“The L Word” recap (2.9): “Late, Later, Latent”


  • Limits: What Dana tests and Carmen exceeds.
  • Pediculosis: Another way to say eww.
  • Amazing: What Bette and Tina redefine.
  • Somber: This episode. Cut the recapper some slack, will ya? It was hard to find the funny.

THIS WEEK’S GUEST-BIANS: Camryn Manheim dishes out more than anyone can take; Tony Goldwyn shows his hair of many colors (TM msgulp); Kelly Lynch curses the day she signed up for this.

Golden showers — Someone’s in the shower. That’s usually a good sign, but this person is getting out of the shower to pee. Yes, it’s Jenny, and apparently she points her toes while she pees. No, I don’t know why. But it gets worse: Carmen gets out of the shower too and says she has to pee, and Jenny says she’ll be just a sec. But Carmen’s impatient and also unsanitary, so she straddles Jenny and says “I want you to spread your legs,” and what happens next is not entirely clear. Either Carmen is fucking Jenny while Jenny pees, or Carmen is peeing while Jenny pees, and either one is just yuck. I think maybe it’s the latter, though I hate to say it.

Let this be a lesson to us all: always pee before you get in the shower. Even if you don’t think you have to go — make yourself try. It’s for the best.

Meanwhile, Mark’s standing outside the bathroom wondering what’s taking so long, ’cause he has to pee in a normal non-sexual way. And Shane is there to help, so she knocks on the door. No one answers, of course, so Shane barges in, and is as flabbergasted as you and I by the idea that two people would be anywhere near a toilet together. So she tells Mark to use the bushes, and I think I will too from now on. Unless Jenny is lurking in them.

A sad attempt at filmmaking — Mark is showing his footage to the producer dude (or whatever you call the hack who funds a film called “Wild Women of Encino”). Mark’s “documentary” is called A Compendium of Lesbianism (Volume I), and it takes everything out of context and makes it look stupid. The only good part is when Dana and Alice stare at the camera and Dana says “I’m Dana. Fairbanks.” and Alice is wearing those glasses. Dana tries to introduce Alice, but stumbles over Alice’s last name. Hee! And then Alice says, “I don’t miss it. No, there’s ways and things. Ha ha.” Dana hides in embarrassment. Cuteness.

Carmen de la Pica Morales also gives her life story, or at least the story of her first love, whom of course she stole from a guy. It’s kinda trite.

The hack producer doesn’t like Mark’s attempt at artistry and threatens him with breach of contract because the contract calls for pussy, not anthropology. Cut.

The happy orange bed — Alice wants to know whether Dana’s thought about it yet. You know, IT. “Oh, you mean the sex toys,” says Dana, as Alice takes off Dana’s boots and socks in a slow sexy way.

Dana: “Can I ask you something?”
Alice: “Yeah. Ask away.” [slides Dana towards her in that reverse-plow-like maneuver]
Dana: “Is it a bisexual thing? You tryin’ to have your cake and eat your pussy too?”
Alice: “No. It’s not a bisexual thing.”
Dana: “Okay, good. Because wait, I don’t want to do that with you. I mean, if you’re trying to make me into a man because you think that there’s something missing, then I want you to go ahead—”
Alice: “Dana. Many bona fide lesbians find strapping it on the ultimate way of fucking. And I think it would be really hot for you to fuck me like that. Okay?”

Yo. I find it really hot for Alice to be kind of undulating while she says this stuff. Leisha, you’ve seen that scribegrrrl@afterellen.com link at some point, I presume? And you’re waiting for what, exactly?

Helena’s boudoir — Helena is on the phone, asking Winnie why she thinks any judge would give her the kids when they’ve got the option of being with their Hellishly rich mum who can give them oh so many opportunities and oh so much priggish pompousness. (The last part was me again.)

Tina’s in bed, waking up and not exactly enjoying the cacophony of Helena’s strident barking. I think I just saw an eye roll.

For those of you who think I enjoy tank tops in all forms, I submit that Helena’s tank top does nothing for me. Well, not “nothing” — more like “nausea.”

