“To L and Back” Episode 607: Last Couple Standing with Willam Belli!

Actor, recording artist and drag queen Willam Belli joins us for Episode 607, “Last Couple Standing,” in which everybody dances and dances and dances for charity!!!! Join us as Tasha, Jamie and Alice do a fun dance and Bette and Tina do a sexy dance and then it’s time to give away money on the microphone on the stage! Also Jenny made an iPhone short and she wants to talk about it.

The usual:

Riese: Hi, I’m Riese!

Carly: And I’m Carly!

Riese: And this is—

Carly and Riese: To L and Back!

Carly: A podcast about The L Word, that we are still making to this day. I feel like we’ve been doing this forever.

Riese: That’s accurate. Yeah, we have. We’ve sort of been doing it since 2008, in a way. But now we’re at the penultimate episode of The L Word—

Carly: Oh my God, we did it.

Riese: … not counting the interrogation tapes.

Carly: No, those don’t count. But we will be dealing with those later. Don’t worry, listeners. Today, we have a very, very special guest with us.

Riese: Very special guest with us!

Willam: Hey, it’s me. I’m here, bitches, and my headphones are all in the right holes. Carly knows I’m very low tech. We’ve worked together a lot, and I’m happy to be here to talk about The L Word. And hi, Riese!

Riese: Hi!

Carly: Hi, Willam!

Willam: Hi, girl, hi!

Carly: Oh my goodness.

Willam: Or hey, they, he. Hey, they, hey.

Carly: Hey, they, they. Hey, they.

Willam: Yeah, all of them.

Carly: All of the pronouns.

Riese: Tell us about yourself and your career.

Willam: Career is a strong word for what I do, but—

Riese: I mean, you’re on an L Word podcast.

Willam: Yeah, I do a little bit of this. A little bit of that.

Riese: No judging.

Willam: I do a lot of YouTube stuff. I was in <em I lost a couple of Emmys this year. I’m an actor, I guess, a little bit. But I’m also, like, other things.

Carly: You wear a lot of hats.

Willam: I own a studio in Hollywood that rents stuff to people when drag queens need lights or stands. Also, oh, I’m a podcaster. I’m a friend of the pod.

Carly: Friend of the pod.

Willam: Yeah, I have some podcasts that I produce. That’s what I would write on my passport application.

Carly: We like to ask all of our guests, what is your L Word origin story? What is your earliest memory of the show, or when you watched it previously?

Willam: Okay, I remember watching multiple seasons, because I had Showtime, because I needed to watch Queer as Folk, because even when that show got outlandish and off the rails, it was still the only gay option on TV. I remember when I was 17, I hooked up with this guy every Sunday, just so I could use his SHOWTIME and watch Queer as Folk, and it was a standing date. But you hoe when you want to go see the show.

Riese: That’s what they say.

Willam: So I watched L Word a little bit, a couple seasons on and off. But this episode was just special, because it was all kinds of bad, the way they sloppily slapdash wrapped up storylines. We’ll get into it. I mean, I definitely watched Showtime a lot. I loved The L Word.

Riese: Do you remember watching Season 6?

Willam: I think this is the one that Jenny dies, and then they play it back in reverse, right?

Carly: Yeah.

Willam: Yeah. I remember seeing that part, and never getting to the end and figuring out how she died, because I was like, “This is too much.”

Riese: They don’t tell us.

Willam: And then that drag queen?! Ooh, who put his eyebrows there?

Carly: Oh, boy. We have a lot to talk about.

Willam: Girl. They.

Carly: What’s great is that the show does not actually wrap up the Jenny death storyline in any satisfying way. They don’t actually tell us what happened at all. Stunts.

Riese: Because they don’t know what happened.

Carly: It’s stunts.

Riese: They don’t know.

Carly: They don’t know.

Willam: Stunts.

Riese: That was the surprise.

Carly: Did you have any favorite characters on the show?

Willam: Yeah, I liked Mia Kirshner’s husband, because he showed wang in a couple things. I think he might have had it out in this show. I forget, but I liked him.

Riese: Believe it or not, you’re our first person to name Tim as a favorite character.

Willam: Oh, yeah. He’s great. I liked him on Ugly Betty too.

Carly: I know. I loved him on Ugly Betty.

Willam: Yeah, I liked the guys on The L Word. How chauvinistic of me. Sorry.

Carly: Oh my goodness.

Willam: Who’s your favorite character?

Carly: Who is my favorite character? I don’t know anymore.

Riese: Yeah, I feel like I’ve lost track of that myself.

Carly: I don’t actually know anymore.

Riese: Me neither.

Carly: I feel like when we started this project, I was like, “I like Alice and I like Bette.” And now, I’m like, “They’re both—”

Riese: Yeah, I probably would’ve said Bette.

Carly: Now, everyone is so annoying, I don’t even have a favorite.

Willam: Alice very much gives me Mark in Rent, just everything. Exposition, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You could tell she was in the writers’ room, too, hardcore.

Carly: Yeah, she was always like, “And then tonight, what are we doing tonight?” And it’s like, “Oh, we have to go to an event.”

Willam: Honey, she gave log lines as intros. “More safety pins.”

Carly: Believe that character.

Riese: She’s also on a bike in the opening sequence, much like Mark in the beginning of Rent.

Willam: Girl, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? This episode was just taxing, and it was about a taxing dance competition, so that’s pretty appropriate, I guess.

Carly: I guess so. I guess they nailed that theme.

Riese: Yeah, they really got the feeling of a dance-a-thon, which is, “I’m tired.”

Carly: Riese, your favorite character is Jenny, is that correct? Would that be correct to say?

Riese: Oh, no, I wouldn’t say she’s my favorite character. I mean, it depends on the season. Again, now that we’ve reanalyzed every episode down to the second, everyone I thought I liked, I don’t know if I still like.

Willam: Who was the one that died? The golfer. Everybody liked her.

Carly: Oh, Dana.

Riese: Dana.

Willam: Yeah, nobody disliked Dana.

Carly: No, everyone liked Dana. Dana was fun.

Willam: Why did they kill her?

Carly: Breast cancer for no reason.

Riese: For breast cancer awareness. I don’t know if you were aware of it, but now, everyone is.

Carly: Breast cancer, it’s a thing that happens. All right, should we do this episode?

Riese: Yeah, introduce it.

Carly: Today, we will be discussing Episode 607, entitled “Last Couple Standing,” which is actually the title that makes sense, given the episode. So congratulations to everyone involved. It was written by Ilene Chaiken and directed by Rose Troche, and originally aired on March 1st, 2009. Remember 2009? I don’t.

Willam: Oh my God.

Riese: I do.

Carly: I guess we were watching this. I guess I can remember that.

Riese: Yeah, we were like a week away from launching Autostraddle!

Carly: Oh my God, that’s right. Jesus. Wow, what a special episode.

Riese: I just remember at the time being like, “Oh, this was an okay episode,” because it was so much better than the other episodes of Season 6. But upon a rewatch, I changed my mind. It’s also terrible. It just has one fun dance sequence, but the rest of it is as bad as the rest of this season.

Carly: It’s really bad, but at least visually, it’s different than everything else. There’s a lot of costumes and wigs, which is always fun.

Riese: But they did maintain the darkness.

Carly: Yeah.

Willam: Can we mention that the music, whatever they could scrape together budget-wise, to afford the rights to those horrible unrecognizable tunes that they were bopping to. The music was especially terrible for a dance competition.

Riese: A dance-a-thon!

Willam: Whoever did the budget for this spent too much on the wigs, and not enough on the licensing for songs, honey, because they should’ve at least splurged for one that was recognizable and fun for Sunset Boulevard to do or something, because that was weak sauce. Sunset’s whole storyline. All the gowns were terrible. The hair was terrible.

Carly: It’s bad.

Riese: Yep, it’s really bad.

Carly: All right, let’s get into it.

Riese: Should we start?

Carly: Yes, let’s do it.

Riese: Okay, so we open at the Los Angeles LGBT Center Benefit, taking place at Porter Peabody’s Pleasure Palace for good causes. And everyone is going to dance through the decades. Right now, Alice is very ’70s.

Carly: Yes. There are OurChart.com signs everywhere. It’s like—

Riese: And it had definitely already shut down by then.

