can we just talk about this scene for a minute?? so i went into this show with absolutely no idea that these two would get together at some point, so when April locked the door and turned around and that bass music started bumpin, i was understandably SHOOK.
bc wow, not only did they give a romantic storyline to one character who started the season losing her virginity to her long time boyfriend and another character who’s in a straight-straight alliance...
but i was also shook bc of APRIL’S FACE.
do you see the desperate longing and yearning on this child’s face, in her EYES?? someone sedate me i’m
this look doesn’t just come out of nowhere.
April’s been quite possibly waiting for this moment (believing full well it would never come) since the 5th fucking grade, when Sterling not so subtly gave her away. skip ahead 5 or 6 years, and Sterling finally wants her back. and not just back, but BACK.
Sterling is one of April’s Adeles who come back from Arizona!
but instead of feeling threatened by April’s intensity—like the actual Adele—Sterling always returned that same intensity head on (and is now returning it to the point where it matches April’s), so not only am i shook, April’s shook.
and by April’s own words, she is intense, and so she buried that shit so deep (not her sexuality but her feelings for Sterling) that the moment her feelings are reciprocated, like that VERY moment, April’s like “it’s on,” proceeds to lock the world out, and jumps Sterling’s bones, quite literally crashing their faces together without a moment’s hesitation.
i mean, she barely put any thought to it, leading me to believe she’s definitely imagined kissing Sterling countless times before.
Sterling—the girl who was supposed to be her, quote, mortal enemy, like, less than a week ago. Sterling—the girl who ditched her in elementary school when she got her first bf. Sterling—the girl she always seemed to compare her wins (and losses) to, even when Sterling had no idea.
Sterling, Sterling, Sterling.
April had been competing against Sterling for years to be the best, when in actuality, all she really wanted was to be seen by Sterling as the best.
but the poor baby gay had been suppressing those feelings for Sterling for so long that she confused a complicated crush with “i must crush her,” only for a kiss from said crush to wake her the hell up.*
like c’mon, look at these last two stills—if that’s not enlightenment, idk what is
*our gay modern day sleeping beauty, what did we do to deserve
This is a show I'd been heavily judging from afar. I can't help that it looks cheap and corny and all-around bad at first sight and for the first five, ten minutes. But then I decided to get over myself and *actually* try it, as in, watching a whole episode. And boy, am I happy I did.
I can't believe Netflix canceled TBH. It's creative, different (in the best possible way), whip-smart, much of the dialogue is purposefully dumb and honestly so funny it had me in tears a few times. The acting is impeccable (April's subtle face acting had me wanting to write a whole ass essay about it) and the character growth is *chef's kiss*. I'm also angry bc Sterling and April were endgame FOR SURE (and I'm usually very hesitant to say that about f/f pairings) and were left broken up 😩 not to mention the found family of it all, the great chemistry between the twins, the mom, BOWSER, how they satirized Evangelicals without straight up mocking, all the teen dumbness and quirks – it was all SO good.
Friday: Paired together to work on Solomon's Temple 🕍
Saturday thru Monday (long weekend): Worked together on assignment. Sterling not so subtly says she wants to cleave to April thru the Naomi and Ruth 👭 biblical story
Tuesday: A+ on temple. Sterling has more NERVE than many queer women and kisses the president of the straight-straight alliance. April locks 🔐 them in together and kisses her back
Wednesday: Sterling is in full YEARNING mode. Stepril goes to a Dave & Buster's-esque location and mack on each in the nerdiest and straight up adorable ways possible
Thursday: Lock-in planning (the planning happening the day before the event gives me anxiety). Water bottle shenanigans. Sterling gives the BEST MONOLOUGE to April. Stepril debates the possibility of a public relationship. Sterling's queer horny heart leads her to bailing on Blair
Friday: Sterling angrily tells Blair she's been hooking up April. Sterling asks April if they can hold hands and sleep next to each other (😭💜), April agrees. April's abusive, pos dad comes home 🤢🤮
Also Friday: Sterling puts on lipgloss in anticipation of seeing April at the lock-in. April is Apriling and has retreated to her ice queen ways as a form of protecting herself from what she feels she has to do. Sterling is devastated 😢. Sterling tries to leave but can't because she's literally locked in but April unlocks the door and let's them both out. April explains herself and Sterling learns douchebag mcgee is out of jail and back home. Stepril comes to an (hopefully temporary) end.
