THIS WEEK’S L WORD VOCABULARY:
- Vaginal Rejuvenation: You’ve got to be kidding me.
- Gaydar: What Dana doesn’t have. Poor Dana!
- High-heeled Sandals: A faux pas in lesbo-land.
- Center of the Universe: That would be Shane. But Marina still owns The Planet.
- Wondering: What Dana isn’t anymore.
- Safe: What nobody wants to be, when Marina’s around.
THIS WEEK’S GUEST-BIANS: Tammy Lynn Michaels is back as Shane’s stalker; Guinevere Turner plays Alice’s soulless ex.
The Prelude — Alice is trying to pitch her “Six Degrees of Any Lesbian” idea to her editor at the magazine. He’s not impressed. She tries to turn it into an L word thing: “We’re all connected, see? Through love, through loneliness, through one tiny lamentable lapse in judgment.” He’s still skeptical, so she offers to do a piece on vaginal rejuvenation instead. Huh? I don’t think I want to know.
The neighborhood — Tina is jogging. She stops and thinks, and then says to herself, “Let’s do it.”
She goes home and tells Bette that she’s ready to go through with the insemination. “You and me, tonight, here at home, sexy and in love, with no doctors, no fluorescent lights, no paper gowns — do you want to?” Bette’s confused because she didn’t think they had any sperm. Tina reminds her that they have Marcus’s:
Tina: “I don’t know what I was thinking. There’s no reason I wouldn’t want to have a baby with you using a donor who’s black. I… I think…”
Bette: “Don’t think. ‘Cause I would love to make a baby with you. In our home. In our bed. Just you and me.”
Bette, I must thank you for not overcorrecting and saying “Just you and I.” Tina is getting into the shower; Bette has already showered, but follows her in anyway. These two are great together.
Tim and Jenny’s house — Jenny wants to talk to Tim, but he’s late for swim practice. Tim, if you’re smart, you’ll stay under water until all the Jenny’s been washed out of your system.
A conquest’s house — Shane is leaving the scene of her latest one-night stand. Her stalker, Tammy Lynne Michaels, has staked out the place. Yikes.
Reviva — Alice arrives at the vaginal rejuvenation place. The woman behind the desk turns out to be her ex, Gabby (Guinevere Turner), who tells her not to do it because the recovery’s supposed to be hell. Well, I would imagine so — and after reading this overview, I’m appalled by the whole idea. I don’t think I lack an “overall optimum architectural integrity of the vagina,” but even if I did, I wouldn’t put myself under the laser to fix it. Apparently you can also get “design laser vaginoplasty” if you just don’t quite look like a Playmate. Fucking hell.
Gabby apologizes to Alice for how badly she behaved when they were dating, and says she still has feelings for her. What kind of feelings? Fuzzy ones? Nauseated ones? She tells Alice she looks great, and Alice melts a little. Gabby asks Alice to meet her for lunch; the phone rings to let Alice off the hook.
The country club — A waiter puts a plate in front of Dana. She says she didn’t order it. He explains that it’s a sort of gift from Lara Perkins, the sous-chef. “Soup chef?” says clueless, dorky, adorable Dana. She steals a few glances over her shoulder: the sous-chef is very cute, and seems a bit shy. Dana enjoys her veggies with a goofy smile on her face.
Tim and Jenny’s house — Marina has left a message: “Hi, Jenny. It’s Marina. I was thinking about you.” Damn! Marina is hot.
Jenny reads her story, via a voice-over. It includes words like “limpid,” which is just too pretentious for me.
The Planet — Shane walks in, only to be greeted by camera flashes: her stalker, Lacey, is there to take her picture and take away her “four F’s.” That’s right: “She finds ‘em, feels ‘em, fucks ‘em, and forgets ‘em.” Oh boy. Marina throws Lacey out. While she’s out on the sidewalk, Marina sees Jenny driving by; she starts to wave, but realizes that Jenny is not happy to see her. A shadow of something like pain crosses Marina’s face, and that should never, ever happen. But as Jenny drives off, Marina recovers her fabulous swagger and goes back inside.
Alice asks what’s up with Jenny and Marina; Dana says she thought Jenny was straight.
Alice: “Dana, most girls are straight until they’re not. And then sometimes they’re gay ’til they’re not.”
