The L Word Episode 402 Recap: Livin’ La Vida Loca

This recap was originally published on Riese’s personal L Word recap blog, The Road Best Straddled, in 2007. It has been reposted on in all its messy, outdated, poorly formatted glory.

At the Premiere Party (I posted the photos from the party on this blog earlier today), we got goody bags containing a DVD of Episode 402, an L Word necklace, another copy of GO-NYC magazine, gift certificates for Lasik surgery and a Blisspa Gift Set and a “back massager” that Lainy identified as a double-headed dildo. I attempted, like an alcoholic facing a fifth of Maker’s Mark, not to watch the DVD before Sunday night, but then I accidentally did. Twice. Once alone and once with Haviland. It’s a good one, though light on war and sex. I have not yet used the “massager.”

Okay but first: “Livin’ La Vida Loca”? By Season Eight, they’re gonna be really grabbing for “L” titles from other languages. We’ve already had “L’Ennui” (which is really just like when we used to play the alphabet game on road trips and the category would be like–animals–and Dad would get “X” and then be like: “Porcupine with a silent X”) , “Lagrimas de Oro” (?) and “L’Chaim” (like my Chai tattoo!).

Episode 801 will be “Lo Mein” and 802 will be “Llyfrau” (that’s “book” in Welsh).


Dear The Producers of The L Word,

I liked this episode very much. However, it would please me a great deal if you stopped having Max talk about computers. It makes me uncomfortable. For one thing I don’t think he knows what he is talking about. I think this is because you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you did, the Showtime website might be updated more often. No offense.

As Ever,

This Must Be What It’s Like For Dudes That Get Kicked in the Gonads and Can’t Have Sex For A Long Time.
Shane’s hand is in a bandage and she’s sporting some yellowing bruises and assorted facial cuts. I somehow find her even sexier than usual.

AHH, MY DEAR California University: Our newly minted Dean Porter is strolling along her aesthetically pleasing campus with Phyllis, who is the President of California University. Alumni of this prestigious university include Zachary Morris, Brandon Walsh, Screech, Donna Martin, and Kelly Taylor, among others. I hope Bette doesn’t end up with Kelly Taylor’s ex, Colin, on her staff:

Colin was an art teacher at CU and he was also an artist. And a coke-head. I don’t think Bette would care for that.

I mean, look at her sunglasses! Smokin’.

We Don’t Bite OR DO WE?: The way Tina talks in these scenes creeps me out. It’s like she’s on a lot of amphetamines, or she just had dental surgery or botox in all the wrong places. Or like she’s growing FANGS because of Henry. I wish she’d get back together with Evie from “The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love” and put on that sexxxy wifebeater again.

She’s What I Go to School For: Colin is not gonna get this job, and here’s why —

Bette: “If you like to spend quality time with your girlfriend or boyfriend, visit your mother on the weekends, go to the gym three or four times a week to keep your body fit and healthy–I respect that. I even envy it. but you shouldn’t be here, because if you’re going to TA for me, you shouldn’t expect to have a life. You are only here because you are intensely driven and you are as determined as I am to make CU the destination art school ahead of RISD and Yale, and the only reason you can even contemplate taking on this added responsibility in addition to your already insane courseload, and the hours you spend in your graduate studio making art is that you are young enough and foolish enough to think that you can get by on three hours of sleep a night.”

Who will get the job? This girl:
….who is living out all our fantasies by totally seducing the Dean into hiring her as a TA, and the dean is a woman, and the woman is hot, and the girl is hot, and everyone is a lesbian. Obviously this is trouble, but whatevs. So are a lot of things. Ever seen “Rules of Attraction”?

Sometimes, When I Don’t go on MySpace for three Days, People Act Like I Just Fell off the Side of a Steep Mountain of So Yesterday.

Alice: It’s this girl on OurChart, Papi. You know, she has more hits than Shane. How do you not know this? Where have you been?

“I’ll tell him you have a dentist appointment”: James is the best character with a penis to ever grace this program. I wonder who he was working for while Bette was on her meditation retreat (aka when the writers were choosing a narrative based on what style of clothing would best cover Jennifer Beals’ pregnancy). Maybe he was in Oaxaca with Mark the filmmaker, waiting for the goddess to summon him back to the mainland and into my heart.

