The L Word Recaps: Episode 1 “Pilot”

Tim and Jenny’s house Jenny hears some voices from the backyard next door — Bette and Tina’s backyard. She sees some women get naked and then get into the pool: One of them is Shane the Virtuous. Soon they’re moaning and gasping. You know, that’s actually pretty realistic-looking. Usually when women have sex on film, it’s all kind of abstract and shadowy and you can’t figure out what’s going on and nobody really seems to be trying to touch anyone. If The L Word does nothing else for us, it will at least reveal to the world that sometimes, when they have sex, lesbians use their hands.

Jenny’s embarrassed, but she seemed to enjoy the show.

The doctor’s office — The doctor explains that insemination sometimes works better “if you’re aroused.” Bette makes a cute disbelieving face, but Tina thinks it would help, so Bette dives right in. But then Bette cracks up and babbles about how weird it all is. Tina just sort of nods in a way that says “Get down.” Ha ha! RandyTina is cute.

The doctor interrupts. Bette wipes her mouth and follows the doctor to a computer, which is displaying a disappointing picture of the artist’s soupy sperm. The doctor says, “That stuff wouldn’t get anyone pregnant.”

A grocery store — Jenny asks for an application; she wants to get a job as a cashier. She and Tim don’t seem to have much money, so how are they living next to Power Suit Bette and Ex Executive Tina? Yeah, I know, it’s cliché number 63: gay gentrification. Or maybe it’s just that the undesirable hetero element has moved in and is driving down property values.

The Planet — Tina explains to Alice and Dana that the artist’s sperm had “no motility.” Alice says “you’d never know it by the way the guy f—s.” Dana gets annoyed and asks Alice to choose, once and for all, between “dick and pussy.” Alice, of course, will not do so, and shouldn’t have to. But now we know that Bette used to swallow sperm and Alice still fucks guys — are all the straight male viewers comfortable now? Yeah? Good, let’s move on.

Marina (the one with the accent who was behind the counter at the beginning of the episode and made me lose my focus) sits down at the table and asks what’s wrong. The four of them hatch a plan to find a new donor while Tina’s egg is still implanted. Get it? Hatch?

Just as they’re discussing the ideal donor — strong, healthy, creative, handsome — Shane shows up. Dana says what we’re all thinking: “There’s always Shane.” But then she asks Shane why she has to dress “like that,” because everything about her “screams dyke.” Apparently Dana’s a tennis player and is scared of being outed. Good, I guess Bette and Tina did leave at least one cliché for the others. Anyway, Shane is nicer about it than she needs to be. Dana and Alice bicker a little, but then Jenny walks by and sort of looks in through the window. Dana says “hello” in a lecherous way; the others turn to look and then tell Dana she is “so gay.” She knows, she knows.

Tim and Jenny’s house — Jenny tells Tim all about the sexcapades in the pool, and it turns into a late-night Cinemax kind of thing.

The pool — Tim is a swim coach. His best swimmer, Trish, seems to have a crush on him. Is this supposed to be interesting?

The Planet — Dana asks the others what they think about butt waxing. Tina asks, “Who has hair on their butt?” Alice has an I-swallowed-the-canary look on her face and says, “At least I don’t anymore.” Just in time, the conversation switches to sperm donation, and I can’t believe I’m grateful for it. Apparently there’s going to be a big party, so Bette and Tina can find a better donor.

Now we go back to talking about hair: the topic is “bush confidence.” Trimming is essential. Hang on: Let me go write that down.

The neighborhood — Tina is gardening and offers Jenny some rosemary. They talk about writing and babies. Jenny is initially confused about how Tina can have a baby if she and Bette are a couple, but then Jenny recovers. Hey, don’t let it bother you: I didn’t really expect the ovulation talk either, or at least I don’t know that I would have if I hadn’t been reading about this show for months before it started because I’m a dork.

The street — Pam Grier! She’s pulled over by a cop. That was the shortest scene in TV history.

The sperm donor party — Alice quips that for lesbians, friendship is another word for foreplay. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if that were true for everyone?

Bette mentions that every time Shane walks into a room, some girl leaves crying. Enter candidate No. 1: Tammy Lynn Michaels, wondering why Shane didn’t call her the other night. (Tammy, I loved you when you played Nicole on Popular, and I’m glad my gaydar was right about you. But you should date Alice instead.) She storms out, not quite crying, but definitely not happy with Shane.

Tim and Jenny arrive. Everyone’s very gracious. Tim recognizes Dana and gushes about what a great player she is; Dana grabs her “date” for the evening and introduces him. He’s even gayer than she is, and he hopes Tim is too.

Some of the party guests decide to check out everyone’s fingers: If your ring finger is longer than your index finger, that’s supposed to mean you’re a lesbian. I went around checking that at work one day, but I don’t think anyone was very impressed. I pass the test, though, which is such a relief; otherwise, how could I be sure?

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