We open up with sweeping, craning, and rotating scenic
shots of L.A. Of course, like this show could take place anywhere else. Can you
imagine our beloved L team traipsing around Podunk, Ohio, running the town amok?
Neither can I.
Now we’re in Bette and Tina’s bathroom (and as we are about to learn
throughout the season, the L word writers really love setting important scenes
in bathrooms—half of this damn show takes place in bathrooms). Anyway, Bette
and Tina decide to make a baby, and this scene is actually quite effective in
letting people know what this show is about: lesbians. It also introduces the
show’s main storyline, (and when I say “main,” I mean MAIN). It’s the
type of storyline that can only be done on a groundbreaking series like “The L
Word.” Finally, visibility for lesbian pregnancy on TV.
Tim’s house. Tim sets up a desk in a remodeled garage, centering it in the
room. Then he removes the mattresses from the walls and replaces the wooden
planks he’s using to cover up the dead bodies. Okay, not really. This is just
me already wishing Tim and the other characters had more interesting things to
Tim slips on a shirt, smells his pits, gets a good whiff of the funk, then slips
on another shirt, which isn’t quite as funky, and he’s cool with that. Such
a guy. Notice how both shirts are exactly the same, just different patterns. I
bet Tim’s entire wardrobe consists of button down shirts in solid colors,
stripes, checkers, maybe some plaid, and possibly a shiny silver one for when he
goes clubbing. Such a guy.
The Planet Cafe. We’re introduced to the rest of the L team: Marina, Dana,
Alice, and Shane. Ah, Shane. She’s at the bar with Dana and Alice, waiting for
her morning shot of espresso, looking like a Raggedy Ann doll that’s been
tossed on the sidewalk and stepped on a few times. Let me tell you, I love
Shane... but it wasn’t love at first sight.
A girl at the bar says hi to Shane. Marina tells her that Shane doesn’t talk
to anyone before her morning shot. Alice’s food comes and Shane steals a berry
or a grape or something and pops it in her mouth. Note the difficulty with which
Shane has swallowing this little grape; I mean, seriously, she looks like
she’s trying to chew down a whole fucking Twinkie.
Finally her espresso comes. She drinks it, and swishes it around her mouth , as
if it’s her morning gargle. Then she leaves because she “got a nine
o’clock.” I don’t know, something about the way Shane’s dressed tells me
she doesn’t work as an executive at Merrill Lynch.
Just as Shane exits, Melanie and Lindsay, er, I mean, Bette and Tina, walk in.
Bette gets her breakfast to go and promptly trots off to work. I don’t know,
something about the way Bette’s dressed—Hillary Clinton power suit,
anyone?—tells me she doesn’t work with Shane.
Tina, Dana, and Alice are then left to themselves to chat over breakfast. Blah
blah... artificial insemination... bloopity doopity... going to see shrink Dan
Foxworthy... flippity dippity... and we’re done.
The airport. Tim picks up Jenny. Jenny’s all fresh-faced and wide-eyed and
happy. This, of course, is pre-Marina Jenny. Enjoy it now folks. Soon it’ll be
all confusion and messy crying and guilt-laden sex and unbelievably annoying
At this point I’ve notice a pattern in the writing. Tell me if you notice it
too. Here are the some lines of dialogue from the first few scenes:
Bette: You’re ovulating.
Tina: I’m ovulating.
Bette: Let’s make a baby.
Tina: Let’s make a baby.
Tim: I missed you so much.
Jenny: I missed you.
Tim: Is that all you have?
Jenny: That’s all I have.
Look, I know Bora Bora was so nice they named it twice, but the dialogue here
isn’t so sweet you need to repeat. Anyway.
Dan Foxworthy’s office. Tina sits across from Foxy, with Bette noticeably
absent. Like any abused lover, Tina tries to make excuses for her partner’s
behavior. She’s all, Bette’s got this important job, and she’s real
stressed about that, and her personality profile reads “bitch,” and when you
combine those two together, well...”
