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'The L Word': The season's best so far?

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Leisha_l

Leisha_lRight out of the gate: Last night’s episode of The L Word was far and away one of the series’ better episodes since its first season. Wasn’t it rewarding to see this show finally running on every cylinder again? All of the major characters had a strong central scene, Helena finally toned down the hysterics (and apparently bequeathed her silly hot pink hair streak to Kit), Tina actually managed to appear right in a heated argument with Bette, and…AND! Jenny tried to charm a dinner date by complimenting her breasts, telling her she appeared anxious, and pointing out the sweat stains on the armpits of her T-shirt. All of this moist and jittery activity was enough to make our favorite lunatic declare “I want to kiss you!”

Oh, L Word, right now I kinda want to kiss you, too. You were good to me last night. You didn’t try too hard to make a point, you didn’t flaunt too much female genitalia in my face (what? I like dudes), and you made a happy return to your soapy roots with lots of big, ballsy moments that helped propel the plot forward nicely as we enter the halfway mark of season 4. Tina and Henry spotting Angus and Hazel doing the ‘do on their front porch? Nice. Bette and Jodi Lerner (more on her in a sec) watching as Alice (Leisha Hailey, pictured) finally told Phyllis to bug off? Wonderful. Bette being high as a kite as all of this unfolded before her? Even better. Lay it on me, L Word. Give me the big, juicy moments instead of the stilted proselytizing any day, and I’m all yours.

A few of you got on my case last week for not talking about Marlee Matlin’s arrival as artist Jodi Lerner, who bumped heads with Bette over a particularly graphic piece depicting Barbara Bush’s innards. (Coulda gone my whole life without ever typing — let alone considering — that phrase. Coulda gone my whoooole life.) I’ll be brutally honest here: I’ve never thought much of Marlee Matlin’s acting, and I was initially annoyed when Jodi, guns ablazin’, stood up to Bette last week and behaved as if she were the second coming. It all just felt a little tired, if I’m being honest. The deaf, uncompromising artist with a chip on her shoulder? I mean, isn’t this setup just inviting some sort of painful, I’m a person too!! scenes down the road? And isn’t that kind of scene only enjoyable when it’s unintentionally funny?

But wait, let’s go back to Angus and Hazel. First, we pause to consider their names, which make them sound like the lovebirds at the center of some love story set in a polio infirmary. Second, we’ll question why Hazel is dropping trou and cavorting — in a thong, no less!! — with Angus while children play in the other room. Let’s also note that not one word uttered by Hazel’s portrayer, Ulla Friis, has registered with yours truly, since she never speaks above a whisper. For all I know, Angus and Hazel are planning to offer Kit up as a human sacrifice on the counter at The Planet, but hell if I’m hearing any of it.

Wasn’t Jenny giving good crazy last night? Now that she’s completely committed to her crazy, not only has she purposely adopted and put down an ailing dog to get closer to her nemesis’ vet girlfriend, but she’s screwed over her entire inner circle by publishing a scathing “fiction” piece about all of them. (Really, Jenny: Bev and Nina? I thought you were more creative than that!) The girls — well, aside from Alice — don’t seem too bothered by the fact that their narcissistic compadre is selling them out for a shot at glory, but to them this is probably both totally expected and wholly normal in comparison to Jenny’s usual behavior.

It was also a treat to see Tina regain temporary use of her long-lost brain. That scene on the restaurant patio was really something, wasn’t it? Here I was complaining just last week that Tina’s constipated outlook on life was dragging down the show, and the tables have turned. As I see it, Tina has every right to tell Kit — a friend, former sister-in-law, and aunt to Tina’s daughter — that her boyfriend is cheating on her. Didn’t Bette’s pissy reaction seem a little over-the-top — out of character, even? Not that I’d have it any other way; I love watching these two snarl and hiss and claw at each other. It’s good TV.

Do you think Bette should tell Kit that Angus is cheating? What would you consider proper punishment for Jenny’s nationally published smackdown of her friends? Will Phyllis take Alice’s hint and bug off? And what did you think of Papi’s quietly alluring friend Tasha?