This recap was originally published on Riese’s personal L Word recap blog, The Road Best Straddled, in 2007. It has been reposted on Autostraddle.com in all its messy, outdated, poorly formatted glory, and many of the images from it may be totally missing! Whee!
[Hiya. I’m recapping the pilot. I finally finished! The pilot is so long you guys, it’s like recapping Hamlet.]
We had really ambitious dreams to fulfill your dreams [in our imagination, people dream about recaps] by recapping Seasons One and Two before Season Five begins. So: Carly, Zoey and I began last Thursday with the Pilot. Howevs, when the application that audio-records our witticisms suddenly crashed, we were like “fuck this shit,” and didn’t take photos or anything. But then … I’m not a quitter! I mean, I kinda am. No: I’m like — I believe in the future, and the possibility that in the future, I’ll do whatever it was I said I’d do. That’s what I believe in.
But right now, I should be: writing the article for Curve magazine, catching up on email, reorganizing my room so it’s not such a Grey Garden in here, figuring out why I have 10 mosquito bites, calling my mother or friends, seeing my friends, selling things on ebay, trying to fix my problems with Chase bank, revising our webisodes, writing a Sunday Top Ten for my other blog, or composing one of six recruitment ads I need to turn into work in about 36 hours. So, obvs, I’m going to “recap” the Pilot. I think recapping TV shows is what watching TV shows is for other humans. It’s how I relax.
OK — first off, an FYI that has undoubtedly shaped how I see the show: “While the character of Jenny is fueled by Chaiken’s post-college experience of moving to L.A. as a young writer and discovering her sexual self, the character of Bette is more like Chaiken’s adult self, juggling a committed relationship with the demanding schedule of a high-powered career.” (Velvetpark)
There’s no need to go through it in true recap style; we’ve all seen it and we know what happens. If you’re anything like us, you’ve seen it 100 times. So I’m just gonna highlight some major plot points, though I’m obsessive about recaps and will probs feel oddly compelled to analyze every minute. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe I should start at the end. [UPDATE: I started getting obsessive.]
Have you ever watched this thing with commentary? I haven’t. I am right now, it’s kinda cool. OMG, I should re-watch all of it with commentary, I’d probs feel more endeared towards it. Hey — guess what the first line is of commentary is. Seriously, guess. OK, OK, I’ll tell you: “I’m Ilene Chaiken, executive producer and writer of The L Word.” See, I think Ilene could solve all her problems if she just embraced her own ridiculousness. She and Jay Manuel could take their show on the road, spreading inanity worldwide, like lesbianism. Also, how innocent we once were, back in the day before Ilene could add “Showtime’s hit series” to that sentence.
I Go Back to Sleep to re-Dream Me
Ilene-in-Commentary offers: “We missed Bette and Tina waking up in bed together, which was important to me. I wanted it to feel real and I wanted them to be connecting and touching.” Wow. I guess there was a time when Ilene had our best interests in mind. That time was called “2004.” OK, I can’t handle the commentary, you can’t hear the incredible dialogue, which is probs not to be missed.
Can I just say? How nice it is to open this show without the slap-in-the-face that is “The Way That We Live.” I mean, it opens with Tim Haspel moving furniture [I cannot watch Tim without thinking of Dawn Weiner going “Steeeve, Steeeeeve …”], but he’s hot, yeah? So, whatevs.
First line of the episode: “Bette c’mere! I’m ovulating!” Bette. Come Here. I’m Ovulating.
Hey … wait. Did you hear that? That like, loud slamming noise? That’s the sound of every straight male in the room getting up and walking out. And that smaller slam that just followed that large slam? That was Haviland walking out.
The Way They Were
Then Bette and Tina make out, it’s hot. Bette’s like, RAWR, I love you when you’re ovulating, let’s make a baby. Wow. GAY. But their dynamics illuminate the relationship: Bette’s the Alpha, she’s got it all under control, etc. It’s also setting a standard: “there will be girls making out on this show [while talking about their cycles].” Carly observes that Bette’s at her Best — her Bettest, if you will — in a racerback wifebeater. I agree.
Try to Control the Pull of One Magnet to Another Magnet
Jenny emerges from the airport, looking like Le Petit Prince: “Yowsers, where am I? Are you a sheep? A boa constrictor?” She embraces Tim: “Who is this man? Do we have anything whatsoever in common? How did we meet?” I bought their connection then, obvs, as I was dating a Republican future member of the NYPD. Now I’m like, WTF? Little does Jenny know that it won’t be long before she’ll be shooting up her trans boyfriend with hormones.
I Went to A Shrink To Analyse My Dreams
I’ve gotta agree with Bette; it’ll be way harder to relate to a straight male therapist than a lady therapist. He’s on point, but still. My first good therapist was totes a lesbian. I knew this because my Mom was a lesbian, and all lesbians know all other lesbians. Bette’s like “there’s more to a relationship than just sex.” That’s code for: “We’re never having sex again. With each other.”
Zoey: “You hadn’t like — anything — ?”
Me: “Oh. No, I’d made out with girls. I mean. I’d had sex with girls.”
Carly: “You just hadn’t like, dated a girl.”
Me: “Well, no. I mean, I kinda had. Sorta. No, I hadn’t. I mean — I just hadn’t like. Thought about it. Processed it.”
Carly: “Dealt with it.”
I was more or less a nightmare. Anyhow. Speaking of nightmares … Jenny says their “home” is very traditional. Tim’s like “it’s not as traditional as you may think.” That means: “there will be pussy eaten in these here parts.”