Carly: If Alice’s job is now throwing this event for the LGBT Center, then who is running OurChart.com?

Riese: Good question.

Carly: We haven’t seen Alice doing any of that for her own website though.

Riese: We haven’t.

Carly: We open on some really exciting dance-themed trash talking between Alice and Bette.

Alice: Listen, I hope you brought your dancing blownics, because Tasha, Jamie, and I are going to wipe the floor with you. Our routine kills — kills! Do you want to know what it is?
Bette: Not really.
Alice: Oh, I see. You’re trying to psyche me out. Acting like you don’t care. I know you care. Listen, you tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.
Bette: No.
Alice: These your outfits?
Bette: Don’t touch that. What? Is that? Is that all you’ve got?
Alice: Oh, yeah. Oh, first of many. So many more to come.
Bette: Oh, good, because I was worried.
Alice: What do they look like?
Bette: Oh, wouldn’t you like to know?
Alice: Why are you so competitive?
Bette: Me? What about you?

Carly: Just, all I could see was OurChart.com logos.

Riese: And then Jenny creeps up and is like, “Bette, I need to talk to you.” She just becomes so weird. This whole thing is so dumb. She’s like, “Did you tell Tina about what happened with Kelly?” And Bette’s like, “What happened with Kelly?” And Jenny’s like, “I saw you having sex with Kelly.”

Riese: And Bette’s like, “I don’t know what you think you saw, but we did not bone,” basically. So that’s stupid, and I hate it.

Carly: What a completely ludicrous storyline.

Willam: Honestly.

Riese: Not only did she not have sex with Kelly or hook up with her in any way, but it’s not like Kelly is this irresistible siren, that you could believe that Bette just couldn’t help herself. Kelly’s so annoying and awful. Anyway. I wish I had better jokes, but I just think it’s bad. Jenny’s bangs are very thick. She can hide a lot of stress.

Willam: Honey, Penny Dreadful with a baby bang.

Riese: Yes, like what?

Carly: What did we call her the other episode? Emily the Strange?

Riese: Emily the Strange. She’s giving heavy Emily the Strange vibes.

Carly: Penny Dreadful is so accurate.

Riese: She needs a little tiny vinyl purse to carry around and keep her cat in it.

Willam: A little Olivia Lux bag.

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: Totally tiny.

Riese: A little accessory. Finish the outfit.

Carly: Oh my God. And then Jenny’s like, “Bette, Tina’s my friend,” which is hilarious, because they hate each other.

Riese: But Tina’s the only person in the series who doesn’t hate Jenny right now.

Carly: Yeah, that’s true. Everyone else is sort of threatening to kill her.

Willam: Why do they let her into their parties and stuff? I don’t get that. Nobody likes her there.

Carly: I don’t know.

Willam: And Shane’s dating Jenny by the end?

Carly: Jenny’s dating Shane.

Riese: Yeah, this has gone off the rails.

Willam: Oh, that’s got to be unhealthy.

Carly: No, it’s very bad.

Riese: I waited my whole life for this relationship to happen, and then they decided to make it really terrible.

Carly: Yeah, Riese really, just throughout the whole series, just wanted Jenny and Shane to date, or get together in some way. And then they did, and it’s so toxic and terrible.

Willam: Oh, God, yeah. Joy suck.

Carly: It’s bad. It’s really bad. Yeah, I don’t know why they let her into the event. They could easily just not … It’s a building. You could just not let her into the building.

Willam: Who’s working at the door?

Carly: Probably someone…

Willam: Wasn’t Sunset Boulevard.

Carly: I can’t wait to discuss—

Riese: Probably a Canadian extra.

Carly: Yeah, Sunset Boulevard.

Riese: Dressing room?

Carly: Dressing room. We’re backstage, and Tina was offered a job in New York City!

Riese: At Focus Features!

Carly: Head of production. Wow, great.

Riese: Wow.

Carly: I feel like I was ready for Bette to be like, “What do you mean? We can’t move to New York. Our lives are here. My life is here.” But instead, Bette totally throws us off guard by being like, “Oh my God, congrats. You’re such a fucking rock star.” And she’s talking about how they’re going to move to New York.

Riese: Yeah, but Alice disapproves, obviously.

Carly: Well, Alice has a lot of opinions.

Riese: If one of my friends wanted to move to New York, I would disapprove too, unless I didn’t like them. It seems like Bette wants to leave specifically to get away from Jenny and her bangs. You know what? That’s fine. That’s as good as a reason as anything to move.

Carly: I think so.

Riese: And then, Alice … They talk about how they’re going to have Marcy move in with them. Yet another ridiculous stupid that’s happening this season.

Willam: She’s a surrogate?

Carly: Yep.

Riese: From Nevada, because there’s no babies in California, apparently.

Carly: Yeah, they’re lawyer friend told them that, if the baby is—

Willam: Get them to move in.

Carly: … born in Nevada, they can’t adopt her, because it’s illegal there. So she has to give birth in Los Angeles.

Willam: That’s a thing. I had to deal with that when I was going through the surrogacy thing in — I think, 2007 or ’08. You really have to pick where your birth mother lives if you were gay back then. I don’t know if it’s still that way. That might be discrimination now.

Carly: I don’t think it’s still that way, right?

Riese: I don’t think it is.

Carly: Because when we talked to John, he was saying that his students were literally born in the year 2000 were like, “What do you mean you couldn’t always just adopt any baby?” They were like, “Whoa, they’re babies.”

Riese: But Alice thinks that she’s going to hook up with Marcy if she moves in, and is like, “Haven’t you seen Baby Mama?” And you know what? I haven’t.

Willam: It’s so good. It’s Tina Fey—

Carly: It’s the 2008 Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy.

Willam: From Philly. They filmed at Rittenhouse Square, which — I used to work in a bath house there. I knew everywhere they shot, and I was so happy.

Carly: Oh, that’s so fun.

Willam: That was such a good movie. Better than this episode.

Carly: Much better. Yeah, I think if we had just watched that instead of watching this episode, I think it would’ve been a better use of our time.

Willam: Honestly, not mad.

Carly: Bette is like …

Bette: Okay, I am not some fucking loose cannon that just fucks everything that walks, okay? I can be trusted.

Bette looking in the mirror in the dressing room saying that she is not some fucking loose canon

Carly: I was like, “Wow, Bette,” because that is kind of what you’ve been doing in the past.

Riese: Yeah, I think she’s selective. I think she’s as tightly … I think she’s like a canon, but not a loose canon. It’s not like she just walks around fucking everyone. She’s like, “I’m going to fuck that person,” and then she goes over to their house to make stir fry. Yeah. She’s more like a bow and arrow, but there’s just one arrow—

Carly: Got it.

Riese: And so she … You know what I mean?

Carly: It’s very specific.

Riese: In terms of weapons of war, that’s how I think about it. My war weapon.

Carly: In terms of The Hunger Games, she would be the bow and arrow.

Riese: Exactly, she’d be the bow and arrow.

Carly: Got it. That makes sense.

Riese: And I would be a dead squirrel that someone is eating.

Carly: I would be the first to die in The Hunger Games, for sure.

Riese: A squirrel died on my street, and it laid there for three days.

Willam: And then, stew.

Riese: And on the third day, someone was eating squirrel.

Willam: Share squirrel stew with everyone.

Carly: Okay, it’s time to talk about Sunset Boulevard.

Riese: Sunset Boulevard.

Willam: Lot to unpack.

Carly: Okay, the first thing we need to know is that the man playing Sunset Boulevard is just an actor who is not a professional drag queen, or a nonprofessional drag queen. Just not a drag queen in real life when they cast him.

Riese: Just an actor.

Carly: So in the year 2009, I guess there were no drag queens in California to hire to play this role.

Riese: Not one.

Willam: Nope. Don’t know any.

Carly: No, none. Drag queens didn’t exist in the year 2009.

Willam: No, I think RuPaul invented them in 2010.

Carly: Yeah, exactly, and so—

Riese: Yeah, so almost close enough.

Carly: And the show was already off the air by then.

Willam: Under the gun. It’s not this actor’s fault.

Carly: It’s not.

Willam: It’s the makeup and the hair department, for just getting everything wrong, from the scale of the hair being way too small for him. Needing a base tease at least, not this fresh-out-of-the-bag bullshit, to the eyebrows being in the wrong spot for his face, to—

Carly: The eyebrows are outrageous.

