Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tops in Teevee

This being the last day of 2103, I thought we should reflect on what was most important last year. Namely, television. Yes, it was truly a spectacular year for the wires and lights in a box. Not only did some great returning favorites continue to impress, but some newcomers became instant classics. So in the spirit of end-of-the-year introspection and for the love of lists, here are my Top 10 favorite shows from 2013. These were, quite simply, the shows I enjoyed watching most this past year. And, as an added bonus, half of them featured prominent lesbian or bisexual female characters. Here’s to another spectacular 365 days of sitting on the couch and staring at the flickering lights on the screen. Thanks, 2013. Bring it, 2014.

1) Orange Is the New Black

If it took you more than three days to watch this entire series from start to finish you were clearly doing it wrong. This show defined binge watching and defied all stereotypes. On its surface it was a fish-out-of-water story of white privilege meeting prison bars. But underneath it was about women of color, survival and the ways we all interact. Also, it gave us Alex Vause. Best. Show. Ever.

2) Orphan Black

We’ve had to coin a whole new word to describe the crazy twisty turny adventure that is this show – clonespiracy. And, oooooh doggy, if this isn’t this a good one. Human cloning. Genetic engineering. Corporate maleficence. And Tatiana Maslany playing everyone all at once and twice on Sunday. We are all part of the sestra-hood now.

3) Sleepy Hollow

If you told me the story of a Revolutionary War-era, time-traveling Ichabod Crane trying to stop the end of the world as we know it in present day would be one of my favorite shows of the season, I would have thought you’d lost your head. (Rim shot.) But this supernatural story with apocalyptic overtones has the best mix of action, scares, drama and comedy than any other show on right now. It’s just damn good fun.

4) Lost Girl

Sorry, all non-resident and “virtual” (ahem) Canadians, but you’ve been missing out on a pretty a-maaaaaz-ing season thus far. But Syfy viewers will get their chance to get on the crazy train come Jan. 13. I can’t say exactly where it’s all going, but I do know I can’t wait to see how many ships, crackships and straight-up-huffing-glue-ships the writers can set sail this season. Grab some popcorn and a life vest. Oh, yeah, and there’s also Post-Pregnancy Boobs O’Clock.

5) The Fosters

Admit it, you get a little choked up just watching the credits of this show. So much heart is packed into this seemingly simple family drama. This two-mama drama felt so familiar from the start because it showed that family, in all its various shapes and forms, is always just that. They’re the people you come home to, always.

6) American Horror Story: Coven

Witches get stuff done. This season has added a much-needed sense of wicked, wicked fun the over-the-top franchise. And it has hands down the most impressive cast of female talent amassed on one show this season. Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe…I could keep going. This season is all about women’s power, and damn it if I’m not bewitched.

7) The Fall

I don’t know how she does it, but Gillian Anderson keeps getting better with age. This methodical crime series is a slow-burn cat-and-mouse game that still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. Also, have I mentioned how amazing Gillians is? I don’t think I can say it enough. Oh, and there’s a little Archie Panjabi thrown in there, too. Because you can never have enough smart, talented women on the screen together. Ever.

8) Girls

Yes, this show is controversial. Yes, some people hate it – with reason. But for all its many and admitted flaws, it’s still invigorating to see young women’s stories told by young women. Also, it reminds me that I definitely don’t want to be in my twenties again.

9) Game of Thrones

Khaleesi! The most epic of mic drops by the Mother of Dragons a.k.a. Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen was a much-needed jolt of female empowerment in a show that you need a freaking flow chart to keep track of all the men trying to take the throne from other men. But this season many women started to come into their own, finally. Yes, there was the Red Wedding. But there were also dracarys.

10) Parks & Recreation

Leslie Knope, yo. That is all.

Some honorable mentions: Elementary (I like it more than the British Sherlock, there I said it), Rizzoli & Isles (I’m just a sucker for gayzzoli), The Mindy Project (this show has improved so much, seriously, so much), and Top of the Lake (I haven’t had a chance to watch this yet, but so many smart people whose opinions I trust love it that I know I will – next Netflix marathon: set).

So, those are mine. Now you show me yours. What were your Top 10 shows of 2013. And, dear God, help the poor souls who still say “Glee.”

