THIS WEEK’S L WORD VOCABULARY:
THIS WEEK’S GUEST-BIANS: Ossie Davis makes us all pause for a moment; Charles S. Dutton continues to bore; Shawn Colvin reminds everyone what real music is.
The previously — The poltergeist is making sloshing sounds as we see scenes from past episodes. Yeah, it’s gonna be fun.
Cue the foghorn — Oops, I meant cue the cello. And hey, the cello is one of my favorite sounds on earth… and that is a nice sunset we’re seeing, on a cruise ship off Key West. But, dammit, the cello is being played, or perhaps molested, by a member of Betty. Luckily, this is not the Betty who wields the poltergeist, so it could be a lot worse.
So, yeah, Amy Ziff is doing some pretty great things with/to her plugged-in cello, and a woman in the audience is grooving on it. Hard. She looks like a Welsh woman I dated. Sigh. She’s enthralled, but the other women at her table interrupt her to ask her about orgasms; apparently she’s written a book that explores several different kinds.
As the Betty cellist finishes up, the orgasm expert jumps to her feet:
Groan. Smooth line, I guess. Or maybe not: in response, we get yet another version of the theme song. Some of you have asked me why I keep talking about the theme song — maybe it’s because I’m never allowed to forget that catchy little fucking tune! And when I say “catchy,” I mean “contagious,” like pediculosis.
50 ways to love your cello — So now we’re in a more private setting, but the cello’s still there, and the sexpert is asking whether the Betty is “ready for number four.” I guess I’m grateful I didn’t have to see the first three.
I also wish I didn’t have to see the eavesdropping lesbians outside the door as the sexpert and the Betty make use of the sauna. I mean, I’ve always thought cruises were kinda boring too, but do you really have nothing better to do than eavesdrop on others’ orgasms?
The sauna scene is funny, because both the sexpert and the Betty are doing their best to cover the Betty boobs.
After the sauna, they head topside (topside? I know nothing about nautical naughtiness) so that the Betty can have an “I’m the king of the world!” orgasm. Okay, wait. I don’t play cello, but I’m not devoid of musical talent — where do I sign up for this particular cruise? Minus the Betty, of course.
The orgasmic Betty scream wakes up my cat.
The theme song — Here’s a new thing I like to do: the moment it finishes up, say “Cha Cha Chaiken!” in time with the song and the Chaiken credit. It’s fun.
Candid camera — We’re watching Jenny on Mark’s monitor, while Mark snoozes with some unfortunate hottie he’s brought home. On the screen, Jenny is pretending to be a little girl who wants a big cock. What? I type what I hear.
At first I freak out, thinking she’s totally lost it and Charlotte was right about the cutting and who knows what else, but half a second later I realize that Jenny’s just trying to trap Mark. And he wakes up when he hears the word “cock” (like my cat when she hears the word “treat” or a Betty scream) and starts to snuggle up to the woman who’s in the bed next to him. But then he realizes that the smutty stuff is coming from his computer, so he jumps up to shut it off.
Next thing we know, Mark is knocking on the door of Jenny’s very girly room. What a lovely bunch of styrofoam you have hanging from your ceiling, Jenny. And is that a picture of a carnival big top? I think within two minutes of being in your room, I’d be wishing the walls were padded.
Jenny tells Mark to come in, so he does, to find Jenny’s naked torso with the words IS THIS WHAT U WANT scrawled on it. Gah. She’s got black marker in her belly button and it’s cracking me up. Try to excavate that navel lint, oh evanescent one!
Mark sees that Jenny has his camera, and his tape, and his number in general. She tells him he’s crossed every line of trust, and he starts ‘splaining as fast as he can. But Jenny’s not listening: I suppose Jenny is trying to be all imposing and serious, with her hands on her hips and her stern face, but there are girly dolls and animals in the background and I still can’t figure out whether that’s peach or pink on the walls. My TV has been tainted and tinted by Jenny’s words.
