I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on film and TV!
This past week seals the end for two popular TV shows, “Orange is the New Black,” which dropped its final season just last Friday, and “Will & Grace,” which sadly announced that its next season will be its last. Here are my thoughts on the news, along with a personal note about Queer Girl Friday.
*”Orange is the New Black” spoilers ahead*
I Watched The Final Series of “Orange Is The New Black” So You Don’t Have To
Season 7 of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” dropped last Friday, and honestly watching it felt like committing to penance. That’s not to say the newest season wasn’t moving, topical, and relevant to this political moment of Trump and I.C.E. detainment camps (aka, concentration camps), but the brief moments of levity and hope that made this show more than a pain-fest were all but absent.
This final season’s focus on the new Litchfield ICE detainment center, while painful and heartbreaking, was a good message that will perhaps wake up viewers to what’s happening just outside their door. But almost every storyline outside of the detainment center was just as painful, with Red (Kate Mulgrew), Lorna (Yael Stone) and Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) succumbing to dementia, madness or untimely deaths. Taystee (Danielle Brooks) had a better-written storyline that finally veered towards a hopeful upswing, but she does not secure her freedom. Maritza (Diane Guerrero) is deported to a country she doesn’t know after discovering she wasn’t born in the U.S., only after I.C.E. essentially kidnaps her in a random raid. Blanca (Laura Gómez) does emerge from the detainment center with her green card, but leaves to be with her love Diablo, who was deported. But you know who does get their happy ending for no good reason? Piper (Taylor Schilling) and Alex (Laura Prepon), even after everyone tells them to stop ruining each other’s lives by staying together.
The grief, disenfranchisement, pain and weeping depression of this season, topped off by Piper’s irrelevant narrative, made watching the finale a chore, even with that quick little montage showing all the light-hearted characters cut from the show after Season 5. The LGBTQIA+ moments were there, just like in seasons past, but often tempered by horrific endings, just like the rest of Sason 7’s cast. If you were a hardcore “Orange is the New Black” fan, maybe you’ll get through it. If you weren’t? Don’t bother. But I do give the show kudos for, as always, reminding us to fight the industrial prison complex and the rampant xenophobia of I.C.E. and the Trump administration.
One other note: Taystee’s microloans for former convicts idea? Netflix actually set up that fund, lovingly titled the Poussey Washington Fund, which you can donate to here. In the spirit of Season 7, I’m also suggesting for viewers to donate to groups like RAICES, which are working to help migrant families who’ve been separated because of the I.C.E. detainment camps.
“Will & Grace” Calling It Quits After Season 11
Looks like we’ll be saying our farewells (again) to one of the most beloved LGBTQIA+ sitcoms in TV history. NBC’s “Will & Grace,” which came out of a decades-long retirement to lambast the Trump administration, is making its eleventh season its last. Per Deadline, “Will & Grace’s” return for Season 9 two years ago was met with high ratings and a two-season renewal, which was expected to be its final bow. Looks like those plans are coming true.
Megan Mullally (see above), Sean Hayes, Debra Messing, and Eric McCormack all shared the news on social media, alongside a heartfelt letter from showrunners Max Mutchnick, David Kohan, and James Burrows (see below). The decision seems to be a mutual one from everyone involved, to ensure “Will & Grace’s” legacy doesn’t age past its prime. Season 11 will begin on Dec. 18, 2019, and end sometime in early 2020. Honestly, it’s time for “Will & Grace” to ride off into the sunset again. While the recent seasons have been a nice visit with Karen, Will, Grace, and Jack, any more time on the air could push the characters from the realm of beloved to bedraggled. We needed their humor in the face of our Cheeto-in-Chief, but there isn’t much more story left to write for the foursome. Here’s hoping for a sendoff as good as their first.
— Max Mutchnick (@MaxMutchnick) July 25, 2019
A Final Note…
This isn’t related to the world of film and TV, but I wanted to let our readers know that this will be my last article with Awards Circuit. I’m leaving journalism all together, but not my love of rainbow storytelling; I’m moving on to graduate school to become a psychology researcher, studying the effects of storytelling on human development, particularly for LGBTQIA+ folx. In my academic life, I study fanfiction communities, all things LGBTQIA+, and how all stories, be they from books, TV, film, or avid fans, change our lives for the better. So, while it seems like a swift change of careers, my goals remain the same: to highlight queer and trans voices, to fully understand the power of a good story, and to see just how much diverse, positive representation can truly inspire a young mind.
All my thanks to Awards Circuit’s founder, Clayton Davis, who gave me the opportunity to speak to you all for the past two years, and every reader who’s been following Queer Girl Friday. Don’t worry, there will be another Queer Girl reporter in the near future (watch this space), but for now, this is Awards Circuit’s very first Queer Girl Friday, signing off.