SUPPORTING AND RECURRING CHARACTERS ON SCRIPTED TV
The supporting/recurring lesbian and bisexual characters on scripted TV can be sorted into three categories: Those Who Saw Action, Those Who Did Not, and Those Who Will Never See Action Again.
Let’s tackle the last one first. This year 90210 promised us a nuanced, sensitive portrayal of bisexuality when Adrianna Tate-Duncan (Jessica Lowndes) fell for her best friend Gia (Rumer Willis). Instead, 90210 gave us the tired story of a bicurious teenager who finds herself in a relationship with an unscrupulous lesbian. Gia fell for the heartbroken straight girl, “converted” her, cheated on her, and sent her back into the waiting arms of her ex-boyfriend. We don’t expect to see Adrianna in another lesbian relationship any time soon, as there was barely any mention of Gia after Adrianna caught her kissing her ex on a rooftop.
Other bisexual supporting characters we don’t expect any Sapphic substance from in the future include Bones’ Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin), who is now engaged to a male character; and House‘s Thirteen (Olivia Wilde), whose girl/girl scenes have barely made it off the cutting room floor in the past.
There were four recurring/supporting lesbian characters that didn’t see any real lesbian action in 2010. Diana Barrigan (Marsha Thomason) played a pivotal role in this season’s White Collar, but we never saw her oft-mentioned girlfriend on-screen. (She did, however, manage to rebuff the advances of the super-sexy leading man, which is more than we can say for some lesbian characters we’ve known.) Camile Wray (Ming-Na) also only mentioned her girlfriend on Stargate Universe, but we’ll have to forgive her since she is trapped on an antique spaceship, light-years from home. After a lot of hype, Patty “The Wedge” Wedgerman (Elena Esovolova) made her debut on CW’s freshman show Hellcats, but we haven’t seen much from her thus far. Similarly, Carly Pope played bisexual Lucinda Pearl in the new series Outlaw, but NBC canned the courtroom drama after only a few episodes.
That brings us to the supporting/recurring lesbian and bisexual characters who did see action this year. Unsurprisingly, most of those characters were on HBO or Showtime. Showtime’s Weeds brought lesbian couple Fiona and Linda (Sugar Lyn Beard and Linda Hamilton) to life this season when Nancy & Co. sought gainful employment in Seattle. Recapper TheLinster thought Linda and Fiona were underused, but that their two-mom household provided some good laughs, especially when Nancy propositioned Linda with sex in an effort to procure more hash.
HBO ruled premium cable, showcasing three female lesbian and bisexual characters on True Blood. Lesbian favorite Evan Rachel Wood returned as Sophie Anne Lecleq. Lindsey Haun played Hadley Hale. And Kristin Bauer‘s lesbian Pam was so popular that True Blood execs signed her on as a series regular.
And then there was the Garage Door Incident on CBS. The Good Wife‘s Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi) dropped hints about her sexuality, but when it was time to seal the deal, CBS shot Kalinda maybe making out with another woman behind a door, with only their feet showing. Panjabi won the Emmy for her role as Kalinda, and at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Good Wife creator Robert King told us:
One of the reasons we didn’t want to show the kiss between her and Lana is because we want to go there this season, and go to what she’s about. We love Kalinda and we want to peel away the layers slowly. It’s a good basis — it’s not a basis out of fear or anything of alienating people. There’s a certain integrity with how Archie Panjabi’s playing her. We kind of want to honor that.
And honor that he did! On the current season of The Good Wife, Kalinda did kiss a girl, in public — or, well, in a lesbian dive bar. Not only that, but we got to see more of the complicated relationship with her ex-girlfriend, Donna. Kalinda isn’t “domestic.” And she’s also not above full-blown jealousy when she sees her ex on a date with someone else. Every Kalinda layer that King peels back leaves us wanting more.