Willam: Yeah, and to the highlight being placed where it was with all that white under the brow, and then the shape of them. Also, I felt like they used shiny shadows on a glued-down brow, and that never works. The lashes were in the wrong spot. He wasn’t painted right. He didn’t emanate any light from within. Nothing brightened him. And it was a farce.

Carly: It was.

Willam: The gowns too, not fitted, loose. A drag queen of that stature, I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t.

Sunset Boulevard and Kit Porter on stage at the dance marathon

Carly: No. The other thing about the light, is that there was also no light radiating from without, because the lighting is so terrible in the nightclub scenes. All across the board, the lighting is terrible, and has been all season. But for someone with dark skin, you cannot light them in the dark. That’s not how lighting works. So you can’t fucking see him!

Willam: Yep.

Riese: No.

Willam: You need to be able to see the white of your eyes if you want to connect with, I think, an actor or camera. And if you can’t see that, because they’re not lit right, the scene has no purpose. You’re just like sock puppets. No eyes. People can’t connect.

Carly: I also feel like in every episode, I feel like they just do a garage door, just a baby blue eyeshadow on him every episode. What are they doing?

Willam: Ding, ding, ding for garage door use though.

Carly: Thank you so much.

Willam: RuPaul will be sending a check.

Riese: You know what’s weird, is when I turned to the left and looked out my window just now, the first thing I saw was the street sign that says Sunset Boulevard right there.

Carly: Oh my God. It’s an omen.

Riese: And that sign is better lit than the scene.

Carly: That’s for sure.

Willam: I have a Sunset Boulevard street sign in my house too, because it felt down at a corner near my house. I’m like, “I’m getting that.”

Carly: You took it.

Willam: Yeah, of course, I did.

Carly: Obviously.

Willam: I’m a drag queen. We take stuff. It’s what we do.

Carly: It’s what we do.

Willam: “Whose drink is that?”

Carly: “Yours now.”

Willam: I don’t even drink, and I take drinks.

Carly: You can redistribute them.

Willam: Yeah, throw them in people’s faces like Kit to Sunset Boulevard in the episode previously on The L Word.

Riese: Oh yeah. I’m glad we got that.

Willam: And she didn’t recognize him with a little bit of baby blue eyeshadow and a Sharpie brow. She didn’t know that was that same guy that she hated enough to throw a drink on? Honey. This writing is thinner than one ply.

Carly: So Tina is apologizing to Helena for the Dylan situation. I think that’s what’s happening. Again, the lighting is so bad, I have no idea what’s going on.

Riese: But who cares?

Carly: Sunset brings—

Willam: You’re really invested in this one more episode of a podcast, huh? “Who cares…”

Carly: Yeah, we were joking the last one we recorded, I think everyone making the show clearly has senioritis.

Willam: Over it. It’s clear.

Carly: They’re one foot out the door. And that’s now bled into us.

Willam: That’s going to be me on Race Chaser on the last after episode after RuPaul shuts up shop. I’ll be like …

Carly: That will never happen.

Willam: I hope not.

Carly: There will never be no seasons of that show.

Willam: I mean, I’m hoping they make her cyborg, where they can keep at least her head going and put the rest on metal, so I can have a podcast the rest of my life.

Carly: I mean, I feel like, if anything, they’d just digitize Ru’s essence, and do a Max Headroom thing, or a Black Mirror episode.

Riese: Oh, God, that guy.

Willam: Todrick can play her.

Carly: Okay, so.

Riese: Jamie.

Carly: Jamie. What is Jamie wearing? Is this—

Riese: A little head … Little braids, a little headdress.

Carly: Is this a Native—

Riese: I think I wore this for Halloween when I was a young person. I would say, maybe six.

Carly: I remember being in preschool, and they having us all dress up as Native Americans, which was incredibly offensive, but no one thought about that at the time.

Riese: Jamie saved her outfit, and she’s wearing it tonight. But the thing is, she’s also wearing a full purple turtleneck. There’s a lot of things with this outfit that have issues. But what she wants to know — wants everyone to know, is that, “LGBT youth, they’re not alone.” For example, Alice comes on stage, and then she brings up Marie, which is my name, but it’s not me. It’s—

Carly: It’s not you.

Alice on stage at the benefit with Marie saying Marie taught her something very important

Riese: It’s this girl, this poor girl, who was going to fucking jump off a building until Alice said three words to her, and blah, blah, blah. And Alice—

Carly: And now, she’s here at this event.

Riese: Alice turned her life around, which is true, because otherwise, she’d be dead as a doornail. Jenny looks insane. She’s wearing this weird beret, like she’s fucking in a war movie from the ’50s or ’60s. And then, they say that if you want to give money to this silly … to this benefit, which is good, not charity, you have to go up on stage on the microphone, and announce how much money you’re giving. I just want to say this does not sound efficient. You send the little people around the room and they get the things that you put on the screen. This is going to take forever!

Carly: This is not efficient.

Riese: And no one is going to want to get up for five bucks, but those little things add up. Anyway, I just don’t think this is being run very well. And Alice, I think, is trying her best, but I just don’t know.

Carly: Well, she has no experience doing anything like this, so maybe that’s why.

Riese: That’s true.

Willam: She’s also competing in it.

Carly: Yeah, her attention is all over the place.

Willam: Girl, that’s when I go to a gig, and I see the promoters in drag. And I was like, “Oh, so this night is about you, because no one else would let you do drag somewhere else. So now, you do drag at your parties. Got it.”

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: Another I’m part of this scene is Kit’s piano velour…

Willam: Jumpsuits?

Riese: … one … Yes.

Carly: Yeah.

Willam: It’s not fit right.

Riese: Yeah, it’s not. I had this for a while, because SHOWTIME gave me a box of costumes.

Willam: Wait, what?

Riese: Remember this?

Carly: I forgot. I didn’t know that you had this. I just knew that you had the weird Jenny lingerie.

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: I was hoping that her in a red jumpsuit was some kind of Foxy Brown nod, because she has a red jumpsuit in Foxy Brown, though it does not have a piano appliqué on it. But that’s what I was thinking about.

Riese: The legs are too short.

Willam: Wait, how did y’all get costumes?

Carly: Yeah, how did that happen?

Riese: I don’t know. They liked me. They were nice to me, so they gave …

Willam: Did you work on the show?

Riese: No, I was doing a YouTube series for SHOWTIME that was related to the show. I did these little recap videos or whatever, and then they would put them on the SHOWTIME YouTube page, and they would make the screen grab a sex scene from The L Word. But it would actually be me in my room, talking about that episode. So obviously, the YouTube commenters were—

Carly: Mad.

Riese: … not super happy about it. This was sort of early YouTube, so this was literally some of the most popular videos on the entire platform because of these—

Willam: Lesbian sex tapes.

Riese: Right, right. So it would be millions of people yelling at me, the most terrible things.

Willam: That’s why you don’t go in the comments.

Riese: Right, right. But I was like, “Oh my God,” because I don’t spend a lot of time in spaces where straight people exist. And it was just very loud.

Willam: Yeah, there’s usually bad lighting. Why would anyone go there?

Carly: Exactly.

Riese: Yeah, exactly. It was terrible.

Carly: Terrible lighting.

Riese: But we were about to launch Autostraddle, so they gave me a bunch of stuff to sell. I sold them on eBay.

Willam: Done that too.

Carly: Been there.

Riese: Anyway. SHOWTIME was just super great and really supportive of Autostraddle, and it was really cool. This will come up again, don’t worry. Anyway, the piano outfit was very soft.

Carly: Good. I thought Kit looked amazing, and she demonstrates some dancing with Sunset, different dances.

Riese: Oh yeah, that was weird. I had to look away.

Carly: I didn’t really understand the point of that. And they explained the rules, and then it begins. It’s very confusing, because part if it is, everyone has to dance for the whole time, or you’re out. But then also, they give you breaks.

Willam: “This is our first 15-minute break. Half an unlicensed song in… ” It’s like, “What?” “And now, we’re going to do solo performances?” What is this? Who arranged this?

Carly: Is this a pageant?

Willam: I can’t. Too much.

Carly: The format of the event made zero sense.

Willam: Saved by the Bell: The New Class made more sense.