So Much For Our Happy Ending
Bette and Tina head up to see the sperm donor. What are they trying to create? Gargoyles? They’re like, OMG, I cannot believe we have to listen to this man masturbate right now. He squeals a little, totally sealing the deal that these two will never have sex again. They’re like, shouldn’t we be getting paid for this?
Carly: “No calls from the 60’s.”
Me: “No one wants their shirt back. The 90’s haven’t called, the 50’s haven’t called –”
Carly: “There are no messages for that shirt. No one’s claiming that shirt.”
Me: “No voice mails. There are no decades calling for that shirt.”
Lesbian Sexy Moment #1: Underwater I Wrote Drowning
The Pick-Up: Something about using the pool whenever they want? Jenny is distracting me with her puppy shirt. JK, nothing could distract me from the beauty of full frontal.
Hot Or Not?: This is the beginning of a long long tradition of lesbians doin’ it in the pool. Shane strips down to everything but her leather wristcuff, in case her date wants to double check Shane’s homosexuality mid-romp. This is a nice work schedule Shane’s got going for herself. Client at 9, blonde in the mid-afternoon, etc. They should read Aqua Erotica, it’s waterproof. Jenny, wandering through the back alley with a bouquet of crazy, spies the lovers through the fence and can’t tear herself away, which’s exactly how I’d feel if I were in her shoes. I’d also be like “Wow, these shoes are really small for my big ass giant feet.” Did you know “Riese” means Giant in German? You know where I learned that? One of you guys. Don’t remember who though.
Lesbian Sexy Moment #2: At Least Put on a Nurse Cap or Something
The Pick-Up: Bette: “She’s not serious. Am I supposed to fuck you right here?”
Tina: “I think it would help.”
Hot or Not?: Bette fully wipes her mouth, which’s at least adorable. They’re in the doctor’s office. Tina is in a great physical position from which to receive cunnilingus, I gotta say.
Carly: “Yeah, this show! She’s in this show like 100 times!”
Carly: “She’s like, the only doctor in West Hollywood. Wasn’t she Dana’s cancer doctor too?”
Like Magic Eye But With Sperm
Bette’s called in to the doctor’s office to look at something she might wanna take a look at. Bette was like: “Oh sweet, probs naked girls.” Oh. I mean. Sorry, I was confusing Bette and me. So she goes into the office and the doctors like “look at this,” and then Bette looks at that. She probs thinks it’s for her Sensation exhibit or whatever. Provocations.
It’s not though. It’s the sperm of the artist-dude. His terrible shirt has made him unable to conceive viable sperm, it like, neutered him.
Me: “Nice screensaver, Doc, thanks.”
I Got a Job That Wastes My Time and Gift
Jenny’s wandering through the grocery store, looking for some toast, when she spots the Help Wanted sign. She asks this guy who looks like the weed-dealer from my hall at U of M: “What positions do you have available, because I might be lookin’ for a job.” She says it like it’s the luckiest day of your life, I’m totally going to bag your groceries, kiddo, I am the worst employee ever except Helena for Wax.
I Felt You in My Funny Bone Before I Ever Met You
I have this L Word Karaoke problem. I actually say “I’m looking for the same things in a man as I am in a woman,” along with Alice, that’s how well I know that line. Every time Marina comes on, Carly starts imitating her deep voice. Apparently Carly used to leave voice mails for her friends beginning with: “Jenny. It’s Marina” in Marina-voice.
There’s this weight between Dana and Alice — everything matters. I didn’t call it at the time, but Carly says she did. I’m not good at calling things, honestly.
Alice: “God, Dana, you are going to pickle in that self-loathing homophobia.”
Dana: “Alice, you are gonna pickle in that self-righteous prigishness.”
When Jenny walks by The Planet, Dana’s all like, “hello!” So cute. That happens all the time. I’m not lying, it does. We’ll be sitting there, a silence will wash over the crowd, and then Haviland or myself: “Hello!” or you know, really, anyone. Like, Carly, that one time outside the Time Warner Center? That girl who walked by and looked at us? Totes.
Contender for the Best American Lesbian Erotica of 2004
Back at Chez Het, Jenny’s lowering her salaciously attired bod onto Coach, all riled up over the lesbian sex scene she spied that afternoon starring two naked gay ladies. and Tim’s like “Oooh I’m about to get an exclusive on the intro to Lez Girls, the hit novel produced and co-created by Ilene Chaiken and Jenny Schecter!”
This is the beginning, also, of Jenny’s annoying habit of re-telling everything that’s happened to her to everyone she sees while changing everyone’s names and getting the story slightly wrong, depending on her audience. Like this audience? Coach? There’s a lot of straight sex in this show. Tim fully sticks his dick in Jenny at least three times within the first hour.
I didn’t catch this [this = the difference between who Jenny saw and who Tim thought she saw] the first time. Honestly, I thought Dana and Bette were the same person for the first 20 minutes or so. I dunno why, now, I guess they have similar facial structures.
Lets take a time machine: December 2004. I’ve got a boyfriend, I’m watching this lesbian show I ordered from Netflix on a friend’s recommendation. I know from gay: I’ve got a gay Mom, she’s got gay friends. I’d say about 50% of my social group is gay, I somehow ended up living with the entire U of M rugby team in college, most of my childhood friends turned out to be gay. I’m in the arts.
But I didn’t know enough from gay, apparently, to find any of this cliche. In its defense: cliche is often cliche for a reason — because it’s true. Already the characters feel pretty honest to me — I’m feeling the playfulness and humor around serious issues that characterises Dana and Alice’s friendship, the struggle to be heard that permeates Bette and Tina’s delicate and deep-set power dynamics, the complications of Jenny’s “awakening” if you will and Tim’s respective cluelessness — his earnest love for this wild artist girl who he probs knows, deep down, he’ll actually never truly understand.
