Tag: Recap

Wynonna Earp Series Finale Recap: We’ll Always Have Purgatory

Wynonna Earp Series Finale Recap: We'll Always Have Purgatory

Wynonna Earp series finale recap below! Major major major spoilers for the whole show! 

Previously on Wynonna Earp, Waverly grew wings and made Nicole her angel’s shield, Jeremy lost his job and his boyfriend but helped save Purgatory, Wynonna and Doc had half a decade of love and heartbreak, and Waverly and Nicole fell in love and the very fabric of sci-fi television and queer representation was changed forever. Casual.

We open on a red wedding that feels like a bad omen for a big gay wedding episode of teevee. A woman in a white wedding dress with a blue sapphire heart wields an axe and chops everyone up and ultimately chops herself up, too. Seems chill and fine…

…until we cut back to present-day, where Waverly is taking that very same wedding dress out of a box, impressively bleached clean of the bloodshed. Waverly holds it up to show Wynonna and it hits them both anew: Waverly is getting married.

Wynonna Earp series finale recapWaverly holds up her wedding dress for Wynonna.

You know what was fun about the first half of this episode? I wasn’t sure the wedding was going to happen the way they planned/hoped but I never once worried someone was going to die. What a world!

Later, Nicole is putting flowers into the back of Wynonna’s truck, smiling lovingly as her big day comes together, when Wynonna snaps her out of her reverie. The Earp heir is inspecting her sister’s wedding cake with wee spectacles and has determined that it’s not vegan, like they ordered. It’s buttercream! A disaster!

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Wynonna looks inquisitively at Nicole.

“BE STRESSED WITH ME” is a relatable mood.

Nicole isn’t worried about it, she jokes about just not telling Waverly, but Wynonna is holding on to a thread about it. She wants this day to be perfect for her baby girl, but Nicole promises her that it will definitely not be perfect. Nothing that has ever happened on the Homestead has been perfect. But Wynonna wants this to be the exception, BECAUSE of that. She reminds Nicole that both of Waverly’s dads died right here and Nicole probably thinks maybe they had that intervention for Wynonna too soon because she could use a little loosening up right now.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Nicole looks way more calm than Wynonna

“Do we need to do shots of banana liqueur to calm your nerves?”

Waverly comes out, just as chill as Nicole, and they’re both all cute and smiley about their impending nuptials. Wynonna tries to get HER on her level of stress about the buttercream, but Waverly is also too busy basking in the bliss to be stressed. Besides, this isn’t her first vegan rodeo, and she has cupcakes in the freezer.

Wynonna takes her nervous energy into the barn where she is dutifully hacking at a plank of wood with a knife when Waverly’s dress catches her eye. Next thing you know she’s wrapped up in a coat despite the beautiful sunny day and storming to Doc’s RV, things literally falling apart around her as she walks, and tells him that she felt compelled to try on the dress…and now she can’t get it off.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Wynonna looks adorably upset about her predicament.

I hope Melanie Scrofano is on another gay show I can cover soon, I’ll miss screenshots of her very expressive face.

They flirt a bit while Doc tries to get it off but he can’t even cut it off her so when they hear a familiar jeep approaching Wynonna DIVES inside the RV before Waverly can see her. Waverly is here to give Doc a gift and ask him an important question. The gift is Wyatt Earp’s saddle, restored to its former glory. And the question is whether he’ll be her best man. Doc has been one of the only people to not underestimate her from the jump, and has always been a rock in her life like no man has been before. Not her ex-boyfriend, neither of her fathers. Maybe it would have been Uncle Curtis, if he were still with us, but at this point in Waverly’s life, Doc Holliday is the best man she knows. And not because he’s perfect, or even always good, but because he is constantly trying to be better.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: waverly smiles her angelic smile.

“Remember that one time you saved me from mean girls at a bachelorette party? Good times, good times.”

Doc asks about Wynonna, but Wynonna is going to stand with Nicole. Because they’re best friends. No take backs. Doc accepts Waverly’s offer with pride in his voice and she squeals with delight and scurries away. With a hiss of a reminder from the hidden Wynonna, Doc asks Waverly where she got her wedding dress and she points him toward a quant boutique…

…named CURSEY’S. Sweet angel what did you DO.

Wynonna and Doc make their way around the bridal shop, when they get the pearls scared out of them by a wispy wacky woman in a bridal gown…who is also Charlotte Sullivan,

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Brigitte played by Charlotte Sullivan gives crazy eyes through a veil.

I’ve had a crush on Charlotte Sullivan since I was approximately 10 years old, this was a lovely surprise.

Gail Peck, ladies and gentlepeople!!

The dressmaker tells them that the dress will make Wynonna kill everyone at the wedding, and the only way to kill the dress is with the silkworms that made it. Or to kill the person in the dress, but Wynonna and Doc think they’ll try their luck with the bugs. Wynonna isn’t about to let some haunted hussie ruin this day for Waverly. No matter how pretty she is.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Brigitte looks wild-eyed.

Also this character was named after/absolutely a gift for my friend Bridget Liszewski from the TV Junkies who also happens to be one of the greatest gifts this show has given to ME so really it was a win-win-win.

Back at the Homestead, Jeremy and the brides-to-be are surveying the sudden damage to all the wedding goodies and can’t figure out what the heck happened. Jeremy spots a caterer and gets a funny feeling in his groinal region so he storms off to accuse the man named Damon of being a demon. Damon thinks he’s giving him shit because he knows he’s gay, which sounds pretty rich coming from the guy who is about to officiate a marriage between two women.

Waverly and Nicole follow the trail of destruction into the barn and see that Waverly’s dress is missing, at which point she realizes she doesn’t actually like the dress after all. Nicole points out that only the wedding stuff is trashed…and then they both realize at the same time that this means they have a haunted wedding dress on their hands.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Waverly and Nicole exchange ah-ha looks.

I love when people on supernatural shows remember the supernatural exists!

On their hunt for silkworms, Doc dives into a dirty pond and while he’s fruitlessly looking for silkworms, Wynonna sees her name on a note sticking out of his jacket that she’s holding and reads it, sadness washing over her like she was the one who jumped in the pond. The note is a goodbye letter, and he tries to justify it; he’s a human man now, the imminent danger has passed, what’s left for him here in Purgatory?

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Wynonna holds a letter and cries.

Me reading all my friends’ tweets about how much this show means to them.

Back in the barn, Waverly and Nicole have set up an impromptu murder board and research station, where they start seeing a pattern of wedding murders that Waverly never noticed before because, well, there’s a lot of murders. They trace it back to a dressmaker named Bridgitte, who Waverly confirms is the wackadoo that sold her the dress, and who was the first to have a red wedding, killing all her wedding guests after being left at the altar.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Nicole and Waverly look at a laptop together.

“Do you do want to check for new ones or do you just want to read Stay the Night again?”

Nicole can understand the sentiment; if Waverly left her, she would, and I quote ,”Fuck shit up.” This assertion makes Waverly smile a sly smile and pounce on her girl.

As Doc puts on dry clothes after his impromptu dip, Wynonna calls him a coward. He scoffs and says she’s one to talk; a hero in war but a coward in love. He does say though that, in his defense, he wasn’t just going to leave a letter. He was just drafting his goodbye. He asks her to come with him when he goes, but she fights back tears and changes the subject instead. They have earthworms to paint.

Meanwhile, Jeremy walks in on a post-coital WayHaught who apologize but solving crime makes them horny.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Nicole and Waverly scramble to put their clothes back on.

We were just…solving crime…in a friend way.

Jeremy tells them he found their culprit and is surprised that at the same time he says demon caterer, they say haunted wedding dress. That’s when he realizes he fucked up but good. Waverly feels bad for JerBear but she has a flapper to stop so she runs off with a shotgun and a pun.

Wynonna and Doc bring their faux silkworms to Brigitte the Dressmaker, but she’s not fooled. She is, however, amused at their sad attempt and delights in the fact that they’re all going to die.

Wynonna Earp series finale recap: Brigitte is just standing there with her veil down looking insane.

I love that Waverly just straight-up shopped here and bought something from this kooky lady and was like, “Yeah I’m sure this is fine and totally normal that she wears a wedding dress to sell wedding dresses.”

Wynonna tries to reason with her, says that failure is never irreversible, and that she’s determined to give Waverly the perfect wedding day. Brigitte is suddenly confused about whose wedding it is but before she can ask more questions Waverly comes bounding through the door, chasing Brigitte around with a banner that I definitely thought said WHORE at first.

Waverly holds up a banner that almost definitely does not say WHORE but could if you look fast enough because cursive.

I’m just saying it doesn’t feel entirely off-brand for the homestead to have had a WHORE banner lying around.

Waverly saves the day with a spell and Wynonna is ready to send Brigitte to hell but Waverly says not today. Just this once, everybody lives. And besides, she has sympathy for this woman who was left at the altar; no one deserves that much pain. Brigitte is still confused as to who’s marrying who but she appreciates the understanding.

Brigitte looks up fondly at Waverly.

WHO LOOKS THIS GOOD THROUGH A VEIL AND WHILE USING THAT VOICE. Witchcraft.

The Earp sisters go back to the homestead where Waverly decides to wear Mama Earp’s wedding dress instead. We’ll take regular baggage over a homicidal curse any day. Waverly can tell something is weighing on her sister but Wynonna plays it off as wedding day feelings.

Nedley goes to the house to give Nicole her boutineer and finds her nervously pacing.

Nicole looks nervous but dapper as heck in her purple suit.

Instead of Cursey’s, I see Nicole went to Lena Luthor’s online shop (L’etsy) to buy a custom suit.

She takes the flower from him and says she has one more thing she needs from him. And then she asks her to walk beside her down the aisle, like he’s been walking beside her since he first saved a little redhead girl from the Cult of Bulshar.

Nicole looks teary and grateful for Nedley

FOUND! FAMILY! FEELS!

He accepts like the proud papa he is and takes her outside where the wedding begins.

The song sings happy words like, “Every up and every down made us who we are now, wouldn’t change it for the world.” The sign does not in fact say WHORE, but “Where you go, I go.” It’s a makeshift wedding and a makeshift family and it’s absolutely perfect.

Wynonna walks Waverly down the aisle, looking beautiful and delicate in blue as she leads her favorite person on this planet to stand with her best friend. Before letting go of her arm, Wynonna presses her forehead against her sister’s and reminds Waverly that she’s the best of us. Still, always.

The Earp sisters press their foreheads together.

THE EARP SISTERS ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO ME DOT TUMBLR DOT COM

Jeremy officiates, wrapping Nicole and Waverly’s hands together with twine as Nicole promises her angel to stay by her side on every adventure and to hold her hand when the firelight grows dim.

Nicole beams and cries through her vows.

“She says I smell like safety and home. I named both of her eyes forever and please-don’t-go.”

Waverly says she’s grateful for the bulletproof vest Nicole once wore (which…same) and a love stronger than she’s ever known and promises to always stand beside her.

Waverly also smiles and cries through her vows.

“My love, my love, my love, she keeps me warm.”

The music swells and the camera pans over the chairs labeled for people they’ve loved and some they’ve lost and Jeremy tells the beautiful brides they are officially married. You may kiss the bride.

Waverly and Nicole kiss, married.

“When you’re afraid and you’ve lost all hope, I’ll lead the way. I will walk you home. It’s all gonna be alright, from now til the end of time. I’ll take your hand and I won’t let go.”

Rachel is so grateful to be part of this family and tells them all they’re inspiring heroes to her. She didn’t know what to get them as a gift, so she decided to sing them a song, and it’s perfect.

