Welcome to your very first installment of the Season Four Wrap-Up. Why end Season Four when Season Four ends? Why not continue to suck every possible ounce of material from this malnourished program? Don’t you want a few more weeks to laugh-cry in your cubicles, drool over Haviland, curse 500 storylines at once, gape at Bette’s regal fabulousness, start the linguistic revolution and, once we’re done with all that, feel a little dirty for doing it in the first place? Yeah you do.
Oh also, I have a new Guestbian blog! Because I like giving myself writing assignments, I’d decided to do a series on how the internet affects our personal relationships, etc. This week I muse over my BFF Haviland and the Way We Live Online.
This is in no particular order, really. Maybe subconsciously.
10. Episode 402: The Awesome Train: Stops 1 & 3:Jenny the Gothic Lolita is horrified to read Stacey Merkin’s bad review and double-horrified when Shay spills on her brand new bag–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–and Shane is all like, No Swearing! But Jenny won’t have none of that. She encourages Shay to repeat after her: “Stacey Merkin is a fucking cunt.” Then Jenny goes to the Curve offices, leaps over the table, and demands that the petulant receptionist Jolene (Jolene Jolene please don’t take him just because you can) verify her established good-writer-dom by typing “Jennifer Schecter! Publishersweekly dot com” and adds that Stacey used “duplicitous” methods 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.”
9. Episode 407: The Paige-Shane Doing the Crime Scene In retrospect–when one is not already concerned that there will be no actual sex between these two all season-this scene is even BETTER than it was the first time.
Lesbian Sexy Moment #17: Saving The Best For Last
I just love the way she leans. Jordan Catalano leans on things, but Shane leans into girls. And I care, of course, that the scene is cut short. But I’d also like to argue that it is that moment—the moment when the build-up reaches capacity and those proverbial sparks explode into something tangible–that one beautiful perfect moment that we are all chasing when we are chasing something we aren’t certain we can have, or when we are chasing something that we think we can have but we don’t know what we’ll do with it when we do–that moment that matters most. That moment when everything slows down and that mini-moment when the air between you and her is becoming so spare and small and you are nearing her and she is nearing you and the future is inevitable but yet still undetermined, which is when Shane leans, which is when they start to kiss, that is possibly more electric than any on-screen representation of sex could ever be, and is, therefore, Enough.
8. Episode 403: Bette Kicks Ass/Takes Names, Henry Doesn’t Like Ass-on-Ass Boy-Sex, Angus Loves Him Some Body Butter For His Ass, and Everyone Enjoys a Grrrl-Free game of Celebrity
Lesbian (and Strai) Squabble #5: “I’m not homophobic, but…”
In the Ring: Bettina vs. Douche bag
Content/Result: One of Henry’s brilliant friends overhears a conversation between Bette and Mrs.Talbots 2007 in which Talbots suggests that Angelica might want to live with her father someday. One of Henry’s frat buddies chimes in by pointing out that kids have minds of their own, which he learned in 9th grade Bio, and to make his point, he says “I’m sure your parents would rather you’re not a lesbian, you know?” and Bette responds with “They’re dead,” which is perfect, and also one of many reasons why she wins this fight. Other reasons include: when Animal House says he’s not a homophobe, he’s just “being honest,” Bette busts out: “An honest homophobe. How nice.”
Tina tells Bette not to get into it. Ew! And I was almost liking her again. Then Douche bag chimes in with those words that we LOATHE to hear: “You know, I’m all for it between women, it’s just that, the idea of two guys–I mean, you understand, right?”
Angus RULES: “It’s not that bad, actually. That whole dick in ass thing, I used to think it was a little creepy–and painful, too–but I found this great lube, it’s called Boy Butter? And once I discovered that…it was like…(Angus does amazing dance to the beat of a Casio electronic keyboard which he impersonates perfectly) lets get this party started.”