Carly: Yeah, and that is historically a show that makes very little sense.

Riese: Yeah. Remember … Nothing.

Carly: What? What were you going to say?

Willam: She was going to go down Saved by the Bell—

Riese: Saved by the Bell: The New Class, their dorm rooms were connected by this massive common space, but it was just for their room. God, it just gave me a false idea about college.

Carly: Well, the dorm rooms on Buffy were like the size of my living room.

Willam: I’m so glad I didn’t go to college.

Carly: It truly was a honestly—

Riese: Yeah, the rooms were much smaller. The rooms were much smaller.

Carly: It’s a waste … I really don’t know that I got very much out of it, and I’m still paying it off, so I really don’t recommend it, truly. They’re dancing. Everyone is dancing. Bette is spying on Jodi, who’s here. And Tina is like, “Whatever.” And then suddenly, Jenny’s dancing with Jodi. And Bette is super paranoid, and she’s like, “I need to tell you this thing, because Jenny’s crazy.” But then Alice interrupts to ask if Jamie is being weird.

Riese: Because Jamie and Tasha are kind of flirty, and they’re laughing together. But what this brings us to is a device that I dislike. I know that, Carly, you dislike it also, which is that, after the interruption, Tina’s like, “What were you saying?” And Bette is like, “Nevermind. It’s nothing. I’ll tell you later.”

Carly: That’s not how people are in real life.

Riese: I would not be able to proceed with my life until she told me what she was about to say. I wouldn’t be like, “Okay. Yeah, let’s just talk about it later.” I’d be like, “What is it? Tell me now.”

Willam: Tell me.

Carly: You brought it up!!!!

Riese: Tell me!

Carly: It was important a minute ago. So that’s ridiculous. Oh, it’s already time for our first 15-minute break.

Riese: Also, in addition to the music being terrible, this garage band terrible music, it has nothing to do with the decade that they’re supposed to be dancing, blah, blah, blah. The dancing itself doesn’t go with the music, either. So the dancing is painful. They’re sort of just going like this.

Willam: Those poor extras were dancing in a silent room. You please don’t assail them. I used to do that. They’d play three second of Q-Tip Vivrant Thing on my first job when I was 17 for MTV. Then they’d shut if off, and they’d be like, “Keep going.”

And it was a crane shot, and a girl had to get out of a car with a cast on her leg. And they shot it like 18 times. It was raining. It was January. And baby, that’s how I got my SAG card. Night shoot.

Carly: You earned that SAG card there.

Willam: Honey, I earned it. Yeah.

Carly: Yeah, everyone is just dancing in silence. That’s how these things are filmed. The whole episode is in this location, so this was just days and days of filming with having to dance in silence. I cannot imagine how awful that was.

Riese: Those poor souls. Poor, poor innocent souls. Bathroom!

Carly: So it’s 15-minute-break time, so everyone goes to the bathroom, and Bette finds Jodi. But again, it’s so dark, I think it’s Jodi. And then—

Riese: They’re at the sinks.

Carly: Yeah, they’re at the sinks, and Jodi’s ignoring her, which I thought was great.

Bette talking to Jodi in the bathroom saying "Did she say that we slept together? No"

Riese: Jodi says that Jenny told her about her and Kelly, and Bette’s like, “But nothing happened.” And Jodi is like, “That’s not what Kelly told me.” And poor Bette, she’s just scrambling with this one.

Willam: Girl, they’re giving it to her.

Carly: I love that Jodi just showed up to … is just creating drama, and then she’s like, “See you on the dance floor.”

Riese: Yeah, “Bye.” “I feel sorry for Tina.” Yikes, okay.

Carly: “I dodged a bullet. Okay, see ya.”

Riese: Also, call Kelly. Get your phone out. Call Kelly. Straighten this shit out. That’s what I would do.

Carly: I would be like, “I’m on a 15-minute break. I have time to call her and yell at her.”

Riese: Yeah.

Willam: No, Bette would rather kill Jenny.

Carly: Exactly.

Riese: Literally. Literally that. I would be like, “What the fuck did you tell Jodi? I would be texting up a Goddamn storm. I would be in full blood-boil rage mode.

Carly: They say it’s time to do line dancing, but then we see these dancers on stage, who are super committed to what’s happening. They are going full-out choreo, but it does not look like a line dance, but okay.

Riese: No, but they have different color shirts on.

Carly: Yeah, everyone has different shirts of different colors, and made think of a Captain Planet vibe. I was like, “Good for them, saving the planet.”

Riese: Yeah, they all, “Power, earth, air, water, lighting.”

Carly: I sort of found it humorous how all of our cast is line dancing, but also talking about their personal drama with each other. That was sort of funny.

Willam: Yeah, super convenient. What a great way to tie up multiple storylines at once, without even having to cut.

Carly: Exactly.

Riese: There’s no better way to tie up a storyline than putting people in lines.

Carly: Also, it should’ve been way too loud to have any of those conversations. But that’s just, whatever.

Riese: Not at our over-30 club.

Carly: At our over-30 club, the music will be a reasonable volume, and there will be plenty of seating.

Willam: That place sounds disgusting. Don’t ever trick me into going there, Carly.

Carly: All right, fine, I won’t. I promise.

Willam: Just going to be you and Oscar in corner.

Riese: It’s going to be lit.

Carly: It’s going to be the saddest place, but I’ll be there.

Willam: I’ll text.

Carly: Yeah. Yeah, there’s more exposition about—

Riese: Jenny really wants Bette to tell her.

Jenny: Did you tell her?
Announcer: Number 32. You’re out.
Bette: Your fucking girlfriend.
Shane: Please, please. I know. You can’t leave me here.

Carly: Yeah, Bette and Tina are moving to New York.

Shane: Can’t believe you guys are moving to New York.
Bette: Who said we’re moving to New York?
Alice: What?

Carly: Jenny’s making crazy eyes at everybody. Alice is stressed out about Tasha and Jamie.

Alice: Do you think there’s something going on between Tasha and Jamie?
Helena: I don’t know.

Carly: Whatever.

Riese: And she’s like, “Should I be stressed out about Tasha and Jamie?” And everyone is finally like, “Yeah, maybe.”

Carly: “Maybe.” Think about it.

Riese: Because yeah, maybe. My note says, “Why is there no good music here?”

Carly: A really good question.

Willam: None.

Carly: Because they spent all the money—

Riese: I think they used their whole budget for [singing] Back to life, back to reality, and then nothing was left.

Carly: I think the whole music budget went to that.

Willam: Yeah.

Carly: That’s what happened.

Riese: How hard is it to just buy a song?

Willam: They did have “Push It.” They said that—

Riese: Oh, “Push It.” Yeah, that’s true.

Willam: They said that that little 10 seconds of Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” was like $100,000 in Bring It On. 10 seconds, so it was $10,000 a second. But that song was the only song for that part of the movie.

Riese: They could’ve gotten some queer artist.

Willam: Very true.

Carly: I thought you meant for Bring It On. And I was like, “Not…”

Willam: There’s a fag in that for sure.

Carly: That’s true. There is.

Willam: In the stage musical, there’s a drag queen character named La Cienega, because they made me audition for it, and I was like, “I am not going to get a character named La Cienega ever.” This was when it was workshopping, and I was like, “I am not reading for this, and I also can’t dance. I’m very Caucasian. A severe case.”

Carly: You’re like, “No, thank you. It’s a pass.”

Riese: “Severe.”

Willam: I was like, “Thank you so much, but no.”

Carly: “But no.” So now, we’re in full costume change. I appreciate how many times everyone is changing their costumes.

Willam: But no one came in with a garment bag!

Carly: Thank you!

Willam: And where did all these rolling racks come from?

Carly: Where is this from?

Riese: The back. The dressing room. The hidden dressing room at Hit Club, because most—

Carly: Yeah, how this nightclub has a full dressing room, but we’ve never seen any sort of production here.

Riese: Yeah, they also built a stage. Niki Stevens shows up. Basically, if you took the ruffle off of … What’s the thing that goes around your bed?

Willam: Bed skirt.

Riese: A bed skirt. Yeah, you take 10 bed skirts, wrap them around, and then you take a Macaroni Grill apron, and you tie it around. And then you have a dress, and Niki Stevens is wearing it tonight to this event.

Carly: Incredible.

