The L Word Recaps 4.12 “Long Time Coming”

A meeting of the minds — Joyce Wischnia! You’re back! I’ve missed you. We’re in Phyllis’ office, where Bette is introducing her current boss to her former lawyer.

Bette: Phyllis, this is Joyce Wischnia, aka “the Reamer.”
Joyce: Pleasure to meet you, Phyllis.
Phyllis: Nice to meet you, Joyce. I hate to admit it, but I’m not familiar with … reamers?
Bette: It’s a precision tool, Phyllis. If you’re gonna be a lesbian, you’re gonna have to get to know your toolkit.
Joyce: Technically, a tool for enlarging holes. Which is not necessarily the analogy I would have chosen, but one rarely gets to choose one’s own endearing epithet.
Phyllis: I know. Mine is — oh, Bette, tell her.
Bette: Well, Phyllis, I have only heard you referred to as “ma’am.”
Phyllis: [giggling and offering a hand to Joyce] “Heads will roll” Kroll.
Joyce: I love it!

That was adorable. And you’re right about the endearing epithets, Joyce. If I had been consulted, you would have been called “the Masticator.” Or maybe “the Smarm,” because you do ooze so well.

Bette says Joyce is the best lawyer for Phyllis; after all, she got Bette and Tina through a “hideous custody battle.” Yeah, what about that custody battle? I guess the presence of Joyce is good in a full-circle way, but it also makes me realize that the baby-napping story line was kind of a dud: so much drama for so little purpose.

Never mind; the Reamer is speaking. She wants to know how Tina’s doing and is happy to hear that Tina and Bette have both moved on. Phyllis says Bette has driven her “someone” away, however.

Phyllis: Now, what are you going to do to get her back, Bette?
Bette: I sent her flowers.
Joyce: Flowers?! Oh, come on. You’re an idiot!

You rock, Joyce. Bette leaves them alone to chat.

Joyce: OK. Phyllis. Let’s have it.
Phyllis: Well, Joyce, I first suspected I might be a lesbian when I was a sophomore at Wellesley.

Every lesbian coming-out story starts with a variation on this theme. Each opening sentence begins with “I first suspected,” and ends with either (1) Wellesley; (2) the Indigo Girls; or (3) Maria from Sesame Street. I may be in the minority with that last one.

I love the way Joyce just sort of waits patiently, as if she’s constantly having to fend off late bloomers who want to bare their souls to her. Actually, that’s probably the case. But Joyce really wants to hear Phyllis’ present-day story, so she interrupts. Phyllis is a little confused, and not a little charmed.

A mind-blowing meeting — Tina and Kate are meeting with some studio bigwigs about Lez Girls. This is the meeting Tina was discussing with Jenny at the Planet; she told Jenny it was canceled. That worked for the first few minutes, but guess who just walked in? Jenny — and her little dog, too.

Tina: Jenny, we thought that, uh —
Jenny: What? That I was, uh, completely clueless? Someone to f– with?
Tina: No, of course not.
Jenny: Someone who didn’t realize what a lying, duplicitous, scheming excuse you are for a friend? [to the others] Be careful if you’re doing business with this woman, because she actually eats her own.
Kate: Jenny, actually, Tina’s been a really good friend to you. As a matter of fact, she’s protected you.
Jenny: She just wants to f— you. She does. She just wants to get in your pants.
Tina: Shut the f— up, Jenny, OK? You’re a c—. Bette almost lost her job because of you. Did you know that? That endangers my child. That is food in Angelica’s mouth. That is a roof over her head. And that, to me, is unforgivable.
Jenny: [chasing after Sounder, who is now on the conference room table] Oh, God, Tina. Can you just cut all your bulls—? Just because you’ve had a baby doesn’t make you more exalted than the rest of us. I am so f—ing tired of all these tedious lesbians having babies and the self-aggrandizing bulls—. [as Sounder pees on the table] Ooh. I’m sorry. He’s not potty-trained.

Wow. Jenny, you’re so crazy! But you’re so right about the self-aggrandizing parents (lesbian and otherwise). I sorta wish Sounder hadn’t interrupted that little rant. And Tina, as we say in the podcast, was the C-word really necessary? I do think it’s rich, though, that Jenny thinks you’re the one who’s a sorry excuse for a friend. After all, she’s the one who made you take part in a bidding war. I think maybe you two should just agree to stay far, far away from each other.

I don’t even want to speculate about how Kate’s going to spin this to all her friends and contacts. You know those Satanists and their blogs!

Communication, twice removed — Bette is putting the adorable Angelica to bed. They sign “I love you” to each other. Right on cue, Jodi calls. Tom is interpreting, which adds another challenge to what is already very difficult communication. Tom does his job very well, of course, even when Jodi doesn’t give him much to work with. He carries on his own conversation with Jodi as he interprets over the phone. I’ll do my best to capture the key points:

Jodi: What can I do for you?
Tom: [signing to Jodi] Come on, give her a break.
Jodi: [signing to Tom] Mind your own business.
Bette: I just wanted to say that … Jodi, I just … I got scared. And …
Jodi: And you put me in a box. I know.
Bette: Oh, so you got my email.
Jodi: Yes, I did. And I really appreciate your honesty.
Tom: [signing to Jodi] She’s trying.
Jodi: [signing to Tom] Stop.

They make a little small talk about the work and the weather, during which Bette has to keep saying “hello?” to make sure Jodi’s still there. At one point, Tom signs, “She loves you,” but Jodi doesn’t want to hear it.

Jodi: Was there anything in particular you wanted to speak to me about?
Bette: Yeah. Uh … well, I just … [breaking a little] I just wanted to say that I miss you. And, um, I’m sure Angie misses you, too. She just signed “I love you” to me tonight.
Jodi: That’s sweet.

And that’s all there is. Ouch. Jodi, you’re killing me. I know Bette was cold to you and you’re just giving it right back to her, but wow. I have a new understanding of the term “dead air.”