7. Episode 408: Make Love Not War
The L Word has perfected the fine art of preaching to the choir. I’m talking about most viewers being anti-war, but also about most viewers wanting to believe that really deep differences in opinions and ideologies are not a deterrent to a blossoming relationship. Particularly in relation to SEX. Just to be sure, I tested this theory last night, and it’s true. But don’t listen to me. Listen to Alisha.
Tasha: Some of the people are in the military because they want to serve their country, okay? We believe in what we stand for. I’m sorry if we don’t live our lives wearing trendy fake-ass raggedy t-shirts that scream out bullshit about why do we kill people?
Alice: You think it’s trendy to not kill people?
Tasha: The soldiers I worked with didn’t want to kill people! Like, what the fuck? You think we wanna kill people?
Alice: Well why are you there?
Tasha: The question is, why the fuck am I here?
Alice: Because we wanna fuck each other!!
Alice [during sex]: “You know what? It’s not that I don’t understand what you were saying about recruitment, like I really get that, but just like–”
Tasha: “Just shut up and let me fuck you.”
6. Episode 404: West Hollywood Globetrotters
I thought this was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Like if I had been in that basketball game, I woulda been like “hold up, I gotta pee,” and crouched over and grabbed my stomach in pain because the urge to laugh that hard would have been overwhelming. Haviland thought it was less funny. Coincidentally, she was also sober while viewing the episode. Karen, my partner in non-sobriety, also found it amusing though not pee-in-your-pants-funny. I wish this was a spin-off. It could be like Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.
Why is this scene so amazing?
1. Shane is fully wearing cargo pants.
2. Bette is fully ON HER CELL PHONE.
3. Jenny is fully wearing SHADES.
4. MAX is fully THERE — and he is the only one NOT PLAYING. He’s babysitting. Ha!
5. Helena is so cute and clueless, and wearing a little hat.
6. Alice is BADASS in her b-ball shorts.
7. Jenny misses her pass because she is DRINKING A LATTE, and then takes a break to smoke a cigarette. When she gets the ball, she acts all violated and victim-y.
5.Episode 406: Hey Shane-ie! Hey Alice! What’s the Story, Morning Glory? What’s the Word, Humming-Bird?
Once, they let Angela Robinson direct an episode. She was like “I’m gonna write a good episode, and make it funny, and open with this big long phone chain where Bette is going to be awesome, Alice is going to be dressed like a PTA Mom from 1992, and Helena’s gonna be eating cereal out of the box. It’s Bye Bye Birdie meets Gossip Girl meets The L Word: When It Was Good.
4.Episode 405: Jenny/Alice Squabble, or: The New Yorker Just Called. It said Don’t Ever Fucking Compare Yourself to “Literature.”
Lesbian Squabble #10: Since I’m Currently Writing A Book About Real Things, This Is Basically My Worst Nightmare.
In the Ring: Alice and Jenny.
Content/Result: This fight gave me actual anxiety. It was so real–like friends fighting how friends really fight. I assume this was improv. She tries to get Shane in on the fight by telling her about her character, Sean, the “makeup artist” who “sleeps with a lot of girls,” but Shane says “That’s not bad.” Jenny gets Max to defend her, which he does, because he’s being a dude on a couch, and that’s what dudes on couches do.
Jenny: Hey, Alice, you know, there’s this crazy, weird thing that happens when you write. As a writer–
Alice: Wait– is this a lesson?
Alice: In writing?!
Alice: From Jenny Schecter?!
Alice: Oh, FUCK, let me grab a pen!
Jenny: Get a pad too! So this thing that happens when you write is you draw from your own life, and then in turn, you take those experiences and you use something called imagination, Alice —
Alice: Oh, imagination! God, so that’s the thing you were lacking when you could barely change our names, huh?
Jenny: Just a second. You guys ….(pretends to be listening for something) do you … do you hear that?
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? (doing the listening thing again) What? OK, I’ll tell her. He said don’t ever fucking compare yourself to him.
All I want right now is for Seth Cohen to appear out of nowhere (which wouldn’t really be out of form for this show, honestly) to say “Oh, Snap!”
