Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Make 'Em Laugh

In my ongoing effort to find more joy in 2017, I’ve compiled a list of 30-minute, female-fronted sitcoms that make me laugh. Like really, really, really laugh. While laughter may not rid of the unhinged, thin-skinned narcissist intend on destroying the pillars of our democracy, they do give us a needed respite from the sickening madness. (I know, I know – I keep bringing it up. But, you know, it’s kiiinda important.) So without futher ado, here are some very funny comedies to check out if you aren’t already. Lesbians not necessarily included (unfortunately – though some are a tad lesbianish, so give them time.)

Broad City

The continuing misadventures of Abbi and Ilana are a bit like Dadaist “Girls.” Wonderfully weird and feminist and weird some more. Yas, queens, you should totally be watching this.

The Good Place

OMG, please go back and watch this show’s first season on demand so it has a shot of getting a second season – please, please, please, please. Also, please. And please one more time. Did I mention if it continues it might delve into whether Kristen Bell’s Eleanor is really into Jameela Jamil’s Tahani. So, yeah, please.


So fun and so funny and you know you’re happy to see America Ferrera back on your teevees so watch already.

Fresh Off the Boat

While “Fresh Off the Boat” is technically is a family comedy, this show set in the early 90s Orlando clearly belongs to Constance Wu’s Jessica Huang. Clearly.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

A show by Tina Fey (with occasional cameos by Tina Fey) about a woman making it in the world after surviving 15 years of being kidnapped and held underground by a doomsday cult? Please. That comedy just writes itself. Obviously. (And if you haven’t watched it yet I am quite cross with you, obviously.)

So, what are your comedy lifelines right now (preferably female fronted because, duh)?

p.s. On my “To Watch” list are “One Day at a Time” and “Insecure”

Monday, January 23, 2017

Still I March

So over the weekend you might of heard of a little march that happened. Nothing much – just more than 3 million people in all 50 states (not to mention across the globe) taking to the streets to protest Trump and support progressive causes. The Women’s March broke all attendance expectations as crowds came out in force in Washington D.C. and more than 600 sister marches around the world. I can honestly say Saturday was the first day I’ve logged on to Twitter since the election and felt nothing but pure, unadulterated joy. Make no mistake, America is already great. Yes, I know, we still have so, so, so many problems – institutional racism, police brutality, economic inequality, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc, et al.

But the peaceful show of force on Saturday - which unequivocally eclipsed President Tiny Crowd’s inauguration – no matter what his propaganda secretary says – is a reminder that we outnumber them. We are the popular vote. There really, really are more of us than them. So if you ever feel hopeless, if you ever feel scared – know this, you are not alone. We are everywhere and we are legion. And we’re going to keep protesting and organizing and resisting for as long as it takes to remove our illegitimate, bigoted, egomaniacal president from office. And if you ever need reminding, think back to that day. It didn’t matter if they were in Red States or Blue States, people poured out onto the streets. Because we will not be silenced, and we are more powerful than they know.

So take another look some of at the massive turnout around America because you know it chaps that rotting hate pumpkin’s ass to have so many women show him up.

Austin, Texas

Boise, Idaho

Boston, Massachusetts

Charlotte, North Carolina

Chicago, Illinois

Cleveland, Ohio

Dallas, Texas

Denver, Colorado

Fairbanks, Alaska

Indianapolis, Indiana

Lansing, Michigan

Lincoln, Nebraska

Los Angeles, California

Madison, Wisconsin

Nashville, Tennessee

New York, New York

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Park City, Utah

Portland, Oregon

San Francisco, California

Seattle, Washington

St. Paul, Minnesota

Washington D.C.

p.s. Here is perhaps my favorite non-U.S. protest, in Antarctica.

So, did you march? And tell me all about your favorite signs.

Friday, January 20, 2017

My Four-Year Resistance

Fuck, America. We really did it. We really let this happen. We really let him become President.

Today I will not be watching Trump’s inauguration. I will not dignify our great democracy’s history by celebrating a man with such blatant disrespect for women, people of color, immigrants, the disabled, LGBTQ people and so many he deems “others.” I cannot watch because it hurts, in ways I never even knew it could hurt, to see this happen to my country. And, yes, I am scared. It’s OK to be scared. We can be scared together. I am scared of such a thin-skinned narcissist with no intellectual curiosity and a proven history of vengeance being handed nearly unlimited power with a majority party behind him happy to overlook countless conflicts already. To put it short, we’re fucked. We’re so fucked.

Yet while it might seem nice (so fucking nice) to be put into a cryogenic sleep for the next four years to avoid the coming Armageddon and retain some semblance of our sanity, the future demands our full attention. We must be awake and ready to fight like never before. We must resist all attempts to undermine our core values as a nation and turn back the hands of progress. It will be on us, all of us, to reach into the deepest wells of our resolve to make it through this administration. We will grow weary, we will lose at times. But the fight is now entirely in our hands. Keep our hard-earned civil rights, preserve our precious Earth, save more than 20 million people from losing healthcare, and on and on.

