The Best and Worst of “The L Word” Season 4

It seems like just yesterday that Season 4 of The L Word was beginning, but here we are once again at season’s end. To stave off incipient withdrawal, we thought we’d take a look back at this season with some of the best — and worst — moments to befall Alice, Bette, Shane, Kit, Jenny and their assorted lovers over the past 12 episodes.

Best Plot Development: Tina has second thoughts about living in Boys Town.

Yay! Come back, Tina, all is forgiven. We, the viewers who felt betrayed, dismayed or waylaid when Tina left hot-and-cool Bette for safe-and-dull Henry felt a rush of hope when Tina confided in Bette she missed being a part of “something so secret and special.” Assuming she was referring to the lesbian community and not Opus Dei or the CIA, Tina has clearly decided she’s had her fill of clueless straight friends, mind-numbing suburban ways and Henry’s toenail grooming habits.

But who knows what any of this really means? Tina’s always been a bitch to her whims. She left her boyfriend Eric to be with Bette. She hooked up with Helena when she and Bette were on a break. She flirted with that male film director while she was on location. She upended her life to be with Henry. She was in the early stages of lust with Annabella Sciorra’s narcissistic director, Kate Arden. Now she wants Bette back. Tina gets around. Forget Shane; Tina’s the player. At least now it looks like she’s playing for our team again. 

Worst Plot Development: Tasha gets shipped back out to Iraq.

Alice can’t catch a break — her best love interests all leave town. Lara took off for a job in San Francisco. Dana left these earthly bounds altogether. And now Tasha’s chosen to defend her country over living in it with Alice.

Tasha brings a stabilizing calm to a sometimes coo-coo-for-Coco-puffs Alice. And even though Tasha has more baggage than Madonna on holiday — and I don’t think quirky, warm, funny Alice should ever be admonished for innocent PDA or have her best quips met with a thousand-yard stare — Alice and Tasha have more chemistry than any other couple this season. (Is it me or does Shane always look like she’s in danger of being crushed to death by Paige?) Alice deserves to be happy for a while without having the rug pulled out from under her.

Worst Retort: Jenny to no one in particular after her book got panned by magazine writer Stacy Merkin: “F— you, Stacy Merkin!”

Jenny’s supposed to be a wordsmith, and that’s the best comeback she can muster for a bad book review? Maybe Some of Her Parts does suck.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a well-deserved “f— you” when said with real gusto. My mother used to say swearing was for inarticulate, unimaginative people, but I think that was her way of shaming my sister and me into keeping it clean. Her favorite saying when I was a kid was “Don’t give me your malarkey.” When I was about seven, I realized “malarkey” meant bulls—.

Best Retort: Alice to Jenny after Jenny likened her writing to Monet’s paintings.

The scene: At Shane’s place, Alice and Jenny are talking about Jenny’s story, “Lez Girls,” and Alice snipes at Jenny for thinly fictionalizing her friends’ lives in her story. Jenny claims she was merely inspired by real life.

Jenny: Just a second. You guys … [cupping her ear] do you … do you hear that?
Alice and Shane: [staring, waiting]
Jenny: Oh, my God, it’s Monet. Monet has come back from the dead and he wants me to give you a message. He says, “I am so sorry for sitting in front of my pond in France and sketching those water lilies and using the water lilies as actual inspiration. Sorry to offend, Alice .”
Alice : Right, right. Oh, wait, he’s talking to me! So weird. Huh? [listening] What? OK, I’ll tell her. He said don’t ever f—ing compare yourself to him.

Has anyone forgotten that Alice is also a writer? If you had, let that be a reminder.

Speaking of swearing with gusto, second place would have to go to Kit. When Pam Grier lets the M.F. bombs fly, it makes me cheer. “You’ve got to be out of your motherf—ing mind, motherf—er!” or “F— you, you motherf—ing liar!” Even my mom would approve.