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LAist Watches: The L Word

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We must give props for this week's episode written by 90s literary sensation AM Homes. We've always admired "The L Word's" higher aspirations. The show regularly recruits smart, well-respected writers and directors and integrates abstract and intellectual issues more than most TV shows. Homes and the producers even snuck in a Mary Gaitskill reference while larding the script with groaner dialogue.This week we had lots of sizzling dynamics to enjoy: Alice and Dana's enjoyable coupling [it's the first time we've seen fun chemistry between lovers on this show and hope the producers realize they are funnier and charismatic as a couple than as constantly searching singeltons]; the producers seriously puncture the pretentions public radio by having Alice audition for a commentator gig on KCRW using a precious "sotto" voice; Shane likes churches; Mark likes Shane and has pledged himself as her wannabe ronin; Jenny is now channeling Coco Chanel in all the worst ways; Helena makes an excellent antagonist and Bette, while developing a worrisome tendency to drown her sorrows in candy and ice cream, has also mustered up enough calories to exhibit a backbone. It's a good thing Tina's baby-to-be will have one assertive mommy, cause this pregnancy has turned Tina's already weak character into mush.

She is the most passive chick on premium cable. What does Bette even see in her? She's always simpering and apologizing for her girlfriend's bad behavior while failing to recognize the falling anvils and danger signs crashing around her. We hope the next on-the-nose line of dialogue lands on her and puts her character into a coma until she's ready to deliver her baby. And we dare to write this cause we care so darn much; what happened to the spunky characters actress Laurel Holloman used to play like Randy in the film "The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love"? She was also really strong as the anti-Slayer Justine Cooper on "Angel."

At least the less Tina says, the less she contributes to the truly inane chatter that occurs on this show. At least the coy girl coffee talk is better than the speechs that try to pass themselves off as just crass dialogue.

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We're not sure if "The L Word" writers are playing with us, mocking the conventions of late night soaps in the tradition of "Dynasty," or are truly immune to the flaws in their scripts. They've come up with a truly cheesy subplot involving Mark as a would-be pornographer who has pitched a sleazy porn producer the idea of a lesbian sex reality video featuring footage of his sexy roomates. The meeting with the porn producer is punctuated with references to ""dripping hot lesbian pussy." Mark's partner suspects Mark of having more than a financial interest in Shane (of course) and confronts him with the words "you don't have any chance of getting up in there."

The one thing the show gets right are the details: We laughed when Mark took his meeting with the porn producer dressed as a member of "Reservior Dogs" in a black suit, white shirt and skinny black tie. We liked the LA-centric allusions to the tension between the Westside and everywhere else in the city as the gang passes on an invitation to party at Helena's new beach rental; we cheered when Kit dished that she's stolen a chef who was working under "Suzanne Goin at A.O.C."; the producers also slip in some sly references to the semi- public sex that certain Angelenos [famous or otherwise] like to engage in while touring "open house" hours at swanky properties on the market. We also give kudos to the style mavens who have Alice silently reject Helena's proffered vintage Hermes scarf; only to have the same scarf chicly tied around her purse handle during her radio job audition. Go Alice.

We also thought Bette's power struggles with her board of directors and museum nemeses were timely, given that high profile female museum directors have left or announced plans to leave the top museums in Los Angeles. We'll have have more to say on the matter in an upcoming post, but we nominate Bette Porter for either job.