Finally Bette makes her appearance. She says “sorry I’m late,” then goes
back to chatting on her cell phone about important business stuff. She’s using
a hands-free headset, and it always cracks me up when people do this. At least
when people have a cell phone pressed to their ear they assume this
I’m-chatting-on-a-cell-phone-pose. When they use the hands-free they look like
loonies with personality disorders talking to their imaginary friend.
Bette takes a seat next to Tina and says, “Here I am.” She’s all, I’m
here, I’m queer; I am woman, hear me roar. Now let’s get this party started
because I’ve got no time.
All Foxy can say is, “So...”
We cut to Tim playing tour guide for Jenny. And Jenny’s like, can I be the
naughty, lonely tourist? Tim’s like, cool it, newbie—there’s the Hollywood
Hills, and there’s the sign, and there’s the Pacific.
Back to Foxy’s couch. Bette and Tina have a lackluster sex life.
Tim pulls into his home at The Crescent in the Hollywood Hills. He welcomes
Jenny to her new home.
The Artist’s Attic of Silhouetted Masturbating. Tina hands Sean a cup to
squirt his sperm into, and he goes like ten feet away. While he does his thing
behind a white screen (from which we can see his shadow), Bette and Tina look
around and make serious observations about how Sean’s painting more freely and
using more texture these days. Hee. This scene reminds me of when I had to give
a critique in my photography class, and this guy turned in a series of photos of
his penis. I had to say things like, “Wow, I’m impressed with the way you
used depth of field to bring the penis to the foreground; the slow shutter speed
you used captures the motion quite well.”
Bette’s car. Bette’s talking, but not to Tina. Again, she’s on her
hands-free. At least this time she has reason to—she’s driving—so she
doesn’t look so strange. Meanwhile, Tina’s cradling Sean’s sperm between
her legs, keeping it at body temperature.
Jenny’s Shed (for writing shitty prose). Jenny hears something coming from the
neighbor’s yard, and sneaks a peak through a slot in the fencing. Like a
voyeur, we see Shane with a random blonde girl. Yes! Shane! Finally!
Shane is complaining to Blonde Girl that she can’t swim naked at the Chateau.
She then proceeds to strip down in “two seconds flat,” and unfortunately we
only get to see her for two seconds. Shane dives into the pool, Blonde Girl
joins her, and we get an overhead shot of them swimming towards each other.
While kissing, they float to the edge of the pool. Blonde Girl emits gasps of
pleasure as Shane works her magic. Notice how, when Blonde Girl turns around,
she smacks Shane in the head with her boob. But Shane doesn’t let that stop
Meanwhile, Jenny’s still watching from behind the fence. She turns away
knowing she shouldn’t be watching. Again, this is still innocent Jenny, naive
Jenny, Jenny before she got busy with Marina in the stall of a unisex bathroom.
Doctor’s office. Tina is getting ready for insemination. The doc tells Bette
that it would help if Tina was aroused, then winks at her before leaving. Bette
makes a face, as would I. When the doc’s gone, Bette’s says, “She’s not
serious. Am I supposed to fuck you right here?” Do I have to do everything in
this relationship? What about me? When is it my turn?
Tina says, “I think it would help.” So Bette slips her head under the paper
gown, and starts to crack up. Then Tina shoots her a look that says, bitch, do
you want this baby or not? And Bette gets back on it.
The doc calls Bette outside, and Bette gets up and kisses Tina’s knee goodbye.
Um, Tina and Bette? Maybe this is why your romantic life is waning—you’ve
resorted to kissing joints.
Outside, the doc shows Bette a monitor of Sean’s sperm, which are moving like
paraplegics. Unfortunately, Sean’s boys don’t have what it takes.
A grocery store. Jenny asks for a job. That means she’ll have to sport their
uniform, a hideous red and white checkered shirt that only a lumberjack or a
hillbilly would wear.
The Planet. Tina tells Alice and Dana that her attempts at pregnancy have been
subverted: “Sean’s sperm is low motility.” Alice is shocked by this news:
“You’d never know by the way he fucks,” she says. Dana gets all offended
and chews Alice out: “Christ, Alice, when are you gonna make up your mind
between dick and pussy?” Dana says. Then Tina’s all, uh, hi, we were talking
about ME—and brings up her pregnancy quest again.
