Women on the Verge: The Lavender Tube on 'Million,' 'Candy,' Soap Nuptuals, & 'Law & Order's Big Mistake

by Victoria A. Brownworth

Bay Area Reporter

Tuesday May 17, 2022

Grace Park and Cameron Esposito in 'A Million Little Things
Grace Park and Cameron Esposito in 'A Million Little Things  

Women take center stage in several TV dramas, from soap opera weddings to creepy killers making headlines, and passionate affairs.

"A Million Little Things"

We love Cameron Esposito. The out lesbian actor and comedian is known for her show "Take My Wife," as well as her stand-up comedy and her podcast, "Queery."

Esposito now plays Greta Strobe in "A Million Little Things." Greta was besties in high school with series regular Katherine Kim (Grace Park). Their teen friendship ended when Greta asked Katherine to the homecoming dance. Lo, these many years later the women reconnect and sparks ignite. Now, in the series' fourth season, Katherine's bi-curiousness has turned into full-fledged Sapphic love for Greta.

There is an incendiary chemistry between Katherine and Greta, who also look fantastic together. But Katherine is also fragile because she has been through so much with her former husband, Eddie (David Giuntoli), who is also the father of their child, Theo (Tristan Byon).

Adding to this complicated emotional drama is the fact that Greta has a wife, Julia (Jessica Lindsey), something she neglected to tell Katherine.

"The truth is, Julia and I are married, but we haven't lived together for the past three months," Greta told Katherine over the phone. "She took a job in London, but it was really just an excuse for us to have a trial separation. But we both think it should be a permanent one. I should have told you."

Well, yeah.

"A Million Little Things" creator DJ Nash told TV Insider, "Grace [Park] just took Cameron under her wing. It was great. And it made it so authentic [that she did it the] way Katherine would take Greta under her wing coming to this new, intimidating friend group."


Alas for Katherine, Greta and Julia's dog had to be put down, and nothing brings lesbians together like grief over a dying pet. On the May 11 episode, Katherine is about to go away with another woman. In the car she goes to post a pic of the two of them on Instagram to make Greta jealous. That's when she realizes that maybe she shouldn't be leaving town, or Greta.

Katherine tracks Greta down to the animal hospital and says, "If it had been a week ago, I'd be here with you." But then a tearful Julia comes out of the euthanasia room and goes to Greta. Katherine leaves, in tears herself.

What will happen next in the final episodes of the season is anyone's guess, but we are hoping Katherine and Greta make it. We're more than a little weary of thrilling lesbian pairings being wrecked. (Looking at you, "Killing Eve.")

Jessica Biel in 'Candy'
Jessica Biel in 'Candy'  

"Candy"
Hulu's new American true-crime drama series, "Candy," created by Nick Antosca and Robin Veith, is spectacular. Jessica Biel gives a tour de force performance as ax murderer Candy Montgomery.

Candy was accused of brutally murdering her best friend, Betty Gore (played by the always perfect Melanie Lynskey), in small-town Texas in 1980. Candy had been having an affair with Betty's husband, Allan, when she hit Betty 41 times with an ax, killing her.

In the opening episode, we see Candy fleeing Betty's house before jumping in her car and driving away. Candy was bleeding from her forehead, her glasses gone, her hair wet. The only sound from Betty's house was the crying of her newborn daughter.

It took some time for police to arrest Candy and charge her for a crime no one understood — including Candy herself, who had no memory of the actual killing, in which she claimed self-defense against an enraged Betty, who may have been suffering from post-partum psychosis herself. Despite being arrested and charged with murder, Candy was acquitted on October 29, 1980.

Biel has done some remarkable acting in recent years, and many will find this performance reminiscent of her acting in the first season of "The Sinner." The five-episode series "Candy" is chilling, and Biel gives an absolutely stellar performance with two other great performers, Pablo Schreiber and out actor Raúl Esparza.



Soap Wedding
June is for Pride and brides. "The Young & The Restless" is previewing both with the series' first same-sex marriage. Mariah Copeland (Camryn Grimes) and Tessa Porter (Cait Fairbanks) — the "Teriah" portmanteau super couple — will tie the lesbian knot this week. Mariah and Tessa have been together since 2017. The couple's proposal was January 26.

