It must be so hard to date someone who is in prison.

I searched through my archives, and even though it is so very unlikely, it seems that I have never written about Bad Girls. This is a significant oversight because I LOVE Bad Girls. It’s a crazy, frantic, oh-my-god-it’s-Thursday kind of love.

Let me back up. I so rarely bother to explain myself, but Bad Girls deserves explanation. It’s a British drama that recently started airing on LOGO. Oh, the gems LOGO has brought into my life…

Bad Girls is not a lesbian show. I mean, The L Word is a lesbian show. Not everyone on Bad Girls is a lesbian and not everything is about lesbianism. Actually, whole torturous episodes go by without even a hint of lesbian activity. (I know, I know. It’s British. What are you gonna do?) These are not my favorite episodes, obviously, but for the most part I don’t fast forward through them. (Is it still called fast forward when it’s TiVo?) Anyway, the show is about a women’s prison called Larkhall. My women’s studies background was initially what drew me to the show in the first place, but it was on LOGO so I can’t say I didn’t expect some lesbianism. The interplay between the guards and the inmates is fascinating, as is the way the guards and inmates interact with each other. Power is at the center of everything in Larkhall. 

Let’s stop pretending it isn’t all about Helen and Nikki, though.

Readers, this is Helen Stewart.

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And this is Nikki Wade.

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Helen starts out in Season 1 (the Brits call each season a series but that’s too confusing for my teeny, tiny American brain) as the wing governor, which is the head of the corner of Larkhall that the show focuses on. Nikki is an inmate, a lesbian inmate. She killed a cop who was trying to rape her girlfriend. The girlfriend has since moved on, and Nikki is just rotting away in Larkhall, mooning over Helen. Well, aren’t we all? Helen is Scottish, overly serious, and completely endearing. In the beginning, she has this insipid boyfriend but he goes away.

By Season 2, Nikki and Helen are a bonafide couple, except that Helen has quit her job and Nikki is, well, in prison. Don’t fret. Helen gets a new job studying (or “working with”) lifers, as they’re called. I don’t really understand why Nikki is in prison for life when her crime was hardly premeditated and from what I can tell she didn’t even intend to kill the guy. She just wanted to save her girlfriend. But he was a cop. And Nikki has kind of a hard time keeping her opinions to herself. I’m sure in court her mouth just made it worse. Helen, however, thinks Nikki’s mouth makes everything better.

The chemistry between these two is what makes the relationship watchable because dating someone who is in prison is hard. This is what I have learned from Bad Girls. Nikki’s big brown eyes and the way Helen holds her mouth say it all.

Finally, this is a still from the episode that will be new to me next Thursday. I am beyond excited.

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And, yes, Bethany, you can come over and watch it. It’s on at 10. Bring some baba ghannouj.