“The L Word” recap (1.9): “Luck, Next Time”

THIS WEEK’S L WORD VOCABULARY:

  • Gold mine: Shane’s talents, in more than one area.
  • Personal: Just about everything, if you’re Bette.
  • Booty call: What nobody made — not for Tim, anyway.
  • Art: Your guess is as good as mine.

THIS WEEK’S GUEST-BIANS: Devon Gummersall and Lolita Davidovich continue to complicate matters; Rosanna Arquette is desperately seeking Shane; Helen Shaver makes us all wonder why we loved her so much in Desert Hearts; Snoop Dogg plays everybody.

The Prelude — Christ. I mean, really: Jesus H. Fucking Christ. That’s what we get for a prelude this week: a Christ figure doin’ it like they do on the Discovery Channel, with a woman who looks very unhappy. I understand that it’s making a statement or two or three, and the Passion thing is everywhere, but once again, I am not here to watch penis-ness of any sort! Put it on QAF where it belongs, and leave me alone. Thanks.

But, just to be clear, Christ isn’t really doing it with the woman — the woman is bumping up against him, trying to get in touch with the divine, or whatever, and Christ isn’t paying much attention. And it’s art, or is at least supposed to be art, and it’s being filmed. And that is already more than I wanted to say about that.

Alice’s house — It’s the morning after, and Alice is trapped beneath Lisa’s hairy arm. She starts to get up to go pee, but he can’t live without her for one moment and wants to know where she’s going and whether she’s coming back, and he even calls her “lover.” He thinks he’s being snuggly and tender and blah blah, but Alice is clearly thinking “Hey: get off my leg.” And what she says, on her way to the bathroom, is “What a lez.” Ha ha!

Also, didn’t we all think Lisa was going to dump Alice after what happened on the yacht? Apparently he wasn’t so offended after all.

Bette and Tina’s house — Tina wants to know why Bette is still there. Well, if she’s going to wear that black shirt, she can be anywhere she wants to be. Besides, she’s trying to juice something; and come to think of it, I guess maybe Tina wishes she were the juicee. Anyway, Tina wants Bette to move her car because the tank has arrived. Bette and I both wonder what the hell that means. Oh, it’s a birthing tank, because Tina has decided to do the underwater birthing thing, and has apparently made that decision entirely without Bette. No juice for you!

Tina’s talking about the whole birth thing like it’s solely her gig, and says she didn’t want to “bother” Bette with it. With that black shirt and that “fuck you” fake smile, Bette looks downright yummy. She asks Tina whether the doctor knows about this new plan, and is of course less than thrilled to learn that Tina told the doc but did not tell her partner, provider, and juicer. Clearly I’m on Bette’s side, but what’s weird is how much more attractive Tina is when she’s being snippy rather than simpery.

A limo — Kit slides in beside Slim Daddy, played by Snoop Dogg. Well, at least he’s not being typecast. Slim Daddy makes a big show of offering Kit a smoothie; he tries to help her sip it, and when he asks her whether she likes it, she says, “Yeah, it’s good, but I think I’d like it better if I could drink it myself.” Kit!! Snoop Dogg’s not foolin’ anybody: Kit is always the coolest one in the room. Or the limo.

Dana’s house — Dana is talking to her gorgeous cat — the one with the upturned whiskers. His name is Mr. Piddles! How cute is that?

Dana: “Mr. Piddles, there’s something important I have to tell you.”
Mr. Piddles: purr purr purr
Dana: “You remember Lara?”
Mr. Piddles: purr purr purr
Dana: “You remember how… how she used to come over all the time and… stay over sometimes and… we’d move around a lot and… together. Mr. Piddles, Lara’s gay.” 
Mr. Piddles: [stops purring]
Dana: “So am I. You still love me?”
Mr. Piddles: purr purr purr
Dana: “Oh, you’re the best cat in the world, Mr. P.”

Sniffle. The cat! And Lara! Waaaah! (Exclamation points courtesy of The All Gay Recap.)

