THIS WEEK’S L WORD VOCABULARY:
THIS WEEK’S GUEST-BIANS: Camryn Manheim tells Shane to heel; Charles S. Dutton begins to wonder why he took this role.
Stairwell porn — Mark’s buddy Gomey (you haven’t forgotten those two fascinating creatures already, have you?) is a security guard. His favorite part of the job is watching the security camera monitors. Today he gets to see two people fucking, and even though there’s absolutely nothing hot about it, Gomey calls Mark to share his excitement. The whole thing reminds me of some of the crappier preludes from last season (like the Buckley daughter porn and the restaurant manager jerk-off), and I really didn’t need to be reminded of those.
The theme song — Remember when I threatened to write new lyrics for the theme song? Well, here’s my first attempt:
Honey, I’m home-o — Tina knocks on the door of her own house. Bette opens it, looking hesitant and hopeful. Tina announces that she’s decided to stay in the guest room until she finds her own place. Bette smiles her sweet just-woke-up smile:
You’re not? Really? ‘Cause I would be. Look how gorgeous Bette is in the morning! And every other time of day.
On the other hand, she’s not exactly observant:
Tina’s annoyed that Bette doesn’t care. I’m annoyed that Bette doesn’t say, “Actually, you look kinda pregnant.” But I believe her when she says that what she really means is that she’s just happy to see Tina standing there in “our house.” She doesn’t really get to say it, though, because Tina’s walking away. Sniffle. Be home, Tina!
The studio — Gomey is showing Mark the “fuck tape” from the security camera. I wish I had my own personal poltergeist at times like this, to say things like ASSHOLE ASSHOLE ASSHOLE or CINEMAX CINEMAX CINEMAX…
Mark says he’s working on a new project, but he’s not ready to talk about it yet. Good, because I’m not ready to hear about it. And when will I be? That’s right: NEVER NEVER NEVER…
Cruising — Jenny and Shane are struttin’ down the sidewalk. Jenny’s new haircut is… hmm. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I do know that it makes me want to call her Twiggy. Or Twenny. Or Jiggy. Ew.
As they walk, a woman checks Jenny out. Shane laughs and tells Jenny “You just got cruised.” TwiggyJenny is sure it’s because of her new haircut. I just want the cruiser to come back, because she was cuter than either of the sidewalk-strutters.
Bubblicious — Tina’s in the tub. There’s a knock at the door. Tina quickly scoops up some bubbles to cover her voluptuousness. Wait. Do I see Dove soap? Yes, and it’s no surprise that it’s obviously unused: I don’t think Tina gets her creamy complexion from that crap.
Bette’s there to give Tina some fresh towels. Why, oh why, does my cursed brain instantly flash to Kim and Kerry? Anyway, Bette is being respectful, and trying not to peek under the bubbles. As Bette goes, Tina says there’s something they need to talk about, maybe later, if Bette will be home tonight. Bette says, “I will be if you want me to be,” which is entirely the right answer.
Real lesbians — Mark is talking to his camera, explaining that he hasn’t “hit it” yet with his roommates because they’re “real lesbians.” He pauses and declares himself “fuckin’ lame,” which causes me to sigh deeply with relief — because if he keeps recapping himself like that, I won’t have to bother.
The C.A.C. — Bette lays out a new plan for James, regarding Tina’s apartment hunt. She wants him to “take his time.” Why do I keep not-quite-recognizing James? He must be a little too… hmm… BORING BORING BORING.
I adore the delight on Bette’s face as she tells James that Tina has moved back home. Oh, Bette: let me get you some fresh towels. You’re going to need them for all the tears.
He must be more charming in real life — Jenny and Shane arrive home with their Whole Foods goodies, and walk right into another surprise video shoot. Mark starts talking as fast as he can, trying to explain his new project, which is apparently supposed to educate the world in the ways of lesbianism. Shane and Jenny eat bagels while he babbles on. I get distracted, because I keep hearing little “uh-huhs” from Jenny, but her lips aren’t moving — it’s that damn poltergeist again!
Jenny — with her lips moving — says “I think that there’s a lot of I‘s contradicting thewe‘s in your run-on sentence.” Yeah, you’re the expert on grammar and logic, Miss Eviscerated Dismantled Evanescent Carnival Freak.
