Second-hand embarrassment is real.
If you made it through Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 2 without covering your eyes, grabbing your head, or making the Chrissy Teigen cringe face, then I applaud you.
I feel for all of my Coterie babies. I feel for them all so much.
Let's talk about sex, or rather sexuality and how the return of one of the most universally beloved characters from The Fosters led to some of the most honest, raw, and enlightened discourse on bisexuality in quite some time.
Jude is about 37 years old and 17 feet tall now, but he'll always be Judicorn to me.
He'll also forever remain the wisest, most reflective and intuitive Foster kid out of the bunch. His conversation with Callie about sexuality and what it should and shouldn't mean was classic Jude once he realized why Callie inquired about the topic in the first place.
Good Trouble takes a more realistic and grittier approach when tackling the tough topics.
It presents viewers with the real sentiments, errant comments, political incorrectness and problematic aspects of society, and it uses likable, seemingly unproblematic characters to do that, and then it casually but effectively shows viewers why they should reconsider.
Callie: Remember in the Turks when you said you hooked up with a lot of guys who had girlfriends? Were they bisexual or gay and in the closet?
Jude: They were gay when they were with me.
It's informative without being preachy. It presents another way of looking at something and allows the viewer to process that and maybe shift their viewpoint because they understand an issue better than they did when they went into the show.
People, in general, are flawed, and there is an unfortunate tendency these days of permanently writing off people for every single error they make and not giving them the space to learn and grow.
We're all capable of growth, otherwise, what's the point of trying to educate and advocate if we don't genuinely feel the people we're trying to reach are capable of change?
Callie was trying to sort through her feelings about Gael's rendezvous with another guy, and what was beautiful about how the series wrote this was Callie was given the space to be confused and curious without seeming like a terrible person or biphobic.
It was a surprise, and she had a right to be surprised without having to feel compelled to defend herself for being caught off guard.
Then there is Mariana whose sentiment that she would feel insecure about not being able to give a bisexual lover something that a guy could is a common viewpoint by many including the most open-minded and "tolerant" people, and it suited Mariana who has always felt insecure in her relationships.
She's not a terrible person for feeling that way, despite how problematic and uninformed she sounded. It's nothing a conversation couldn't resolve down the road where she expresses why it makes her so insecure, and someone bisexual could explain why they don't think of it that way and why it's a non-issue.
If Callie represented someone who was hyper-focused on checking off a category for her peace of mind (which is human conditioning), and Mariana represented the ignorance surrounding bisexuality and biphobia, Jude -- at first -- represented bi-erasure.
Don't you think he should have told you that he was bisexual? If it was me, I would be super insecure dating a guy who is into both sexes. Knowing that I couldn't give him what another guy could? It would just drive me crazy!Mariana
Jude took Callie's inquiry as overconcern and judgment about his healthy sex life and questionable partners during his sexually-liberated phase in college, so he was defensive when she asked.
He was also horribly biphobic and snarky when he suggested that the straight guys he slept with were gay when they were with him. It was an off-color remark that was too simplistic and potentially harmful.
It reminded me of that quote about how it's not the first thought that comes into your head that defines you. That's what you have been conditioned to think. It's the second thought that determines who you are.
Fortunately, the moment Jude realized that Callie was seeking his advice based on her experience with a guy she was interested in, he immediately went to do damage control and have what was one of the hour's beautiful, poignant discussions.
Shouldn't it be about the person? Why should we focus on categories and labels or run down a checklist of specifics and what makes a person one thing over another? Love who you love and be you, and screw everything else.
It's a particularly striking message as it pertains to bisexuality since they are often told to "choose a side." They're not "straight enough" or "gay enough," and it's a unique plight for the B's in the LGBTQ community. As expected, the show is handling it beautifully.
Jude: So these straight guys you hook up with who have boyfriends, what do you think? Are they bi or really straight?
Callie: Where is Mariana? I'm going to kill her.
Jude: Look, I shouldn't have said what I said about the straight guys I hook up with really being gay. They could have been bi, or pan, fluid, questioning, or drunk. So do you like this guy?
Callie: Yes, I like him.
Callie: But I don't know how I feel about having sex with a guy who has sex with other guys. And I'm not bi-phobic, it's just ...
Jude: It's new. Bisexuality is a hard thing for people to wrap their heads around. Why do we have to put ourselves in boxes because of who we want to be with? Shouldn't it just be about the person?
Callie: Were you like born a wise old man?
Jude: Kinda. Someone had to be the mature one.
For example, the scene with Gael and Callie speaking to one another about it was also poignant and striking. What stood out most in that scene was Martinez's performance during that conversation. Did you notice how guarded Gael was when Callie told him what she saw?
Gael is not ashamed of being bisexual, and that was obvious in how affectionate he and Bryan were at the party, but he was bracing himself for Callie to have an issue with him being bisexual, and that was heartbreaking. You could tell that he's used to it being a problem or a dealbreaker, so he was preparing himself for rejection.