Monday, December 30, 2013

First Robin of Winter

Make that The Out Nine. On Sunday longtime broadcast journalist and popular “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts officially came out – via Facebook, no less. Yep, it’s officially the year of unconventional, nonchalant outings. The 53-year-old has not commented publicly on her personal life until now. But, like with so many of the famous women who came out in 2013, most people had know – or assumed – about Robin for years.

In her Sunday Facebook post she reflected on the past year and what she is grateful for. Among them, she listed “my long time girlfriend, Amber.”

“I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.”
ABC News confirmed Amber is Amber Laign, who has been in a 10-year relationship with Robin. I’m incredibly happy for Robin and Amber, but acknowledgements like these always make me a little sad, too. While I have no doubt that Robin was open with her family and friends and probably co-workers about her relationship with Amber, it took 10 years for her to tell the rest of the world. It’s just a reminder that closet doesn’t only hurt the people inside of it.

Over the years Robin has built an award-winning career as both a sportscaster and news reporter. And besides being a newly inducted official member of the LGBT community, she also forever has a place in LGBT history as the journalist President Barack Obama chose to sit down with the express his support of marriage equality in May 2012.

Robin has also let the public into her private health struggles, first with breast cancer and in the last few years with diagnosis and treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome. Her Facebook post touches on that, how a year ago she celebrated 100 days since her bone marrow transplant. (Side note: reflective end-of-the-year coming out, let’s make this a thing!)

What makes her acknowledgement extra special is that not only is this another talented and respected woman, this is a woman America admires and invites into their living rooms every single morning. So thank you, Robin. Being grateful for those we love out loud matters, and coming out always matters. Oh, and score another awesome addition to Team Rainbow. Oh, and one more side note, damn girl looks good for 53 - or any age, actually.

Friday, December 27, 2013

My End-of-the-Year Crush

It’s been a bad year for closets. A bunch of famous ladies decided to only store their clothes in them and join our big gay family. Granted, many of us knew about many of them already. But there’s still something so special – and so necessary – about making it official. And there was such a wide array of ways they all came out: at award shows, on morning TV, in magazine interview, through newspaper columns and, yes, even on Twitter.

Here’s a look at The Out Eight of 2013 (I know, there were more, but these are some of the most high profile. Autostraddle has a nice run-down of alllll the ladies who kicked open the closet.)

Jodie Foster, actress

Sure, it was a little rambling and never quite said the “L” or “G” words, but Jodie’s coming out acceptance speech at the Golden Globes in January was the confirmation of something we all knew but also though would never go acknowledged. And now she’s got a hottie girlfriend out of the deal. Get it, girl.

Jenna Wolfe, TV journalist

The NBC “Today Weekend” anchor came out and announced her and her partner’s impending parenthood on the popular morning show in March. She gave birth to a baby girl in August. As I don’t get up early on the weekends, I wasn’t too familiar with Jenna before the announcement. But, goodness, am I glad I did my research. Hello, arm porn.

Brittney Griner, professional basketball player

After being selected the No. 1 draft pick by the WNBA in April, Brittney came out in a matter-of-fact way during an interview afterward. Granted, she’d never been necessarily in. But saying it out loud with confidence and pride silences the snide whispers. Being able to dunk on them doesn’t hurt either.

Charice, actress and singer

You might remember Charice from “Glee.” Or you might know the Filipina superstar from her own music. But even if you don’t know her at all you have to commend her courage in coming out this June in an often conservative and largely Roman Catholic country. Also, love the hair.

Raven-Symone, actress and singer

Coming out is now so Raven. I’ll happily date myself and say that I can remember little Raven-Symone as the adorable Olivia on “The Cosby Show.” And for others she was the sassy Raven and lead singer of The Cheetah Girls. So coming out in a tweet about marriage equality in August after so many grew up with her makes such a difference.

Michelle Rodriguez, actress

Yeah, finally. After years of talking loudly about not being gay and liking sausage, the actress came out as bisexual in an Entertainment Weekly article this October. She followed it up by telling Latina magazine she decided to be honest about who she is to “see what happens.” Well, honey, what happened? Other than that long-awaited toaster oven you got in the mail.