Rachel holds a microphone ready to sing.

Also she sang the song that was playing during the first WayHaught kiss I’M FINE IT’S FINE EVERYTHING’S FINE DON’T TOUCH ME

There is a joyful montage and gods it’s so nice to see them all SMILING and laughing and dancing and being able to BREATHE, at least today, at least for now.

Waverly and Nicole laugh and are visibly in love.

“And it starts in my toes, makes me crinkle my nose, wherever it goes, I always know, you make me smile, please stay for a while now.”

Wynonna toasts her best friend and her baby sister, happy as can be that two people she loves so much are in love with each other.

Wynonna toasts WayHaught

How often do people genuinely love their in-laws??

Nedley is a little tipsy and trying to share his champagne with the cake toppers when Rachel and the Billy formerly known as Invisible Monster Teen approach. Nedley is planning on taking Rachel on a fishing trip and she’s so excited that she wants to bring her maybe sort of boyfriend with them. After a warning Billy to keep his lures to himself, Dad says yes and Rachel squeals with glee.

Next page: Are you crying yet? If not, GET READY. 

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Episode 1313: Gottmik is EGOT

RuPaul's Drag Race Recap Episode 1313: Gottmik is EGOT

Lights! Camera! Green screen! It’s the top five and we’re making an award-winning, boundary-pushing, history-making work of cinema! Or, you know, a silly sketch.

But first! Symone’s “favorite strange little being on Earth” Utica Queen has gone home and Symone is desperate to claw her way back from the bottom. She says she’s determined to figure out how to change something in her head. Oh, my love, if you figure it out let me know the secret!

It’s a new day in the work room and Kandy says the other queens are her best friends — Symone tells her to wait until she watches the confessionals. Ru walks in with a mustache and announces the maxi challenge: a movie called Henny, I Shrunk the Drag Queens.

Symone and Kandy both want to play Dominique, the villain. The other role left is Margarita, the smart one, and while it makes more sense for that to go to Symone, I think her instinct to play against type is wise. Eventually she concedes and all the queens end up in their expected roles — Kandy and Symone joined by Rosé as the funny one, Gottmik as the ditzy one, and Olivia as the sweet one.

The queens are learning their lines and putting together their outfits when they’re interrupted by a video call from Scarlett Johansson. Drag Race is a complicated show to love, but something about this appearance felt gross and cynical even for RuPaul. For those of you who don’t know, in 2018 Scarlett Johansson signed on to play a trans man in a movie called Rub & Tug. When she was criticized for this decision she doubled down saying that all criticism “can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” Not only does this statement ignore the progress made since those cis actors played trans characters, but citing Tambor, a cis man who sexually harassed multiple trans actresses, was especially egregious. This also happened right after she faced similar criticism for playing a character in Ghost in the Shell who was originally Japanese. In a 2019 interview she confirmed her views on casting saying, “As an actor I should be able to play any person, or any animal, or any tree.”

Casting isn’t the only reason Johansson should be critiqued. She’s also more pro-Israel than the UN and the Red Cross and she’s one of the few actors to still adamantly defend Woody Allen who was accused of molesting his daughter Dylan — among a variety of other abusive behaviors all outlined in the stellar HBO docuseries Allen v. Farrow. The fact is Scarlett Johansson should not have been on Drag Race nor should she continue to have her star power. Do you know how hard it is to be Jack Antonoff’s most problematic ex? It’s not even like she’s a good actor. Across eight Marvel movies, she’s shown two emotions. Mickey Rourke hasn’t moved his face since the 90s and he’s still more expressive in Iron Man 2. Johansson’s acting is so wooden as Black Widow maybe her life goal really is to play a tree. Actually, I’d love to see her get a role like that or any role like her career best as the AI voice in Her — basically anything where I no longer have to look at her face.

As if Johansson’s appearance isn’t bad enough, she’s joined by her husband, Colin Jost, who in 2016 blamed trans people for Hillary Clinton losing the election. Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost are the opposite of a power couple. But anyone who knows anyone in Hollywood knows that Jost is about as faithful as Naomi Smalls on All Stars. So when I say they deserve each other, I really, truly mean it.

Anyway, back to the show that wants praise for casting its first transmasc queen during its 13th season. Michelle and Carson are directing the movie and Carson starts by making a joke about small dicks. I’m sure it’s a lot of fun for Gottmik to try and work while experiencing this endless wave of microaggressions!

Symone appears to be struggling. She’s still in her head about losing the part to Kandy and she falls into what Olivia calls “her acting voice.” But Olivia is falling into her own acting voice — sweet diva. Meanwhile, Kandy Muse is chewing scenery as the villain and Rosé is once again showing off that BFA with some legit acting. Also a legit actor? Gottmik! To her own surprise, Gottmik has blossomed into an excellent dramatic performer. And by dramatic performer I mean really selling it as she’s attacked by a giant cat paw with her ass out. She says she’s having so much fun that she maybe wants to become an actor. Wow a real trans actor! With real charisma! Whaddya know!

Back in the workroom, Symone says she wants to do well and to not disappoint anyone. She feels the pressure of living up to Gigi and the level of quality brought by the House of Avalon. In the confessional, she starts to cry saying that she doesn’t want people to say she fizzled out. Symone isn’t the first Capricorn queen but she is the first CAPRICORN queen, for better or worse.

The queens start discussing the first time they saw themselves represented on screen. Olivia cites the Brandy/Whitney Cinderella. Gottmik says she never saw herself on TV. Even when Chaz Bono came out and she started seeing some transmasc representation, she felt alienated by their masculinity. She says if she saw someone like her she could’ve shaved years off her journey. She hopes to be that representation for someone else — evidence that trans people don’t have to be Barbie and Ken. Or, maybe, in her case, that trans men can be Barbie too.

Ru, Michelle, and Carson are joined by an Oscar-nominated actor who actually has talent — Lena Waithe’s mistress Cynthia Erivo! Watch Widows, listen to her version of “I’m Here” from The Color Purple — Cynthia Erivo is amazing. Truly baffling to have Cynthia Erivo literally on set and to conference in Johansson to say: “Acting is all about making a situation that’s unreal feel very real.” Thanks Stanislavski.

The runway theme this week is Haute Pocket. Symone’s entire outfit is a denim pocket with a zipper. She’s wearing an orange wig and says the look is a tribute to Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore — and a fellow Capricorn! She looks amazing even for Symone who always looks amazing. Olivia is in a diamond themed dress that’s pretty but light on pockets. Rosé is in a phenomenal black and white mod dress that she reveals by flinging off an equally phenomenal cape. Kandy is in a Japanese-inspired dress with dangling linked pockets that doesn’t quite work. And Gottmik is wearing a trench coat which she opens to reveal watches for sale and a dress made of watches. It’s such a good look!!

Henny, I Shrunk the Drag Queens is one of the longer sketches the show has ever done, but it held my attention. All the queens were good — including Symone much to my relief — but Rosé and Gottmik were really the stand outs. There are a lot of fun bits like Michelle stealing the queens’ makeup and the cat attack on Gottmik.

The judges love Symone, Gottmik, and Rosé. Cynthia tells Rosé that her look is her wet dream and reminds her of Sweet Charity. (This was very exciting to me because I was asked on a podcast this week what musical I’d want to queer and my answer was a trans Sweet Charity!) The judges are harsh on Olivia and Kandy not because they’re bad per say, but because this is the top five and it’s a really stellar group of queens.

Ru then asks them who should go home. They all say Olivia except Olivia who says nothing. It seems like she wants to say herself but eventually she concedes and says Kandy. Gottmik and Symone are safe. Rosé wins! And Olivia and Kandy are lip syncing.

The song is “Strong Enough” by Cher and maybe I’m just feeling sentimental because we’ve been with these queens so long, but this was one of my favorite lip syncs… ever?? Olivia and Kandy just seem to be having so much fun and, more importantly, so much fun together. My favorite lip syncs are when the queens interact either sexually or in friendship. There’s a real fondness between them and it’s a joy to watch. Also Kandy has a glitter moment and who doesn’t love that?

Kandy shantays and Olivia sashays. I love Olivia, but this is pretty much my dream top four! Ru might upset me. The show might upset me. But I love these queens and I love getting to see them work.

Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:

+ Kandy is happy she won last week explicitly because former drag family members Aja and Dahlia never won a challenge on their seasons. I love her.

+ Rosé is wearing butch hair and Kandy says it makes her miss her baby Joey Jay. Cue dreamy montage.

+ If Symone is the quintessential Capricorn drag queen, Hayley Williams is the quintessential Capricorn musician. “The Only Exception” is like the most romantic song ever to me and her two recent solo albums are soooo good and speak to my Capricorn walls soooo much especially “Pure Love.”

+ The movie sketch is filled with fun references, but my favorite is the tiny queens walking by a lipstick with “Dela” written on it.

+ Gottmik says her look was inspired by the guy selling sundials in Hercules rather than, you know, real people selling watches out of their trench coat. I love Gen Z himbo bimbo and future Oscar winner Gottmik!!

+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone

+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: Symone

+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: Gottmik being attacked by a giant cat paw

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Episode 1312 Recap: Roast Me Like One Of Your Ru Girls

"RuPaul's Drag Race" Episode 1312 Recap: Roast Me Like One

The library has reopened! It’s time for the most painful challenge of the season: the roast. Who will make us laugh? Who will make us cringe? Who will make us laugh and cringe? You truly never know!

But first we begin with Tina’s elimination. Utica says she’s heartbroken, because Tina was such a great sister. She starts to cry and says she thinks Tina deserved to stay. Never! Say! This! Once a queen says something like this it’s proof that they’re ready to go. This competition is too hard to be in it unless you want it with every part of you. But in the confessional Utica is bragging up about sending home a legend?? Utica isn’t just kooky — she’s baffling.

It’s a new day in the work room and Symone is excited to have her fourth win — while Kandy is desperate for her first. The mini challenge is a live make up tutorial selling the new palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills. (Product placement!) They split into pairs — one of them is the face and one is the hands. This leads to more comedy than the actual roast as the queens poke and prod at each other’s faces. Kandy makes a mess of Rosé. Symone sells Olivia’s paint job. And Gottmik is a usual make up tutorial pro but with Utica’s wildly long arms. Rosé and Kandy win!

The roast this season is the Nice Girls Roast. Three Miss Congeniality winners from past seasons — Heidi N Closet, Nina West, and Valentina — are the main subjects. And since Rosé and Kandy won the mini challenge they get to pick the order. For some reason they both want to open?? My only roasting experience is a roast my friends and I foolishly put on in high school that led to A LOT OF DRAMA, but I have watched about 20 seasons of Drag Race and never have the queens been fighting over first and last. Kandy ends up with first and Rosé ends up with last and cheers to their confidence I guess!

The energy in the work room is a delight as the queens get into the roasting spirit. Roasting is my personal love language and it’s such a joy to see these weeks of sisterhood manifest in a barrage of funny insults.

Michelle and Loni Love help the queens in rehearsal. They advise Kandy to think of jokes that won’t require bleeping. (RIP A’whora.) They encourage Gottmik to tell her very funny jokes with confidence. They call out Symone for being an overthinker. And they tell Utica to just… stop? Everything she is doing? She’s being so mean!! Olivia isn’t very good and Rosé is great. Often the rehearsal isn’t indicative of the show… but this time it was!

The Miss Congeniality queens are introduced first. Nina West walks out in a pride flag because she thinks a collar saying “love is love” is activism — the “political queen” bar is on the fucking floor when you’re white. She’s joined by fan favorite Valentina who looks perfect, beautiful, and like Linda Evangelista and Heidi N Closet who is GORGEOUS! It’s so fun seeing queens who had fewer resources fucking shine after their season and Heidi is shining.

