Kiss off: The Lavender Tube on summer shows

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday July 12, 2022
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Cara Delevingne and Selena Gomez in 'Only Murders in the Building'
Cara Delevingne and Selena Gomez in 'Only Murders in the Building'

The only thing that was missing from Hulu's charming and fun mystery series "Only Murders in the Building" was queer people. Doesn't everyone like to see two gorgeous women kissing?

The hit series asked that question and answered, "Yes!" So we got to see Cara Delevingne (Alice Banks) and Selena Gomez (Mabel Mora) lip-to-luscious-lip in season two just as Pride was drawing to a close in the June 28 premiere.

If you haven't watched this fab series starring Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short, Hulu describes it thus: "Three strangers share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one. When a grisly death occurs inside their exclusive Upper West Side apartment building, the trio suspects murder and employs their precise knowledge of true crime to investigate the truth."

It's so funny, it's so clever, it's so well cast and well-acted. The synergy among the three principals is chef's kiss good.

Martin plays a retired actor who played a detective on a popular TV series, Short plays a struggling Broadway director and true-crime podcaster and Gomez is renovating her aunt's apartment and was friends with the first murder victim.

The show was created by Martin and John Hoffman and also stars Amy Ryan, Nathan Lane, Da'Vine Joy Randolph and Jackie Hoffman, among others.

"Only Murders in the Building" is so good, it was good even before the lesbians. (Randolph plays a lesbian detective with a wife, so it's lots of lesbians!)

The Lake

We need comedy/dramedy to offset the real world drama of GOP fascism, mass shootings and the January 6th Committee hearings which keep making us hope some of these quislings will actually go to prison. All of that can be quite despair-inducing. So we need uplift, like Amazon Prime's new Canadian series, "The Lake," which is described by the service as a biting comedy. It's that, plus gay! And so, so binge-worthy.

Madison Shamoun, Jordan Gavaris and Julia Stiles in 'The Lake'  

After returning from abroad following a break-up with his long-term partner, Justin (Jordan Gavaris ) makes elaborate plans to re-connect with his biracial teenage daughter, Billie (Madison Shamoun), who he gave up for adoption years earlier.

But those plans to make new memories at the lake with his daughter at the family cottage go wildly off course when it turns out that Justin's parents left the cottage to his step-sister, Maisy-May (Julia Stiles), who has big plans for the place, none of which include Justin or Billie. Justin is super gay and trying hard to be the cool dad, with very limited success because Billie is the coolest kid and so resistant.

"The Lake" is really pitch-perfect in tone and plotting with terrific writing, a gorgeous setting and superb acting. Gavaris is delightful and thoroughly engaging. Shamoun is very good as the non-angsty, sarcastic, self-contained Billie. Stiles is cast beautifully as the manipulative older step-sister who reminds Justin of how complicated it was being a gay teen with an older sister who never had a misstep.

The latest Netflix series from producer Darren Star, whose "Emily in Paris" was a huge hit last year, "Uncoupled" stars Neil Patrick Harris. Star told People magazine that unlike "Emily in Paris" and his shows "Sex and the City" and "Younger," "Uncoupled" is a "much more mature show" and as such, "relatable."

Star said, "I think we've all had breakups, and it's about a breakup. It's about a gay man who's [in his] late 40s, who's single in New York, and it's an experience that I can relate to and know a lot of people that have gone through it."

Neil Patrick Harris in 'Uncoupled'  

Not wanting to lose his "Emily in Paris" fans, Star also added that "Uncoupled" "is not about being gay or straight. It's about anyone who's having to start over again."

As Neil Patrick Harris ages, the roles he has taken on have deepened. He was extraordinary as an older gay man in the immersive and heartbreaking British queer period AIDS drama "It's a Sin." Now he's playing his age again in "Uncoupled," and he's just so good.

"Uncoupled" follows Michael (Harris), a New York City real estate broker, "who thought his life was perfect until his husband blindsides him by walking out the door after 17 years. Overnight, Michael has to confront two nightmares; losing what he thought was his soulmate and suddenly finding himself a single gay man in his mid-forties in New York City."

