I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on film and TV! This week was all about the small screen, with news breaking that the final episode of Amazon drama “Transparent” will be a two hour musical. Then there were some major LGBTQIA+ happenings for “Supergirl” and “Black Lightning,” with newcomer Nicole Maines joining the ranks of CatCo Worldwide Media and Nafessa Williams’ Anissa Pierce finding lust (and maybe love?) with songstress Zoe B. And as per usual, “Will & Grace” kept things queerly heartfelt with an episode on being yourself, no matter what others have to say. (Also, a Freddie Mercury homage.)
“Transparent” Will Have A Musical Ending
The award-winning Amazon drama is going out with some swan songs, according to series creator Jill Soloway. The creator told NYT this week that the series, ending after the upcoming fifth season, will have a two-hour musical finale episode, complete with songs from Soloway, their sister Faith and trans actress and musician Shakina Nayfack. Production on the finale episode and its music hasn’t been started just yet, but will be hitting Amazon sometime next fall.
Per Soloway, the finale “will hopefully feel like “Jesus Christ Superstar” mixed with “La La Land” mixed with “Flight of the Conchords” with something more Jewish thrown in…a little “Yentl.”” The range of inspirations might seem unusual, but according to Deadline, the team’s musical inspirations aren’t coming from out of the blue; during Season 4, various Pfeffermans sang songs from “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I’m interested to see just where this final season will take us, especially with Jeffrey Tambor’s ousting after Season 4.
Nicole Maines Shines As Kara’s Mini-Me in “Supergirl” Debut
We’ve all had bad days and first days at the office, but new CatCo Worldwide Media intern Nia Nal (Maines) had the worst combo of the two. The harried intern complains about her horrible morning to Kara, who held the elevator for her, only to realize she’s just spilled her guts to her CatCo idol. Despite her fumbles, Kara quickly realizes that the awkward intern is her spitting image, and takes her under her wing.
Nia is at first determined and sweetly optimistic, impressing her new mentor when she pitches her a fashion puff piece as a story about hope and community. However, her confidence wavers when it’s time to pitch her idea in the cub reporter meeting and she never opens her mouth, to Supergirl’s chagrin. Nia later explains that she’s afraid to step on other people’s toes, a sentiment that Kara understands after her first years as the invisible assistant, but she wants more for her brunette Mini-Me. “Acknowledge the fear, then kick its ass,” she tells her. Sincere musical swells for this solid life advice.
The season premiere was a wonderful debut for rising star Maines, whose timid Nia Nal will blossom into Dreamer, the first trans superhero on TV. Besides Maines obvious talent as an actress, her polished demeanor and full understanding of the importance of her character already has me hooked. I can’t wait to see her suit up and kick ass beside Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl this season. Learn a little more about Maines’ coming out, the transphobia she dealt with growing up, and her experience working on “Supergirl” so far (watch below).
“Black Lightning’s” Anissa Pierce Falls For Musician Zoe B
The lesbian love drought has finally ended!!! It’s been too long since Anissa (Nafessa Williams) has done anything for love, besides the crimefighting and saving her dad every other episode. The eldest Pierce daughter, who hasn’t so much as looked at a woman since the early days of Season 1, lets us live queerly and vicariously through her in this week’s episode, “Black Jesus Blues.”
Anissa, nudged out into the world of dating again by her little sister, hits the town looking for love. Stepping into a music lounge, she locks eyes with new love interest Zoe B (Andy Allo) across a guitar and a crowded room…need I say more? Honestly, I’m jealous of Anissa’s game; the superhero just walks up to the most attractive girl in the room and requests a private song…with Zoe naked, in heels. Sparks fly, with the pair spending the night together and Zoe (who’s talented, beautiful and rich) trying to convince her to skip her morning classes with promises of plane rides and dim sum.
But Anissa’s past chicks, who she dates and dump at the drop of a hat, come home to roost. Anissa joins Zoe at a party later that night, where Anissa’s (ex-girlfriend? ex-crush? girl she left on read?) Grace is working as a waitress. Hurt, Grace privately has it out with Anissa, who’s got a history of breaking hearts and generally forgetting about her partner’s feelings. Ouch. Will we see Grace (who’s a canon love interest in the Black Lightning comics) for Zoe? Or will Zoe be out by next week? While I do admire Anissa’s confidence, as Autostraddle points out, she’s a bit of a Shane McCutcheon. Maybe this will be a wake-up call?
“Will & Grace” And The Bravery To Be Yourself (Also, A Freddie Mercury Homage)
Finally, there’s “Will & Grace,” who gave us another classic episode of laughs with some good underlying messages. Karen, Will and Jack take a trip to Texas while Grace tries (and tries again) to sleep with the West Side Curmudgeon. While Karen learns about the real consequences of the border wall, Will and Jack spend time with Jack’s grandson Skip, who’s excited to perform “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” at his local talent show.
Jack, who’s feeling uncomfortable already in the conservative state, worries that Skip will struggle with homophobic bullying if he sings the Marilyn Monroe song at the show. For his part, Will recounts a time in his youth when he wanted to impersonate Freddie Mercury at a talent show, only to be shot down by his mom. Worried about Skip’s well-being, Jack tries to stop Skip from performing, only to see the audience encourage and applaud him. Things are changing for the better for LGBTQIA+ youth, and the moment is a wake-up call for Jack, who publicly apologizes to Skip for his intentions.
Because “Will & Grace” doesn’t do serious for very long, Will breaks the poignant moment by bursting into the room singing the opening chords of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” dressed as Freddie Mercury. Mustache, armband, and leather belt included. He lives his talent show dreams, hamming it up for the audience in front of and behind the camera. See the glory below.
— Will & Grace (@WillAndGrace) October 19, 2018