Online Edition



Season 1, episode 12
Season 112
1st release (U.S.): 03/28/04
Production number: 112
Last update: 02/26/05

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SYNOPSIS/ANALYSIS by Marissa Robillard-Meli

Jennifer Beals - Bette Porter
Erin Daniels - Dana Fairbanks
Pam Grier - Kit Porter
Leisha Hailey - Alice Pieszecki
Laurel Holloman - Tina Kennard
Mia Kirshner - Jenny Schecter
Karina Lombard - Marina Ferrer
Eric Mabius - Tim Haspel
Katherine Moennig - Shane McCutcheon

Snoop Dogg (Slim Daddy)
Ion Overman (Candace Jewel)
Michael Tomlinson (Franklin)
Kim Hawthorne (Yolanda Watkins)
Rosanna Arquette (Sherry Jaffe)
Lolita Davidovich (Francheska Wolff)
Anne Archer (Alice's Mother, Lenore Pieszecki)
Ion Overman (Candace Jewel)
Anne Elizabeth Ramsay (Robin)
Kyle Cassie .... Eric
Ron Chartier .... Ralph's Dad
Preston Cook .... James
Penelope Corrin .... Party Animal
Dorothy Fehr .... Semi-Drunk Lesbian
Alison Fraser .... Party Animal
Chris Gauthier .... Cheering Guy
Leanne Jijian Hume .... Lesbian
Marta Jaciubek .... Tayo
Jennifer Kitchen .... Party Animal Lesbian #2
Jeremiah Klein .... Drummer
Rhys Lloyd .... Cheering Guy
Cindy Maines .... Ralph's Mom
Meredith McGeachie .... Tonya
Shira Moss .... Bunny
Robin Nielsen .... Gregg
Maggie Blue O'Hara .... Lesbian
Harley Reiner .... Young Shane at Age 8
Kate Robbins .... Older Lesbian
Tiffany Sweeney .... Bunny
Andrea Whitburn .... Young Dana at Age 16
Sarah Widdows .... Young Tiffany
Kirsten Williamson .... Nervous Lesbian
Tara Wilson .... Ralph


Showtime, Sunday, 10pm


Tina, Jenny, Shane, Alice and Dana take a trip to Palm Springs. Bette, who stays behind, hires an attractive contractor to set up for the gallery's new show. TVTome.com


This synopsis is by Marissa Robillard-Meli.

Our dependently ominous introduction to the episode takes place in 1979 at a very glamorous, very 70's party. Lines of coke, beautiful girls in bikinis, and pot-bellied chauvinists in leisure suits cavort around a pool, possibly awaiting the arrival of Roller Girl. A few men, high on blow and low on desirability, look on and cheer as two naked girls rub their boobs together in the pool.

The girls are at The Planet-Ilene Chaiken is taking a new direction with this episode-and Bette announces that she's thinking about hiring Candace, the feisty (and no, it's not because you're a black woman-you're just plain feisty) Yolanda's ex-girlfriend, to put together the CAC's exhibit. Dana gives very detailed instructions to Kit regarding the care of Mr. Piddles, the cat whom she apparently values more than life-and her new blonde highlights. Alice announces to Lenore that she has gotten her period, and I breathe a deep sigh of relief, knowing that I can continue watching the series without Lisa returning, breast pump at the ready, to care for the kid. Lenore, in one of her classy asides, compliments Bette (and turns on the dramatics as she verbally beats on Faye Buckley) about her televised debate.

As it turns out, the girls are heading out to the Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs, which centers on a women's golf tournament. Apparently, this is a spring break for lesbians. Let me take this moment to once again throw down a penalty flag on the lez field. Not all of us lesbians congregate around golf courses. Once again the problem I have with this show arises: am I grateful that lesbians have their own show to watch, and furthermore, for straight people to watch and make us seem like less of a (creepy, to some) mystery? Absolutely. But I am drowning in the stereotypes, seriously. Just as Queer As Folk did for gay boys, this show helps and hurts at the same type.

Now back to the show. Dana is getting an HRC (Human Rights Campaign) this weekend. If you love love love us queers, which I know you do if you have a slight interest in this show besides watching chicks do it, please check out their website at www.hrc.org and do what you can. An item of interest: the HRC teamed up with Showtime to do a little bit of promotion for the show (encouraging people to throw L Word house parties, screening the show nationwide). A quote from the HRC's president in January 2004: "What's so exciting is that for the first time 'The L Word' is bringing a dramatic series into millions of homes that centers on the lives of lesbian characters. Hopefully, people watching at home will connect with the basic humanity of these characters the way they would when watching any other show. Ultimately, this kind of visibility helps build greater understanding." Dana getting an HRC award is clearly cross-promotion, but the kind of cross-promotion we can accept.

Alice, Lenore, Shane, Dana, Tina, and Jenny are packed in the van on the way to Palm Springs. What to do but tell coming out stories? Alice talks vaguely about a girl she knew in high school. Always the bad-a**, Alice grabbed a cigarette with her underneath the bleachers and was about to grab something else when the girl puked on her. This clearly needs to be a Truth commercial. Alice really came out in college when she was in this grungy band with her grungy boyfriend. They needed a new bass player, and all of the boys who auditioned couldn't play for s***. Finally, a girl steps up and plays amazingly, and they take her on as a band member. In a fantastic release of sexual tension, Alice and the bass player make out on stage at one of their shows, to the delight of the crowd. They ended up going out for two months after that.