It’s almost like the first season is more of a bisexual show than a lesbian show. Also, though, this archetype’s been done in Personal Best and so many shows since … but I think until the very very recent past, it hadn’t been overdone yet. Though lesbians already knew from bisexual-awakening disdain, that awareness hadn’t yet broken through into mainstream society.
The access we’ve currently got to alternative media is pretty remarkable, and every day it becomes a lot less likely that a girl will naively make it to the age of 25 without realising she likes women more than men, or even both. But then: I liked this story and though I found many of Jenny’s actions reprehensible, I also found her plot compelling, and I related, a little.
My first time watching — I didn’t complain, let alone pull out my hair or feel compelled to share my negative opinions with as many hundreds of thousands of lesbians & allies as possible. I just wanted to keep watching, for as long as possible. I wanted the next DVD to appear in it’s lovely red sleeve as soon as possible. I wanted to tell everyone I knew about what I’d uncovered; this magical world of only women, where I didn’t have to hide behind everyone, where hiding wasn’t so hot after all. My boyfriend was big and brawny like Tim. He carried large and heavy objects I was unable to carry.
In The Temp-Planet, Alice says Dana doesn’t want her tennis fans to know that she’s a gay lady. I totes picked up that phrase immediately [“gay lady”] and permanently from this episode. And! According to the commentary, so did J-Beals! We have the like same vocabulary, we’re basically one step away from “Flashdance: Havana Nights.”
Then they have a really embarrassing conversation about butt waxing. Seriously, sometimes this show just embarrasses me, it’s like watching your best friend get drunk and fall down the stairs so everyone can see her underwear.
In My Spare Time, I Enjoy Needlepoint, Crocheting, Scrapbooking and Other Midwestern Crafts
The thing is that compared to what’s coming for our Jenny, this shirt is not bad. At least her Grandmother’s happy she’s wearing her Bat Mitzvah present finally. When Tina says: “Want some rosemary?” Carly informs me that rosemary is her favorite herb. I think she’s kidding, but she’s not. Prior to this moment, I wasn’t aware Carly enjoyed non-processed foods, let alone “herbs.” (JK, I know she eats soup and/or salad usually at lunch. See, I know these things. Why?)
Also, that’s Sounder, the puppy, on Jenny’s shirt. That’s foreshadowing. See Mrs. Chapekis, I learned a lot in Freshman English.
It’s Foxy Brown
I guess we could’ve paused it when we dashed to the refrigerator for some string cheese and peanut butter crackers (yes, that’s how Carly and I have both obtained such stunning figures), but like, seriously — didn’t care the first time. Right now: also still not caring. Yes, I like Pam Grier. But this character never really made it. She never developed meaningful storylines with any major players besides Bette and even when she almost goes gay, it’s with a peripheral character. Business, sex, love — even friends and additional family — are outside of the central cast. Anyhow. I like Pam Grier. Just … not in this show.
Anyhow, Kit’s not derailed. Despite this uncomfortable situation with a cop, she drives on, into this show, eventually enabling Angus’s annoying girlfriend who looked like the lovechild of Mia Farrow and E.T., which blew [Angus! JK].
Look Her In the Eyes And Tell Me You Don’t Find Her Atttractive
Something terrible has happened to Bette’s hair, but no one seems to want to talk about it. No one’s telling Alice about her pants, either. Some girls are having drama, Bette and Alice walk by and Alice says something cute: “Some lesbians think ‘friendship’ is another word for ‘foreplay.'” This is what the kids call “Foreshadowing.” (Yes, A for Riese!)
One of the best lines of this show is Bette’s “Have you ever noticed that every time Shane walks into a room, someone leaves crying?” Thus, Lacey appears and we have a perfect example of how “having a good time and moving on” can bite you in the ass. But if you’re Shane, you’ve got no ass. However, you’re good at getting ass. Want me to go on? I won’t.
In the Ring: Shane and Lacey
Content/Result: Drama’s not happy that Shane didn’t call her. Shane is a cool customer, but not mean, which’s the crux of the difference between the lesbian player and the gay male or straight player — like Brian Kinney — Brian’d just be like “Who are you?” But Shane is more tender, though clearly irked, and attempts to be sensitive to Lacey while simultaneously rejecting her. Lacey storms out and tells Jenny to tell Shane not to treat people like that. It’s a classic moment. Go Tammy Lynn! Shane wins, because she’s still hot.
Anyhow, then the party’s in full blast and the kids are doing kegstands and the dorky kid is doing karaoke. Oh wait, I just confused this show with Can’t Hardly Wait. This girl says there’s a “scientist at the National Enquirer — ” and starts talking about the finger thing and Shane’s like, into it. This is how we know Shane can’t read. One, because of Jordan Catalano, two, because reading is complicated, and three, because if she could, she’d know there are no scientists at the National Enquirer, as that is a tabloid. What’s next, “So, did y’all hear about Michael Jackson’s alien babies and Oprah’s thighs and the UFO?”
They start comparing the sizes of their hands. I start comparing the size of how much this makes me nauseous to how much this makes me feel bad about my neck. I think probs everyone feels a bit off ’cause Bette’s hair looks so terrible. And because Alice is so cute, Dana is so funny, and Shane is smokin’ hot, like a fire.
“Your index finger and ring finger are almost exactly the same size,” some random observes of Jenny. Alice suggests maybe Jenny’s bisexual. Alice is actually the Oracle of this show. She’s going to take everyone back into the matrix. Jenny and Tim have a nice laugh over this.
Oh, the tangled web we weave.
