Freeform’s breakout series grown-ish is leaning into its bisexual character Nomi’s reputation as a player and even crossing generations with the storyline. Ray Donovan star Katherine Moennig, who made her way to the collective radars of queer women as the adorable lothario Shane on The L Word 15 years ago, appears on this week's episode as a lesbian gender studies professor who becomes a mentor to Nomi (Emily Arlook), who has of late had a revolving door of women coming in and out of her shared apartment but still struggles with not being out to her parents.
In an exclusive clip below, grown-ish lead character Zoey (Yara Shahidi) and her group of friends have enrolled in Moennig’s Professor Paige Hewson’s class at the show’s fictional Cal-U. Described as “openly lesbian, uber-feminist, confident, yet still self-effacing,” Paige has been teaching the students about misogyny and gender stereotypes in advertising, which sparks an after-class discussion among the group in which Nomi's possible internalized misogyny is questioned.
While Paige will have the most impact on Nomi, it’s Ana (Francia Raisa), who’s fed up with Nomi’s increasingly cavalier treatment of the women she beds, who first questions their prof.
“Can a woman be a misogynist?” Ana asks Paige, referring to Nomi's penchant for tearing through women on campus.
“Well, I guess if she’s actively working against her own gender,” Moennig’s professor replies.
“I think it has less to do with the amount of women and more about why she’s running through them,” Paige continues when offered context to the alleged misogyny.
With a wink and a nudge, grown-ish tackles several nuanced discussions about misogyny, slut-shaming, and women's sexual agency while also nodding to queer television history by drawing a line from Moennig’s L Word lady killer Shane through to Nomi. The conversation is a baton of sorts passed from one generation of queer women to another.
As Nomi continues to work through her identity, Paige will act as an adviser to her at key points during the season.
Watch an exclusive clip of Moennig on grown-ish below. The show airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m./7 p.m. Central on Freeform.