“To L And Back: Generation Q Podcast 306: The Gen Q Musicale

Hold onto your hats because we have a musical episode! Not, sadly, a musical episode of this podcast, but this week The L Word finally graced us with the beauty of Rosanny Zayas voice, with the style of a 40s musical, and with an emotional gut punch of grief mixed with nostalgia mixed with TRUE LOVE.

Before all that happens though: Alice is taking her staff (and Shane!) on a work retreat to do some ayahuasca and soul searching. Alice, Sophie and Shane experience hallucinations that drop them into three different musicals as they seek answers to their most pressing questions! Will Shane finally realize she’s non-monogamous? Will Sophie figure out her sort of vague issue with Finley? Will Alice ever fall in love?! All this and more (namely, musical numbers!) await this week.

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SHOW NOTES

+ Riese’s recap of Episode 306
+Drew and Riese’s Transparent musical finale thoughts, for proof they are in fact defenders of the musical!
+ The bisexual velvet couch joke, which has also been called the gay velvet couch
+ Becky’s So Hot explainer from Riese!
+ Drew’s iconic Glee thread
+ Drew’s piece about queer women in movie musicals
+ Drew’s essay about Transparent that Joey Soloway cited at the musical finale screening!


Drew: Hi, I’m Drew.

Analyssa: I’m Analyssa.

Riese: I’m Riese.

Drew: This is-

Analyssa: Wait, when do I-

Drew: Generation Q edition.

Riese: No, I-

Drew: Is it because you both were thinking about singing it and then you didn’t commit to singing it? That was in my head. I had that thought.

Riese: I do have Bottoms Up, Bottoms Up stuck in my head, but we can talk about that. Great, let’s-

Analyssa: I’ve been thinking about making an imperfect harmony joke. Does that count?

Riese: I didn’t think about singing it because I’m a bad singer and no one wants to hear me sing.

Analyssa: I think that I am a bad singer who does think that people want to hear me sing.

Riese: Interesting.

Drew: I feel like one of you is lying to me and is actually a good singer.

Riese: It’s not me.

Drew: That’s my theory and I think it’s Analyssa because I know you like karaoke and I don’t know. I feel like you’re someone who is just exceptionally at least competent in everything you do. If you like karaoke, I have to imagine that you have a surprisingly great voice.

Analyssa: I think I have a charmingly average voice. You know what I mean? I’m selling it.

Drew: Like most of the cast of the L Word, Generation Q.

Analyssa: I’m selling it with feeling, which is actually I think what the cast of Generation Q-

Riese: Once more with feeling?

Analyssa: Yeah.

Riese: I thought they were good singers. I guess we’ll talk about that in a minute.

Analyssa: I am so certain that this episode will have polarized us the most of any episode we’ve done yet. I’m certain of it.

Riese: The three of us?

Analyssa: The three of us. I think this is the one we’re going to be farthest apart on.

Drew: It’s interesting because I love musicals. I was a defender — Riese and I both on Autostraddle dot com were defenders — of the Transparent musicale finale. I went into this with hope, with dreams. To quote another famous lesbian musical, “Don’t shit on my dreams. It’s just my fantasy of what will probably be, but it won’t be.”

Riese: What musical is that from?

Analyssa: What musical is that?

Drew: That would be Girltrash: All Night Long.

Riese: Wow, wow, wow.

Analyssa: Do you want to tell us about this episode, Drew?

Drew: Sure, I would love to. This is episode 306, Questions For The Universe. It is directed by Nancy Mejia who we’ve talked about last week and it’s written by Allison Wong who was a writer on the unfortunately cut short fourth season of One Day At A Time.

This is her first season writing for Gen Q and then coming up soon wrote on Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies, which I’m so excited about because I love Grease and also I love the showrunner of that, Annabel Oakes. She’s one of my favorite people in the industry. I’m very excited for Grease: Rise Of The Pink Ladies, another musical television program.

Analyssa: That one’s going to be a musical?

Drew: Yeah.

Analyssa: That’s fun.

Drew: It’s Grease and grease is the-

Riese and drew: Is the word.

Ana: Nice, guys.

Drew: Should we get into the episode?

Riese: We should.

Drew: Shane is having a foursome. She doesn’t seem that into it. I’m also wondering why she didn’t just call Ivy. I’m also wondering why we couldn’t get a hot foursome before Shane realized that she’s not into it. Please, for my dying crops I just want one full complete hot sex scene this season.

Analyssa: Every sex scene this season feels so-

Riese: Almost.

Analyssa: Cut short or like no one is having fun or just not quite-

Riese: Right, this is not the first time Shane’s invited girls over to have sex while she sits in a corner brooding and drinking alcohol and looking really unhappy because of a relationship choice that she made herself.

Drew: It’s her thing.

Riese: It’s her kink really.

Analyssa: This episode opening with the song saying, [music plays] “This dyke wants to go all night,” was such, there was no dipping a toe into the music on this episode. It was just from the start we’re making choices.

Riese: I for one loved Alice’s tracksuit.

Analyssa: Yes, not you for one, that’s all of us.

Riese: Yes.

Drew: Alice is on the phone with Sophie talking about a team building retreat that they are going on soon, which is very exciting. Then, we find out that, I mean we knew Shane was having the foursome at Alice’s place, but Alice is headed home and walks in on them and says, “That’s a lot of naked people on my velvet couch.”

Riese: Bisexual velvet couch.

Analyssa: That’s in my notes too. What a classic little bisexual moment. Do you feel like, Riese, when they talk about how the green velvet couch is bisexual do you think of your blue velvet couch as being in that family or what?

Riese: I think so. I don’t know what it means that I picked a blue one instead of a green one. I don’t know if that makes me more or less bisexual than someone who picked a green one, but I guess ultimately it’s really up to Wayfair.

Analyssa: Right.

Riese: Who am I-

Analyssa: To argue with the Wayfair-

Riese: To argue with the ways of Wayfair, an ethical boutique furniture haven?

Analyssa: Locally sourced.

Riese: Locally sourced.

Analyssa: Artisan.

Riese: Artisan furniture store, because those are the types of furniture stores I can afford to shop at.

Analyssa: Right.

Drew: Sure, speaking of smart shopping, Finley is looking through CarMax because apparently Shane and Tess are paying Finley well and now she wants to get a car and I love that for her. As someone who doesn’t have a car, I would love a car.

Riese: Have you tried CarMax?

Drew: I haven’t because it’s also gas and insurance. I’m not in a place where I can get a car.

Analyssa: My take on this is CarMax is paying Finley directly for this product placement of CarMax.

Riese: She’s an influencer.

Analyssa: This is the most I’ve heard someone say, “CarMax” in years.

Riese: Right, but it’s not a great sell for CarMax because immediately it is inconvenient for her to go see the car. Honestly, the scene, she walks in and Sophie is packing and she’s like, “What are you doing?” She doesn’t seem to know Sophie is going away for the weekend. What?

Drew: Riese, wait, what you don’t understand is that they need to justify the end of this episode by creating conflict that isn’t established in previous episodes. You forgot that.

Riese: It reminded me so much of Glee where they changed the whole plot of this relationship just because they wanted to use this one popular song in this week’s episode in a way that fit in with the plot. Finley seems to have wanted Sophie to give her a ride and Sophie is like, “Well, I can’t do that.”

Then, Sophie is like, “I won’t go on the trip. I’ll just give you a ride,” which reminds me deeply of things I have said in emotionally abusive relationships, which I didn’t think Sophie was in. Offering to cancel your weekend work trip to drive your– that’s what you do if you are in a really bad relationship.

Drew: It’s one of those things where this episode makes it so if you’re like, “Ugh, I would ship Sinley,” you don’t have an argument, but it’s who they are in this episode. I mean we’ll get to this multiple times throughout this, but I was like, “What?”

Analyssa: Right, and I can’t justify shipping Sinley in this episode, but let me convince you that the old Sinley, I did have a reason. I promise.

Riese: Also, in what universe? If you’re in a relationship with someone, especially someone you’re living with, you are acutely aware of their travel plans. There’s no relationship on earth. This is a suspension of disbelief that goes beyond Finley interrupting the wedding that Finley would not be aware that Sophie was going away for the weekend. What in the fucking hell?