The Pick-Up: I think they made eye contact. Seriously, if Shane just BREATHED in my general area, I’d be like “HELLO!”
Hot or Not?: I know they’re only making out against the wall which’s arguably NOT a super sexy moment, but how amazing is it that they are just making out in strong lighting in the middle of this party, and also, this is the first time that you get to see the Shane LEAN, which is one of her signature moves. The slight bend, the reach for the face-cup, the bottom-kill. You know that’s how Kate makes out, too,obvs.
This scene is so adorable.
You are so gay. SO GAY.
So cute!Miss You,
Thus Spoke The Worst Writer Ever
“I have this character that I write about … ” Jenny begins. And thus the Career-of-Jenny Improbability-Meter begins to rise. Marina comes over and says “I hope you’re good,” referring to how Jenny is totes copping Nietzsche with her story title. What Marina doesn’t know yet: not only is Jenny not “good,” she is BAD. Though to Marina’s credit, she did just learn that Jenny’s story was published — okay, the fact that somehow Jenny Schecter’s been published in The Best American Short Stories anthology is so improbable I’d almost say it trumps everything to follow, but it’s hard. To trump what’s to follow.
I asked Carly for her memory of what it was like to see this for the first time, already being a media-savvy and out gay lady. I will insert Carly’s commentary as we proceed, e.g., right now: “My most vivid memory of the pilot is making fun of Marina. Sorry Marina fans, I cannot stand her; never have, never will. She was laughable with that accent and her ridiculous seduction of Jenny. And the best part: her shoulders were visible in like, 95% of season 1. Like, she could not wear sleeves. The other girls would be wearing layers of clothing, Marina would be wearing a sleeveless top. Ri. Dic. U. Lous.”
I Do a Lot of “Best Of” Pieces Too, Alice.
Also, Alice, could you possibly be any cuter? The answer is: yes, yes you can be. You’ve got years of cuteness ahead of you, ya big cutie! “You should take the Cosmo romance compatibility quiz or something.” Her comedic timing is just fantastic. Also, love how she’s just shamelessly hitting on the new girl for no reason and against all odds, even though the new girl has a boyfriend. Alice’s just so fucking ENDEARING, Alice. You just want to hug her. Naked.
Also, how great is it that I’ve meet her now? Kinda funny, how many of these ladies I’ve managed to see in 3-D or meet since viewing this pilot. Alice, Shane, Bette, Lacey, Jodi, Stacey Merkin, Ilene. I’m not name dropping, it’s just funny. I’m sure many of you feel the same way who’ve been to various HRC parties or whatevs , if you have those, wherever you may be out there in the world, on the lovely chart that is Ours. Have you heard? There’s this site called OurChart?
Carly and I couldn’t really watch the Marina-Jenny love connection part, because the camera work they do to show Jenny and Marina’s instant attraction to each other is absolutely unbearable every time. Remember that? I do. I probs still thought Bette and Dana were the same person, but I remember this unbearable interlude.
Also, does anyone wanna know my answer to Marina’s “singular romantic compatibility question” — which, despite it’s alleged absolute and historic implications, she doesn’t know how to phrase it when she asks it [she changes her mind from “favorite” to “most influential life-altering”]? Okay, I can’t pick just one, but it might include: “New and Selected Poems” (Stephen Dunn), “Bad Behavior” (Mary Gaitskill), “Where I’m Calling From” (Raymond Carver) and “Like Life” (Lorrie Moore). Anyhow.
You know what this whole thingie reminds me of? Besides how cute Alice is (“I’ll just leave you two alone to get married.” Aw, dreaming of a world where that might even be legal.)?
Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
Knees and Totes
Head Shoulders Knees and Totes
Knees and Totes
Eyes Ears Mouth and Nose
Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
Knees and TOTES!
Now I just got that song stuck in my own head. Kit arrives and Alice is like “Haaaaay Kit!” like they’ve been BFFs forevs . Little do they know, they’ll only talk like four more times in the next four years.
The Pick-Up: She just gets right to it. I like that in a woman. Well, Jenny says “I’m just waiting for the washroom,” in that singsongy voice she does. The “I’m just getting some toast” voice.
Hot or Not?: I love this scene. Carly doesn’t. But I really do. You see Jenny feel it and give in and then you see her break away, you can sense that RUSH you’re certain must be taking her over right now. I think that’s a big part of what makes this scene so hot, and so oft-captured — we’ve been there, we know. The moment when you realise that all that shit about feeling chills through your bones and adrenaline rushes and all that was true, it’s really true, it really happens, there’s something out there far more tingly than what you’ve already got going on.
But didn’t Jenny have to pee or something? This gets me every time, so confused. Is she just gonna hold it now? Is Marina gonna pee?
Alice asks Bette: “Alright, is your sister the coolest person on earth or what?” It’s because Kit is DJ’ing. She’s got her headphones on. And is DJing. That’s all it takes, guys, to be the coolest person on earth! Just put on some headphones and swing to the beat. I can’t even stop GarageBand from crashing.
Another memory from Carly: “Another thing I learned while watching the pilot again the other night was that I never identified with or liked Jenny and her storyline, and I don’t think any of my friends ever did either. But apparently lots of people did like Jenny and were really compelled by her storyline. I had no idea this was actually possible, so that was shocking. Also I’m glad Shane started dressing better after the pilot. But Alice? Oh Alice. Alice was always the best thing about this show.
At least we still have Alice.”