Willam: Yeah, why?

Riese: And then she just bee-lines right for Shane.

Willam: Why did she have that little black piece of fabric on there? I didn’t get it.

Riese: It looked like an apron!

Carly: Yeah, it was weird.

Willam: There was some over styling.

Carly: Yeah, it was too much. Shane and Niki are flirting heavily, and then it’s time for another competition round. I really don’t understand the format of this event. Now, couples are coming out to do dances, and everyone is changing their outfits.

Willam: Again.

Carly: All I wrote is, “Alice is embarrassing and Shane complains.” I don’t actually know what happens here. That’s all I wrote.

Riese: Alice is dressed up in her costume. She says she’s going to kick Bette and Tina’s ass. Shane is not excited to dance. Shane is passive-aggressive about her relationship with Jenny, that she doesn’t like. There’s some white Canadian straight extras out here doing some ballroom dancing. Then, Shane and Jenny do their dance, I have questions about Jenny’s hair.

Willam: After she cut it, they just kept putting weave in it.

Carly: Yeah.

Willam: Yeah.

Riese: Yeah. Shane looks petulant the whole time.

Carly: Yeah, Shane just wants to die a little bit, it seems.

Riese: Yeah, it ends with Shane just topping Jenny. That was the only good part. Mixed results from the judges over there.

Shane on top of Jenny onstage after completing their dance

Carly: I think I took a screen of one of these, where two of the judges had really high marks, and then one judge had a 2.5. And I was like, “Did they all watch different performances? That is not even close to what the other two did.” I think she just has it out for Jenny or Shane, is what it is.

Riese: It’s 10, 7.5, and 2.5.

Carly: Yeah. What? That’s ridiculous. How did that even happen? Their whole routine is a lot of sexy spinning and kissing, and that’s the whole thing.

Riese: It’s like that.

Carly: Yeah, and then we’ve got an Alice and Bette showdown backstage, because they’re very competitive.

Alice: What are you looking at?
Announcer in the background: Get up, get down with this next group, ladies and gentlemen. Jump around.
Alice: I didn’t know Dance Fever was back on the air.
Bette: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize Kris Kross was looking for a new member. Hey, Al?
Alice: Huh?
Bette: Nice camel toe.
Alice: Fuck.

Riese: Yeah, when she’s like, “I didn’t realize Kris Kross was looking for a new member,” which doesn’t make sense, because if she was Kris Kross, her pants would be backwards.

Carly: Her pants would be on backwards.

Riese: Everyone knows that.

Carly: It’s a true fact about Kris Kross.

Riese: It’s a true fact about Kris Kross. They missed the bus and their pants are on backwards.

Bette tells Alice "nice camel toe" as Alice is walking away from her

Willam: They’ll make you jump.

Carly: Yep, exactly.

Riese: Yep, exactly. That’s fact number three. Bette is being overly competitive. And then Alice is like, “I can’t do it. I don’t have rhythm,” and Tasha and Jamie are like, “We have to do it.” Tasha’s like, “You were the lead in West Side Story.” Oh, God.

Carly: I have a lot of questions about that.

Willam: Was that the same one Lea Michele was going to be the lead in?

Riese: Maybe.

Carly: Maybe. What if Alice—

Willam: Was Alice going to be Tony? Alice would never be a Maria.

Carly: Never in a million years.

Willam: Alice would be Officer Krupke.

Riese: Wait, but who’s the girl who followed them all around?

Willam: Nobodies, or Anybodys, or something. Something body.

Riese: Yes, nobodies. Anybodys.

Carly: That would be Alice.

Riese: Yeah, that would be Alice.

Willam: Yeah, definitely. Maria.

Carly: Maybe an understudy for that.

Willam: A third understudy for Maria.

Riese: Maybe she could be a swing.

Carly: Yeah, she’s a swing at best.

Willam: Yeah.

Carly: And then, Tasha says that she put on a turquoise onesie for her, and she needs to fucking get her head in the game, and I thought that was funny.

Willam: Tasha’s fine.

Carly: She is so gorgeous.

Willam: Honey, when she yells at Alice too, I was like, “Good. Shut the fuck up.”

Carly: Their dance routine to “Push It” was very entertaining, and Tasha came alive in this moment. She is always a very laid-back person on the show. And her performance here, I was like, “Oh my God.” I was very into it. They did great.

Riese: 10, 5.5, 9.5.

Carly: Yeah, every time, there’s one judge, and it’s a different judge every time they cut to the judges, that is giving a wildly different score than everyone else. And I’m like, “Okay, somebody is … Everyone has a lot of issues with—”

Willam: Somebody’s mad.

Carly: Yeah, a different judge is mad at a character every time, I think. And we don’t get any of that backstory, which I think is a real lost opportunity.

Riese: I think that this dance routine is maybe one of the last good moments of this entire series.

Carly: Yeah.

Willam: Yeah.

Jamie, Alice and Tasha humping the stage for "Push It"

Carly: So then Shane and Niki are hooking up in a bathroom stall, which — whomst among us hasn’t done that?

Riese: Who cares?

Carly: Then, we get one of the most ridiculous moments in the history of The L Word.

Announcer: We only get five minutes to pee.

Willam: They only gave us five minutes to pee. It’s like, “We already established that breaks were 15-minute incremental instances.

Carly: Exactly, and I would say, it’s your own fault for wasting the first 10 minutes if that’s what happened. You could’ve been in the bathroom line sooner.

Riese: Yeah, get over there. But also, Bette and Tina … Obviously, this moment, the hot moms doing their dance, was just a delight for all the Bette and Tina fans out there, which was probably half of the viewers. And then, this show dared to intercut this sexy moms dance with Shane and Niki having sex in the bathroom. Bold.

Carly: And then plots, like Dylan showing up and talking to Helena. Who gives a shit?

Riese: Come on, just let everyone have their hot moms dance!!! They’ve sat through this entire season. Give it to them!!!

Tina dancing to "Back 2 Life / Back 2 Reality" looking very hot and sexy

Willam: And they didn’t do one Flashdance reference. How?

Carly: Yeah, come on.

Willam: Come on. Not even a drop of water?

Riese: Do a homage.

Carly: No chair. There was not a chair to be found.

Riese: I sold the dress that Tina is wearing in this scene for $800.

Willam: Word.

Carly: Wow. All right.

Willam: That gray gunmetal one?

Riese: It was a dark purple. I feel like there were different colored straps on the back maybe. It came down mid-shin. Anyway, that funded Autostraddle for probably three months, because that’s how we were then.

Carly: I will say that “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)” by Soul II Soul is actually one of my all-time favorite songs. It is on a playlist on my Spotify, entitled Best Songs. There was a period of time where it was the only song on that playlist, and then I was like, “Oh, I should add other songs.” That’s just a little insight into me.

Willam: Remixes of it.

Carly: It’s just remixes and covers.

Riese: 10, 9, 8.5

Carly: Bette and Tina being so serious about this dance is so … I remember the first time this aired, watching this, and just being completely beside myself, like, “What am I watching?”

Willam: It’s like a chimp got a Choose Your Own Adventure book with a bunch of lesbians, because none of the plots are working right now.

Carly: I will say that Jennifer Beals’ arms and shoulder area is still very hot.

Riese: Yeah, she looks great.

Carly: She looks great. She always looks great, because she’s Jennifer Beals. And then the final contestants, because of the storyline, is of course Jodi and the person she’s dating. I thought they did fine, but everyone’s going on and on about how great they are, and they get a perfect score, and they win.

Riese: Marlee Matlin had been on Dancing with the Stars the year before this.

Carly: Oh, that makes sense. She’s great. We’re big Jodi fans. Big Marlee Matlin fans, here on To L and Back.

Willam: I love her.

Riese: I mean, she looks great, as usual.

Carly: Yeah. So then, suddenly we’re at a buffet. Seriously, what is going on?

Riese: Buffet time!

Carly: The dressing room is now a buffet? Sure.

Riese: It reminded me of the documentaries about sex clubs from the ’70s, where it would be like, “Yeah, this is the room where everyone had sex on giant mats, and then this is the room where we had a buffet.”

Carly: You gotta keep your energy up. You need protein. Important.

Riese: I wonder what they had in there. Potatoes.

