“The Fosters” recap (1.01): “So you’re dykes?”


Callie and Brandon try to sneak into Callie’s old foster house. Brandon tries to distract the foster dad while Callie sneaks in the back. But when the guy sees Callie he lunges at her and then grabs a gun. He waves it at Brandon for a moment before Stef and Mike bust in. As they yell at the guy to drop his gun, Stef catches sight of Callie comforting her brother. If there’s one thing Stef can appreciate it’s a person who protects what she loves. When its all over, Brandon sits in the back of the car next to Jude and says that Jesus used to have the same turtle backpack when he was a kid (and still has the stickers in the bath).

Afterward Callie pleads with Stef to make sure that Jude doesn’t have to go back to the same house with the gun toting maniac. Stef tells her that she’s not disposable or worthless and Lena tells Bill that they’ll take both the kids home for now. Lena rushes to tell Stef that Bill will come pick the kids up the next day but Stef cuts her off and tells her they’ll make room. She’s not going to send the kids back into the system just yet.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have been looking forward to this show since it was first announced as a kernel of an idea with JLo’s backing. I had such high expectations for this show and it didn’t disappoint me for a second.

Every interview, preview, discussion with the cast, and tarot reading has emphasized the universality of the show, its themes, and its messages about what it means to be a family. This is all heart-warming, and true, but when we emphasize the universal aspects of the show we are talking to the straight, white, traditional families that a show needs for ratings to stay afloat. But all this talk about how universal the show is glosses over why this show is a big, fucking deal. While we’re busy telling the making the majority comfortable so that they will watch we’re ignoring the fact that this is a show about a two mom family. This is a show, where the piece of it that isn’t universal, that makes this family unique, is essential for some of us. I never dreamed as a kid of getting married or of being a parent. I never dreamed that dream because I couldn’t imagine it. I could imagine the BFG, talking animals, and aliens, but it never crossed my mind that some day I would put on a white dress and say “I do,” because I didn’t know it was possible. I never dreamed that I would grow a tiny person in my belly because I thought that was a dream that people like me couldn’t have.

So go ahead, trumpet the universal because our families are the same in so many ways. But let’s not forget the importance of the fact that this time we’re showing those universal ideas about family through a family that looks a little more like mine, and with people who look a little less like The Brady Bunch, and a little more like our world today. I’ve spent my whole life looking in other people’s windows, trying to squint hard to smudge the edges enough of their lives enough to be able to imagine that it’s not so different from my own. Now, they can stand at the window and squint at us for a while. That, my fellow lesbradors, is something worth wagging our tails about.

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