Sedition Edition: The Lavender Tube on 'Flowers,' 'Grantchester' & the Jan. 6th Hearings

by Victoria A. Brownworth

Bay Area Reporter

Tuesday July 26, 2022

Sedition Edition: The Lavender Tube on 'Flowers,' 'Grantchester' & the Jan. 6th Hearings

Now that the season finale of the January 6th Committee has left us in a cliffhanger (see below), we turn to other thrillers and dramas. Here are some shows we highly recommend.

"Flowers in the Attic: The Origin"

Based on V.C. Andrews' provocative novels that we all read so avidly as queer teens, "Flowers in the Attic: The Origin" is a limited series and a prequel to "Flowers in the Attic" based on Andrews' novel "Garden of Shadows."

Luke Fetherston and Jordan Peters in 'Flowers in the Attic: The Origin'
Luke Fetherston and Jordan Peters in 'Flowers in the Attic: The Origin'  

The series revolves around Olivia Winfield Foxworth (Jemima Rooper), the grandmother of the Dollanganger children, and how her marriage to Malcolm Foxworth (Max Irons) became the driving force in her life.

The Lifetime series tells the origin story of how the dark Foxworth family secrets shaped the family from the very beginning. Lifetime has kindly added a hot gay storyline that isn't in the books.

Lifetime has done several "Flowers in the Attic" movies in the past year and all are very, very good, but this series is the best.

"Flowers in the Attic: The Origin" has everything: Secrets, most of them shocking; incest; patricide; infanticide; murder. It's a period piece set in 1920s and 1930s Virginia, so every scene is "Downton Abbey" gorgeous.

Joel and Harry are the sweetest, hottest outlaw interracial gay couple and we get to see them together in bed, which is also very hot. Joel Foxworth (out gay British actor Luke Fetherston) is Malcolm's youngest son. Harry (British actor Jordan Peters) is a Foxworth employee. The chemistry is undeniable, and so they don't deny it.



But since this is "Flowers in the Attic," there is a scary element, and Joel is forced to undergo conversion therapy when his father discovers him kissing Harry. It's gruesome. And all doesn't go well for Harry, either.

In an interview with the British magazine Attitude, Fetherston spoke about how hard it still is to be an out actor, and the impact of his role in the series and all it depicts. Fetherston said he was "very recently" told to hide his sexuality.

actor Luke Fetherston
actor Luke Fetherston  

"I didn't know about what people were put through, and what people still are being put through," Fetherston told Attitude. "I did as much research as I could. And I wanted to give that moment in the series as much weight as I believe that it deserves."

Fetherston said, "His secret is that he's discovering that he's a gay man, and he falls in love with one of the housekeepers, Harry. His journey is trying to keep that secret from his brother and sister, who he absolutely adores. So that relationship between the siblings is really beautiful."

Fetherston continued, "But then his parents find out. So then he has to suffer the consequences of what that meant in the 1920s and '30s: 'Conversion therapy.' This isn't a spoiler by any means. The trailer shows Luke's character undergoing some extreme 'treatment.' "

The acting in "Flowers in the Attic: The Origin" is oh-so-good, the scares are real, the heartbreak is just as we remember it from "Flowers in the Attic," the dramatic tension is trip-wire tight, and the plot twists are unnerving.

The cast includes heavyweights Kelsey Grammer, Harry Hamlin, Kate Mulgrew as well as Callum Kerr, Hannah Dodd, Paul Wesley and Alana Boden.

Daniel Marlowe and Al Weaver in 'Grantchester'
Daniel Marlowe and Al Weaver in 'Grantchester'  

"Grantchester," Season 7
We can't get enough of British period pieces. We love PBS's "Grantchester," which spans the 1950s and 1960s in the semi-rural English Cambridgeshire village.

The British ITV detective drama focuses on Anglican vicar William Davenport (Tom Brittney), who is also a part-time detective, with Detective Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green). As we devotees of British mysteries know, these small towns are virtual killing fields. A lot of terrible things happen in these claustrophobic settings, where it's difficult to fully hide one's secrets when everyone knows everyone else.

Will is a young, good-looking, single vicar who loves women. His assistant, curate Leonard Finch (Al Weaver), is gay and deeply involved with photojournalist Daniel Marlowe (Oliver Dimsdale).

An ongoing subplot deals with Leonard's being gay before decriminalization of homosexual behavior in England and Wales in 1967. In a shocking series of events, Season 6 had Leonard sent to prison after he was blackmailed and lost his position in the Church. It was a provocative and deeply moving season, and Weaver was stellar in portraying the torture Leonard experiences as his life implodes simply for holding hands with Daniel.



As Season 7 premieres, Leonard is once again a free man and has replaced his clerical collar with a black Beat-poet turtleneck. He's opened a poetry café called The Cherry Orchard, which he has decorated with photos of literary heavyweights like Chekov.

Meanwhile, Will enters into an illicit love affair of his own, and Mrs. C (Tessa Peake-Jones), the vicarage's devoutly religious housekeeper who views Leonard like a son, is thought by her husband Jack to be having an affair herself, but it's actually something far more sinister.