Carly: It was hard to tell because of the lighting. There’s a mention — I don’t remember who said it, but someone said that they had been practicing for this for months, but they only—

Riese: The gallery opening was last week.

Carly: Right, this event was put together in like three days. No one was practicing for months, but sure. Alice is really sad because Jamie and Tasha are laughing. I don’t know. Everything is stupid.

Riese: Did you notice that everyone was dead?

Carly: What?

Riese: On the dance floor. They went back out. They had a wider shot of everyone on their break, and it looked like everyone had died. Everyone was lying down in weird … right?

Carly: Yeah, most were laying down.

Willam: Oh, yeah. It was the end of They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? 100%. Honey, what have you done?

Carly: You’ve been dancing with plenty of breaks for food and water.

Willam: Plenty.

Riese: Yeah. Yeah, you just had a buffet.

Carly: What are you exhausted from?

Willam: Why?

Carly: Yeah.

Willam: But why would you sleep on the floor of an LA club? Ugh. Get hell up. There’s way better ways to get hepatitis.

Carly: Yeah, no, it’s so gross.

Riese: The floors are probably so sticky.

Carly: There was that funny bit where Niki’s friend is like …

Friend: Niki, 12:00. No, the other 12:00. Behind you.
Jenny: Hi.

Carly: And I was like, “Oh, it’s funny because she’s stupid.” Okay, so Jenny’s whole conversation with Niki is so unhinged.

Willam: And then she tells her friend, “Move.” That was my favorite part, because I’ve fully done that. I’m like, “Move, move, move. They’re going to sit there.”

Riese: Move out of here.

Willam: Yeah.

Carly: Jenny’s idea is that Niki should auction off a date with herself to heal her public image and raise money for a good cause.

Willam: I thought this was a great idea, but I was, “It’s fucking crazy girl Jenny. This has got to have some strings to it.” And when it did, I was very satisfied with that payoff. That was nice. But I’m like, “Where does Jenny get this coin?” Was it because she worked on that movie, or wrote a book, or something a couple seasons ago?

Riese: Oh, she wrote a screenplay in two days and sold it to a studio—

Carly: For $500,000.

Riese: For $500,000 retail.

Willam: Oh, she’s Joe Eszterhaus, okay. Oh, she’s just got writer bank. Got it.

Riese: Yeah, yeah. Everyone knows writers are rich.

Willam: Rich. So rich.

Riese: My favorite part of this scene was also when Jenny’s like …

Jenny: You have a reputation for being shallow and vain.

Riese: Niki’s like …

Niki: No, I don’t.

Riese: Then, she’s like, “Yes, you do.”

Jenny: Yes, you do.

Riese: And just kept going. And she’s like, “Doing this is so much better than just donating.” You know what? I disagree. Just donate.

Carly: Just donate your stupid money. Who cares?

Riese: You were in some action film three seasons ago.

Carly: Right, whenever the fuck that was.

Riese: Just donate. Be the Gigi Gorgeous of this event, and just donate $25,000 on your own.

Willam: I love it when any Getty puts their hand up, because I’m like, “Word.”

Carly: Yeah. You’re like, “Oh, I can’t wait to see how many zeros there are in this.”

Willam: This auction is hot now.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: Yeah.

Willam: Yeah.

Carly: It’s getting interesting. Then, we have this scene with Helena and Dylan. They’re outside, Helena tells the story about boarding school where she snuck off to kiss a girl named Bridget Christenson, which is a real boarding school girl name.

Riese: Yeah, this is, mhmm.

Carly: Big time. That is a girl that went to a boarding school. Yeah. Maybe there was a bird, and she fell off a roof. And then, Dylan says that Helena’s gambling with her heart. And I was like, “Oh, that’s so cool, because Helena used to have that gambling problem.” But they do not address that.

Dylan and Helena are outside and Helena says she is still "gambling with her heart"

Riese: Oh, yeah. No, they don’t.

Carly: No.

Riese: Someone should’ve been like, “It’s better than when you were gambling with money.”

Carly: Yeah, that would’ve been cool. And then when you went to jail, remember all those cool things that happened that we don’t talk about on the show? So it’s great. People are still dancing, but it’s sad, it’s getting sad. And Niki drunkenly runs on stage to announce that she’s going to auction off a date with herself.

Riese: And she makes really good pancakes, which I don’t believe for one second.

Carly: I don’t believe that at all. That could not be true. And then Jenny Schecter shouts, “$25,000,” and runs up on stage. And there’s a great ADR moment, where you hear Alice go…

Alice: Mother fucker.

Carly: Which I thought was really funny. And then, Jenny—

Riese: What a move.

Announcer: Let’s give it up ladies and gentlemen.
Jenny: Can I just say something? Shane, you don’t have to fuck her in a bathroom anymore. You don’t have to sneak around. I don’t want you to do that, so I bought her for you. So you can have her whenever you want. Thank you.
Announcer: Well…
Alice: Holy shit.
Announcer: DJ, turn up that music, please. Everybody dance.

Carly: Oh, wow. This is…

Willam: Uncomfortable.

Carly: Oh, very.

Riese: Wouldn’t you be thrilled though?

Carly: If I had been there, I would’ve been so excited.

Riese: Me too.

Shane looking confused in the crowd with her arms crossed as Jenny, offsrcreen, says "you don't have to sneak around anymore"

Carly: Because watching other people’s drama play out publicly, I mean, what’s better than that? Especially if they’re lesbians. Oh my God, but wow.

Riese: “I bought her for you.” Oh my God.

Willam: “You can fuck her.”

Carly: “You bought a person?”

Willam: Yeah, I love this scene. This was great.

Carly: This was very entertaining.

Riese: It was so unhinged.

Carly: And like you said, a really nice payoff from the earlier scene.

Willam: They said, “Mia, go get a piece of the stage, and just really gnaw at it. No, chew harder, honey. You can chew harder. No, this is the last season. We don’t even need these sets anymore. Chew it up, baby. Chew it.”

Carly: Yeah, who cares? “Chew it up. Spit it out.”

Willam: And Mia chewed the fuck out of it.

Carly: Emmy for Mia.

Willam: Did she get one?

Riese: Emmy for Mia. No.

Carly: No, she was never nominated, but we’re on a campaign to get her—

Riese: No, we’re hoping that maybe eventually—

Willam: Retroactive.

Carly: Retroactive, I mean.

Riese: Yeah, retroactive Emmy or a Lifetime Achievement Award, but mostly clips from this.

Willam: I tried with Matthew. Didn’t work.

Riese: For the lesbians of West Hollywood, this series began with Melissa Etheridge’s wife making a big banner that told everyone to beware of Shane McCutcheon all over the major party spots. And now, they’re like, “Now this girl is buying a movie star for Shane.” And Shane never says anything, you know what I mean? So she’s got to be quite a little legend.

Carly: Shane is just making this what-the-fuck face, which is the only appropriate response.

Riese: Right, because I would be like, “Save that $25,000 for us. We could get a chemical peel and three days at The Parker in Palm Springs.”

Carly: Yeah, there you go. That sounds way better than whatever Niki’s going to do.

Riese: Right, some cocaine. I mean, they’re young. I’m old. I wouldn’t want cocaine, but they might.

Carly: At the time, I would’ve wanted cocaine.

Riese: Yeah, at this time in 2009. Jenny’s like …

Jenny: Listen, I don’t care. You can fuck whoever you want whenever you want. Fuck Niki. Fuck whoever. I know that you need it. It doesn’t scare me, because I know you, okay?

Riese: Which is a little bit twisty, but okay.

Carly: Yeah, you could tell Shane’s like, “Wait what?”

Riese: “Are we poly?”

Carly: But I feel like she’s considering it slightly, but is like, “This feels like a trap, but it’s—”

Riese: Yeah. “So you’re totally okay with it, but you just—”

Carly: “But you’re doing this publicly on a microphone, and you spent $25,000 after you bought me a photography studio.” Did anyone catch the music? The song playing — I had to look up the song, because the lyrics, it sounds like they were just saying “chunky love” over and over again? And I was like, “What is this song?” But it’s “junky love.” I thought it was “chunky love,” because that’s very much what it sounded like. But it’s by the electronic band named Client, which I do remember being a fan of in my Club Kid cocaine era, so that makes sense. It’s interconnectivity.

Willam: 2020 was crazy.

