The L Word Recaps 4.7 “Lesson Number One”

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Phyllis’ house – Bette and Jodi try to console Phyllis, but they’re really too busy gazing into each other’s eyes to be good listeners. Also, Jodi, nobody really needs to hear an Alice Walker quote (the one that says you can’t have an open heart until you’ve broken your heart, blah blah) at a time like this. Bette finds it fascinating, though.

While Cybill chews the scenery (and some Baskin Robbins), Bette and Jodi tell their stories of their coming-out affairs. Bette’s first lover was Phoebe, a Yale drama student. She takes herself back to that heady time:

Bette: "She’s f—ing brilliant; she’s gorgeous. We talk intensely about art and theater and semiotics and race."

Right. I am officially out of your league, Bette, because even when I was a navel-gazey college student, I didn’t try to seduce women with semiotics. "Oh, baby, let me be the signified to your signifier."

But OK, I’ll bite: If the reference to semiotics is supposed to make us think about sign language, I guess that’s sort of interesting. It’s definitely sexy, the way Bette has become a sign language prodigy and is embracing the whole thing. And in exploring this new kind of abstraction, she’s simultaneously getting back in touch with her body – but now I’m rolling my eyes at my own pomposity and would rather join Phyllis on the couch for some ice cream and bourbon.

Back to Bette’s story: She got drunk with Phoebe and they stayed in bed for three days. Bette was ready to dedicate her life to building sets and changing the world through theater, but then Phoebe’s ex came back to claim her. Oh, Bette. Only you would have a coming-out drama that’s actually about a drama student. How meta.

Alice’s gold mine – Max is helping Alice with her tech problems. He says he’s going to go into the server and check her "weblog history." Blah. I guess you mean web server log, but whatever you mean, I don’t know how you ended up with your own office at work. What’s your title? Jargon Misuser? Vocabularifyicationator?

Alice thanks Max for his help. Jenny says, "Thank me, I was the one who called him!" Jenny. Could you be more solipsistic? Did you also call the sun this morning and say "Hey, we’re gonna need you to rise again this morning, OK? Oh, and oxygen, could you make sure you float around in the air a little bit today? Thanks, guys. I really appreciate all you’ve done for me."

Max says he needed to get out of the office anyway. Helena reminds him that they can’t fire him, but he says they can make his life miserable.

Max pulls up some usage statistics for OurChart. He’s amazed: The site has had 40,000 hits in the last hour; that’s why it keeps crashing. Jenny makes a shocked face as if she actually understands what that means. Max, whatever: like anybody talks about "hits" anymore.

Alice says she should just sell it; she’s been offered 10 grand. Max says her site is worth 10 times more than that. "One hundred thousand dollars?" asks Jenny, proving she can do rudimentary math. Max starts to talk about social networking and streaming video and blogs and instant messaging, and offers to help Alice out: "It’s what I do."

Kit stops by just in time to hear the news:

Alice: Kit, Max is gonna help me become an Internet mogul.

Kit: I got a couple o’ Bill Gateseseseseses. Don’t forget it started right here at the Planet, and do not forget my black ass when y’all get rich.

Somebody check: Is there a horn player nearby? Because Kit seems to be out of her mind at the moment, not to mention almost out of her shirt.

Papi saunters up. Jenny gives her all the credit for the success of OurChart, but Papi says, "I got enough flak for that s— today."

Aaaand … ? That’s all? Does it feel like there are a lot of abruptly ended scenes in this episode, or is it just me? I guess last week’s perfectly paced episode spoiled me a little. Come back, Angela Robinson!

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