Also looking hot? Kandy Muse who opens the show as a blonde. She jokes about Valentina’s appearance in Rent: Live saying her Angel needed an angel. Overall, she absolutely kills. Unfortunately she’s followed by Symone who bombs and Utica who bombs even harder. Neither Symone nor Utica took any of Loni and Michelle’s notes! Jokes about appearance are expected in a Drag Race roast, but they have to be funny and Utica’s are not funny — they’re just fatphobic.

Utica’s performance reminded me of Farrah Moan’s in All Stars 3. Some queens who don’t skew naturally towards mean just cannot figure out the difference between a joke and an attack. And Utica has been struggling with this all season — like when she pulled out a notebook full of reads to share while the queens were on a meal break. Utica’s trying so hard to fit into catty drag queen culture so she can make friends and do well in the competition, but it just does not work for her.

Thankfully, Gottmik follows with a stellar set. She makes a joke about UTIs which just goes to show the variety of material trans queens can bring to the show! The best joke in her set is probably one directed at Ru: “I’m such a big fan of you and your work and all of your hit song.” Ru loves a joke that starts with praise.

Olivia follows and tries to play on her sweet energy as a bit but it just falls flat. And Rosé closes the show — without cards — and kills it. She was better in rehearsal, but at least it wasn’t a case of crushing it in rehearsal and bombing on stage. She gives the impression that even her worst comedy show would be better than most because she is A Pro. She jokes about Heidi trying to fuck her in New York saying, “The only thing thirstier than Heidi N Closet are her make up brushes.”

But even Rosé jokes about Nina West’s size and while again jokes about appearance are to be expected — and can work when they’re actually clever — it still felt lazy to me. Why make fun of Nina’s shoulders when she looks like the spawn of a DNC drag brunch and Old Navy’s Pride Collection? I can think of few queens more deserving of some proper digs than Nina and she got none. This is why I’m disappointed Symone didn’t do better. Instead of tripping her up with overthinking, Symone’s intelligence could’ve led to deeper jokes than the other queens.

The judges mostly say what’s expected but frankly are nicer to the queens who bombed than they deserve. They point out that Symone still looks incredible even if her comedy sucked which is correct and true. Loni praises Rosé while acknowledging that she did better in rehearsal. Michelle agrees but still compares her to Bianca del Rio.

Rosé is safe. Gottmik is safe. And Kandy finally gets that win!! I love Kandy and I love being right. I’ve loved her from the beginning and it’s been a joy to watch her grow as a person and a queen. Based on Twitter discourse, people still seem to really hate her, but who cares because those are random people on Twitter and she is a top five RPDR queen! Never doubt someone with lesbian moms!

Olivia is safe. Symone and Utica lip sync to “No Tears Left to Cry.” Thank God Symone kills it because I really do have no tears left to cry — I have a follow up eye doctor appointment about it next week. Utica is sent away and we have our top five.

While I’d swap Denali in for Olivia — yeah I’m still not over it! — I think this is possibly the best top five since season three. We’re coming to the end and I feel air welling up in my empty tear ducts.

Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:

+ Who was the top five of season three? Carmen Carrera, Yara Sofia, Alexis Mateo, Manila Luzon, and Raja. Throw in Shangela at six and you get why it is and will probably always be my favorite season of the show.

+ Have you seen Heidi N Closet’s WAP parody, GAP, featuring Widow Von Du??

+ Speaking of Heidi, I love that Ru spent her whole season saying that her name sucked and she should change it and she… just… didn’t. Obsessed.

+ If you think I’m being harsh on Nina, I’d like to remind you of the time she appeared on The View to call Meghan McCain an honorary Ru girl. This would bother me from any queen, but I find it especially unconscionable given Nina markets herself as an activist. It’s really disappointing that Monet X Change did the segment as well but I think it angers me less with her because she never made “LGBT Rights” her whole thing. Or maybe I’m just making excuses because I like Monet? The fact is it was really disappointing from both of them and Nina continues to annoy me. She has the political intelligence of a Prop 8-era GSA president.

+ If you want a queen who is actually political look to Bob, look to Peppermint, look to The Vixen who deserved so much better from this show and its fans.

+ Kandy’s bleeped joke was calling Valentina Miss Cuntgeniality.

+ After being told to shantay, Symone said, “Not again. Not again.” And I believe her.

+ During Untucked, Utica continues to baffle, but admits that there are things she should’ve worked out for herself personally before coming on the show. I’m not sure what she’s talking about and I’ll respect her by not speculating, but I truly wish her the best as she navigates her newfound fame. Valentina tells the queens that the hardest part of the experience isn’t filming, but figuring out your career in its aftermath. I feel like Utica could really struggle or really come into herself and I hope it’s the latter!

+ Before leaving, Utica admits that she asked Olivia out on a date and Olivia said yes! I would like more details about whether this date has happened! Did they meet in the park with masks on and have a picnic six feet apart??? Did they get tested and fuck in a hotel room??? The options are endless.

+ Queen I’m rooting for: 1st: Symone, 2nd: Gottmik, 3rd: Kandy, 4th: Rosé

+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: All of the ones who are left??

+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: I don’t know RuPaul looked really fucking good this episode

“Riverdale” Episode 509 Recap: Betty Cooper Enters Chaos Mode

"Riverdale" Episode 509 Recap: Betty Cooper Enters Chaos Mode

This week’s Riverdale is centered on a football game rather than a key party, and football games are inherently less exciting than a key party, but alas, I’m kind of into the Friday Night Lights moment we’re having—even if Archie and Veronica are hardly the Coach and Tami Taylor that they WISH they were!!!

The thing about the Riverdale Bulldogs is that they’re bad. Like really bad. Like haven’t scored all season bad. The cheerleaders would much rather be practicing for their own competitions than cheering for them (fair!) and no one is filling out the stands. Archie’s plan to rejuvenate town spirit via a winning football team is not working out so well. Veronica has one solution: Offer the first Bulldog to score a touchdown $10,000. Personally, I find this to be a very weird incentive—not because I don’t think any of these kids could definitely use $10,000 but because this is just kind of classic asshole rich person shit masquerading as philanthropy? If ten grand is such expendable money for Veronica, then in my humble opinion, she should probably just give ten grand to every Bulldog player regardless of how they perform on the field! Her little offer reminds me so much of that moment from the Succession pilot when Roman offers up a million dollars to a kid if he can make a homerun.

Veronica does have one other solution in addition to teasing these kids with her wealth: a pancake breakfast at Pop’s! Tabitha’s up for it and also agrees to make the diner the team’s official sponsor. Veronica taps Cheryl for some maple syrup, but Cheryl only agrees to help out if she can be the center of attention on game day. Sounds about right. The pancake breakfast draws a crowd, and Archie meets the mother of Derek, the Bulldogs’ sole star player, and she brings up that Derek is being stifled at Riverdale.

Sure enough, Hiram ends up poaching Derek for the Stonewall Prep Stallions, and who can really blame Derek? Archie agrees that playing for the better team probably gives him a better shot at a football scholarship and ticket out of Riverdale. Reggie shows up at the pancake breakfast to threaten that the league wants Riverdale to withdraw itself. This prompts Veronica to make a wager with her father that if the Bulldogs can simply score then they will have to be allowed to stay in the league. If they fail to score, they’re out. Hiram Lodge is practically SALIVATING at the notion of making a bet with his daughter, because this is a man who loves destruction and chaos. He goes so far as to ask Reggie to physically sabotage the Bulldogs, and even though Reggie literally calls a bunch of teens “losers” at the pancake breakfast, there are apparently limits to his henchman identity: He says he won’t break a kid’s legs for no reason. At least that’s something. Hiram benches Reggie for refusing the order, and just like that, Reggie’s back to cheering for the Bulldogs. Alliances change swiftly on this show.

Jughead informs his agent that he is writing about aliens but that what he is REALLY writing about is a town’s collective trauma. Meanwhile, he also has a student inexplicably named Lerman Logan who has written a very disturbing short story about abduction, being locked away, and torture. He makes a meeting with Mr. Weatherbee about it, but Weatherbee insists that he has properly vetted Lerman’s parents and that they don’t seem abusive. Weatherbee does not seem to be doing a very good job here. It’s clear that Lerman is dealing with something dark, and when Jughead approaches him about it, he admits that the story is based on recurring dreams but denies that he has experienced any kind of trauma.

Betty gets the call from Glen that the blood at the phone booth is the same blood type as Polly. She doesn’t know how to break it to Alice, who is gradually unraveling. When Betty suggests that she go back to her support group, Alice just pours more wine. Things are looking very bleak at the Cooper household. So Betty seeks out an expert in familial trauma: her tragic cousin Cheryl Blossom. Betty asks if Cheryl was relieved when she found out that Jason was dead, and Cheryl says that while it was soul-crushing, it was still better than not knowing because it gave her a chance to grieve. Still, Betty makes the split decision to lie to Alice, telling her the blood was a different type than Polly’s. Alice turns around almost immediately, waking up the next day to make a bunch of food for her support group. She’s brighter and lighter. But her hope is based on a lie. And the consequences of that lie do come back to bite Betty, whose reckless and impulsive behavior in this episode suggest that she’s spiraling to a dark side.

Listen, I rarely like therapy scenes on television, but at the same time, I’m simply begging these characters to get a therapist! Cheryl plays grief counselor for Betty and then decides to be a couples therapist for Kevin and Fangs, because she feels like it’s her fault that they’re splitting up. Indeed, her manipulative key party led to their breakup, but it also merely uncovered some ongoing issues between them. In any case, Cheryl gets nowhere with them, because she is not a licensed therapist and because her motive for helping them in the first place is selfish: She feels guilty for her actions last episode, especially because it means Toni’s upset with her. Fangs does bring up that he feels like Kevin is ashamed of being gay, and Kevin denies it before storming off. Again, real therapy might do some work here.

Kevin decides to blow off some steam at the sauna where he sometimes cruises, but he misreads a situation and ends up getting beaten up by a homophobic man. He then finally opens up with his father about what’s going on and why he feels like he had to end things with Fangs. Kevin indeed does struggle with internalized homophobia and shame, but he had to come to that conclusion on his own. He’s able to trace some of it back to a memory with his mother: They were back-to-school shopping, and she made a comment about his body that hurt him, and he found validation from a guy in the woods where he subsequently cruised for casual sex for the following years. His internalized fatphobia and homophobia are interconnected, and he has constructed a narrative for himself that is based on these harmful assumptions. He doesn’t think he deserves what he has with Fangs. It’s all very devastating to watch unfold, and Casey Cott gives a deft performance. But I do sometimes wish Kevin had a storyline that amounted to more than just Homosexual Trauma.

Finally, Jug’s mothmen path crosses with Betty’s serial killer path. Even though she lies to Alice about it, she tells Jug the truth about Polly’s likely fate. He decides to help by introducing her to Old Man Dreyfus, but the meeting’s a bust, because Betty clearly doesn’t buy any of his musings on the mothmen and alien abductions. There’s a vast chasm between Jug and Betty’s current obsessions: Jughead is deep in the well of a conspiracy, and Betty’s trying to save young girls from getting hurt. Jughead’s curiosity about the mothmen is almost exploitive, like he’s approaching it from the perspective of a novelist rather than as someone who is genuinely trying to help people.

