Queer Girl Friday: ‘Drag Race: All Stars’ Cast Reveal, “She-Ra” Soars, ‘Riverdale’s’ Possible Queer-baiting and More

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I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on film and TV! It’s all about TV this week, with “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars” revealing the Season 4 cast and “Super Drags” and the “She-Ra” reboot finally hitting Netflix. “Riverdale” was accused of queer-baiting after deceptive trailers for this week’s episode, while “Black Lightning” and “Grey’s Anatomy” did deliver with emotional and sexy queer love scenes. And then there’s “How To Get Away With Murder” (HTGAWM), where we finally got the Connor/Oliver wedding we’ve been waiting for. Let’s dive in, shall we?

“RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars” Season 4 Cast Announcement

After months of rumors and speculation, VH1 has confirmed the cast for “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars” Season 4. Judging by the promo photos, these queens have gone through some Cinderella transformations since their first round on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Here’s the full lineup:

  • Farrah Moan, from Season 9
  • Gia Gunn, from Season 6
  • Jasmine Masters, from Season 7
  • Latrice Royale, from Season 4 and “All Stars” 1
  • Manila Luzon, from Season 3 and “All Stars” 1
  • Monét X Change, from Season 10
  • Monique Hart, from Season 10
  • Naomi Smalls, from Season 8
  • Trinity Taylor, from Season 9
  • Valentina, from Season 9

It looks like there’s a good mix of previous and current fan favorites, all of whom have potential to make it to the finale. It was just a matter of time before Valentina returned to make up for that awful exit, and it’ll be interesting to see how the queens will react to Latrice and Manila returning for a second round of “All Stars.” What do you think of the lineup?

Is “Riverdale” Queer-baiting Its Fans?

Accusations of queer-baiting were brought to “Riverdale” after Wednesday night’s episode, after a passionate kiss between Archie and Joaquin turned out to be a ploy. The CW had shown a brief clip of the pair kissing in commercial promos, making fans hopeful for an LGBTQIA+ Archie, but the “Judas kiss,” as Jughead says in narration, was just a distraction, with Joaquin using the kiss to throw Archie off-guard and stab him.

By definition, the scene fits the definition queer-baiting: when a story hints at LGBTQIA+ representation to hook LGBTQIA+ audiences, without actually providing what they hinted at. Fans also pointed out “Riverdale’s” uneven ratio of straight to queer love scenes, with most straight couples on the series blatantly hooking up while queer couples like Cheryl and Toni or Kevin and Moose settle for nearly-chaste onscreen relationships.

On one hand, most shows use deceptive promos and ads to keep viewers tuning in: it’s commonplace to smash-cut clips together to make them seem more interesting than they actually are. But with a history of toned-down queer relationships and previous cases of gay kisses between straight characters for no good reason (that Bonnie/Veronica kiss at cheer tryouts, anyone?), complaints of queer-baiting aren’t unfounded. What do you think?

“Super Drags” and “She-Ra” Shine on Netflix

Netflix’s latest animated offerings are some of the gayest things I’ve seen this year. “Super Drags” is a raunchy tale (aka, not for kids) about a trio of drag queen superheroes (think foulmouthed Powerpuff Girls with more shade than “Untucked”). The biggest pull for audiences is voice-work from some of “RuPaul’s Drag Race’s” favorite queens, including Trixie Mattel, Shangela, Ginger Minj, and Willam. Reviews are polarized, with some hating it and others finding it an okay watch. Personally, I think some of the jokes even in the first ten minutes were far behind the gay times (who still says ladyboy?), but if you want to hear “Drag Race” alums become Powerpuff Queens who swear a blue streak, give it a watch.

If you were looking for some glittery feel-good animation, “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” is the queer dark horse for you. The series, a reboot of the short-lived 80’s series, has revived with well-written diverse characters with a  range of gender orientations and body types, set in a narrative that celebrates feminism, gal pals and unicorns. It is also incredibly gay. As Autostraddle points out, the series is packed with relationships that blur friendship and romantic feelings. Examples: She-Ra and Catra, She-Ra and Glimmer, She-Ra and Perfuma…everyone loves She-Ra, okay, she’s got a cool sword and kicks ass. Characters are often seen in suits or dresses, regardless of gender, and gender roles themselves seem non-existent in the show’s world of Etheria. This show’s the epitome of here, queer and cute, and it’s beautiful.

‘Tis the Season of Queer Sex Scenes

Don’t worry, not everything was PG this week. “Black Lightning’s” Anissa, a super-powered lesbian with more game than 10 frat bros, has been hopping from girl to girl since the series began. It seems she’s back in lust with Grace, who knows Anissa will probably break her heart, but a late night talk finds the two back in bed together. It’s terrible for their sort-of relationship, but their sex scenes are the hottest and gayest on network TV, so I’m not complaining.

Over on “Grey’s Anatomy,” Glasses and Nico finally get to talk out the aftermath of their elevator kiss, with Glasses revealing his past as a young Dungeons & Dragons nerd who never kissed anyone, male or female. The kiss was simply a shock to him because of how wonderful it felt, and not the beginning of a “shame-spiral” as Nico so bluntly put it.  It’s all very lovely and moving and there are going to be a lot of young fans who won’t feel so alone in the world after this episode. And then, because it’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” Glasses and Nico have sex in an ambulance.

Connor and Oliver Finally Tie The Knot On HTGAWM

Connor and Oliver finally pledged to love each other in sickness, health, and probably orange jumpsuits, if anyone ever goes to jail for their crimes on this show. Jokes aside, their wedding vows were a sweet moment for the drama, with Connor pouring his heart out in some beautiful vows to Oliver. We went back to murderous intrigue at the reception, but the full wedding scene will go down as one of the greats in queer TV history for its perfectly ordinary telling. In a church, surrounded by a loving group of family and friends, two men got legally married. And from the walk up the aisle to the wedding kiss, no one blinked an eye.

Who will crush the competition on “All Stars 4”? Thoughts on the “Riverdale” queer-baiting accusations? Let me know in the comments below!