The L Word Episode 112 Recap: Looking Back By Recapping “Looking Back”

It’s been ten years since The L Word premiered, and we’ve got lots to talk about. Welcome to The L Word week!

Welcome to the twelfth recap of the first season of The L Worda supernatural drama about a precocious dolphin trainer with shiny hair who enjoys riding her vespa, doing cartwheels, reading the Delia*s catalog, eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches, trying on strapless bras, sledding in the summertime and collecting band-aids. This episode promises hijinks and madness, including a race to the top of a mountain, nipple confidence, and tiny robots that can can give alternative lifestyle haircuts.


It’s a spinoff

Yes it’s true, I’m recapping an episode from Season One in honor of L Word week. Previously, I have recapped the pilot episode as well as all of Seasons Four, Five and Six, back when I had a giant hole through my brain and said a lot of strange things on the internet. I used to pepper these recaps with quotes from my pals/viewing partners and photographs of said pals, but alas now I live on the dock of The Bay far away from most of my pals, so instead I g-chatted Laneia while watching it and included some of that here! Anyhow, ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOSBALL????

We open at a poolside party in Los Angeles, California in 1979, where free spirits are listening to disco music, snorting cocaine, and probably celebrating the recent return of NASA’s first orbiting space station Skylab to earth. A few douchey guys in unfortunate fashion situations with brawny chest hair have gathered ’round the pool to encourage three naked ladies to stick their tongues down each other’s throats. Because free love!

Worst kickboxing class ever


The camera cuts out before we see what really goes down, but I hope it doesn’t involve someone going down on somebody else, because then that somebody would probably drown.

Just pretend like nobody is here

Yup, that’s right, I keep a tiny little puppy between my breasts and he sure does love to swim

Laneia: i’m making a face
Riese: welp, i already hate men
jk i hated men before i started watching this show

Cut to the present day circa the buttcrack of dawn, where the ladies are prepping to drive out to the Dinah Shore Sexy Slut Partyathon, Bette’s considering hiring The Carpenter for the Provocations Project and Dana’s presenting Kit with her 56-page thesis entitled “How To Take Care of Mr. Piddles.”

And here is a list of which episodes of "Orange is the New Black" Mr.Piddles would like to re-watch

And here is a list of Mr.Piddle’s favorite songs from “This Business of Art”

Marina’s employing her one and only facial expression, “Serious and Smarter Than You,” to subtly disapprove of Jenny joining the lezzies on this sultry vacation.

Jenny, is this woman leaving scary messages on your answering machine? Do we need to rough shit up?

Raise your hand if you think Jenny’s gonna come home to some frightening messages on her answering machine

Also, somehow Alice’s Mom Lenore has invited herself on this road trip! Oh, Lenore. You are a permanent reminder to us all of the missed opportunity to name an L Word episode “Lenore’d.”

En route to Palm Springs in the dead of night, Alice exposits the history of Dinah Shore — used to be a golf tournament, now is lesbian spring break — and then Tina exposits the history and greatness of the Human Rights Campaign, who we’re told will be giving Dana Fairbanks an award, probs for Best Female Ejaculation ever.



Because this show is sometimes adorable and Alice’s breasts look amazing in that shirt, everything is perfect. The carload erratically sings along to “Closer to Fine” as dawn breaks, because I guess these girls left at 4 AM to make the 2.5 hour drive to Palm Springs, or something.

I think I just sat on a bee

Everybody just smile and pretend like this interstate doesn’t smell like rotting cow carcasses

Alice’s Mom, continuing on her quest to be a Cool Mom, is inspired by The Indigo Girls to tell everybody Alice’s “coming out story.” Apparently, back in high school, Alice snuck behind the bleachers to get drunk and smoke cancer sticks with her hot friend and then her hot friend threw up in Alice’s mouth. Alice is like, that is not my coming out story, my coming out story is way more punk than that.

Directed by Richard Linklater

Directed by Richard Linklater

Once upon a time, Alice chewed a lot of gum and played in a band in her pajamas with her boyfriend Greg. Then she met a hot chick named Tayo who played bass and they played tonsil hockey together all over Oberlin or wherever but then Tayo broke her heart and now Alice is eating Burger King in a car with a bunch of lunatics who will probs kill Jenny some day.

No homo, we're just big fans of T.A.T.U.

No homo, we’re just big fans of T.A.T.U.

Next up is Dana, who’s reluctant to share ’cause her Patient Zero Lady-Love is a famous tennis player, maybe the one whose girlfriend submitted this really g-dawful manuscript to us in 2010. Mystery Tennis Homo was Dana’s counselor at Tennis Camp and they were in love and liked to suck face until MTH confessed to her best best friend and her best best friend did the worst worst thing and called her parents, thus getting MTH kicked out of Tennis Camp, leaving Dana to spend the rest of the summer with her Hitachi Magic Wand.