But then Dana’s door opens, and I am crazy enough to hope for just a moment that Lara has a key and has decided to use it and everything is going to be okay, but it’s Alice. She’s there to get Dana out of bed and out of the doldrums. She makes a good point: “Some of us have it worse, Dana, you know? Some of us are dating lesbian men. Okay?”

The CAC — Bette is watching the icky Christ art that we saw in the prelude. She talks about how the woman is longing for faith and will do anything to get it. Bette says, “I love this work.” Really? ‘Cause, well, it’s not doing a lot for me. Provocative is one thing, but where’s the line between provocation and porn, or, more importantly, pretension? Oh, right: that’s what this whole Bette storyline is exploring, so perhaps I should just shut up and pay attention.

A guy shows up with flowers for Bette. There’s no card, but Bette knows they’re not from Tina because Tina is “into practical gift giving.” Yeah, like spirit flow ceremonies and birthing tanks. The delivery guy asks whether the Christ film is supposed to be art, and Bette says it definitely is art. The guy makes the easy comparison to Hustler and Penthouse, and gorgeous Bette in her gorgeous black shirt tells her assistant to make sure the sophomoric delivery boy leaves the building.

The Planet — Alice thinks a fancy frappuccino will cheer Dana up, but we all know that soup is more to her taste. Alice decides a prank phone call would be fun — she does the old “is your refrigerator running?” thing and gets Dana to say the punch line, at which point Dana realizes she’s talking to her mom and promptly hangs up. Alice, you’re such a troublemaker! Hee. Alice tells Dana she’s really got to talk to her mom, so Dana answers when her mom calls back, and finds out she has been set up on a blind date. With a guy. What? Alice says, “At least it’s not shock therapy.” Oh, you mean like the Christ art?

Lather (Shane’s salon) — Shane’s latest celebrity client, Cherie Jaffe (Rosanna Arquette), is bored with her look and her life. Shane knows just what to do. And damn, doesn’t Shane look hot in her glasses?

A studio — Apparently Kit, rather than just Kit’s song, is going to be in the Slim Daddy video. Slim Daddy sees Bette watching Kit try to dance (it’s not pretty) and when he finds out Bette is Kit’s half sister, he says “the beautiful half.” Bette says, “more like the gay half,” and Slim Daddy is interested in a typical and boring way. He asks Bette where her girlfriends are, and she says, “we don’t usually travel in packs.” Bwah! But Slim wants her to bring some hot chicks to the studio. Great.

Marina’s house — Francesca is serving Prosecco. Hey, that almost rhymes. And Prosecco is good stuff: I tried it once after the woman on The Splendid Table went on and on about it. Anyway, apparently this is the dinner with Jenny that was mentioned in the last episode, but Annette isn’t there, and why not? That would have been more fun. Instead Jenny’s there alone, looking like she’s facing a firing squad, and that might be exactly right.

Lather — Cherie is trying to figure Shane out. I’m trying to figure out why Shane doesn’t wear her glasses all the time.

Marina’s house — Francesca is talking about the ballet she was working on, and Jenny feels like she’s in the lesbian twilight zone:

Francesca: “There are extraordinary people involved.”
Marina: “Are you referring to yourself?”
Francesca: “And a few others.”
Marina: “Such as the prima ballerina?”
Francesca: “She was pretty terrific.”
Marina: “Francesca was a big fan of the prima ballerina.”
Francesca: “I had sex with her. And now Marina’s pretending to be jealous.”

Jenny and I are both thinking, “Who the hell are these people?”

Marina continues to tease Francesca, telling her that seducing the prima ballerina was a bit unethical. Jenny says she’s surprised by that comment because “Ethical isn’t the first word that comes to mind when I think of Marina.” Day-um! Marina looks kind of shattered by the comment, though, which makes me sad. Francesca says that Marina’s beautiful, which makes up for a multitude of sins, and again I say, who the hell are these people?

Lather — Cherie Jaffe leaves Shane a $200 tip. See, Shane: you should wear those glasses all the time!

