Friendsgiving and the art of the queer classified

Hark! The end times are nigh, and I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy apocalypse to join me in this little rectangle on the internet. As the plague rages on, throwing a wrench in familial Turkey Day plans and other wintertime activities, I recently sheltered in place with the 2020 film Friendsgiving, an escapist fantasy where people from more than three separate households enjoy a meal together.

At the beginning we are introduced to Molly (Malin Akerman), a recently divorced movie star, and Abby (Kat Dennings), a woman drinking from a bottle of wine in the grocery store, best friends who planned to have a simple friendsgiving by themselves–or so Abby thought. Once Molly invites her boyfriend and her friend Lauren (Aisha Tyler), they invite other people who invite other people and soon enough what was supposed to be a dinner for two becomes a rowdy party. Abby, still grieving her break up with her abusive ex-girlfriend, is decidedly not in a party mood and sequesters herself in Molly’s kitchen to organize the reheating of each guest’s dish.

In Friendsgiving, the classifieds and Abby’s lack thereof highlight the central conflict of her character: that Los Angeles lesbians are confident and self-aware while Abby, a baby gay in her thirties, is still in the process of discovering herself.

It’s in the kitchen that Abby is introduced to three single lesbians who are looking to mingle, each accompanied by their own lampoon of a Lex-style lesbian classified. These classifieds and Abby’s lack thereof highlight the central conflict of her character: that Los Angeles lesbians are confident and self-aware while Abby, a baby gay in her thirties, is still in the process of discovering herself. While it might be a gross generalization to claim that anyone with a good Lex ad is fully self-aware, it isn’t easy to accurately convey who you are as a person and what you’re looking for in only a few sentences. 

Image credit: Saban Capital Group (screenshot)

And so, in the true spirit of opening up oneself to the world, I collected each profile from Friendsgiving and have ranked them in a highly opinionated and completely unscientific manner, with a loose basis on analyzing what makes a great dating profile. 

4. Palo

“Thirty, flirty, and dirty. You: into palo santo wood, watching sex trafficking documentaries, and piss play. Me: a chapstick lesbian DJ with a pickup into playful punching, femmes that scratch, and sharing dessert.” [00:35:10] 

Look–this one’s at the bottom of the list, but I don’t think it’s the worst, just divisive. It actually does everything a good dating profile is supposed to do. Palo concisely introduces who she is and what she’s looking for; it’s just that she isn’t looking for me and I’m not looking for her. I mean, are two chapstick gays even allowed to be in the same room together? To be fair, though, I do like palo santo and sharing desserts, and that pickup truck would be useful…

3. Abby

“Cynical, late-blooming, low femme lady lover with an incredible tube sock collection, looking for her Idgie Threadgoode. Must love to sit around the table with friends, laughing and eating way into the night, but be willing to sneak away and make mad love to the cool sounds of Queen B. Nice boobies a plus.” [1:28:20]

Kat Dennings as Abby; Image Credit: Saban Capital Group (screenshot)

I know it’s unceremonious to rank our daring lead’s penultimate moment of self discovery in the bottom half of the list, but her fantasy is quite literally my nightmare. Look, I love a long winded dinner just as much as the next guy, but absconding to go mess around in the middle of a party with like 8-10 people in attendance is just asking for an embarrassing moment I’d never live down. I mean just picture it–we’re two hours into dinner. The food’s been squared away and the group’s moving on to drinks and dessert. Kat Dennings and I excuse ourselves, lying and saying we’re “getting something from the car” when in fact we are making mad love to the cool sounds of Queen B in some random room of our gracious host’s home. Meanwhile, one of our dear friends excuses themselves from the dinner table to go look for the bathroom. But, this dear friend is not at all familiar with the home that they are in, and follows the muffled sounds of that one song Beyonce did with Ed Sheeran (the playlist is on shuffle), opening the door to Kat Dennings and I in a compromising position. Our friend stares at us, we stare at our friend, our friend mercifully closes the door on this moment of pure awkwardness. I excuse myself from Kat Dennings and escape into the woods, never to see another human being again. Not into it! 

Also… boobies?

2. Denim

“Masochist denim daddy looking for a partner with softness and kindness and an interest in mutual pain. Talking to wizards, fairies, and warlocks is obviously a plus. A dream date would be a dungeon followed by a sound bath and intense, intense, intense cuddling.” [00:24:50]

Look. Any dating profile that mentions wizards and warlocks is like catnip to me. One thing I really love about dating profiles of late is everyone’s willingness to infuse the mythological into their romantic life. Magic and astrology function similarly to The Office jokes on tinder–if someone’s into your query for friends of wizards, that might indicate open-mindedness, a sense of wonder, and interest in the unknown, the same way that thinking it was funny when Kevin spilled his chili indicates a sense of humor. Though I’m not sure about the sound bath; I think it’d make my tinnitus act up. 

1. Civil

“You, me in an underground bunker. 32-year-old aspiring witch looking for someone to follow the moon with as we commit to civil disobedience, plan a government coup, and survive the apocalypse. Also, brunch? Will always be the first to say namaste unless you’re a greedy corporate pig, then I’d drop-kick you and be on my way.” [00:43:02]

Goodbye U-Haul lesbians–hello bunker lesbians! Nothing is more attractive than a woman with a plan for the apocalypse. Not only is Civil an engaged member of her community (as evidenced by her willingness to stand up against the man and wish one another a friendly namaste), but she’s also well-versed in self defense and probably has great taste in incense, which is a necessity for any bunker hunker. I’m swooning!

Aside from my own personal interests, I like this profile the most because it really covers everything I want to know about a person before I go on a first date. What’s this person’s opinion on capitalism? Do they believe in magic? How do they feel about windowless, defensive underground structures? I think a really great dating profile is able to give someone a sense of one’s essence while leaving them wanting to know more, and I think Civil’s hits the perfect balance of informative and intriguing.

All in all, if you are awaiting Happiest Season with bated breath and aren’t in the mood for a heartbreaking lesbian epic, Friendsgiving offers lighthearted queer humor wrapped up in a story about true friendship. Though Abby and her lesbian suitors don’t occupy the center stage in the film, the specificity of each lesbian archetype are so funny because they’re so true, and offer a nice opportunity to laugh at a queer film and not simply pine and cry.

Friendsgiving is currently available on demand from your favorite platform (Prime, AppleTV, Google, DirectTv, etc.)

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