Drew: Why not just have it be that Finley was like, “Oh, I thought you left tonight?” Sophie could be like, “Oh, well, I have to help Alice prep,” and Finley is like, “Oh.” It’s these little things that I’m like, “What?”

Analyssa: To not know about your live-in partner’s travel plans until the morning of, even last night they didn’t say anything about it. True, you’re right. It’s so much easier to be like, “Oh, I thought you were leaving in three hours. I thought you were going to drop me off in Reseda before you left.”

Riese: They even had to put Finley in a separate room so that she would be walking into the bedroom where Sophie was packing. At any point in blocking that, did someone think, “You know what? This doesn’t really add up, does it?”

Drew: I’m going to say something really brave right now, which is that I did improv in high school.

Analyssa: Safe space, but yikes.

Drew: I wasn’t the funniest person on my team or had the best jokes, had the whatever, but my function on that improv team in high school was that everyone else would be all chaos and funny, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I would justify these six different high school comedians with different ideas of what the scene should be and justified how it could all work together. I feel like The L Word: Generation Q needs someone to play that role to be like, “Yes, oh my God, great idea, I love it. I love it, more of this energy.” What if we wrote this one line so it makes 10% more sense?

Riese: Right, easy.

Analyssa: Also, the return to the Tess and Shane pattern of someone having a phone and texting in their hand half-heartedly and being angry, it’s not actually fighting. It just was the exact same. It was copy and paste from last week. I was like, “Oh, so they’re breaking up. This is the sign.” When you start texting angrily that means that you’re breaking up with your partner of a long time, perfect.

Drew: I will tell you this. I went into this episode thinking one of three couples were breaking up and two weren’t and I left this episode completely wrong about all of that. Shane says that she’s sorry to Alice and, as Alice is cleaning up, it’s very funny and blah, blah, blah.

Riese: I loved all the Shane and Alice stuff this episode.

Analyssa: As always, I love when The L Word characters are with their friends solving each other’s problems and goofing around. For some reason, as soon as they start kissing and talking about romantic relationships, I’m like, “Uh, hmm.”

Drew: Alice invites Shane to go do ayahuasca with her at her work retreat, which we’ll get to later, but I have questions about that. Then, we get to find out a little bit of plot about that. Ivy left because she got a job in New York. She won’t be on the retreat, which that’s the sort of thing where I go, “Yes, is that overly convenient? Sure, but at least you gave me something to hold onto.”

Analyssa: At least it makes sense that Ivy is not there.

Riese: They found a perfect way to bring it up. It wasn’t clunky exposition like Shane being like, “I can’t go. I hooked up with one of your coworkers.”

Analyssa: Excellent.

Drew: I do think that maybe a little bit less convenient of exposition, explanation would’ve been if she was like, “Oh, this is just our senior staff,” or whatever, which would also explain why you’re having, anyways again we’ll get to it.

Analyssa: Why are you comfortable doing drugs with your employees?

Drew: Yeah.

Analyssa: It’s not a chill “we are doing drugs.” It’s the plan that went out on the agenda is that we are doing ayahuasca at a work sanctioned event.

Drew: Also, I just am like what if Finley was still working in that office? There’s no one else sober who works on the Alice show. It’s just a weird- I don’t need to think about it that hard. I get it, but it’s just weird that a show that’s trying to engage with sobriety would just casually be like-

Riese: It’s not.

Drew: “Oop, we’re doing a whole thing and we’re having, we’re just doing drugs.” I would love to do ayahuasca with Alice. That sounds very fun for me personally. It’s also just like why? I guess it’s because they wanted it to be like, “Alice, you think you’re doing this work retreat, but whatever.” It could have been Alice was like, “I’m taking Sophie to do ayahuasca because she’s never done it before. You should come.” I’m just so baffled.

Analyssa: Then, who would all of the background dancers have been?

Riese: Who would the background dancers be?

Analyssa: Answer that question, Drew.

Drew: Other people, other strangers on the ayahuasca retreat, I don’t know. I’ve never gone to-

Riese: It could be on the retreat.

Drew: I don’t know. All I know is that I would never want to do drugs in this environment because the group leader’s name is Mercury and she’s just this healer white woman who’s like, “Yes.” It’s satirizing her. I was like, “I don’t think I’d feel safe doing drugs here. I don’t think this is where I’d want to be tripping.”

Riese: I love that when they were getting off the bus and getting their little juices and spritzes and stuff the way Shane was acting was completely original series Shane, her walk and even her outfit. I was just like, “I miss this.”

This low key burnout Shane just feels like such a richer character to me I guess and her putting her arm around Sophie and being like, “Do it for the drugs.” I’m just like, “Yeah, I know this person,” and all of the dialogue. I love the three of them together because they’re three such strong actors and strong characters. I don’t know. I really enjoyed all that stuff.

Drew: I do agree with that. At some point in my notes right here, I wrote, wait, Taylor is really gone. One of those lines of dialogue must have convinced me I was totally off. They all are told to write down their intentions. Alice says, “Will I ever find the one?” Shane says, “Why do I blow shit up?” Sophie says, “Is Finley right for me,” a question that she didn’t seem to be asking until this episode.

Riese: I can answer it, yes.

Analyssa: Listen to us, yes.

Riese: Listen to us.

Drew: Then, Shane says,

Shane: “Please don’t let this turn into a musical”

Drew: ...which I will be screen capping and including on the Instagram post.

Analyssa: They did that for us.

Drew: We got our first number.

Riese: Have a nice trip.

Drew: I just wrote have a nice trip in quotes.

Riese: It did have really strong Transparent musicale finale vibes, but unfortunately I loved it.

Analyssa: Me too.

Drew: Wow.

Riese: I loved it.

Drew: Wow.

Analyssa: Here’s one thing about me. As soon as people are singing and doing a little dancey dance on their screen, on my screen for me I’m sold.

Riese: Yes.

Analyssa: That’s enough for me.

Riese: Bless it.

Analyssa: I am famously a Grey’s Anatomy musical episode apologist and they don’t even dance in that. They’re just singing pop songs. I love it. I love it.

Drew: I’m just going to say I’m going to try to not be too much of a Scrooge, but I really did think that this might be my least favorite episode of The L Word: Generation Q.

(Riese and Analyssa gasp)

Riese: My God, except for the Finley, Sophie stuff, which I obviously am deeply upset about, I loved it.

Analyssa: Me too.

Drew: I’m so happy for you both and I’m happy for listeners who agree. This is the reason why I was frustrated with it primarily because I don’t need it to be great. The songs are so generic and when I think about what I would want from an L Word musical it’s to have a few fun musical theater songs that I can listen to that have to do with lesbians. I think about something like The Prom, which I was a defender of, which-

Riese: I enjoyed that.

Drew: Literally-

Riese: Again, like Ana said, singing and dancing for me on my TV, I’m in.

Analyssa: I’m in.

Drew: “Note to self, don’t be gay In Indiana,” that song is so good because you have this thing where you’re like, “Oh, right, this is a gay musical.” To have an L Word musical where the songs, literally the hooks are, “Have a nice trip,” “You’re the one,” I need to choose myself,” these platitudes, it’s the same issue I had in the last episode with the Shane, Tess fight scenes. I’m just like, “Give me something. Give me something beyond where I couldn’t take this song and put it on any other show on television.”

Riese: Bottoms Up, Bottoms Up is gay if you think about it.

Drew: I guess so. Sure, but I don’t know. I just was so underwhelmed. None of these songs I want to listen to.

Riese: Sure.

Drew: It just feels like what a missed opportunity. I just-

Riese: Sure.

Drew: And it just feels like what a missed opportunity. I just think about four seasons of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend where-

Riese: Oh God, what a good show.