Grimes, who came out as bisexual in 2020, told People magazine that she is excited and proud to be involved in the Teriah storyline.

Camryn Grimes and Cait Fairbanks in "The Young & The Restless"
Camryn Grimes and Cait Fairbanks in "The Young & The Restless"  

"Our relationship has been incredibly supported by the fans so far, and that's what makes this such a joy," Grimes told People. "We feel like we get to give this gift back to them, and they get to watch our characters just be happy and in love, and it's a huge culmination of their relationship's journey."

Fairbanks is also thrilled to be part of this historic first for the long-running daytime soap. She said, "I feel especially honored to be a part of this moment because I understand the importance of it."

Fairbanks added. "This isn't just a couple talking, it's also representing on screen so many people who haven't really had that opportunity to be themselves, and every time I come to work I am reminded of that."

For Grimes, this story is personal in so many ways. She said, "I've been so moved over the years about how many different stories I've heard — that a fan had a family member watch 'Teriah' and now they are able to explain their own relationship to them better, or our love helped them come out."

Grimes said. "It has been really beautiful and humbling because you really understand the weight of what you do."



"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
Olivia "Liv" Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is the longest running main character on prime time in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." Her rise from detective to captain has been a 23 year journey, and it has been fraught.

Just like real life, the police are on the skids. Everyone in New York City has a grudge against the police. In this tendentious atmosphere, Liv continues to try to navigate her position, manage her team, and continue to capture and convict rapists.

Burton Lowe (Aiden Quinn) was Liv's first relationship, when she was 17 and he was an adult. He groomed her, she fell for him, it was intense and damaging.

Aidan Quinn, Mariska Hargitay, Bernadette Quigley and Danny Pino in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
Aidan Quinn, Mariska Hargitay, Bernadette Quigley and Danny Pino in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."  (Source: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

Last season, Lowe, famous and an active alcoholic, returned and tried to rekindle a romance with Liv. Then he tried to coerce her sexually. Then she discovered Lowe was leading a pretty rapey existence.

On the May 12 episode of "SVU," Lowe is back and in a program to deal with his alcoholism and his past behavior, sort of. He tries to make amends. Liv says his sorry-not-sorry lack of understanding that he coerces and sexually assaults vulnerable women isn't enough.

Then a middle-aged Black woman comes to the station and reports that Lowe raped her right after Liv escaped being sexually assaulted by him last year. Liv confronts Lowe. He says it was consensual between two drunk friends.

The upshot is Lowe willingly pleads guilty to prove to Liv that he is a changed man. He gets probation and has to go on the sex registry; no jail. It's actually more punishment than most rapists get. That's not an excuse for Liv's response, which was to applaud him and tell him she hoped things would improve in his life.

Whut?

Liv is supposed to be the champion of rape victims everywhere. Watching her give plaudits to a man who groomed her as a teen and kept doing that to other women over 30 years was gut-churning. We get that Liv's relationship with Lowe is complex, but her role is not. He's a rapist, she captures and convicts rapists.

This is like when Buffy, a vampire slayer, got involved with Angel and Spike, two vampires. Except Liv is 50-something and we have literally come of age with her as our guiding star and our warrior queen of the vulnerable and victimized.

This was a bad, bad move by the writers and did serious damage to one of the most beloved and critically important women characters on prime time. Give us back our advocate. Rapists have more than enough support.



Tidbits
You'll want to watch the over-the-top tale of Watergate's Martha and John Mitchell (Julia Roberts and Sean Penn) in "Gaslit," now streaming on STARZ.

The dementia storylines on "This Is Us" with Mandy Moore and "Law & Order: Organized Crime" with Ellen Burstyn are heartbreaking and Emmy-worthy.

"The Orphans of COVID," ABC's documentary on Hulu, is a gutting tale of the 250,000 minors left orphaned by their parents and caregivers dying of COVID. It is a remarkable piece of journalism and a tribute to the resilience of children. Get vaccinated, please.

WNBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist Britney Griner was remanded for another month in Russia, and not one news network reported on it. No one has seen video of the lesbian activist basketball star since her arrest in wrongful charges in February.

So for the fabulous and the fraught, you know you must stay tuned.


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