Abby Wambach, professional soccer player

While she wasn’t necessarily in, she certainly never said it out loud. So getting married to teammate Sarah Huffman and gushing about their big day and thanking well-wishers on Twitter made it official this October. Saying I do and I am all at once means one hell of a honeymoon.

Maria Bello, actress

Modern love can lead to modern families. And Maria Bello wrote eloquently about her own when she came out in a New York Times column earlier this month. She didn’t label herself (well, she called herself a “whatever”), but put words to the love she has for her female partner, the platonic father of her son and their child.

So, there you have it. Eight women who decided the truth was better than any dark closet. Here’s to another open year in 2014. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Krampus

Christmas may be over, but the festivities don’t have to end. And leave it to our friends over at “Lost Girl” to keep the yuletide going with a visit from the Anti-Claus himself, Krampus. I can’t think of a better reason to leave the holiday decorations up a little longer, can you?

Also, in case you missed the Christmas miracle, my “Lost Girl” recap for this week’s episode is also up at AfterEllen. So don’t say I didn’t get you a present this year.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Merry, Happy Happy

Merry Christmas, kittens. And happy whatever you celebrate. Even if you are the Charlie Browniest of Charlie Browns, I hope this day still manages to bring you comfort and joy.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Taystee Christmas and a Crazy Eyes New Year

’Twas the night before Christmas, and Taystee and Crazy Eyes have some merry and bright to get you through that long winter’s nap. Man, I miss those ladies. And, if you’re worried about suffering the post-Christmas blues after the presents are unwrapped, just know that after tomorrow we’ll be that much closer to seeing Danielle Brooks and Uzo Aduba back on streaming video. I mean, “Orange Is the New Black” has to come back sometimes next year, right? Even if the powers that be didn’t see fit to have the first season box set ready for Christmas so I could gift every lesbian I know with its indescribably joy this holiday season (p.s. Dude, what gives, Netflix?). I digress. Sleep tight, kittens, and may visions of sugar plums and hotties in tank tops dance through your head.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Who dat?

You like lesbians, right? And you like crime shows, right? And you like lesbians in crime shows, right – wait, are there any lesbians on crime shows? (“Rookie Blue” is the only one, I think…which reminds me, I should probably watch “Rookie Blue.”) But if you want even more, then you’re in luck. Because “Nikki & Nora” is finally here. Who dat, you ask? Once a failed TV pilot, now a brand-new webseries, the show is a crime show about a pair of former cops turned private detectives working in New Orleans. And those former cops turned private detectives are also a couple. So you could say it’s sorta like “Rizzoli & Isles,” except they actually make out.

The show is from Nancylee Myatt (creator of “South of Nowhere” and fellow webseries “Cowgirl Up) and features former “CSI” actress Liz Vassey as Nikki and former “Better Than Chocolate” actress Christina Cox as Nora. And, after a successful crowd-funding campaign, the series is now live.

The first episode premiered yesterday and you can watch it with a premium membership to Tello Films ($3.99 for a month of unlimited streaming). There will be new episodes each Sunday for the next seven weeks (so, that’s eight episodes in all). You can watch and find out more at the Nikki & Nora site.

The premiere episode is only 11 minutes – which is tantalizingly short. It sets up Nikki and Nora’s work and makes the most of its New Orleans backdrop. But mostly it leaves you wanting more. Like, seriously, is it Sunday yet?

I haven’t been a big webseries watcher, admittedly. It’s not necessarily that I don’t think they’re good. It’s more like I have so much to watch already. Also, OK, some of them aren’t that good. Fine, some of them suck. But from what I’ve seen so far, “Nikki & Nora” certainly isn’t one of them. High hopes, ladies – high hopes. As a sucker for both lesbians and crime shows, I’m ready.