She gives Mark an assignment:
And Mark doesn’t argue, maybe partly because he knows he doesn’t know what it feels like, and probably also because he knows there’s no point in arguing with a woman who’s on this particular trip. I don’t really disagree with what Jenny is saying; I just wish she didn’t have to say it in such a Jenny way. And she’s going to milk this for all it’s worth: she tells him he can’t tell Shane and Carmen about it, and it’s not up to him to take down the cameras, and this is generally her show now. “I’m going to decide when you can take those rapey cameras down.”
Rapey? You have that crazy vocabulary and you chose to make up a word? I can’t believe you didn’t go with “phallic” or “encroaching” or “foisted.”
The Planet — The lunch line is long, so Kit is walking along and taking orders. Some random guy orders an organic salad and a cafe Americano. Who is that random guy? Why did we have to look at him for so long? Is he Cha Cha Chaiken’s nephew or something?
Kit goes to take the next person’s order, but Benjamin interrupts with a giant bouquet, asking if “the lady” will join him for lunch or dinner. The woman in line, who was trying to order, is smiling and watching and probably thinking it’s sweet. If I were her, I’d be saying “listen, dude, the line is back there, and I have about 20 minutes to get my damn organic salad.” But Benjamin keeps pushing, and talking about breakfast in bed while the woman in line is thinking about lunch in cafe.
Does Kit’s shirt say KCRW? or Keane? or kavnu? Oh, let’s face it, I’m really just looking at what’s under her shirt. Actually, it’s kind of a cool shirt. I’d buy it before I’d buy those scary pink L Word shirts from sho.com.
Speaking of KCRW — It’s Alice’s show! It’s called “The Chart,” and she does a funny little plinking-three-notes-on-water-glasses thing every time she says “The Chart.” She’s also doing a nervous variation on her fakey radio voice. Dana is there with a crazy-wide grin and too much eagerness; she keeps interrupting Alice, which is not going over well at all.
Oh, damn, I still say these two are so funny. Every time Dana interrupts, Alice says “okay” in a terse snippy way. Hahahaha. Alice just wants to talk about her “web of connectivity” and plink the water glasses. And Dana just wants to grin, and stare at the mike almost as if it’s a camera, and whisper “sorry” at Alice as if the mike won’t pick it up. Alice even actually puts her hand over Dana’s mouth. It’s hard to recap when you’re snorting.
Jenny’s herstory — Jenny is looking at old family photos and making a tape and thinking out loud, and asking her mom questions (via the tape) about Zayda and Grandma and the Torah and Auschwitz. Okay, now I’m getting annoyed, because this stuff is really very important if you’re Jenny (or if you’re anyone with a family, probably), but the stupid background music is pissing me off, and now Carmen’s interrupting to make it all seem kind of weird.
Carmen just wants to say hi, and Jenny is feeling kind of like she has nothing to lose, so she tells Carmen to come in. And she points to the camera and explains what she’s doing, so Carmen flashes that gorgeous smile and says “Hello, Mrs. Schecter” to the camera. Yeah, I know, Carmen’s kind of a mess lately, but I still like her anyway.
Carmen wants to know if Jenny has packed and if she wants help, but Jenny is all verklempt and says she’s decided not to go on the trip. She wants Carmen to go have a good time with Shane, which of course confuses Carmen. But Jenny talks about truth and work and whatever is motivating her (and keeps saying “about” and “gotta” in a way that reminds me she’s Canadian).
More inappropriate touching in public — Tina is trying on a fabulous (if you’re into that stuff) gown. Helena wants to get the straps adjusted so that Tina shows more cleavage or something — I’m not quite sure what she wants, because all I really know is that she’s pawing Tina’s titanic tits again. Down, girl!
Tina is not impressed with the gown; she doesn’t think an extravagant gown goes with an award for community service. But Helena doesn’t want to hear about what she can and cannot spend her own money on, because her money is all she’s got. Also, you see those skinny arms? I could snap that pea-body in half.
Three kinds of trouble — Shane is sauntering by Jenny’s room, so Jenny tells her to come in. Carmen tells Shane that Jenny doesn’t wanna go on the cruise, and all three of them proceed to bicker like 8-year-olds, about who’s going and who’s not going and even who’s not going if someone else is not going, and Jenny puts a stop to it all with this:
Carmen and Shane and I are uncomfortable.