Oh, you're still here? Well since you've made it this far I'll leave you with this:
The GAYEST thing about Stepril is it all happens within a week
The “Straight-Straight Alliance” joke in teenage bounty hunters was really funny the first time I watched it but looking back on it it’s just April trying to aggressively overcompensate hiding her sexuality and it makes me so sad
So here is the thing that has me empathizing so hard with April right now. I grew up in Texas in a family that is deeply Catholic with a mother who had a wall of crosses like most Texas mothers do. My mom and dad were loving and my family as well and while they were never conservative in their politics one topic that was never discussed was sexualllity. At least not in a positive way. I heard slurs hurled casually by uncles and cousins and aunts about Gay people from a young age, and while it was something that was sometimes said in jest other times it wasn't. Queer was a slur. Fag was a slur, dyke... etc. I knew I liked girls from age 12 onward. Like April my crushes were on girls but I was always the kid who never seemed to have a crush because I instinctively hid that part of myself from my family. My parents, and all the rest because even as a kid I knew in my gut liking girls could be something that caused my entire family to turn on me. I was never able to talk to anyone about because I was so scared of letting on and losing my family that I hid a part of myself. My mom, who is the most loving woman on the planet, never thought to tell me that if I was gay it was OK and she would still love me because you don't think about the fact that your kid might be gay. So I lived in fear. I didn't talk to her about my first kiss or anything there after because I had no idea how she'd react not to mention the rest of my family. And mom was never the one hurling the slurs, but... and this was big for me, she never said anything to stop it either. No one did. I struggled daily with my faith and what it meant to be gay and I still struggle with that to this day. I didn't know for sure if I'd be accepted and loved if they knew I was gay.
And April. She makes me ache because that fear?It's real and paralyzing for so many people. She as much as told us that her father is a bigot. He expects perfection from her. The writing between the lines is that April knows, she knows that the love and support of her parents is 100% conditional upon her maintaining the ideal wasp persona. And let me tell you, in Georgia with Christian parents who vote conservatively, perfect daughter sure as shit doesn't mesh with lesbian daughter.
It's all well and good for Sterling to be so Gung ho about coming out so fast now that she's discovered this new and exciting part of herself, but April? She's known for years that she's gay. In a safe moment with Sterling she has zero issues outright acknowledging it, but this new and exciting thing for Sterling has been April's secret reality for years, and she's kept her mouth shut because deep down she knows she can't count on her parents to love and support her. Sterling pushing April to come out and then being angry that April backslides when her dad is back ignores the fact that April has told us he's a bigot and the fact that we know he can be violent towards women. Sterling had a right to be upset that April didn't just talk to her, but April has no way of knowing about the bounty connection with her father so him mentioning Sterling would set April's fears into overdrive. I am hoping the show addresses that April's fears are valid and Sterling was expecting too much from a relationship that was days old.
Also being mad at April ignores her past history with Sterling. That moment where she talks about Sterling giving her away? That still cuts April and from April's perspective how can she be sure that Sterling won't do it again? How can she be sure that the girl who gave away her friendship as a child won't do the same thing as a couple. Sterling is asking for complete faith in both her and April's parents after a few days of stolen kisses and cute moments. That's a lot to ask of a 16 year old kid who's life has already been turned upside down by her father's sins. And the fact that Sterling didn't remember giving April away? That's another problem. Both Sterling and Blair are focused on themselves and that a moment that hurt April so deeply could just be forgotten has got to be there in the back of her mind.
Expecting April to risk blowing up her life for Sterling is too much. And the fact that April took a hard left and said "nope, can't do it. Not yet." Is a hell of a lot more realistic than her and Sterling coming out and having everything be fine. When you have that much to lose it can seem impossible and I just feel so much more connected to April than Sterling in this case. Fact is some people aren't brave enough, not when they're sixteen and their future relies on their parents support and love.
Sorry if this is long and rambling but I'm 7000 words into this couple in fic form and its 5:30 in the morning and I haven't slept because I can't turn the feelings or the urge to write off.
My jaded ass always jumps to conspiracy and/or power structure manipulation when something like a show about queer teenagers in a religious setting gets cancelled so fast. Like I know Netflix is pretty liberal but when TBHs got the axe my first thought was that somewhere, someone with enough money and clout took offense to the whole “religious school” and “girls kissing” combo and threw some weight around. And then I get angry at weaponized righteousness in the West all over again. Just let the girls kiss damnit.
I havent seen anything like this happen yet but I am begging people not to get weird with Devon and Maddie on Insta or Twitter like... I've seen enough f/f ships over the years to know the actresses can get overwhelmed, or they get inundated with inappropriate and invasive messages and it makes them distance themselves from the ship... please just be respectful!
TBH has got a good thing going and we're lucky the cast interact with us so much please don't blow it by making them feel uncomfortable 🥺