Mark finally gets to the point:
Hey, Mark? I’m out here in the Midwest. And I’ve learned more from cereal boxes than I’ve learned from Shane and Jenny.
Never mind that: how much spreading of the cream cheese does Shane have to do before she’ll actually take a bite of that damn bagel?
Mark finally offers them $20 per interview, which seems to convince Jenny, but Shane just says they’ll think about it.
Sex Toys R Us — Dana, Tonya, and Alice are shopping for bachelorette party favors. Alice is inspecting dildos with more than idle curiosity, while Tonya picks up the biggest one she can find and proceeds to make a hilarious ass of herself. She truly does make me laugh now — perhaps because in comparison to Mark and Gomey (I want to call them Fart and Gamey), she’s almost likeable.
Tonya then picks up a chocolate penis pop (for those of you who lead sheltered and/or more civilized lives, that’s exactly what it sounds like: a sort of lollipop shaped like a penis) and proceeds to demonstrate her technique. Dana is giggling, and so am I, but Alice looks like she’s about to upchuck. Dana gets embarrassed and pleads with Tonya to stop it.
Tonya is intrigued; Alice is indignant; Dana is irritated. But then Dana has to ask, in spite of herself: “Which one would you rather put in your mouth, Al?” Alice glares at Dana, which prompts Tonya to recycle the line from last season about bisexuals needing to make up their minds. As Tonya drags Dana out of the store, Alice grabs the nipple pop and sinks her teeth into it. DeLeishous!
You know, this would have been a great time to ask Shar Rednour to be a guest-bian. Maybe she could have been doing some sort of workshop in the store, or screening Sugar High Glitter City. A perfect tie-in for the penis pop!
I couldn’t hate this more — Mark is interviewing Shane and Jenny. The look on Shane’s face is like the ones Beavis and Butthead used to get when a sucky video came on. Mark wants to know what the primary sex act is for lesbians, and by that, he means whatever act parallels the “fucking” that straight couples do.
Mark says this is impossible, of course, which pisses Shane off. She says, “Where do you live, Mark? It’s entirely possible.” He lives in your studio, Shane. And even those of us who live in the lonely Midwest know about the possibilities of fucking.
Glowing — Tina is listening to NPR and eating dinner. Bette comes in, looking stunning as usual, and Tina seems uncertain. Bette offers a quiet “hey.” Tina says she made too much food — yeah, right — so of course Bette can have some. Tina, it’s really okay to have the candles lit and the dinner ready when Bette gets home. I think it might be a natural instinct for 4 out of 5 women (gay or otherwise).
And oh, the moment aches, and it’s such a perfect opportunity for things to start to get better, but then Bette charges right into alpha mode and starts fuming about Helena Peabody. She doesn’t even hear Tina start to tell her that important thing that was supposed to be the focus of the evening.
In case you haven’t noticed, I adore Bette. But launching into the laments of your day when your estranged, suspiciously larger lover is waiting in candlelight to talk to you about something — well, that’s about as sensitive as a Ton-Ton in a sex toy shop. Wake up, Ms. Porter.
Bedtime — Did I say wake up? I meant sweet dreams — which is what I’ll have after seeing Bette’s dazzling smile and jaw-dropping tank top. She’s popping her head into the guest room to tell Tina good night, and to apologize for being so distracted at dinner. In a quiet, sweet voice, she says she hopes that Tina will feel like talking to her tomorrow, and Tina says she thinks maybe she will. I will never think of Tina as passive again: she must have the strength of a thousand superheroes if she can resist Bette looking that good and trying that hard. Yeah, and even so, it gets to her too: she exhales audibly after Bette leaves. Outside the door, Bette pauses, grinning. I cannot cope with this!
The next morning, at The Planet — Alice can’t cope with it either: as she sees Bette and Tina walking toward her, she happily leaps to conclusions and leaps out of her chair, pulling them into a hug and saying “This is great!” But Bette tells her it’s not quite that great yet. Alice can’t help but be gleeful anyway. Bette says she’s on her way to see Kit, and as she leaves, she motions to Alice from behind Tina’s back — it’s a cute little pointy-finger-and-facial-expression combo that says “Lookee! That’s Tina! She’s here! She’s speaking to me! She’s home!” Tina turns around and almost sees the gesture, so Bette pretends to fuss with her hair instead. Playful giddy Bette is breaking my heart.