Betty’s hardly the hero here though. The stakes are higher for her, but her emotions are also clouding her judgement. She decides to go full chaos mode and shows up at the truck stop to beat up guys for soliciting young sex workers. She’s on some vigilante justice shit. She even goes so far as to tie a guy up and point her gun at him, but just as she’s about to possibly make a choice that will upend her life, she gets a call from Jughead that one of his students is missing. Lerman is somewhere wandering the Lonely Highway by himself. Jughead was already reprimanded by Weatherbee and Lerman’s parents for over-involving himself in and making assumptions about the student’s life, but he’s seemingly onto something by being worried about Lerman. Betty and Jughead find him, and he seems confused and scared. Suddenly, Betty does somewhat believe all this mothmen stuff. She thinks it’s too much of a coincidence that people keep going missing and losing memories along the Lonely Highway.

Lerman’s parents tell Weatherbee, Betty, and Jughead that the boy’s a sleepwalker, which explains the fact that he gets injured a lot. They also admit that they lock his door at night, claiming it’s for his protection. And if all of this is true, shouldn’t they have maybe mentioned it in the first meeting? They also casually mention that he disappeared for a week years ago and has no memories of it, so yeah, something extremely fucked-up is happening along the Lonely Highway, and it probably isn’t aliens, but it IS significantly contributing to the town’s collective trauma.

Betty’s arc in this episode, while both frightening and sad, is the standout storyline. There’s a stunning close-up shot of her as she makes the decision to tap into her dark side, finally pushed to the edge by this wild chase to figure out what happened to Polly. Her actions don’t ultimately line up with her mission. She says she wants to protect these young girls, but all she does is beat up some men for her own personal catharsis. But it’s all a very exhilarating depiction of a character in crisis. Her problems are a lot more real than Veronica’s and even Archie’s. This episode engages with zoomed-in personal trauma—like Kevin’s—but also that collective experience that Jughead’s talking about. Riverdale’s wounds run deep. Both Betty and Jughead are in over their heads. The town has been undone, and what does that mean for the people still left in it? Betty, Archie, Veronica, and Jughead all left the town, but it then called them all back, and now they’re stuck in its web again. The whole town is like a haunted house.

The Bulldogs do score at the big game by the way. Britta makes a touchdown, and I’m embarrassed to say that I CRIED about it?!?!? I really am feeling some Friday Night Lights emotions up in here!

“Wynonna Earp” Episode 408 Recap: If U Seek Amon

"Wynonna Earp" Episode 408 Recap: If U Seek Amon

Previously on Wynonna Earp, we learned that Waverly Earp wasn’t only a metaphorical angel but also literally born of a celestial being, the gates to the Garden opened, Wynonna lost Peacemaker then found it again, WayHaught got engaged, and Wynonna went on a bender after a fight with Doc and slept with Amon.

This week, we open on a butt.

Wynonna’s butt, specifically. She wakes up with only her boots and her gun to her name and covers herself with a tray as she inches away from the horny demons (literally, they have horns) setting the Glory Hole up for some kind of game night.

Wynonna Earp is naked on the stage of the Glory Hole covering herself with a waiter tray.

Oops, I did it again.

Amon asks her to leave so she wraps herself in some vagina curtains with a tasteful boa belt and struts to the Purgatory Police Department so she doesn’t have to hike all the way home mostly naked.

We then cut to a pumpkin patch where some Black Badge agents are patrolling. Apparently never being scarred by a single Goosebumps book in their life, they walk right past the terrifying scarecrow wearing Widowesque finger jewelry. So they never see it coming when all of a sudden it leaps off its post and pitchforks them to death.

Back at the Homestead, Waverly is gleefully decorating the front porch and Nicole, knowing full well there’s no way trick-or-treaters are making it all the way out to the Earp property, is amused at her gal’s Halloween spirit.

Waverly Earp is on the porch smiling at a joyful looking Nicole Haught.

I deeply appreciate that Waverly was determined to climb on banisters to decorate instead of asking her tall girlfriend to help.

Also this is neither here nor there but I adore it when the smaller half of a couple is on a top step and the taller is on a bottom step so their heights are temporarily reversed. So cute. Anyway, Waverly tells Nicole she’s going to spend some quality time with her sister today, and Nicole is fine with that because her and Rachel are going to the Big City to do some wedding shopping anyway. Waverly jokes that Nicole doesn’t need a white dress if she wears a white hat, specifically her stetson.

Waverly Earp, on the top step of the porch, leans down to kiss Nicole who is standing at the bottom.

“If I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me?”

Before they can break in another set of stairs, however, Waverly gets a cryptic text from Wynonna and knows she has to go see what her sister means when she says, “Bring pants.”

Jeremy beats Waverly to Wynonna’s side and is surprised to find her clothed in vagina curtains but honestly not as surprised as someone who has never met Wynonna might have been. He tells her that his new boss is on his ass to get Agent Earp to deliver and she hasn’t brought them a demon in weeks.

Wynonna Earp makes a mocking expression.

Me explaining to coworkers that “EOD” means “before I go to sleep” not “5pm sharp.”

Waverly interrupts the debriefing, entering the room dressed as a ladybug, which I believe is a nod back to Season 2 when Wynonna is listing lipstick names and Waverly thinks they’re doing a bit and says “flaming ladybug” which Wynonna steals as a nickname for herself later in the episode.

Wynonna Earp squeezes a ball on the ladybug antenna Waverly is wearing to top off her adorable Halloween costume.

I could have just used this for 90% of the captions but I’ll say it once and you’ll just feel it the rest of the ep: THE EARP SISTERS ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO ME DOT TUMBLR DOT COM.

Jeremy tells Wynonna that he has a job for her and needs her to get the Extractor and bring in a demon scarecrow named Rotten Jack but not kill him. Waverly tells Jeremy they simply can’t do BBD’s bidding today because they have big Halloween plans. She’s determined to have her Earp Sister Day. And she brought Wynonna a costume.

Waverly smiles mischievously at her wary sister.

Waverly’s face screams, “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.”

You would think Waverly would be soured on B. Spears because that’s who Nicole and Shae were seeing in concert when they decided to get married, but then again, who could blame them for being hyped up after seeing Toxic performed live.

Wynonna and Waverly strut down the hallway dressed as Baby One More Time Britney Spears and a ladybug respectively.

“When I’m not with you, I lose my mind.”

While the Earp sisters head out for some Halloween happenings, Doc goes to the Glory Hole, dressed like Freddy Mercury, possibly for no reason other than he felt like it. It’s not like Waverly was hosting a proper Halloween party, right? Either way, I’m not mad at it. We love bisexual icons stanning bisexual icons. Amon explains the demon game night situation to Doc, saying they’re taking bets on who Rotten Jack will kill and when. Doc isn’t amused and thinks Amon is asking for trouble, but Amon doesn’t care what Doc thinks because he’s been slacking on his Glory Hole liquor duties. Amon then starts his quick descent from morally ambiguous demon to wretched man, feeling over-confident in his Earp heir immunity since he had sex with her, clearly not knowing that Wynonna shot her own big sister when she went too far past the line.

Doc knows better and also is still harboring a bit of resentment about their most recent fight so he just laughs in Amon’s face and stalks off.

Elsewhere in the Ghost River Triangle, Waverly and Wynonna follow a map Jeremy gave them to find the Extractor, and end up at a cute little trailer set-up. They knock on the door (Wynonna delivering a perfect, “It’s Britney, bitch”) and when it opens they’re surprised to find their old pal Casey the Half-Demon.

Waverly and Wynonna wear serious expressions that juxtapose their jaunty costumes.

I love that Waverly relented to doing this task but first she was going to braid her sister’s hair if it killed them both.

Back at BBDHQ, Jeremy blows off his boss similarly to how he blew off the Earp girls, determined to get to this meeting he’s been mentioning. When he gets there, it seems to be a group therapy session, and he seems to be there for a cute boy with a lil bandage on his nose. Jeremy gets excited when this cute boy remembers something he told him before, and at first it seems like awkward flirting, but then Jeremy calls him Robin. Robin looks at him with friendly eyes, but not the familiar way he once looked at our favorite Doc-obsessed, science-loving nerd.

Back at Casey’s trailer, Waverly and Wynonna do their darndest to convince Casey to give them the Extractor when finally he explains that HE’S the Extractor. And he doesn’t want to go with them.

Wynonna holds up Peacemaker with Waverly looking stern by her side. Both in silly Halloween costumes.

I would like to note that Peacemaker never glows when Wynonna points it at Casey. She was never going to actually hurt him.

He gets worked up that they’re working with BBD, he feels betrayed by his buds. “We cooked chili together!” he exclaims as he opens a can to blind them with some kind of magic flash, puts on a gas mask, and runs into a nearby field. The Earp sisters follow, Wynonna echoing his chili words back at him, but suddenly they find themselves surrounded by fog, as docile as Dorothy in a field of poppies. By the time they find their way out of the fog, they not only don’t recognize each other, but they can’t even remember their own names.

Waverly and Wynonna, dressed as a ladybug and Britney Spears, look at each other in confusion.

“What’s my name?? Don’t let me be the last to know!”

Fictional Amnesia is always really interesting to me because as someone who minored in psychology and also took a cognitive neuroscience class in college because I’m an idiot who thought they would be the interesting way to fulfil my required science credits, I learned a lot about long and short-term memory, and how brain injuries and other amnesia-causing situations (including drugs or trauma) will affect everyone so differently. Like on paper it might seem weird that they remember that what Wynonna is wearing is a school uniform but not remember it as a Britney Spears costume, and frankly it IS weird, but it’s not impossible. Brains are weird, is what I’m saying. And memory is a mystery, especially to me, someone who will find herself in a whole room reaching a specific direction without knowing why until seeing the thing I was about to pick up reminds me.

When they make it back to Casey’s campsite, Waverly immediately punches him square in the face.

Casey is shocked that “the nice one” who demanded they use vegan ingredients during the Chili Cook-Off FOR FREEDOM just cold clocked him but he eventually calms them down and convinces them that they’re just super high and uses their map to point them toward home.

The Earp sisters are feeling giddy and silly so they stumble off toward what they hope is a car they can hopefully drive, not even realizing they left behind Peacemaker.

When they get back to the Homestead, they start investigating the house to figure out who they are. As someone who just played the video game Gone Home for the first time where I basically had to learn about “my” family by exploring their house, I found this delightful.

Wynonna is smiling broadly at her sister.

Between the giant spoon and the giant moccasin and the giant VALDEZ scrawled across the wall I can imagine it being a confusing home to peruse.

Wynonna thinks maybe they’re roommates, but Waverly knows that they’re sisters, somehow. Wynonna thinks it’s awfully cute that they’re sisters and they live together and skips off to find mail with their names on it. They accidentally swap names and, like drunk girls incorrectly solving an escape room, start to incorrectly assume things about their lives. Wynonna thinks she works at Shorty’s, because she likes the way Rachel’s dirty shirt tastes of whiskey and Waverly feels drawn to the cop uniform she found and remembers loving punching Casey so she assumes she must be a cop.

Waverly watches on bemused as Wynonna suckles Rachel's discarded Shorty's shirt.

Lick first, ask questions later wouldn’t be MY first investigative technique but you do you, bb.

Waverly starts to talk about the rush she felt when she punched Casey, but since Wynonna isn’t feeling like herself, she doesn’t clock it as a red flag and they decide to go to Shorty’s, where surely Wynonna is working for Halloween.

Next page: Taste of a poison paradise.

