THIS WEEK’S L WORD VOCABULARY:
THIS WEEK’S GUEST-BIANS: The inimitable Holland Taylor is back as Peggy Peabody; Devon Gummersall (“My So-Called Life”) shows up as a lesbian (yep) named Lisa; Anne Archer brings out Alice’s road rage; a Lone Gunman runs the numbers.
The opening sequence — “Greenwich Village, Present Day.” There’s a knock on the door. A naked woman we don’t know stumbles out of bed. Oh my god! Is that another woman in her bed?! What the hell kind of indecency is on my television?! I’m gonna sue! Anyway, she bangs into a table on her way to the door, and knocks off one of the ominous-looking figurines that were sitting there minding their own business. I’m guessing it’s a Jamacoaque from Ecuador, about 500 A.D. — anyway, she takes it to the door with her.
Unknown Woman answers the door to Unknown Woman #2, who is looking for her girlfriend, Stacy. Unknown Woman #1 feigns cluelessness about Stacy, but we know that wasn’t Janet Jackson in her bed. UW #1 tells UW #2 not to worry. UW #2 asks about the figurine in her hand. “Oh, I picked it up at that estate auction,” says UW #1. “I think it’s a Jamacoaque from Ecuador, about 500 A.D.; some minor demon like Abraxas or Forcas.” Yeah, I cheated, but the point is that she sounds as clueless saying it as I felt typing it. The subtle foreshadowing is too much for me! I agree with UW #2, who says “Whatever.”
UW #1 goes back to the bed, where Stacy is waiting. They start to make out, but I am distracted by the Abraxas on the bed. Is it like the hat on the bed in Drugstore Cowboy?
Is the arty opening sequence a fixture now, I wonder? Hmm. Fine, as long as nudity is guaranteed. And as long as we get to keep pretending that all lesbians know a lot about fine art. And demons.
At Tim and Jenny’s — Jenny asks Tim what he’s doing there. He mumbles that he lives there, and is trying to work on a study schedule for his star swimmer so she can stay on the team. He finally looks up at Jenny and tells her she looks “amazing.” She does? Are you sure she doesn’t look like a minor demon?
Jenny tells Tim she’s not dressed for anything special; she’s just going to The Planet. That’s right, where Marina is. And that’s nothing special, if you’re dead.
Tim’s not dead: he decides it’s a great idea and announces he’s going to join her. Behind all the clown makeup, Jenny’s face says, “Oh, shit.”
Dana’s bed — Oh! It’s Dana! And Lara the sous chef! I’m grinning like a dork. But something’s wrong: Lara is telling Dana that “It’s nothing to be ashamed of.” What? What what what? Dana, don’t look so sad: you’re in bed with the cute sous chef!
But Dana’s embarrassed and hides under the covers. Lara and Lara’s cat just watch. Awwww. They’re so cute, cat included! But what, what happened?! Can we please make it the Dana and Lara show already?
At Bette and Tina’s — Tina is making a sandwich out of olives and… hmm, something with a tail. Gee, why might she be getting odd cravings? Oh, the nuance on this show! Apparently it’s at about the right level for Bette, because she doesn’t seem to think it’s weird.
The Planet — Jenny and Tim sit at a table; Tim continues to work while Jenny casts longing looks at Marina, who’s behind the counter and drop-dead gorgeous as usual. She meets Jenny’s gazes and finally, with a decisive turn, saunters to the bathroom.
You’ve seen Claire of the Moon, right? “It starts with the eyes. Always the eyes.”
Jenny follows Marina into the bathroom, because who wouldn’t? They have some pretty hot sex. Marina leaning against the stall wall, waiting and confident she’s going to catch her prey, is … well. Kind of beyond words.
Bette and Tina’s — Alice is keeping Tina company while she pees on the stick. Alice is cute, but does she really not know how her own body is put together? She asks Tina how she avoids peeing on her hand, and Tina says “You just aim below the clit.” Alice says there’s a lot going on down there. Yeah; why should we have to figure it all out? It’s not like we have the right to do what we want with our bodies anyway, so we might as well keep ourselves in the dark and let someone else tell us what’s best for us. And we might as well pee in front of our friends. Somebody call the FCC; this is truly indecent!
Tina and Alice trade stories about how clueless they used to be: they thought you could get pregnant by giving a guy a blow job, or through your pants, or by touching the handle in the boys’ bathroom. Ignorance is hilarious: thousands of unwanted babies are giggling with glee.
Tina asks Alice if she’s sure she wants to “go back to men.”
The Planet — Jenny and Marina are still going at it, although I’m not sure Jenny knows what the hell she’s doing. Tim decides Jenny has been in there too long and goes looking for her. Marina starts cracking up when she hears his voice. Jenny freaks out, of course, while Marina stands there looking cool and Tim goes into the other stall — that was a close one! oh, the suspense! — to pee. Okay, that’s enough peeing for one episode.
