On last night’s third-season finale of ABC Family’s teen/family darama Lincoln Heights, which StuntDouble teased last week, the openly gay minister’s daughter Stacy (Sharon Pierre-Louis) finally got up the nerve to ask the girl she has a crush on to dance — and she said yes. It’s a lesbian pre-Christmas miracle!
Here’s how it went down.
At the beginning of the episode, Stacy is bitching to a sympathetic Cassie (Erica Hubbard) and her boyfriend Charles (Robert Adamson) about how prom is only fun "if you’re straight," but she won’t ask Kelly (Tiffany Hines) to the prom because she’s "not even sure she likes girls." When Stacy finally does ask Kelly if she’s going to the prom with anyone, Kelly says yes (some guy asked her) and totally misses why Stacy is asking her this in the first place.
So Stacy takes Cassie’s younger brother Tay (Mishon Ratliff) instead, because’s he’s nice and safe (he’s only 14). Unfortunately, Tay seems to be the only one who doesn’t know that Stacy plays for the other team, and when her brother (a friend of Tay’s) tells him "Dude, my sister’s gay!" Tay foolishly thinks he still has a chance, because "Tay beats gay." (If you’re wondering what that sound is, it’s a million lesbians rolling their eyes.)
At prom, when Tay is pulling out all of his best break-dancing moves (even The Robot!), Stacy tells him what a nice guy he is, but… (you can guess where this is headed):
Stacy: But I like girls.
Tay: Me too.
Stacy: I’m attracted to girls.
Tay: Maybe you just haven’t met the right guy yet.
Stacy: It’s not about the right guy. The fact is, not even Denzel can turn me on. I like who I am, Tay. Liking girls isn’t a choice for me. If it were, I would just choose a life that wasn’t so complicated.
She apologizes for misleading him, he wanders off for greener (straighter) pastures, and then we finally get to the good part. Here’s my truncated play-by-play:
Stacy looks longingly at Kelly, who is dancing with a guy.
D’oh! Kelly’s looking back!
Stacy gets encouragement from Cassie and Charles, who tell her, “What do you have to lose?”
As soon as Kelly’s alone, Stacy makes her move, just as Tay gets up on stage to croon an R&B ballad (don’t ask). After some awkward banter about how beautiful they both look, Stacy asks Kelly to dance. Kelly says yes! They start to slow-dance together, awkwardly at first. No one else at the prom gives them a second glance, except Stacy’s dad, who leaves in a huff (he was a chaperone).
The two girls finally move in closer and nuzzle a little — but alas, no kiss. (This is still ABC Family, after all — nevermind that they have a show dedicated to sorority girls who sleep with everything that moves.)
Stacy smiles up happily at Tay, who winks at her as he finishes his song.
And that’s pretty much it for this storyline. American readers can watch the whole episode now on ABCFamily.com.
Here’s what I liked most about this: it’s not a coming-out story (and no lesbians get pregnant). There’s no "am I gay or not?" angst, Stacy’s sexual orientation isn’t a big secret, and Stacy and Cassie (and even Charles) banter easily throughout this episode and the last about whether her love interest "likes girls, too." Stacy’s big concern (besides upsetting her father by publicly attending the prom with another girl) is the same one all teenagers have in high school: whether the person she likes, likes her back. The show portrays an acceptance of lesbianism and bisexuality that is really refreshing (if probably a little unrealistic).
I wouldn’t expect Stacy to be back next season — she’s only a minor supporting character on the show — but hey, we got a happy black lesbian teen couple on TV! Which is not something you see every day. Or ever.
The only black lesbian couples on TV have been adults, like Kima and her partner on The Wire, or Original Cindy and Diamond on an episode of Dark Angel. (Naturally, Diamond ends up dying of a dangerous virus in the same episode, after almost infecting the entire city, but at least the big "reveal" on that show was Max’s secret identity, not Original Cindy’s sexual orientation. Plus: Jessica Alba in black leather pants and a jacket, riding a motorcycle. God, I miss that show.)
I’ve watched Lincoln Heights every season since it debuted, and I’m a big fan of the show — it’s one of the few on TV in which the storylines of the parents and the teenagers are (usually) equally interesting. I particularly like that the show deals with issues of race and class (which most teen-oriented shows ignore) against the backdrop of one family’s story (unlike, say, The Wire, which also deals with race and class issues, but in a broader way with characters you are less emotionally invested in). Lincoln Heights does have it’s 7th Heaven moments, and the show can be predictable at times, but the characters are interesting and likeable, and it’s nice to see a black family at the center of a drama series (especially since Soul Food is no longer on the air. I miss that show, too.)
Plus, Erica Hubbard (Akeelah and the Bee, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) is hot, which is totally OK for me to say because she’s 29 years old (!) in real life.
What did you think of the episode? Discuss!