The cast of 'COBRA'
The cast of 'COBRA'  

"COBRA"-cetic
"Grantchester" airs Sundays on PBS, followed by Season 2 of the stellar dystopian British thriller "COBRA," which is so hyper-realistic, it can be hard to watch. But it's superb.

"COBRA," which we wrote about here when Season One debuted in October 2020, is a fast-paced political juggernaut set in the not-so-distant future.

The series focuses on global crises besetting the U.K. government, most notably the prime minister and his chief of staff as they cope with intense political and personal onslaughts. Season Two takes the pandemic and climate crisis and melds them for a provocative take on what viruses can do.



Insurrectionistas
Hot enough for you? The global heat wave apparently bypassed the podium at the conservative Turning Point USA 2022 Student Action Summit conference this past weekend, despite it being 97 degrees outside in downtown Tampa, Florida.

Turning Point USA 2022 Student Action Summit 'celebrity' speakers
Turning Point USA 2022 Student Action Summit 'celebrity' speakers  

Featured speaker Donald Trump told the crowd of predominantly 15 to 26 year olds, "We have to defeat the climate crisis hoax. It's a hoax." This while Yosemite was on fire, hundreds were being evacuated in California and the Southwest, and more than 1,500 people have died from an historic heat wave in Europe.

This, the GOP's chosen leader, is running again in 2024.

Was this the worst thing Trump said? No. He also cracked "jokes" about queer and trans people, said he still wouldn't support NATO, and said he had wanted to give himself the Congressional Medal of Honor, which is awarded to members of the military for bravery and valor in action.

Trump, who avoided serving in Vietnam due to 'bone spurs,' said the idea was nixed. "As President, I wanted to give myself the Congressional Medal of Honor but they wouldn't let me do it. They said that would be inappropriate."

Matt Gaetz, who some may recall has been accused of trafficking underage girls across state lines, though he has yet to be formally charged, took on abortion rights activists with the most repellent misogynist speech of the conference.

Calling pro-choice activists "odious on the inside and out" and "disgusting," Gaetz said, "Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb."

Gaetz went on to claim that all pro-choice protestors are "five two, weigh 350 pounds, and claim they are going to march." Gaetz said "they should march, a lot, and move their arms, too." Yikes.
(www.businessinsider.com)

Marjorie Taylor Greene, she of the homophobic, transphobic, and anti-Semitic rants, was also in attendance and a huge crowd-pleaser. Video panning the conference showed people lined up for the equivalent of two blocks to meet her. Of all the disturbing things she said, Greene claiming that "Nancy Pelosi should be impeached for her role in January 6th," was the most concerning.

Kevin McCarthy has suggested he will do exactly this when he becomes Speaker next year if Republicans sweep the midterms.

January 6 Hearings Chair, Rep. Liz Cheney
January 6 Hearings Chair, Rep. Liz Cheney  

Liz Cheney had a response to this new GOP line when she appeared on Fox News Sunday. In response to Bret Baier's question about whether the January 6th Committee is investigating Pelosi and the Capitol police, Cheney said, "What we aren't gonna do, Bret, is blame the Capitol Police, blame those in law enforcement, for Donald Trump's armed mob that he sent to the Capitol."

Cheney also said, "It's not just me that's saying that Donald Trump is unfit for office. It's other entities owned by Rupert Murdoch. It's the New York Post in their editorial on Friday. It's the Wall Street Journal."

An hour later on CNN's "State of the Union," Cheney told Jake Tapper, "I think that Donald Trump, the violation of his oath of office, the violation of the Constitution that he engaged in, is the most serious misconduct of any president in the history of our nation."

We will never understand Cheney's positions outside her role as Vice Chair of the Committee, but she has been stellar there, and if she is the one to bring Donald Trump to heel, we will not be mad about it.

Meanwhile, Cheney did have a grudging mea culpa moment on CNN's "State of the Union," telling Jake Tapper, "Freedom means freedom for everybody. I've said that my initial opposition to same-sex marriage 10 years ago was wrong."



Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, highlighting yet again how he is one of the best interlocutors for the Biden administration, was also on "State of the Union." Buttigieg spoke out unequivocally about Republicans voting against marriage equality in the Congress.

Last week Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the only out gay in the Senate, took Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to task for saying the Respect for Marriage Act, which passed overwhelmingly in the House, was "a waste of time."

In response, Buttigieg said on CNN, "If they [Republicans] don't want to spend a lot of time on this, they can vote yes and move on, and that would be really reassuring for a lot of families around America, including mine."

Succinctly put, Secretary Pete.

Over OAN out
Finally, cancel culture — or just bad ratings or karma — has come to the extremist right-wing network One America News. The network's survival is now in doubt after it got dropped by Verizon, the last major cable operator to run the cable channel.

OAN was not able to reach an agreement with Verizon, which will stop showing OAN on its Fios TV service as of July 31, as the Daily Beast first reported. The San Diego-based OAN stopped showing on DirecTV in April. DirecTV accounted for nearly half of the 35 million homes that had been able to get OAN on cable or satellite TV.

So, for all the relentless Sturm und Drang, you know you really must stay tuned.

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