You could visibly see the wall he was putting up as he prepared for a hurtful blow and the surprise and relief when Callie didn't deliver it. Those two are intoxicating in their scenes together. We all 'ship it, right? The tender way he tended to her at the pool was sweet, and their underwater make-out session was sexy.
Bryan and Gael have sizzling chemistry too, though. They're supposed to be casual, but I can't figure out if Bryan is intrigued by Callie or threatened by Gael's attraction to her. I also can't figure out why Gael is downplaying whatever the nature of his relationship is with both of them.
Callie: I saw you having sex with a guy last night. You might want to think about closing your curtains.
Gael: Is that why I haven't seen you all week?
Callie: I just didn't know what to say.
Gael: Does it freak you out that I'm bi?
Callie: No. I was just surprised.
Gael: Yeah, well, you wouldn't be the first person it's an issue with.
Callie: I don't think it's an issue.
Gael: I really like you. I wasn't cheating. Bryan and I are new, casual.
Callie: How many new and casual people do you usually see at a time? Gael: Not many, but we aren't seeing each other anymore, right? Because of Mariana?
Callie: Actually, I told Mariana. She's cool with it.
Kudos, Good Trouble. You have me fascinated by a love triangle. That rarely happens, and why is everyone on this show so gosh damn pretty? Callie, Gael, and Bryan standing there in their beauty being awkward as hell was distracting.
What's also distracting is the flashback sequences and some of the dramatic, artsy shots. The series is trying something different with their stylistic choices and telling their stories in a non-linear manner, but it's a bit overwhelming at times. Dare I say the overabundant use is needlessly pretentious and gratuitous.
Now, on to the cringe-worthy moments to which there were aplenty. Callie's most consistent 'ship is Callie and poor decisions. I know they say work hard play harder, but Callie took that too close to heart.
It sucks because Callie probably spent the past five years eating, sleeping, and breathing school with her Law program she attended. It's nonstop hard work, and now that she has her degree, she's working for a clerkship and still has to find time to study for the bar. There is very little room for anything else.
Callie would have needed self-discipline and self-control during the past five years, so you would think she would have paced herself before being sucked into the Coterie party. On the flip side, she has deprived herself for years, so she caved and wanted to have some fun, which is normal.
Callie is one drink away from being white girl wasted.Jude
Mariana wasn't wrong for wanting Callie to get out of her head, but she was dead wrong for keeping Callie's phone for the entire evening. Mariana may have the luxury of clocking out, but unfortunately, Callie does not.
There was an interesting op-ed on Buzzfeed about Millennial Burnout, and one of the many things mentioned was how people don't clock out or their jobs anymore.
You may get paid for a 9-5, but there is an expectation in many fields that you be readily available well into the night via calls, texts, and emails. So you never stop working even on your off time.
Working a high-profile case is the perfect example of that. It was difficult to resist berating Callie for losing track of her phone. Dammit, Callie! In the bathroom, seriously?!
This development in the Jamal Thompson case is significant, and it's all the more reason why Callie needed to be there to put her two cents in for that memo. Based on the little we know, the police are getting rid of the 911 calls from that evening, and Mrs. Thompson fears they are destroying evidence.
Ben picked up some of Callie's workload, and Rebecca wrote the memo. Rebecca doesn't strike me as the type to speak outside of her purview either, so Callie's lack of presence being the sole progressive voice on the team will surely be noticeable.
The dynamics at her office continue to be fascinating and confounding. The tension between Callie and Rebecca is palpable and hard to place because both women have reason to be on guard here. It's like some unspoken thing spiraled out of control on the first day, and they haven't been able to bounce back.
Rebecca: Everything OK?
Callie: Yeah, fine.
Rebecca: You sure? You seem kind of standoffish.
Callie: Just trying to get my work done, Rebecca.
Rebecca: If I said or did something -
Callie: It's clear you're the one with the problem.
Rebecca: I am?
Callie: Yeah, you're angry that the judge gave me the Jamal Thompson case.
Rebecca: Because I said you were the counter clerk? I was just stating the obvious.
Law School is competitive, and unless you attend one where they try to foster a community and supportive vibe, it can be pretty cutthroat. I wonder if Callie made any real friends while she was in attendance.
Rebecca is right about Callie being standoffish and guarded. She is trying to make sure that Rebecca isn't out to get her, which is understandable, but I'm still not sure Rebecca is trying to undermine Callie. She's blunt and opinionated, but not necessarily malicious.
If she is in it for the competition, she seems like the type who would prefer her opponent bring their "A-game," so she can say she earned things on her merit. After all, coming from the family she comes from, she has a lot to prove.
Benjamin is hard to figure out. If anyone has been playing games, it has been him because he has said things to get in both women's heads, but it's like he would rather they be at some odds with one another, so he doesn't feel like the literal odd man out.