You Can’t Hide Your Lyin’ Eyes
Tim’s pissed that Jenny made him leave the party. He asks her why she wanted to leave. She says she felt weird. Coincidentally, she also looks totally weird. Like possibly completely out of her mind. She then proceeds to assert her heterosexuality by marching over, burying her head in Tim’s lap, and providing him with some oral entertainment. I totally get this scene — I think it rings quite true. HOWEVS, this’s like trying to convince yourself you wanna be a waitress by waiting on a 100-top of teenagers on a diet at the Olive Garden who’ve all ordered unlimited Soup & Salad and need Diet Coke refills every ten seconds.
We flash back to the party for a truly invigorating Kit-Bette scene, then return to Chez Het for another sex scene between Tim and Jenny. This is getting slightly out of hand, all this het sex in the gay show. Tim’s hot though, so …
Shane for Hanes
Back to the party, where Bette and Tina are mourning the lack of sperm acquisition. Bette notes: “What an ego-bruiser. Three turn downs in one night.” Shane says it’s got nothing to do with them, it’s the new male. I think they’re trying to establish Shane’s Yoda-hood, but again, I feel them trying so hard to coin terms, provide soundbytes and create lingo that it’s a bit painful to watch. “Well, the new male is more spiritual than the old male, he sees the sperm as an extension of his inner being, where the old male just shot his sperm … ” Where did she read this, GQ? I guess they probs get that mag at the salon.
Sidenote: if I had to guess what “the new male” REALLY is? I’d say: SHANE. Also, HELLO Shane’s tits in the wifebeater — even though those leather pants are reprehensible, I miss the time when wardrobe on this show was less a designer showcase and more of an actual reflection of character. Shane could never pull this off in real life, trust me, I know from experience. One does not reveal nipples in life like that. I love teevee. OW!
(They Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
“Why do they have to get all sensitive on us just when we need them to keep being the same old assholes?” Bette asks Tina. Tina says, “I don’t know, I bet there are still assholes out there for me, like Henry.” JK, she doesn’t say that, but I bet Henry woulda shot it in ’em, if they’d asked. Also, Dana asks Shane how she’d know, having never been with a man, which is actually not true, Shane used to give beejers to gay men for money, duh.
Harrison does a few amazing things in this scene. The first is his little gay wave when Shane leaves. The second is when, in his drunkenhood, he goes “I’m sawwrryy,” and leans over to embrace Dana, who’s horrified (cute sunddress, Dana, p.s.) and shouts, “Oh my God, Harrison, get off of me, the party’s over, we can go back to being gay.” Their relationship is so cute, I wish we’d seen more of it. Oh well, she’s dead now.
There’s Beauty in the Breakdown
Speaking of people are dead now, I once knew this dog named Sounder. Tim finds a slumbering Jenny in the toolshed, and they act really cute, and Tim’s muscles look hot and he’s understanding and patient. He doesn’t know that Jenny’s addicted to the drama, and naively offers: “It’s a whole new place, Jen, it’s just gonna take a while to find your groove.” Yes, the groove of vagina. Then he starts feeling her up.
Does This Count as a Lesbian Sexy Moment?
Spinning Teacher: “Why are you here? To gossip with your friends or to change your body? What do you wanna get out of the next 40 minutes?”
Dana: “A look at your spectacular tits would be nice.”
Tina: “So, go for it.”
Dana: “No, besides she’s straight.”
Tina: “How do you know?”
Dana: “Because I’m so attracted to her. Every time I’m attracted to somebody, she’s either unavailable or straight.”
Spinning Teacher: “DANA!”
Every scene that Dana is in becomes a good scene. It’s like, The Rule of Dana. Also, did anyone else wonder why the frack Dana is in spinning class? I mean, doesn’t she get enough workout in her JOB as a professional ATHLETE? Like, wtf? It’s like taking Haviland to karaoke.
Lookin’ for a Loooveeee Sandwich
This is what happens to unemployed writers. I speak from experience. You become a full time Drama-Creator, aspiring only to fulfill your emotional complications rather than a obtaining a career or cleaning your room/toolshed. Also, something terrible has happened to Jenny’s hair. Tina sees her and asks if she’s by herself and she says “I am. I am by myself. But I’m gonna go home and make a sandwich.” This is like, brill. She’s such a funny weirdo. So awkward, confused, totally underwater.
The girls quickly regret inviting Jenny to their table, as she rambles on about her writing workshop. The expressions on everyone’s faces are priceless, but most of all, Shane’s. It’s like, Really Jenny, Really?:
Shane’s Thinking: “I wonder if she’d shut up if I stuck my fist inside her.”
Then they recommend Marina’s reading group. Marina and Jenny start talking and the girls all excuse themselves, acting collectively adorable. “You’ll be okay Jenny, yeah?” Alice asks, all knowing. What’s really sad/amazing is not how often this kind of thing happens in real life, but how often this specific thing — noticing that “straight” girl you just met is clearly into your Big Lezzie friend and excusing yourself, eyebrows-a-raisin — happens. Jenny tells Marina she’s not — she’s not — she has no words. Marina walks Jenny to her car. Well, it’s Tim’s car, actually …
Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest, Put Your Sperm To Our Test
This is Jean-Paul. His costume is amazing, I think he stole his shirt from an Ohio Amaco station. He doesn’t want to jerk off into a cup. That is not how “we” do things. “we”? Like, him and his penis? He explains that “We do as a man and a woman.” Bette re-explains that they are lesbians. Their reactions to this are hilarious and priceless, and you also know Bette’s probs pissed that this is how she spent her lunch break.
Jean-Paul: “To have a baby there is no other way.”
Tina: “That’s just not an option for us.”
Jean-Paul: “But for me it is the only option. An obligation. I cannot bring a baby into this world who was not conceived through the passionate MMMM MMM between a man and a woman. The penis, the pussy, the baby.”