Helena wakes Tina up and asks how she is. Tina says she’s looking forward to the ultrasound, and of course Helena wants to know what time she should pick Tina up. But no, Tina’s going with Bette, so Helena has to pretend that’s fine and then suggests that Tina come by afterwards. But the ultrasound is close to Tina’s apartment, so why doesn’t Helena just go by there? Hmm, humm, okay, says Helena the snob.

A photo shoot — Shane doesn’t know why she’s there. Someone has hired her. The assistant/handler/whomever says, well, “The story’s about the most powerful women in Hollywood.” Yes, that spells Veronica Bloom, who’s screaming at yet another unfortunate lackey.

The Planet — Kit is talking about T.O.E. jam dude again. He’s going to arrive tomorrow, check in at the hotel, and then do his thang, which, if I remember right, consists of very bad kissing and flopping on top of the nearest gorgeous woman. Next time Kit should bring a decoy along.

Bette: “So he’s not staying with you?”
Kit: “Um…”
Bette: “Because his wife —”
Kit: “Well, it’s not like she’s gonna find out, but he’s just… [seeing Bette’s expression] what?”
Bette: “I just — I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
Kit: “I’m not gonna get hurt. I knew going in what the deal was, and I’m fine with that. Oh, you think I’m a fuck-up, don’t you?”
Bette: “No, I do not.”
Kit: “Yes you do, yes you do.”
Bette: “I don’t. I think you’re amazing. I see how you’ve turned your life around, and I’m… really, I’m in awe of how together you are these days. I just know the situation, and no matter what, I mean, there’s always someone who gets hurt. And I just don’t want it to be you.”

But it’s okay if it’s me? Because, hey, forget the carpenter or Tina or whomever — I’m the one whose heart you’re breaking, Bette Porter. And yet not, because I really, really like it when you take pleasure in a holding cell wall or an office fuck or a twink at the bar or whatever the hell turns your rudder.

Kit says Benjamin’s not even on tour; he’s just there to see her, and Lara is preparing a fab dinner from some hapless Maine lobsters. Why does she say “Lara” like it rhymes with “Sara”? And why can’t we see the talented soup chef instead of talking about her?

Bette gets up to go to the ultrasound, and Kit asks for “one of those x-ray pictures of the baby.” Yeah, let’s get one of those and use it instead of the weird pictures during the theme song — and let’s even replace the theme song with the incoherent thrub-thrub of the baby’s heartbeat. Please.

Powerful women — Veronica Bloom is kind of in drag, which doesn’t displease me. Shane still doesn’t know why she’s there — she says “Don’t fuck with me, Veronica,” but Veronica thinks she’s just seeing Shane’s potential and giving her a chance.

Veronica: “Did I underestimate you, Shane? Or did I just mistake you for a person of substance?”
Shane: “No. I think you mistook me for one of your little tricks who would let you slap her around and be grateful for the privilege of taking your shit.”
Veronica: “Are we getting to some core issues, Shane? Poor Shane!”
Shane: “Fuck you.”

Ah. Ah hahahahahaha, all around.

But Veronica thinks maybe she’s right, that Shane really is “better than this life you’re living.” Shane gives a speech about not having any mojo or magic or whatever, so Veronica says, “then why don’t you do my fucking hair?”

Again I can only say hahaha.

A not-quite-meeting of the minds — Charlotte thinks Jenny is still the right ghost writer for Burr (Tony Goldwyn). Jenny’s wearing some sort of spotted faux fur (I do hope it’s faux), and Charlotte has already had at least one drink. Drink up, Charlotte! You’re going to need it if you’re going to spread-eagle Jenny against a wall like I want you to.

Charlotte asks for another drink: “more twist, less ice,” and I still bow to the divinity of Sandra. Hey, Leisha, why don’t you get Sandra to e-mail me too? Better yet, interview each other and upload it to sho.com. Interview each other in a trailer and then make a music video of it. And make a puppet show and put it on the season 2 DVD extras. Showtime will take whatever they can get, as long as it’s devoid of substance.

Charlotte explains why Jenny and Burr are perfect for each other:

Charlotte: “You are a compulsive excavator of your own emotional navel lint.”

Holy fucking evanescent evisceration. I could not have said that better myself, Ms. Bernhard.