Analyssa: Yeah, I mean-

Drew: It had at least one song that I listened to for pleasure on Spotify per episode, and sometimes there’d be three songs an episode. And not everyone’s Rachel Bloom, but it just feels like if you’re going to do a musical episode, why not… I still have songs from the Transparent musicale finale stuck in my head. There is not a single song in this episode. There are some songs that are better than others and there are some scenes that in the context of watching it I was like, yeah, sure, this is totally fine or good or whatever. But I just was so baffled by the decision to write original music if it’s not going to feel original. And so then why not just give us a fucking jukebox musical with gay recent songs? Let’s have Sophie sing…

Riese: Becky’s So Hot.

Analyssa: Right.

Drew: Sure. Whatever. Have Fletcher songs, have Kehlani songs, have songs with people who aren’t on the show. I don’t know. So that’s my thing. We can now move forward.

Analyssa: And I want to validate that quibble and say-

Riese: Yeah, you are right.

Analyssa: You’re not wrong. And now I would like us to move forward on my feelings.

Drew: Great.

Analyssa: No, I’m just kidding. But you’re not wrong. Yeah, they’re not super original. They’re not super exciting, but I felt like even from the jump that… I wrote in my notes, Leisha Hailey especially in the other side song is so committed that I was just like, I’m in. Her facial expressions, she’s selling it so much that I was like, great. Will I remember words to these songs later? No. Will I remember Leisha getting lifted over the head of a bunch of background people spinning in a circle? I might. I do right now.

Riese: Yeah.

Drew: Yeah. I guess I’m being very music focused and not enough dance focused and character focused.

Analyssa: Or L word focused. This is like the house music come to life, you know?

Riese: Right.

Drew: That’s true.

Analyssa: It’s the soundtrack being danced to, which… I don’t know.

Riese: But they could have danced to, I Want To Dyke All Night, I guess.

Analyssa: Right.

Riese: You’re right. You’re 100% correct. But it could have been better.

Analyssa: Yes.

Drew: It doesn’t even need to be Fletcher songs. I mean, that’s not Shane’s reference points. Imagine if they were doing slightly altered parodies of Indigo Girls songs.

Riese: Oh, yeah. Well, you know who writes songs… isn’t Leisha Haley?

Drew: Okay. Well, we’re going to get to that. Well, I’ll save that for later. But let’s move forward into Shane’s little sailor ditty.

Riese: Okay.

Analyssa: So yeah, Shane is dropped sort of on the town, sailors and dames kind of, Guys and Dolls ’40s musical. And Tess is a cabaret performer at Dana’s, which looks the same outside.

Riese: There’s a lot of butch sailors.

Analyssa: Yeah, there’s a lot of butch sailors ogling Tess and Shane is trying to get to Tess is the main crux of the song. And I think in this little pop of the musical scene, they pull them apart. They’re dancing together, they’re flirting with each other. It’s kind of fun. I like the style.

Riese: Yeah.

Drew: Yeah.

Riese: I didn’t love that Tess and Finley both drink in this weird fantasy world. It reminded me of Artie dancing with his legs in Glee… You know what I mean?

Drew: Wow. Yeah. Oh boy. Yes.

Riese: I mean, just why?

Analyssa: I’ve never seen one episode of the television program Glee.

Riese: Wow. I mean, if you liked this you will love Glee.

Drew: You would love Glee. I mean, I loved Glee, so I’m not insulting you. I watched all six seasons in the pandemic because of my thread that still sometimes goes viral and I’m like, oh, okay, I didn’t know things about Lea Michele when I was… Also, it was a pandemic and I was very alone and I wasn’t having sex with anyone. I don’t love that there is a bunch of thirst tweets about Lea Michele on the internet.

Analyssa: Yeah, but if you deleted them, you’d ruin the thread.

Drew: Right, exactly. So I’m keeping it, but just know that… Check the dates. Check the dates.

Analyssa: And then we cut to… Sophie’s drug trip scene is in a black and white sitcom like I Love Lucy.

Riese: Called Finley’s Home.

Analyssa: Called Finley’s Home.

Riese: So Finley’s Home is a sitcom about Finley, the man of the house who’s wearing an oversized suit and doesn’t want Sophie to talk, literally doesn’t want Sophie to talk. Finley says her boss is coming over and she’s up for a big promotion and she would like it if Sophie did not speak for the duration of the meal because then Sophie will say something stupid I guess, and the audience loves it. They love her silencing Sophie because it’s the ’50s and that’s what you did in the ’50s. You took Valium and you silenced your wives.

Drew: I did like that Micah and Maribel are the boss and boss’s wife to get them into it because I was a little bit like, are we just not going to have these characters in? So I liked the way that they thought that through. And then we get to, honestly, my favorite part of the episode, which is Dani as an old-timey TV director. Yeah, Dani has this whole Dorothy Arzner energy and I just was like…

Analyssa: She’s in a Katharine Hepburn type of oversized boxy suit kind of look. Yeah, Drew, not to step on your toes because I think this is your specific brand of horniness, but this did do a lot for me also. I was like, yeah, this is good.

Riese: Yeah, it was incredible. And I think the idea here is that Dani, they feel like it’s a metaphor. Dani’s still sort of pulling the strings in the background of Sophie’s life in some way, or it still has an impact on it. So this Finley calls cut, like has the scene cut because she thinks Sophie’s doing a bad job? There’s a really funny aside with Micah and Maribel here.

Maribel: I had lines that were stepped on?
Micah: I need more motivation to walk through the door.

Riese: It was a cute little aside.

Drew: And then this segment ends with Finley kissing Dani, which is the only time we’re probably ever going to see that.

Analyssa: Except for on the promo posters. Don’t they kiss in that?

Riese: Yeah.

Drew: Oh yeah.

Riese: And Sophie is astounded by this turn of events.

Analyssa: As was I.

Riese: That Finley is sleeping with the director. Problematic, but it’s the ’50s, and this is what you did in the ’50s.

Drew: Have either of you done ayahuasca?

Analyssa: No.

Riese: No.

Drew: I haven’t either. Well, if you’ve done ayahuasca, let us know. Do you pick a genre of media and then have a fantasy in it? Just curious.

Riese: I would love it if we did.

Analyssa: I would love to be in a 2000s rom com.

Drew: Yeah, I was thinking ’90s rom com?

Analyssa: That’s just a plot of Isn’t It Romantic though, isn’t it? She bumps her head.

Drew: I guess so.

Riese: I want to be in a gritty ’90s indie about girls who are bad.

Analyssa: Oh.

Drew: You want to be in All Over Me?

Riese: That’s fine. I want to be in All Over Me, yes. Speaking of Leisha Hailey singing.

Drew: Yeah. Alice’s fantasy world is a game show called Name That Flaw, and the drag queen Eureka is the host.

Riese: This is progress, they hired a real drag queen.

Drew: Yeah, look at that.

Riese: In the original series they didn’t.

Drew: I do know this. They go through all the exes. Tom, Alice says his flaw is:

Alice: Too conventional, wanted to get married too fast.

Drew:: Taylor…

Alice: Didn’t like me enough.

Drew: Nat…

Alice: Gigi, the answer is Gigi!
Eureka: The answer is always Gigi!

Riese: What?

Drew: Which seems the opposite of a problem.

Analyssa: When they said the answer is always Gigi, I wrote in my notes, so true and I wish the show felt the same way. I think the answer to everything on this show would be Gigi.

Riese: Right. And yet, that’s also not why they broke up. But sometimes I’m like, is this just supposed to be a joke or did everyone forget?

Drew: I don’t know. Yeah, I truly don’t know. And then I don’t remember what Chris Renfro’s character’s name is.

Riese: Daddius?

Drew: No.

Riese: Teddy? Teddy.

Analyssa: Teddy.

Drew: Teddy. Yeah, Teddy, which is confirmed that their character uses they/them pronouns, which is cool. And Alice just says–

Alice: Coachella!

Drew: Which I guess is funny if you’re like-

Riese: I laughed.

Drew: Yeah.

Riese: 40. Were you going to say over 40?

Drew: Yeah, I was going to say over 40.

Analyssa: That’s a grownup joke.

Riese: Yeah, I laughed. Gretchen laughed.

Drew: I love that for you both. And then it’s like, oh, it’s the last person. And I was like, oh, it’s going to be Dana. And then it wasn’t. It was Alice, but fear not because we’ll get there. And then Alice is like, oh, I have to ask the audience and someone in the audience is like, you think you’re better than everyone. And Alice is like, whoa.

