“Relativity” and the First Lesbian Kiss on Primetime Television

RELATIVITY EPISODE RECAP: Episode 13 “The Day the Earth Moved”

After an opening sequence involving Isabelle and Leo, the episode shows Rhonda on a blind dinner date with a Martina fan from hell, then another date with the woman who can’t stop asking everyone she meets “Do I know you? You look so familiar!”

Afterwards, Rhonda goes back to Isabelle and Leo’s apartment where Isabelle and Doug are chatting with Isabelle’s old college friend, Suzanne, a seismologist. Rhonda mentions her “aborted date from hell” in which “I think I heard about every dyke social event from the last three years–none of which, by the way, I was invited to.” Isabelle introduces Suzanne and mentions that she’s there to check out their apartment for earthquake preparedness.

Rhonda: Okay, ‘earthquake hysteria!’ I really can’t listen to that stuff and live in Los Angeles simultaneously. Okay, I’m not even kidding.
Suzanne: Denial is really important to you.
Rhonda: it’s my essence.
Doug: Suzanne, you have to understand that the lesbian people are very sensitive when in comes to earthquakes.We don’t know the reason why.
Suzanne: I didn’t realize that.
Doug: Yes. Studies have been done.
Suzanne. Ah.
Doug: Oh yeah.
Rhonda: if you guys are going to stand here and talk about earthquakes then, uh, I’m going to go get a beer.
Isabelle: (motioning to Rhonda’s retreating back) Leo’s sister.

Doug proceeds to flirt blatantly with Suzanne after Rhonda leaves, and later asks Isabelle for her phone number. When Isabelle has lunch with Suzanne a few days later, she asks Suzanne if she should give Doug her number. Suzanne gives a noncommittal answer, and Isabelle asks her who’s she’s dating as they sit down to eat.

Isabelle: Are you still seeing that guy Brian?
Suzanne: No, not for awhile, actually.
Isabelle: Anyone?
Suzanne: No, not exactly…why do I do that? is it too embarrassing to just say “no, I’m not.”
Isabelle: Really? That’s so surprising. You’re so gorgeous and successful, you’re going to find someone. I mean, should I give Doug your number?
Suzanne. Yeah…actually, Isabelle, I was thinking…could I have Rhonda’s number?
Isabelle: (looking surprised but smiling) Um…

The scene cuts to Suzanne calling Rhonda. They chat on the phone for a minute about earthquakes and Isabelle, and then Suzanne gets to the point.

Suzanne: Isabelle mentioned that you were wanting to get out a little bit more in terms of dating–
Rhonda: Oh no, don’t tell me, is this about a blind date thing?
Suzanne: Well, no–
Rhonda: Because I’m sorry, I barely know you and I don’t want to seem rude, but I’m really not interested in meeting anyone ever again that I haven’t already met – which I realize limits my life in some capacity, but in this other way, it just really makes the outlook for the rest of my life much more peaceful and soothing.
Suzanne: (slowly) Okay…right…You know, actually, Rhonda, the person I’m thinking of you’ve actually already met.
Rhonda: I have?
Suzanne: Yeah, you have. (embarrassing silence as Rhonda starts to understand)
Suzanne: Um, have you had your place checked for earthquakes? (grimaces at what she said and hides her face in a pillow)
Rhonda: (slowly, still not sure if she’s reading this right) No…

The scene cuts to Suzanne arriving at Rhonda’s house and giving her earthquake survival tips. While they’re sitting under the dining room table (pretending there’s an earthquake) Rhonda’s teenage brother walks in, sees them, and just mutters “um, I gotta…” and then walks out again. After discovering who he is and then looking embarrassed, Suzanne challenges Rhonda to visit the earthquake simulator with Suzanne to get over her fear of earthquakes.

Later, throwing frisbees in the park with Rhonda and Isabelle, Doug tells Leo that he hopes Isabelle “makes it happen” with him and Suzanne, and Leo breaks the bad news: “I think she’s more interested in Rhonda’s number.” He’s shocked, but a few minutes later, goes over to Rhonda and teases her about it.

Doug: So I hear that you and Suzanne are topping the ol’ Lesbian Charts?
Rhonda: You know, it’s like I’m going to knowingly go into an earthquake simulator with her? Who is she to tell me I have to face my fears? It’s completely arrogant.

The scene cuts to the next day, where Suzanne is showing Rhonda around the earthquake simulator and telling her that she began having earthquake dreams in college when “I started to come out, so I think that’s what the dreams were about.” Rhonda sees the mannequins sitting in the simulator and asks “Are these other dates you’ve brought here before?” Suzanne repeats back “dates,” obviously pleased that Rhonda thinks of this as a “date;” Rhonda quickly realizes what she has said and changes the subject, asking Suzanne what she needs to do. Suzanne directs her to sit on the sofa in the fake living room, and then steps out of the room to turn on the simulator. She turns it on low at first, then asks “Are you ready for a bigger jolt?”

Rhonda: Wait, can I get some company in here? You’re not going to stand out there, are you?
Suzanne: No (coming in to sit on the sofa next to Rhonda)
Rhonda: Because I’m not a crash dummy
Suzanne: (smiling) I know that. You’re pretty fragile.
Rhonda: (laughing) This is so idiotic…You think I’m going to be able to tell my grand kids about this?
Suzanne: (seriously) If you want to.

Rhonda takes Suzanne’s hand as the simulator begins, and as the room rocks back and forth in the face earthquake, Rhonda says “Okay, I’m scared. I’m really really scared.” After a few seconds the motion stops, and Suzanne asks “are you?” Rhonda smiles and replies “yes.” There is a long pause as the two women look at each other, only a few inches apart, and then Suzanne says seriously “I am too.” She puts her hands in Rhonda’s hair and leans in to kiss her. After a long kiss (by television standards) of ten seconds, Suzanne pulls back and says quietly, “Rhonda, you’ve just survived the destruction of Los Angeles.” Rhonda smiles, clearly relieved and ecstatic to have finally met someone like Suzanne, and closes her eyes as Suzanne kisses her neck.

A few minutes later, the scene cuts back to a restaurant booth where Rhonda is holding Suzanne in her arms and stroking her hair. Suzanne says half-jokingly, “I know I know you from somewhere” (in reference to Rhonda’s previous blind-date) and Rhonda, kissing the top of her head, says seriously, “You do.” The episode concludes with a montage of various couples in the series, including a shot of Rhonda and Suzanne holding hands, laughing, and talking in the booth.