“Good Trouble” Episode 303 Recap: Whoosh, Pow, Bang

"Good Trouble" Episode 303 Recap: Whoosh, Pow, Bang

Over three seasons of Good Trouble, we’ve gotten to see Alice Kwan grow. We’ve seen her assert herself as the manager of the Coterie. We’ve seen her find the courage to come out to her parents. We’ve watched her experience love and heartbreak and manage to come out the other side. She’s stepped into this new career as a stand-up comic with aplomb: impressing Lindsay Brady enough to get an opening slot on their comedy tour and impressing the CBTV judges panel enough to land a spot in their diversity workshop.

But through it all, one thing about Alice has remained the same: her selflessness. She remains committed to putting other people first, even when it’s too her detriment. She’ll do it when the stakes are high — like last week when she skipped her audition to participate in the sit-in for Malika — and when the stakes are low, like this week when she starts the CBTV workshop on the floor because she doesn’t want to impose upon anyone to get her a chair. Clearly, we’ve still got some growing to do.

Alice's first day at the CBTV Workshop does not go as well as she'd hoped.

Last season, when we first learned about the CBTV diversity workshop, I tried to suppress my natural skepticism. As a biracial black queer woman, I’ve found myself in a lot of spaces where colleagues come together to talk about diversity and inclusion — it’s become a $8 billion industry — and how to improve the culture….and, sufficed to say, those did not go well. I thought about the diversity efforts we’ve already seen on Good Trouble: with Mariana and the “Fight Club” trying to establish equity at Speckulate. While those efforts yielded some gains, they were hard-fought: Mariana’s work was attacked relentlessly by the tech company’s “bro-holes,” who wanted to maintain the patriarchal power structure and nearly derailed by white women who weren’t as invested in racial equity as they were gender equity.

Nonetheless, I tried to be optimistic, for Alice. I wanted to see Alice win…I wanted to see Lindsay Brady lose…and, perhaps most of all, I wanted a reason for Ruby to stick around. It only takes a few minutes of being inside the CBTV diversity workshop to realize that my skepticism was warranted.

After welcoming the seven participants — instead of the usual six — to the program, the facilitator, Scott Farrell, jokes, “As your program director, it is my job to to make, or break, your careers.”

Everyone laughs, including Scott, but it doesn’t feel like he thinks he’s joking. He goes on to talk about all the performers who have participated in the program before and gone onto bigger things…though, of course, he can’t be bothered to remember any of their names. Scott — ostensibly, a straight cis white male — touts “what a great time [it is] to be diverse” and that diversity is “the new black.”

He points to Stacy, a black woman, and suggests that she could be the next Tiffany Haddish. The group’s latina, Magda? He tells her she could be Aubrey Plaza in “el barrio.” He tells Alice she could be “crazy” and “rich”. But he saves, perhaps, his most cringeworthy moment for Lindsay: “you could be Pat!”

Rhea Butcher’s physical reaction to the jab is understated but brilliant. They recoil from the sting of the insult and nod, as if they knew all along when Scott turned his attention to them, Pat would be his reference. Alice, apparently not having seen the first season of Work in Progress, unwittingly adds salt to the wound by asking who Pat is….and Scott relishes the opportunity to talk about that harmful character. It’s only then that Alice looks over and notices Lindsay shifting uncomfortably in their seat. Of course, Scott never notices.

Writing a good “villain” on a progressive television show is a tough needle to thread. You want to make it obvious enough that the audience can tell that this is the bad person while also never going too far that the villain become cartoonish, leaving the audience doubting whether that kind of bad person actually exists. You have to achieve that precarious balance of being compellingly subtle and blatantly obvious. For some, the depiction of Scott in this episode will fall in that latter category. He’ll seem cartoonish…after all, he offends almost every time he opens his mouth and he’s oblivious to the harm he causes. But having sat across the table from far too many Scott Farrells in my life, the depiction felt stunningly real to me.

He felt like every cis white man I’ve met who’s quietly aggrieved about the emphasis on diversity and equity but also sees it as an avenue to boost his own profile. He’s the guy who’s too hapless to be put in charge of anything that “matters” but perfectly suitable for leading the company’s diversity initiative. He’s someone who manages to center whiteness and heterosexuality even as he talks diversity and inclusion. He’s the guy who confuses one person of color with another, even though their skin tones look nothing alike, and who reflexively speaks Spanish when he passes a Latinx colleague in the hall. He’s the guy who makes a point to tell you how much of an ally is to his second cousin who just came out to the family or that he “would have voted for Obama for a third term if [he] could.” Yeah, I know Scott Farrell…I know too many Scott Farrells.

But, as it turns out, the biggest hurdle on day one of the the CBTV isn’t Scott himself, it’s that the diversity workshop culminates with a sketch showcase that will only feature five of the seven workshop participants. All of a sudden, these underrepresented voices are all pitted against each other in competition…forced to fight each other instead of fighting the system which necessitated this program in the first place. After the first day, Alice is convinced that she’ll be one of the people cut and considers quitting before it happens. Surprisingly, it’s Lindsay that talks her out of it.

“Or, maybe, you should just finish what you started instead of giving up because you had a bad day?” they suggest. Lindsay reminds Alice that she’s not competing against them, or anyone else in the group, she’s competing against herself. Alice is, understandably, weary about Lindsay’s motives but they’re sincere…besides, since they gave Alice her first big break, however good or bad she does reflects on Lindsay. Left alone to prepare a character for the next day’s workshop, Alice takes a call from her mother and it’s at this point, I scream at my television, “OH NO! ALICE! DON’T!”

Alice and Lindsay perform an improv sketch at the CBTV workshop.

But sure enough, she does. When it comes time for Alice and Lindsay to improvise their sketch with their characters, Alice dons her mother’s accent and reenacts part of their conversation from the night before.

There’s a lot of disagreement in comedy circles about employing accents. As a general rule, I am not a fan — it feels like low-hanging fruit and it’s hard for me to hear anything other than people laughing at immigrants — but, in the instances in which its tolerable, it’s because the comedian grounds the portrayal in a holistic depiction of that person. Margaret Cho will imitate her mother’s accent but she also shares her mother’s stories and experiences. Yvonne Orji slides effortlessly into her parents’ Nigerian accents in her stand-up routine but she also lets the audience see them and Nigeria in her Netflix stand-up special. In short, accents are okay if the depiction is about more than the accent. But, of course, that’s not what Alice does here: she just imitates her mother to get a laugh and it works.

The audience laughs, Scott especially, and when the day’s session ends, Alice’s confidence is at all all-time high. She’s surrounded by visiting writers and the participants that dismissed her yesterday until she sees Lindsay leaving and goes to talk to them. Alice congratulates Lindsay on their character but they acknowledge that it was Alice that killed today.

“You’re lucky, you have your ethnicity to fall back on,” Lindsay says dismissively.

Some small part of me wants to be glad that someone clued Alice in that what she was doing was problematic, I wish it’d been anyone but Lindsay. Based on the stunned look on Alice’s face as Lindsay walks away, I think the détente between the two comics is officially over.


Coterie Sundries

+ As is Good Trouble‘s wont, “Whoosh, Pow, Bang” was packed with story…and, there’s not a single storyline that I couldn’t write a thousand words about. Alice, Callie, Davia, Mariana and Gael all had great stories this week, I really loved them all. Also? The episode was directed by Pretty Little Liars alum, Troian Bellisario.

+ Callie uncovers that the guard who kept Jared pills from him — thus contributing to his increased charges — may have taken the drugs for his own personal use. But when the DA offers a plea deal to Kathleen Gale that’d have Jared out of lock-up in a month, she opts to take the case to trial. Stunned by the reversal, Callie confronts her new mentor. Instead of hurrying to get Jared out, Kathleen’s chasing a civil lawsuit against the city that could be worth millions. She rationalizes it as a way to ensure that Jared has money for treatment and a home once he gets out but Callie and I both seem worried that Jared will last that long.

+ Davia continues her work with the Equity Committee this week and each of the teachers starts sending problem students to other teachers, during their free periods, instead of the principal’s office. Once in the classroom, the focus is on restorative justice…a concept that Davia doesn’t really latch onto right away. She invites Gael into her classroom to work with the students through art and that proves successful.

I’m also glad to see Davia and Gael’s friendship continuing to grow…though I’m less certain about how I feel about whether Davia should pursue a relationship with her adorkable colleague.

+ Through 34 episodes of Good Trouble, I’ve found Gael the most relatable when he’s working on his art and when he’s with his family so I’m excited to see art re-emerge as part of his story. I completely related to his disappointment over not having achieved the same success that his friends have, especially when those friends come from money and you don’t. I was a bit remiss that he couldn’t pursue something working with those kids — he really shined in that environment — but I’m excited to see what this internship brings.

+ So, Evan’s just Tom Hank’s adult character in Big? Why does a grown ass man have a trampoline in his apartment?


Next Week: It’s a Fosters reunion! The Mamas are back!


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“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Episode 1308 Recap: Rosé’s Turn

"RuPaul's Drag Race" Episode 1308 Recap: Rosé's Turn

Theatre kids, this is our moment. Get a ride from an upperclassman, sit next to your crush at IHOP, rank your favorite songs from Rent, and complain about your part, because, baby, we’re doing a Rusical!

Okay, I know Snatch Game is the episode most Drag Race fans look forward to each year, but I’m a gay musical theatre nerd and nothing brings me more joy than some drag show tunes. Why do you think my Youtube search history is filled with Jinkx Monsoon singing Sondheim? Anyway, I was very excited for this episode AND IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT.

We begin with LaLa’s elimination and tensions are high. Utica says she’s helping others succeed beyond her. Denali is mad she wasn’t in the top. The queens are getting catty and anyone could go home.

But that’s not going to stop the lovefest! The next week Kandy talks about how after the competition they should all get a house together in California. Only sensible Capricon Symone shoots down the idea. Rosé says the trade would be ridiculous and Kandy reveals herself to be monogamous for her one and only Joey Jay. Cue dreamy Joey Jay montage.

The Rusical this year is social media themed. Denali wants to be either Lady Tweets or the sexy character Foxy. After giving her preferred part to Olivia last week, Utica insists — she’s playing Lady Tweets. But Rosé is a musical theatre queen and Foxy is the lead role and now she’s insisting too! As Denali and Rosé fight, Gemini Utica says, “I feel like I caused all this drama and I love it.” Elliott suggests they audition and Rosé gets the part. Denali is stuck being a Russian bot with Gottmik.

The queens receive a (virtual) guest visit from the Hollywood star with the biggest theatre kid energy — Anne Hathaway!! I am baffled that Anne Hathaway is a controversial figure as I have always loved her, but maybe that’s just because of my own theatre kid energy and because I’ve seen Rachel Getting Married. The queens are all geeking out in their confessionals and while others cite The Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, Symone cites my childhood fave Ella Enchanted, because Symone is the best.

Rosé asks Anne if she’s ever had to fight for a part and she reveals that she was the 9th choice for The Devil Wears Prada. Worried about her scene partner, Gottmik then asks for her advice if you don’t get the part you want. Anne says you steal the show anyway. Denali follows up for accent tips and she tells her instead of playing an accent play a character who happens to have that accent. She ends by saying, “One last thing: Don’t f… orget to have fun!” She’s such a geek. I love her.

The queens record their singing parts and Tina again accuses Olivia of being a secret diva. If by “secret diva” she means Olivia can sing, then she’s right, because turns out Olivia Can Sing! Symone, unfortunately, cannot and so begins her struggles for the episode.

During the choreography session, Jamal Sims tells Symone that she needs to stop worrying about her technique and fake her way through it with energy. Meanwhile, Rosé has enough energy for everyone, because I have never seen a queen want to win a challenge so badly. Denali appears in better spirits after her Hatha-wake-up-call and Gottmik struggles to keep up with the far better dancer. But they’re both having a good time with their goofy Russian accents. Tina says they sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but at least they don’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tina Burner.