Analyssa: They start yelling her flaws at her so fast. I know that she’s trapped in a dream of her brain’s own making, but I would have exited the room, like immediate. The quickness with which the first person says something, I would’ve been like, I’m out. I can’t do this.

Riese: That absolutely is what happened to me if I took this drug. I would be in a room with people shouting my flaws at me, and I’d be like, I know, I already know I have a lot of flaws.

Drew: Alice lands on you push people away and then Eureka’s like, you win. And then it’s like, you have your perfect life and you have your perfect partner and the dream partner is Dana. And it’s actually Dana.

Riese: And that’s so wonderful. Oh, she went to a bunch of bedroom sets too, which I loved the set.

Analyssa: I did really like the set. Even while they’re going through their scenes, there’s those little signs like on The Price Is Right that say vintage dresser or whatever. I loved, I thought it was so fun.

Riese: Yeah.

Analyssa: I have beef with Showtime’s website, which showed me a preview of Alice and Dana before I hit play.

Riese: Oh, the press website.

Analyssa: Yeah, the press website where you pressed play, it showed Alice and Dana, and I didn’t know that this was happening, and I was like, is that what I think it is? And then when it started, I was like, I’m going to see what I think it was.

Riese: They only released three stills from this episode on their press website, whereas normally by this time they’ve released at least 10. So I was like, Tina’s got to be in this episode.

Analyssa: Something’s afoot.

Riese: Something is off here. You know what I mean?

Analyssa: Your L Word detective skills were tingling.

Riese: Yeah, exactly.

Analyssa: That show doesn’t get anything past you Riese.

Riese: I guess. Well.

Drew: I’m sure this is where we’re going to disagree most, but I just was like, I loved this as an idea. I love Dana coming back and I thought the song was so bland and I was like, I should be crying. I should be so emotional. And instead I just was like, this is awful.

Riese: Didn’t you think it was funny when she was like, “Do we have kids?” And she was like–

Dana [singing]: “No, we have cats…sitters because we just travel the world.”

Riese: Wasn’t that funny?

Drew: I guess. I just was so..

Riese: And their dances and their outfits.

Drew: Yeah. No, sure.

Analyssa: Their little booping each other around the set.

Riese: Alice’s pants.

Drew: I just think about all of the emotion that we have attached to Dana. Think about all the emotion Alice has attached to Dana. Dana’s return in song, it could be the most powerful duet I’ve ever… I wanted something more, but they kiss and it’s nice.

Analyssa: And it’s cute. Say it, Drew. They kiss and it’s cute.

Drew: It is cute.

Analyssa: It’s cute.

Riese: The aesthetics were just so delightful.

Analyssa: Yeah. I’m not going to disagree with you, and here’s how you know. I have so few notes about what they sing to each other or what they’re doing, but I was just like, okay, I’m watching my two moms dance around.

Riese: I think it’s amazing how they have to keep figuring out ways to get Dana back into this show.

Drew: Yeah. Imagine if Ilene Chaiken just hadn’t killed her.

Riese: Right. And I wish that they would think about bringing Jenny back to the show.

Drew: I know. That was something exciting. I was like, oh, well maybe this is… I mean, they’re not going to, but I was like-

Riese: No, because they don’t even mention her.

Drew: Yeah. No.

Riese: Like she doesn’t exist.

Analyssa: Yeah. Doesn’t come up.

Drew: Except that one line in episode one.

Riese: On the Pants podcast, Kate said that she thought when her and Max reunited that they would talk about Jenny, that that was the logical conversation topic, but that she couldn’t get anyone to do that, which was fascinating to me. She couldn’t get the writers to agree to that.

Analyssa: Interesting.

Drew: That makes me sad. I love old Jenny. I miss old Jenny.

Riese: Yeah.

Analyssa: Okay. So yes, Drew, I agree. I did not get emotional in this Dana and Alice reunion. I felt like warm fuzzies, but I did get emotional later with the reunion having had happened and then there’s the scene that kind of closes it out.

Drew: Yeah. There’s two songs here that I can live with and one is that one and one is the one that’s in this next scene where we go back to Finley and Sophie World and Sophie sings a song about how finally she’s going to make things about her and not just about Finley.

Riese: There’s a rap break.

Analyssa: I have in all caps, “RAP BREAK, LET’S GO.” I think that rhyming “speak for me” and “codependency”… I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

Riese: Yeah.

Analyssa: That’s inspired on a television musical episode. That is inspired writing.

Riese: I agree.

Analyssa: Thank you, Riese.

Drew: I wrote, “This song is also not good, but the bar is so low and Rosanny Zayas can sing so I admit, I’m enjoying this.”

Riese: When she started belting, I was like, my lord.

Analyssa: That’s a Juilliard trained voice right there, baby. That’s what that’ll get you.

Drew: She could’ve been singing literally anything and I probably would’ve enjoyed it.

Riese: Right. And I do feel like that’s probably why they made it a work retreat so that they could get Rosanny in it.

Analyssa: Yeah, definitely.

Drew: That number ends with Sophie deciding that she needs independence and leaves. And when she leaves in the fantasy, I was like, is she saying that she’s going to break up with Finley or that she just needs to set better boundaries? I was unclear because them breaking up felt so out of nowhere, but we’ll get to that. So then we go first back to Tess and Shane’s world and Tess is like, there’s one of you in every port, which I thought was funny. And also, Shane has to run away from these random girls and then-

Riese: I loved their dance. They were such good dancers though.

Drew: Yeah, that was fun. And then she’s on the roof and she’s like, Tess is in the car below. It’s like a metaphor where it’s like, oh, it’s dangerous for me to jump. What if I jump?

Analyssa: It’s scary to jump. It’s easier to be taken by these girls for one night. And all the background people are like, sex is just sex. All that matters is tonight.

Drew: Yeah.

Riese: It was interesting because Tess is like, “And you’ll be with me forever.” And then Shane was like, “Forever?” And I thought, oh good. Shane’s realizing that she just can’t make long-term commitments. I didn’t realize this was actually leading to her deciding that actually she can.

Analyssa: Or wants to.

Riese: Although, she used to be married. Yeah. I thought that forever moment in Shane hesitating was Shane genuinely being like, you know what? Actually, maybe this isn’t the right relationship for me to be in.

Analyssa: I had the same thought. The way that she said “forever?” was like, oh, that’s what you want from me? That’s not my thing. And yeah, you’re right. I completely… didn’t forget, but it didn’t play in when I was watching this, but she has made a forever commitment to someone before.

Riese: Yeah. So that in and of itself should not be frightening to her. But that person never wanted her to open a second bar.

Drew: That’s a really good point.

Riese: But she didn’t want to actually have a baby and they broke up, so baby bar.

Drew: For babies who are babies and babies who are bars, Shane cannot handle it.

Riese: Bar babies.

Analyssa: Tag yourself. I think I’m a baby who’s a bar. Back on Alice’s game show set, Dana and Alice are talking and Dana mentions that she likes Nat and they discover that it’s because she reminds her of Dana, which I just thought was very sweet.

Riese: Yeah. So I think I teared up at three points during this scene. I remember the exact three points, but repeatedly. But they basically addressed the idea that Alice has just been looking for Dana and everybody and that she can’t really move on, which I thought was really realistic and resonated for me and that it all always comes back to Dana and that she’s never really gotten past that, which I think is an accurate portrayal of grief.

Analyssa: Yeah.

Drew: Yeah. That aspect of the episode I really liked. And this song was like… I do think Leisha really was giving it her all in a way that… And because it’s so poignant, this number worked for me.

Drew: This number worked for me.

Analyssa: Woo-hoo.

Drew: It wasn’t like I’m never going to listen to this song. I also was just curious because of Leisha Hailey’s history, why her songs were like these and not more riot grrrly. That could’ve been fun. I don’t know.

Analyssa: Especially because they’re already period-y. They’re from a different time anyway. But yeah, I agree.