Alice asks Tina whether she and Bette really aren’t together, “‘Cause you look like you are.” Tina says “Well, let’s just say I’m not ruling it out.” Pass the glee, Alice! But then Alice wants to know how Bette feels about the pregnancy, and doesn’t feel very gleeful when Tina says she hasn’t told Bette yet.
But sometimes Bette sees right through what’s in front of her — In Kit’s office, Bette meets Benjamin (Charles S. Dutton). He tells her a little about T.O.E., and she tries not to laugh. Bette listens and watches as Benjamin and Kit talk like crazy cult people. Benjamin wants Bette to go to the advanced seminar. Please, no. Besides, we already know what animal she most resembles: the one that eats dwarfy S.U.V. drivers for breakfast and looks really good in a tank top. Really, really good.
The set-up — Shane wants Carmen to give Jenny another chance.
Wait, I know this one! The answer is no: she’s even weirder.
Shane reminds Carmen that she did kiss Jenny, and Carmen all but admits that she did that just to bug Shane. Carmen gives Shane that dazzling smile, and then gets really close to her, and says, “Don’t try to hook me up.” As Carmen leaves, Shane exhales the same way Tina did when Bette left the room. I didn’t know that holding your breath could give you super powers of resistance — I should try that next week when the theme song comes on. Maybe if all of us watching hold our breath, the theme song will get sucked right out of existence!
Veronica calls the shots (and Shane) — Veronica Bloom (Camryn Manheim) is trying to buy someone’s soul, er, story, for a picture deal. She needs someone “relatively human” to talk to the intended victim, so of course she’s asked Shane to come along. As they walk toward the limo, Veronica refers to Shane as “hair girl,” which doesn’t go over well. Shane says “fuck you” and saunters off, so Veronica follows behind in her limo, and calls after Shane. I mean, calls her. Like a dog. C’mere, Shane!
Shane stops. She looks pissed off, but I suspect she’s also kinda impressed and amused. Maybe that’s just me.
The C.A.C. — Bette is scowling at her computer. She tells James that “The fucking Peabody Foundation hasn’t awarded us a single fucking penny. They’ve pulled our funding.” What? I’m so shocked! Nobody saw that coming, except for every last person who watches the show. Nor could anyone possibly have predicted the next thing Bette says, which is that “Tina got a Peabody.”
Meanwhile, back at the Headquarters for Social Justice — Tina and her co-workers are thrilled. But Tina is also worried, because she can see that the C.A.C. isn’t on the Peabody list. So she excuses herself and calls Bette. Bette is not friendly on the phone:
So Bette hangs up the phone. And then she throws the phone against the wall, and yells/snaps/barks “Fuck.” And then she throws her head back and screams“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck,” in a transcendently primal way that makes me growl a little in response. Ahem.
I think I’ll make a CD of that scream and put it in my alarm clock. I’ll never oversleep again.
But I dunno: “compunction”? That’s pretty cold. And hot, in a vocabulary sense. And ironic, coming from a carpenter-muncher.
Tina goes out to meet her adoring crowd of co-workers, who have just heard that Helena Peabody is on her way over with a camera crew. Now we’ll really see who has no compunction.
Relatively human — Shane, Veronica, and some random guy talk to the woman whose life story will supposedly make a great film. The woman, Priscilla, used to be a prostitute, and the Russian mob messed up her face, and she stared them down when they messed with her daughter. So, a great film for the Lifetime network, perhaps? Call it something like Mother, Do You Sleep With Russian Mob Danger? and put Melissa Gilbert in it. Instant classic.
Helena at the Headquarters — Did you see Tina’s reaction when Helena walked in? Yeah, she actually swallowed hard. I didn’t like Helena last week, but I get why Tina might like her — she’s doing a milder version of the Bette strut as she walks over. She tells Tina that the grant proposal brought tears to her eyes, and asks for the grand tour of the headquarters. Tina’s co-workers give each other a look that says “Mm hmm, that ain’t the only grand tour she’s interested in.” I’m surprised the poltergeist didn’t actually say so out loud.