Fuck I didn't mean to order that many pizzas

I will never forget how your ass looks in that white tennis skirt

Lenore, a sudden expert on the lingo, moans, “tennis players are like girls in college, gay until graduation,” and the girls politely chuckle.

Back in WeHo, Bette’s trying to register for A-Camp when JAMES (a member of my short list entitled “men I don’t hate”) arrives to inform her that Candace “The Hottie” Carpenter is here to ruin her life I MEAN TALK ABOUT BUILDING THINGS. The Carpenter has big ideas about wall mounting and scaffolding and how to make the space “more dynamic.”

If you think your harness can handle it, I like my dildos to be about this long

If you think your harness can handle it, I like my dildos to be about this long

We then strap jetpacks onto our tank tops and rocket on back to The Longest Drive to Palm Springs In The History of the Automobile, where Lenore’s got a coming out story to tell because why the hell not. Her story, which we now recognize was the intro scene, takes place at “one of those Hollywood parties” in the ’70s “full of swingers and orgies and drugs.”  Lenore claims she got busy with four melons in a pool, but our visual flashback reveals that the other two wild children went for it but Lenore didn’t, she just treaded water and looked timid. If only she’d known that one day she’d grow up and kiss Shane.

Come on mom be cool  and don't cough, just please don't embarrass me in front of my meth friends

You feel that dull roar in your esophagus, Mom? That’s why I advised against the Spicy Chicken Sandwich Combo

Next up is Shane’s “coming out story,” except it’s not really about coming out but also none of these stories are so whatever. Shane shares the touching tale of tiny Shane watching Tiffany Gardner play in the park all day until one day she was like, “You know what? Fuck this, I’m gonna talk to this girl.”

Laneia: Baby shane just hopped up like she was putting out a cigarette
Riese: She was practicing for when she would grow up to be Shane

Is ready for her re-up

Why is that weird blogger following me around everywhere, don’t her parents buy her chicken nuggets

Tiny Shane’s already wearing Shane pants.

Shane: “So I pack up my Sunshine Meal, and I walk over to her, and she’s just sitting there in the sand playing hard to get, and I knew I was hooked. That girl took my Sunshine meal toy, and then she took my heart.”


Look, it's got a beanie baby in it, those'll be worth a lot on ebay in like ten years

Look this toy will definitely be worth a lot on ebay in like ten years, think of it as an investment in our children

Then they drop Lenore off on the curb and zoom into balmly Palm Springs, California, where thousands of lesbians are preparing to give each other yeast infections.

I'm sorry I started thinking about Samira Wiley and I came in my pants

I’m sorry I started thinking about Samira Wiley and I came in my pants

Cut to The Palm Springs Hotelscape Center of Lesbolife, where the girls skulk in with their luggage and their tiny goth friend Jenny Schecter, queen of the underworld.

Hello, we're here for the Sailor Moon cosplay

Hello, we’re here for Sailor Moon cosplay

Before anybody can look around and wonder who was in charge of casting these extras because they aren’t repping the Pussy Juice and Creamed Corn Contingent accurately, Tonya the Guest Liaison sweeps in.

Riese: everyone is so grown up
and wearing such clothes
Laneia: yes they really are overdressed. way too many spaghetti strap tanks
Riese: everybody seems really polite and there are no tattoos or crazy hair
Laneia: no one’s passing out from axe

Tonya is here to steal Famous Dana Fairbanks from her darling friends and protect her from Rabid Lesbian Fandoms with strong feelings about the Soup Chef.

Well, if you want to hang out with Sara Bettencourt you’re welcome to, but I’m just saying I don’t think that would be very “on brand” of you.

The best part of this scene is that Jenny looks like she just walked into a morgue and isn’t sure who killed all those innocent people.

Shit that valium was not fucking around

Anybody here could be the killer

Starsweep to the Grand Pool Party, otherwise known as the innermost circle of hell.

Hey have you guys heard of that girl Whitney Mixter?

Hey have you guys ever heard of that website Autostraddle?

Because somebody's playing Marco Polo with Romi

Because I think I can see them down there and it looks like they haven’t seen this much sunlight or been around this many people since 2009

Jenny:  I’ve never seen so many women in one place in my whole life.
Alice: And every one of them is greased up and ready to go!

When I went to Dinah Shore for the first time and stepped out of our room to overlook the pool party, I felt and looked exactly like Jenny does right there. If Jenny is anything like me, she will turn around immediately, open the top dresser drawer, snag a slice of psychedelic banana bread, and trip her balls off until Sunday.

