Monday, March 08, 2004

The L Word - Listen Up 

This episode seemed a bit like exposition and glue. They had a bunch of stuff they needed to get across, characters that needed some development, and some lonely threads that needed to be stuck together. So they gave us Listen Up. There were good moments, the plots definitely got kicked up a notch and are ready to progress, and we found out more about Dana's mom than Dana knows herself. But somehow Shane was intuitive enough to see right to the heart of the matter. I'm glad Dana at least noticed that it was an odd thing for Mom to have said: "We all have feelings for our girlfriends, Dana, but it doesn't mean we have to act on them."

If I'm not mistaken, this episode should appease those groups outraged in Australia over the explicit sex scenes. I don't believe any sex was to be had anywhere in this installment, either explicit or implied. Dana's mom had a little attempted groping in her flashback opener, but she was soundly rebuffed. The Girl was quite excited at the equestrian flashback, as she was an avid rider growing up, and competed all the way through college. And we've got the Most Valuable Rider awards on the living room wall to prove it. I asked her if she had to ride in endless circles like that, and judging by the way she groaned, "Yes," I don't think it was the most favorite part of the sport for the riders.

That was sort of an odd explosive exchange with the bike messenger. While Jenny perhaps should have checked more closely before opening her door, I don't think that said opening of door on a parked car counts as "driving," so the angry messenger's warning that she should "Learn to drive" didn't really apply here. Maybe "Open your eyes," or "Look before you leap," or "Be aware of the consequences of your actions" might have been more appropriate, but I may have transitioned to more general aspects of her life somewhere in this sentence.

Speaking of the consequences of Jenny's actions, the ex-roommate provided some good exposition and backstory on the wayward waif.

Exposition: Jenny's "one night" in the studio has apparently now evolved into the studio being Jenny's apartment. She's still working at the overpriced grocery store. Tim leaves the housekey on the top of the doorframe. I know I should make some witty "The Fact of a Key on the Doorframe" comment here, but I'm tapped. Does the toolshed / writing studio / studio apartment have a bathroom? Or does Jenny climb on a chair to get the key every time she needs the facilities? Because that could get tiring.

Backstory: Jenny and Tim used to have sex in the dorm while The Roommate was also in the room. Tim makes funny little sounds at intimate moments. No, wait - we knew that, since we've seen more than enough scenes of Jenny and Tim having sex. While we already knew that Jenny had some sort of b-j relationship with her writing professor (maybe she confused oral skills with verbal skills), but we now know that she apparently "tramped it up" for a number of her former professors. Judging by The Roommate's (I'm sorry - I didn't get her name) automatic assumption that Jenny was using Marina as the basis for a character, it would seem that Bette was not too far off the mark when she speculated to Tim that Jenny's affair was simply an exploration of life experiences. Clearly Marina means more than that to Jenny, but I think we can infer that she has used people for literary fodder before.

Okay, so now "Twat," the event has occurred. What a lame party. I hope that scene was from REALLY early on in the evening, or Shane's roommates aren't going to clear enough cash to pay the naked cage dancers, let alone see a profit.

Note to The Roommate: saying things like "But things are really different now, right?" is like shooting a signal in the air that you're posing as lovers in order to fake out the person you're addressing, or at least someone within the sound of your overly-projected voice. Both Marina and Francesca have been around the block WAY too many times to fall for these types of schoolgirl tactics.

Alice's outfits. The Young Republican outfit was perfect, although I would have loved to hear the explanations for the tatoo an inch further down the arm than the sleeve. But what was with the green bandana and white tank top early in the episode? I can see her wearing that while doing laundry, etc., but on the previous forays to The Planet that we've seen, she's always looked more like she had showered and dried her hair. But it's good to see these less put-together sides of her personality.

I loved Dana's Republican outing (so to speak) suit, but did she borrow it from Bette?

Quick notes:
-Dana's brother (Howard?) is really annoying. So I guess he's the perfectly scripted younger brother.
-"For women like me. Who are out. Doorsy. Playing tennis all day."
-Yay Shane for calling your Twink Druggie Friend on his leechy behaviors.
-Boo Shane for having drugs in your possession.

But thanks to the sidewalk fight between Shane and TDF, we know that Shane is continuing on her path of rising stylist star, complete with the cash and drugs to prove it. It would appear that we're getting more on that story next week, with the help of Rosanna Arquette.

I loved the therapy scene where people expressing their inner thoughts were superimposed on them sitting in silence, and that Tina was the only one who was actually saying what she thought. They did that with Cordelia in "Earshot." Bette thinks she's falling out of love? What? I think she's under extreme stress and is doing everything she can to avoid dealing with it. I hope she doesn't trash her relationship instead of resolving her issues.

How much does Francesca know, and when did she know it? Why would Bette's assistants just pass her that threatening phone call without giving her any warning? Why didn't they use *69 to track the person(s) down? Good for Bette for maintaining her poise with the protesters. These kinds of protests are great publicity, anyway. It's a private museum, so it's not like this petition being assembled by people who haven't even paid to see the art is really going to persuade the board to cancel the show. They really aren't the target demographic.

Did it seem a bit presumptious and inconsiderate for The Roommate to ask Tim to take care of Jenny in this difficult time she's having? I mean, he seems like a basically nice guy, but I don't think even A Wild Patience could have Taken him that Far.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:46 AM