Drew: I just feel like she can sing. I’ve heard her sing. I’ve listened to her. I’ve actively chosen to listen to her, so it’s like…

Riese: Uh Huh Her is my favorite band. It is one of my favorite bands. I’m not lying.

Drew: I believe you. I like them. I’ve listened to them, and so why not give something that plays to her vocal strengths instead of… I don’t think these songs necessarily show off what she can do best musically, but whatever.

Riese: Just so you guys know, Drew looks so mad.

Drew: I just was genuinely, as a musicale finale defender, I was really looking forward to this and really looking forward to having some songs to listen.

Riese: We listened to those songs for weeks afterwards.

Drew: Yeah, a couple songs in The Prom and the whole Fun Home soundtrack. What else do we have? There aren’t that many. I wrote a piece about all the lesbian movie musicals, and there aren’t that many.

Analyssa: There’s that one song, “Old Fashioned Lesbian Love Story” from Wild Party. That one gets solo played for me. I will just put that on.

Drew: Yeah, me too. One hundred percent. Same.

Riese: So at the end, basically Alice is like, “Is this the thing? You are the one.” And at this point Gretchen was like, “Oh.” Actually, before we started watching the episode and I was like, “I think Dana’s going to be in it.” I know as soon as Alice wrote, “Who’s the one” on paper, Gretchen was like, “Dana’s going to show up and Alice is going to ask her if she’s the one, and then Dana’s going to say, ‘No, I’m not the one. It’s someone else.'” And that is in fact exactly what happens in this scene.

Drew: I do wish that Dana had said there are multiple ones. That’s not really the party line of this season of Gen Q. It’s weird to me to suggest that if someone… I mean, Alice and Dana weren’t together when Dana died, but it is weird to me to suggest that someone being dead means that they weren’t your one. It feels like…

Analyssa: Right.

Drew: I don’t know. I just felt-

Analyssa: Again, it’s a very easy line tweak to be like, there are multiple ones. There can be other one… Whatever.

Riese: Or to be like, “Yes, I was the one, but I’m dead. So you’re going to have to settle for someone else.” Because that’s what grief is like too.

Analyssa: Yeah. It’s time to find someone who makes you happy in other ways like that.

Drew: Yeah. I may have been the one, but there are other ones. What a nice line I just wrote.

Riese: Because I do think Dana was the one for Alice.

Drew: Yeah, I agree. You’re not going to convince me. I’m happy with the conclusion that she reaches with who this person is ultimately, but that person’s your one? No, I don’t buy that. But Alice asks if they know Dana, and Dana’s like, “In a way,” and then Alice wakes up.

Analyssa: Right. I did tear up during that conversation.

Riese: Yeah. I teared up hard during that conversation. And then…

Drew: Shane jumps off the roof.

Riese: Right. And I was like-

Drew: And also wakes up. And then we get our final song, which is a reprise of the trip song. And then-

Analyssa: Reprise is a word that I read before I ever heard it out loud, and I always read it as reprise.

Riese: I always thought it was reprise too.

Drew: I think it can be both, actually.

Riese: Okay. Great.

Analyssa: Wow. Yeah, the two genders.

Drew: Is that wrong? I don’t know. Reprise and reprise. This was very funny to me. Alice goes, “In a way, you know her,” and then looks at Shane and leans in to kiss her. And Shane leans back.

Riese: Shane leans in. Shane goes for it.

Drew: Shane really tries to play it off like, you were high. I’m not judging you. And I was like, judging her? You leaned in.

Riese: Yeah, she leaned in hard. I did think it was a little bit in a way, Dana didn’t know Shane in a way. Dana knew Shane.

Analyssa: Dana knew Shane.

Riese: Directly, but whatever. It was the door. I genuinely laughed even though I’d already seen that moment in the preview.

Analyssa: I knew that that was coming and I still was like, nobody on the pod, nobody listening to this is going to be able to see it. But I was like shaking my head so fast like no, no, like in a joyful, delighted way. And Louis was sitting next to me and was like, what is going on over there?

Riese: I wish they had fully kissed.

Analyssa: I wish they had fully kissed just for fun. Just touch lips.

Drew: Just a little touch.

Analyssa: Try it. Just do it. Dani and Finley kissed.

Drew: Just spit in her mouth. It’s not a big deal.

Riese: Right. Remember that opening in the season five episode of The L Word where they were doing Lez Girls and they were trying different pairings of potential? And so, we got to see Bette and Helena and all these other weird combos. We need that back.

Analyssa: Yeah. Try some stuff. Hey, we’re already in an episode of trying and seeing what sticks, so let’s…

Drew: I think Finley and Dani’s kiss in that fantasy could have been a lot longer. I’m just thinking.

Analyssa: I agree.

Riese: I know. Was last year the COVID season or was this the COVID season?

Drew: That’s a really good point.

Riese: Good question. And Sophie being like, I have to go find Finley right now. I’m like, are you taking the bus, miss?

Drew: Yeah, like you’re on a retreat. What?

Riese: What’s your plan?

Analyssa: How much time has passed? What’s going on? Okay, fine. Sure.

Riese: You’re taking the Uber?

Drew: Who are you? Bette Porter? You can’t leave the retreat early. Come on.

Riese: I know, is she going to walk to the bus stop and scream with a bunch of strangers who are in Battlestar Galactica?

Analyssa: I did think it was really funny where Shane was like, “And I have to find Tess,” and Alice was like, “I don’t know how to get out of here,” and one of them goes, “Just up.” Like, stand. That was all fun.

Riese: Alice also tells Shane, “I saw Dana and Shane’s really happy,” and I only wish that Shane could have said in return, “And I saw Jenny.”

Drew: Yeah, that would be crazy. Can you imagine if Shane’s storyline instead of it being Tess, it was Jenny?

Riese: That’d be fascinating. That would be so interesting.

Drew: Yeah, I know. Also, we could get confirmation from Jenny. She could be like…

Analyssa: Here’s what happened.

Drew: Tina killed me.

Riese: Tina killed me. You have to help me. Tina pushed me off the balcony.

Analyssa: I actually, full send on crying from Shane’s reaction of hearing about Dana. Just the way, it actually reads, to your point earlier, felt like original L Word Shane. Like oh my God, really? All that dialogue really was like, oof. And then, that carried into the next scene, which is when Alice is going through her things.

Riese: For no reason.

Analyssa: She’s doing some post soul searching cleaning, and she finds the You Are My Sunshine flower packed away in a box, and there is this emotionally manipulative cover of You Are My Sunshine coming in. And I’m sorry, I’m simple.

Riese: I cried.

Analyssa: They want to emotionally manipulate me? They got me. They did it.

Drew: I felt like this was justified. I have a box right up in the corner of my room that has, it’s basically my sentimental box. It’s all my little sentimental things. The only thing is why is her book in there? But I was like, maybe it’s the first copy that was printed.

Riese: As everyone probably knows, because they’re probably really sad about it, I haven’t written a book just by me. There hasn’t been a book written just by me, but I’ve been in a lot of books and had copies of them sent to me. I’ve been in lots of anthologies and stuff. And I swear to God, those copies show up fucking everywhere. They’re everywhere. That was the most realistic part of this story for me, that somehow she had a random copy of her book in there.

Drew: Great. I mean, it makes sense that after that she would go through her box of sentimental things.

Riese: It makes sense that we cried.

Drew: That flower. Yeah. Wow.

Analyssa: I was full crying.

Riese: I was thinking about her in the hallway clutching the flower toy, which makes me cry every time still, even though I know it’s the most and emotionally manipulative thing this TV show has ever done to me.

Drew: So brutal. Then Alice is like, the one knows you in a way because Tom helped me write this book and it’s all about you and pushed me to write about you and be vulnerable. So then, Alice texts Tom, which I like Tom a lot. Tom has great second-

Analyssa: He’s funny.

Drew: A second one energy. I think if your soulmate died tragically young, Tom’s a great partner for life.

Analyssa: But he’s not the one.

Drew: No.

Riese: He’s just the one who was available to be in the rest of the season.

Drew: I see.

Riese: And that bothered me acutely.

