The L Word Recaps 4.7 “Lesson Number One”


An Army base – Alice is charming her way into Tasha’s office by chatting up the cartoonishly stony-faced guard at the gate. When Alice finally makes her way to Tasha’s spartan office, however, Tasha is less than charmed. But she listens while Alice says her piece:

Alice: I wanted to tell you, uh, that I really like you.

Tasha: So you drove all the way from L.A. to Los Alamitos, talked your way onto a military base to tell me you really like me.

Alice: Yeah. I wanted you to know that you’re not a portal to me.

Tasha: Oh, my. Portal. What the f—, did Papi talk to you?

Alice: It doesn’t matter. Because I talk about portals all the time on my radio show; everybody knows about it. I just, you know, I didn’t want it to come back and bite me in the ass with you. So. I didn’t want you to think that you were my foray into the land of hot Army chicks.

Tasha: Yeah, hot black Army chicks.

Alice: Are you black?

Tasha finally laughs at that. Ah, a beautiful, smiling woman in uniform: What’s not to love?

Tasha asks Alice if she’s ready for a mission. Alice salutes in her adorkable way and follows Tasha out.

Tasha: And you don’t salute indoors.

Alice: Oh.

Leisha, you continue to have impeccable comic timing. A simple "oh" is as funny as a thousand words from any of the other wannabes who hang around you.

But what’s with the costumers? Why are they making you look like (as my girl says in the podcast) an Andrews Sister?

Tasha introduces Alice to some helicopter pilots. One of them hands Alice some ear protection: It seems Alice is going up.

Dressing the part – Helena is trying to find the perfect outfit for her sordid encounter with Catherine Rothberg. She tries on dress after dress after dress – "Too public schoolgirl. Too Sound of Music." – then settles on something that says, "I’m here to do what you want, but I still have my self-respect."

That should have been fun. It was sort of meh. But you do have nice arms, Helena. Unemployment agrees with you.

The "ask and tell" helicopter – Tasha does something that seems very unsafe: She takes Alice’s hand. Alice looks like she’s ready to jump out of the helicopter, but the pilot says, "Don’t worry. We’re all family up here."

Alice: Ahhhh kay. Tricky soldiers! Yeah, I see it now.

Tasha tells her not to try the hand-holding anyplace else on the base.

So they go flying over SoCal, which is not the prettiest vista in the world. But Tasha seems to think Alice’s face is lovely.

The indecent, or maybe indifferent, proposal – Helena has arrived to pay her debt. Catherine reveals that the game tonight is not poker: It’s strip gin rummy. "If you win, I’ll consider your debt paid in full. But if you lose, you pay up."

Helena just sighs. Where is the tension? Where is the excitement? Why am I bored?

Another ride – Tasha has just taken Alice for a quick spin on her motorcycle. She leans Alice up against her Mini and they kiss.

Alice reaches for the buttons on Tasha’s uniform and asks whether she lives nearby, but Tasha still wants to take it slow.

Tasha: Look, I know this might not make a lot of sense the way you roll, but I’m just coming from a place where I really need to be sure.

It’s sweet. And hot. Alice suggests they go on a date. Sweet!

Gin – Helena is nearly naked, having apparently lost a few hands already. Catherine admits she’s making up the rules as they go along: "Would you rather f— me now?" But Helena continues to play the oddly boring game.

I’m so confused. There are naked women on my TV, but they might as well be pickled cactuses, for all the thrill I’m getting out of it.

Helena eventually wins the game. And then she steps behind Catherine and tells her to sit down. Things start to perk up – oh, fine, end the scene before they even have sex. I don’t even play cards and I feel like I’ve just drawn dead.

The in-school special – Paige and Shane are talking to the kids about Why You Shouldn’t Think Gay Is a Bad Word. Did I accidentally switch over to Lifetime? The scene actually starts like this: "So now we’re gonna talk about tolerance. Now, who here can tell me what tolerance means?"

Before they can get too far into the discussion, a concerned parent stands up and says they shouldn’t get too detailed because there are tender ears in the room. Some other guy stands up and says they don’t need to hear about the "gay lifestyle."

It’s difficult to capture the inanity of this. There’s an outburst from Jared, forced laughter from the other kids and a heartfelt testimonial from Shay – "My sister is gay." I have my own outburst, laughter, and testimonial, in the form of an eye-roll, a pained grimace and a blue streak of cursing.

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