But then Charlotte goes too far, telling Jenny she’s a “nit-picking obsessive truth-teller. And Burr could stand a bit of literary pediculosis.”

Eww! Almost grosser than the toilet weirdness. Jenny says “ew” too, which makes me giggle.

Charlotte: “Hmm. Did that hit a little too close to home? Are we self-loathing body mutilators as well?”
Jenny: “Of course.”
Charlotte: “I can’t wait to read about that in one of your stories. I hope you’re not a cutter.”

This reminds me: there’s a prefrenchious movie called In My Skin that haunts me every day. Don’t see it.

Jenny just snickers at Charlotte, because we all know that Charlotte’s kind of flirting. And then Charlotte gets serious and says Jenny really must work with Burr, because Jenny has a gift for telling the details of a life lived. Even if they are the details of a homophobe.

The sex toy shop — Dana and Alice are shopping. Well, Alice is shopping, and Dana is sorta wearing shades and pretending she’s not really there. An over-helpful salesperson shows up and starts talking about diameters and realism, which are two rather important things to consider in dildo-land. Alice notices a double-ended vibrator. The salesperson says those are very popular, but it isn’t quite right:

Alice: “No?”
Dana: “No.”
Alice: “Yeah, I kinda want you to… you know?”
Dana: “Yeah.”
Alice: “Anyway.”

And the Emmy for saying the most while saying so very little goes to…

The salesperson continues to point out the options, which have names like King Kong and Randy, and come in many colors, including hot pink (Alice’s ears perk up) and combination marble swirl and disco glitter (ooh! says Dana, though I’m not sure whether she likes the marble or the glitter). And some of them even come in camouflage:

Dana: “In case you’re screwing in a war zone.”

Alice and Dana both agree that the ones that come with hairy balls are “just wrong.” Dana picks up a butt plug and does a Fonzie thumbs-up heeeeyyyy thing, until the salesperson tells her it’s a butt plug. It’s a whole new world for Dana.

Salesperson: “If you use [the butt plug] with a harness, you can detach the dildo, and leave the butt plug inside while you do other things.”
Dana: “What, like the dishes?”

And then it’s time to talk about lube, but Alice thinks she’s allergic to the kind the salesperson offers. This bugs Dana, who wants to know what Alice hasn’t done. Alice says “I haven’t done lots of things. I wanna do them with you.” Awww! Romance amongst the silicone!

But it’s short-lived: a couple of customers come in, and Dana recognizes one of them, so she turns up her collar and puts on her sunglasses, while Alice goes off to browse the cock rings.

I can’t make fun of this: it’s too cute and funny and I still adore these two together.

The ultrasound — Bette and Tina are all smiles and sweetness. Bette says, “Oh, it’s like she’s waving at us! Look!” And then Bette takes Tina’s hand and I am all smiles and sweetness myself.

Emotional navel lint — Jenny doesn’t like the idea of Burr “tolerating” her because it implies that there’s something unacceptable about being gay. Burr says it’s perfectly acceptable for “a girl these days,” but still a problem for men. Charlotte says nobody gives a shit anymore, and hints that Burr has nothing to lose. Burr says he’s only speaking hypothetically, and threatens Sandra with a lawsuit. Burr tells Charlotte to fuck off (in a friendly way, of course), and gives her a smooch, and leaves. Aww. Aren’t friendships between self-involved elitists just so adorable?

Jenny follows Burr out to the sidewalk and tells him she agrees with him about the double standard. He appreciates this, and also enjoys it when Jenny says Charlotte is an asshole and is not god. Unfortunately, Charlotte is right behind her: “I wouldn’t be so sure about that, Jenny.”

C’mon, Charlotte, throw her over your shoulder and take her to your lair! Jenny’s already wearing the leopard skin, so you can play Tarzan and swing from the chandelier.

Anyway, Jenny has the best response when she realizes Charlotte is right there: she just says “faaahhkk” in that great way of hers. Burr tells Jenny to come over the next day and get to ghost writing.

The refrigerator of love — Bette is helping Tina put away the groceries. They’re both all gooey and grinny as they talk about the ultrasound. And then Tina says “come here,” and we’re off!