Where’s the Putt-Putt, Sports Man?: This is Max’s dream world, where grown men in Dockers play motor boats in their personal pool and give birth to beautiful daughters from Mount Holyoke who are willing to go out with a boy who is wearing a Burlington Coat Factory suit=jacket and carrying a full-on bouquet of flowers and talks like a squeaky toy. No, I love Daniela Sea. But as Max, she’s just a little lacking. This scene, BTW, is totally AM Homes material.

This is when The L Word begins to take a turn for the awesome. Note Alice’s Gold Lame dress.

My Chart Dot BOMB

I need to do this, sorry. So Heather Matarazzo, who I love, is playing Stacey, a freelance writer who is interviewing Jenny for Curve magazine. Jenny tells “Stacey” that she is only doing the interview because she loved Stacey’s story in … you guessed it … The New Yorker! (Side note: There are other magazines out there besides The New Yorker, L-Word Writers. Why is The New Yorker always the reference point when publishing articles is concerned? Especially when The New Yorker is probably the magazine LEAST likely of ALL MAGAZINES IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE to publish something by Jenny Schecter?)

Anyhow. This is Heather Matarazzo, playing Stacey, interviewing Mia Kirshner playing Jenny:

This is Heather Matarazzo playing Dawn in “Welcome to the Dollhouse”:

This is the object of Dawn’s affections in “Welcome to the Dollhouse,” Steve Rodgers, played by Eric Mabius, who plays in a band with Dawn’s older brother and who Dawn built a shrine for in her room:

Here is Eric Mabius, playing Tim Haspel, the boyfriend of Jenny Schecter:

And Jenny Schecter played by Mia Kirshner, seen above with Tim Mabius playing Tim Haspel is now having an interview for Curve magazine with Stacey Merkin played by Heather Matarazzo:

Lesbian Foreplay Moment #3: This Latin-American Life with Ira Glass Alice Pieseki
The Players: Alice and the Papi of East L.A.
The Pick-Up: Everything this girl says is a pick-up. Also, we would like to know why they did not cast a Latina actress for this role!

I am totally into her. I think it’s the confidence. Or the body. Or her lips maybe? Mostly the confidence. I like confident women. And men. Actually, this scene isn’t really sexual, but it still seems like foreplay. Mostly um: “I can make a woman come just by kissing her.” Really, Papi? Really?
Hot or Not? Yes.
Also I wonder where she gets her eyeshadow.


Lesbian Foreplay Moment #4: Yes, I Know Max is Not a Lesbian Because He’s a trans guy and I know Brooke is a Girl, But She Goes to Mt. Holyoke, so it’s only a matter of time
The Pick Up: “You were a good kid? Let me teach you how to be bad.” (Brooke)
Hot or Not? Max totally reminds me of my ex-boyfriend in these scenes. Like the way he talks, which is a sorta monotone, and kinda cheesy, and how he looks like a gay guy? Yeah. Oh, P.S., not hot.


Lesbian Sex Moment #1:Um, Yo Quiero, Por Favor.
The Players: Papi is The Player. Alice is in it for the radio. She’s like Ira Glass, but naked. Act Four, Y’all!
The Pick-Up: “I’m gonna take you places you’ve never been before.”
Hot or Not? Alice makes me laugh. We get something that we so rarely get on this show: a shot of a hand sliding between thighs and under panties. Of course, the camera quickly pans away, but still, it’s something, and by “something” I mean it’s not just a shot of the girl panting and making that sharp moan to indicate that she is being entered, at which point we are meant to assume that a hand has slipped between thighs and under panties and is hopefully inside something with a lot of nerve endings.

Afterwards, Alice says she is done, and Papi said she is not done! I think this is why they named this episode “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” Ricky Martin would be pleased because we all know he’s a homo too.
They are leaning back on the pull-out bed that is in Papi’s limo. Really Papi? Really?

Papi: “Rule Number One: Papi Doesn’t Do Breakfast.”

I would like to add that line to my daily vocabulary, along with “Really Papi? Really?” which Haviland and I have already used at least 5 times since viewing the episode …

… and which Alice uses when she turns around to see this:

I’d like to call this “The Prologue to Awesome.”

“This episode just got so much better.”
Hav, when Helena comes outside in her cute jogging outfit, displayed above.