The producer prompt this week — asked ever so authentically by Utica — is whether the queens have become jaded with social media. Kandy says that after Aja’s famous Linda Evangelista speech, Valentina fans came for Aja and her whole family including Kandy — for years. Rosé then brings up Tina being Graham Norton’s ex, a true thing that is true! Denali then pivots the conversation to one of my favorite topics: celebrity crushes. Symone says hers is Mr. Nicole Ari Parker himself Boris Kodjoe. Tina says Uncle Jesse which I assume means John Stamos. And Denali — who remember brought up this topic — says the animated Hercules and Aladdin. Look, I’m not judging. Whomst among us didn’t have animated Disney crushes? (Shoutout to Belle, Megara, and not Disney but very important to me Anastasia.)

RUSICAL TIME! Tina is playing the Emshe and look I know I like to rag on Tina, but I am going to do so once again, because how can you remove all the sex appeal out of a Fosse reference?? Olivia is dressed in Mark Zuckerberg drag which means casual college student and it’s very hot. Rosé is doing a sort of sexy Eduardo Saverin thing and the duo just really did a lot for me.

It then turns into a “Cell Block Tango” reference with the different social media platforms. Symone is Instagram and for the first time in the competition falls flat. She keeps her sunglasses on the whole time and her insecurities are obvious. Utica is playing Twitter and her bit is a parody of “Modern Major General.” It’s a lot of words and a lot of wacky choreo but she nails it. Kandy is LinkedIn and is SO HOT. I know, I know — shocker that I’m turned on by the queen playing a businesswoman, but oh my. Elliott is TikTok and is supposed to be doing a Billie Eilish thing but is just boring.

Then Rosé comes back out complaining that her accounts keep getting suspended for showing too much skin. It’s a parody of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” and she does Barbra proud. Then Gottmik and Denali come out as the bots and they both do so good in their parody of “America” from West Side Story. It’s then revealed that Tina was Friendster the whole time, but the moment falls a bit flat because Tina is a bit flat. Finally, the whole thing ends with a Les Mis parody about the noble pursuit of truth and weeding out online lies. Overall, a strong Rusical if not quite among the top tier.

The runway theme is yellow! Tina and Elliott are both taxis and I wish someone would drive them off the runway. Olivia is beyond gorgeous in a stunning gown and big ostrich feather puffs. Symone describes her look as “Big Bird went to the hood and got transformed into a pimp” and lucky for me and all of us that includes suspenders. Utica is wearing a 14th century sideless gown and has a whole geeky backstory about it which is very cute. Denali is a python princess, Medusa-hair included. Gottmik is a bondage crash dummy. Kandy is beautiful in an homage to “Hold Up” Beyoncé  with added sunflowers in her hair. And Rosé is dressed like Jim Carrey in The Mask. She describes herself as a cartoon character come to life, so I bet Denali was into it.

Utica, Olivia, and Elliott (ugh) are safe. Tina, Symone, and Kandy (??) are in the bottom. And Rosé and the Russian bots are the top. I honestly don’t remember most of the judges’ critiques because I was SO NERVOUS. I know I love Kandy more than most, but I really didn’t understand how she was in the bottom over Elliott! This is drag. Why would anyone want consistent mediocrity over someone hot with heart and personality??

Rosé wins and I was thrilled for her. Last year, the show broke Jan when she didn’t win the Rusical, and I’m glad that didn’t happen to another of Stephanie’s children! But this is when the celebration ceased. Because Tina fucking Burner was declared safe, which meant Kandy and Symone were left to lip sync for their life.

I WAS SO SAD. I watched the performance dreading the outcome either way — while, yes, also hoping they would at least make out before one of them went home. No make outs, but their performance of Fifth Harmony’s “Bo$$” was very good. Thankfully, the Symone that was missing throughout the episode fully returned when it counted most. Obviously, between Symone and Kandy I wanted Symone to stay. But I was still devastated.

I’d really given up all hope because this season started with three episodes that didn’t have any eliminations. And double saves are usually only for lip syncs like Brooke and Yvie, which this certainly was not. Ru even goes as far as telling Kandy to sashay away! But the only thing Ru loves more than breaking my heart is a manufactured TV moment and as Kandy is walking away she shouts, “Kandy, Kandy, wait! Stop. I’m not ready for you to go. Not yet. You are safe to slay another day.” I SCREAMED!!!!!! PURE JOY!!!!!!

Next week, there isn’t a new episode — instead there’s a documentary about filming the season during the pandemic. Give me all the double saves, all the documentary specials, all the tricks and episodes. May this season last all year long. What else are we doing?

Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some Random Thoughts:

+ I know you’re all wondering what my favorite Rusical is and I’ll tell you. Season 8. Bitch Perfect.

+ This was such a horny episode! And I’m not just talking about my musical theatre feelings! In addition, to Kandy bringing up Joey again, in Untucked Olivia asks Utica to take her on a date after the show. And apparently in the van Olivia and Utica were next to each other and Olivia called it a date. And on Twitter tonight Olivia tweeted at Utica: Date night? Then if that wasn’t enough, Rosé comes over to clear the air with Denali and love on her a bit and in the confessional admits it’s partially because she thinks Denali is cute! I’m obsessed with all of it.

+ The safe queens are talking about nicknames and Elliott says she heard Gottmik call her clique the mean girls. They replay the footage confirming that, in fact, Tina called them the mean girls, Kandy repeated it, and Gottmik pointedly did not. I wonder why Elliott was blaming that on Gottmik! Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Bitch.

+ Today is Rihanna’s birthday — watch this video of Symone getting a DM from her!

+ If Symone had been the top instead of the bottom this week, my headline would’ve been: I’m Changing My Major to Symone.

+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone (and also everyone except Elliott and Tina)

+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: Symone, Denali, Kandy, Rosé, Olivia

+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: I’ve absolutely masturbated to that video of Jinkx singing “Last Midnight.” It’s been a long quarantine leave me alone. (Also here she is singing “Origin of Love” from Hedwig if your vibrator needs a second song.)


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“Good Trouble” Episode 301 Recap: Capoeira

"Good Trouble" Episode 301 Recap: Capoeira

Good Trouble finished its second season with one of my favorite episodes to date. Not only did the episode immerse us in the ethereal experience known as Trap Heals, it gave us story development on so many fronts.

Alice continued her evolution, from the meek Coterie manager we saw in the pilot to the confident comedian willing to challenge her mentor for a spot in the CBTV diversity program. Malika cemented her support structure — getting her boyfriend, Isaac, treatment for his anxiety, healing the rift between her father and brother, inviting her fellow Coterie residents into her world — before she goes to court. After silently pining after each other for months (and compelling me to care) Dennis and Davia finally confessed their love for one another. The Adams Fosters sisters finally reunited, after both having lobbed grenades into their personal relationships: Callie stealing Jamie’s privileged work product and Mariana cheating on Raj with Evan (after believing Raj cheated on her with her roommate, Isabella).

“That’s a wrap on season two of Good Trouble! The show returns this summer for its third season and, after ‘Trap Heals,’ I can honestly say I can’t wait,” I wrote in my recap, clearly not realizing that I was “[tempting] the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing.”

Callie celebrates passing the bar and getting a new job with her chosen family at the Coterie.

Just a week after the Good Trouble finale aired, an NBA player named Rudy Gobert would test positive for COVID-19. While the virus had already made it to American shores, Gobert’s positive test brought it to the forefront of the American consciousness. The NBA shutdown its season soon thereafter and everything else fell like dominoes behind it. Sufficed to say, I didn’t get those summer episodes of Good Trouble.

We all changed that day and even more in the 344 days since. Everything we do, everything we’ve always taken for granted, comes with risk now. Our grief is palpable, our mourning omnipresent. And while we all hope that the vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel and that things might one day get back to normal, we all secretly worry that there is no going back… this is our new normal.

Good Trouble‘s third season finally premiered last night, months after it was promised and nearly a year since “Trap Heals” aired. It does not exist in our new normal. There are no masks, no social distancing, no mention of COVID-19 anywhere. In a preview of the new season with TV Line, the show’s executive producer, Joanna Johnson, said, “I just also think that people don’t want to turn on the TV and see everyone in masks. I feel like people want to escape a little, and I really appreciate television [shows set in] a mask-free world, where people are out. It relieves my anxiety when I see that on TV.”

I understand that desire. I get wanting to have a break from this reality and immersing yourself in an alternate universe for a while. Of course, I want to watch television that reminds me of what it was like to sit beside my co-workers or to hang out with my friends at a bar or to share a hug or kiss with someone new. I get wanting to have some reminders of what normal once was and what we hope it looks like again soon. But as I watched Good Trouble‘s season premiere — much to my surprise — I found myself feeling like the show had missed an opportunity.

Malika faces an unexpected challenge on this week's Good Trouble.

Good Trouble has never been a show about escapism. It’s never been a show devoted to making people feel more comfortable. When you look at the storylines the show has done — on Black Lives Matter, on sexism and racism in tech, on the school to prison pipeline — the goal hasn’t been to relieve anxieties, it’s been to foreground them so that others could bear witness. To avoid telling the uncomfortable stories now feels contrary to what this show has always been.

What’s more? I’m not sure there is a show on television that was better prepared to tell the story of this moment than Good Trouble. For Malika, the story could have been how the handling of this pandemic has re-emphasized how black and brown lives don’t matter. For Davia, how the solution to educating during a pandemic has harmed our most vulnerable students. For Dennis, how the pandemic has exacerbated the need for mental health resources and, as such, made them harder to access. For Mariana, how even as the rest of the world struggles to make ends meet, tech is booming. For Alice (and Sumi), how the pandemic has led to a spike in Anti-Asian hate crimes. For Callie — if she’d kept her old job — a story about the looming “homeless pandemic” or — if she persisted in pursuing criminal defense — how the pandemic has led to a suspension of defendants’ constitutional rights or how states have allowed COVID to run rampant in prisons. And all that’s before you dig into the personal impact of the pandemic… lost jobs, illness and the loss of life…there was so much story potential but instead we’re concerned about anxiety relief. It seems like a missed opportunity to me.

All that said, Good Trouble‘s season’s premiere did find a way to capture some of the heartbreak of the last year by breaking up nearly every couple on the canvas. Callie and Jamie? Done. Mariana and Raj? Over after she decides to give her inappropriate relationship with Evan a shot. Davia and Dennis? On pause before they even really had a chance to get started. Isaac and Malika are still together but given her newfound closeness with her co-worker, I’m worried about their future (the new guy tells Malika, “I already knew I was in big trouble from the day I met you,” with those dimples…. yeah, I know an interloper when I see one).

Coterie Sundries

+ If I didn’t feel so strongly about the COVID avoidance in Good Trouble, this recap would’ve been entirely about how much I’ve grown to dislike Callie. She is actually the worst.

Last season, she stood before a group tenants and encouraged them to turn down relocation vouchers and fight their evictions. She promised to fight for them. But this season, when a shiny new object turns up at the Legal Aid offices — a shiny new object which I adore, mind you, because it’s Constance Zimmer in full Mommi mode — she drops those tenants without a second thought and opts to become a criminal defense attorney. I guess it’s supposed to be endearing that Callie hops from one job to the next — a lot of 20 year olds do — but if the show valued the stories of those tenants as something other than a plot device, they’d realize how awful this makes Callie look.

And then, on top of that, her theft of privileged information from Jamie — which, I guess we’re supposed to see as some moral victory — carries absolutely zero consequences for her even as it ruins her ex-boyfriend’s career. Perhaps she can’t be held criminally liable but, at the very least, she should face questions from the California State Bar about her moral standing to be member of the bar. But no, she won’t face any consequences and I absolutely hate it.

