THIS WEEK’S L WORD VOCABULARY:
- Tahoe: A great place to make a big mistake.
- Latency: It’s why this country’s heterosexuals are so dangerous.
- So gay: What Dana is, especially when Lara’s around.
- Twink: Shane’s alter ego.
- Self-respect: What you should never trade for someone else’s pride.
- Pornography: A commonplace edification.
THIS WEEK’S GUEST-BIANS: Anne Archer is back as Alice’s mom, and takes the “guest-bian” thing a little too much to heart; Ossie Davis plays Bette’s dad. (Yes, a man can be a guest-bian: just ask Lisa the Lesbian-Identified Man.)
The Prelude — We’re in West Hollywood in 1976, in a squicky bathroom. A big guy slams a smaller, mustachioed guy against the wall. Mustachioed Guy tries to kiss Big Guy, but that’s not what Big Guy has in mind. Instead, he backs up and unzips his pants. Mustachioed Guy tries again to steal a kiss, but Big Guy pushes his head down and tells him to “take that meat.” Is my TV on the wrong channel?
It turns out Big Guy is a cop. He escorts Mustachioed Guy out of the bathroom and parades him through the diner, calling him a “fuckin’ faggot.” Good, this is going to be a cheery, light episode!
Tim and Jenny’s bathroom — Our favorite straight couple are finishing up their morning ablutions. When they’re done, Tim sweeps Jenny off her feet and carries her off — what, you’re going to have sex now? You just got clean! What a waste of water.
Alice’s house — There’s a loud crash. Alice, who appears to have slept on the couch, hollers, “Mom,” and mom (Lenore) enters from the kitchen, making excuses. She has broken the expensive espresso machine. She’s not concerned about it, though; she writes her name on the big Six Degrees of Lesbianation chart, and then draws a line to Shane’s name. Alice gets annoyed and tells her she doesn’t know what she’s doing.
Lenore: ”I understand the purpose of your chart. That’s why I wrote my name right there, off of Shane.”
Lenore: ”Mm hmm. Remember the other night at the party, when we were talking?”
Alice: ”Yeah, we were all talking. You can’t get on the chart for talking.”
Lenore: ”I know. Would you listen to my story? We were talking, and at the end of the evening, when we were saying our goodbyes, we had a moment.”
Alice: ”A moment.”
Lenore: ”A romantic moment. And I have to say, I’m not sure that I haven’t been limiting myself in being exclusively with men.”
Alice: ”Umm, I need you to tell me exactly what happened.”
Lenore: ”We kissed. At first it was casual, but then it became more intimate. French.”
Alice looks like she’s going to scream or hurl or fly into a thousand pieces. C’mon Alice, it’s no surprise: Shane’s a ho, and your mom is pretty hot.
Bette and Tina’s house — Tina is running with one hand over her mouth and the other hand holding the phone. She hands the phone to Bette and then runs into the bathroom to puke. Awww, poor Tina. Bette’s dad is on the phone; she calls him “Daddy” and tells him everything’s great while Tina retches in the background. Foreshadowing, anyone?
Kit’s house — Kit is trying to write a letter to her son, David. Whoops, that was almost ten seconds — be careful, or Pam Grier might think that she actually gets to be in the episode!
Bette and Tina’s house — Tina’s lying on the bed, looking generally ill but still cute anyway, while Bette gets excited about how happy her father will be to hear the news. They talk about whether to give the baby a last name that’s a combination of their own last names (Porter and Kennard). Bette suggests “Portard.” Ha ha! Tina points out that the kids will say things like “Hey, poor ‘tard, how’s your two moms, you big gaymo?” They think “Kenter” has a nice sound to it though. But then Bette decides the best thing to do is just not talk about it. Hey, it’s been the golden rule of nuclear families for generations: why change it now?
Bette has been getting dressed throughout this little exchange. She’s meticulous and controlled and suave, while Tina is just sort of lazing about and looking rumpled. It’s a nice way to sneak in a little character development, although it would have been even better to show a zippered leather S&M hood in Bette’s closet, or something like that. No — make that Tina’s closet.
The country club — Dana’s just finishing up a practice. Guess who’s waiting for her, with a kiss and a smile? Yes, Lara the sous-chef! I’m getting giggly already.