Packing, in every sense of the word — Alice and Dana are getting their stuff together; Dana’s very organized and checking her list while Alice fumes. Why is Dana’s shirt about two sizes too big for her? And could Alice look any cuter in her shirt? Nope.
I dunno why the orange happy glowy light of their bedroom makes me grin every time. I think I’d better buy some orange sheets for my bed. Right now I have a cool amethyst thing going on.
Dana’s worried about seasickness, but Alice is still fixated on the interruptions during the radio show:
Alice says she feels like she’s always there for Dana, and feels generally dissed, and Dana just does the obvious thing and kisses it all away. It kinda works for Alice, and who can blame her?
Dana says she just gets freaked out and seasick and scared about cruises. Alice says she’ll be there to take care of her and they smooch some more. And then it all gets so, so, so great:
Bwahahaha. Oh, goodie. I love the way Alice does the thumbs-up thing when she mentions Isaac. Yeah!
I once got assigned extra chores for insisting that I had to go watch The Love Boat and couldn’t listen to one more of my aunt’s boring stories. I think I was about 10, and this was about the middle of the show’s long run (yes, the original show, the original run), so you can deduce my advanced age from those little clues.
But look what happened to Julie, Your Cruise Director: not a happy ending.
Shane’s room — Look how anti-girly Shane’s room is. If you put her room next to Jenny’s, they would cancel each other out like a matter-antimatter explosion. Oh, wait, their rooms probably are right next to each other’s: we’re living in a supernova! Or whatever. More like an emotional black hole.
So Mark is there to tell Shane not to believe the shit she hears about him on the cruise. He doesn’t want Shane to think he’s a total asshole. But partial is okay, right? Shane says he’s being “intense and cryptic” and then they tell each other they’re friends. Male bonding: so special.
The airport — As they get out of the limo (presumably courtesy of Dana), our heroines discuss The Love Boat; specifically, whether the Captain or the Doctor got more chicks. Carmen and Alice argue about whether Stubing and Julie were having an affair, to which Shane says “who cares”? And Alice says somebody was a big homo, which of course prompts PC Jenny to wonder why “homo” is said like it’s such a bad thing.
Wait, why is Jenny wearing some sort of small puppet show curtain around her shoulders?
Anyway, Alice is happy that they’re all doing carry-ons, but Dana says no, she’s checking her bag. So they bark at each other, which is sorta funny, but also kinda sad, because I don’t want them to get snippy so early in their relationship.
Reunion — The poltergeist screams “breathing breathing breathing breathing” as Bette goes to pick up her father. I hate the girly way she says “Daddy.” I don’t think I ever called my Dad “Daddy,” but certainly not now.
Mr. Porter is walking a little stiffly. I’m a bit confused by something Bette’s saying: that Allyn Barnes was her “teacher” at Yale. Huh? Last week she was the subject of your graduate thesis. Make up your wonderfully huge mind, Bette.
Mr. Porter thought that Bette’s mom, not Allyn, was Bette’s inspiration. Bette sort of glibly says that she has all of her mom’s watercolors. Why is this so disconcerting?
Security — Carmen is hanging on Jenny just like that curtainy cape. I don’t know why I find it kind of cute. Meanwhile, you gotta love the song in the background: Big Ten Inch (but the Bull Moose Jackson version, I think).
Dana is concerned about her carry-on — and yep, just as the background music is hinting, there’s something suspicious in it. The baggage handler dude calls a co-worker over and points to the outline of the dildo on the X-ray screen: “Is it some kind of weapon?”
So out comes the strap-on. Carmen gasps and Jenny says “I like the sound of that.” Shane just leers. Alice grabs it and illustrates where it goes in an effort to get the baggage guy to shut the hell up. But then the other screener finds a pair of nipple clamps. Alice acts like everyone should know what they are, but then nudges Dana: “When did you get those? Baby!”