The recapper’s birthday present — Today is my birthday. Yes, really. This next scene is my present.
Dana’s place — Alice and Dana are preparing gift bags for the bachelorette party. They’re also flirting, as usual; this time it’s taking the form of a game of “What did you think of me when you first met me?”
The caption says [laughing nervously], and that’s about right. Then Dana gets up on her knees (they’ve been sitting on the floor, leaning against the couch) and starts to sort through the gift bags. She leans forward so that she’s on all fours, and Alice can’t help but look at the ass that is right in front of her.
And then Alice finally grabs that ass. Did I say “finally”? ‘Cause that’s the song we get — CeCe Peniston’s “Finally” — as Dana and Alice attack each other.
I think it’s hot, even though it’s also goofy — but to me, funny is sexy. It takes Alice a while to get Dana’s too-tight pants off, and when she gives them the final tug, Dana falls off the end of the couch. You have to see it — this sort of primo physical comedy does not really lend itself to description. Actually, the script must have looked funny: “Take my pants off.” “They’re tight.” “Get it off.” “I can’t. It’s tight.” “Don’t rip it.” It’s as if they can’t quite believe what they’re doing, so they have to narrate, and direct each other. Or maybe it’s just that they’re both silly and hyper and adorable.
They finally manage to disrobe each other. I now understand what Dana means, because I think I’ve just had my own conversation with Alice’s tits. I love the alternating heat and hilarity — Alice asking for more, and then having to explain “more fingers” (who knows what Dana was trying to do; maybe stick her tongue down Alice’s throat); and Alice bouncing on Dana’s lap in the chair (her face a gorgeously tense picture of fuck me) and then falling to the floor with a thud just as solid as Dana’s tumble off the couch.
And I can’t help but love the shot of what happens on the floor in front of that chair. It would be easier to draw a diagram, but I’ll try to describe it: the camera is behind the chair, and it’s panning left to right so that we get to see what’s on either side of the chair, but not what’s right in front of it. Oh, forget it: the point is that we see legs and arms on one side, and legs and a head on the other side — and they’re in a nice little arrangement that looks almost like 6 next to 9. Well, or at least like a big “O” or two or three.
The 9 1/2 Weeks-esque strawberry/fridge scene is cute — Dana is blindfolded, and Alice squirts the whip cream down the front of Dana’s tank top. I’ll say it again: funny is sexy, and these two are fucking adorable when they’re fucking. It’s my best birthday present ever. Well, except for that year that Bette jumped out of the cake. What? Okay, that didn’t happen, but now you know what to get me next year.
Priscilla the Russian prostitute — I kinda like this woman’s intense look. And she seems to like Shane. Priscilla asks Shane what she does for the movies, and Shane describes herself as a “hairstylist… and I guess I’m kind of Veronica’s assistant too.” Shane is nice, and admits that she used to “trick around Santa Monica Boulevard,” and that’s probably what clinches the deal. But Shane doesn’t quite know what to say when Priscilla asks if Veronica is “okay.”
In the limo, Veronica tosses Shane around like a rag doll and barks about how brilliant they all are. Maybe Shane is going along with this because she knows Veronica could crush her. It reminds me of when I was in 8th grade and the volleyball coach used to kind of throw me around and roughhouse with me, far too much for a proper student-teacher relationship. Shane, just do what I did: tell her you have to be home for dinner or your mom won’t let you go to the away games. Wait. Don’t do
The Headquarters for Sexual Predation — Helena is talking to some eager soul about good things, but she’s distracted by the good eagerness that is Tina. She interrupts the interview she’s doing, and saunters over to Tina.
Oh, fine. Go ahead, make Helena look more observant than Bette. You’ll never make her look sexier.
Tina says she’s at 14 weeks. What? I know the camera adds pounds, but that’s ridiculous. Helena thinks so too: she says “Are you having twins?!” And that makes me laugh. Savor that, Helena: it’s probably the only time you’ll be on my good side.
But then Helena says Tina’s beautiful and sexy, and talks about her own kids, and reveals that she’s separated from her partner. Tina laps it all up, and even though I keep squinting at Helena, I do like to see Tina happy and flattered. Helena invites Tina to dinner, but Tina has a bachelorette party to go to. Right on cue, Tina’s co-worker interrupts to say that Bette’s there, and she’s got flowers.