Shane: “True, but then there are also the ones that never look back, right? And you can spot them comin’ a mile away.”
Dana: “How can you tell?”
Alice: “You read the signals.”
Shane: “Dana, it’s not a problem. All right? No — sexuality is fluid. Whether you’re gay or you’re straight or you’re bisexual, you just go with the flow.”
Dana: “No, that is my problem: I can’t feel the flow. That thing, whatever it is, I don’t got it.”
Alice: “You don’t have gaydar.”
Alice is shocked by the possibility, so they decide to test the theory, and ask Dana to evaluate a woman who’s standing at the counter. The woman has long, polished fingernails, which means she’s “leaning to straight,” but they need more, so they look at the shoes. They’re high-heeled sandals; Alice asks Dana whether she would wear high-heeled sandals with tapered jeans. “Yes?” Dana shrugs, but no! No! Of course not! Ho hum. They discuss Dana’s “soup chef.”
Shane: “Dana, I’m impressed: you’re into someone, and you wanna know whether or not they’re down.”
Dana: “She’s down?”
Alice: “Whether she plays for our team. The gay team.”
Dana: “Wait: don’t the bisexuals have their own team?”
Hee. No, it’s not really funny, because of course bisexuals should not be made to feel that they have to choose sides, but it is funny, because Dana’s cute. Anyway, Alice and Shane decide to help Dana figure out whether the object of her affection will object to her affections. Alice reveals that she has put the “Six Degrees of Any Lesbian” chart on the Internet and that people are adding to it. Shane is not happy about this idea. Why not, Shane? You’re gonna be a star!
Tim and Jenny’s house — Jenny is still writing. She imagines her main character’s funeral; in the dramatization, she and Marina are at the funeral and start making out. Marina looks great in drag! Back in the real world, Jenny listens to Marina’s message a few more times. Yeah, I’m thinking I’ll record that and put it on a CD so it can wake me up in the morning. I’ll hop right out of bed!
Bette and Tina’s house — They examine the new sperm sample and compare it to the other one. Bette tells Tina not to be grossed out — c’mon, how can she help that? — and then they make a big show of “honoring” the sperm. Maybe someday we’ll get a spermless, penisless episode, but apparently not tonight. Bette and Tina kiss their way into the bedroom, syringe and sperm and diaphragm in hand. They really do look good together, but then they get the sperm going and I get grossed out. Sorry; I can’t help myself.
Alice’s place — Shane notes that she’s the center of the universe on Alice’s chart. See, it’s good to be famous! (The chart looks kind of like the visual thesaurus, which is a really cool thing. Try typing in “screw.”) Alice tells Dana and Shane about her encounter with Gabby; they remind her that Gabby treated her like shit. Alice avoids the whole thing and asks Dana for the name of the “soup chef” — and when Dana refers to Lara as that, Alice and Shane correct her. Dana is so cute saying “sous-chef” like she’s known it all along. Dana! C’mere.
Alice decides to start with Shane:
Shane: “Why must you do that?”
Alice: “Chances are, if she’s into girls, you know.”
Shane: “Look, Dane? It totally wouldn’t have meant anything.”
Dana: “Oh, that’s comforting, thanks.”
Lara the sous chef is nowhere to be found on the chart. Oh no! I’ll bet her index finger is longer than her ring finger, too!
Bette and Tina’s house — Tina is on her back, with her legs up in the air — no, they’re not still having sex. She’s trying to keep the sperm where it needs to be. The doorbell rings. It’s Alice and Dana and Shane — they don’t know how to help Dana in her agony. Bette should be annoyed that they’re interrupting, but she’s as helpless in the face of Dana’s cuteness as I am.
They all barge into the bedroom to keep Tina company whether she wants them to or not. Alice picks up the syringe and asks “What is this?” and promptly squirts the remaining stuff all over Dana, who tries not to freak but can’t help herself. Shane points out that they could be there at the moment of conception, and apologizes for that — okay, I’m starting to get the Shane thing, a little bit.
They all start to brainstorm about Dana’s little problem. Bette suggests checking the fingernails; but that won’t work because Lara is a chef.
Tina: “What kind of dresser is she?
Dana: “Well, she wears this cute little white uniform. Sometimes she wears a stripey apron.”
