“The L Word” Recaps: Episode 5.12 “Loyal and True”

Jodi’s big show — The curator welcomes Bette to the show at the Hammer.

Curator: Bette. I’m so relieved you came. After Jodi told me what the piece was about …

But before Bette can hear the rest of that sentence, someone interrupts. Oh, boy.

The rest of the gang mills around, talking about the wrap party. Shane doesn’t want to go to that, out of loyalty to Jenny. But Jenny insists that she go.

Jodi greets Alice, Tasha, Max, Tom, Jenny and Kit — and then promptly walks away when Bette shows up and tries to join the conversation. Why did that seem like a good idea to you, Bette? Salt, wound? Heard of them?

Side note: Isn’t Max cute in his suspenders?

Nearby, Phyllis pulls Shane aside to have a talk with her. They go into an artsy room with doorknobs that lead to nowhere; it’s sort of like Willy Wonka’s factory, only much less fun. (But I love the way Shane immediately plays with the art.)

Phyllis finds about 18 ways to tell Shane she’s not worthy of Molly.

Phyllis: Bette says you’re not the kind of person any caring mother would want her daughter to have a relationship with.
Shane: I don’t buy it. Bette would never say it.

I don’t either. But Phyllis says Alice has also told a few Shane stories, including the one about the wedding that wasn’t.

Phyllis: Are you gonna throw Molly away like a piece of garbage?
Shane: No.

Phyllis: How do you know? How can you be sure you’re not gonna find someone else you can’t keep it in your pants around?
Shane: Phyllis. You know that is not fair to say, because no one knows that until it happens.
Phyllis: Most of us possess a certain amount of self-knowledge, Shane. Have you ever heard the expression “Past is prelude”? No. Of course you haven’t. [staring Shane down] This is not just about Molly’s summer plans. Don’t f— my daughter over. If you even think you love her, spare her. Dont turn her into another one of your heartbroken victims.

Eeek. Would Phyllis really do that? It seems to fly directly in the face of her own commitment to embracing love and risk and whatever may come. If you want to sing out, sing out, but don’t do it around my daughter.

It’s also ridiculous for Phyllis to think that Moody needs any kind of protection. She’s no victim.

Anyway. As Snarker points out, Shane was playing the role of Lloyd Dobler in that scene. But somehow I doubt there’s a plaintive boom box and trench coat in her future.

It’s almost time for the unveiling. First, Jodi thanks Bette for coming.

Jodi: I hope you like the piece.
Bette: I can’t wait to see it. And you look phenomenal.

Jodi just nods. She sees Shane, and they hug and say they miss each other. Shane starts to say that she knew nothing about Bette and Tina, but Jodi shushes her. Jodi does look phenomenal, by the way.

And now it’s time for Bette’s speech. She touches on Jodi’s work with “found industrial materials.” The speech ends like this:

Bette: She has made me believe, all over again, in the redemptive power of art. It’s been a gift and privilege to have her as our artist in residence at CU, and an even greater gift having her in my life.

Jodi comes up on stage then, and they have an awkward should-we-shake-or-do-we-hug moment. You can guess who tries which. They settle for a stiff handshake.

Jodi: This piece is called “Core,” because it’s about core values. Love, loyalty, honesty and commitment.

Bette looks nervous. And she should. The piece is all about her. Bette’s image and garbled voice are everywhere, projected on all the walls, hissing from speakers, overlapping and getting bigger and louder. She’s saying things like “F— me” and “Stop” and “Leave me alone” and “Go without me.” And the real Bette is, of course, shocked. Her friends are stunned too, but all anyone can do is watch.

OK. My objections to this debacle are threefold: stylistic, artistic and logistic. First, stylistic: Is this really Jodi’s style? Public humiliation?! Didn’t Jodi seem to accept things last week and prepare to move on? I just can’t see her doing something like this.

Second, artistic: I know the curator said this is the “Artists Working in New Media” series, so I guess I shouldn’t nitpick. But in what way is this a “found industrial” piece? Maybe if Jodi calls Bette a robot and says she found her in her bed.

Last, logistic: How on earth would Jodi get that footage and all the audio? And even if she figured out the logistics somehow, how could it be legal? I doubt Bette would consent to such a thing. I’d be crying defamation. And, well, I’d just be crying.

Oh, I think I have a fourth objection: We’ve already seen a humiliation by way of an exhibition. Tina suffered greatly at the Provocations exhibit, although nobody intended or orchestrated that. This was cruel. Jodi deserved a better exit.

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