Oh, those European men with their accents and their penises. [?!?!???]
Carly doesn’t understand how Tim can drink beer while he’s working. That’s because she, unlike the creators of this show, doesn’t understand how men work. Men have muscles, play sports and drink beer all the time. Duh.
What Does Ilene Have That We Don’t Have? A Development Contract.
This part is the most painful conversation of the entire episode, possibly of the entire season, when Dana asks what Shane has that she doesn’t have and then they try to coin the term “nipple confidence.” Nipple Confidence. Jeez, Ilene, really? That never caught on, did it? Needless to say, what does Shane have that you don’t have? Just general confidence. And she exudes simultaneous availability and withdrawal. Also, it doesn’t hurt that she’s insanely smokin’ hot. Also, you know she’s not gonna get all drama on you.
I’d like to re-define nipple confidence as being “the confidence to wear a wifebeater without a bra that fully shows your nipples at all times.” Anyhow I had to mute this scene, it’s unbearable.
But also, re: ‘best nipples in West Hollywood’? I hesitate to ever whip out this highly offensive/problematic phrase but — one of the differences between dating men and dating women is what exactly you reveal to your female friends about your partner’s sexual attributes or deficiencies. Actually, I feel like I tell my straight girlfriends more about the sex I have with other women than I do to my gay girlfriends, but I’ve also never qualified any woman as “bad in bed,” ever, whereas I’ve branded many men as “bad in bed.” Maybe I feel that gay sex is more about chemistry than “skill,” and there’s a certain basic skillset that all men could learn to perform straight sex well, it’s not that complicated. If I don’t have chemistry with a guy, so be it, I won’t say he’s bad in bed, but if he’s like, a lumberjack fucker or cums in 10 seconds or something … I mean, c’mon.
I guess it’s a respect thing, maybe, like you wouldn’t tell all your friends that some girl had saggy boobs or something in the same way that you’d tell your girlfriends some dude had a two-incher. I don’t feel comfortable criticising other women’s bodies. Hm. Maybe that’s because I like the way most women look naked, unlike men. Ha. Maybe it’s insecurity, like they’ll bounce back atcha with “Well, your ass is flabbier than fig pudding!” or something. I don’t know what the kids say these days. I’m out of the loop, I’m not cool, there are mosquitos in my room.
Jenny makes her way through the party. A girl says hi to her and she says “no thank you.” I find this all incredibly endearing, am I retarded? I like Jenny right now — I mean, she’s like, all the worst parts of ME.
Like Whole Foods, But Bi-Curious. Bi-Curious Foods.
At the grocery store, her co-worker asks how she likes living in the gayborhood and if dudes are always checking out her boyfriend. She’s totally taken aback. Not as much as she is when Marina arrives at the conveyer belt, defying expectation by: 1. Wearing sleeves, 2. Eating. Jenny says she’s sorry for last night and that she feels really silly. She explains: “I think I kinda freaked out, and not because it was a gay bar but because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing there.” Hm. I think you knew exactly what you were doing there, and that’s why you freaked out, Schecter.
Bette comes home as Tina’s on her way out. She thought they could spend some time together but Tina needs exercise. She’s feeling “a little tense.” I hate it when people surprise you by coming home and then get all indignant if you’re going to the gym. Sidenote, passive-aggressive called and they don’t want to speak to anyone but Tina. Or whatever. If she’s not like, busy, or whatever. Like whenever she gets a chance, when she’s not busy with her not-job and stuff, or whatever it is. Just yeah.
This Is What the Ladies Call Naked Torso Confidence
The spinning instructor’s tits are not real. But Tina’s definitely are real. The girl hits on her and she realises that she needs to go home to be with Bette, who’s tits are real. However, we will never see them because Jennifer Beals has a turtleneck-only contract, it’s like the opposite of Marina’s no-sleeve contract. If I could pick any kind of contract, I’d pick a tank-top-contract.
Jenny and Tim are on a double date with Tim’s co-coach and his ugly girlfriend, and the ladies of The Planet stride on in. You know why? Because we are all connected on the chart, maybe they got a Twitter update. I don’t know how Twitter works, but I hear it has something to do with stalking. Jenny’s horrification is brillll, especially when they launch into an [honestly, completely realistic] conversation about which of the ladies are hot. Randy’s got a hard-on for Marina, obvs his girlfriend prefers Shane– “the one who looks like a rockstar. If I had to be with a woman, I think she’d be my type.” Yes, you and everyone, dear. Jenny takes the fifth and when Tim asks if Marina is gay, she says she has no idea. Nice, Jenny, nice.
This scene is perfect. Mia’s acting is amazing. Karina Lombard can’t act her way out of a paper sack, but she does ok here.
Jenny: What are you doing here?
Marina: The same thing you’re doing here, I’d imagine.
Jenny: Well, I’m finding it very distracting.
Marina: Do you?
Jenny: I’d like to see you again.
[Marina pulls her in, she pushes Marina away, goes “stop it,” and then “I have to go,” and then dashes out.]
Lesbian Squabble #2: Sometimes it Seems Like Love is Just a Fancy Word for Compromise
In the Ring: Bette and Tina
Content: This is really a culmination of some minor squabbles which’ve now built to a point that can no longer be ignored by me, the squabble-counter. It began at the “Planet,’ when Bette was sharing a laugh about the “pussy the penis” guy, continued with that gym convo, and reaches boiling point right now: Bette marches into therapy late and proceeds to play out all their problems right in front of the therapist. He’s probs really super excited about this, like how anthropologists feel when they get to see monkeys have wild monkey sex. Bette says she’s found the perfect donor. The whole situation has been micromanaged. Tina’s protecting her belly from sperm belonging to people she’s never met, look at the photo.
