All the cool girls are coming out of the closet as queer these days. So, of course, media junkies like myself are pointing our gaydar detectors at the screen, watching for any signs of incipient lesbian love. Sometimes it's obvious, but sometimes it takes a discerning eye to make things perfectly queer. For the homoerotic hobbyist, here's a selection of secret and not-so-secret couples to watch:
This eerily clone-like couple of succulent teenybopper party girls have cuddled on MTV, done joint projects like the recent film Drive Me Crazy, and even -- in a revealing moment -- appeared together this season on the super-sapphic show Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. A bummed-out and lonely Sabrina is moping around her father's Paris pad, and Dad grants her one wish to cheer her up. And the wish is -- you guessed it -- to dance with the fetching Britney, who promptly appears, bounces around, and makes Sabrina's day. Later in the episode, Britney sees Sabrina after a concert and recognizes Sabrina "from a dream." Mutual smoky gazes follow. Yes, Melissa Joan Hart is the girl of Britney's dreams. I can't wait for these two to declare their love publicly and create the first pre-teen lesbian craze.
You can't do one of these lists without mentioning the uber-dykes of syndicated television. The show is getting creaky, but Xena and Gabrielle's love only gets stronger and more stereotypically lesbotic. Most recent episodes, in fact, have these gorgeous gals engaging in that most dykey of dramas... emotional processing. Xena has to come to terms with Gabrielle's new, butcher identity; Gabrielle has to accept Xena's dark side; Xena has to forgive Gabrielle for having sex with a demonic god; Gabrielle has to express her resentment about Xena's prophetic dreams. I feel validated -- don't you?
Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, the cute-as-a-button twins who recently starred in the insipid snugglefest It Takes Two, are definitely the queerest thing to hit mass media since Pee-wee Herman. Having spent their toddlerhood playing one person on the magnetically insipid sitcom Full House, they obviously were going to develop some identity issues. But who knew it would result in incestuous homosexuality? The realization began to dawn on fans as the now-pubescent gals romped on their ABC sitcom Two of a Kind, but it really hit home when they appeared on the Donny & Marie show, which everyone knows is tantamount to admitting that you're into sibling sex.
Who says you can't come out after you turn 50? The sexy seniors on this now-defunct sitcom were a veritable hotbed of seething desire, and gave us one of TV's only polyamorous queer families. Avid fans went crazy trying to figure out which of the Girls were butch, which were femme, and which were trying for hard femme or soft butch.
Some guys are just lesbians trapped in male bodies, and I think that explains everything about Ben and Matt -- Hollywood's couple du jour. They're shy, they're sensitive, they wear lots of T-shirts, and they both have fabulously butch haircuts. It may not be PC, grrls, but let's open our hearts and allow these two fluffy dyke tykes into our tribe.
Annalee Newitz is a freelance writer in San Francisco, and is the author of a forthcoming book on movies about monsters, psychopaths, and the American economy.