Marina’s house — Apparently Marina hasn’t been able to get Jenny out of her mind and Jenny means so much to her and etc.; soon the kissing starts, and Francesca shows up right on cue and starts barking about something or other. Jenny figures out what the game is: “So this is what the two of you do. You make these little conquests, and then you go home and compare notes.” Francesca reminds Jenny that she’s not exactly innocent. Jenny grabs the wine that she brought as a gift, and starts to leave — but first Francesca tells her that although anything goes when she and Marina are apart, her “home” is to be exactly as she left it when she returns. Jenny leaves, and then turns back and throws the bottle of wine at Marina and Francesca’s glass house.

Tim’s house — Jenny’s still living in the studio, so she has to set foot inside the house occasionally to use the bathroom. Tim stops her and asks if she feels like watching a bad kung fu movie. For a moment I think about how nice it would be if they could just be friends, but of course that’s not the plan: apparently “watch a bad kung fu movie” is the new slang for “fuck me now.” And why, oh WHY, do I have to see that much of Tim? This is more ass than we’ve ever seen on this show, and unfortunately, it’s all Tim’s. Even naked skinny Jenny would be better than the bouncing boy parts.

Bette and Tina’s house — For once, Tina tries honesty rather than that passive-aggressive thing she usually does: “I get this feeling from you that you’re so proud to be with me, and it makes me feel really safe and loved. It’s great… but lately I haven’t been feeling it. So I’ve just been trying to concentrate on myself and, uh… I’ve been trying not to get scared about it.”

Unfortunately, we don’t get to hear Bette’s reaction to this; we just see her sad, confused face.

Tim’s house — Talk about a morning after: Jenny is ready to make up and be happy and straight again, and babbles about how cold and egotistical Marina and Francesca are, and of course Tim and I are thinking that the pot is calling the kettle black. Tim says he made a mistake and doesn’t want to get back together with Jenny, because she’s phony and manipulative too, and I hope that means we won’t see any more of Tim’s ass for a long, long time, or maybe forever.

After Tim leaves the room, Jenny says, “Fuck you, Tim. I am not apologizing anymore.” Who arethese people?

Slim Daddy’s studio — Bette is taking the gang to meet the playa. Alice’s cell phone is ringing; she doesn’t want to answer it because it’s Lisa the lez. Tina answers and says Alice has stepped away from the phone, but Lisa says he can hear Alice breathing. Ewwww. Alice says, to the phone, “I don’t know, lemme ask the car,” and then says, to the car, “Do you guys feel like subconsciously maybe we possibly forgot to invite Lisa because he’s a little bit different?” Dana says “Yes” and everyone else yells, “Dana!”

Attention, producers and writers and directors: those group caper scenes are the best. This is an ensemble cast, so treat it as such, okay? Put them together and let them be funny and gorgeous and touching.

Shane takes the phone and tells Lisa that he has to stop being such a lesbian man because he’ll chase the girls away. Meanwhile, the security guard doesn’t want to let everyone onto the lot; but Slim’s limo is behind our heroines’ car, so somebody from Slim’s posse gets out and talks to the guard. The posse guy gives each of our girls a role — like business manager Bette, accountant Tina, P.R. person Alice — and when he gets to Dana, he says, “And this one here, she’s his white lady.” Bwah!

The posse guy tells Bette that Slim wants to talk to her in the car; Bette insists that Tina come along. Bette introduces Tina as her partner; they then have to explain that they mean life partner, not business partner. Slim says, “what, y’all married?” and Bette and Tina wink at each other in a cute dorky way. Slim asks about Kit; Bette says Kit is not gay. I curse the heavens and Slim says “she’s gonna kill me when she sees the direction I took on this video.” Oh, goodie!

Inside the studio — Kit is decked out like, hmm, sorta like a dominatrix, but without the sexy or the fierce; in other words, she looks kinda bad, and I never think she looks even a little bit bad. Other similarly clothed women are crawling all over her and it’s all awkward and wrong. Alice tries to do the dance they’re doing — Leisha, your physical comedy is fab — and Dana says it requires a sense of rhythm, which Alice apparently does not have. Ha! Snoop, or Slim or whoever he is, asks Dana and Alice whether they’re married too; Alice says no, they’re just free-wheeling. “Free-wheeling?” Wait, who’s the white girl? Then Slim asks who Shane is — she’s sitting in his chair — and stares at her until she gets out of his chair. The little playa-meets-playa confrontation is funny: Dana says “It’s like some weird carnival mirror or something.”

