By Colleen Glatfelter aka Geek. Dad. Life.
I probably shouldn’t be, but I am really surprised by the amount of hate and eye-rolling this week’s episode has been getting online. I really liked it a lot.
Written by co-executive producer Chuck Hayward, – a gay writer brought on this season along with Welcome to Night Vale’s Dylan Marron specifically to help craft Colin’s story arc – episode 9’s title, “La Locker Room aux Folles” pays homage to the groundbreaking 1983 musical, La Cage Aux Folles, which broke barriers for the LGBTQIA+ community. It was the first time a queer relationship was the main focus of a Broadway musical. La Cage Aux Folles is the story of a gay couple, one who owns a drag club and the other one who is its main attraction. Movie viewers are probably more familiar with its popular screen adaptation, The Birdcage. The episode opens with music from its prologue and closes with what’s perhaps its most famous song, LGBTQIA+ anthem “I Am Who I Am,” which includes lyrics such as:
“Life’s not worth a damn
Till you can say
Hey, world, I am what I am”
Queer theater history lesson aside, I thought the entire episode was great. Now that we’re in the (allegedly) final four episodes, we seem to be focusing on our main cast again, specifically Colin, Keeley, Roy, and Nate, as well as the return of Boss Ass Bitch Rebecca.
It was sooooo great to see Boss Ass Bitch Rebecca back. I don’t think we’ve seen her since episode 2, when she made her play to get Zava (remember him?). Her delivery of “so much blue” in the scene where Keeley shows her and Higgins how much she’s texted Jack was hilarious. And I am SO glad she yelled some sense into Roy but what on EARTH took so long? I wish this could have happened like four episodes ago. More of Rebecca ordering Roy to get his “hairy arse” into her office, please.
Speaking of Roy, we’ve only seen him in assistant coach mode or mentoring Jamie this season. We haven’t really had any follow ups or checked in with how he’s feeling after he broke up with Keeley. After episode 2, there’s really been no mention of it at all, but apparently, we’re doing it now. I won’t pretend that I don’t want the two of them to get back together, so LFG I guess? If we are going to get Roy/Keeley make-up by the end of the series, I guess things will move pretty quickly over the next few episodes? But really, when are we going to get more Phoebe?! I miss that child. She was such a delightful addition to season 2.
Okay, Keeley. Jack ghosted her with a digital Irish Goodbye and left her heart-bent. Ted tries to cheer her up with two things: cash in a biscuits box and ad-libbing a country music song about being heart-bent and leaving a fart scent. Classic Ted.
So, my issue with Keeley this season has been how insecure she is as a business-owner, but honestly, upon giving this a lot of thought over the last few weeks, I kinda get it. Keeley started KJPR as a BAB herself but struggled without the support from a close network like she had working with AFC Richmond and in her relationship with Roy. (Something Nate seems to be learning as well, see: the attempt to create the Love Hounds last week and his big, stabilizing hug to Jade at the end of the episode.) This is not a knock on Keeley AT ALL. She’s an extrovert who needs connection and to run ideas off others.
Keeley is also very similar to Ted in that she does not easily let go of her relationships because they are real to her, no matter how big or small. They mean something to her. Of course, she’s going to send so much blue! I wish we had gotten more of her hurt after Roy broke up with her, especially if we’re possibly headed back in that direction. Why didn’t we get anything from either until now? Their very healthy relationship was such a huge part of season 2.
Meanwhile, over in West Ham-land, Nate and Jade are still going strong, and lucky her – she gets to meet the boss! “It’s worthwhile to meet you,” she says with dead-eyed distain. Rupert, terrible POS that he is, does his best evil rich villain impression, campily trying to charm her while low-key insulting Nate. Rupert does not strike me as the type of person who likes to see those around him – especially those of a lower social class – being happy or confident. Putting Nate in that position at the end of the episode to see if he’ll cheat on Jade or not was pretty f*cking gross, yet completely on brand.
We all know Nate’s story is headed towards an apology to Ted, but I can’t quite land on how we’ll get there. Will Rupert fire him at the end of the season for not being good ole boy enough? Will he quit because he realizes that this isn’t the lifestyle he imagined? Will he and Jade move to Poland and start a new life there? Will the Wonder Kid leave football and open his own baklava food truck?!