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Weekend Hosts

You know why I’m excited there are only two more weekends left in 2013? Not because 2013 was a particularly bad year. Heck, TV-wise it was a pretty fantastic year, and we all know I judge all of my personal and professional life by the quality of the television programming I watch. No, I’m excited for 2014 because a) a lot of those shows from 2013 will be coming back and b) a lot of those shows from 2013 will be honored at upcoming awards shows being helmed by totally awesome female hosts. OK, fine, so perhaps I’m not setting the bar terribly high as far as personal excitement is concerned (it’s the end of a long year, cut me some slack). But, I believe these promos are indeed genuine reasons to get excited for both the Golden Globes with Amy Poehler and My TV Wife Tina Fey and the Oscars with The Great Panted One Ellen DeGeneres. Like I said, with a dozen days left in 2013, it’s the little things that get your through. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. I heard that Tina. You’re supposed to love me! MEEEE!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What time is it?

Am I imagining things or has this season been all Boobs O’Clock, all the time? Yeah, I’m not imagining. Read this week’s “Lost Girl” recap here. Or just keep staring at that zipper. Either way, I completely understand.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blunt This

Emily Blunt, like, WHOA. I’m not always an action movie fan. And I’m the opposite of always a Tom Cruise fan. (OK, well, I was a fan back in his “Top Gun” days, but then everyone was a fan back in his “Top Gun” days.) But the trailer for his new film “The Edge of Tomorrow” sure did give me sit up and say whoa. Not because of Tom Cruise. Not because of the action. Not because of its “Groundhog Day” meets “Battle Bots” premise. But because of Emily Blunt, like, WHOA.

So what if it’s Wednesday. I’ll take that tank top all day, any day.

Oh, you wanted to see that again? No problem. Live. Push Up. Repeat.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Era of Edie

As the days dwindle down in 2013, it’s time to do that retrospective thing we humans love to do. And, given my activities this past weekend, I thought I’d pay some renewed respect to our gal Edie. Of course, we all know her story by now and her Edie vs. the Goliath of the United States of America victory. And she was rightfully the third runner-up for Time Person of the Year this year. Yet still, it’s stunning to think how one 84-year-old woman has changed the world, and will continue changing the world for the better for years to come. People have and will and still criticize our movement’s focus on marriage as one of our key battles. But I see it as our smartest possible fight. Because, make no mistake, love is transformative. And when you see it, it’s also impossible to deny. So then nothing inferior will do, no union or partnership or skim milk marriage will suffice. Only “I do” will do. And we certainly do love our Edie.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My New Day Crush

As you probably noticed, there was no crush this past weekend. It’s the rare weekend I don’t put up any post. But then, it was indeed a rare weekend. Because last weekend I had the distinct pleasure of attending the wedding of two dear friends. And it was also the very first legally recognized – on both the state and federal levels – same-sex wedding I had the pleasure to attend. So instead of crushing on some imaginary object of my affection, I was watching the real thing. If you ever wonder if these battles we fight are worth it, well, to see two of your best friends who have been together for 12 years say it’s forever in front of friends and family and have it mean forever for everyone is most definitely worth it. Hope your weekend was as lovely as mine. Happy new week, all.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

No H8ers

Say what you will about Angie Harmon’s politics (and I have, and I do), but I haven’t ever really doubted her support for us LGBT folks. I know, I know – there is a direct correlation between supporting candidates who support LGBT rights with the increased quality of our day-to-day lives. But just as I don’t think all Republicans are automatically anti-gay, nor do I think Angie is anti-gay. So I have to say I was pretty pleased when I saw she had done a NOH8 photoshoot yesterday. Sure, it’s a largely symbolic gesture. Sure, there’s an element of bandwagon jumping with all the celebrities who have posed for the campaign. But, you know what, I will absolutely take it.

Also, I’ll absolutely take Lena Headey’s NOH8 photoshoot as well.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Fine Romance

Yeah, I went there. Please enjoy this week's Lost Girl recap, up now at AfterEllen. Now with more bodice ripping!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In which we are all that waiter

Sorry, I don't know why this recap is taking me so long. Maybe I should stop rewinding.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Orange Is the New Grammy

I tend to think the Grammy nominations are, by and large, bunk. Sure, some deserving people get nominated (woo woo, Sara Bareilles). But lots of other time, come on, really? Like, “Who Let the Dogs Out” won a Grammy. Whatever. But this year, I am genuinely happy about one nomination in particular. I’m thrilled that Regina Spektor’s “You’ve Got Time” was nominated (for Best Song Written for Visual Media, naturally). You know, that theme song you can’t stop humming to the show you can’t stop thinking about. You know, that “Orange Is the New Black” song. Those lyrics combined with those faces (from real-life former female prisoners) could not be more perfect. Hearing it again makes me ache for this show. And, you know, also for Alex Vause, for however long we get her this time around.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