Find joy where you can, for this fight will seem endless. So today, instead of watching that bloviating, bigoted Hate Pumpkin, I will rewatch President Barack Obama’s first inaugural address. Remember why it all matters. Remember what it felt like to have so much hope. Resist this illegitimate president and everything he stands for. We the people, we are all we have. And, yes, we can do this. Happy weekend all; fight on, America.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Handmaid's Rebellion

While crystal balls don’t actually work, it’s hard to believe the makers of “The Handmaid’s Tale” didn’t look into one and see a glimpse of our current, way too dystopian future when they decided to adapt Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” for television this year, of all years. Dystopian fiction has always had a place in our society. But how we view it often depends on our current political climate. “The Hunger Games” series were published first as novels and then produced as films entirely during the Obama presidency. So people saw them less as a glimpse of our near-to-not so distant future than as a cautionary tale and a critique of the vast wealth inequalities and what could happen if they remained unchecked. But now, in the looming age of Trump, Atwood’s imagined world of a totalitarian theocracy that strips women of rights seems almost too on the nose. But, hey, you can’t blame them for having excellent timing. But you can thank them for including lesbian characters in the series played by Alexis Bledel and Samira Wiley, joining our Offred played by Elisabeth Moss. My only complaint, we have to wait until April 26 to sign on to the feminist resistance.

p.s. With any luck, I will be recapping this show for you. So keep you fingers crossed and keep rubbing that crystal ball.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

You make me feel like I am home again

As a person who has watched more than her fair share of bad lesbian movies (just like every other gay lady), I can say it takes a lot for me to get my hopes up. I enter into most films with something between sinking dread and resigned skepticism. But after watching the “Lovesong” trailer I feel, well, hope. Real, genuine hope. Sure, I’ve been here before (cough, Freeheld, cough). Still I can’t help but dream that impossible dream with “Lovesong.” Perhaps it’s the cast – the very talented Jena Malone and Riley Keough. Perhaps it’s the familiar territory for all lesbian, bisexual and queer woman – the lyrical swirl of emotions that comes with falling in love with your best friend. Sure, the critic raves include the words “heartbreaker” and “haunting,” which tend to not imply “…And they lived happily ever after.” But there’s also that “magic of two people connecting,” which, if you think about it, is really all we can really ask for in a movie. So, until proven otherwise, I think I’ll hang on to the rare joy of hope that comes with anticipating a lesbian film that maybe, possible, just might not suck. Which, after all, is my nascent theme for 2017 in the first place. Find your joy, even if bittersweet, where you can.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tank Top Tuesday

In my ongoing effort to find joy in 2017, I’d like to take a moment to thank some of Hillary Clinton’s biggest backers – in tank tops. Like the only America who is great actually again, above. (Not that either America was ever not great.) These are some strong, talented women who supported a woman who is infinitely qualified to lead our country. Sure, things didn’t go as any of us had hoped (no thanks to Russia, the FBI, GOP voter suppression, racism, sexism and an outdated electoral college system that unevenly weighs geographic regions and was historically used to help slave owners). But these women are still great and talented, and I know still with her. In tank tops of not.

Alicia Keys

Elizabeth Banks


Chrissy Teigen

Kerry Washington

Meryl Streep

Monday, January 16, 2017

These Old Bones

Here’s a weird confession. Since the election I have been slowly, surely making my way through the entire run of “Bones.” Yes, “Bones.” Yes, the one with Brennan and Booth. Yes, all 11 going on 12 seasons of it. Now, there’s nothing wrong with “Bones.” It is a perfectly serviceable crime procedural-romantic comedy-workplace ensemble show. It’s not terribly complicated, but with enough mystery to be a satisfying puzzle.
My go-to comfort TV before the election was “The Golden Girls” and “Great British Bake Off.” They still are. But I’ve seen basically every episode of each, in most cases multiple times. So I was looking for something else. Something I could watch to take my mind completely away. So, “Bones” it was.

I’ve watched “Bones” on-and-off over the years – consistently in the very early seasons and sporadically over the rest of its run. Yes, it has its problems. Booth can have some not-so subtle retrograde chauvinistic tendencies and a preoccupation with preset gender roles. The cases aren’t Shakespeare. The plots can be bonkers or downright bad. The science is, well, let’s just be kind and say it can best be classified as magical realism. Plus you can never, ever eat dinner while watching because, you know – gross. So many gross, gross, gross dead bodies. So many.

But there has been something undeniably comforting about systematically making my way through years and years of this show. I enjoy the characters and even most of the squinterns. I enjoy the cast’s chemistry. I enjoy watching David Boreanaz’s head size change from season to season (big, small, big, small, bigger, even bigger…)

Sure, things have annoyed me as I’ve binged my way through prematurely decayed corpse after wildly prematurely decayed corpse each case. Like, I cannot count how many in-show Toyota commercials I’ve had to watch. We get it, there’s a built-in navigation system – wooo. And, I know this is like five years late, but what’s up with the insane time jump the show made when it finally got Bones and Booth together? Like, they passed over all the good stuff of them becoming a couple and dropped us right into a full-fledged relationship. (Again, I know, this complaint comes more than five years too late.) Also, how did Christine get so old in Season 10? Like wasn’t she a baby the last time we saw her?