Dana says her serve is faster. Silly Dana, I explained that in an earlier recap: they’re just making it look fast by speeding up the film. Let’s get back to the kissing. Lara has the same idea I do: she asks Dana, “Who’s the sexiest tennis player in the world?” Dana suggests Anna Kournikova. Hello? What about Amelie Mauresmo? And remember Gabriela Sabatini? Hell, let’s talk about the Williams sisters. And Lara means you anyway, silly Dana. They kiss some more. The camera cuts away too soon, dammit, but what we see is enough to tell us that these two have tons of chemistry; their kisses are slow and sensual and Lara gives Dana such sweet, sultry looks. I love them!
Dana’s agent walks up and says “Hey.” He doesn’t say it like he’s saying hello; he says it like he’s telling a dog to quit digging in the yard. He tries to sort of lead Dana away for a talk, but Lara comes along. Hee.
Pompous Ass Agent: ”So. Guess who’s having an event tonight and wants you to come?”
PAA: ”Who are you, her psychic?”
He sort of pretends he meant it as a joke, but Lara sees right through that and doesn’t play along. She stays in the conversation though.
Lara: [to Dana:] “See how you’re a star?” [to the PAA:] “So where is it?”
PAA: ”Morton’s. 8:00.”
Lara: ”I’m so excited. It’s gonna be so great. [to Dana:] You are so fucking hot. I just want to have sex with you right now.”
PAA: ”All right. Still here, ladies.”
PAA: ”Nah, don’t apologize. Hey, you know what? If you ever want to mix it up, let me know. I’m kidding. I’m just kidding!”
Lara: ”I’m gonna get back to work. [to Dana:] I will see you later. [to the PAA:] It was nice meeting you, I think.”
PAA: ”It was a joke. Just a joke.”
Lara’s the best! The Pompous Ass Agent didn’t appreciate the way she stood her ground, of course. He says that she’s cute as she walks off, but then he gives Dana a truly nasty sort of “sizing up” look. He also tells her to take Harrison to the event because it’s what people want to see. Yeah? Do they also want to see you being a complete asshole, or are you just like that naturally?
Dana watches Lara go, knowing full well that Lara is expecting to go to the shindig. She starts to protest but then she doesn’t. Boo.
The Planet — Shane confesses that she had a moment with Alice’s mom. Alice says, “This means I can never be gay again. Never. I cannot be gay.” Wait: I thought you were bisexual?
Shane explains that Alice’s mom is sexy, and that she’s got really, um, she’s really… well, let’s just say that Shane’s gestures are painting an interesting picture of Lenore’s assets. Alice covers her ears with a pillow and sings the Oscar Mayer bologna song. She’s cute when she’s neurotic. Shane gets her attention by saying that Alice’s mom made the first move and that she’s “wild.” Alice wants to know why her mom is such a “slutty, slutty, chicken-chasing pervert.” She rants on for a while and is cute and funny — yeah, I’m still thinking about asking her out.
Then Alice says that there are two guys staring at Shane and that one of them is Harry Samchuck. Who? Shane says, “Fuck. He thinks I’m a guy. All those fucking gay Hollywood mafia fags think I’m some twink they can pick up on.” Shane, pay attention: there’s no gay mafia! And you don’t look like a guy. You look like a mess, but you don’t look like a guy. Shane gets up to leave, and Alice says, “I’m really sorry you got Lenore’d.” Bwah!
As Shane heads for the door, she sees a guy picking out a croissant. She interrupts; apparently they know each other. Croissant Guy has been staying in San Diego, but he’s now friends with the guy who was eyeing Shane. He also needs a place to stay. Shane says she can’t help this time because she’s got roommates: “There’s four of us living in a one bedroom.” Eeek! Well, now we know why Shane never wants to sleep in her own bed: she doesn’t actually have one.
The CU parking lot — The swim team is getting ready to go to a meet. Tim realizes he doesn’t have his lucky stopwatch; he’ll have to go home to get it. I don’t read spoilers, but I’m pretty sure Tim shouldn’t go home right now.
