Because it’s a show set in the Prohibition Era and starring a lot of high profile men, I didn’t have high expectations for lesbian content in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. For starters, it was partly created by Martin Scorcese, who doesn’t typically go out of his way to include any gay storylines in his work. And lesbians are still largely excluded from television shows set in the current day, so what would make one about the 1920s any different?
Well it looks like I’ve been proven wrong. This Sunday, a lesbian storyline will indeed happen on Boardwalk Empire. (Caution: Spoilers ahead.)
Aleksa Palladino plays Angela Darmody, a painter who put her dreams on hold to be the mother to a young boy she had with common-law husband, Michael Pitt‘s Jimmy Darmondy. Jimmy is the protege of Nucky Thompson, the treasurer of Atlantic City, and so the Darmondys are always provided for. But when Jimmy upsets Nucky, he’s on his own, so he moves to Chicago to work in the illegal alcohol business with Al Capone.
Before he left town, though, Jimmy thought it was strange that Angela would keep visiting with a photographer in town, despite the fact the photographer had a wife of his own, Mary Dittrich, played by Lisa Joyce. And now we’ll find out why this Sunday night.
Angela and Mary have been having an affair for a long time. Jimmy had been in the war, so Angela has had plenty of opportunity to spend time with her lover, until now. This week, we’ll see that she’s worried about what to do if someone finds out they’re together, and how she could make a living if Nucky stopped giving her money.
The storyline is said to continue from this week through the end of the season, which means I’ll be keeping you posted on how things are going between the women on the show. It was certainly an interesting time to be gay (and by" interesting," I mean kind of awful). Being out was pretty much out of the question, but the women seem to be so much in love, it might not matter to them. We’ll see how things unfold, but here’s hoping it doesn’t turn out to be an unhappy ending (though it seems it just might).
If you’re not a fan of the show, there additional reasons you might be interested in watching, such as the other female cast members: Gretchen Mol, Paz de la Huerta and Kelly Macdonald. Here they are in a recent Vanity Fair spread called "Babes in Mobland."
Tune in to see Boardwalk Empire on HBO this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.