Drew: He could be the one, but they never really sold us on it. The amount of time that Alice and Tom spent together, most of it was all about Alice’s having to come out as bisexual again and that whole thing. We didn’t really see them have a lot of passion. Have we talked about this earlier in this season of, it didn’t really feel like Alice’s sex scenes with Tom were hot, or were that passionate, or that she liked him that much. So, it’s a weird choice, but I’m excited that Donald Faison is going to come back.

Analyssa: But again, that is another thing that would’ve been helped by just a slightly different line earlier, which is the person you spend your life with isn’t always capital TO the one. The one can look like so many different things. Someone you’re comfortable with. There’s all these different reasons for them that they could have sold me on it in one line. I’d believe that Leisha Hailey’s like, oh yeah, him. I agree.

Drew: Also, of the people who are alive in Alice’s life, Shane is the one they can kiss. They shouldn’t kiss, but the one doesn’t have to be romantic. But this show has a very regressive, outdated, very television approach to romance, which is that there’s like you’re meant to be with your ex, your soulmates. It’s like Carrie and Big. It’s just a classic. It’s Ross and Rachel. It’s these this trope that I think is quite harmful, but we love on television, and they’re playing right into it. So it’s like, okay.

Riese: I think that the one should have been Helena.

Analyssa: Remember when we were teased a Helena return to this series?

Drew: Oh yeah.

Riese: Yeah. They had it on IMDB that Rachel Shelley was going to be in an episode, and then scrubbed it.

Analyssa: I miss her.

Riese: Making me look like a fool.

Drew: Wow. One thing about Donald Faison, Autostraddle writer Christina Tucker and my co-host for Wait, Is This A Date? says that the Scrubs musical episode is the best musical episode in television history. I’d never seen it, and I haven’t seen the Buffy one, because I only have seen the first five seasons of Buffy, and I only saw the first two seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, so I haven’t seen that. I really am not well versed on musical episodes, but just passing that little piece of info along from Christina Tucker.

Analyssa: Earlier when we were talking about musical episodes, I was going to say, I think potentially you have to have one musical episode that you go up really hard for, and all the other ones are kind of like, yeah okay, those are musical episodes, and this is proving that, like Christina going that hard for the Scrubs one.

Riese: Honestly, I thought the Transparent one was pretty great.

Drew: I really like the Transparent one.

Riese: Didn’t we watch it on a screener and then we went and saw it at a live screening a week later?

Drew: Yeah. I was so high at that live screening at The Wing, and Joey Soloway was there, and this is before I’d met them and worked for them. They mentioned-

Riese: Your essay.

Drew: In the post-show Q&A, they mentioned my essay about Transparent, and I was so stoned and I just-

Riese: So was I. I think I just looked at you like, I was like, are we hallucinating?

Drew: And then I was like, “I need to get out of here. I can’t talk to them right now.” And then, I ran into them a bit later and have since fully worked for them on a show. But yeah, that was such a funny moment. But the word boundaries, I still in my head sing it, sing it like the show. Anytime people are talking about boundaries, using that as a buzzword or whatever, I always sing it, which I’m not going to sing on this podcast, but you should look up the boundary song from the Transparent finale.

Analyssa: Maybe you have the secret good voice.

Drew: I really don’t.

Riese: Every time I’m on Sepulveda Boulevard, I think about the song “Sepulveda Boulevard.”

Drew: There’s a Transparent musical. It’s coming to the stage. It’s coming to the Geffen this year. Next year.

Analyssa: It’s in this season. Yeah, this upcoming season. They keep emailing me about it.

Drew: And let me tell you, this L Word musical episode could not sustain a stage musical.

Analyssa: Right.

Riese: Again, it was clear they had pretty limited resources. They didn’t have that many numbers. It was only a few cast members. “Once More, With Feeling” every single character had, even when they couldn’t sing, they found a way to make it work.

Analyssa: And for all of the drug trip themed set design, there isn’t a lot of musical theater design. They’re not doing huge production numbers. There is production and the sets are different. They built stuff for this, but they’re not huge moving numbers. They’re basically on straight sets, people singing out, which is great, but is different resources than something like “Once More, With Feeling” or the Transparent one.

Riese: For sure.

Drew: Then we have, Sophie arrives back home, Finley got the car, is like, it’s good that I do things by myself. It’s good that we take space, has gone through her own journey of like, we need independence. Which is maybe the moment you would think that Sophie would be like, wow, we’ve both been on the same journey. And instead she’s like, nope. She’s like, I’m not my full self when I’m with you. Okay. And then Sophie’s just, I end it. End it, end it.

Riese: Finley is surprised. And honestly, so am I. I get that the relationship hasn’t gone that well this season, but it’s also, we’ve just only seen… The whole thing with Finley and Sophie was that Sophie was her full self with Finley in a way she couldn’t be with Dani. That was the whole deal.

Drew: Yes.

Riese: But I think that this whole fucking thing is predicated on this absurd idea that Finley was away for 15 months and they did not see each other or communicate regularly, but they were somehow still betrothed. When you’re in your twenties, that long, you’re a completely different person. The fact that they came back and it did not seem like Sophie had done literally anything. Finley’s sober now, and it seems like is trying to learn more mature ways of dealing with conflict and stuff like that, but isn’t always succeeding in that arena. But what if Finley had come back and Sophie had started dating someone else and had moved on, but Finley was back and then she had feelings for Finley and then they had to negotiate? What was she going to do? Was she going to cheat on someone else with Finley? What if anything, what if Finley… I don’t know. Because this feels like Finley’s first year of sobriety, but it isn’t.

Analyssa: Right. And also, I don’t actually feel like the thesis of Sophie’s voice has been pushed aside or Sophie’s needs have been ignored really bears out. It feels like the thing that they did when they talked about Finley needing to get sober where it was like, there is a version of this I buy. If you had had Sophie say, “Hey, when we’re at parties you seem to go a little bit harder than everybody else and I’m worried about you,” or, “You seem to rely on drinking when you’re in a bad mood.” Those sorts of things that we had seen. But instead it was like, you’re ruining your life and you’re like…

Analyssa: You’re ruining your life and you’re like being a new …

Riese: It’s almost like you got arrested for a DUI, and that’s the only indicator that a human being can have on whether or not someone is alcoholic.

Analyssa: Yeah. And you’re like peeing in someone’s hallway. It’s like this such extreme behavior that is behavior that exists, but is not what we had seen from Finley before. Sophie’s life has changed since Finley has come back and Sophie’s life has changed in this relationship, but I don’t feel like in as dramatic of a way that they’re trying to convince me it has.

Drew: It’s literally the most classic. It’s telling instead of showing. It’s basic, basic screenwriter shit, and it is baffling.

Analyssa: Because they could have done a thing that’s like it’s been really hard since you’ve gotten back, or I realize that I don’t feel like you’re ever going to trust me and maybe we should take some time apart to figure that out. Or being with Dre was really easy and I’m in the market right now for something that’s easy. This feels really hard. All of those, I would have been like, “Okay, still out of left field, but all right, this just felt like in a math test when you do all those steps, but you get the wrong answer or vice versa.” I was like, “What?”

Riese: Right. You need time apart. You just had 15 months apart.

Drew: Yeah. I don’t understand.

Riese: You didn’t figure out how to be a whole person in that time. Why else were you not visiting Finley or communicating with her regularly if not for both of you to spread your wings?

Analyssa: Figure it out on your own and then come back together. Yeah, exactly. They’ve made such a point of being like they haven’t talked in the last 15 months. They haven’t seen each other at all. So, what was Sophie doing in that time then?

Drew: Like one weekend with Dre.

Riese: Standing still with a vacuum cleaner in the living room. I feel like she was just standing there, like she was in a Miranda July short story, just waiting, like staring into the middle distance.

Analyssa: And I do want Sophie to have her full realized life. I’m not trying to be like …

Riese: She’s not flourishing in this relationship right now.

Analyssa: Yeah, exactly. But I don’t understand why from a writing perspective, she’s not flourishing in this relationship. By all accounts, this should just be like, “Wow, I spent 15 months figuring out what it’s like to be on my own. And now, that you’re back, we’re bumping up against each other a little bit. How do we figure that out? Or we know that’s not going to work now, so we have to break up.” That’s completely possible.