Tim and Jenny’s house — Marina has just finished reading Jenny’s latest story. She says it has “amazing potential.” Jenny is annoyed that she said “potential,” rather than, I dunno, “Pulitzer-like qualities.” Get over yourself, Jenny: you use words like “limpid” in your writing, and you have Marina sitting next to you, so who gives a shit about the writing anyway? Speaking of giving a shit, Marina says, “You can’t expect every story you write to fall out of you and be gold.” Hee! She sort of leans over Jenny and says something about the demons that tempt Jenny; she asks, “Am I that demon?” Yes, you are, and I’m ready to sign over my soul.
Bette and Tina’s house — Tina is trying to find something to wear. She settles on a sundress sort of thing. It’s not very flattering. The doorbell rings: it’s Kit, bringing vitamins for Tina and the baby. She compliments Tina on her dress, but she’s lying. Tina thinks Melvin (Bette’s dad) won’t like it. “Melvin?” Kit asks — she had no clue the guy was in town. The pain on her face is palpable, and it looks like the writers have finally noticed Pam Grier.
Tim and Jenny’s house — Tim can’t find Jenny in the house, so he goes to the door of the studio and peeks in. Yep, there’s Marina on her knees, and Jenny on the couch, and if you put the two together, they add up to a nightmare for Tim. It’s kind of enjoyable for me though. Tim slowly opens the door and steps in. Jenny sees him, and then Marina turns around and sees him too. This is an awful moment, but it’s also a great one because of Marina. She simply stands up, buttons her pants, stares steadily at Tim, and steps slowly past him out the door, shirt in hand. She is beyond cool.
Tim doesn’t say anything. He just stares. He sees the draft of the story on the floor and picks it up, then throws it at Jenny and leaves. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: poor guy.
Bette and Tina’s house — Tina’s napping. Bette wakes her up and tells her they need to get going; Tina says she just needs to put on her makeup.
Bette: ”You’re not serious. You… you’re not wearing that dress. I’ll just pick something else out.”
Yeesh, that’s nice. Bette gets all up in a huff and proceeds to scold Tina for telling Kit that their dad is in town.
Tina [sarcastically]: ”I’m sorry, but you didn’t brief me on what was all right to say and what wasn’t.”
Bette: ”I shouldn’t have to.”
Hey! Stop that! Be nice to the mother of your baby. Tina seethes but doesn’t say anything.
The swim meet — Tim breaks his lucky stopwatch. Poor guy.
A hotel — Bette’s playing some weird cell phone game with her father as she parks the car. She orders Tina to get out and wave so that he can see them. This is really awkward. He walks over and gives Bette a hug; he gives Tina a sort of approximation of a hug. He opens the $300 tie that Bette bought for him but is not sufficiently grateful.
After the swim meet — Jenny finds Tim by the bus. She starts to beg and plead with him. He justs asks for his ring back and starts hollering; she tells him he’s going to have to take it off her. So he sort of starts to try to do that. Randy Jackson (how can that be his name?) runs off the bus and pulls them apart and yells at Tim for “beating on his woman.” Well, it wasn’t quite that bad yet, Randy. Randy gets back on the bus and leaves with the startled-looking swimmers.
Jenny starts to explain that it was a big mistake and that she just couldn’t stop herself. Tim wants to know why; Jenny says she doesn’t know. C’mon, we all know: it was Marina! Some people really are irresistible. Tim asks Jenny when the whole thing started, and she says this was the first time. I snort. Tim doesn’t believe her.
Tim says he thought he would spend the rest of his life with Jenny; she asks why that can’t still happen and begs for his forgiveness. Tim gets in his car. Jenny keeps begging and pleading and tells Tim that if he leaves her, she’ll die. What? Why, because you’ll stop eating or something? No, that can’t be why: clearly you did that a long time ago. Jenny insists that she just wants to be his wife; he tells her to get in the car, and they drive off.
Dana’s house — Harrison is making drinks. The doorbell rings: it’s Lara. Oh, crap, Dana: didn’t you tell her you were going to take Harrison to the thing? Lara’s got a couple of dress options with her — she says, “I didn’t know what you were wearing and I didn’t want to end up looking like twins, you know? That’s like saying oh, I’m so cute, I wanna go out with me.” But Lara, you are so cute in your tank top — if I were you, I’d wanna go out with me! I mean, I’d wanna go out with you. If I were you. Never mind.