Bette: “Well, what about personal interaction? I mean, is she flirtatious? Does she make a lot of eye contact?”
Tina: “Does she touch your hand when she’s talking to you?”
Dana: “Well, I haven’t really talked to her up close yet.”
Alice: “What, do you guys shout across the room?”
They babble back and forth for a while, mostly teasing Dana, until Bette finally decides they’ll help her out: “We are going to deploy a mission to ascertain the disposition and intent of one Miss Lara Perkins.” She is absolutely yummy when she says it — really.
The country club — Dana’s agent surprises her in the locker room. He tells her that a Subaru rep will be there the next day to watch her train. Dana lies down on the bench, giddy and overwhelmed. The sous chef walks in to change her messy jacket; she sees Dana on the bench and asks her if she’s okay.
Dana: “Um, I’m fine! I’m fine. That was my agent. He just told me Subaru might use me for an ad campaign. So they’re gonna watch me train tomorrow, which is so cool.”
Lara: “That’s so exciting!”
Dana: “Yeah, it is. It is, kinda. I mean, you know: I can’t mess up.”
Lara: “I’m sure you won’t. Um… you can turn around now. My jacket’s back on. My job is so messy. I have to change like three times a day.”
Dana: “Yeah? You always look nice when I see you. I mean, I mean, you never look dirty. When I see you… I’ve gotta go. I, I have to go.”
Lara: “Listen, why don’t you come by later? I’ll send something down for you.”
Dana: “Okay. Yeah.”
Dana: “Thank you.”
Dana is so flustered throughout the whole thing. She even leaves her bag behind and has to go back for it. They’re both so adorable: I think my vagina is spontaneously rejuvenating itself.
The Planet — Alice has been stood up. Where is that Gabby? I’m gonna deck her. Oh, there she is: she says she’s sorry, and Alice says, “Yeah, yeah, you really are.” Ha ha! Alice says she has to go because her friends are waiting. Gabby asks her whether she has to do everything her friends tell her to do. Shut up! I used to like you, Guinevere, but now I’m not so sure. Alice goes with her friends, but she mouths “call me” to Gabby as they go. Tsk tsk.
The country club — How many lesbians can you fit into a Mini Cooper? Four, apparently, and they don’t look a bit rumpled. This is a hilarious scene: Bette, Tina, Alice, and Shane infiltrate the country club to spy on the sous-chef. The music is great, the editing is great, and the Charlie’s-Angels-meets-Inspector-Gadget feel of the whole thing is fabulous.
Shane sits with Dana and identifies the target; she passes the dossier to her fellow agents via cell phone. It’s impossible to do this scene justice in print: it’s zippy and clever and whee! Every time I think it’s going to cross the line into stupid, somebody does something funny. They check out Lara’s shoes — “kitchen shoes, neutral” — and then the earrings — “hoops, hard to read” — and then when they notice that Lara’s looking back at them, Bette and Tina start smooching. And it’s great smooching! Some other guests get annoyed, but Lara doesn’t react much either way. They suddenly abort the mission, and Dana watches them go, with a hilarious mix of worry and confusion on her face. Erin Daniels, you are definitely the comedic genius of the group.
The spies regroup in the bathroom. There’s no clear answer; Bette notes that Lara “got some good lezzie points for her walk and for the way she wields that chopping knife.” The bottom line is that she’s got “nine in the lez column” and “only seven in the straight,” but the margin of error is plus or minus five percentage points. Bwah ha ha! They decide to send in the secret weapon.
Shane sneaks up to the — hmm, what do you call that? The chef’s counter or service counter or something? I dunno from country clubs. Anyway, she starts hitting on Lara. I already love Lara, so I didn’t need much more, but the fact that she’s thoroughly unimpressed by Shane — well, that gives her major points in my book.
The secret agents tell Dana that it doesn’t look good. Well, maybe Lara could be “a different kind of lesbian.” Don’t be silly — we’re all exactly like you five! That’s why we love this show: because it’s like looking into a mirror. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve played spy games at the local country club in order to catch a friend a date. Speaking of catching someone, Lacey the Stalker drives by the country club as our fearless heroines walk to their car. Shane gets nervous — I thought she was too cool for that — and I laugh.