Despite that, he recognized that Callie is smart even though his utter surprise reeked of condescension, and he doesn't have an issue helping out and being a team player. Plus, he lied and let Rebecca write the memo because he knew how important it was to her.
Rebecca doesn't play well with others. It's not you. She and the last clerk were like [makes cat noises]. I think it's a girl on girl thing. For her.Ben
Mariana's colleagues are more transparent than that, Alex in particular. Dustin Ingram is probably a sweetheart in real life, but the character he plays is a colossal jackass.
He barely had screentime, but he has a way of making your blood boil in that short of time. He went out of his way to humiliate her lack of hockey knowledge even though his lackey didn't like hockey either instead of apologizing for excluding her from their team bonding outside of work.
That wasn't half as annoying as that textbook "she's too aggressive" thing and the delightful microaggression of deliberately mispronouncing her name. He had no problem pronouncing it before, but when given an opportunity to demean her and this time other-ize her as a Latina, he resorted to that.
Man, it's annoying that Mariana spent the rest of the night groveling and apologizing to that twerp. Davia meant well, but she shouldn't have live-streamed that.
She was right about Mariana making it worse by obsessively calling, and texting, and everything else. She made a drunken fool of herself. Alex is a common name, so he didn't have to know it was about him, but he knew after Mariana spent the rest of the night reaching out.
Every message made me cringe.
Davia: Sorry I sent postal on your boss. I was in a pissed off mood.
Mariana: It's okay. Trolls got to get to you at some point, right?
Davia: It wasn't them. Veglover, the polite troller, that's my mother. Even when I was a kid and got bullied she always asked what I did to deserve it. It doesn't bother me that she thinks I'm fat, I just wish for once in my life she would stand up for me.
Meanwhile, Davia's experience with her mother made me angry. What kind of mother doesn't defend her daughter against those harassing her and instead offered her criticism too?
Davia could barely enjoy her accomplishment because the trolls came out, and the biggest troll is her mom.
She's confident and proud, but she is still human, and she still wants to be loved and supported by the person who is supposed to provide that most. Her poolside confession was heartbreaking, but the support the others provided her was heartwarming.
The Coterie is a family, and they know how to rally around their own. The girls were nothing but supportive of Alice who continues to be a standout character and endearing to boot.
As one people pleaser discussing another, Alice agreeing to put the happiness of Sumi over her own to the point of being her bridesmaid was frustrating and relatable too. Alice is too pure for this degree of masochism.
How did Sumi miss that Alice is still in love with her? Everyone could see it!
Mariana is correct about Alice instilling some boundaries because she does not deserve to put herself through this type of heartache.
As for Malika, she is entitled to feel the way that she does about her mother. It sounds like her mother was an addict who neglected her and her brother. Ten-year-old Malika was brave to call for help when she did.
No matter what her brother says, he couldn't take care of or protect them at his age.
Dom resents Malika for making that call because they were separated and put into the system. Sadly, the foster system isn't pretty for young black boys, which he subtly reminded her.
Dom: Look, I ain't really come here to chat. Mom is sick.
Malika: For real this time?
Dom: Why you gotta be so hard on her?
Malika: How many times has she played us?
Dom: I shouldn't have come here. You cut her out of your life a long time ago.
Malika: No, I was protecting us.
Dom: No. You should have let me protect us.
Malika: You were 11.
Dom: And we were okay.
Malika: No, we were hungry!
It's an unspoken and ingrained sentiment in black communities that women feel compelled to protect black men, even if it's to their detriment. The notion is that society is already tough enough on black males, so there is no need to contribute to that.
Malika thought she was looking out for both of them, and she was, but that didn't spare her from his resentment for putting him in a system.
That could be one of many reasons Malika is attached to this case, but she has to stop sharing what Callie tells her with other people. She also can't expect Callie, a lowly law clerk, to have much sway here.
Malika is smarter than this, so it's frustrating. And Callie is playing with fire here. That girl knows how to get herself in a jam.
- Ain't no party like a Coterie party because a Coterie party don't stop. I want to live there and be their friends.
- Party Rock is the ultimate party song.
- There was mention that the time split between the girls wasn't equal. The show is doing a decent job balancing among the characters, so we get to know more about the new characters while following along with Callie and Mariana. However, I did notice that Callie was mostly at the forefront more than Mariana.
- Dennis had the funniest line of the hour with his "What do I look like the weatherman?" I love you, Dennis.
- The Good Trouble soundtrack is fire.
- That scene of the Coterie gang lounging at the pool together and one by one bidding each other adieu was visually stunning, and it gave me all the feels. I love this familia.
Were you thrilled to see Jude again? Do you think the series did a decent job discussing bisexuality? Who screwed up more, Mariana or Callie? Hit the comments below!
You can watch Good Trouble online right here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.