Katherine Moennig
Credit: Paul Michaud

First off, best opening sequence ever. Okay? Just so we’re clear. Also: The L Word has officially morphed into a comedy series—or perhaps it was one all along. (The cynics among you snort and ask how it took me five seasons to figure that out.) There was a time, in the cold early-winter days of 2004, when those opening sequences told a story—more often than not, a rather confounding one. But they seemed to mean something, to announce that this experiment in televised lesbianism was going to push some envelopes, work some nerves…the normal stuff anybody with a landmark project promises new viewers. The opening sequence always tried so hart do make a statement; now it’s been co-opted by silly skits such as last night’s Charlie’s Angels parody. Hardly groundbreaking, and Katherine Moennig apparently does not possess the ability to do accents, but it was festive and light-hearted and knowingly campy, and if you think the influence of director Angela Robinson–I hear she’s playing a much bigger role this year–on the show’s creative team is a coincidence, then you’re wrong.

In truth, last night’s episode was more serious than last week’s unrealistic mess. But the laughs came more easily, probably because they were borne of more substantial ideas than a horny wedding harem. So Moennig isn’t Meryl Streep, but she can still do funny—and with Shane atoning by going celibate, she’s getting the chance to play to her usually hidden comedic strengths. Shane is suddenly something other than a husky, brooding—sorry!—bore.

Jenny’s “workout” with Adele was a nice visual gag, and the return of [cue regal music, please—something with a trumpet] Peggy Peabody provided us with one of the best rejoinders I’ve ever heard on The L Word, much less in my life. I’d like to reprint the entire screed here, but the phrases “full booty check” and “give it to ya family style” are about all I can get away with on this site.

addCredit(“The L Word: Paul Michaud”)

Nonetheless, if my mother were the kind of woman who went around saying things like that, I’d never leave her side. Wasn’t that a surprise, though? Helena used Mummy to get her out of jail, and then she turned right around and hoodwinked the old lady once again! No wonder Peggy barked at that prisoner. She’s over it! So what’s to become of Helena? Is she gone for good? Or is she going to pursue love on the run with Dusty? If that’s the case, then I must point out that Claire and Yoga just did the same thing on Ugly Betty. Already seen it! (But OMG, it would be pretty amusing if Helena and Dusty ended up hiding out at the Suarez’s house. Justin would love those two.)

The hour’s comedic high point, though, had to have been Bette and Jodi’s cabin adventure in the great outdoors. Everyone’s favorite control freak was already nervous about spending a weekend in the woods, where the only art is nature and therefore unavailable for rotation. But the collection of yahoos that Jodi calls her friends…well, you could smell their desperate attempts to be all Big Chill a mile away. Unfortunately, I don’t think people that boorish, that insensitive, or that infantile exist anywhere outside a situation comedy.

Seconds after meeting Bette, they’re talking aloud about the noises she makes during sex? And was that indiscriminately scruffy dude from Brothers and Sisters kidding? In general, really. He throws Bette into a lake, openly insults her, and then accuses her of lying about The Planet’s robbery (zzz…) so she can leave early. Look, Bette’s enough of a beast* that she needs a figurative kick in the rear from time to time. But I ask you: Was he kidding? Who acts like that? And why am I not all surprised that he’s friends with Jodi?

Another question, PopWatchers: Can I be honest with you? Okay, good. I’m so bored with the Alice/Tasha drama. Aside from the fact that the war in Iraq has never been a workable fit with this show, there’s a Very Special Episode feel to the whole thing. Look, I abhor the don’t ask/don’t tell policy as much as the next gay-rights advocate, but I’ve read enough to know that it’s going to be used against you if you’re not careful. And Tasha was seen in public being cozy with another woman. It’s too bad that someone had to tattle, but she was aware of this danger all along. So she’s stuck in a difficult position, and now she’s planning to fight back. Tasha’s desire to challenge the charges against her is admirable, but I’m not so in the mood for all the ensuing hand-wringing. When is Tasha going to get to have some fun like the rest of the women on this show?

What did you think of the episode? Would you have tolerated Jodi’s friends? Are you happy that Tina finally (finally!) got laid? Do you think Max/Moira and Jodi’s yummy interpreter will hook up? Will Kit ever get a real storyline? Talk to me.

* Hold up, Jenny Beals! In this context, the word beast means high-octane, type-A go-getter.

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