Riese: this is how i felt when we went to dinah
Laneia: yes, complete with jeans and long sleeve shirt
and the feeling of never leaving that deck
Riese: i like how jenny stays dressed like emily the strange the whole time, she was my Dinahspiration

So many things to blow, so little time

So many things to blow, so little time

The camera pans down to reveal small gaggles of moderately aged women gently tossing beach balls, neatly teasing one another with towels, enjoying many varieties of sarong and sipping on POM juice while floating listlessly upon inflatable sharks.

Riese: this is really low-key
where are the Go-Go’s
where are the F-list celesbians
Laneia: where is the screaming
i remember trying to walk to get a burger with palmer and it took like 20 minutes to get to the other side of the pool
it was actually god awful
Riese: yeah and you had to buy tickets and then buy the burger with tickets.
Riese: when i felt weird i just thought “if jenny could do this then i can too”

Dinah Shore, according to The L Word:


Dinah Shore, according to The Real L Word:


[Sidenote: This L Word episode was actually filmed in Vancouver, according to The New York Times, but its impact on the Palm Springs Dinah Shore weekend was monumental :

After the Dinah party — or a simulacrum of it, filmed in Vancouver — was depicted in the show’s first season in 2004, attendance at the real thing promptly doubled, to 2,500 people from 1,200 at the splashy Saturday night party alone.

Over 10,000 women now attend Dinah Shore Weekend events, which are now exclusively hosted by Club Skirts. According to NewNow Next, “while the Dinah Shore weekend of events has existed for decades, when Showtime’s hit show The L Word filmed an episode there, it pushed the weekend into notoriety.” Robin Gans of Girlbar (whose logos can be seen on the wall of the White Party in this episode) told The Bay City Reporter that  “The L Word really helped kind of skyrocket [Dinah Shore].” In 2007, Ilene Chaiken visited Dinah Shore for the first time when The L Word and OurChart (its companion social network) did live events at Club Skirts. Ilene Chaiken told Curve Magazine, “I’m all in favor of any excuse for tens of thousands of gay women to get together and have a good time.”]

Before Dana can settle in and realize her true feelings for Alice or worry that she might sit on some placenta and ruin her white pantsuit, Tonya swoops in to yank her back into Ton-Ton-Town, after being supper inappropriate and flirtatious regarding Dana’s physical appearance at this juncture.

I'll be putting all five of these up Dana's vadge tonight, thank you ladies

I’ll be putting all five of these up Dana’s vadge tonight, thank you ladies

Yeah and I'll be shoving all four of these up your ass

Yeah and I’ll be shoving all five of these up your ass, killer

Seriously y'all what's with the kink


Back at The Art House of Sin, The Carpenter has dared to charge $50 more than the highest bidder for her project, because oral is extra. This is a big deal to Bette despite the fact that her left sock probably costs $50.

Of course I didn't order myself an Edible Arrangement who would ever do that not me absolutely no

Of course I didn’t order myself an Edible Arrangement who would ever do that not me absolutely no

The Carpenter kindly draws Bette a Project Management Triangle just in case Bette literally just got born, but Bette’s distracted by The Carpenter’s gams, jaws, facemeat, hipspace, buttpad, et al.

and that right there is an arrow pointing at my vagina

and that right there is an arrow pointing at my vagina

Thank you for the blueprint

Thank you for the blueprint

The Carpenter and Bette have sex with their eyeballs and then The Carpenter jets to that Cuban place to get some Cuban food to eat while having sex with their eyeballs later in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, Tina, Shane, Jenny and Alice weave through the crowd with all their clothes on, stopping to heavily pet a booth selling tacky t-shirts and, apparently, Hpnotiq.

and I'm her animal

and I’m her animal

Back at Cuban Sexy Food Time, Bette and Candance are talking about how Candace and Yolanda are splitsville when Tina calls. Tina’s like Dinah is WILD I wish you could see it! You guys, HER WISH CAME TRUE, because now when you go to Dinah Shore you can send people pictures on your phonepiece.

There are so many good candidates here for erotic thirds!

There are so many good candidates here for our new erotic third!

Tina can barely hear Bette over the sounds of Celesbians in the Wild.

Honey I think our ex-erotic third is here with some dude named Dusty?

hahaha yeah Romi is here lol i think she got back together with kelsey

Back in La-La Land, Bette hangs up the phone and Candace is all like, “I didn’t know you had a girlfriend,” and Bette’s like, “why would you?” and I’m like, “I don’t know, maybe Candace saw the pilot.”

Laneia: bette just wants someone to boss her around
Riese: yup
Laneia: poor thing

This tastes like MSG

Is there gluten in this

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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 3198 articles for us.