Drew: Yeah. The issue is not that Sophie’s life is being consumed with Finley. We’ve seen her at multiple events. We’ve seen her at work. I don’t get it.

Riese: If she feels like she has to tiptoe around Finley because she doesn’t want to upset her sobriety or something, then I guess say that maybe.

Analyssa: Right. Exactly.

Riese: Just say that.

Analyssa: I mean, again, we’re always sort of doing this where we’re like, “Okay, I’ve been given the theory and now I need to fit the facts to go back and fit the theory instead of taking all the facts and ending up at a point where it makes sense.”

Riese: Yeah. I was so glad that they didn’t break them up when the season started, because obviously, I go hard for this ship, but now I wish they had. I wish that they’d come back and Sophie would have been dating someone else, or Finley wasn’t … I don’t know, anything. Sophie back with Dani. I don’t know, something that would be disruptive.

Drew: They could have Dre in more of the season.

Riese: Right. There’s so many things that, I don’t know, she’s not even living in the same house anymore. I don’t know. There’s just other things that could have happened. And instead, this whole weird conflict about her sleeping with someone else where they were on a break. Honestly, it has not been satisfying in any way at all. It didn’t really make sense.

Analyssa: And didn’t even come up in the breakup.

Riese: Right. And Sophie is lying to Finley about that and now she’s saying … Her framing like that, I can’t believe they spent this whole season just having them fight about Dre, which who I love. Dre is hot, we love Dre, but …

Drew: Who’s going to have sex with Dre? Is it going to be Dani? Is it going to be Sophie? Dre is coming back, right? Dre is going to be around.

Riese: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Probably for two episodes like every other guests.

Analyssa: Right.

Drew: Throuple. Let’s do another throuple. Let’s see Dani, Sophie, Dre. Finley can leave, I guess, because they don’t want to do anything with her. Or it can be Shane. I don’t know. Tess and Shane. Let’s just pair them off into throuples, because the coupling isn’t working out for the show.

Anyway, speaking of Shane and Tess, then we go to Shane’s house. She’s looking for Tess. She’s like, “I’ve had this amazing Ayahuasca trip and I’ve learned so much.” And I’m like, “Shane, for the love of God, can you go to real therapy? Not Ayahuasca therapy. Real therapy.”

Riese: Tess walks out of that glass store in her gown with her eyes red like a war widow.

Analyssa: Look at her. Look at her face.

Riese: Did Shane walk into that door and not think, “Oh my God, your mom just died?”

Analyssa: My notes literally say, Shane goes home, and then the next one is, “Did her mom die?” Like immediately.

Riese: Yeah.

Drew: Shane is not really, she’s in her own world. I mean, she probably was like she’s crying because of the breakup. She’s crying because of me, because I’m the center of the universe. And then Tess is like, “My mom died.”

Analyssa: Yeah. Here’s the thing. When Finley was giving that little speech when Sophie came back, I was like, “This is the speech someone gives on TV right before they get broken up.” And then when Shane was giving this speech to Tess, this is the speech someone gives on TV right before they find out that their person is going to do something completely unrelated to the issues at hand. And I was right on both counts, because I’m a genius.

Drew: Yep. And that’s the episode.

Riese: I can’t believe that of all the couples to still be together at this point in the season, it’s Shane and Tess. I would have loved see Alice and Taylor. I would have loved to see, I don’t know, Dani and Gigi. Wild idea.

Drew: Why are they breaking up everyone?

Riese: You can’t break up Dani and Gigi, and Sophie and Finley, and send Bette and Tina to the hinterlands in the same season, in the same first six episodes. Who’s still together, Micah and Maribel?

Analyssa: And put me through an Alice like fun new relationship and then totally sink it one episode later.

Drew: They don’t know how to write conflict that isn’t about cheating and about breakups, and there’s so many other things that people do in life, and I just don’t understand why. Obviously, the original series had a lot of cheating and a lot of breakups, but there was more stuff going on.

I feel like work for all of these characters is an excuse to have big events that bring the characters together. There’s no work problem. I think about Jenny in the writing class. I get that not everyone wants circus sequences. I do, but they felt like real people. They had things going on in their lives. I just feel like there’s nothing. I’m sorry, but I do not count the poorly written pregnancy storyline as something going on in their lives. It really is just so … This episode …

Riese: I mean, I loved it except for the Sophie and Finley stuff. Now it’s her time, because she’d been … Because it’s part of the whole thing that I don’t really get.

Sophie hasn’t been shining, but talk about that. Also, just talk about that. Have characters have disagreements about stuff and talk about them. And they don’t have to be about jealousy or cheating. Gretchen and I find plenty of things to talk about, to fight about, and neither of us have cheated. There’s so many things.

Drew: Yes.

Analyssa: And you’re not breaking up as a result of those one-off fights.

Riese: And we’re not breaking up.

Analyssa: It feels so young adult like a fight means a breakup. A fight means incompatibility, means a breakup. I’ll drag just myself how I thought about relationships when I was like 20.

Drew: I mean it’s why I didn’t think Alice and Taylor were broken up because the thought of them being broken up because of that interaction and that miscommunication about whether they were exclusive yet and the speed at which they took the relationship.

Analyssa: That’s fixable.

Drew: Yeah. It’s so fixable. Or at least give a shot.

Analyssa: That’s worth another conversation.

Drew: Yeah.

Analyssa: Wow. We all agreed with our point so much that we just sat in silence.

Riese: I still enjoyed the episode though.

Analyssa: I was just about to say one thing though is that they were singing and they were dancing.

Lauren Klein: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of To L And Back: Generation Q Edition, one of two podcasts brought to you by Autostraddle.com. You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter, @tolandback, and you can also email us at tolandbackcast@gmail.com.
Our theme song is by the talented, Be Steadwell, and our Gen Q logo is by JAXCO. This episode was produced, edited, and mixed by me, Lauren Klein. You can find me on Instagram, @LaurenTaylorKlein. You can follow Drew everywhere at @Draw_Gregory. You can follow Analyssa on Instagram, @analocaa with two As, and on Twitter @analoca_ with one A and an underscore. You can follow the legendary Riese Bernard everywhere @autowin. Autostraddle is @autostraddle. And, of course, the reason why we’re all here Autostraddle.com. And finally, to end this ep, let’s hear some keywords from our girlies.

Riese: One, two, three.

Drew: Wait.

Analyssa: Wait, I haven’t thought of … I haven’t thought of a single word that starts with Q

Riese: What about Quincy Jones?

Analyssa: Oh, that’s a good one. Was that yours?

Riese: No. I’m giving you … What about quincemeat?

Analyssa: The freebee is quincemeat always.

Riese: Anyone here for quincemeat?

Analyssa: Okay, I’m ready.

Riese: Go.

Drew: Three, two, one, quarterly.

Riese: What was I going to say? Oh, quit. Because that’s what everybody does to relationships in this program.

Analyssa: Nice.

Riese: You just quit them like in Brokeback Mountain.

Drew: Well, actually, I think in Brokeback Mountain, it’s that they can’t quit each other.

Riese: Right. And I wish that they would take that Brokeback Mountain energy to this show. Sophie would be like, “I wish I could quit you, but I can’t.”

Drew: Yeah. I said quarterly, because I listened to the entire Fun Home soundtrack and cry quarterly.

Riese: Whoa. Oh, I cried for Tess’s mom. I forgot to say that, even though I don’t care.

Analyssa: Jamie Clayton was crying on screen, so it’s like …

Riese: we cried too. Yeah.

Analyssa: I said quest, which I feel like is related to the drug trip. And also, I was really thinking of other musicals like the Camelot Musical and Lady of the Lake, and Sara Ramirez.

Riese: Oh, that’s also the name of an L Word episode.

Analyssa: Really?

Riese: Yeah. Where Jodi takes Bette to the lake house and then they throw her in the water.

Drew: Okay. That is actually one of my least favorite episodes as well, because it drives me nuts that Bette ruins the best relationship in the show’s history. That’s also one of my … It is good to remember that I had plenty of complaints about the original. Oh, Jodi. Jodi, Jodi, Jodi.