Harrison makes his entrance (he hid when the doorbell rang) and everybody looks uncomfortable. Dana says she knows she should have called Lara. Ya think? I really want you two to stay together, but you have to treat Lara right or I’ll tell her to date Alice instead. Or, um, me.
Lara: ”I can’t believe I assumed I was going with you. I feel so stupid.”
Dana: ”Lara, Lara, wait, wait, wait, look: Look, Conrad was the one who called Harrison, okay? He just thinks it’s better for me not to… he just wants me to be consistent, and Harrison’s who I usually go with, and you know that I really want to go with you.”
Lara: ”I get it. Believe me.”
Dana: ”Lara, I’m sorry. Look, I know I should have called.”
Lara: ”That would have been nice.”
Lara leaves. Ouch. My heart hurts. Harrison tries to tell Dana she’s doing the right thing — “out and proud does not sell cars.” What the hell? Am I the only one who’s seen Martina Navratilova in the Subaru commercials?
The Planet — Tim has brought Jenny to face the music. Jenny recites her lines to Marina, in a pinched, flat way, right in front of everyone: “What happened between us was a terrible mistake. It is never going to happen again. I will never see you ever again. Do you understand that?” Tim asks Marina whether she heard that; Marina gives him that wonderful steely stare and says of course she did. Tim asks when it started. Marina says, “It didn’t. You saw all there was to see. The beginning and the end.” Tim turns and goes. Jenny lingers a little longer and gives Marina a “please forgive me” look, which is fucking unbelievable. Marina, please don’t give her another chance: I’ll lose all respect for you if you do. But I’ll still think you’re hot.
A pool table — Shane is shooting some stick. The Croissant Guy she was talking to earlier — Clive — shows up, and says Harry Samchuck wants to hang with her.
Shane: ”He thinks I’m a guy. I’m not into that.”
Clive: ”Since when?”
Shane: ”Since I found a real job.”
Wow. Apparently Shane really does have a shady past. She warns Clive about the “Hollywood fags” who are going to pass him around if he goes to live with Harry. She ends up telling Clive he can stay with her. Hmm, I think Shane just might have an actual storyline now.
Alice’s house — Alice is kicking her mom out. Aw, is Anne Archer going already? Alice tells her mom that Shane called her “wild”; this makes Lenore’s day. Isn’t Alice the sweetest?
A restaurant — Bette is bragging about her job. Her dad is proud of her. Bette beams. Melvin asks Tina how her career is going. Cue the gayby news: Tina makes the announcement.
Tina: ”Melvin, Bette and I are having a baby.”
Bette: ”Daddy, we’re having a baby.”
Melvin: ”I don’t understand.”
Tina: ”I’m pregnant.”
Melvin: ”And you’re happy about that?”
It goes downhill from there. He asks Bette whether she’s going to be “taking care” of the baby and “Miss Kennard”; Bette has to remind him that they’re a couple. He says it’s biologically impossible for the baby to be related to him and he won’t consider it his grandchild: “I cannot realistically be asked to participate in this fiction of your creation.” Jesus. The waiter interrupts at that point, even though everyone’s looking anything but hungry.
Tina tries to explain that by choosing an African American donor, she and Bette are trying to help make sure that everyone will feel connected to the baby. This does not impress Melvin; he wants to know why he should feel connected to every other black man in the world. Tina gets sick of trying to say the right thing and gets up to leave. Bette offers to take her home, but Tina tells her to stay. I think Bette should follow Tina out the door and dump some hot coffee in her dad’s lap on the way out, but I sort of get why she doesn’t. No matter how out you are, it can still feel impossible to stand up to your parents when they’re being homophobic and stupid. Partly I think it’s the shock of the whole thing — and Bette definitely looks shocked right now.
A wedding chapel in Tahoe — Tim is looking up “homosexuality” in a big Bible. Whatever. The minister asks them a few questions, trying to find out why they want to get married: they say it’s because they’re in love. Egad. They actually get married. Afterwards, in the hotel room, Jenny jumps on the bed like everything’s exciting and fun. Then she starts cuddling with Tim, but she’s still wearing her Marina-infused clothes, so he asks her to take a shower. They’re about as comfortable together as Melvin and Tina.
