Intersectionality was the name of the game on Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 11.
The simple truth of the matter is whether you're speaking about gender, race, economic status, politics, sexuality and any social issue you can think about; if it's not intersectional, then it's flawed and incomplete.
I have to be completely honest. Good Trouble has proven time and again how when it comes to delving into real issues affecting people they are fearless and unabashed.
The series has proven this, and yet, I remain utterly shocked and awestruck by how shamelessly they tackle topics of which many shows have tried or failed or skated through barely scratching the surface out of fear of making people uncomfortable.
People of all walks of life and various experiences exist; yet their daily experiences or feelings, who they are at their core and identity often have to be softened for public consumption.
It's something uniquely specific to those whose very existence is somehow political. Anything that resembles an authentic portrayal of their experiences or identity is written off as an agenda, and their presence is somehow an act of rebellion, a bullet point, or up for debate, and interpretation, and discussion all the time.
Mariana: I think that we should add a race column to the spreadsheet to plan that gender isn't the only discriminatory system.
Coworker 1: Personally, I always thought we were fighting for ALL women, so is that column really necessary?
Mariana: Well yeah, not when some of us are getting left behind.
Coworker 2: A hundred percent, but shouldn't we address the gender pay gap first and then race? We don't want to confuse things.
Casey: I agree; one issue at a time.
As a result, you have a plethora of people who rarely see themselves in media for the mere sake that they exist; nor see themselves in a genuine manner without attempts to wade through topics cautiously to make them more palatable.
And others can't get a full picture of someone else's experiences which is a disservice as well. It's absurd that Good Trouble is bold for not playing it safe, and not playing it safe is a matter of not restraining the portrayals of everyday trials, tribulations, and triumphs of diverse people.
Mariana listening to the other members of her Byte Club obliviously tell her their focus should be on the gender pay gap first and deal with the race component later without a hint of malice isn't some special, rare circumstance; it's another day at the office.
She vented about is as most people do after a rough day, and she listened to a few suggestions, went back and found a way to present it to the group in a manner they'd understand, got her point across and carried on. It's something she probably encounters a hundred times a day.
Malika hearing the black boy of whom she's fighting for speak negatively about black women wasn't a pearl-clutching, end of the world moment; it's daily background noise -- an irritation whisked away after a lively "Oh, this shit again" chat with girlfriends and a night of decompression.
Callie's entire biography of her indiscretions, obstacles, low to median income problems casually laid bare to a roomful of people by her upper-class boss as if she were an exotic pet before he effortlessly discussed country clubs with Jamie isn't an outlier; it's a speedbump so minor it barely elicits a half-second bat of the eye.
And Lena's muted ensemble and sleek new hair-do isn't a crisis. It's a sacrifice or compromise of which millions of professional women of color in the workforce make every day to conform to the status quo.
All of these things highlighted aren't the least bit remarkable but are everyday nuisances of life.
It's impressive how the series allowed these characters to exist showcasing how intersectionality or lack of intersectionality presents itself in daily life without beating the audience over the head in a desperate attempt to make a statement.
Stef and Lena, you raised a very impressive woman. I hope you're proud of her because you have every right to be.Wilson
One of the most consistent complaints about the series is how imbalanced Callie and Mariana's storylines are.
This hour was an instance where Callie monopolizing more story wasn't an issue. Both sisters had an adequate and balanced amount of time spent with their respective stories and managed to share the hour with their moms, Malika, and Alice.
Oddly enough, the sisters had fantastic development in their respective arcs in an hour which between Lena, Malika, and Sandra Thompson felt like an ode to black womanhood.
Therein lies where the show was shocking in its portrayal. The series dug deep into not only issues that affect the black community but issues within it. So often the topic of discussion is how everything else affects the demographic, and the primary focus is on how to combat those issues.
Rarely is there awareness about all the crap demographics have to face within their community too. It isn't just fighting racism; it's fighting racism from the outside while simultaneously fighting colorism, sexism, classism, or homophobia in the inside too.
Malika: Here's to Jamal because if you don't want to kiss my big black lips, you can kiss my big black ass. My big black ass gone fight for your big black life. Who raised you, Jamal?
Everyone: A black woman!
Malika: Who fighting for you right now?
Everyone: A black woman.
For Malika, it came in the form of fighting the casual racism in the justice system while withstanding the casual misogynoir from the person of whom she was fighting on behalf.