Marina comes over and Dana tells her that Sean’s jism is no good. Marina says
not to worry—they can come up with someone who’s healthy, strong, creative,
handsome, artistic. Dana’s says, “There’s always Shane.” Hee. Shane...
In walks Shane. She greets everyone, and Dana, fresh off her bisexual rant
against Alice, goes off on Shane. “Do you have to dress like that all the
time?” Dana asks. Shane looks down at her own clothing, utterly baffled.
Shane’s wearing this crinkly, cut-off shirt, and her hair’s all messy and
greasy. (I wonder if Katherine Moennig had to sign a non-showering clause.)
Dana continues, “Every single thing about the way you’re dressed, like,
screams dyke.” Shane says, “Sorry, man” in a way that acknowledges
Dana’s hang-ups but also doesn’t apologize for herself. Gotta love Shane
right now. So cool, so calm, so collected.
Then Shane takes off, and I think this brings Shane’s cumulative screen time
to approximately 7 seconds.
Alice and Dana take shots at each other. “You are going to pickle in that
self-loathing homophobia,” Alice spits. “You’re going to shrivel in that
self-righteous priggishness,” Dana counters. Then Alice is all, yeah, well,
you’re ugly. And Dana’s all, am not. And Alice is all, am too. And Dana’s
all, am not. Then Tina butts in and is all, you guys, excuse me, but this
show’s main storyline is my baby-making efforts; let’s get back on topic,
Alice acquiesces, and says, “Okay, who will squirt into a jar for you?”
The discussion is thrown off course yet again when Dana sees Jenny walking
outside. She perks up and makes a funny face (but one in Erin Daniels’ arsenal
of funny faces, I might add).
Alice tells Dana that she’s just “so gay.” Tina seconds that: “So
gay.” I third that: “So gay.” Dana shrugs, “I know.”
Tim’s house. Tim and Jenny do it. Yeah!
An outdoor swimming pool. We see Tim coaching the swim team. Yeah, that’s all
I really wanna say about this scene.
The Planet. The L teams gathers to chit chat about butt waxing. No, really. This
is really in the show. According to Alice, “trimming is essential.” Of
course it is. “Otherwise you won’t have bush confidence,” Tina adds. I
know this cheeky chatter is probably meant to be reminiscent of Sex and the
City/Seinfeld-style philosophizing, but it just reminds me of that Saturday
Night Live parody of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy with lesbians, wherein one
expert lesbian insisted on “letting your garden grow.” Hmm.
So anyway, Shane is really cute in this scene. Granted, she still looks like she
just rolled out of bed and applied an ass-load of product to unwashed hair then
stuck her head out the window of a speeding train. But really—I don’t know
how—Shane looks cute as a button here. But we only get to see her for 3
milliseconds, and all she does in this scene is eat grapes and wink at Dana and
say one line (“why don’t you just trim it?”). I think this brings
Shane’s total screen time to approximately 11 seconds.
Jenny’s Shed of Shitty Prose. Jenny is looking out at Bette and Tina’s yard,
and just when you think it’s part 2 of the
Shane-Brings-Random-Girl-to-Pool-to-Fuck-Show, Tina pops up and starts talking
about rosemary and shit.
All right. Shane’s not in this scene. I don’t care. It’s basically Jenny
and Tina, the least interesting characters on the show, stealing screen time
from the more deserving. Moving on.
Nighttime in Hollywood. Kit gets pulled over. We find out later that Kit is
Bette’s sister (actually she’s more like Bette’s sistah), but for now all
we know is that she’s the random, but nowadays requisite, black character on
the show. The officer asks for her license and registration, and she obliges.
Bette and Tina’s house. It’s sperm-party time. Alice and Bette weave through
the party, and Alice sputters a quotable, “Lesbians think friendship’s
another word for foreplay,” then makes a mental note so she can use the line
in an article.
Shane arrives. Good. I was beginning to think Katherine Moennig was hired as a
walk-on extra. Shane gives Tina a big hug. I mean, really, it’s like an
I-missed-you-so-much airport hug—as if they didn’t just see each other a
couple hours ago.