So Tina goes out to see Bette, and Helena watches Tina go with eyes that look more viper than human.
Tina’s not happy to see Bette. Bette says she’s “sorry that we fought,” which of course is not quite an apology. Still, will you look at that woman? Bette could tell me that she’s sorry that I’m not a very good writer and am exceptionally unattractive when I have a cold, and I’d say, “oh, that’s okay.”
Tina says she’s too busy for apologies right now, which annoys Bette, who was really hoping that Tina would offer an apology too.
Word. No, wait — of course it can. Silly Tina. Actually, Bette honestly looks a bit stunned, as if she hadn’t considered that possibility. It’s not easy being a goddess.
Helena, in her vipery way, interrupts at this perfectly tense moment.
Boom! Supposedly the bomb drops. But we don’t get to see it, which sucks. Also, if Tina has a brain at all, she’s secretly pumping her fist at the fact that Bette is ready to throw down for her like this. And if Helena didn’t have a tiny reptile brain, she’d know that tempting Bette’s ire is about as smart as interrupting Mama Peggy when she’s snogging her boy toy.
Afterglow — That chair is seeing a lot of action tonight: Alice and Dana are curled up in it, limbs strategically placed to hide their nakedness. They’re kissing, lazily, sweetly, and long, and the voice that’s la-la-ing in the background is just as lush and rich. I know that voice: it’s Jane Siberry, a Canadian singer-songwriter whom I’ve long adored and try to honor via a little fan site (although of course all my other Internet efforts have faltered lately, thanks to a ridiculously demanding recap habit I’ve picked up — damn this show!).
Yo, I still say Leisha has some mad kissing skills. Erin can’t quite keep up, but it’s okay: we can’t all be rock stars.
Everyone’s reverie is interrupted as a key turns in the lock. Yep, the Ton-Ton is home. And her parents are with her. Dana and Alice scramble out of the chair.
On the doorstep, Tonya’s parents remind her to hide some sort of bear that’s apparently supposed to be a special gift for Dana. The whole thing gives Dana and Alice a bit more time, so when Tonya and her mom finally make their entrance, the two lovebirds look like they’ve been diligently assembling gift bags for hours.
Tonya introduces her mom, who is — I know it seems impossible — even louder and more clueless than Tonya. It all makes sense now: Tonya is from a middle-class, middle America background (or, hmm, perhaps aspiring to reach the middle), and is overcompensating as fast as she can. But Tonya’s mom, Dottie, makes me laugh just like Tonya does, and Alice’s wide-mouthed crazy-happy “hello” to her is the funniest thing I’ve seen since the tumble off the couch.
Tonya and her mom scamper off to find a suitable place to display all the gifts they’ve bought. Dana and Alice take the opportunity to unlock the handcuffs that Alice is still wearing. I could complain about not getting to see that scene, but it’s much funnier this way.
Monstrosity — TwiggyJenny has a flash of insight and scrawls the word MONSTROSITY on a sheet of notebook paper. Here we fucking go again. And why is the poltergeist making UFO noises in the background?
So here we are at the carnival again; but this time Jenny looks like… hmm, like an innocent sweet thing, I guess… while everyone else around her has a scary pig-like face. Yes, it’s an homage to that classic Twilight Zone episode, The Eye of the Beholder, where the plastic surgery patient looked gorgeous and all the piggy faces around her thought she was horribly disfigured. That episode scared the crap out of me when I was 7, but not as much as this carnival freak scene is scaring me now. Step right up, folks! It’s Twiggy and the piggies! For a nickel you get a candy apple and a chat with the most self-involved person in the world!
We are saved by a knock at the door: it’s Bette, wanting some sympathy and not knowing where else to turn. She wants to see Shane, but Jenny will do. Actually, Jenny does quite nicely: she’s sympathetic and supportive as she realizes that Bette didn’t know about Tina’s pregnancy.
I want to laugh, but then Bette says that Tina must hate her, and that kinda kills me. It’s funny how circumstances have brought Jenny and Bette together; they make sense as friends, in an odd way. After a bit more soothing from Jenny, Bette makes me grin when she says “You cut your hair!” Yeah, who’s not observant?