+ As someone who audibly groaned when they put Callie back in Gael’s orbit soon after she’d returned to the Coterie, I was pleasantly surprised by the misdirection of Gael’s brunette hook-up being Isabella, not Callie. That said, it felt a little like Chekhov’s gun and I’m anxious to see if has any ramifications.

+ Speaking of Isabella, she’s gone now? I feel a little bad for thinking the worst of her last season. Turns out she wasn’t as bad as I thought.


Next week: Shut it down, but not really because it’s not a pandemic on Good Trouble.

(I promise, by next week, I’ll be over this.)


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“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Episode 1306 Recap: Sequin Tops and Bell Bottoms

"RuPaul's Drag Race" Episode 1306 Recap: Sequin Tops and Bell

Don’t leave me this way, Tamisha Iman. The problem with having a cast this strong is almost every week is going to hurt. I may love the drama, but I hate the goodbyes! Alas, this is apparently a “reality competition show” and people have to lose. But first! Disco!

We begin in the aftermath of Joey’s elimination. Kandy says her boyfriend went home, but she’ll for sure sleep with the bitch after. My support to all the Drag Race quarantine girlfriends. Olivia brings up last week’s chaotic Untucked and there’s a bit more bickering between Tamisha and Kandy.

The next week, Elliott suggests they leave the fighting in the past and Gottmik says “wishful saying.” Ru enters the workroom and compares himself to Charles Nelson Reilly — none of the queens get the reference, the first of many they won’t get this week. Reilly was a musical theatre legend and the host of Match Game aka the inspiration for Snatch Game. And he was gay! Anyway, Ru explains that the mini challenge is making dresses out of wallpaper.

The teams for the mini challenge will also be the teams for the main challenge, and as last week’s winner Gottmik gets to be a third for whichever pair she likes — and who wouldn’t want Gottmik as their third. The other queens scramble into teams and Gottmik chooses her besties Kandy and Tina. This is having major Rolaskatox energy to me — I think it’s just a matter of time before Michelle warns Gottmik about the clique. But for now she seems happy to be with the cool kids. Paired off rejects Tamisha and Elliott win the mini challenge with a Carole Baskin reference, because Ru loves to give the underdogs a mini challenge win to shake things up.

RuPaul’s queer history lessons have been… let’s say inconsistent throughout the show. His love for easy liberalism often results in a very hetero-palatable framing of queer past. But luckily those impulses weren’t too bad in this educational disco episode!

My ex was in a play about disco, so I was lucky enough to get a pretty thorough history lesson early in my queerness. I’d previously held a lot of the misconceptions that many share and I was surprised to learn my Saturday Night Fever-understanding was a whitewashed and straightwashed version of an era that was so meaningful for Black people and queer people. Or in Ru-speak: “freedom, divas, and bringing people together!”

Denali says she loves disco and this is hers to win. I love Denali, because every episode she truly believes it’s hers to win. She’s paired with Rosé and she’s excited that they’re both dancers and can push each other to perfection. We also learn that Denali used to figure skate on a cruise ship, which is the only thing that could get me on a cruise other than Olivia Cruises standing for Olivia Lux.

Olivia is on a team with Utica and their dynamic is surprisingly delightful. Utica jokes to Olivia that Tina’s wig makes her look small and Olivia tells her to say that to Tina. Utica obeys her new crush and I loved it.

Ru starts walking around the workroom grilling the queens on disco and cracking up at their lack of knowledge. Ru explains Disco Demolition Night when DJ Steve Dahl rallied people to burn disco records. He says the powers to be were scared of the unbridled passion of disco — especially since it was associated with gay people and Black people. It’s really important that queer people know our history, but there’s no shame in the learning! Our history is pointedly kept from us and it takes effort to know even the most basic things. Hopefully, the queens — and viewers at home — appreciated the lesson.

The queens are choreographed by Miguel Zarate who is a RPDR first timer. I hope he comes back, he has such a good rapport with the queens. He encourages them to not take themselves too seriously and to just have fun with it. Tamisha struggles with a hula hoop and reveals in the confessional that she has an ostomy bag that limits her movements. She hasn’t told anyone because she doesn’t want any special treatment. It reminds me of when Yvie Oddly wasn’t disclosing having Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. I wish the queens felt like they could be open about their illnesses and disabilities on the show without feeling like they’d be judged for it!

Elimination day! Rosé rides into the workroom on Gottmik’s back. And Tina has Kandy and Gottmik say “mean girls” on three. (Gottmik rolls her eyes instead of saying it.) It’s nice that Gottmik is not only casually accepted among the queens but actively desired. Then again she’s an adorable little twink so I’m not going to give any of the cis queens too many ally points.

Olivia says that as a teenager she was 300 pounds. It was a dark time for her and it wasn’t until she found theatre and drama that she was able to feel confident in her body and self. Thankfully, she notes that she doesn’t look at scales anymore and just cares if she feels amazing, but this part still felt gross to me. Since the beginning, RPDR has not been a kind show to its fat queens, so framing a thin queen’s past weight in this way is disappointing. The point of her narrative is far more about struggling as a closeted teen and I wish that had been emphasized more than her weight.

Kandy and Tamisha also open up about adolescence. Kandy says her mom was in and out of jail so she had to take care of herself. She was always trying to maintain control of her anger, but she still struggles with it. Tamisha talks about a woman who started a cheerleading crew and invited her to join. Her grandma was upset when she found out she was doing gay stuff, but the woman still encouraged her. Sometimes these segments can dip into reality TV exploitation, but I really enjoy getting a window into different gay pasts.

Mama Ru is on the radio and ready to take us through her disco history lesson. Tina, Kandy, and Gottmik start us off with the birth of disco. Then Tamisha and Elliott get into disco and sex. Olivia and Utica go to Studio 54. Rosé and Denali show off disco fashion. All the queens do one big group number. And finally Symone and LaLa dance their way through the end of the era. I thought everyone was really solid, but Symone and LaLa were my favorite. Rosé and Denali are the best dancers, but they needed to focus less on being technically perfect and more on showing off their personalities. It ends with everyone doing a Soul Train line to “We Are Family” and I just really enjoyed the whole thing!

The runway category is little black dress. Loni Love is back as a guest judge with Michelle and Carson. The standouts are exactly who you’d think they’d be! Gottmik has the littlest black dress imaginable aka it is just covering her crotch. Symone has big blonde hair referencing Ru’s look in the “Back to My Roots” video and is wearing a dress made of braided hair. And Denali murdered me in her black widow-inspired dress with a web on the back and extra spider eyes on her forehead. Olivia also dazzles in a simple strapless dress paired with gorgeous big hair.

Somehow Symone, LaLa, and Denali are just safe along with Gottmik and Rosé (I would happily take this group as our top five!) — Tina, Elliott, and Olivia are the top, which I found to be just baffling. Meanwhile, Kandy, Tamisha, and Utica were the bottom which made me really sad, but no one did bad this episode, so I can’t complain. I obviously would’ve loved to see Elliott in the bottom, but this was a dancing challenge and she’s a dancer.

After weeks of being safe, Olivia finally gets a much deserved win and shows herself to be a top competitor. Meanwhile, the producers get their wish and last week’s feud becomes this week’s lip sync. Neither Tamisha nor Kandy are word perfect with Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)” but they both do okay. What Kandy lacks in technical prowess, she makes up for with intense drive. Tamisha loses.

I might be the only person on the internet who didn’t think this was the wrong call. But my fondness for Tamisha aside, I just respond to Kandy’s competitive energy. I like a queen who wants to win! Tamisha says she’s going to go home, finish her recovery, and get ready for All Stars. And that’s what I’m talking about! I look forward to seeing everyone’s drag mother ready to win All Stars 7.

Teleport Us to Mars!! Here Are Some More Random Thoughts:

+ Elliott says her mom put her in dance class as a kid after she was bullied, which gives me a new reason to hate Elliott: jealousy.

+ Gottmik’s parents have a video message for her on Untucked talking about how they’re so proud of her art and the person she’s become. It’s nice until Gottmik says that the message was the first time they called her by her name, Kade. Ru loves family reunion/family breakthrough moments, but if it took your trans child being on TV for you to use their name, you don’t deserve any praise. It’s easy for people to accept their queer and trans children when they’ve proven themselves exceptional. In my opinion, by that point it’s too late.

+ Tamisha and Kandy reconciled before their big lip sync. Tamisha says the challenge brought them together and that she doesn’t hold grudges. It’s sweet and makes their hug after Tamisha’s elimination all the more poignant. I’m sorry, I’m still rooting for Kandy! I have a soft spot for loud insecure queers.

+ During Untucked, Utica asks if Olivia wants some glitter and then hugs her. Olivia says they should play in the sandbox later and Utica says “I’ll take you on a date.” Excuse me???? What a strange pair and I am absolutely obsessed.

+ Queen I’m rooting for: Symone and Denali

+ Queen I have the biggest crush on: Denali and Olivia

+ Queen I have weird sexual feelings for that I need to unpack: Okay so nothing weird about having sexual feelings for Olivia, but they were at their peak when she was encouraging Utica to be mean and that might need some processing.

Sundance 2021: A Gay Trans Festival Recap!

Sundance 2021: A Gay Trans Festival Recap!

22 features, two series, two pilots, three shorts, and a panel later, my virtual Sundance journey is complete! While missing the in-person buzz and theatrical experience of a conventional festival, this year’s biggest indie celebration made up for it in accessibility. More people got to participate in the conversation and it was easier to watch more of the slate. Even when festivals go back to being in-person, I hope they learn from the benefits and keep an online component.

This wasn’t just a film festival during the pandemic — it was defined by it. Much of the work selected engaged with solitude and isolation and the work that was more expansive inevitably felt like an escape. Much of my favorite work felt enhanced by the circumstances of watching alone on my laptop in my tiny room.

We covered eight especially queer things at Sundance, but I watched so much more. Some of the things we didn’t review are still a little gay and I’ll make sure to note when that’s the case. But I also want to share a thought or two about everything I watched. Film festivals shape conversation and I think it’s worthwhile for a queer trans person to add to that even with cis straight films. So without further ado here’s a full recap of everything I saw at Sundance.


These Days (pilot) (dir. Adam Brooks)

I started the festival with this appropriate choice — a pandemic-set pilot about a woman going on virtual dates. It is not gay — and I think Connecting… covered similar ground better — but William Jackson Harper plays a culture writer dating for content and I personally found that relatable.

CODA (dir. Sian Heder)

This was the big winner at Sundance this year and it’s easy to see why. It’s a well-made, uplifting story with just enough specificity and a phenomenal cast. I do think the movie is good — albeit a little predictable — but I also find it to be a frustrating reminder of where we’re at with deaf representation. The protagonist of this movie is the only hearing person in her family and the writer/director is hearing. The deaf cast of Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, and Daniel Durant are all phenomenal and thankfully given full, well-realized characters to portray. But I wish we were at a place where a movie with a deaf protagonist was winning Sundance, where a movie with a deaf writer/director was winning Sundance. Instead we’re celebrating that the movie cast deaf actors as deaf characters — something that is unfortunately not always the case. Zeinabu irene Davis’ Compensation, a masterful film with deaf protagonists, premiered at Sundance 21 years ago. I just wish progress wasn’t so slow and inconsistent.

