Arts

'Summer of Shows:' Our love letter to women, LGBTQ+ folx

Based on the 1908 novel "Anne of Green Gables", series star Amybeth McNulty shines brightly, presenting a fresh and relatable take on the classic character. Image By: Photo courtesy of Variety

In between marathons of “Harry Potter” and “Anne of Green Gables,” we have designed a watchlist called “Summer of Shows” that calls for long nights on the couch, the familiar whistle of the tea kettle and philosophical conversations about “that” tiny irrelevant scarf.

This summer’s watchlist was dedicated to the female leads and LGBTQ+-centric storylines — there was no show without it. And luckily, unconventional femme roles, exploration of sexuality and the celebration of female friendship was at the forefront. 

In search of a bosom friend, it’s easy to find one in the titular character of “Anne with an E,”  Anne Shirley. Her colorful imagination and stubborn determination fuel her whimsical spirit and transports the audience down the ‘White Way of Delight’. The resistance to traditional female roles is shown through her inability to hold her tongue and ambition to become a teacher. 

While the original books are progressive in their own right, the new adaptation favors her independence and friendships as opposed to her blossoming romantic relationship with Gilbert Blythe. Yet, if you’re searching for an equal partnership within a heterosexual couple, this is a great place to start.

However, Anne does not stand alone. The supporting cast provides a space for Indigenous and Black voices to be heard, alongside queer folx. Their stories are relatable and essential, encouraging viewers to recognize their privileges and see learning as a lifelong process. 

But somehow, nothing compares to the relationship between Diana Barry and Anne. Their comforting amid crisis, willingness to support and ability to keep each other grounded is what makes the show an inspiration — and a reminder that female friendships are just as valuable as romantic partnerships. 

And, just like Anne and Diana, we are kindred spirits. 

Thanks to “Derry Girls,” we got to see more kindred spirits on screen. A fresh release from Netflix, the homage to 1990s Derry, Ireland documents the hilarious day-to-day adventures of four Irish young women — and honorary English gentlemen, James — as they navigate an all-girls Catholic secondary school.

The premise alone is enough to peak a person’s interest, but their dynamics as a group of “pack animals” is reminiscent of the ups and downs of puberty. It’s a comedy, yes, but this coming-of-age show is heartwarming and honest about love in all its forms. 

Between spot on dancing to “Rock the Boat” and attempts to make “Friends Across the Barricade,” it’s not hard to fall in love with Erin, Michelle, Orla, Clare and James and long to be a Derry Girl as well. 

And, especially since “being a Derry Girl...well, it’s a f***in’ state of mind.”

The feeling of home and belonging is not only found in the town of Derry, but also in the ballroom culture of “Pose.” 

The show sets the stage in the late 20th century at a time of yuppie culture, Madonna’s “Vogue” and the AIDs crisis. While co-created by “Glee” alum Ryan Murphy, the series is helmed by folx of African-American and Latinx trans experiences and gender non-conforming identities.

Whether you’re a part of the House of Evangelista or House of Wintour, you are a part of a chosen family. Trophies and voguing aside, the show represents the true meaning of being as you are without fear of rejection, shame and hate — but not without the tough love of Elektra Wintour.

Everything about this show is beautiful: the costumes, cinematography and classic 80s bangers. And yet, nothing can match the beauty of Blanca fulfilling her role as a mother of her house. As she says, her rules are “tougher than most houses,” but it's reflective in Damon’s dancing, Angel’s modeling and Lil Papi’s inclusive talent agency. 

If there’s one thing to take away from “Pose:” A home is the family you make.

With the months of mooching off parents’ Starz account coming to a close, we wasted a few days on “Sweetbitter” before discovering one of the greatest programs we’ve seen yet: “Vida.” 

Breaking away from the realm of leading white roles, “Vida’s” cast is driven by Latinx women and shares the necessity of brown representation on and off-screen. This inclusive show explores Latinx culture in East L.A. through the lens of two sisters who have returned home after their mother’s death.

The unapologetic queer, female storylines provide a glimpse into familia drama and the reality of gentefication. Its real power comes from the writing room, who seek to create a level of authenticity in a story that has never been shared before.

This is one of the few shows that has managed to tackle bilingualism and create a sense of community for both Latinx and non-Latinx folx. Though it explores universal themes of family, love and self-discovery, the heart of the show lies in its cultural roots.  

It begins with Vida and ends with Vida. Por Siempre.

The turning tide of badass female characters to identify with has already inspired our “Autumn Show Watchlist.” One series that has caught our eye is “Why Women Kill,” which takes an unconventional route of female roles and the consequences of infidelity in marriage through three different timelines. 

And yet, we worry about the future of feminism and inclusivity in upcoming fall shows.

But we will attempt, this time with Stella’s Spicy Cheese Bread, bottles of wine and frustrated conversation. Perhaps, we just might make it through to write a lengthy critique.


Lauren Souza is an Arts Editor for the Daily Cardinal. To read more of her work, click here.

Robyn Cawley is the Editor-in-Chief for the Daily Cardinal. To read more of her work, click here.

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