solving.

Will you like it? If you like “Rizzoli & Isles,” of course. Will you be frustrated it? Well, if you are a gay lady who likes “Rizzoli & Isles,” of course. If the first two episodes of the new season are any indication, there’s plenty to make us smile and shake our heads. You know, like normal.

Yet still, I can’t help but love the show. Its banter and bickering keeps bringing me back. As a crime show fan I watch different shows for very specific reasons. Sometimes it’s the pleasure of putting the puzzle together. Sometimes it’s for the satisfaction of the good guys beating the bad guys. And for “Rizzoli & Isles” it’s for the enjoyment of the symbiotic relationship – specifically the symbiotic lady relationship. Because, even in 2013, shows centered around two female leads are sadly a rarity. Fine, it also helps that they totally act like a couple even when talking about their totally unconvincing gentlemen callers.

And, yes, while I understand the real frustration lots of us feel with the too gayzzoli to not be intentional and therefore teasing scenarios that emerge, I have resigned myself to it never being canon in anything but my own fertile noggin. Sure, I wish it was different, but I won’t get mad that it isn’t. Nor will it keep me advocating for more shows with real gay characters in real gay relationships (and championing those that exist – hello “Orphan Black” and “The Fosters,” you lovely things).

So, in just over two weeks when Jane and Maura are back for another season of “The Adorable Bickersons,” I’ll be there. With my subtext bells on. Until then, we always have the bloopers.

Friday, June 07, 2013

My Weekend Crush

You know you know Teri Polo. From “Meet the Parents,” et al, and “The West Wing.” She has often played the supportive and/or long-suffering wife. She has popped up in numerous TV shows and movies. And each time you see her you think, oh – yeah, her. But now, perhaps finally, you’ll see her and think, oh – of course, her.

Because in just one episode of her new series “The Fosters,” Teri has made her character Stef Foster her own distinct person. Yes, she’s the loving wife again. But she’s the loving wife in an equal relationship not one where she is background scenery to Ben Stiller or Jimmy Smits. I especially like how in a few short scenes she has been able to establish both Stef’s sense of authority and abundance of compassion. Her little dashes of dry, even awkward, humor help, too.

Another thing I enjoy about “The Fosters” against stereotype characters is that while Stef on the surface might seem like the butch one, being a cop and all, she’s also the one who was married before and had the couple’s biological son. Also, I like how they’re letting Teri look her age, which is a settled in 44. She ‘s beautiful, obviously, but not trying desperately to be 24.

Also, dammit if Teri doesn’t look exactly like Jodie Foster’s slightly butcher little sister. I mean, it’s almost distracting. I keep expecting Jodie to walk on screen and introduce herself as Aunt Jo and there to be lots of inside jokes about how lesbianism runs in the family.

I hope the show continues its very solid course, and I look forward to seeing a lot more of what Teri can do. Oh, and don’t you worry, we’ll be talking about Sherri Saum’s glorious hair porn soon. So soon. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Hottest of them all

Right, so each year I feel a little responsible for creating The Beast that is the AfterEllen Hot 100. It was, after all, a post about my fury over Lindsay Lohan and the Maxim Hot 100 oh so many years ago that helped to start it all. But each year, I also dutifully tell you my vote. (Sure, this year it can be votes, but I am old school and choose to vote only once like the Founding Fathers intended or whatnot.) My picks vary, there are some constants (Tina, duh), but really whatever is turning my brain and/or heart and/or other regions most on at the moment is what makes my list. And this year is no different. Seeing as today is the last day to vote in the AE poll, I thought I would show you mine. So here they are. For all to see. Now you show me yours, it only seems fair.

p.s. You can vote in the AE Hot 100 here.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Ticket to the couch show

When I was a kid, I lived for the movies. Watching the trailers in the theater before a movie started was almost sacred, your one glimpse of what’s to come and what to get excited about. You couldn’t just pop onto YouTube to see all that summer had to offer. You had to wait and anticipate and decide in those two minutes if the fourth Superman movie would really solve the problem of nuclear proliferation.

But over the years, film has become less a driving force in my life. Sure, I still love the movies. The smell of movie theater popcorn makes me instantly feel 13 again and excited about sitting in a dark room with strangers and told fantastical stories.

But that at once solitary yet completely communal act of going to the movies has become less of a cultural driver in recent years because of cinema’s once scoffed upon little sibling, the television. TV is now our cultural barometer, with endless chatter and words and hand-wringing spent on the latest “Game of Thrones,” or “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad” et al. The serialized nature of TV, its long burn versus quick payoff, makes it perfect for our media obsessed minds. Why just hyperventilate about a 2-hour movie when you could freak out about 22 episodes hour-long spread out over months and month.

I suspect part of TV’s appeal now is the ability to discuss it with dozens, hundred, thousands, millions as it happens. “OMG THE FUCKING STARKS!” said everyone at 9:59 p.m. Sunday night. You can be part of a live conversation and share your opinion with the universe the second it happens. In movies, that immediacy is blocked by basic human decency and the desire not to be the asshole in the theaters who lights up his cellphone to type, “Cool movie, bro.” Heaven forbid we have to wait two hours to tell the world exactly what we thought. But besides the more superficial I tweet therefore I exist aspect of social media, there is also more of a chance to help mold the creative process on TV. That long season means a longer production process which means more fan input which means more audience feedback which could have an impact on storylines and characters. It happens, just ask Brittana (circa seasons 1-2, that is).