Dana's first relationship with a girl was twelve years ago at tennis camp. She was 16 and the girl, her camp counselor, was 17. The girl is now a famous tennis player, Dana says, so she can't reveal her name. The girl's face is blurred and her name is bleeped, but it is still clearly recognizable as Stephanie. Stephanie Graf, perhaps? Girl, we knew you were dyking it until you married Agassi. However, this would make Dana in her 30's. Hmm. After Stephanie's parents find out about her and Dana, she is forced to leave tennis camp and they never see each other until they are older and on the courts.

Bette is at work, of course, and ever-faithful assistant James comes in to tell her that Candace is here to see her. They go over the blueprints for the museum and totally check each other out. I throw up a little bit in my mouth.

Loopy Lenore tells her "coming out" story. Was she even with a woman before Shane? I believe it was implied that she wasn't. Well, all the world's certainly a stage for Lenore, so hell, she's either acting or delirious or both. It's at the Playboy Mansion in the 70's, and we see that it takes place at the same party we saw in the beginning of the show. She talked about those two girls in the pool, and how she ended up joining in and how hot it was. However, the flashback scene we are shown shows the girls all over each other in front of Lenore and Lenore slinking away with her back up against the pool wall.

Shane's coming out story takes place when she was about eight, I gather from the flashback scene. Does this surprise anyone? She had a crush on another little girl on the playground whom she gave part of her "Sunshine Meal" (think Happy Meal) to, and then the girl broke her heart. This could be what turned Shane into the Brian Kinney she is today.

The girls drop off Lenore at her condo, literally dropping the luggage on the sidewalk outside of the van, and speed away. Lenore calls Alice like two seconds later, and Alice needs to assure her that they were simply in a rush. The girls arrive at their hotel in Palm Springs. There are women EVERYWHERE. And in no surprise to anyone, they pretty much all look the stereotypical lesbian part. There are gay pride booths everywhere, including an HRC one. Tanya, Guest Liason for the hotel, and her sassy perm bust onto the scene, introduces herself to Dana and begins to handle her business. "I am here to act as a buffer between you and your fans," she states matter-of-factly. And by fans, we know that she means pants. She gives Dana extra-special care, including her cell phone number if she has any problems or questions. The girls get to their rooms and watch from the balcony as many, many women play in and around the lavish hotel pool area. Unsurprisingly, Dana needs fashion advice. They decide on a conservative white suit and Tanya shows up to escort her to the dinner, leaving the rest of the girls with passes to a party later that night.

Candace brings Bette the estimate for the work she needs to do for the show. It's $50 more than the highest bidder, Bette informs her. Candace has clearly taken night classes at the local community college, and shows Bette the old business triangle. The three sides of the triangle are fast, good, and cheap. You can only have two, Candace informs Bette. Bette puzzles over the concept as she probably thinks about when she gets to wear her Chanel sunglasses again. Candace offers to pick up Cuban food for the two of them and Bette agrees.

The girls in Palm Springs go down by the pool, where shirts proclaiming "Lesbian Wanted" and "She's My Bitch" are being sold. I am not touching this one with a ten-foot gay pole.

Candace talks to Bette about Yolanda and how Yolanda-esque she was in their relationship. Bette's cell phone rings. It's Tina, and Bette steps outside to take it. They can't understand what the other one is saying (a very cheap metaphor for the communication breakdown in their relationship) and finally they get cut off. Bette informs Candace that it was her girlfriend on the phone, and Candace is clearly disappointed. Bette gets ready to leave, and due to some awkward maneuvering she ends up face-to-face with Candace, in close proximity to kissing territory. Oh, the sexual tension takes us all back to the locker rooms in high school before we came out.

The girls take the passes to the party and discover it's a White Party (this is, basically, when you dress in all white. P. Diddy throws one, which I have attended several times as the Guest of Honor…in my dreams) for which they are inappropriately dressed. Jenny has some shots and tells some lesbian strangers the Tim and Marina story. She has picked up the "Lesbian Wanted" t-shirt somewhere along the way, no doubt because Alice and the other girls had pointed out that she is not an identifiable lesbian. Jenny says that sex with Marina was the best sex of her whole life, and something along the lines of the best sex that anyone could have on the planet…ever. She complains then about Marina, and the other girls agree that she is, well, a bitch. One of them suggests that Jenny call her right then and hands her a cell phone. The other girls chime in, encouraging her to call. She dials, and when she hears Marina's voice, she can't say anything. Out of nowhere, this woman who has been watching her from afar jumps and clears this super-long distance in no time, ending up next to Jenny effortlessly like a sexy, lesbian version of Super Mario 3. She grabs the phone and says, "Hello, is Thomas there?" Marina hangs up, because only Francesca is allowed to call her Thomas. Jenny thanks her and appears very interested.