The Squabble Continues…
Alice: Do you know who made this hat? Who made this hat, Jenny?
Jenny: I would guess the lead singer of the Village People.
OO this is a fun game. Let’s guess who made Papi’s hat. Okay, pick me. I would guess the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Let’s guess who wrote this show. I would guess a nun, but not the Season-3-nuns who got it on in alleyways or on the bus.
3. Ep 408: Babe-Mobile/Paige and Shane Sex Scene
The Sex Scene That Just Kept on Giving. Every time we re-watched it.
2. Ep 409: Lez Girls: The Musical
Lawrence: What could we do to push the boundaries? What could be like yes–lesbian, but lesbian plus. I gotta admit, it’s always been my life’s dream to make a musical. And I really think that’s what Lez Girls is, is a musical.
Jenny:[ecstatic] I love it. I love it!!!! I love it. I love it. What did I say at the first meeting?
Tina:She wants a musical.
Jenny:I love it!
First of all, I can’t often say this about Jenny, but if I were in her (probably super-expensive and uber-trendy) shoes, I would do the exact same thing. I mean, none of these dudes get what she’s trying to do. So she might as well do something totally insane and out there, like a musical. Wow. If anyone could turn anything of mine into a musical, ever, I mean, please do.
I’ll Come Into Your World, Girls.
And then … just when you thought your life had reached the tippie-top of complete and total perfection, that for you, this show had reached it’s absolute glory—MARINA is the woman directing this bizarre musical rendition of “Lez Girls: The Musical.”
The Ditty Bops look totally freaky, like they were brought in from the set of some sci-fi brainwashing movie. The other girls are dressed in latex hot-pants from a mid-90s Paula Abdul music video. There are a lot of thighs flexed and toes pointed. In the seats, Jenny eyes Marina, rolls her eyes, hides behind her eyes. She is feeling something like disbelief also that she is inching towards her favorite thing of all which is to get involved in something that is so so so so so terrible that it is, as Haviland and I often say: “Terrible/AWESOME.”
1. Ep 402: The Introduction of Really Papi, Really?
There are no words to describe the impact this moment had on our lives. Seriously. No words.
Maybe three little words.
TOP TEN THINGS THAT DROVE ME SLIGHTLY CRAZY DURING SEASON FOUR
10. Brooke’s Alleged Enrollment in Mount Holyoke: It’s Hard Out Here for a Het
Brooke looks like a Country-Western singer, shops at Express, wears tasteful ‘wraps’ with her flowered bikini at her father’s pool, dumps Max for being a “fucking freak,” and is the only girl at Mount Holyoke to not sleep with other women or have any awareness that trans men exist. According to PlanetOut.com, Mount Holyoke is “lesbian/bisexual heaven.” Furthermore, “it’s taken for granted that no one will graduate without at least some same-sex interaction–at least a kiss.” Sure, lots of lesbians and bisexual women are transphobic and might not want to date a trans woman or a trans man, but I don’t think that’s what they’re doing with Brooke. According to theroadbeststraddled.blogspot.com, there are about 5,000 other Universities that Brooke could have attended. In fact, most colleges are chock-full of close-minded assholes. Especially big state schools, and small conservative Christian colleges. I’m not even sure how this girl found an ex-boyfriend.
9. Max’s Facial Hair
Why? You know? Just: WHY? So
8. Hazel the Sex-Puppet
Crimes: improperly transformed innocent verbs into dirty sexual come-ons, E.T/Mia Farrow – esque, gratuitous display of silicone-enhanced breasts. But mostly: introduced to seduce the heterosexual boyfriend of the heterosexual sister of the homosexual character we actually CARE about. As in: Hazel’s “up and down” motioned moments could’ve been easily replaced with some Bette/Jodi “up and down” motioned moments, and I think that literally NOT A SINGLE PERSON WOULD MOURN HAZEL’S LOSS. Thanks.
7. Lesbian Television Bed Death
Ratio of Sex Last Season to Sex This Season is 22:9.
Did you notice that Tina actually NEVER got laid, like all season?
