Rhonda Roth, Relativity
Rhonda Roth (Lisa Edelstein)
Drama series Relativity centered around a twenty-something couple, Isabel and Leo, and the lives of their friends and siblings in Los Angeles. Rhonda was introduced in the pilot as Leo’s sister, her sexuality, however, was not featured in any of the early episodes except one, in which Rhonda and Isabelle talked about their recent respective break-ups and Rhonda came out as a lesbian. Isabelle was surprised, since she had only known Rhonda to date men previously.
In 1×13 “The Day the Earth Moved”, Rhonda met Suzanne, an earthquake specialist who was helping the group of friends prepare their houses for earthquakes. The episode followed Rhonda and Suzanne through their first meeting, Suzanne deciding to pursue Rhonda, their first date, and ended with them sharing their first kiss.
Rhonda and Suzanne’s kiss garnered much discussion and controversy after the episode aired. One of the show’s producers said that the episode originally included two lesbian kisses. However, the message from ABC was that one was OK but two implied the characters liked it. (Source: Variety).
The double standards concerning same sex relationships versus heterosexual relationships were further highlighted since the same episode also featured a very explicit sex scene between Isabelle and Leo.
Jan Oxenberg, who wrote the episode, and is an out lesbian, talked to LA Times about what the episode meant to her, especially given the history of television at the time: “It really does mean something,” said Oxenberg, “It means a kind of profound acceptance.”
The series only lasted a few more episodes before being cancelled due to low ratings. None of the subsequent episodes featured Rhonda and Suzanne’s relationship except the last one, in which Suzanne accompanied Rhonda to the hospital after her grandfather had a heart attack, and Rhonda introduced her as “my lover”.
- 17 episodes.
Female love interests:
- Suzanne (Kristin Dattilo, lesbian, recurring, 2 episodes)
Relationship story arc with a woman: No
No male love interests
Relationship story arc with a man: No
Male love interest after being identified as a lesbian? No
Filter Relationship Arc:
Storyline during sweeps? No
 A relationship story arc is defined as explicit, developed on screen, and lasting more than 3 episodes. It is listed as questionable or subtext if romance is only implied, mentioned instead of shown on screen, part of a dream sequence, or otherwise not explicit for the viewer.
 Sweeps episodes air in February, May, July and November, the periods when advertising rates are set. A character is marked as "sweeps" when there is a very limited number of episodes that address their sexuality, all air during sweeps period, and the storyline is otherwise ignore/dropped.