I won’t give you a play-by-play because it just can’t approximate the beautiful stuff on the screen. The kisses are simply divine, and Bette’s tongue is making me weak in the knees. Tina cradles Bette’s breasts (no, we don’t quite get to see them) as if she’s thinking she’s the luckiest woman alive. And the most wonderful song accompanies them: Heart’s “No Other Love” (and trust me, you haven’t lived if you haven’t been to a Heart concert). When Bette kisses Tina’s stomach, I actually get a little teary-eyed, but then I just get bug-eyed as they proceed to have the hottest sex I’ve ever seen on my TV. And don’t even ask me how fantastic Bette’s ass is.

It’s delicious and heartbreaking — heartbreaking because I don’t know if it really means a reunion… but it certainly meant a very enjoyable evening for me.

And you know what was really great about all of that? No poltergeist. No regurgitated theme song. Just quiet voices and whispers and Heart (both the band and the other thing).

A haircut — Shane is giving Mark a dykey haircut while Mark rambles on about almost asking Shane to hook him up with Veronica Bloom (for film purposes only) before everything went to hell. Just before I start to get pissed off at the fact that this scene is following the hot sex, there’s a knock at the door. Speaking of hot sex, it’s Carmen. (Well, hot unless you’re near a toilet.)

Shane says Jenny’s at work, but Carmen’s there to see Shane. So Mark runs off to watch the scene unfold on the hidden camera. Or he would run, if his jeans weren’t practically down around his ankles. Get a proper belt, dummy.

Shane admits that she’s having a hard time with the Carmen/Jenny stuff, and it gets too serious:

Carmen: “I know how hard you work to keep yourself at a distance from everyone else on the planet, but it’s not working for you anymore.”

Carmen talks about the “this” between her and Shane — that thing that flows between two people that’s almost tangible (or at least that’s what I think she’s talking about). And Carmen says she and Jenny are just biding their time until the real deal comes along.

Shane: “You don’t think you and Jenny are the real deal?”
Carmen: “No. Jenny wouldn’t know what the real deal was if it bit her in the ass. She is so lost in her own darkness. I think she likes it in there.”

Hey. That’s not nice. Not even to Jenny.

So Carmen insists that she and Shane have had the real deal since the first time they laid eyes on each other, and Shane just kind of nods. Carmen keeps babbling, offering a lot of platitudes and hallmarky stuff.

More heartbreak — As Bette leaves Tina’s apartment, they agree that the ultra hot sex doesn’t mean they’re back together. Okay, as long as we’re not ruling out more ultra hot sex.

But Tina’s gone insane: she says “let’s not let it mess everything up.” Mess what up? The friendly co-parenting? Bette has a look on her face that says “fuck that,” but she goes because she’s being strong and cool like that.

Moments later, Helena shows up. Did she and Bette pass each other on the sidewalk? And did Bette stick out a graceful foot and trip Helena, and then wrench the aforementioned foot right up Helena’s ass? Why didn’t we get to see that scene?

Tina pretty much attacks Helena, and says “I want to fuck” umpteen times, and it’s enough to freak even Helena out. Tina thinks maybe Helena just doesn’t like Tina’s apartment, or needs to be in control all the time, but I think maybe anybody would feel the need to be in control when faced with a frenzied postcoital pregnant Tina.

Then Tina starts to go on about Helena needing an audience, and screams out the doors to tell the neighbors they’re about to have sex and everyone’s invited to watch. The way she’s hollering reminds me so much of Randy Dean in The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, it makes me giggle. But it’s really kinda sad, because, as Helena says, this seems to be a case of hormones raging out of control.

Helena finally goes, which is not cool, because Tina probably doesn’t really need to be alone right now. But the one she probably needs has left the building.

Therapy — Bette is telling that icky Foxworthy dude about the hot sex, and is wondering whether the friendship she was forging with Tina is now all fucked up, and what it all means.

Bette: “I don’t think it means she wants to get back together with me.”
Foxworthless: “Do you want to be back together with her?”
Bette: [long pause and pained look] “I don’t know.”

Yeah. That was the right answer, Bette, and not just because I think you should come over to my house tonight.