Tanya and Dana exit the HRC dinner, and all of these girls are talking to and gushing over Dana. One girl wants Dana to sign her underwear. She is about to when Type A Tanya rushes her off.

Back at the White Party, Shane is on the prowl. She sees Jenny sitting down and chatting with the woman who grabbed the phone away from her. This woman is a trapeze artist. Are you kidding me? If she is lying, I applaud her for picking up on how stupid Jenny is and tricking her with the most unbelievable lie ever. If she is not lying, shame shame shame on the writers. Jenny says that if she were a trapeze artist, no one would catch her. Where is the Pulitzer Prize committee when you need them? That's right: in bed with Shane. The woman brings it to Jenny's attention that she keeps referring to herself as worthless, and that she shouldn't. The jury is still out on that one. The woman uses flying on the trapeze as a sort of encouragement for Jenny to pick up the pieces of her life. I have now decided that they should get together and write a book, because I hear the staff of the New York Times is getting low on toilet paper.

Tanya and Dana get back to Dana's room-Dana has her own room while the rest of the girls share one. Tanya all of a sudden pushes Dana up against the door: "Dana, I gotta be honest with you. I want to make love to you." Not one to really say no, Dana lets her kiss her.

A very drunk and very unable to shut her yap Jenny returns from the White Party. Shane, Tina, and Alice are relaxing watching TV. Jenny informs them that she has a date in L.A. with the trapeze artist.

Now we are back to Tanya and Dana. Dana picks up the phone while they are in the throes of passion, taking a note from Paris Hilton. Tanya keeps trying to get in her pants while Dana talks to Alice until Alice figures out that she's having sex and lets her go.

Alice announces to the girls: "You guys…Dana's hooking up." Tina worries that it's with Tanya, except she can't remember her name because Tanya speaks at a frequency unable to be processed by the human ear. Alice says she's got bad vibes. Shane decides that Tina should tell her coming out story. So, on with the show. Tina was dating a guy named Eric after Alice and Bette had just broken up (this is a tasty tidbit). He took her on a date to The Bette Porter Gallery. Bette is sporting a short new wave haircut, which she kept after wandering off the scene of Blade Runner and starting a career in art. She meets Tina and Eric, and invites them to one of her famous artists' dinners. Alice is there with insane hair. Tina's earring is coming out and Bette puts it back in her ear, having visibly chosen Tina as her next conquest.

Meanwhile, we see Bette and Candace shake hands. Candace leaves.

Tina confesses, after being questioned, that it's weird to know that Bette will be the only woman she'll ever have sex with, but is so happy with Bette it doesn't matter. As it turns out, Bette never put the earring back on Tina's ear and Tina needs to go back to the gallery. Bette, you dog! At the gallery, Bette kisses her and somewhere along the line Tina makes her fix her hair.

Candace walks back into Bette's office, saying she forgot something. She tells Bette that she won't be able to sleep tonight if she doesn't tell Bette that all she wanted to do all day is kiss her. "Please tell me if you don't want me to." Bette says nothing so Candace kisses her, and they make out a little bit. Bette becomes upset, so they agree Candace should leave. She does and Bette starts to cry...but just a little. At this point, I kind of forget that Bette is a fictional character and want to slap those sunglasses off of her face.

Shane gets a call from Cherie and they plan on seeing each other tomorrow. She took the call out in the hall at the hotel and of course, all of these girls are checking her out.

And we go back to Tanya and Dana, who are still going at it. "I can't believe I'm about to go down on Dana Fairbanks," Tanya coos. We can't believe it either, Tanya.

Bette is back at home and gets a phone call from Tina. Tina tells her that the girls will be coming home this afternoon. Bette looks a bit distraught.

The girls are all in the van, waiting for Dana. Dana finally comes outside…HAND IN HAND WITH TANYA! Tanya is coming with. Clearly, the fumes from Tanya's fresh perm have affected Dana's judgment, and they pile in the van. Tanya continues squealing about everything. She asks Dana if she has brothers or sisters, whether she likes cats or dogs, etc. She informs Dana that she HATES cats. Dana, taken aback, defends them. Tanya coalesces and agrees that decisions need to be made on a "cat-by-cat basis." They continue to drool over each other.

Dana and Tanya get out of the van at Dana's place. "What the f*** are we going to do?" asks Alice. Indeed. She tells the girls that she gave Tanya $50 for gas, saw that the gas only cost $32.50, and that Tanya didn't give her any change. The girls ask her why she didn't say anything, and Alice, in classic Alice fashion, replies, "What am I supposed to say? Dana, your girlfriend's a grifter."

Candace sticks her head in Bette's office to tell her that she's there working. Moments later, Bette feels a pair of arms around her waist. "I'm sorry…I can't," she breathes. "You can't what, babe?" It turns out that it's Tina! Ooo! Bette says that what she can't do is get the show together in time. Ever the trickster, Bette kisses Tina passionately.

It is also important to note that at the end of the show, someone is credited as appearing as "Semi-Drunk Lesbian."


The opening teaser is set in Los Angeles, 1979 with Alice's mother, Lenora, and two Playboy Bunnies making out in a swimming pool which is later shown as Lenora's 'coming out' story.

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