The Planet — Bette is wearing that white tank top again. Look at those arms! Alice applauds Tina and Bette for their “cutting edge” gayby plans. “Lesbian moms, biracial child…” — yeah, it’s everyone’s goal. Shane points out that Tim is there.
Alice: “Do you guys think he knows?”
Bette: “Knows what?”
Alice: “That his girlfriend’s making the team with Marina.”
Bette: “That is ridiculous.”
Alice: “Okay. All right. I only repeat what I hear.”
Bette: “Did Marina tell you?”
Shane: “Marina didn’t tell her a thing.”
Alice: “It’s what Marina didn’t tell me. You know?”
Bette: “Why is it so important for you to believe that everyone is sleeping with everyone else?”
Alice: “Because they are.”
Bette: “No, that’s just your little fantasy. Here is a truly radical idea for you to contemplate: monogamy isn’t just hypothetical. Some people actually do practice it.”
At the counter, Tim ends up inviting Marina to the dinner party that he and Jenny are having that night. Marina’s polite and sort of waves it off, but he insists. Marina says, “I see what Jenny sees in you,” and I do too, but I don’t see what either of you sees in Jenny.
The country club — Dana’s playing for the Subaru people. Dana’s tennis-playing looks fairly authentic; well, mostly. With the right editor there to speed up your serve in the cutting room, you too can be a Wimbledon champ!
Tim and Jenny’s house — Bette, Tina, and Marina arrive together. Tim makes a dorky comment about how beautiful they are. He introduces everyone: wait, the other swim coach is named Randy Jackson? Isn’t he on another show, in which there’s lots of singing? “Dude, I just wasn’t feelin’ it! It was just all right for me, dawg.” At least there’s a lesbian on that show too.
The country club — Dana’s agent tells her that Subaru loved her. Yeah! That’s kinda funny though, considering they’ve already got a deal with Martina Navratilova. Anyway, Dana’s pretty excited, and I love her as much as Subaru does.
Tim and Jenny’s house — Jenny knocks on her own door. So, she feels like a stranger in her own home? Why, I wonder? She sees Marina and looks like she’s going to explode. I’m sure Marina gets that all the time.
While she dresses, Jenny scolds Tim for inviting Marina. He’s confused as usual. Jenny takes off her bra and puts on a white T-shirt; she claims she doesn’t like Marina because Marina has “this way of acting like she knows everything.” That’s because she owns the planet. Tim tells her to just “kiss and make up, or whatever you women do.” Ha ha! Oh, Tim.
Milk, I think — Kit is DJ’ing; does she hang around gay bars a lot? Apparently it’s karaoke night and someone’s doing Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” You know the way Cameron shakes her butt in the first Charlie’s Angels movie? I know someone who can do that exactly. It’s very cute. Anyway, Alice has noticed that Gabby’s there. Shane doesn’t want to hear it; she gets all homicidal about the idea of Alice and Gabby getting back together. I wonder if Shane would be okay with the idea of Alice dating me?
Tim and Jenny’s house— Marina tells Randy Jackson’s wife that she looks like a Renaissance painting. Yeah, admit it, Mrs. Jackson: you’re feeling the Marina effect too. It’s okay. The only one who is immune is Kit, and not because she’s not gay — because she’s the only one who’s actually cooler than Marina. And Jenny, by the way, is not happy that Marina paid someone else a compliment. Ha ha! So then Tim and Jenny announce their engagement, and I think Bette is the only one who’s happy — because she is the captain of the monogamy cheerleading squad.
Milk — Gabby finds Alice, who pretends to have been busy. Kit interrupts and asks whether anyone has seen Bette or Tina; Alice explains that they had a dinner party. Kit looks upset — oh, was your sister supposed to be there to support you? I know how that goes: sometimes sisters suck. Anyway, Gabby looks like some sort of underfed vampire, and she seems bored with what Alice is saying — who could be bored with Alice? — and when she walks off, Alice watches her go.
Tim and Jenny’s kitchen — Marina asks for a glass. And then she asks to see Jenny’s ring. Jenny shows her; Marina touches Jenny’s finger, and Jenny starts crying. Now, I know I make fun of Jenny a lot: but I understand the depth of that kind of thing — weeping at someone’s touch — so I feel a little tiny bit sorry for her. She probably really does love Tim, and at the same time is faced with the force that is Marina, and that’s a sucky situation for anyone. But she’s still too skinny.