(Also it should be noted that when Marina entered the room in Ep 401, Hav also announced that the episode had just become so much better. She’s easy to please, is what I’m trying to say. Cute girls with firm muscles, sexy accents, and tight boob-clingy shirts and um…power? And all they gotta do is walk on screen. Yup. I’m easy to please too. Just give me Shane in a wifebeater, or Shane after being beaten, or Alice being funny, or Carmen coming back to the show, or Marina going down on Jenny.)

Max whips out his first “You don’t understand” of the season when Jenny suggests that he come out at work. Except she’s not really suggesting that, she’s just asking him to stop talking so that she can concentrate on herself. She’s hunting online for her review by Stacey Merkin, who apparently did not actually like “Some of Her Parts.” The scathing review prompts Jenny to totally freak out. She screams so loud that Shay spills his milk.

Fortunately, Shay has already been fed like, 10,000 meals, so he should be okay even without this one. Then Jenny freaks out about Shay spilling on the bag she was wait-listed for. I’m also laughing, gleefully, like I did when Jenny was creeping around Tim’s backyard spying on him and then told Becky that she was just looking for some bread to make toast.

This is when the longest stream of Awesome-Ness begins.

1. Let’s Start The Awesome Train:

Jenny is wearing some goth-milk-maid outfit and is feeling particularly petulant after reading the review.

Shane: What are you screaming about?
Shay: I spilled.
Shane: You spilled? It’s okay–
Jenny: No, that’s not what happened. What happened is that Stacey Merkin revealed herself to be a true cunt–
Shane: HEY!

Jenny insists on speaking to Shay about this, telling him that: “The thing is, Shay, I didn’t even want to do the fucking interview in the first place.” Then she begs: “Shay, say ‘Stacey Merkin is a fucking cunt. Say it. Say Stacey Merkin is a fucking cunt.'” as Shane is leaving the room. Jenny has totally lost her marbles, and it’s adorable, and Mia is rocking this new personality with a finesse she never rocked the crazy-deep-writer thing. She’s embracing the warm.

2. Second Interlude of Awesome:

Look at her eyes. This girl needs her own show. Her and James should have a show on TLC called “Best Assistant Ever/Worst Assistant Ever.” That’s her response to Shane’s request to feed her brother his 15th smoothie of the day.


3. And Some More Awesome Where That Came From:

Cybill Shepard comes out to Bette with that sense of entitlement employed by women who are used to having large groups of people hanging on their every word. Just kidding. Women never do that, but men often do, e.g. all my ex boyfriends, except for the one who talks like Max. That like: “NEWS FLASH: I have a thought!” attitude. Like in “Wall Street.”

Phyllis: I just can’t keep this inside anymore, Bette. Do you know what I mean?
Bette: I–no. Uh–I–uh–no, I don’t know what you mean.
Phyllis: I have to find out about these feelings! I have to find out about what I’ve missed!
Bette: Why don’t you talk to someone? Like maybe a therapist or–
Phyllis:I’ve been lying to my therapist for years. I need to talk to you, Bette.
Bette: Me.
Phyllis: (nods affirmatively)

Bette’s attitude here is just stunning. I love her and want her to be my wife.


This is when Jenny, still dressed as Emily the Strange, busts into the Curve magazine offices (holla! I heart Curve!) with intent to search and destroy Stacey Merkin for the “piece of shit” review that she recently spotted in “your little magazine called Curve,” and urges the secretary to look up her glowing review in Publishers Weekly and then lunges over the desk to pull up the review via cross-desk typing and when she fails she insists that the secretary do it herself, reminding the secretary that she ought to type in “Publishers weekly dot com. Jennifer Schecter.”

Can I just say something? Daphne Merkin. Stacey Merkin. Daphne Merkin, Stacey Merkin, Uma, Oprah, Daphne Merkin Stacey Merkin anyone? Ok.

The secretary asks her why she should care about the review if it’s in a “piece of shit magazine.”

Jenny: “Well I do give a shit? Because I think she should be FIRED! I think she used–duplicitous methods–“
Administrative Assistant:
Jenny: “Yes, to get me to to open up. She used sexual orientation and her gayness to get me to open up. And do you know what Merkin means, JOLENE? Vagina wig. That’s what her name means. Shame on you for not correcting her sloppy syntax and grammar.”


6. Totally Awesome Spy Movie:
I.C has given up on resisting camp in favor of “messages” about breast cancer. I.C has embraced the camp. Like embracing the warm, but better, and with cooler sunglasses.