But for me, what has turned me over the years away from my first love of the darkened theater and into my current love of my couch (besides comfort and better snacks) is the fact that TV has done a better job of giving women more and better roles. Period. One needs only to look at the current summer movie season to see it’s the same-old boys club where big things go boom. By my informal count there are only three female-led movies coming out: “The Bling Ring,” “Blue Jasmine” and “The Heat.” Two are arthousey fare – Sofia Coppola and Woody Allen projects – and the latter is a buddy cop comedy.

On TV meanwhile the summer offers “Rizzoli & Isles,” “The Fosters,” “The Killing,” “Covert Affairs,” Major Crimes,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “True Blood,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “Unforgettable,” Mistresses” and many more I can’t think of off the top of my head. Women get to be the crime fighters and action heroes and antiheroes and damsels who get themselves into and out of distress almost everything in between.

So I guess what I’m saying is even though movies won my heart first, TV is who I will always go home with. Here’s to long hot summers. And if you want to watch in the dark, just turn off the lights.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Foster the people

When I first heard about a new ABC Family show with two moms and rainbow tapestry of a blended household I wasn’t sure what to expect. Politically correct afterschool special? Womanhood sisterfire kumbaya drum circle? Jennifer Lopez dance montage retrospective? But this story of two women raising their three children – one biological to one of the mothers and twins adopted from the foster system – who bring in a new troubled teenage girl is more than the demographically engineered sum of its parts. It is, quite simply, good. (For a more thorough and verbose analysis, check out my full review on AfterEllen.)

What makes it is good is that it feels so solid right from the start. It’s particularly solid in the things that usually take time – family dynamic, unspoken chemistry, ease of togetherness. This show from Jenny from the Block seems like real people could live around the block. And in a wonderfully, understated way it turns Norman Rockwell’s quintessential American portrait inside out and upside down while still retaining their essential ideal of everyday exemplariness. Like I said, it’s good.

For all our rightful demands for more and better representation of LGBT people in our culture, it’s also important to celebrate the goods stuff. Right now we’re lucky to have well-drawn portraits of gay women in ridiculously diverse walks of life our teevees. A gay teenagers being chased by murderous stalkers. A gay succubi and her scientist lover. Gay clone and her French scientist lover. And we haven’t even mentioned the surgeons, bomb girls, private investigators, former cheerleaders and all the rest. So here’s to The Fosters, a welcome addition to the pantheon of gay ladies. There’s always room for two more hot mamas.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Send in the clones

My God, “Orphan Black,” my good God. It’s hard to think of a show I became more quickly, completely and addictively engrossed in. A week ago I’d never seen a single episode and now I’m clamoring with impatient indignation for the second season to begin already. Spring 2014, really? I cannot wait that long for more Tatania Maslany. I will not. It’s wrong. It’s mean. I hate time and space.

Right, so let’s get right into it then. How about that finale, eh? WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD! (Side Note: Those who asked for legal viewing options can purchase the show on iTunes of Amazon Instant. Those looking for less legal options are welcome to search the previous and current comments for alternatives.)

The show has made something very dense and complicated like a sci-fi clone conspiracy seem so edge-of-your-seat thrilling yet so heart-breakingly human. And none of it would work without Tatania who, if I was an Emmy voter, would singlehandedly sweep the Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and best Guest Actress categories. One cannot simply talk about how thoroughly and convincingly she becomes each different clone – Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena and now Rachel. One must truly see it to believe it. What makes it even more dazzling is how much we care for each disparate clone. Sarah, the scrappy survivor. Alison, the desperate housewife. Cosima, the questioning scientist. Helena, just batshit homicidal maniac. Yet each becomes more than just her archetype, to become deeply human, flawed and worth saving in our eyes – well, maybe not Helena. And that’s what makes this show so amazing. We’ve become a culture that loves to pick sides. But to pick between Sarah, Alison and Cosima is beyond cruel.

Which is why Alison signing the contract we all know she shouldn’t sign with Dr. Leekie is so deeply affecting. We want this tighty wound, booty-burn cardio dancing, best frenemy non-life saver to have a happy life. But we know very bad things are on their way. Same goes for poor Cosima, who is coughing her way to a Fantine-like end in a race against corrupt genetics. Plus, while I may not fully trust Delphine yet, I completely buy their connection – blinded her with science, indeed. And then Sarah, oh Sarah – the key no doubt to this whole unraveling puzzle along with her oddly resilient and precognitiant daughter, Kira.

Few TV shows so fully embody the concept of a page turner as “Orphan Black.” It’s not that the show teases us with manufactured cliffhangers. It’s that the story, and its pacing, is like a thrill ride we never want to end. Each answer leads to another questions which leads to another emotion which leads to us screaming, “MORE!”

Of course I want Sarah to find Kira, Cosima to live, Alison to be set free. But more than anything I want to story to keep revealing itself in wonderful, twisty and unexpected ways. Spring 2014, hurry up dammit.