The L Word Recaps 4.11 “Literary License to Kill”

Max’s exit — Another presentation is underway. This one looks like the opposite of satellites and spaceships; it’s somewhere on the level of Legos and Lincoln Logs. And maybe even Lite Brite: Remember those translucent plastic pieces and the blueprint-y piece of paper you punched out? No? God, I’m so old.

Max marches back into the meeting room and says he’s just there to say goodbye. He shakes several hands and thanks his co-workers for everything they’ve taught him.

Max: [to his boss] I wish you continued success. Give my best to your wife and your kid.

I get that you’re trying to shame them and kill them with kindness, Max, but it’s not really working for me. I wish you’d stayed there and made them fire you, and then sued them for all their satellites and Legos. You could have at least dropped an F bomb on your way out — or changed everybody’s home page to

Phyllis’ office — Phyllis is still devouring Lez Girls. Come on: Even if the book is fantastic, doesn’t she have better things to do? Does anyone on this show actually work for a living? With the exception of Max, of course, who has managed to discover new galaxies while Shane is rummaging in Dumpsters for hats.

Leonard says he’s there to congratulate Phyllis for once again taking the old "conventional heterosexual paradigm" and turning it on its ear. He thought he was supposed to be the one who had a midlife crisis and slept with a "sassy little girl" half his age.

Phyllis: Alice is not half my age.

Let’s not comment on that one, Leonard. Oops, you just chortled. Oh, well.

I don’t get this: Leonard is offering to take Phyllis back and is denying that she’s a lesbian, but I thought he was cooler than that. I guess I’m confusing acting ability with character likability — but really, can you blame me? Bruce Davison is an oasis in a Sea of desolate, desertlike Danielas.

There are a few good lines in the squabble, like when Leonard admits that Phyllis might have lesbian tendencies.

Phyllis: What is a lesbian tendency? Can you explain that to me?
Leonard: Well, you know. Every time we’ve seen a movie in the last 20 years — "Oh, I love Salma Hayek, you know, she really turns me on."

You and me and everybody else, Phyllis. The world mourns, laments and beweeps her straightification.

Leonard gets mean and says it’s a little late in the game for Phyllis.

Leonard: You’re 58 years old —
Phyllis: I am not 58. I’m 56!
Leonard: Oh, look at your driver’s license.
Phyllis: Well, you look in the mirror, Leonard.
Leonard: I am a man!

Whoa. I hate that (a) that does make a difference and (b) Leonard just said so. Go away, Bruce: I’m over you. Also, Phyllis, I’m kind of sad that you’re too Botoxed to sufficiently raise your eyebrows in response to Leonard’s effrontery. I can see them struggling to arch archly, but they just sort of whimper instead.

But then Phyllis reads Leonard the riot grrrl act:

Phyllis: Do you think you’re actually going to get me to come back to you by insulting me and exalting yourself? I don’t care if I never had a lover for the rest of my life. My life is going to be so wonderful because I know who I am and I’m being honest with myself. Don’t you get it?

Nah, he doesn’t. But I’m glad you do, Phyllis.

Priorities — Bette is going over her schedule with James. There are expense reimbursements and thesis reviews and conference calls — oh, my — but Bette just wants to read Lez Girls.

Some gray-haired guy in an argyle sweater vest (sorry, all these academics look alike to me) interrupts and says attendance is going to skyrocket because of Bette’s infamy-by-novel. He says, "Way to go, ‘Bev.’"

Really? You mean Jenny’s book is sweeping the nation? She’s a household name? An overnight sensation?

Bette: So f—ing unacceptable.

My thoughts exactly, Bev.

In a fit of inspiration, or perhaps desperation, Bette calls Tina.

Bette: I’m sitting here with Jenny’s little f—ing tome.

I can’t even express the disgust with which she says that. It’s like she said she’s sitting there with a dead rat in her lap, which I guess is not terribly different.

Bette wants to know why Tina didn’t warn her about it. Tina reminds Bette that she’s the one who said it was fluff and "frivolous entertainment." Touché, Tina. She encourages Bette to see Bev as a character and stop personalizing the whole thing. Have you met Bette, Tina? She could personalize the Kyoto Protocol. She probably has; does she drive a hybrid?

We’re only getting Tina’s side of the conversation at the moment, but it’s a pretty funny side:

Tina: No, no. Look, no, you’re not narcissistic. You’re just a little bit of a control freak. But you know what? It’s endearing. It’s endearing.

Aww. It totally is.

Tina has to go; she’s at the Planet, about to have lunch with "her" director.

Bette: Oh, you mean Kate Arden? You’re having lunch with Kate Arden? Enjoy yourself.

Bette hangs up. Tina laughs in exasperation, which is quickly replaced with appreciation — from Kate, who candidly admires Tina’s suit as she struts toward the table. I agree: It’s a good look. And Tina’s coy expression reveals that she was definitely dressing for Kate.

Kate has brought along her manager, Larry Kennar. No, not Kennard, which is Tina’s last name: There’s no "d" in Larry’s last name. Tina doesn’t even seem to blink. Again, another missed opportunity for comedy. Kennar? No, Kennard. Kennard? No, Kennar. Seltzer? No, salsa.

(Larry Kennar, by the way, is an executive producer of The L Word. So much meta, so little substance-a.)

The upshot of the meeting is simple yet profound: Jenny sucks. That is, her screenwriting sucks, because a novelist (if she is that) shouldn’t be assumed to know the first thing about screenwriting.

Larry: She doesn’t think visually; she doesn’t know structure; all of her characters speak their subtext and she writes page after page of description that just has nothing to do with moving the story forward.

Heh. OK, Kennar: You can stop by anytime. But Tina doesn’t like you, because you’ve seen script pages even though she hasn’t. Larry starts to push for Kate to write the thing, but Kate insists she’s not angling for that. Try again, Kate: We all know you’re fishing for something.

Kate: I like Jenny.
Tina: Yeah, well, I think Jenny likes you, too.

Uh-oh. You don’t want to get sucked into that vortex, Kate: So far Jenny’s exes haven’t exactly fared well. And don’t even get me started on her pets. But it doesn’t matter, because Kate’s got her eye on someone else:

Kate: [to Tina] I love working with you. You know? I think we could do, uh, great things together.

Eww. Larry, could you please tell Kate to stop speaking her subtext?

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