Foxworthless: “How did it feel, having sex with her?”
Bette: “It was fucking amazing. It was just fucking amazing. It was like all of the reasons that we fell apart just disappeared, and it was like I had… it was like I had my life back for just one second… and it was also really sad.”
Foxworthless: “Sad. How so?”
Bette: “Because I’ve lost her. Because we don’t… well, like she doesn’t belong to me anymore. Like I could feel someone else had been touching her and making love to her, and I felt that other person, and I felt her connection to that other person, you know? And she did things that we had never done together, and it was like she was so… free.”

And Bette admits that she always treated Tina gingerly, and that Tina’s not even a little bit fragile now, and it was all kind of shocking. And of course she knows that’s a good thing: “it just means she doesn’t need me anymore.”

Sigh. First of all, how fucking amazing is Jennifer Beals? No, whatever you said, it’s not enough: she’s even more amazing than that.

Second, I don’t think Bette and Tina are ready to be back together yet. Again, that’s not just because Bette is moving in with me tomorrow.

Mistress of her domain — There’s Dana. She’s in the sunglasses again, but she’s walking tall, going right into the sex toy shop to stare down the dildos and wrangle them into submission. Get ready, Alice: it’s gonna be a bumpy night! And I mean that in the good way. I don’t know whether I’m jealous of Dana or Alice. Perhaps I should grab a few of my own favorite silicone friends and make myself comfortable on that big happy orange bed.

Mark’s studio — Jenny needs the Burr Connor DVDs that Mark borrowed. He’s not home, but she doesn’t care: she goes right in and snoops. She finds a tape labeled “Shane/Carmen love confession” and can’t resist.

The C.A.C. of Helena’s iron fist — Bette and someone else are looking at art and talking about art and doing other arty things. Helena swaggers in, offering money as usual, saying that she doesn’t want money to be a deciding factor on any creative decision. What? But you do want money to be a deciding factor on everything else, right? Like, I dunno, sex, and houses, and children? But not art. Gotcha.

Bette, who is wearing that foxy suspendered outfit we’ve been seeing in the promos right before the episodes air, doesn’t want to show Helena the budget without showing it to the whole board. Actually, she probably doesn’t want to show Helena anything, despite yet another plunging neckline that highlights her assets.

But Helena refuses to play nice, so she just sits and says “I’m just going to sit here and listen for a while.” It’s okay, Bette: just stand there and look amazing. It’s enough.

The studio of cruelty — Jenny’s watching the tape and hearing Carmen say that stuff about not knowing the real deal and about being lost in her own darkness. I know Jenny shouldn’t complain — after all, she didn’t have to watch the damn thing — but I still feel kinda sorry for her. It’s a horrible thing to say, that someone wouldn’t recognize love. Love is one of those fundamental things; we all know how to feel it, and how to express it, and how to hope it lasts forever. Even Jenny. Even goddamn fucking Mark.

Sorry. For a minute there, I almost evanesced.

Blah blah — Helena calls Tina and commands her to come over to the beach house tonight.

Tina: “Are you sure you wanna see me? What if I have some sort of hormonal fit?”

Haha! Tina also says Helena needs to understand that Tina’s not a toy or a raging hormonal lunatic. Oh, Tina. If we’re going to start with what Helena needs to understand, we’d better back up to basic things like “people are people” and “money can’t buy you love.” I don’t think there’s a school for this stuff.

But Tina agrees to see Helena anyway. Terrific.

Kickboxing or whatever — Burr is working out, and I suspect it’s supposed to be homoerotic, but it’s just homoboring.

Jenny is sorta watching, but mostly crying. Burr realizes something’s wrong, and gives her a hug, despite her silly protests that everything’s fine and she really just has such bad hayfever. Okay, Burr, that’s kinda cool of you.

Setting the scene — Kit is trying to make everything perfect for Benjamin. But surprise, surprise, her cell phone rings — Benjamin’s got some sort of family thing going on. Kit eyes the nearby bottle of wine, when she really ought to be eyeing that assistant/server/whatever who’s helping her prepare the dinner.