My Weekend Hug

Oh, man. Am I slacking on my posts or what? But, just before the weekend ends, how about a hug? And, a quick reminder, you can read my Lost Girl recaps every Wednesday (or so) on AfterEllen.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

But I'm a Musical

There’s good news and then there’s “But I’m A Cheerleader” is getting turned into a musical news. Of all the lesbian classics, it might be the most suited for the stage. It has a larger than life, campy quality combined with topical issues. The musical is getting an exploratory reading in London this Friday. The 1999 movie has always been one of my nostalgic favorites. Also the cast was insane: Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, RuPaul, Cathy Moriarty, Michelle Williams, Eddie Cibrian, Melanie Lynskey and Julie Delpy. If all goes well, we might be humming the showtune, “I’m a Homosexual” in the shower soon. My only suggestion, no drooling on that line, please. I mean, sure, Natasha Lyonne sold it on screen. But on stage that might become a tripping hazard. Just saying.

p.s. “I Like Girls. A Lot” is going to be a show stopper, I just know it.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Something Fishy

I feel like there’s a lesbian fish joke just waiting to happen. It’s on the tip of my tongue, so to speak. Gillian Anderson was among a host of celebrities sleeping posing with the fishes for a new campaign to stop deep sea fishing in the North Atlantic. The Fishlove Campaign is fighting against trawling which damages the world’s fish population. There is a petition and everything. We could go into a long, winding conversation about the use of naked bodies to raise awareness about world issues (Hello, PETA, looking at you). But this campaign at least features both men and women (including Olivia Williams, below – I miss you, “Dollhouse.”) And it’s apparently meant to show that even non-traditionally cuddly animals are worth saving. It certainly is, uh, different. All this is fine and good, of course. Save the fishies. Now, who has that fish joke to share?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Goodbye, Sweet Gif

Goodbye, sweet gif. Writing up this week's Lost Girl recap is such sweet sorrow. But mostly just because I don't get to you you again this week.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Bella Bello

Life gives us so few “Eureka!” moments. But when I heard through the lesbian grapevine (i.e. ScribeGrrrl and Scribe’s Girl, who read it in the New York Times dead tree edition yesterday morning) that Maria Bello had come out in one of the paper’s famed “Modern Love’ columns, I practically screamed “Eureka!” More like, “Lezreka!”

She had always pinged for me and probably for you. But she also seemed like the kind of lady who would owe up to loving whomever she loved. And now, it seems, she has. The column is lovely, thoughtful and searching in ways people don’t often like to search out loud. What does it mean to be a family? What does it mean to be a partner? There are so many definitions to so many words and all that really makes a family in the end is, of course, love.

Maria tweeted out a picture of her thoroughly modern family (her, son Jackson, partner Clare and son’s father Dan) over the weekend.

Also of course, you’re all curious about this “Clare.” We gay ladies are such nosey bitties, myself totally included. From her essay, Maria described her first meeting with Clare and her “sitting in a bar wearing a fedora and speaking in her Zimbabwean accent.” Yes, finally, we figure out what Maria’s crazy “Prime Suspect” fedora was all about.

With a little more sleuthing I found out that Clare appears to be Clare Munn, “Chairman, The Communication Group, a new media corp with social media, branding & training business units.” Maria and Clare have appeared at events together and tweeted photos of each other. And, yes, there is a fedora. Most importantly, they look happy.

Like many (come on, most) of you, I’ve had a thing for Maria forever. I believe I’ve called her “lesbian catnip” in the past, and I meant it. She has this no-nonsense capable air about her, like she can fix her own tire without breaking a sweat. So I’m more than ready to welcome her into our big, happy, gay modern family with open arms. Also, I think we can all give ourselves a pat on the back for our finely tuned gaydar. I’m off to go watch “Coyote Ugly” in a whole new light.

p.s. Guess someone had a clearly unfair advantage in that Maria v. Mariska SGALGG Fight from a few years ago. Ahem.