The somewhat dykey looking baggage screener (who seemed to enjoy wanding Shane earlier) says “You can’t take these on the plane, ladies. You should know better than that,” and pockets the clamps. Dana looks at her like, “You have no idea how good that would have been.” File a lawsuit, Dana! She should have at least given you the option of getting them mailed back to you later. Besides, are nipple clamps on the TSA list of prohibited items? No. I don’t even see “chains” there. But then I forgive the screener, as she winks at Alice and says “have fun.”
Let me pause for a moment to say that I would not have expected Dana to select such a “realistic” dildo. I thought maybe she’d go for the disco glitter variety.
Allegory of Fortune — Melvin, Bette, and Allyn are looking at a Dosso Dossi and talking about mercenary Christianity. Well, Allyn and Melvin are talking; Bette is sort of the tennis ball in between them.
After the verbal battle, Bette finds Melvin wandering around, not sure where to go, and then asks him about Mom:
Yow. Bette thinks she might be able to understand, but starts talking about dinner instead. Melvin would rather eat at the hotel, and would like to invite Kit and her boyfriend. Bette finds it interesting that Melvin would invite T.O.E. man but not Tina. She says she’s “struck” by this fact. I’d say “pissed off” is a better term. She tells Melvin that she and Tina have split up.
All aboard — This music works for me: Kate Pierson singing “We’re all gettin’ down on the lez boat.” Yeah, okay. But it’s really an Olivia cruise, which just isn’t quite as cool as Kate Pierson’s voice. I’m not going to provide a link to Olivia because they’re already getting too much damn publicity from this show.
Alice notices Phoebe Sparkle the sexpert (her name is a nod to Annie Sprinkle, I presume) and is all impressed. She tells Dana to shush:
It’s cuter than it sounds.
But okay, this whole cruise thing is kind of a yawn. Dana gets mobbed by fans, which gives Alice the chance to talk to some of the ship’s crew about something we’re not supposed to know yet. But they’re nice to her, because who wouldn’t be nice to Alice?
How convenient — Carmen, Shane, and Jenny thought they had a suite, but they have one bed. Jenny suggests that they all sleep together and Carmen sleep in the middle. Then Jenny goes off to “explore.”
Word! I mean, weird!
Dana and Alice, meanwhile, do have a suite, and flowers from Olivia cruises. Again, I yawn.
A panel — Dana is on a panel, along with the sexpert and some other people. Someone in the crowd asks about polyamory, which the sexpert thinks is workable as long as you’re prepared for the jealousy. Then someone stands up and asks Dana to marry her.
In the crowd, Alice salutes. Ha!
There’s time for one more question, so Jenny asks for advice on three-ways. Yippee. The sexpert says they’re fine if all three of you have the same agenda. I don’t know what Jenny’s agenda is, but I’m pretty sure it’s hers and hers alone.
Dinner — Bette is still trying to get Melvin to care about Tina, but he’s more interested in Kit (whom he calls Katie) and her “friend” Benjamin. And Melvin knows all about unified field theories and T.O.E. jam. He doesn’t know about Kit’s business, though, and is quite impressed. That is, until he starts to feel ill and has to excuse himself. Bette and Kit look worried.
Dance the night away — Shane and Carmen and Jenny are gettin’ down. Jenny kind of smothers Carmen when she kisses her, and then pushes Shane and Carmen together, and of course it’s much much hotter. They just sort of breathe each other in for a bit. Shane decides she’d rather find a dark quiet spot where she can breathe nicotine and the night air, and it looks awfully good to me too, compared to all the high lesbian drama on the high seas.
The Planet — Bette gives Melvin a tour. Melvin asks Kit where Benjamin is, and Melvin is a bit confused to hear that T.O.E. man is at a hotel and doesn’t even live in L.A.
Kit wants to tell Melvin the truth, but Bette tells her that would be crazy. Okay, this is more boring than the cruise.
Melvin suggests that they have dinner at The Planet, because he’d like to “try out your chef.” Oh, stop mentioning the soup chef if you’re never gonna let her out of the damn kitchen!!