Analyssa: Not a perfect show. Just a show I love to watch.

Drew: Isn’t that the truth? I don’t know if that was true this week as far as love to watch.

Riese: I did. I loved watching it.

Analyssa: I loved watching it.

Drew: I’m so happy for you both.

Riese: Drew, looks like she’s about to pass out.

Drew: I was tired today. Maybe I’m grumpy.

Riese: You do seem a little grumpy.

Analyssa: Yeah, we’re losing you.

Drew: I mean, my birthday is in a few days. But when this episode comes out, the episode about the podcast, my birthday will be gone. And right now, my birthday hasn’t happened yet, so I should be in a good mood because it’s my birthday week.

Analyssa: It’s so true.

Drew: Feel free to wish me a happy belated birthday when you listen to this podcast. Not on my social media or anything, but just in your heart. You just think like, “Wow, it’s Drew’s birthday two days ago. Happy birthday, Drew.”

Analyssa: That’s so cute.

Drew: Thanks.

Analyssa: All right. I love that for everyone in advance of them doing it.

Riese: You’ll feel it in LA.

Analyssa: I’ll feel it.

Riese: All right.

Analyssa: Okay guys.

Drew: Okay. Bye.

Riese: Peace out, LA.


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Analyssa

Analyssa is a co-host of the To L and Back podcast: Gen Q edition. She lives in LA, works at a TV studio, and can often be found binge-watching an ABC drama from 2008. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or her social media of choice, Letterboxd.

Analyssa has written 52 articles for us.

12 Comments

  1. Thank you for talking about the bizarrely retrograde and not at all nuanced concept this show pushes about “the One.”

    Yes, Dana may have been Alice’s person, but that doesn’t meant Alice can’t find someone else to love in a deep if different way.

    Yes, I also agree that at some level Shane and Alice are the One for each other, in a platonic albeit profound way.

    That said, I thought this episode could have been a lot stronger as a musical (for all the reasons Drew raised) but I decided to go along for the ride and mostly really enjoyed it

  2. – I was very confused that Finley earns enough money in a bar(!) that she can buy a car already. Every time Finley mentions money (including paying back Tess and Shane thousands of dollars for the fire department), I am stressed! She also wants to pay back Alice for the rehab and I don’t think she can earn enough in a bar if she wants to get a car, go to school and pay tons of money back to Shane and Alice

    – Drew: Happy belated Birthday! I absolutely loved you as Scrooge. And I agree wholeheartedly with you about everything you said regarding the musical. The songs were generic and boring. When I watch “Once More with Feeling” or “Girltrash: All Night Long,” almost every song can be stuck in my head for many days. But these songs were just so unspecific and not catchy (except for Sophie’s). This is frustrating, because if they choose to do a musical, then let it be special and fun with catchy songs. I cringed so much at “Have a nice trip” – the time this took could have been used for character building and telling meaningful stories, which falls short in this show

    – Dana: I felt I should be emotional, moved and teary, and I know many people were, but it just wasn’t working for me… Even though I am such a sucker for death and grief storylines. To me, it all remained so much on the surface. Yes, Alice trying to find Dana in other partners was real, but most of the song/their interaction felt generic to me, as with what she read from the Dana-chapter of her book that was not really about Dana. If I had the chance to see my partner again so many years after death parted us, I would have other things to say and other questions to ask but “who is THE one for me?”
    I understand how important Dana was to Alice; they were close friends, a “maybe” between them, were lovers, in a brief relationship, broke up, and then Dona died a terrible death. They were written as “will they/won’t they” from the start of the OG series. But: they were only actually together for six months only and the relationship ended not because Alice was pushing Dana away but because her clinginess and jealousy. Them being together did not work. Their relationship was short and something like 15 years ago. It would make more sense to me if Alice grieved Dana as her dear friend, former lover, as “what could have been if I had had my shit together back then” and as having died prematurely, but not as “love of my life.”
    So I am frustrated that Alice is building Dana up as “THE one” in her mind instead of examining what went wrong in her actually longer-lasting relationships and what precise role she played in that. It is easy to build up a person who has been dead for so long – imagining that had it just been with this one person it would have worked perfectly, that this person would have been the love of one’s lifetime and happily ever after blah blah. Indeed, it is much easier than looking at one’s own real flaws and how they play(ed) out in real relationships in the recent years. By the way, the flaws that people said about Alice and that she admitted to in her “Name that Flaw”-trip-talkshow were not the ones I would have said after watching nine seasons with her.
    All of this fits to Alice as she is self-absorbed though.

    – How funny would have it been if Jenny had been Alice’s “THE one” and all their fighting would have been a cover for Alice subconsciously loving Jenny oh so deeply

    – Riese: I agree, there is so much about relationship fights couples actually have and stuff they work on that the writers could portray and that are not about cheating or breaking up

    – Thanks for this podcast! It is always a delight and especially when the episodes are so poorly written and make little or no sense. Thanks for the fun you bring to something that makes me want to yell!

    • YES!

      Everything you said about Alice and Dana is exactly what I’ve been thinking and have struggled to articulate. I keep thinking that I’m just forgetting something from the original series but, really, the show’s just lionizing Dana and her relationship with Alice because she died.

      • Thanks! I’m so glad I’m not the only person who feels this way about Alice/Dana. Also: Alice *stalked* Dana after Dana had left Alice for Lara and then suddenly became Dana’s best friend again when she had cancer… And nobody from their friends held the stalking against Alice or seemed to remember it… Years after Dana’s death, Alice romanticized her relationship with Dana to the point of ignoring what shit she herself actually pulled off when they were together and broken up

  3. Hi Donna, I agree with you that this was incredibly messed up as well. Not sure who you mean by “everybody” here though, as I just gave my opinion on the subject of Alice/Dana. As I see it, another terrible storyline around stalking doesn’t make Alice’s stalking less problematic, but maybe I misunderstood you.

  4. I’m going to disagree with everybody about the music. I think they made the right decision to do original music instead of going the way of Glee. The later would have been far too cheesy for me in execution than this ultimately ended up being. I don’t need to see Sophie and Alice singing Fletcher or Kehlani or the Indigo Girls or whatever the hell people think lesbians(in the broader sense) listen to. I listen to none of them except occasionally Kehlani so maybe that’s where my bias comes into play.

    The episode largely worked for me in terms of a musical episode. Have their been better musical episodes? Sure, but then those were better shows in general. My issue was mostly with the character choices the writers made but that is often the case when it comes to my feelings about this show. They have had three seasons to make me care about any of these relationships working out and I just don’t. But I do like a lot of the characters individually. Mostly I just want better for this show than it seems to want for itself.

  5. You all make me feel not as insane after watching these episodes, thank you!!! Especially the Sinley stuff. I came away from that ep feeling not only sad but incredibly frustrated, and like sad by the bigger message they seemed to be giving about alcoholics and the people who love them! Not a fan. and Re: the music I agree with all of you – I love all musicals so I enjoyed it, but I can agree the songs were objectively bad

  6. This podcast is always wonderful, but esp this week needed y’all to sort out what was wrong there. Like, I also wanted a soundtrack to replay, but alas.

    In other news, when this is over, YES PLEASE to recapping literally anything else in podcast form. But especially And Just Like That. For tv that we watch because it’s gay, but allllso it’s problematic, nothing better than a queer recap podcast with folks who can joke about it and also point out what goes to far in the show. To L and Back was my gateway podcast, and now I’ve listened to all of Buffering, and tbh there’s nothing quite so calming as having queers making gay jokes in my ears while I’m about to go interact with some stressful straights.

  7. “this show has a very regressive, outdated, very television approach to romance” 100% THIS. I am STILL flabbergasted that Shane would veto ethical nonmonogamy so quickly. Open relationships would save like 75% of the relationships on this show, but I guess that wouldn’t create enough drama? (eyeroll)

    The OG L Word pushed boundaries but I feel like Gen Q is stuck in 2004. Give us at least one polycule with everyone coordinating their google calendars!

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