Riese: I know. It was wild. Yeah, it was wild. Everyone was really on a bender.

Carly: So next morning, dance marathon is still going on. It’s just the most sad, depressing place at that point.

Riese: Who pledged them? Each other?

Carly: Yeah, but it’s still really dark in there, despite that it’s the morning. So whatever. Another awkward Bette and Jodi moment backstage. Bette congratulates her on her win, and just word vomits. She just won’t shut up. She’s like, “I just don’t know why I care.”

Riese: I would a hundred percent do this if I was her. A hundred percent. I could feel it. I could feel it. Since that first conversation with Jodi, she’s been like, “I really don’t want Jodi to think I cheated on Tina. This is really bothering me that Jodi thinks I … ” It’s just constantly running. Constantly running. “You know what I’m going to … I’m just going to talk to her. Just get it off my mind. Just get it off my mind.”

Carly: Yeah, this is Bette.

Riese: And then I would, and she would look at me like, “You’re insane.” And I’d be like, “I know, but I just want you to know that I might be insane, but also, I didn’t cheat on Tina.” I would do this, hands down. Or I’d be composing a little text message waiting.

Willam: In Notes.

Riese: In Notes.

Carly: A Notes app apology.

Riese: Yeah, I would be in Notes like, “Sorry if this sounds a little unhinged, but—”

Carly: And then just proceed to write a really unhinged thing.

Riese: Yeah, and then send them a big text wall, and they’d be like … No response. And I’d be like, “I deserve it.”

Carly: They’d just leave you on read, and then you would just sort of go crazy.

Riese: Yeah, I’d continue to … Then I’d start writing notes.

Carly: You’d send more things, is what you would do, right?

Riese: No, then I’d start writing more things, but just for myself.

Willam: You send them the .gif of Jon Snow looking up at the wall for the first time whenever you get a text like that.

Carly: You’re like, “Read this, or don’t.” This awkward conversation is just awkward, and Jodi’s like, “I don’t care. I don’t care about any of this. Good luck. Bye.”

Riese: But she kind of does.

Carly: No, she totally does, because she wants to stir up some shit, which is great.

Riese: Vindicated. Yeah, which again, I would feel. If I were Jodi, I would want to believe this was true too, because you’d want to be like, “Ah-ha, they didn’t change. They hurt the next person too.”

Carly: Exactly.

Riese: Maybe I do sound unhinged. Jodi says, “We start every day trying to be better, and the problem is in the execution,” which is like, “Okay, Yoda. Sure.” And then Alice … Has someone ever woken you up from a nap to ask you if you have a crush on their girlfriend?

Willam: That. I was like, “This would not be the time for that conversation,” because even if you wanted to, you knew you wouldn’t get to sleep again. So you’d value your one last night of restful sleep before your world turns fucking upside down. That is not when you answer it. No.

Riese: No.

Carly: No. Bad timing.

Riese: No.

Carly: This was terrible.

Riese: Plus, I’m honest when I first wake up, and I’m mean.

Carly: I’m just not really with it. It takes me a while to really—

Riese: I’m just like, I was finally able to—”

Carly: … be able to talk?

Riese: … reprise from this crazy world. Anyway, Jamie basically is like, “Yeah, but I wouldn’t act on it.”

Carly: And then, in a very jarring moment, we cut to a bus depot.

Riese: For Pacific Coachways, everyone’s favorite bus to Nevada.

Carly: Bette and Tina are here to pick up Marcy. They talk about the New York City thing again. “Oh my God, we have to apply for schools. Whatever, we’ll come back to this in a second.”

Bette and Tina in the front seat of their car talking about moving, Bette says "i love our friends"

Willam: Got Trader Joe’s flowers.

Carly: Yeah, very, very much Trader Joe’s flowers.

Willam: A bouquet for each. She was going to have bags. What was going to carry them with?

Carly: How is she going to carry that?

Willam: “Here, we got you these flowers. No, you hold them.”

Carly: “What am I supposed to do with these flowers?” So we go back to the dance marathon, and here it is, the big reveal. Sunset Boulevard is Sunny Benson, the man from the gallery.

Kit: You just can’t come up on the stage. You were at my sister’s gallery.
Sunset Boulevard: I was. Most of you know me as Sunset Boulevard, but my real name is Sunny Benson. And I’m a straight man, who loves his gay and lesbian family. And I hope they can still accept me.
Kit: You lied to me.
Sunset Boulevard: But I tried to tell you.
Kit: You lied to me.
Sunset Boulevard: I never lied to you.
Kit: You are a con man.
Sunset Boulevard: I never lied to you, girlfriend. You assumed—
Kit: You are a con man. I trusted you. I told you things that I would never tell a man.
Sunset Boulevard: What did you think I was? The dress didn’t change the fact that I was a man. You trusted me because you felt I could be trusted. Give me a chance. I know I have you at a disadvantage. And I know, I know more of your stories than you know mine, but I’d love a chance to fix that.
Kit: I—
Sunset Boulevard: Kit Porter, you’re one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen, and I’d love nothing better than to take you to dinner, and get to know you better.
Kit: Okay. I don’t know.

Willam: In the library with the candelabra.

Riese: And the eyeshadow, it is.

Carly: Everyone on the show just wants to get on stage, grab a microphone, and publicly make declarations that are much more suited for a private conversation, but this is a good show.

Kit in a Cleopatra get-up in the audience as "crowd gasps in shock"

Willam: This straight man loves his gay and LGBTQIA family ally. And he would love to take you to dinner.

Riese: I laughed out actually. I was like, “Ha!”

Willam: This was a farce. And like a man could look like that after getting out of drag that quickly. We look like hamburger after we get out of drag, honey. We have to scrub glue off of our face and our eyebrows. We don’t look like him. He looks nice.

Carly: He looks moisturized and he was beautiful

Riese: Radiant.

Willam: Tall drink of water.

Carly: Oh my God. Yeah, he is straight man who loves his queer family. It’s a whole thing.

Riese: Loves his gay and lesbian family. This was the biggest laugh for me of the episode, because also, you expect straight people to write lines like that, but come on.

Willam: “I’m a straight man … ” What the fuck?

Carly: You know the writers too were trying to be subversive again, and they were like, “What if the drag queen is straight?”

Willam: “Is straight.” Raises for everyone.

Carly: Oh my God, we might get a seventh season off of this.

Willam: Honestly though, the Boulet Brothers had a straight drag queen, I think, and that was interesting. Disasterina, I’m pretty sure he’s straight and he does drag as performance art. I think he has a girlfriend. One of the other ones has a girlfriend too. I think Gothy Kendoll, maybe. One of the UK ones.

Carly: Yeah, wasn’t-

Willam: Or Baby Rabbit or something. Freckles. She’s got some baby persona.

Carly: A baby persona.

Willam: Or a little girl.

Riese: Maybe they should’ve had one of those people play this role.

Willam: Honey, they weren’t born yet.

Carly: Well, this is 2009.

Willam: These new kids are young.

Riese: Also, Kit consistently … If they’re in the writers’ room, then it’s like, “Let’s give Kit a boyfriend, but let’s try to think about a way to make it a little bit different.”

Carly: Different.

Riese: First, it’s Ivan, who, we don’t really know Ivan’s gender.

Carly: He performed as a drag king, but—

Riese: Oh yeah. She’s going from drag king to drag queen. Look at that. That’s an arc. That’s a character arc.

Carly: Look, we’re pushing the envelope here The L Word.

Riese: Your standard evolution.

Carly: Yep. So she tells him that he’s a liar and a con man, and in return, he asks her out on a date, which is a great way to start a relationship.

Riese: I would be mad too, because this whole charade has gone on for too long. Not, she should’ve known it, but this has been dragged out by the show for far too long. It should’ve been a two-episode thing. One episode where she doesn’t know, one episode where she knows. This has been going on this whole time, and that’s too much.

Willam: Farce.

Carly: There’s no way she would not have known, yeah. So we go back to the bus depot, and I’m just like—

Riese: Obviously, she’s not on the bus.

Carly: Obviously, she was never getting on that bus, but don’t you think Bette, knowing who Bette is as a person, is so mad that she’s at a bus depot?

Willam: Would’ve texted.

Carly: Yeah, no, no texts. No email. No phone call. Nothing. No, no Marcy. Marcy’s not coming to California.