Bette and Tina’s — Alice is running with the stick. It’s positive: she and Tina hop up and down and get happy. Just about then Kit shows up. Yay! Once again, there’s tons more talent in Pam Grier’s quiet expressions than in all of the hopping and squealing. Tina and Alice tell Kit that Tina is pregnant. Kit does this wonderful thing where she goes from happy to surprised to flustered to uncertain to hilarious: “Does Bette know?”
Tim and Jenny’s — Tim answers the phone. It’s Jenny’s former professor, Nick somebody. She’s sickeningly flirtatious on the phone. She tells the guy that she’s killed her main character. Can her main character kill her, please?
Bette and Tina’s — Kit tells Tina she can’t have any more fun now that she’s pregnant. Tina agrees and lists all the things she’ll have to avoid: red meat, additives, margaritas, wine, beer (Kit’s eyes widen), and Xanax. Alice rounds out the list: “No more smack, no more crack, and no more blow.” Alice! I forgive you for your ignorance of anatomy and reproduction. C’mere.
Tina says she’s going to be as “together” about this as Bette is about her work. Kit and Alice exchange knowing looks. Yawn.
Alice has to go; she promises she won’t say a word about the pregnancy to anyone. Is your understanding of secrecy as fucked up as your understanding of how babies get made?
Kit asks Tina about a letter that came for her. It’s from David. Who’s that? Kit seems pretty moved, so it must be somebody important. That means we have to wait to find out more.
Tim and Jenny’s — Jenny is still on the phone with the guy. Tim is getting jealous. Jenny says “abso-abso-absolutely” in a way that makes me want to slug her.
Bette’s office — Bette is too busy to talk to Tina on the phone. Tina tells her to promise she’ll come home for dinner. Bette says she’ll try, and even though she’s clearly way too stressed to see past her own water bottle, I can’t help but like her. Jennifer Beals is running a close second to Pam Grier for the Depth prize.
Bette finds out that her boss is talking trash about her behind her back. She sasses back at him, telling her that she can get some philanthropist who “may be out of the CAC’s league but is certainly not out of [hers].” Go, grrrl!
The Planet — Alice says she’s just seen the cutest guy. I don’t want to talk about it. Dana doesn’t want to talk about what happened with her and Lara, but Alice wants to know. Dana says she’s humiliated and embarrassed and ashamed.
Dana finally whispers something in Alice’s ear. Alice tells us that Dana “female ejaculated” and that women read books and go to workshops to achieve that, and that Dana should be totally and utterly ecstatic. Dana has a hard time believing it’s a good thing, but Shane says it means Lara’s good in bed. I say it’s better than all of that talk about pee.
The cute guy — the one Alice saw earlier — comes over. Yeah, he’s kind of cute. Shane introduces him as Lisa. What the fuh?
Alice starts to flirt with Lisa the Guy, but her mother calls and interrupts. Alice gets kind of feisty and freaked out. I am exactly the same when my mother calls: see, Alice, I’m your girl! I won’t even queef, I promise.
Lisa the Guy expresses interest in Alice, but Shane tells him to forget it because Alice doesn’t want to be a lesbian anymore. Lisa the Guy thinks maybe he can change Alice’s mind.
Bwah! Dana, you rock. Lisa, you’re a guy.
Alice has to go get her mom. Lisa the Lesbian Guy gives her quite a look.
Alice’s mom (Alice Archer) is kind of like Greenlee’s mom on All My Children, except she’s not funny. And she hasn’t paid her hotel bill, so Alice asks the desk clerk for the total. I holler “who’s that guy?” about 4 times and finally realize it’s Byers from The X Files. Dude, can you call Gillian Anderson and ask her to be a guest-bian?
Byers tells Alice she needs to fork over $5,968.42. Alice says “mother” like it’s the beginning of a compound word.
Tim and Jenny’s — Tim is watching something on TV. Jenny decides it’s time to have sex. Can’t you see that he’s watching something? Leave the guy alone. But no: soon they’re sweaty and I wish we could go back to talking about pee. Oh, and somewhere in there Jenny tells Tim that the guy on the phone is a “pretentious asshole” (she should know) and Tim has to give her some more credit. No, actually, he doesn’t, and neither do I. There’s a hokey bit where Jenny looks at Tim and sees Marina. Again with the subtlety!
Bette and Tina’s — Bette comes in rambling about her job and the Philistines of the world. She sees the gorgeous table setting and assumes Tina has invited someone for dinner and starts frothing about that; then she finally sees the pregnancy test stick on the plate (yeah, let’s get past the gross-out factor). Her face does a gorgeous dance of emotions; she’s confused and thrilled and amazed and frightened and in awe and just plain happy, and I officially love Jennifer Beals. She tells Tina she loves her, about eighteen times. Awwww.
The Planet — Alice calls Dana “mopey-pants.” Hee! Dana is unhappy because Lara hasn’t called, and it’s been like 21 hours. She whines and sighs. Bette and Tina arrive and find out that everybody knows Tina’s pregnant (except for Dana). Dammit, Alice. Dana mopes about being the last to know and Bette points out that she was second to last. Ouch.