Kit says she can’t make a fool of herself like this. Slim apologizes. Kit says, “If they don’t like me and my song, this [the clothes] is not gonna convince them.” Word! Bette and Kit have another little sisterly bonding moment. Awww. They rock.

The CAC — Somebody’s pasted annoying stickers on the building — you know, dumb things like “art = filth” and something about pornography and trash and whatever. Bette’s assistant shows her some stuff that came in the mail — the Coalition for Concerned Citizens is apparently the culprit. Bette asks when those particular pieces of mail arrived. The assistant says “a couple of days ago,” and I yell, “fire that guy!”

Cherie Jaffe’s house — Cherie has summoned Shane to the manse. Shane rings the doorbell; when the maid answers, Shane points to her little Toyota pickup truck and says, “I parked there. Is that okay?” It is geeky and cute, which is not something we get to see from Shane much. And the Toyota thing makes me smile, because I have known at least three lesbians who drove Toyota pickups. The first was my counselor at music camp in high school, and no, we did not call it band camp, and even though I did have some adventures, I did not do anything with a flute. I don’t like flutes.

Inside the house, Cherie is looking very Mrs. Robinson-ish, leaning against the banister with her slinky silky black robe and her white wine, as Shane clomps up the stairs in her dykey boots. Cherie leads Shane to a cozy space with a mirror. Shane starts to try to do Cherie’s hair.

Shane: “So, should I do what I did last time?”
Cherie: “I was hoping for a little more.”
Shane: “Hmm. Well, what kind of more?”
Cherie: “Lots more.”

Cherie proceeds to unbutton Shane’s shirt and kiss her belly. Shane says, “Oh, I see,” and just dives right in. Whee! Shane, this is what we like: you as the carefree, happy ho, not you as the I’ll-snort-anything-and-follow-the-rich-people-anywhere poser. And this would be even better if you were wearing your glasses. But still — this isn’t even an eighth as much nudity as we got in the Tim and Jenny scene, and that’s just wrong. But yeah, Rosanna Arquette is very hot and not at all shy.

The Planet — Lisa wants Alice to drink spirulina; she hasn’t been reciprocating in the bedroom and he figures it’s because she’s been feeling “sluggish.” Um, Lisa? Maybe it’s because you’re such a lez.

Dana shows up to meet her blind date. Alice finds a chair nearby so she can eavesdrop and make faces. The blind date starts to try to charm Dana. He doesn’t understand why she needs to be set up; Dana’s mom showed him a picture — Dana interrupts and asks whether it was the Subaru ad with the “get out and stay out” slogan. Blind Date Guy thinks that’s an outdoorsy thing; Dana says no, it’s a gay thing. “Yeah, look, um, that’s me — okay? I’m a lesbian. Don’t look at me like that, okay? — I don’t wanna have sex with you and another woman. I would just wanna have sex with the woman, all right? I’m that gay.” Oh, Dana. Mr. Piddles and I want you to go find Lara so you can move around together some more. Now.

Blind Date Guy is polite enough and lets Dana make her sort of graceful exit. Alice moves right in and starts to flirt with the guy, because he’s completely straight, with no shades of gray or sexual ambiguity or hidden vaginas or anything like that. Lisa notices from afar and starts to pout; but Dana has no sympathy for him because she’s high on the fact that she’s just told her first straight guy that she’s gay. Dana! Forget that and go tell your first soup chef that you’re so, so sorry!

The Jaffe mansion — Shane and Cherie are still going at it when, surprise surprise, Cherie’s husband comes home. Shane hides in the bathroom to get dressed. Could this be more predictable? Cherie tells her hubby she was just getting her hair done and calls it that “just fucked” look. Shane gets the hell out of there. Mr. Jaffe, or whatever his name is, follows Shane to her Toyota to give her some more money, because she’s just made his wife look bangable — and he’s a married guy, so of course he doesn’t expect to feel that way. Whatever. Shane, this is not better than life on the street. Who the hell are these people?