Riese: On the bus, at least.

Carly: But guess what? The dance marathon is still going on. We’re back for our final scene of the episode. Tasha and Alice are slow dancing. They have this emotional moment. Alice loves her. She wants her to be happy. Does she want to be with Jamie? Tasha’s not ready to let Alice go. And then, obviously, the logical thing here is a throuple. I don’t know why they’re not just facing this head on. That would make so much more sense.

Riese: Yeah, no one ever wants to give me what I want in a TV show, which is always, every time, a throuple.

Willam: Write your own. I’ll be on it.

Riese: Perfect. Perfect.

Willam: Done.

Carly: Done.

Riese: I think it’s—

Carly: Hired. Green lit.

Willam: What time is my call? Monday, right?

Carly: 7:00 AM.

Riese: 7:00 AM. Well, you know what? I’m a different kind of director, writer. So I’m going to say 9:00 AM.

Carly: Look at you.

Willam: I’m a drag queen.

Carly: Willam will be there at 10:15. The episode ends with Alice and Tasha being crowned the last couple standing, which is the title of the episode, and just wow. Way to really wrap it up.

Willam: Poetry.

Carly: Wrapping it up, and that’s the episode. What did we think of this episode?

Riese: Do you think that Jenny and Shane got… because now Jenny gets to have one date with Niki, right? That’s what she auctioned off.

Carly: Yeah, how did they—

Willam: Yeah, and—

Carly: I would love to see how they left this building.

Willam: Did they have a credit card machine to run the card from the donations? They didn’t have Venmo back then. Who was handling the financials?

Carly: I bet Jenny wrote a check.

Willam: Girl.

Riese: They next morning, they were like, “Oh, wait. Did we do the financials somehow?” Then they’re like—

Carly: They were probably like, “Well, Alice was in charge of the event, and we figured she was handling the financials.”

Willam: She was busy changing her wigs.

Carly: Then they realized she did not collect any of the money, and they made no money. That’s what happened.

Willam: Alice had this great Entrance fall on, and then took that off to put on this flat little — I was like, “No.”

Riese: Yeah, her hair looked great in the very beginning, and then it was just this cycle of bad.

Willam: Bad.

Carly: Or bad and then worse wigs. Overall, how do we feel about this episode? It’s absurd and very bad.

Willam: Yeah, 5 out of 10.

Carly: That’s generous. I feel like that’s generous.

Riese: Yeah, that’s generous.

Willam: Well, a lot of effort went into it, at least.

Carly: That’s true. The wardrobe department had a lot to do this week, and good for them.

Riese: And they did it poorly.

Carly: It was their time to shine. They did not.

Riese: But the piano thing. I loved the piano jumpsuit. I loved Tina’s dress, because I made $800 off of it.

Carly: That’s great.

Riese: Thank you, SHOWTIME, for all of your support of me and my work!! I just really remember thinking, “Oh, wow. This was a good episode,” in the abyss of Season 6. But upon rewatching it, I was just like, “Actually, no. This is another bad episode.” It’s just that there’s dancing music, so basically like Glee, where it was like every episode was bad, I like singing and dancing. Right, I could just imagine this as a scene … a string of music video covers, connected by plot or whatever. Yeah, it was unfortunate for all of us.

Carly: No, it’s very bad. Terrible.

Riese: Someone should’ve thrown a drink.

Carly: There could’ve been a drink-throwing moment in this episode. That would’ve helped it. That would’ve been great. But it’s bad. It was very bad. Willam, any final thoughts on this episode?

Willam: The only way out is up, I feel like. So I feel like next week will be better. It’s going to be graduation for you ladies.

Carly: Yeah, we will be done. We will be done.

Willam: So you’re going to be set free. Set me free. Break these chains. All that.

Riese: They’re going to imprisonment, potentially. We will be freed.

Carly: Freed, like birds.

Willam: Definitely.

Riese: And so will Jenny.

Willam: Well, if you have any free time, you can go listen to my podcast, Race Chaser.

Carly: Willam, tell us more.

Willam: Yeah, and then there’s one called Hot Goss. You can listen to that one. Then, there’s Very That, with Delta and Raja, and then Sloppy Seconds with Meatball and Big Dipper, and Wanna Be On Top?

Carly: Wanna Be On Top? with Shea Couleé.

Willam: Wanna Be On Top? with Shea Couleé. We got a couple more that I don’t think we announced yet, but I know I’m missing one. Oh, The Chop with Latrice and Manila. And if you’re in London and you’re listening to this, I’m doing a show over there for three months, Death Drop with Latrice. So go get tickets.

Carly: Oh my God, going to be so good. I am very sad that I won’t be London, because it sounds fucking awesome.

Willam: Yeah, I think it’s going to be sickening.

Carly: And you’ll be back on a real stage.

Riese: In front of human beings.

Carly: With an audience and everything.

Willam: They don’t tip though, because it’s a theatre.

Carly: Yeah, that’s at a theatre.

Willam: But it’ll be fine. I’ll put my Venmo on the bottom of my shoe or something, and display it to the audience. “Tip me!” Disgusting. I have to go put on makeup though to go to another job, though, but thank you for having me on your podcast, Carly and Riese.

Riese: Thank you so much.

Carly: Thank you for being here.

Riese: Do you want to tell us real quick where people can find you on the internet, socially?

Willam: Just look at the bottom of the can. Pour out the water, and then I’m the dregs. I’m right there on YouTube. Just look up Willam. I’m on Instagram and Twitter as Willam too. I’ll see you there maybe.

Riese: Thank you so much for being on our podcast. We really appreciate it.

Carly: Yes, thank you for joining us. You’re the best.

Willam: Of course, thanks for L Wording!

Carly: Thank you so much for listening to To L and Back. You can find us on social media over on Instagram and Twitter, we are @tolandback. You can also email us to [email protected]. And don’t forget, we have a hotline. You can give us a call, leave a message, it’s (971) 217- 6130. We’ve also got merch, which you can find at store.autostraddle.com. There’s stickers, there’s shirts, including a Bette Porter 2020 shirt, which is pretty excellent. Our theme song is by Be Steadwell. Our logo is by Carra Sykes, and this podcast was produced, edited, and mixed by Lauren Klein. You can find me on social, I am @carlytron, Riese is @autowin. Autostraddle is @Autostraddle. And of course, autostraddle.com, the reason we are all here today.

Riese: Autostraddle.com.

Carly: Alright. And finally, it’s time for our L Words. This is the segment of the show where we end things by simultaneously shouting out a random L word. Usually, these have little to no relevance to anything we just recapped. Okay. Riese, you ready?

Riese: Okay. One, two, three. Loose leaf.

Carly: LaLa Ri.

Willam: Lollobrigida.

Carly: Riese, what did you say?

Riese: Loose leaf.

Carly: Like the paper?

Riese: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Willam: Oh, that’s a double contraction. That’s good.

Riese: Thank you. Double points on Scattergories, yeah.

Carly: Willam, what did you say?

Willam: Well, bitch, I got Lollobrigida.

Carly: I said LaLa Ri because I really liked her music video on last night’s reunion.

Willam: She’s great. Her wig was full lace. She had baby hairs in the back.

Carly: She looked amazing.

Willam: Sickening.

Carly: And that music video was really… That song was legit.

Willam: Yeah, it was really good.

Carly: Yeah. Anyway, thank you all for listening!

Riese: Thank you so much!

Carly: We will be back in two weeks with the series finale of The L Word, if you can believe it. It’s happening. Cool, thanks, bye!

Riese: Bye!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com 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 3223 articles for us.


  1. Before the season is over, I wanted to share my personal Butterfly Dress Effect theory:
    The costume designer and the lighting director were girlfriends, but in the first episode, they got into a huge argument about how best to light the giant butterfly on Bette’s dress. They got so mad at each other that they broke up, but neither person wanted to quit. Instead, the costume designer stripped the locations budget for extra ruffles, and the lighting director refused to let anyone’s whole face be visible indoors.
    And then Jenny killed them to restore the balance of the universe, but BY THEN IT WAS TOO LATE.
    The End

    • Also, I loved every podcast episode for this terrible season, and Willam was hilarious <3

  2. Also, did this site ever discuss all the queer energy around Penny Dreadful and I somehow missed it?

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