6. The Way We Wore (Pilgrim Outfits)
Alice does Little House on the Prarie, Papi gets her earrings at the Hoola Hoop Store [which obvs doesn’t exist, but then again, neither does she] and her hat-ribbon at Michael’s Crafts, JB’s no-nudity clause leaves Bette overly-clothed in turtleneck-faux-art-sheer-bizarre disasters, Alice once wore a shirt so horrid that K-Lily had to CALL me about it, and Jenny, dear Jenny of the Doilie/Pillow Sham-as-Dress….sometimes, I wish you were still in torn-up tights and Chuck Taylors.
5. Jennifer Schecter: Such a Good Writer, all the Rules of Publishing Break at the Sound of Her Navel-Gazing
First: The world’s filled with mags, why pick the one least-likely OF ALL MAGAZINES EVER to publish Jenny Schecter? Is The New Yorker the only magazine they’ve heard of besides Curve?
Re: the Lez Girls movie, I said, and I’ll say again: I swear to God, people, the portrayal of the publishing world in this storyline is so flawed it’s almost criminal. A book usually goes 2 years between contract signing and publication, not like, 2 weeks. And her payment schedule…ok. NM. I could go on. But I won’t. Because no one cares but me.” (but if you do: there’s no way that Lez Girls would come out so quickly, or that the adaptation would get going so quickly, or that she’d be snatching up Prada bags after the release of her poorly-reviewed self-reflective memoir.
4. Everyone Kept Talking With Food in Their Mouths
I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if Heather wasn’t
3. Bisexual Stereotypes
Alice= says she’s bisexual because that’s her political and theoretical alliance. In practice: total lesbian.
Tina=flighty, unfaithful, accused of using a person til she gets what she wants and then moving on.
Jenny=labels herself “bisexual” when she leaves her fiancee for a woman, then becomes a totes lesbian man-hater
2. Expository/Trite/Ridiculous Dialogue, e.g. 75% of Episode 411
Leonard:The affair’s over, you had your little fling with your cream puff, now I just wanna tell you that I forgive you and I’ll take you back.
Phyllis: Leonard, I think you are forgetting one small point–
[OH MY GOD!! WHAT COULD IT BE? IS THIS THE PART WHERE WE’RE SUPPOSED TO START CHEERING?]
Leonard: No–I’m not forgetting anything, Phyllis–I was there, I saw those girls, you’re nothing like them–
Phyllis: What do you mean “not like them”?
Leonard: I mean, I honestly don’t think you’re a lesbian.
Phyllis: Really? I don’t think you know what the fuck you’re talking about. Stop psychoanalysing me–
Leonard: “Look, maybe you have some lesbian tendencies or whatever but it’s not your college days anymore–”
Leonard: “Every time we’ve seen a movie in the last 20 years you’re all ‘Oh, I love Selma Hayek! You know, she really turns me on!”
Leonard: “I AM A MAN! No one is gonna be as good for you as I am, this is a fact of life, you really wanna take all of our life together and just throw it in the toilet?”
Phyllis: “I know who I am, and I’m being honest with myself, don’t you get it? It has nothing to do with you—you with your male ego stomping around here–”
LAMEST LINE EVER: “Yes, Leonard. I want to throw it in the toilet. I want to throw you in the toilet right now.”
1. Cast Sprawl
There are WAY more characters on The L Word than there are in my actual social network. (Side note: I’m not exactly a social butterfly.) No wonder they don’t go to work, it’s like high school when you’ve got so many friends, keeping track of them is a full-time after-school activity. We could use more development BETWEEN current cast members, rather than the near-compulsive addition of bit players. Here’s a Run-Down For Ya: Brooke, Stacey Merkin, Lindsay, Claude, HAZEL, Kate Arden, Paige, Grace, Catherine Rothberg, Nadia, Joyce, Amy, Henry. I’ve loved some of them people, but still. Too many of them people.
More ridiculous drawn-out analysis coming soon … Stay tuned, y’all.