I do think it’s worth noting that when Nate arrives at Jade’s apartment, he doesn’t rush in for a kiss or have an angry outburst. He just gives her a huge, reassuring hug. Between the Love Hounds and his hug with Jade, it’s clear that Nate, like Ted and Keeley, craves close relationships.
Okay, fam. It’s time to talk about the Very Special Episode portion of the episode: Colin’s Coming Out to the Team Story. Did anyone notice that other than Isaac & Roy, who were having their own Very Special Feelings moment, and Nate, who wouldn’t be there, the entire male cast was a part of Colin’s coming out scene? Even Higgins found a reason to be in the locker room.
It was no surprise that the team immediately supported him. I (personally) liked that no one had the perfect response. They had an honest, supportive, well-intended response. It wasn’t perfect, but it was human. They meant well. I think most people mean well and are open to how they can do better by their friends and loved ones. Ted got close with his story about showing up for his friend but even his response was a bit awkward, as Colin pointed out. But, he took it in stride, apologized and corrected it with the “we don’t *not* care” speech. That’s the show we all know and love. Learning, growing, and doing so in a non-toxic way.
Did anyone else get the sense that the final scene of the episode, with Isaac asking Colin questions about homosexuality, was a play on the 40-Year-Old-Virgin “You know how I know you’re gay” scene? It kinda reminded me of an updated, less homophobic version of that exchange.
And, yes, some of Isaac’s questions were homophobic. In a perfect world, no one would ask those questions anymore. But they live in a hetero-centric world of professional sports, and in that particular scenario with their particularly close friendship, Colin was okay with answering his questions and educating his friend. Isaac isn’t homophobic; he wants to be an ally and although it’s up to allies to do their own work, it’s nice that Colin was willing to clear up any questions he has.
But seriously, straight people, don’t make it about yourself when a friend or loved one doesn’t come out to you right away. It’s completely relatable that Isaac was concerned that he himself was the problem. We all hope that those we care about see us as a safe space. But unless you’re in Florida, someone not telling you they’re gay is their own decision.
Anyways, Roy’s press conference at the end was also quite lovely. He went full Ted! Here’s the text of his speech:
“They’re not just footballers. They’re also people, and none of us know what’s going on in each other’s lives. So for Isaac to do what he did today, even though it was wrong, I give him love. And as for why he did what he did, that’s none of my fucking business.”
To end with something fun, I need to know how much of Beard’s fight with the reporter over whether Jimmy Page (“a f*cking court stenographer on Adderall!) is better than Joe Walsh (“a poet!”) was planned and how much was improv because it was hilarious. If you watch the reactions of those watching them fight, you can tell some are trying not to laugh (look at you, H.Wadd…) And to top it all off, Rebecca refers to Eric Clapton as “the guy from Cream.” Hahahaha.
- The writers room totally has a bet going on how many times they can get Jamie to say “Poo-peh” this season, right?!
- I died at the amazing exchange between Jamie and Sam over the captain’s armband. Sam’s perfectly timed middle finger and then Jamie counting them in for the “I love you guys so very much!” at the end. So great.
- Lol at everyone looking at Jamie, assuming he’s the statistical second gay person in the room and his, “I’m flattered” response.
- I loved Trent’s look around the locker room after half-time was over. He knows he’s a part of something really special (and it’s going to sell him a lot of books, lol).
- Thanks to Mae, I’m going to have to try drinking beer out of a champagne glass.
- Jamie’s “You got us, mate, and we got you,” really reminded me of last week’s scene between Rebecca and Keeley, when Rebecca tells her, “I’ve got you.”
- I love that running gag of no one noticing Will in the locker room during important conversations and him awkwardly making his presence known, like when he chimed in on Roy and Isaac’s heart-to-heart with, “He’s right, you know. The little things we get mad about are like snowflakes on a mountain. And if we wait too long, then we’re just one sneeze away from an avalanche that will kill us all.”
- “Stairway to Heaven is a glorified fingering exercise and you all know it!”
- “Every single one of you knows my ass isn’t hairy. Yet none of you spoke up. And I will never forgive you.”
- “We don’t not care. We care very much. We care about who you are and what you must have been going through. From now on, you don’t have to go through it all by yourself.”
- “Second best scenario, first being that they all come out as gay too and we all get to be on Oprah’s magazine.”
- “New Trent! … I prefer you to Old Trent.”