Amy Forsyth, Daniel Durant, Marlee Matlin, and Troy Kotsur in CODA

4 Feet High (dir. Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Maria Belen Poncio)

On the other hand, my very favorite thing I saw during the entire festival is the rare work that centers someone with a disability and is co-written/directed by someone with a disability. This series is also the most queer-normative, sex-positive thing at Sundance and I just loved it so much! Read my full review.

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It (dir. Mariem Pérez Riera)

The rare PBS Masters doc that transcends its format. It begins with Norman Lear describing Rita Moreno as the American Dream and then spends the rest of its runtime breaking down why that is not the case. Yes, Moreno is an icon who has gifted us with so many wonderful performances. But the film shows all the ways racism and sexism kept her from even more. Moreno herself is such a burst of light and energy that the film doesn’t feel too heavy, but it does feel grounded and that results in the beautiful, complex portrait Rita Moreno deserves.

How It Ends (dir. Zoe Lister-Jones, Daryl Wein)

The writer/directors of this Covid-shot movie were like we’re bored in the pandemic let’s make a movie with our friends. And I think that’s lovely. Seems like they had a lot of fun! But FYI this is an ensemble movie set in contemporary LA where everyone is straight — and I mean straight. Like having conversations about anal as if it’s a wild sex act-level straight.

Rebel Hearts (dir. Pedro Kos)

This is a documentary about nuns!! Social justice nuns!! I didn’t know anything about the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart before this and I left delighted and inspired. “One of the best things that’s happening in the world is the fact that we’re realizing more deeply that awful things are happening in the world” is a quote that will stick with me for a long time. Also at least two of them are gay. That’s not stated in the documentary, but trust me at least two of them are gay — maybe all of them to be honest.

Still from Rebel Hearts

Knocking (dir. Frida Kempff)

An unsettling and grief-filled foray into one queer woman’s mind. This is a simple film, but it’s incredibly effective. Read my full review.

Barbed Wire Kisses Redux (panel)

This panel was a gay film nerd dream. Read my detailed recap.

Ma Belle, My Beauty (dir. Marion Hill)

It’s a delightful escape to spend time in this film’s French setting and chaotic polyamory. But I was frustrated with a subplot I found politically and emotionally muddled. Read my full review.

Searchers (dir. Pacho Velez)

The majority of this documentary about dating during the pandemic is just watching people swipe on dating apps. As expected, how interesting this is moment to moment largely depends on who’s swiping. There’s a queer woman named Lily swiping through Lex who sends the message: “Dating is a drag. Let’s catch an episode of Drag Race at a bar soon.” To which I said: It’s a pandemic!! But Lex just posted a picture of her with someone she’s been dating for a while so good for her. My favorite part focused on a trans woman who already has two partners and says she’s attracted to 50-75% of women. At one point she asks the director, “Are you heterosexual?” He says yes and she replies, “Oh good for you.” That was worth the whole thing.

Superior (dir. Erin Vassilopoulos)

Shot on 16mm, this 1980s-set mystery about two very different twin sisters is as formally confident as it is entertaining. This is exactly the kind of esoteric indie that’s fun to discover at a festival. Technically there’s nothing gay about it, but I did go on a few dates with the co-star/co-writer during my college boy years including showing her Before Sunrise and I don’t know that all feels pretty gay to me.

Passing (dir. Rebecca Hall)

Our one and only editor in chief Carmen Phillips has promised me she’s going to write a full review of this closer to its release. But what I’ll say for now is this adaptation of Nella Larsen’s novel doesn’t just keep the gay subtext — it emphasizes it. I guess that’s what happens when you cast Tessa Thompson and have Angela Robinson as an executive producer.

Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson in Passing

Together Together (dir. Nikole Beckwith)

This a really sweet friend-com about chosen family and identity. Patti Harrison is truly remarkable. Read my full review.

My Name is Pauli Murray (dir. Julie Cohen, Betsy West)

Unfortunately, I agree with Carmen that this documentary is not at the level its subject deserved. But I still appreciated the opportunity to learn more about them. Read Carmen’s full review.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (dir. Jane Schoenbrun)

One of the best films and most unique experiences of the festival. I’m so thrilled that arguably the most inventive work this year is from a trans filmmaker. Trans cinema doesn’t just mean trans representation — it means a whole new way of seeing. Read my full review.

The Pink Cloud (dir. Iuli Gerbase)

This was another favorite of the festival for me! Written in 2017 and filmed in 2019, the marketing around this film about a mysterious pink cloud that forces the world to quarantine is really playing up the coincidence of its existence. But it’s more than just unsettling and relevant. It’s about the different ways people respond to hardship and how difficult that makes it to sustain relationships. I loved this movie so much and it’s not even a little gay so that’s saying something.

Renata de Lélis in The Pink Cloud

Wild Indian (dir. Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.)

Another favorite of the festival! I was really on a roll. This is a difficult film to watch due to both its literal and psychological violence. But Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.’s writing and direction and Michael Greyeyes’ performance make sure its sociopathic protagonist remains complex. Chaske Spencer also gives a standout supporting performance that adds a much needed light to this dark story. Before every screening Sundance had a land acknowledgement which is great, but it’s even better when that’s paired with celebrating Indigenous filmmakers this talented and Indigenous films this accomplished.

Cusp (dir. Isabel Bethencourt, Parker Hill)

The first of several documentaries that made me despair for American adolescence. This film follows three teenage girls living in Texas and shows the repeated abuse they suffer at the hands of men. It’s really good and isn’t graphic, but it just broke my heart hearing these girls recount their experiences. Gender is too complicated for me to be as misandrist as I used to be and yet this movie made it tempting!

El Planeta (dir. Amalia Ulman)

Amalia Ulman writes, directs, and stars in this movie with her real life mother about a mother and daughter determined to maintain a bourgeois lifestyle after Spain’s economic crash. This is a funny and charming movie with a political edge and has one scene that made me desperately miss in-person dates. FYI this movie is straight even though Ulman has short hair that all the men around her dislike.

Try Harder! (dir. Debbie Lum)

Next in the trilogy of doomed American adolescence, this portrait of the top ranked public high school in the country follows a group of kids desperate to get into the college of their dreams. Through the stories of several students, the film does an excellent job showing how race factors into the admissions process, and portraying how the whole system is toxic. Also if you are a person with mommy issues be warned that you might cry.

R#J (dir. Carey Williams)

OKAY. I was not expecting the social media adaptation of Romeo & Juliet to be one of my favorite movies of the festival and yet here we are! And I will not apologize! Everything about this movie where Romeo and Juliet first meet in Instagram DMs worked for me. I was delighted and moved and I loved this burst of weird creativity. The cast is great during the sillier moments and when actually performing Shakespeare’s text. I live on the internet and love Shakespeare and will always have a fondness for my horny teens Juliet and Romeo. Five stars. My new obsession. And, in case this needs to be mentioned, of course it’s gay because Romeo and Juliet are a canon U-Hauling Cancer for Cancer lesbian couple.

Camaron Engels and Francesca Noel in R#J

Ailey (dir. Jamila Wignot)

This is a more conventional PBS Masters doc, but what it lacks in ingenuity it makes up for in archival dance footage. Alvin Ailey remains a bit elusive as a figure, but his work is as powerful and present as ever. This made me hungry for a more experimental dance-focused tribute a la Pina (2011).

Mayday (dir. Karen Cinorre)

How is this movie about a woman in the 40s who is transported to a land of women soldiers who hunt men not even a little gay?? Okay it’s a little gay subtextually, because the girls can’t keep their hands off each other, but this was the rare case when calling for a film to be gayer isn’t me being facetious. I genuinely think this movie is hurt by its heterosexuality and with that its determination to be about how separatism is bad. Look, I agree separatism isn’t the answer, but the movie makes no compelling arguments. Mia Goth gives the most arresting performance as the lead separatist and I wanted to join her army and leave our boring protagonist behind.

The World to Come (dir. Mona Fastvold)

This is a gorgeously directed film that is, unfortunately, tainted by Casey Affleck’s involvement. It’s frustrating that the highest profile queer woman film at the festival is cis and white and produce by and co-starring an allegedly abusive man. Read my full review.

At the Ready (dir. Maisie Crow)

I had no idea that high schools along the border in Texas had criminal justice clubs. Not criminal justice reform clubs — criminal justice clubs. As in, former cops and border patrol training the students and filling their heads with propaganda. Director Maisie Crow approaches her subject without judgment and lets the horror reveal itself. It’s fascinating and heartbreaking to watch these students be manipulated and eventually become disillusioned — and terrifying to see which students remain unfazed. One of the film’s subjects, Mason, identifies as a lesbian at the start of the film, but is not out to his family. He says that the criminal justice club is his chosen family, because he knows his biological family will someday reject him. He struggles the most — his left-leaning, humanistic politics consistently clashing with the other students and the club itself. This is a tough film, but all of the students’ journeys are fascinating to watch, and it’s such a relief that the film ends with Mason in a new community and out as trans.

Still from At the Ready

The Blazing World (dir. Carlson Young)

This is an inventive, visually arresting fever dream of a debut from actor Carlson Young. It didn’t totally work for me, but I admired its creativity.

Would You Rather (series) (dir. Lise Akoka, Romane Gueret)

Inspired by conversations of its young leads, this French web series feels almost too authentic to teenagers. By that I mean GOD TEENAGERS ARE MEAN. This is a tough one to recommend because if there’s a category of offense this series covers it. But usually one of the other teens is quick to argue — this is a show about friends playing Would You Rather? so debates are frequent. For example, are our two main girls homophobic or are they secretly in love with each other? Truly who’s to say. I enjoyed this despite frequent cringing.

Pleasure (dir. Ninja Thyberg)

Ninja Thyberg’s first feature that takes a realistic look at the porn industry is the arrival of a new cinematic voice. The short version came out in 2013, but Thyberg decided if she was going to make this film she couldn’t do so as an outsider, instead befriending members of the industry and entering that world. The commitment pays off with a cast of primarily porn actors and an authenticity felt throughout. Despite its unique setting, this is a sort of classic rise to stardom story. It’s that familiarity and the depth of the characters’ relationships that make this more than a portrait of an industry — it’s a portrait of a person.

Unliveable (short) (dir. Enock Carvalho, Matheus Farias)

This Brazilian short about a cis mother looking for her missing trans daughter traffics in the usual trans trauma that cis directors love. But at least it takes a more mystical approach to its story and isn’t completely maudlin.

Trepanation (short) (dir. Nick Flaherty)

This experimental animated short is directed by a trans person and focuses on a character I presume to be queer even if the plot is too vague for that kind of labeling. A hole appears in this person’s floor and things just get weirder from there. I was really taken with the 3D animation and the moving abstract story.

This Is the Way We Rise (short) (dir. Ciara Lacy)

I really enjoyed this straight-forward portrait of queer native Hawaiian slam poet Jamaica Heolimeleikalani. The film shows how she is inspired after years of not writing by the efforts to protect sacred land on Mauna Kea.

Weirdo Night (pilot) (dir. Mariah Garnett, Jibz Cameron)

I ended the festival with this filmed pandemic performance of Dynasty Handbag’s queer cabaret show. Some of the performances are stronger than others, but after a week of watching movies in solitude it was nice to have a memory of being dragged to your friend’s show. This may be the first in a series of virtual shows and I’d certainly watch more. Especially if every episode had a performance as good as Together Together star Patti Harrison singing a song entitled “I’m Not Gay.”

Patti Harrison, Vagabon, and Sasami in Weirdo Night


And that’s Sundance! I hope you got to see some exciting work or that you seek it out when it’s released. And I hope in 2022 I’m actually in Park City, because while, yes, I am gay enough to run into someone I briefly dated even at a virtual festival, there is something different about being gay in-person.