Bette leans into Alice and says, “Have you ever noticed that every time Shane
walks into a room, someone leaves crying?”
Shane walks in and a funky blonde girl named Lacey taps her shoulder. She’s
wondering why Shane hasn’t called her back; she’s left like five messages.
Shane offers a lame-ass excuse: “I haven’t had my cell phone, so when I go
get my cell phone and check my messages, I will call you.” Really, is that all
Shane can come up with? I haven’t had my cell phone? That’s the worst, most
transparent lie I’ve ever heard. Shane could’ve said, “ I haven’t had my
cell phone because I lost it while spelunking in Arkhangelsk, and I’m just
waiting for Igor to FedEx it to me”—and it wouldn’t have made a
Lacey turns around and leaves in a huff, because she couldn’t, you know, HANG
OUT WITH SHANE RIGHT NOW. Forget that Shane’s right there. She has to make
appointments over the phone before she can chill with anyone. Whatev.
Tina introduces Tim and Jenny to the L team. Shane proves just how cools she is
by raising her eyebrows instead of extended her arm for a handshake. Oh, that
Shane: smooth like butter, cool like ice.
Tim spots Dana and introduces himself and Jenny. Apparently Tim’s a Dana
Fairbanks fan. Dana then pulls Harrison over and introduces him as her doubles
partner, consciously suggesting that she and Harrison like to hit it on—and
Bette and Tina smirk. So do I. Seriously, if Dana is “so gay,” then Harrison
is SO GAY. I mean, he’s well-groomed and unseasonably tan and his hair is
perfectly highlighted. I don’t know what you think, but in my opinion,
Harrison and Dana are as convincing a couple as Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie.
Shane’s roommates bombard the L team and do some “field research.”
Roommate With Cornrows informs them that there’s a “scientist with the
National Enquirer who says that if your ring finger is longer than your index
finger, it means you’re a lesbian.” Roommate Wearing Burglar’s Cap raises
her hand and declares herself, “totally gay.”
Tina’s ring finger is longer than her index, so she’s gay. I’m assuming
the same is true for Shane, Bette, and Dana.
Alice barely makes the team, corresponding to her identity as a bisexual.
I love how the National Enquirer scientist’s findings are just SO ACCURATE.
Burglar’s Cap observes that Jenny’s ring and index fingers are exactly the
same length, meaning she’s bisexual. Tim cracks up. Yeah, laugh now, Tim,
‘cause later on it won’t be so damn funny.
Shane spots a girl across the way. The girl is looking at her, and Shane’s
face forms this look of absolute seduction, a predator eyeing her prey.
Oh, wait, hold on. I’m having some technical difficulties. My screen just
melted. Okay, everything’s back in working order again. Sorry about that.
Back to Kit. The officer informs her that her license was revoked six months
ago. Kit’s all, that’s a technicality. He’s all, I should be hauling you
off to jail. Then Kit’s all, yeah, I know, of course I should be in jail.
I’m the black character on a predominantly white show, you know. I gots to be
all ghetto and fucked up and shit—that’s the way the corn bread crumbles.
Kit works her charm and tempts the officer with tight seats to a Neville
Brothers concert, if he’s willing to keep this incident on tha down low.
The Sperm Party. Shane is making out with her prey. Jenny observes from a
distance, and says, “Wow.” My thoughts exactly.
Oh, great. My screen just melted again, and I just fixed it like two seconds
ago. Hold on.
Tim, Jenny, Harrison, and Dana chat about lesbians. Harrison tells everyone
about a classic lesbian joke being updated to the times. This scene is actually
hilarious if you watch Dana the whole time. Harrison is blowing their cover (as
if they were convincing in the first place, but anyway) and Dana looks like she
wants to scream into a pillow. Instead she takes out her aggression on her
drink-making. She then snaps her towel at Harrison and knocks his drink out of
his hand. Hee. Dana cracks me up.
Elsewhere in the party. Bette and Tina fail to convince one of their prospects
to squirt some sperm for them.