The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls Getting Sperm From a Dude
The next day Tina opens the door and it’s — surprise! A black man, when she was clearly expecting a white man. He’s lumbering but stressed. That evening at the planet, Tina tells Bette “that is a lot of otherness to put on one child.” But also it seems like maybe! Tina is a little bit racist and needs to acknowledge Bette’s feelings around this ISSUE.
Are You Alright I Can Stand Up Straight Are You Alright I Can’t Get You Off My Mind
They miraculously seem to have another therapy session like the next day. Bette must have killer health insurance. I don’t think this fight is over yet, but if I were Dan Foxworthy, I’d offer that Tina’s reaction to this information seems to be more of a deep-rooted response to her feeling that Bette doesn’t really care what she wants, she just makes executive decisions and sends Tina in blindly to test her resistance or esteem. I mean, clearly there are deeper issues at work here. Clearly.
Wouldn’t it Be Cool if Tim did the audiobook for ‘Lez Girls’?
Tim reads Jenny her story and he thinks it’s amazing. Aw, Tim. I think Jenny is with Tim because for a while in college she could act normal, and she wanted to be normal. I think she likes how he sort of fetishizes her. I think he proves to her that she is straight, because he is so MAN. Because if he were woman, that might remind her of how she likes women, or there’s something about women that she knows is stronger than Tim’s biceps. Is my interpretation.
Tim tells Jenny that she scares him sometimes. “I see you going right to that edge and I think I’ve lost you and then you come back — and I know why you have to disappear on me like that. I am so fucking proud to have you in my life.” She repeats that to him. Sometimes … I feel like that’s what you do when you don’t really mean it, but you think they should mean it. You just mirror. And — exactly.
Update: I changed my mind about Kit, I like her. I forgot about this scene. It’s so interesting how different storylines become appealing to you as your own life changes– what you relate to.
I Just Want Back Into Your Head
Tina’s back in love with Bette ’cause Bette is pulling off a white powersuit — no small feat — and giving a lecture that displays her Alpha-Female hotness and her intelligence. The boy next to her tells Tina that her girlfriend is super hot. Tina’s like “sometimes I forget that” [when she’s acting like a super cunt]. But still, what can Tina do? Bette is Like, BETTE! I mean Bette is just hot. You’ve gotta embrace the micromanaging, or else actively argue against it, weirdo. Tina’s the most passive aggressive person ever, she needs to be with someone more spineless.
He’s wearing a Free City shirt!
Marina’s got Jenny right where she wants her, in the place she goes to get away from the madness of the city, with its monsters and sea creatures and other wild things. She tells Jenny that this is where she comes to escape the slings and arrows of ordinary life. Up here, with the clouds and the minnows, and all the pretty lights and the nighttime. Oh Jenny, do humans ever really look at each other? I mean, really?
Then they start making out. There’s something in the pool-water, obvs. But this time it’s like passionate and stuff.
Sidenote: How the hell did Marina become the manager of The Godforsaken Planet? That doesn’t seem like her character’s gig. She’s like, — I don’t know what she is. She should be a voiceover artist. There could be a new character on “The Simpsons” who preys on Lisa, trying to get her to go gay.
This guy is telling Bette and Tina they are really hot, like he was saying to Tina before, and he adds “no offense.” Bette says it’s hard to take offense to that. Really Bette, really? I can think of a few reasons to take offense to that. Not 13, but a few. Or however many it was. 7 reasons? I don’t know, whatever, they are like “that hasn’t happened in a while.” Isn’t that a little bit weird to anyone else? I mean, what? I think Heather and Haviland got hit on like 500 times. Beautiful femme couples are like, constantly getting hit on.
Bette has an idea — bang that dude. They’re gonna go bang him. Awesome.
Back at the gay bar, the girls survey the ladies. How is no one recognising Dana? I thought she was totes famous, why doesn’t she worry about being caught at the gay bar? I don’t get it, I think she has some problems with her strategy, obvs this is before Go NYC mag developed their party patrol photographers. Also I remember agreeing with people when i read that this show didn’t represent “actual lesbians” in terms of appearance — I mean obvs everyone on teevee is more attractive than in real life, but that this was totally inaccurate and unrealistic and impossible, but it’s actually exactly how my gay friends look, and their friends, and etc. Seriously. I mean as much as 90210 looked like my straight friends, kinda, if that makes sense. Same idea, just slightly better looking on teevee, but really, not that much better looking necessarily. My friends are ALL HOT.
She’s Crispier than a Crisp Factory
This is when Dana says “cris-pay.” Fantastic moment. I think Kate was cuter when this show started, p.s. They’re all so cute together as friends before they were torn apart by the slings and arrows, etc.
OMG this episode is so long. I swear, the seconds are longer than seconds are in normal life. How much more time do I have left. Oh wow. Oh, there are some lesbian cherries to pop, movin’ on with the show …
Lesbian Sexy Moment #5: Like a Lesbian Virgin WHOO Touched for the Very First TimeThe Pick-Up: Um? Probs like, “goodbye to clocks ticking …”
Hot or Not? I don’t like Marina. I don’t find myself that attracted to Jenny either. Soooo … maybe it’s just been too long since I’ve seen Lozo, but I think this scene is pretty hot. I mean, there are two naked chicks making out on a bed, and it’s against the rules ’cause Jenny got herself a boy-friend, and so, yeah, hot yeah. I mean, you see thrusting, you see naked thighs, you see clothing removed, you see Jenny cum and then CRY, who could ask for anything more?Let’s get right to the only way they could figure out how to get a threesome in the show … this scene is kinda creepy, isn’t it? I mean, Bettina must feel kinda weird, having been monogamous for so long? I would. But it would also make me remember probs how much I miss my lovely wife-ish thing Bette, alone.