LOOK! There’s Lara behind Dana with a rose. That could not be sweeter! They hug and Dana apologizes and grins like a fool. I am going to female ejaculate right here and now.
Shut up, Alice! I’m over you again.
Outside The Planet: — Bette and Tina are fighting. Tina says that she knows Bette is stressed, and that sometimes she needs someone to share a moment with. She asks Bette whether that’s wrong; Bette says no, it’s sad. Yeah, it is. Can we get back to Lara and Dana now?
Swim practice — I dunno; Tim doesn’t want Trish, his star swimmer, to practice because she’s late. The other coach tells him to go get her. Later the other coach tells Tim that he’s got to put his foot down and not let Jenny have dinner with the pretentious asshole guy who was on the phone. Also, he’s got the Physics midterm that Trish needs to pass. Whatever. I like Tim and I don’t want Jenny to break his heart, but his storyline sucks.
Tina’s ultrasound — Apparently the doctor thinks that lubricant will be enough to make Tina comfortable. Umm, cold hard plastic is not comfortable, unless that lubricant is the new KY Warming Liquid, which I bought yesterday but haven’t tried yet. Ok, anyway, we see the ultrasound of Bette and Tina’s baby, and I think I’m supposed to get all emotional, but I can’t see anything! Sigh. This is like those 3D pictures I can never figure out.
Alice’s Mini Cooper — Alice’s mom prattles on about somebody or something, and also tells Alice that she should work on her makeup so she can get a girlfriend. Ha ha! Alice gets irate and nearly crashes her cute car. She drops her mom off at an audition; and just as she’s about to peel out, we see her mom cross the street in the background. Curious Alice follows her down the rabbit hole and finds out her mom is auditioning for a B horror movie — hell, that’s not even a B movie; it’s more like F or G. I enjoy the “12 Steps To Hell” poster and I think Kit would too.
The Pretentious Phone Guy Dinner Jenny’s ex-professor (Julian Sands; where has he been?) tells Jenny to quit playing it safe and wonders what happened to the girl who once masturbated in church. Whatever; I did that once, but I was 12 and it was during a baby shower and in the bathroom, and I don’t think it was any sort of signifier of my talent or lack thereof. Can we get back to Lara and Dana?
The CAC — Bette is facing the firing squad. At the perfect moment, Peggy Peabody storms in, grousing about labyrinths and minotaurs (ha ha). She tells everyone how wonderful Bette is. Holland Taylor, you’re the wonderful one. Oh, and apparently the Provocations penis art exhibit is going to hit the CAC after all, before it goes to the Walker in the summer, and even though the Walker is 10 minutes from my house, I have no intention of seeing it.
Various Jenny-inhabited Places: Jenny eventually tells the professor that she’s sleeping with a woman and it’s like she’s possessed by a demon. Well, that would explain the opening sequence, as well as Jenny’s eye make-up.
Tim goes to the professor’s room to look for Jenny. She’s not there. Where could she be?
Jenny and Marina are speaking French. Shane and Alice watch them go to Marina’s office. Shane looks kind of good sitting there all nonchalantly — and that’s the first time I’ve thought so.
Jenny and Marina are having sex. It’s pretty hot, I’ll admit. Tim walks in. Alice, because she’s nice, interrupts Jenny and Marina and helps Jenny escape through a side door. Jenny does not say thank you.
Bette and Tina’s — There’s a party to celebrate the baby news. Bette asks Kit what David had to say — oh, finally, we’re back to the letter! We find out that David is Kit’s son and has written her a cold letter on a post-it because he needs some medical history info so he can apply for a residency program. Pam Grier and Jennifer Beals are pretty damn great together.
Tina is drinking wine. “It’s just one sip,” she says. Hmm, more foreshadowing? She also tells Bette she wasn’t worried about the board meeting.
Jenny’s Studio — There are words all over the screen. What the hell? Oh, we’re tying in the Abraxas stuff. God, talk about pretentious.
Bette and Tina’s Party — Shane is flirting with Alice’s mom. I should be grossed out, I s’pose, but I think it’s hilarious. And then Alice’s mom is rambling about something, but Dana and Lara are behind her and they’re cuddling and smooching and petting and grinning and I have no idea what Alice’s mom just said. The camera cuts away just as they’re about to kiss. Sigh.
Jenny’s Studio — Tim interrupts Jenny’s writing. I hate it when people do that to me! Oh, never mind: Jenny is stupid and decides to take the opportunity to make Tim feel like she cares about him. Leonard Cohen’s “In My Secret Life” plays and we end where we began: with the oh so subtle.
NEXT WEEK ON THE L WORD: Alice’s mom gets funky with Shane; Bette and Tina give Bette’s dad the good news; Kit finds it hard to stay sober; Tim catches Marina and Jenny in a compromising position. And don’t miss The L Word marathon this Saturday!