Bette gets ticked off when Melvin refers to Tina as “Miss Kennard.” She stomps off, making a speech as she goes:
Whoa. I can’t type because I’m clapping. Kit can’t type or clap because she has taken her dad’s hand. Oh, fine, go ahead and take the perfect daughter spot just because you have a big appliance-like boyfriend. Wouldn’t it have been great if Kit had worked things out with Ivan and had faced the surreal challenge of introducing Ivan to Melvin?
On the Verge — That’s the song that’s playing — Le Tigre’s “On The Verge.” It rocks. And we’re on the lez boat again, if you were wondering. Alice looks adorable as usual, if “adorable” is the right word for a very flattering bikini top. But wait, what is this I see? I see some lesbians who might pacify the people who are constantly complaining than none of the women on this show look like “real lesbians.” There’s a heavy dose of real in the cruise ship crowd — real bad dancing, real bad hair, real real real. Hey, I’m not saying I exclude myself from this “real” group — I’m right there with them, although I don’t think I’d tuck my shirt in quite that severely — but, on the other hand, there’s a reason I’m not on TV.
A couple of the “real” lesbians accost Dana and thank her for coming out and living her life. Alice is a bit bored with the fawning, so she goes over to Phoebe Sparkle the Sexpert to do some fawning of her own.
Another woman asks who’s going to be next, and Ms. Sparkle says she’s open to a new discovery. And who walks up, right on cue? Yep, it’s Shane. Phoebe almost immediately says “Can I buy you a drink?” and Shane says yes.
Aww, Alice. I’ll do some research with you. I love the way Alice struts off, sipping her drink and chewing on her straw like she’s thinking “yeah, I didn’t want that ho anyway.”
Elsewhere, Jenny gets crazy with a bunch of boogieing (again, very real-looking) lesbians. Carmen sees her and is nonplussed. But it gets worse: Jenny lifts her skirt at some women by the pool (what are they supposed to do? clap?), and then jumps in the pool, fully clothed. Her skirt poofs up like it’s some sort of automatically activated life preserver, but I think she’s gonna need more than a lifeguard to save her from the verge she’s on.
Play — Alice and Dana head back to their room, all twinkly-eyed and grinning. Alice shows Dana the captain’s uniform she’s managed to procure. Alice puts the captain’s hat on Dana and pronounces it “hot.” I dunno about that, but it’s all very cute!
The next thing we see is Dana trying to zip her pants over her strap-on (which I will now always think of as a risk to transportation safety and homeland security). She shifts it around until it’s relatively comfy, and then stands at attention to wait for Alice, who’s doing something with a blow dryer.
Alice emerges with the most perfect naughty grin and even more perfect Julie the Cruise Director hair. Look at her hair! And she’s got a clipboard! Have I mentioned that I had a crush on Julie the Cruise Director too?
Dana is gobsmacked, or maybe just pretending to be:
Dana throws Alice on the bed; Alice says “Oh Captain, My Captain,” and Dana makes a cute growly noise as she jumps on Alice. And, of course, there’s a knock at the door.
Apparently they are expected at dinner; they’re even “sitting at the Captain’s table.” The Olivia staffer says Dana looks great and doesn’t need to change, and drags Dana down the hall.
Dinner — Phoebe Sparkle talks to the captain about freedom and self-expression while Shane expresses herself by slouching and guzzling wine. Dana and Alice arrive in their uniforms and raise some eyebrows. Ms. Sparkle says “See, these girls are completely in their power: free to go wherever their libido takes them.” Yeah, and Alice’s libido is taking her hand right to Dana’s periscope. Dana promptly covers everything with a napkin.
Elsewhere, Carmen wants to know what the hell is going on with Jenny. Get in line.
Carmen thinks Jenny is jealous, but Jenny denies it. By the way, Carmen is kind of cute when she chews, whereas Jenny just really isn’t.
Jenny says they should explore their options, and points out a butch in a tux, who raises her glass to Jenny. The whole scene would be a lot less laughable if there weren’t a muzak version of the theme song playing in the background. Carmen doesn’t comment on the butch or the song or anything; she just says “salad’s great.” Or maybe that’s her coded way of saying she likes to mix it up too, or that she likes fresh leafy things.