Lesbian Sexy Moment #6: If You Want to Dance and If She Wants to Lead
I’ll Go Out of My Way, I’ll Do Anything, Because Your Love Is All I Need
The Pick-Up: “I think you should make love to Tina while Tina makes love to me.” That’s in response to his original idea, which was to make love to Bette while Tina makes love to whatever I don’t know.
Hot or Not? It’s so funny when he pulls out the condom and Bettina are like whaaaa? That’s very clever. You know, I feel like my weakness as a recapper is that I seem to be evaluating the quality of the show rather than really going over the story, humoring it and engaging with it. I evaluate the creators/writers, really, not the show. Do you know what I mean? Like, is this well done, what is the quality, etc. Anyhow.
Hot Or Not? Not.
Which brings us to the scene where now, in retrospect, it is quite clear that Dana and Alice are gonna get together.
And You Say She’s Just a Friend, and You Say She’s Just A Friend
Dana: “So you wanna come to my place?”
[Dana looks at Alice. Alice looks at Dana. Alice realises that Dana thinks she meant something by it–]
Alice: “Oh, please, I am not that desperate.”
Dana: “Fuck you Alice, neither am I.”
Alice: “Dana — I’m just — I’m just — I don’t wanna be one of those people who sleeps with their friends.”
[Yes, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.]
Dana: “Neither do I.”
Alice: “Right, okay then, lets not have sex.”
Dana: “Never. Never ever.”
Here’s Carly: “When watching the pilot the other night, I was taken back to a better time, when we were all younger and more naive and had Dana Fairbanks in our lives. How foolish we were then. I remember loving/hating this show almost instantly, although more of the hate piled on as time went on. I mean, all but one of the sex scenes in the pilot is a straight sex scene! Way to have “no limits,” Showtime.”
Camera One/Camera Two, Camera One/Camera Two
Aw, Bette and Tina are lying in bed together. Bette goes ‘That was really crazy’ and Tina says “that was a genius plan.” Bette wants to know if she was turned on by him. Then Tina sticks her hands under the covers and shows Bette something to get turned on by.
The Way You Make Your Bed, Will It Help You Sleep at Night
Jenny comes home, guilty like a fox. She also looks super bony, like maybe she lost some weight from that intense workout she just had between Marina’s thighs. She creeps into bed, Tim puts his arm around her and she relishes in her guilt. Tim tells her that she smells different. She says it’s the smell of Marina’s vagina. JK. I dunno what she says, don’ t really care anymore.
OMG YOU GUYS THIS IS THE BIRTH OF OUR CHART!!!! OMG IT IS THE BIRTH OF OURCHART. ALSO, ALICE IS TOTALLY SMOKING WEED.
Hey! Hey! You! You! I Slept With Your Girlfriend!
I love how Dana won’t reveal the name of her prior hookup because she’s too famous now. Haviland would totally do that. I hope she didn’t take that secret to her grave, that’d be a real tragedy for Our Entire Chart.
She said “how many people would it take to link you and me?” I wish the answer to this question with most of my friends wasn’t “zero.” No wait I wish the answer between Alice and Dana wasn’t “zero.” I’m trying to think of any friends I have for whom the answer is greater than 0-2. Still thinking. Hm. Okay, I give up. Moving on.
Our Chart v1.0
Dana says it’s such a crazy tiny world, and Alice is like “crazy, yes, but not tiny” … and then this super-hot music starts .. Alice takes a drag, we see the whole big pulsing OurChart that is Ours …
Creep Up and Tell Me That You
You love me more each time you
look into my eyes I feel like
The Pick-Up: I think this is a continuation of what happened before. They’re in love obvs so like, no pick up necessary.
Hot or Not?: Bette and Tina are kissing, tongues darting eager, and then they’re naked, and breasts are groped, and they are naked, and fucking and they look at each other and it’s like, you can kinda see everything, like maybe Laurel Hollaman is even like showing us the character of “Tina” and they are like totes committed, you know, no way around it, and Tina says ‘I’m so lucky to have you …”
I don’t know why this had to happen, but it did, and we might as well confront it, no point in ignoring the elephant who died to be made into fabric and then uncomfortably placed in the room …
Sometimes, if I’m ever in a walk of shameish position, I think about this outfit, and I’m like, well, it could be worse, I could still be wearing that the next morning.
What Will Bring Me Home? What Will Make Me Stay?
Shane stops by Bettina’s, they’re sitting on the porch looking totally precious. Shane, the mistress of Sex, says “you totally just got laid didn’t you?” and they’re all coy but blushing, I’d like to bottle that emotion and sell it as foundation for Maybelline. Shane, in full-on Yoda mode, offers: “You see, that gives me hope, because I love knowing that two people who’ve been together for so long can still make each other that happy.”
Damien Rice’s “Cannonball” begins. This song breaks my heart into pieces. Also, so does this, which is what Jenny got even though she ordered an omlette:
I mean, look at how carefully he sliced those strawberries. Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. Whatever will you do. And Tim is so earnest, how can you not love him in this moment?
She’s probably already like, “I wonder if he’d take my kidney, or perhaps some minor organs, some sweet meats, instead? Perhaps my entrails would be okay. Cris-pay.”
Lesbian Sexy Moments: 7
Lesbian Squabbles: 2
Quote of the Week: hmm. Something that Alice said.
I also didn’t do my Jenny Moment, whoopsie. I think the whole Pilot was one big long Jenny Moment.