  1. Okay 2 things Riese:
    1. I am really glad you didn’t die in Palm Springs mostly because I’m really glad Autostraddle is a thing in my life and only a little but because I feel like that would be an incredibly stupid place to die.
    2. The captions were so spot on that I wanted to acknowledge them in the comments but couldn’t pick a favorite so good job on making me giggle when I’m not feeling great. Thanks :)

  2. gosh this recap is so spot on and the captions are hysterical. In honor of the L-word focus here this week I downloaded and am re-watching the series. I got through most of season two before getting bored but I’m gonna plug through till the end of the season at least. I forgot how over-dramatic/horrible/awesome it is. I also watched the friend aspect of the L word in amazement and envy. I’ve never had a big close group of gay friends.

  3. I love the friend moments on the L Word too! Definitely going to re-watch this one tonight. I’ve never had a group of queer friends. Almost everyone I know is straight. Seems like such a TV like fantasy to have a whole group of gay friends, but maybe I’m not looking in the right way or place for friends. Good thing I’m coming to A-Camp! :)

  4. Good job on the mom kept asking me what i was laughing at. Its a truth isnt it? Sometimes all u want is a bunch of lesbian friends who just get you. Happy L word week. =p

  5. I was going to comment on the captions as well, they are so good. Due to the fact that while at work, in a relatively quiet office, I cry-laughed at “Come on, I know you stole a tampon from my bathroom, let’s have it”. I have to say that was my favorite.

    Also, calling the Dinah pool party the innermost circle of hell could not be more spot on.

    Very fun read, thanks!

  6. I just finished rewatching season 1 on Netflix (they changed all the music!), and this episode is still one of my favorites, along with the season 1 finale. Every time I watch it, it feels like I’m hanging out with old friends I haven’t seen in a while.

    Did anyone else notice that in Tina’s coming out story they explained it as Bette and Alice having already broken up, and yet in later seasons (3 and 5, specifically) that they claimed Bette cheated on Alice with Tina? That always irked me a little bit.

  7. I loved this recap. I want more!

    I rewatched this episode a couple of months ago. It’s one of my favorites as well. I too really love all of the friendship moments – that was always the show’s biggest strength. Ugh, I want a fabulous group of queer lady friends so badly!

  8. It really is very sad that Jenny was turned into a sociopathic narcissist.

    Riese, I nominate you to do the oral history of how the hell Betty and EZ Girl were allowed to happen, complete with secret testimony from the cast members about how mortified they were to be associated with it.

  9. I’ll take Kit-Kat bars and darkness. Oh, and a group of queer friends if possible, I never had one.

  10. Riese and Laneia,
    I love your discussions about the L Word episode’s scenes as they are happening, even 10 years later, as I wished I was aware that you were recapping them at the time, but I still watched The L Word all of it as it was screened in NZ, without a lesbian group of friends, but the good thing to come out of me discovering Autostraddle and the great writing and recaps is that I am loving reading your recaps now!!! The gift of file save and recapping recaps, so that Riese your wider audience gets to share and be part of the conversation with you. That is worth a lot so thank you many times over!!!! :):):)

  11. Just have to echo everyone about the photo captions. Also, this quote: “I am wearing a sweater set from Sears today, this is my no-sex outfit, you are not entering these trousers.”

    Thank you Riese! Loved this trip down memory lane and you did a great job of articulating why this show was/is important and how Ilene Chaiken fucked it up in the end.

  12. You know the friendships in this show really was what hooked me but I didn’t fully realize that about myself until I read this. I used to read all your recaps for this show and this one just brought back all the memories. Like the jenny moments.. the lesbian sexy moments/squabbles.. and those captions.

  13. This was just a fabulous recap. So much L word nostalgia. The jenny and shane captions were so spot on.

  14. This was perfect and I hope that you re-recap more episodes with the hindsight of time passed since the first time watched. Thank You!

  15. Sigh. This is definitely one of my favourites! That scene where they all pretend to be asleep while Dana does the walk of shame cracks me up. This was seriously ill-timed though. I’m moving to Australia in three days and I’m already feeling major separation anxiety w/r/t my friend-family.

  16. This reminds how much I loved Shane’s season one hair and how much I hated every other hairstyle she had. Man, nothing gold can stay.

    • IKR?! I’m totally transported back to L-word Night, about 10 people crammed into my friend’s bedroom, ordering Indian food and drinking gin. The good old days!

  17. I read through this entire recap to find the name of the movie the friends were watching in the hotel room and I still have no answers! I just want to know why they were laughing… and I love old films.
    Also, I am very late to this, it’s 2020 and I’m watching the L word for the very first time -sue me?! ugh please help!

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