Lara’s apartment — Lara answers the door to a miserable-looking Dana. Dana apologizes profusely. Lara keeps leaning a little closer, and closer, as if she just can’t help herself.
Dana: ”You just — you make me so happy, and that’s not a very familiar feeling, you know? Can I please try again? I really want to try again. Can I?”
Lara: ”One thing.”
Lara: ”You have to start taking at least some steps towards being out.”
Dana: ”I will.”
Lara: ”Because you’re going to be miserable being in the closet.”
Dana: ”I know.”
Lara: ”And you are really, really gay.”
Dana: ”I know that.”
Lara: ”It’s one of the things I like so much about you. When you hide that, you’re hiding the best part.”
They kiss some more, and it’s breathless and exciting, but the damn camera cuts away too soon again. They’re so great together. It’s a little weird to tell someone that the best thing about them is that they’re gay, but I’ll let it go for now, because it’s funny when people tell Dana that she’s “so gay.”
Tahoe — Tim is unresponsive. There’s nothing going on down there.
Kit’s house — Kit is having a party. Bette shows up looking for comfort. Kit is not at all surprised that Melvin was horrible about the baby.
Kit: ”What did you expect? He’s an old-fashioned man. A bigot in his own right. Someone’s gotta talk some sense into you about that man, because he is not the saint you think he is.”
Bette: ”Kit — “
Kit: ”Oh girl, c’mon: you never want to hear the truth. You are so brainwashed. What do you trade to feel his pride, hmm?”
Bette: ”I have to go.”
Kit: ”Yeah. You do.”
Now that was a fabulous scene. Pam Grier, Pam Grier!
Tahoe — Tim sits and thinks. He puts the ring on the bedside table — he has slipped it around a rolled-up piece of paper — and leaves. Jenny stirs a little, but goes back to sleep.
Melvin’s hotel room — Kit knocks on the door. Melvin is not happy to see her. Apparently they haven’t seen each other in 13 years, but Kit doesn’t want to talk about that: she’s there for Bette.
Melvin: ”Do you know the situation? I’m supposed to call a child not even related to me a grandchild.”
Kit: ”And would that be the end of the world?”
Melvin: ”No. It would be a lie.”
Kit: ”Oh, and you don’t ever do that, do you?”
Pam Grier for President! Melvin gives her a little lecture; Kit warns him not to take out their bad blood on Bette — he might end up opening the door to Bette 13 years later.
Kit gives Melvin the letter she’s written to her son and leaves. I think she might actually have gotten through to the man — he’s speechless.
The open road — A cop stops Tim for speeding. Oh my god: is that the same cop that was in the squicky bathroom at the beginning of the episode? Tim tells him what has happened. When the cop finds out that Tim’s fiancée/wife slept with a woman, he gives a little speech:
Squicky cop: ”Do you ever watch pornography? You don’t have to answer that: we all do. You know, we spend our whole lives watching porn, and we never see the warning. But there it is. You know that scene where two women are gettin’ it on? Guy comes in, he’s all hard, you know he’s gonna give it to ‘em, he’s gonna fuck ‘em good. We think that’s what those chicks want, the meat… but you look closely next time. That’s not it. They’re having a good time without him. They’re going down on each other; they’re up in there, they’re licking everything, and a guy comes in, he’s ready to unload — that’s not what they want. They’ve got their eyes squinted up, like someone’s gonna pour gasoline on ‘em. There’s your warning. That’s why this country’s homosexuals are so dangerous. When you got two people, they got the same equipment, and they both know how to treat it, how can anybody of the opposite sex compete with that? That’s how they get ya.”
Geez, I guess Mustachioed Guy really gave good head.
Back in Tahoe, Jenny wakes up and looks for Tim. She eventually sees the ring on the table. She unrolls the piece of paper, but it’s blank.
NEXT WEEK ON THE L WORD: Tim confronts Marina; the sperm donor’s woman wants Tina’s baby; something goes wrong with the baby; Shane comes out as a girl.