When I first heard Queen Latifah was going to be playing lesbianish on her Vh1 series Single Ladies, I was perplexed. Is she trying to tell us something? Is that something that she’s gay? That she’s not gay? What does it all mean? And then I realized she was trying to confuse me, and she won. Queen Latifah: 1, Me: Zero.
But I put it all aside to watch last night’s episode. Just in case you don’t watch the show, let me give you a little background: Stacey Dash (who will always be Dee from Clueless to me) plays Val, a fashion designer in Atlanta. She’s recently sworn off guys, but has started to take it slow with a new man. After she spends a weekend away with him in Vegas (sleeping in separate beds), Val wakes up to her friend/co-worker Keisha sharing some news with her: Val’s old college roomie, Sharon (Queen Latifah), announced they had slept together on her TV show, and now the gossip sites were going wild.
Val thinks it’s no problem. “We call the website and we tell them they have to take it down!” Keisha bursts her bubble: “Good luck, because it’s on Google.” And once it’s on Google, good luck, girl. You can’t uncache that s–t!
But there are more important things at hand. Keisha asks what we all want to know: “Is it true? Did you do the dirty dirty with Sharon Love?”
“Kinda,” Val says sheepishly. “A little. Yes! But it was one time. And we were in college! We were both drunk. It just happened! Oh my god — what am I going to tell my mother?”
“Just tell her the truth,” Keisha says. “You’re gay!”
At work, Val can’t escape the rumors. Her co-workers want to know what celebrities she’d totally dyke out with. Keisha is egging it all on. “Val, for the record, I think you and Eva Longoria would make a cute couple.” I second that.
Val is flustered. “This is nuts. Do you know how many calls I’m getting from old friends and family members saying they already knew and it’s about time I came out of the closet?”
Her friends find this mildly amusing, reminding her she’s single, in her 30s and doesn’t have any kids.
“I do have a gay-looking life!” Val says. “If I were gay, I would just say so. What’s the big deal?”
And in walks her old flame: Miss Sharon Love. They haven’t seen each other in years, but Sharon has been looking all over for Val since the tabloids got wind of their Lesbian Until Graduation activities. Sharon wants Val to know she’ll clear the whole thing up. She just got her own national talk show and she is taking over Oprah’s slot, but the whole “gay thing” is scaring corporate.
Sitting nearby, Keshia is not a fan of Sharon’s pomposity. “Val you could have done better – even drunk,” she says. Before Sharon leaves, she tries to help Val get some fuzz off her bum, and a conveniently placed paparazzi photographer snaps a shot. Was he a Sharon plant?
Val has to explain to her new man that she’s not with Sharon Love and that she’s straight. Her new beau explains that he only thought it might be true for a minute, because she wanted to take things slow. “You thought I was using you as my beard?” she asks him, and he admits it crossed his mind. Yet he still dated her, so what does that say about him?
Sharon comes to visit Val at her house, but has had a change of heart when it comes to quieting the rumor mill. Instead of shutting the gossip down, she wants to play it up.
“It turns out being gay is fabulous!” Sharon tells Val. “My Twitter is all atwitter, I have six new Facebook fan pages. And for every sponsor that’s fallen out, I’ve got two more! Who knew? It turns out being gay is the new black!”
But Sharon doesn’t just mean that she wants to keep up the charade on her own. “Here’s how you come in,” she tells Val. “We keep this couple thing going for a few more months, and after my premiere, after I’ve got good numbers, you can break up with me. We just have to time it so it’s during Sweeps. So what are you doing in November?”
“Sharon,” Val says. “You’re always trying to convince me to do something crazy! Just like that night!”
“Oh hell no,” Sharon says. “That’s the story you telling?”
“If you would have just paid your half of the heating bill, we wouldn’t have had to cuddle to keep warm!” Val says.
“That’s all I was doing was cuddling,” Sharon argues. “You were doing other things.”
Apparently Val sleeps naked when cold, Sharon suggested they take shots, and it all went down from there. But this conversation isn’t helping convince Val she should be Sharon’s fake girlfriend. Val refuses to go along with the plan, so Sharon leaves, and it looks like their friendship is going back to being non-existent, but because Sharon is a selfish bitch and not because they shared a night of drunken bodyheat.
But is Sharon actually gay? Val tunes in to Sharon’s next broadcast, where she makes an announcement:
I was hoping it would die down on its own but the media circus on the topic of my sexuality has gotten out of hand. Not since the country has waited with bated breath to see if the Chilean miners would emerge safely has a story so captivated the American public. I cannot leave my house without a camera or a mic being shoved in my face. Jennifer Aniston, I don’t know how you do it girl. I didn’t ask for this situation, and I certainly didn’t do anything to exploit it. I’m a victim. But who I feel more sorry for is poor little Val Strokes. Just ask her — she’s defenseless. That’s why I’m here, to speak up for the little people — and make privacy a prime topic on my new syndicated talk show that just got an early pick up.
“Girlfriend’s gonna keep us in suspense,” Val’s man pal says. Val doesn’t care. “She’s just playing another angle for the public, trying to get more ratings.” To which her bf responds, “I guess you never know what’s real.” Ain’t that the truth when it comes to the Queen?