Jamal was a young black man who was wrongfully gunned down by police, but he was also a young black man who shamelessly would partake in the insidious combination of colorism and sexism so prevalent within the black community it barely evokes a snort.
It was something the series touched upon when discussing implicit bias when Malika as a dark-skinned black woman was shut off from the dating game before she could step in it.
The video released of Jamal saying offensive comments about black women was damaging and disappointing, but also, as Malika said, not anything new.
Malika saw the video and vented about it with her friends. I laughed at her and her girlfriends pointing out the absurdity of Jamal's comments. His mother is a black woman; the people fighting in his name are black women.
Malika vented, lashed out at Isaac, and attempted to wallow in her feelings, but she couldn't sit in them long enough before she had to move on.
Davia: I just don't understand why you'd work so hard for someone who thought so little of you.
Housemate: Would you still march for a white guy who said those things?
Malika: If he was unjustly gunned down by the police yeah I'd still think he deserves justice. Or do you think Jamal deserved what he got?
Davia: No of course not.
Malika: OK so the point is you don't get it
Davia: Well then explain it to me.
Malika: Why? Why is it up to me to explain to all of my white friends? You went to Brown, Davia. Pick up a book! Do some research.
Davia and her other housemate couldn't fathom how she could still lead this protest in the wake of the video.
In their comments, they proved why she had to get past her feelings on his behalf on top of confirming why after everything else she had going on, she didn't want the extra work of handholding her friends through a conversation about race when they didn't bother to do research on their own.
If she gave in to those feelings, then she would do exactly what whoever leaked the video wanted. It was released to tarnish Jamal's image and discourage people from thinking he was worthy.
Even problematic people deserve justice; otherwise, it wouldn't be just. If Malika gave up on him as others were willing to do, there's not justice or equality for everyone, and it would suggest he deserved to die for self-hatred.
Thus Malika was compelled -- in some difficult to explain, self-sacrificing birthright -- to set aside her feelings for the sake of Jamal's justice.
If she didn't fight for him and those like him, who would? Thus shedding light on how black women are historically at the forefront of movements often fighting on behalf of themselves and the same men (with racism) and women (with sexism) who disrespect them.
Sandra: You're here. Thought maybe I scared you off the other day.
Malika: I'm really sorry for how I reacted. What Jamal said was not your fault. We all have our moments, right? I mean last night I broke up wi--
Sandra: We can't afford to have our moments. We have an uphill battle to fight, not just for Jamal, but for all of us. Let's go to court.
Sandra drove the point home, as well. She had a moment of feeling as though she failed her son. How could he fundamentally hate who she was?
She didn't even notice, and she spent a moment allowing the responses on social media to get to her.
But the next time Malika spoke to her was poignant. Sandra didn't have time to feel her feelings. She, Malika, black women in general presumably, don't have the luxury. Who has time for those moments when there is bigger, more important shit to focus on?
Sandra's words were bittersweet, but they also were realistic and familiar. It's the embodiment of the strong black woman trope everyone speaks about and evidence of how it can be self-imposed within the community too. Sandra snapped out of it and her words were pavlovian in how they flipped the switch for Malika to do the same.
It's the dialogue -- the nuance, in those moments, or when Alice is having dinner with her parents, or Raj speaks of his father and childhood, and Gael and Jazmin speak about their parents when it's evident the writer room is as diverse as the cast, and it makes a world of difference.
It also shone through in Malika and Callie's moment together. Malika expressed all the things she felt but also how she lives with those feelings, pushes them aside, and moves on because of it being bigger things of which to deal.
Callie: How are you feeling about Jamal?
Malika: Well, what Jamal said isn't anything new. It isn't anything I didn't think about myself when I was a kid. You don't know what it's like to be a kid and not see yourself on TV or in books. And the little I did see, it took me a long time to see myself as worthy or valuable. Jamal never got there. He hated black women because he hated himself.
Callie: Aren't you mad?
Malika: Yeah, I'm always mad. And I'm always disappointed, and tired, and frustrated, and I wish that I didn't have to organize a protest for someone who couldn't see the beauty in his own people. I have to. I have to be there for everyone because we all should be there for each other.
Callie: Who's there for you?
Callie cut to the core of it. If Malika was bearing the weight of taking care of a community, then who took care of her?
Isaac would if Malika will let him. The two of them need to make up pronto. They're one of the cutest couples on the series.
The ultimate couple will always be Lena and Stef, however, so it's never fun when moms fight with one another. Their bickering wasn't pretty, and it was easy to see what was at the root of their problem the second we saw Lena's appearance.