Such an honor — Tina and Helena arrive at the dinner/awards thingie. Tina immediately rushes off to go talk to Bette, who is of course looking stunning as always.
Helena interrupts, but not before Bette gives Tina a look of pure delight and come-here-ness. The idea of these two “dating” makes me all giddy. I’m trying to ignore the fact that this is the first time we’ve heard that Tina and Helena are not exclusive. Does Helena know that?
The lez boat — Hey, it’s Shawn Colvin! She’s fabulous live. Pure brilliance. I wish the camera would quit wandering through the crowd; I just wanna watch Shawn.
As Ms. Colvin finishes up, Shane and Sparkly Sexpert leave, and Alice suggests the same thing to Dana: “Captain Stubing, what are we gonna do about this big hard-on you’ve been sporting all night?” Dana thinks it’s rude to just leave. But Alice is pretty irresistible, especially when she turns up the Julie charm.
I’d like to change my order — At the dinner, Tina keeps looking over at Bette’s table, where Bette is charming and impressing everyone. Torie Osborn is at the table, which I suppose is sort of cool.
Interruptus — Julie and Captain Stubing are finally raising the periscope.
I have two questions: (1) how funny is it that Alice feels the need to play Love Boat trivia at a time like this? and (2) did I just not see the lube or did they skip the lube? Yeesh.
Dana’s saying “oh god” in a way that is becoming less and less sexy, and then turns into “oh no.” “Ow!” says Alice, as Dana runs to the loo with her hand over her mouth.
Not the sort of coming she hoped to be doing, of course.
An exotic night — In Sparkle the Sexpert’s room, Shane takes her usual position.
Touché. Or not — they both decide they’re kinda tired and not quite in the mood for the amazing sex they’re supposed to be having. And Shane doesn’t really wanna go back to Jenny’s three-way fantasy, so she’d rather crash on the sexpert’s couch. Ms. Sparkle asks Shane not to tell anybody about their un-sexy evening. Oh, the pressures of being a sexpert.
Back in weirdville, Jenny can’t quite bring herself to touch Carmen, who’s sleeping peacefully. Weirdville.
The Planet — Melvin excuses himself during dinner again, but this time he collapses. Benjamin catches him, so I guess now we know that Benjamin’s good to have around in one situation, then.
Tina’s moment to shine — Bette gets the news about Melvin and has to leave. As Tina goes up to be honored and adored, she looks towards Bette’s table for the only adoration she’s truly interested in. Awww.
Back in L.A. — Jenny, Carmen, and Shane arrive home to see Mark taking down the cameras. He’s got a speech all prepared, so he gives it; everybody’s stunned and unhappy and awkward. Well, except Jenny, who’s still sort of trying to have her own little show. She gives Carmen the “Shane/Carmen love confession” tape, which Carmen then pushes into Mark’s chest, knocking him backward a teeny bit but not nearly enough. Shane looks stunned.
Carmen follows Jenny to her room and insists that she wants to be with her:
Carmen says that’s bullshit, but Jenny’s trying to be serious: she says Shane is her best friend and she doesn’t want to fuck it up. Well, okay: so she’s sort of choosing friendship over fake relationships? That’s kinda cool, even if I’m not quite sure how anyone can resist Carmen’s “please forgive me” eyes.
Tense, or maybe just tired — Shane and Mark just kind of stare at each other. Shane is obviously kind of heartbroken. She smacks Mark with one of the cameras and then throws the camera. I guess it’s supposed to be dramatic, especially since the credits roll all of a sudden — as if someone accidentally hollered CUT! too soon.
But, well, I don’t feel like I’ve been watching something dramatic or tense or whatever… I just feel a bit sleepy. I think I’ll go crash on the sexpert’s couch.
NEXT WEEK ON THE L WORD: Dana and Alice continue to follow their libidos; Dana’s brother proves he’s not narrow and maybe not even straight; Shane doesn’t want to lose her happy Jenny home; Melvin’s prognosis is not good.