The CAC — Bette has identified one Fae Buckley as the head honcho of the anti-art patrol. Her doofus assistant interrupts, having found some children’s books that Bette was looking for –Monkeys Go On Strike and Aardvark Makes Pasta. Cute. You should also try Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type – it’s my current favorite.

Bette suddenly realizes she’s late for a doctor’s appointment with Tina. On her way out of the gallery, she encounters a deceptively pleasant Helen Shaver, who asks Bette whether she works at the museum. Bette thinks, “ah, finally, something goes right today,” and cheerfully responds that she does. But then Helen Shaver asks about the piece “blaspheming Jesus Christ.” Bette explains that the Jesus reference is symbolic, not literal. Helen Shaver missed that day of Art Appreciation 101:

Helen Shaver: “How is [the Christ-humping piece] relevant to anyone, Ms. Porter, except to degrade and offend anyone of the Christian faith?”
Bette: “Well, it’s relevant because we have to have other perspectives. Not everyone is of the Christian faith; not everyone believes in heaven or hell. Art reflects that. It’s a mirror of the world we live in.”
HS: “So, according to the CAC, the world that we live in is a godless one.”
Bette: “No, that’s not what I said.”
HS: “Ms. Porter, do you have children?”
Bette: [pausing]
HS: “It’s a simple question.”
Bette: “My partner and I are expecting a baby.”
HS: “Shame on you, Ms. Porter. Shame. You are making this world a darker place for your child to live in. [Bette starts to walk off] Ms. Porter, do you think the fact that you’re homosexual makes you morally bankrupt?”
Bette: “By your definition I’m a pervert, since really what you’re trying to say is only a pervert could show this work.”
HS: “Thank you for your frankness. Oh, and I hope you liked the flowers. They’re just my way of saying, ‘Nothing personal.’”
Bette: “Fae Buckley?”
HS: “Bingo.”

Helen Shaver, or Fae Buckley, walks away, looking fine and pissing me off. I almost dare to hope that Bette will enlighten her the way Patricia Charbonneau did, but I can’t see that happening even on this show.

Alice’s house — Alice is trying to get it on with Dana’s uncomplicated Blind Date. Of course, Lisa shows up. Lisa says the Blind Date guy represents everything that’s wrong with the world and claims to be “Alice’s lesbian lover.” Where do I begin? There are too many jokes! Blind Date guy leaves. Alice finally lays it all on the line: “You know what, Lisa? When I first started seeing you, I wanted something simple and easy. And instead I end up with the most complicated interpretation of sexual identity I’ve ever encountered. I mean, you do ‘lesbian’ better than any lesbian I know. And I don’t want a lesbian boyfriend. I’m sorry. I want a boyfriend who’s straight, or I want a lesbian who’s a girl.” Alice, pick me! I’m a lesbian who’s a girl, and I don’t do “lesbian” very well. But, um, I do think spirulina can be useful sometimes.

The doctor’s office — Bette apologizes for being late. But Tina is not there yet; or has she already gone? The doctor proceeds to tell Bette — without really preparing her, or us, — that during the examination, she couldn’t locate a heartbeat; “the fetus has stopped thriving.” Bette’s face breaks.

Bette goes home to find Tina crumpled in the corner; they cry together until they hear noises outside. Bette goes out to see what’s happening — she can’t even get a minute to cry, dammit — and finds some Jesus freaks putting a sign on her lawn that says she’s a pervert or something like that. They have a camera too, of course. Bette very nearly beats the people with the sign — and I’m not quite sure why she doesn’t — and they tell her she’s going to hell. You know what, idiots? She’s already there.

Having chased the so-called Christians away for now, Bette goes back inside, trying to hold herself together. She takes a moment to sob against the door. But then she squares her shoulders, knowing she’s needed, and that there won’t be any time for her to cry anytime soon. Okay, where is Rose Troche? I wanna send her some flowers. It’s nothing personal.

NEXT WEEK ON THE L WORD: Cherie continues to shower Shane with gifts and conditions; Tim has a new friend over for a pool party; Fae Buckley hits Bette where it hurts.

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