Marina asks Jenny whether she’s happy. Jenny says, “Don’t ask me that,” and Bette interrupts. Marina leaves; Bette, fearless thing that she is, stares Jenny down. Jenny says that she’s really just not used to the way this feels — does she mean passion? the ring? love? being gay? all of that eye makeup? It doesn’t matter: Bette feels sorry for her, which is more than I expected of the Monogamy Queen.
The bathroom — Marina is washing her hands when the Monogamy Queen knocks on the door.
Bette: “What are you doing?
Marina: “What are you talking about?
Bette: “I know it’s not my place to judge you, Marina, and I don’t know what’s going on with you and Jenny, but I think this is wrong.”
Marina: “I’m sorry you feel that way. But I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”
Bette shakes her head, shrugs, and leaves. Marina looks a little uncertain. The rest of the people at the party are playing a little game: what would you do if you had one day left to live? Jenny says she would write; Marina says she would sip rum on a beach and read Borges; Tim says he would be with Marina since Jenny would be off somewhere writing. Bette tells Tina she needs to leave, so Tina makes their excuses like a dutiful wife. On their way out, Bette explains why she’s annoyed. Tina asks why she’s being judgmental; Bette shoots back that Tina is being blasé. They continue their argument inside the house, where Kit promptly interrupts. Kit! She’s been lurking, waiting for them. Bette asks her why she always has to break in. Because she’scool like that!
Tina tries to go to bed, but Kit has something to say to both of them. She needs to make amends; it’s a 12-step thing. Bette is not happy and storms off. Kit tries to talk to her through the door of the bedroom or whatever room; Kit is raw and honest and sincere and wonderful. She enlists Tina’s help. Tina reminds Bette that it’s not easy for Kit, and Bette begins to soften, but not enough. Kit gives up and leaves.
The country club locker room — Lara is shutting her locker and is about to leave. Dana walks in, fresh from the shower: Lara asks her whether she’s heard from Subaru. Dana says yes, she got it, and Lara is sincerely happy for her.
Lara: “That’s fantastic — I knew you would. Well, they’re lucky to have you.”
Dana: “Oh, thanks.”
Lara: “Well, um… good night.”
Dana: “Good night.”
Dana turns to her locker; she’s about to open it when Lara comes back around the corner. Dana whirls around to face her. Lara pushes Dana against the lockers and holds her gaze, and then kisses her, twice, sweetly and full of promises. “Just in case you were still wondering,” she says softly as she walks off. Dana is beside herself and then grinning and happy.
I don’t care what else happens on this show: that was one of the sweetest kisses I’ll ever see.
Milk — Alice tells Gabby that she likes her boots. Gabby reels her in, and maybe the kiss is not as sweet as the Lara/Dana kiss, but look at Alice’s hands: they’re on the wall — not on Gabby’s arms or hips, but on the wall behind them, and then later one of Alice’s hands is on Gabby’s shoulder while the other is cradling her head. That’s damn hot. Hmm, can we spot the real-life lesbians in the cast?
Now someone’s hitting on Shane, asking her if she’s with anyone. She says no. The camera pans to Lacey, a.k.a. Tammy Lynne, who’s wearing a “Brave and Crazy” T-shirt. Hey, that’s my favorite Etheridge album, and song, for that matter! The bass line on that track is phenomenal. Anyway, Lacey is trying to publicly shame Shane, and it’s working. Tammy Lynne, you’re hilarious. Shane’s potential paramour goes away. Poor Shane!
Bette and Tina’s house — Tina tells Bette that she’s right to have such strong convictions, and that it sets her apart and that she loves her for it. I do too, in spite of myself.
Tim and Jenny’s house — Marina is still charming everyone. She speaks French to the woman who looks like a Renaissance painting. She gives Jenny a peck on the cheek and departs. After she’s gone, Randy Jackson asks, “Who is in love with that woman?” and everyone says “yes” except for Jenny. Yeah, you’re a big fat liar. Or, um, a little skinny liar.
NEXT WEEK ON THE L WORD: Jenny talks about lies and about feeling safe; Dana pursues the sous chef; Alice can’t resist Gabby; Bette wrangles with a woman who knows how to wear the power suit; Shane’s stalker breaks down.