Stef is afraid Lena is compromising too much of herself during this election. Lena's campaign manager Cindy has our bohemian Mama with the glorious mane of natural curls wearing sleek, neutral colored pantsuits and rocking poker-straight hair.
Have you seen Sherri Saum's hair? Can you imagine what it's like straightening it like that every damn day? Good, God!
Foster Fanatics, did any of you get flashbacks to Mariana's blond phase when she was trying to fit in with the rest of the cheerleaders?
On the one hand, knowing Lena is probably donning this new look only to accommodate others is upsetting, but on the other, it's an unfortunate but all too familiar compromise made often.
Once again, if her progressive party needs her to look more racially ambiguous, or relegate her formerly law enforcement wife to the background for an agenda is it intersectional? Nope! And it's the opposite of progress.
Stef was not fighting fair, but my heart still ached for her. She felt as if she were losing Lena physically and emotionally. Also, she couldn't voice her opinion and be herself, and Cindy was leaving her out of the plan.
Lena: I would never do anything that affects us without you.
Stef: You already are, Lena. It honestly feels like she's your partner in this. Campaigning together and strategizing together, and I'm just the wife who has to stand by with her mouth shut if I'm ever asked to stand by because, oh we certainly don't want the former cop wife to scare off the progressives.
Mariana: OK. Let's try to fight fair here.
Stef: And what are these outfits? She's asking you to change your look and straighten your hair?
Callie: Oh, that's definitely not --
Stef: Who are you?
Callie: Fighting fair.
Stef: Run for the office. I want you to, I do. Run for president for all I care. You can do it with Cindy. She can be your partner because I am out.
Mariana: OK, that works so much better when you two are the parents.
Fortunately, moms were able to make up, and share a sweet moment with both Callie and Mariana. Also, bonus points for the Stef/Mariana and Lena/Callie pair ups for a change.
Libby may have been OK with that role of silent wife, but it's not Stef at all. Speaking of Libby, the Wilson family drama continues, and the way Callie was dragged into it sucked.
In the perfect world, we would have seen the dinner with Callie, her moms, siblings, and new boyfriend (!!) Jamie (who moms didn't seem to mind despite him being an in-law). For the record, I don't mind Callie and Jamie either, and their playful sex scene where legalese served as foreplay was cute.
Wilson infringed on Callie's family time so he could use her to get to his son. I suppose, in an hour with limited Davia and no Bryan, someone had to be messy. He paraded Callie around as if she was his prized pony and threw the highlights of her past into the ring as if she had no say in who she wanted knowing her story.
Wilson: You crossed the line
Callie: Maybe lines need to be crossed if justice is going to be served equally. If your son was black and tried to punch a cop, do you think that he would be alive today? Would his charges have been dropped?
Wilson: You need to get back to work doing the job that you have been honored with doing.
He used Callie to attack his son for being too privileged, but ironically, he didn't care for it when Callie reminded him later on.
The questions the defense were asking while weeding out jury members were as transparent as ever. Unfortunately, proving opposing counsel is excluding jury members by race is difficult.
We knew what they were doing with the questions about rap music, weed smoking, and knowing someone who went to prison, but by what's outlined in the letter of the law, it's nothing to go on.
The law doesn't apply to microaggressions. The glaringly white and mostly male jury could be a happy little coincidence. Callie is itching to get into the advocacy portion of law; this clerkship is not working for her.
Wilson didn't rule in favor of the plaintiff, but he did acknowledge what was happening. He does allow Callie to influence him, and he learns and grows from her as she does with him. He gave in to her request to give Kate Rebecca's old position despite his reluctance to have two liberal clerks.
It may have backfired for Callie though. He didn't take too kindly to Callie pointing out how Tate wouldn't have charges dropped for attempting to slug a cop if he were black. At best, he would be thrown damn near under the jail, and at worst, he would be dead and trending on Twitter.
They managed to find cause to excuse six black jurors and then they used one of their peremptory strikes against the one black juror they couldn't find cause to excuse. I don't see why Jamal's attorney didn't raise a Batson Challenge.Callie
Callie probably should've been taken off the case a while ago, but with Kate there, I wonder if she's Callie's replacement and not Rebecca's?
Mariana was thriving at work for a change, and I could not be happier about her portion of the hour. I'm also afraid of the potential fallout from the spreadsheet. Raj is risking it all, and I hope he's doing it for the right reasons.
