Women-Loving-Women: 5 Binge-Worthy Shows With Good Sapphic Representation
It’s no secret: same-sex female relationships are underrepresented in an already-underrepresented faction of media. There’s a few that have seeped into public consciousness, sure—Santana & Brittany from Glee and Callie & Arizona from Grey’s Anatomy, for starters—but for the most part, these relationships fly under the radar.
With Pride month about to end, we’ve put together a list of shows that offer good and well-written romantic female relationships, worthy of your Friday night binge-watching spree, whatever the month may be.
The Bold Type
Freeform’s The Bold Type centers on three best friends working in publishing—type A staff writer Jane Sloan (played by Katie Stevens), fun and spunky fashion assistant Sutton Brady (Broadway’s Meghann Fahy), and feisty and sweet social media director Kat Edison (played by Aisha Dee). On its own, it’s an easy watch, presented very much like a good ol’ 2000s romcom—only this time in high-def and without the cringey wardrobe choices. Banging soundtrack? Check. Abnormally large and well-furnished one-bedroom apartment? Check. Romantic interests for days? Check.
But the biggest giveaway is that this is set now and not in 2003 is the very presence of a female love interest for another woman. One of the show’s central stories in season one is Kat’s realization that she is attracted to a female photographer, Adena el-Amin (played by Nikohl Boosheri). They fall in love, someone pushes back, there’s a really moving scene that involves spin class, and they build a fort out of airport lounge pillows. Typical romance stuff, am I right? All in all, it’s a very positively-written relationship, and the show handles Kat’s sexuality really well, too, beyond Adena.
The Bold Type is available on Hulu.
One Day at a Time
Despite being unceremoniously canceled by Netflix early this year, One Day at a Time remains a critics darling and highly-revered amongst its fans. In fact, there is a social media campaign to save the show—#SaveODAAT is the accompanying hashtag—and its showrunners are still hopeful that it will find another home. The show, which is a reboot of the 1970s sitcom of the same name, is executive produced by television legend Norman Lear. The 2017 version of the show centers on a Cuban-American family, and stars Justina Machado, Marcel Ruiz, Todd Grinnell, and the iridescent Rita Moreno as the scene-stealing, salsa-dancing grandmother.
Early in its run, the show became an instant favorite among LGBTQ+ fans when Elena, played by Isabella Gomez, comes out as gay. Her coming-of-age and coming-out story beautifully culminates at her quinceñeara by the end of season one, but her story doesn’t end there. Unlike other shows whose tendency is to write a gay character and focus all their energies on that aspect of the character, the writers of ODAAT allow Elena live her life as a multi-faceted individual—a young woman, a Cuban-American, a lesbian, and a TV nerd—without defining her to merely her sexuality.
One Day at a Time is available on Netflix.
Sa Pag-agos ng Panahon
While not technically a television series, Sa Pag-agos Ng Panahon is a Cinema One short film directed by Annika Yañez. The film is about Trish, a gay woman who lives with her old-fashioned, unaccepting father. We see vignettes of her moments with her girlfriend, until we don't.
A short film written and directed by Annika Yañez, Cinematography by Janna Lejano • ?? Indie Un-Film Festival 2018 Best Feature Film, Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Soundtrack, Best Actress ?? Cinema One Originals 2018 Official Selection ?? Gawad Alternatibo 2018 Official Selection ?? Viddsee Juree 2018 Official Selection ?? Festival De Cine Paz Mindanao 2018 Official Selection ?? Quezon City International Pink Film Festival Official Selection 2018 • #shortfilm #shortfilms #shortfilmshoot #lgbtq #lgbtq?? #queer #film #indiefilmmaking #cinemaoneoriginals2018 #cinemaone #cinema
Diverting from the happier and lighter selections in this list is this film that shows the harsher truth of being a gay woman in the Philippines—how not everyone is always accepting of who you are, even the people who love you most and those who should love you unconditionally.
Sa Pag-agos ng Panahon is available to stream on Cinema One's YouTube channel.
You may know Darren Star as the creator of mega-hit series Sex and the City (among others—he's also behind Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place!). In 2015, he created another dreamy, sexy, and New York-set TV romcom, Younger, starring Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Nico Tortorella, and Peter Hermann. The show revolves around Liza Miller, a 40-something divorcee who pretends that she’s 26 in order to land a job as an assistant at a publishing house in Manhattan. Hijinks ensue, like her actually getting hired at the publishing house and two men falling in love with her—one half her age, the other in the same generation as her.
Rooming with Liza in her open-plan Brooklyn loft is her best friend Maggie (played by Debi Mazar), a lesbian artist who starts a relationship with—bear with me here—a friend of Liza’s friend, who then quickly becomes Liza’s friend herself, Lauren (played by Molly Kate Bernard). The two hit it off, and it’s a wonderful, playful representation of a fun, casual, yet intimate relationship between two women. Until today, the show continues to portray their queerness in a very normalized fashion—it's no big deal, and it shouldn't be!
Younger can be streamed on TVLand.
The Haunting of Hill House
This bone-chilling and hair-raising anthology premiered in 2018, to rave reviews. With an ensemble cast starring Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Elizabeth Reaser, and upcoming You leading lady Victoria Pedretti, Haunting is a television adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s horror novel of the same name. The show revolves around the Crain family, headed by Olivia and Hugh Crain, a husband and wife house-flipping duo who move into Hill House one summer to renovate it. Their stay, however, is cut short when strange things begin happening, from sleep paralysis to sleepwalking.
Where is that good woman-loving-woman action, you ask? The middle child, Theodora Crain (played by Kate Siegel and Grace McKenna), is a lesbian, and she comically and warmly comes out—not with any bells and whistles, but at her sister’s wedding, when she’s caught making out with one of the bridesmaids. Cue her siblings completely unsurprised. (Except for that gem of a moment up there.) In the series, Theo meets a woman named Trish who helps bring her guarded and stone-cold self’s facade down. Theo's sexuality then becomes a part of her, making up her person rather than being her only defining feature.
The Haunting of Hill House can be streamed on Netflix. A second season, The Haunting of Bly Manor, is set to premiere in 2020.
Photos from IMDB