And, yes, the show’s treatment of Angela’s bisexuality hasn’t been the greatest. She flirted with that FedEx girl and had a brief relationship with Roxy. But then they kind of dropped it altogether. Granted, she is married to Hodgins with a kid (well, at least one – I still have one more season to go to catch up). But, again, a person’s bisexuality doesn’t go away when they are in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. So it would be nice if the writers remembered that, too.

But sexual and gender politics aside, I have enjoyed my “Bones” marathoning. It has given me a strange, completely personal goal to accomplish since the election and its devastating results. And in this frightening new world we have to find our joy where we can. May you find whatever your “Bones” is and enjoy the hell out of it.

Oh, and while watching I found this gem from Season 8. Back in 2012 when the mere thought of a Trump presidency was just a ridiculous laugh line. Yeah, take me to that “Bones” and let me live in it forever, please.


Friday, January 13, 2017

My Weekend First Lady

Courage, kittens. Courage. I can’t believe this is the last speech Michelle Obama will give as First Lady of the United Statues. For the past eight years it has been our country’s great honor to have this amazing woman at its helm. She has been the epitome of strength, intelligence, honor and compassion. She’s also been really cool and really fun and really refreshing. In her last speech she said she hopes she made us proud. Please, if only we as a country were worth her endless grace and fierce integrity. So, in her honor I will try to not be afraid of what is coming in these next four years. We can’t fear the future, but we can fight like hell to make it better. Be determined. Thanks, Mrs. Obama. I cannot believe we have to let her go in a week. Thank you so much. Happy weekend, all.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Rise Up

Some people have been saying, “But think of the art!” as a silver lining of the Trump administration. A reinvigorated arts community will funnel its energy and we will enter a golden age. But as someone who writes for a living I can say, fuck that. Trust me, we can be plenty creative without the threat of a burgeoning tyrant destroying our country.

But that is not to discount the importance of art during this new, horrible era. Art will matter, as art always matters. Possibly even more. On the one hand, it can provide respites of joy to keep us motivated. Because if we are too weary and too exhausted and too beaten down to keep going, we will just stop. And, again, we are the only ones who can save ourselves now. And on the other hand, art will be a crucial part of the resistance. It will shed light on current injustice. And, just as important, it will bear witness to our history.

Which brings me to “When We Rise.” The ABC miniseries chronicles the LGBTQ rights movement from Stonewall to today. It’s the kind of star-studded, high-profile affair you’d think we would have had ages ago. (No, “Stonewall” most definitely does not count – you can keep your gay/male/white-washing, thank you very much.) So I am excited to see what an Oscar-winning screenwriter like Dustin Lance Black and acclaimed out filmmakers like Dee Rees and Gus Van Sant can do with a cast that includes Mary-Louise Parker, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Rachel Griffiths, Michael K. Williams, Guy Pearce, trans actress Ivory Aquino more playing some of the real-life heroes of our movement.

“When We Rise” airs Feb. 27 on ABC. May it inspire us to keep up the fight. And may it be the kind of art that helps sustain us these next four years.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Thanks, Obama

Look, no one wants him to go. We’ve all witnessed eight years of a truly good, decent and honorable man leading our country with integrity and courage. Did he get everything right? Good God, he’s a human being. No one can. And he faced unprecedented (or, as the lump of rotting pumpkin flesh about to replace him would say, “unpresidented”) obstruction from a Congress that did everything they could to stop him from governing. I mean, they stole a Supreme Court seat from him. Stole. It.

Yet through it all, instead of becoming angry or petulant or whiny or tweeting something deranged at 3 a.m., President Barack Obama handled it all with grace and true patriotism. Country before ego, democracy before self-interest.

The importance of his presidency cannot be overestimated. History will only continue to elevate his legacy. Yet the lens of time will show us, once again, the painful arc of our moral universe. Stunning progress followed by a staggering regression. One step forward, one ugly primordial scream back.

One of the things that struck me most about President Obama’s Farewell Address was how he emphasized how nothing in our Constitution is “self-executing.” Which means our elected officials, even our President, can break the law with impunity unless we demand something be done. There is no automatic trigger that, once violated, will protect us. It’s on us to do that. It is on us to demand that.

“Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power. We, the people, give it meaning — with our participation, and with the choices that we make and the alliances that we forge.

Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law, that’s up to us. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.”
So when Trump and the GOP try to repeal ethics oversight or rush through cabinet nominees without completing full background checks of financial disclosures or appoint his son-in-law which is clearly illegal based on the anti-neoptism law, it is on us to stop them. It will be on us to stop everything.

All that will be ahead of us. It will be tiring and it will be exhausting. Though, gifts like Donald Trump’s golden showers, will give us some light amidst the darkness (though, as fun as it is, let’s not let all the pee-pee jokes distract us from the real, live treason).

But for now, all I want to do is say thank you. Thank you to a man who helped make our country and our world better. And from a man who I have no doubt will keep doing the same as a private citizen, just like us. I will miss this man, and I will miss this family. Thanks, Obama.