What’s cooking — Helena’s preparing a feast. Tina has brought flowers, and is impressed that Helena’s got such mad culinary skills. Helena offers Tina a sip of wine, and before all you puritanical Americans freak out, please keep in mind that a sip of wine is perfectly routine among pregnant Brits and Europeans, and they don’t seem to have had many bad results. Well, not counting Helena, of course.

But I’ll give Helena props for trying to boost Tina’s self-esteem: Tina protests when Helena starts to give her a foot massage, because she doesn’t “deserve it.” Helena says that’s the wrong way to think about it: Tina should be thinking she’s entitled to it.

Yeah, okay. She’s also apparently entitled to uber hot Bette sex, so I don’t care what you might do to her feet. It’s just not going to compare.

An AA meeting — Ivan — hey Ivan! — is leading a group. Kit shows up and tells her story about being stood up and wanting the wine, and really just wanting someone who will listen. Ivan’s eyes say something between yes and no.

Good job, though, Kit, for fighting off the demons again.

A strip club of some sort — Ivan takes Kit to a sizzly scene, and sees his “gal,” Iris, who’s a dancer. Kit’s immediately jealous. But she sits with Ivan and Iris (Ivan and Iris? funny) anyway. Ivan explains that Kit owns The Planet. Iris says that Ivan’s tried to take her there a few times, but it’s just not her scene. Kit has already heard enough:

Kit: “Well, maybe you shouldn’t pass judgment before you’ve been there.”

Yeah! But I have to clap for Iris too, who says she doesn’t hang out with lesbians because it’s “too much drama.” Word.

Iris also reveals that she and Ivan started seeing each other about five years ago. This really gets Kit, of course, because Ivan was “doin’ miss thing and trying to romance me.”

Ivan: “We never discussed monogamy, okay? We didn’t get that far. But if we had, I would’ve explained to you that it just doesn’t work for me.”
Kit: “And I woulda told you to fuck off.”

Yeehaw, Kit is in the hay-ouse! But Ivan points out that Kit is seeing a married man, which is kinda fair. Kit gets too disgusted and has to leave.

Okay. Let’s discuss. (1) That was a really crappy way to write Ivan out of the show, and (2) I like the fact that Ivan’s girlfriend isn’t necessarily a lesbian. I don’t know why she should be — Ivan clearly identifies as a man, so why not date straight women? This is why it could have worked with Kit. Sigh.

Burr blah blah — Jenny cries about Carmen while Burr blubbers and reveals his homo-ness. I know it’s hard to believe that something could be more boring than the Mark stuff (or sometimes the Shane stuff), but this really is. And Tony seems maybe a bit drunk, or perhaps that’s just his way of seeming emotional.

Overcompensating — After I wake up from the little nap induced by that Burr scene, I sorta wish I hadn’t. Helena is showing Tina the new rooms for the kids, and there’s an extra room: one for Tina’s kid. It’s “dazzling,” according to Tina, and it is, but it’s also a bit too perfect. And Tina’s not ready to have a room in Helena’s house — even though Helena says there’s no pressure.

The better room — Bette is fixing up a room for the baby too, and there’s the mobile from the cute artist, and it’s all just enough love and attention to make the room seem nice without overdoing it. Guess who I vote for?

A great ride — Dana is in the bathroom, getting ready for her evening o’ love. She has told Alice it’s a fashion show, and Alice has no idea what’s up — she hears Dana fall with a thud at one point, and wonders if this is “one of those Miu Miu things where you don’t know where the straps go.” Straps, indeed:

Dana: “Sort of.”

And then Dana emerges, begging Alice not to laugh. We don’t get to see much but the straps, and the look on Alice’s face as she says “Fuck. Who’s laughing?” in a completely lascivious way and pulls Dana onto the bed. Right on.

A final thought — Yeah, the peeing at the beginning was yuck. But tell me this: do you want a show that veers into yuck once in a while, or do you want a show that plays it safe? I vote for the former. And I still say that as long as it’s not hurting anyone (and maybe as long as I don’t have to watch), more power to them. Free your mind and express yourself and vogue and do the hustle and all o’ that. And infest yourself with literary pediculosis if you must.

NEXT WEEK ON THE L WORD: Bette confronts her dad; Kit’s hair is straight; Alice and Dana ride the Love Boat; Jenny thinks Mark’s “art” sucks.