Unfortunately, the adolescent perverts are watching the whole thing. Gomey has convinced Mark to install hidden cameras in the house. Does anybody mind if I don’t recap these parts? I didn’t think so.
The bachelorette party — Sharon (Dana’s mom) and Dottie (Tonya’s mom) watch the strippers — the former in horror, and the latter with a pure sense of fun. Dottie, you’re hilarious.
Kit — who seems to be wearing a dress from the Far From Heaven wardrobe — tells Sharon that it’s time to make her toast. Sharon gives a moving, sincere toast. Alice — looking a bit Claudette Colbert-ish — walks in while Sharon is talking, and gives Dana a look that says, “That could have been for us.”
Shane sees Alice react to the whole thing, and also sees her start to walk out the door, and stops her. She says, “You did it, didn’t you? You and Dana.” Alice denies it at first, but then gives in. Poor Alice.
Carmen spins that great song “Get On” by The Dirtmitts, as Bette and Jenny arrive. Okay, there’s obviously a theme here: everyone sort of has a ’50s housewife vibe going on.
Shane tells Jenny to go talk to Carmen. Jenny is nervous, but takes Shane’s advice that it’s “always a good idea to bring the DJ a drink.” Jenny says “oh faaahk” in that rather great way that she has.
Elsewhere, Tonya sneaks up behind Dana and covers her eyes with her hands. Dana looks thoroughly unsure whether she’s being accosted by Tonya or Alice, and I think we all know what she’s hoping. Alas, it’s Tonya, telling Dana it’s time for her bachelorette lap dance. Dana says no, not with her mom there — not realizing that Sharon is happily getting her own lap dance at that very moment, with Dottie egging her on.
Also elsewhere, Bette (showing us her fabulous back again) asks Shane and Alice how long they’ve known that Tina’s pregnant. (By the way, I almost like Shane in her Dean Martin-ish suit.) Bette then starts to babble desperately about how she thought that Tina being “overweight” could be a good thing, because (a) it would mean that Tina was eating to cover her pain and was thus still in love with Bette, and (b) it might make it harder for Tina to find someone else. Ouch.
Just to disprove all of that, Tina and Helena arrive. Bette orders a double. And the time is ripe for a smackdown:
No, Kit, I want you to drag her by the hair and kick her skinny British ass to the curb. Sorry, kerb.
Instead, Tina introduces Helena to Dana and Tonya. (There are too many na-na-nas in that sentence.) Helena has brought gifts, which she says are “from me and Tina.” Bette has been watching the whole thing and downing her drink, and as she strolls over to confront the new couple, Kit says “Mmm hmm. Here we go.”
Helena shakes Bette’s hand and gives her an air kiss. She tries to pull back, but Bette doesn’t exactly let go of her hand. Bette says the gifts are very generous.
Ooooh. Dat’s cold. Kit, get over there! Bette admits her defeat and walks away.
Alice happens to walk by Tonya at just the wrong time, and gets roped into giving a toast. It just about wrecks me.
Dana looks like she’s just lost Mr. Piddles all over again. But she also looks a little…resolved, kinda — or so I can hope.
Ah, nice. Etta Jones sings “Don’t Go to Strangers” as Jenny and Carmen twirl around and Shane slams shots. Shane, you fraggly fool!
Tina and Helena are also cutting a rug, and pissing me off, because Tina’s not supposed to smile like that for anybody but Bette. And Tonya and Dana are dancing in a very snuggly way too, unfortunately.
Alice and Bette watch forlornly. Alice suggests they leave and quit torturing themselves, but Bette has to do something. I’m not quite sure why she thinks it’s okay to interrupt Etta Jones to do it, but she does. She offers this toast:
Wow. That was beautiful. And Tina knows it, as she watches Bette go and forgets all about Helena, who’s pawing at her.
Something happens with Shane and a random girl and a bed and the hidden cameras, but I’m not recapping that crap — and I especially refuse to let it ruin my birthday.
NEXT WEEK ON THE L WORD: Helena moves in for the kill; Bette warns Tina about Helena’s vampiric ways; Alice asks Dana to leave Tonya; Kit falls for the T.O.E. jam dude; Sandra’s back.