The prospect of starting over —and dating again— is daunting and Harris brings all the nuance to that rollercoaster experience as Michael tries to find his way as a single older gay man in a town that feels made for youth.

Co-producer Jeffrey Richman said of "Uncoupled" that it's "a romantic comedy with a gay leading man. It is a passion project for us that feels both personal and universal."

Costars include Emerson Brooks, Tuc Watkins, Marcia Gay Harden, and Tisha Campbell.

The Summer I Turned Pretty
Everyone is talking about Jenny Han's Amazon Prime series "The Summer I Turned Pretty," so we'll just add that the hype is real, there's a sexually fluid lead character, the queer love triangle from the book is intact and it's compelling visual and emo candy.

Han told TVLine, "My approach to this adaptation was: How would I tell the story in 2022? What would that look like? And how would that change things?"

Gavin Casalegno and Lola Tung in 'The Summer I Turned Pretty'  

Han said, "I think perhaps if I was writing the novel today, I may have made that choice because I think that [Jeremiah has] always been a character, to me, that is really at ease with himself, really comfortable in his own skin, and open-minded and open to exploration. I do think that's more reflective of today and young people today and the way they view sexuality being much more of a spectrum."

The cast features Gavin Casalegno as Jeremiah, Christopher Briney as Conrad and Lola Tung as Isabel "Belly" Conklin. Han said of Jeremiah, "I would say [he's] sexually fluid. He is a young person who's figuring out where he falls in all that and hasn't experienced a lot of love yet. It's still kind of early on in that journey."

Mea Culpa, sorta
As we exit a month-long jag of ultra-queer everything, we realize that Pride isn't real life, alas. And so the folks who never learned about "inside-your-head-voice" or that other people's identities are none of your [insert expletive of choice here] business are all in their feelings about trans and queer people daring to live their authentic lives.

Bette Midler and Macy Gray  

If you built your career performing in [insert expletive again] gay bathhouses, maybe you should have more consciousness than to be claiming women are being erased by trans/nonbinary-inclusive language.

And if you look at one sit-com's creator doing a mea culpa for how she portrayed a trans character and your response is to double down on your own bad portrayal, that's another big no.

Look, some folks were born conscious. Others of us, ourselves included, had to figure it out and apologize along the way. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, when you know better, you do better. But if you are told to do better and you still don't?

So, it's good that "Friends" creator Marta Kauffman apologized for how the show handled trans representation. On the BBC World Service show "The Conversation" Kauffman said she was sorry for misgendering the character of Chandler's trans parent, Helena (Kathleen Turner). [Vanity Fair]

It's bad that "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane told The Hollywood Reporter that he doesn't have any regrets about how the long-running sit-com portrayed trans character Ida Davis.

To our Bette (Midler) noir, trans/nonbinary folks didn't take anyone's repro rights away. That was the GOP. And if Macy Gray is "traumatized" for being called out for transphobia, as she told 'Today' host Hoda Kotb, imagine being trans in America and having celebs questioning your existence.

Justice Delayed
Finally, Olympic gold medalist, WNBA all-star and lesbian activist Brittney Griner has been in "wrongful detention" in Russia since February 17.

We've been reporting on her case since March 5 when her arrest was revealed (Philadelphia Gay News).

Brittney Griner  (Source: MSNBC)

Now she is in the midst of a show trial and the U.S. has taken a very long time to get involved. As her WNBA coach Vanessa Nygaard said on July 5 to "Today," "If it was LeBron, he'd be home, right?"

Griner says she spends her time in prison writing letters and reading Dostoevsky.

We spoke about Griner to Canadian Broadcasting's Day 6 radio program and about our concern for her well-being.

When lesbian soccer star, Olympian and activist Megan Rapinoe received the Medal of Freedom from President Biden last week, she called for Griner's release. Maybe we should all be demanding Griner's release.

So for the outrageous, the egregious, the flirtatious and the bodacious, you really must stay tuned.

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