He's become the ultimate ally for Mariana, and I love it, but I also worry about him too. The Byte Club's response to the racial component was unsurprising.
They didn't intend it to come across that way, as most of them were aloof and unconcerned about what didn't affect them, but it was the classic "wait your turn" which has been around since the Suffragist movement.
Because most of them were white, they didn't have to think about the race wage gap.
In their mind, it was a separate issue, but as much as they kept citing how they should focus on "all women," they missed how white women are the default when speaking about women's issues.
Mariana: We need to address the racial pay gap.
Coworker: I thought we decided one issue at a time?
Mariana: They're not separate issues; they're intersectional. We can't say that we're fighting for women when we're leaving those among us who are struggling the most behind, which is women of color.
Women's issues are not homogenous. Women of color have specific issues where race and gender meet. Sure, her fellow engineers were not making as much as the white guys at Speckulate, but Mariana wasn't making as much as them.
How could they propose equal pay when it still left the WOC at Speckulate behind? Mariana and WOC take a significant loss. Most of Mariana's Club have the luxury of only thinking of themselves as women, so they think of race and gender as two separate issues.
For Mariana and other WOC, it isn't an either-or situation. Mariana is both Latinx and woman; she wasn't getting paid less for being a woman, she was getting paid less for being a Latin woman. Statistically, Latinas are paid the least across the board.
Mariana couldn't understand why Casey agreed with the others, but Casey tends to waver, so it wasn't a surprise. It turned out if they put race down, they had to disclose their race and thus forego their anonymity.
It only highlighted the layers to Speckuluate's pervasive diversity issue. Mariana and Casey are the only Latina engineers at the company, so everyone would know who they were. Raj is the only Indian, so he went out on a limb putting his name on the spreadsheet. Everyone will know who he is.
Finally, that twerp Josh got his comeuppance from my boy Evan. I was wondering how long it would take before Evan realized Josh and Angela were keeping Mariana away from him.
Evan: Good job. Mariana, can you stay? Angela, Josh you too. I'm confused about something. Mariana, you appear to be very motivated, so when I agreed to hear your new app pitch, why didn't you follow up?
Mariana: Well, um, Angela was correct to point out that I should be more respectful of your time.
Evan: Who told you to point that out?
Angela: I, uh, was told to give Mariana a heads up to protocol by Josh.
Evan: I see.
Josh: OK, look, if every employee wanted to pitch an app got a meeting that's all you'd do.
Evan: That's my call! This is my company. Mariana, my assistant will set up an appointment with you next week I will hear your pitch.
Mariana: OK, thank you.
Evan: Angela, do not admonish employees who want access to me, and Josh, I've decided to pitch the app myself.
Mariana asserted herself during the meeting when she provided a fix to Alex's glitch, and Evan took notice. It must not be the first time Josh has pulled something like this before.
He could've asked to speak to Mariana by himself, but he wanted Josh and Angela there when he point-blank asked her directly why she never set up a meeting to pitch her idea when she's vocal during meetings.
Evan is usually distracted, or uncomfortable, but it was the first time he was direct, firm, and displayed why he's the CEO. I loved it!
I suspect Josh thought he could take advantage of Evan's disposition, but Evan is not a stupid man, nor is he a child. It was beyond satisfying when he laid into Josh (and Angela), advised Mariana to set up their meeting, and stripped Josh of his opportunity to pitch.
You have to hand it to Mariana; she didn't throw Angela under the bus when she could have. Evan noticed and probably respected it, and his warning was as much to Angela (who blamed Josh) as it was for Josh.
It confirmed Evan does not want to be inaccessible to his employees and has a different vision of what he wants for his company. I love Evan, and I look forward to Mariana's pitch.
I also wonder how much Evan knows about the diversity issues and wage disparity? He doesn't seem the type to go along with that. If this spreadsheet gets out, do you think he could be Mariana's saving grace?
Why are you being so hostile?Sumi
Meera Why are you licking Alice's ass?
Joey's saving grace was the copious liquid she consumed at the most awkward double date ever. What was Sumi thinking?
Meera was seething the entire time. Sumi couldn't stop talking about Alice, and her feelings for Alice were apparent along with her jealousy. She didn't even care about Alice joking at her expense on Joey's radio station.
Sumi and Meera are doomed; Meera knows it too. No way in hell those two make it anywhere near an altar. However, Joey and Alice are cute together, so Sumi needs to take the loss now.
Hit the comments with your thoughts, Good Trouble Fanatics. You can watch Good Trouble online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.