On the couch. Jenny tells Alice about a story she’s writing called “Thus
Spoke Sara Shuster.” The first chapter’s titled “Womyn was God’s second
Marina comes over (because that’s what she does. Does she ever start a
conversation or end one? No, she only casually appears during the middle of
one.) She and Jenny start discussing substantial literary works, and Alice tries
to chime in with talk about cosmetics and Botox.
Marina brings the conversation back to literature by Anne Carson. As Jenny and
Marina talk, we get extreme close-ups of their faces. Is this cinematic device
supposed to mean something? It magnifies the attraction developing between Jenny
and Marina, right? Right. That’s what I thought.
Alice says they should totally take the Cosmo romance compatibility quiz.
Marina’s singular quiz question would be, “What is your most influential,
Jenny and Marina whisper their individual answers in Alice’s ear, and Alice is
all, wow, mine would have been Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, but whatever; I’ll
just leave you two alone to get married and share an appreciation for stuffy,
Kit arrives at the party. She is immediately greeted by Alice. Kit’s all, hey
girl, how you doin’? Alice is like, good, how are you? And Kit’s all, girl,
I got pulled over and was all trippin’, but I be cool now, just pass me the
The bathroom. We know this scene matters because it’s set in a bathroom.
Jenny walks in, Marina follows her, and they make out. This is the first of
their many restroom rendezvous. Please, tell me Ms. Chaiken, what is it with
your show and bathrooms?
Anyway, Jenny knows this is wrong, and runs out, and drags Tim with her. They go
home and Tim gets a little action down south.
Back at the Sperm Party. Bette confronts her sistah Kit. Apparently there’s
tension between the two siblings. Bette’s all, girl, whatchu doin here? I
don’t want chu here. ‘Cause you know my black roots come out whenever there
are sistahs around, you know what I’m sayin’? And I can’t be havin none
o’ that, ya hear? You know I’m black on the inside, but I got a life now; I
gotta keep that side on tha down low. You feelin’ me?
Later, after the party. The L team’s slumped on the couch, dealing with the
reality of their constant failure.
Shane tries to comfort Bette and Tina: “It has nothing to do with you guys.
It’s the new male. The new male is more spiritual than the old male. He sees
his sperm as an extension of his inner being...”
Oh my God. Is Shane actually... talking. Are my ears deceiving me? Does
Katherine Moennig really have more than fives words to say? Wow, she does.
Then Shane leaves with the girl from earlier. Okay, the party’s over, and
I’m done recapping it.
Tim’s house. Tim and Jenny are talking, and Tim has his shirt off. I think
Tim’s bare chest has seen more screen time than Shane.
A gym. Tina and Dana work out on stationary bikes and discuss the two things
their characters will singularly (almost obsessively) deal with throughout the
season: Tina’s pregnancy and Dana’s romantic and sexual frustrations.
The Planet. The L team is listening to Jenny drone on about her stories, and
workshops, and writing classes, and why gel pens are cooler than ball points,
and why the paper clip is better than the staple. Everyone’s trying to be
nice, pretending to listen attentively, but it’s obvious to everyone but Jenny
that nobody cares. Especially Shane. Check out the look on Shane’s face here.
It’s hilarious. She just can’t believe she’s listening to this shit.
Marina comes over (because that’s her habit, isn’t it?) and tells Jenny
about her reading group. The attraction between Jenny and Marina is so tangible
that Rose Troche doesn’t even need to do extreme close-ups to convey it to the
Shane can’t take it anymore. With no prompt whatsoever, Shane bursts out with,
“Oh shit, oh God, it’s late”—but doesn’t indicate why she’s so
urgent and what she’s late for. She gets up and the others follow suit,
offering their own unimportant excuses.
Okay, Shane’s left, and I’m leaving this scene too.
Another day, another donor. Bette and Tina meet with another prospect. He’s an
artist with an accent. Sexy. Except not sexy enough that Tina’s willing to let
him do her. Bette and Tina decline his offer to fuck Tina, and take off. Artist
with Accent won’t compromise his beliefs though: “ze penis, ze pussy, ze
baby.” Iz ze only way, no?
Pilot Recap coming soon...