The girls, like Charlie’s Angels but with Max, are going to go find themselves some Shay, because he has run away and needs a beverage.


7. It is Awesome That They Found Shay Before any Sort of PSA Could be Inserted.
When I saw Shay in a truck with a Sex-Offenderish guy I was like, Oh God, please don’t do this to us. You were on such a roll! But no, he returns the child to Shane, safe and sound.

“Aw, they can share clothes.” (Haviland)

Then, back at the b-ball court, where Alice and Bette are entertaining my fantasies of Alice and Bette getting back together: Out of the Woods tumble Helena and Papi. Helena asks Papi if she’d like come home for a nightcap….

“Rule Number Two: Never go home with a girl who’s roommate you just bopped that same morning.”

Really Papi? Really.


This kid is gonna start packing on the pounds. Liquid calories, bro! I guess if he keeps spilling his drinks, he won’t be consuming too many calories though.


The Round-Up:
Lesbian Sex Moments: 1 this episode, 1 total
Lesbian Foreplay Moments, 2 this episode, 4 total
Lesbian Squabbles: 0 this episode, 4 total
Quote of the Week: Papi
Kinsey: 6

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.


  1. James! I didn’t even notice! My straight roommate thinks he’s cute, why I don’t know, but I agree with you he is the unsung hero!

  2. oh shit that recap was fucking hilarious :)

    you should go into the afterellen offices, a la Jenny, and demand scribegrrl’s job.

    “type in theroadbeststraddled dot blogspot dot com! type it!”

    just a thought.


  3. anon: i don’t think he’s cute, but i love him for the man that he is, and the assistant he will always be.

    green: thanks for being a fan! it almost looks like your icon is a spashley butt. your comment made me LOL, wanna be my girlfriend?

    i think that me and scribe grrl (who i heart, even though she already has a girlfriend) should go into the showtime office together, lunge over the desk and scream simultaneously “type in the roadbeststraddled dot blogspot dot com type it!” “type in afterellen dot lword dot recaps dot com type it!” and then take over the show. which would become, i think, a series of sex scenes, mostly starring alice.

  4. I second’ green_with_indie’s sentiments — hilarious!!! Well done. And just when I thought nothing could make me harder than last night’s RIDICULOUS script.

    Can I please storm the offices with you? I’d like to school them on the fine art of character development and the notion of letting a storyline play out over several episodes. A whole season even!

    The show drives me nuts, yet… I.can’t.look.away.

    Thanks for the laughs. :)

  5. Um… I inadvertently left out a key word in my previous comment. It should read: “And just when I thought nothing could make me LAUGH harder…”

    Yikes, how’s that for a Freudian slip?!

  6. christ almighty.

    i had to google spashley,
    [insert self deprecating eye roll here] which made me (laugh) harder.

    ok, i’ll be back in 7 days.

  7. I totally inserted the “laugh” into that sentence anyhow, subliminally, and had to go back to see what you meant about leaving it out. As Fruedian slips go, that one is pretty f’in priceless.

    Yes curly, you should join the rampage. (and, of course, thanks for being a fan!) We will have a list of demands, and I wholeheartedly agree with yours.

    It wouldn’t be so hard. Like–if they cut out all of the worthless expository dialogue (show don’t tell, Ilene!), there would be plenty of room for dialogue that develops character, advances plot, and leads to more clothing being removed.

    i also can’t look away. obvs.

    and p.s. obviously i had to google “spashley” just to see what would come up, and was very satisfied to see the plethora of hungry lesbians out there, eager to carve out their own little corner of the web for spencer and ashley. It also, inexplicably, made me LOL.

  8. LOVE the references to Ira Glass!! And BTW, Sarah Shahi is in fact half Spanish :)

    Good point about showing and not telling within the writing; I have been thinking the same thing. The show has lost its ability to let storylines and character arcs gestate. Instead stuff just HAPPENS, and I find myself resenting that.

    Keep up the great recaps!

  9. your open letter about Max made me LMAO, much, and then again with the pic. It’s funny cos it’s true!!

    I half expected Max to help find Shay by triangulating the qwertys to form a smoothie code.

    and hello, ep 1 namedropped iCal and some other real/fake apps… but it just wasn’t the same without squeaky toy.

    – latecomer

Comments are closed.