Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The L Word - Life, Loss, Leaving 

The new season has begun. Much of this first episode felt a bit clunky to me, mostly I suspect because they were trying to sum up all the previous season's storylines in such a way that new viewers could catch up fairly quickly and develop some quick investment in the characters. Unfortunately, I found that the sum-ups necessarily flattened the stories and characters.

They've also revved up the opening. I like the new tune, but I'm not so hot on the visuals. It's kind of a pasted up flash animation utilizing cutouts from People Magazine, and I found it distracting that the various actors' names weren't shown at the same time as their faces. More typically the name and the face were a mismatch. That's not Jennifer Beales! What did Katherine Moenig do to her hair? Oh, it's Leisha Hailey.

Lots of personal responsibility issues in this ep, particularly for Bette. It's been a while since we last tuned in, as Tina is now visibly pregnant, or at least it's visible when her stomach is bared, as it was in the doctor's office. It seems she knew she was pregnant when the big Candace fight happened, but she hadn't been telling Bette because she didn't think Bette could handle another miscarriage. Now she's determined to have the kid on her own.

Bette has continued to see Candace all this time, but broke up with her one morning and then marched on over to The Planet to announce her undying love for Tina and to beg her to come back. Tina's not buying it, and gets Bette to admit that the mistake relationship had only ended that morning. Only Tina uses much more colorful language. And knocked the table over. And spilled coffee all over Evil Tonya. Bonus points!

Bette spends the rest of the episode sort of taking responsibility for her own actions, but then going through a litany of reasons why it wasn't really her fault. I'm really not liking Bette this season. I'm bordering on calling her evil. I'm definitely already calling her an asshole. Kitt calls her a pootie-chasing dog. Go, Kit!

Shane is trying to go back to her heartbreaking ways, and collides with a personal assistant/dj who works at the tv studio where Shane was hired to do Ariana Huffington's hair for an interview. The PA, Carmen, seems very cool, so Shane totally alienates her one night soon after their backroom dalliance by making out with some other chick in front of her at Milk.

The writers handled Marina's disappearance by turning it into a running gag of incredibly poor taste. She checked into the Bel Aire Hotel and tried to kill herself, but the particular method changes depending on who's telling the story. Finally we get the real story from Robin, who breaks the news to Jenny. The hospital called Robin because they found her phone number in Marina's purse. And by the way, Marina had been calling Jenny's name in the ER while they were treating her for her drug overdose. She recovered, and her mother whisked her back to the family villa in Umbria. Yes, Robin managed to locate the family based on Marina's passing comment that she was from Umbria. Whatever.

Gene gets sick of Jenny checking out women wherever they go, and decides to break the news to her that she is not bi, but is totally, completely gay. Period, get over it. Tim has taken a job in Ohio at Oberlin College, and makes his petty exit after pretty much blaming Bette for introducing Jenny to Marina and ruining his life, and then he sneaks into the studio where Jenny is sleeping, strips naked and climbs on top of her for a little goodbye sex, despite Jenny's quiet protests. After about 30 really distressing seconds of Tim sex, he climbs off and heads for the road. Bye Tim!

Kit is still dancing with Ivan and goes in for a kiss, but Ivan stops her "until you're really sure." Later Ivan freaks out when Kit comes into his apartment and catches a glimpse of him mostly au natural.

The best part of the show was Alice and Dana, who give in to temptation in the restroom of The Planet, then meet for a run at Runyon Canyon to figure out what to do. They embark on a plan to avoid temptation - no meeting alone, especially in rooms with beds, couches, tables, floors, or in the back seats of cars. They're really cute, their dialogue was fun and they have good chemistry.

So all in all, I'm looking forward to the rest of the season, especially if it involves less Bette being evil and more Alice and Dana sharing scenes.
UPDATE (2/23/05, 9:17 am): I forgot to point out that we were treated to several more demonstrations of Jenny's pretentious writing, plus her display of the many, many rejections letters she has received thus far for Thus Spake. I think for me the pinnacle of her verbal assitude came when she returned her engagement and wedding rings to Tim, but asked to keep his stopwatch because, "I don't want our relationship to evanesce." The first time I watched, I thought she said "I don't want our relationship to have an S." Have an S? What, like as in stop? The stopwatch represents the never-ending quality that is them? What? Then when The Girl got home from her weekend conference and we watched it again, we both thought she said, "I don't want our relationship to F and S." But just as The Girl was expressing her puzzlement at this, it dawned on me what she was really saying. "Oh, evananesce! What a pretentious ass." Thus spake Rogue Slayer Law Student.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:12 PM