‘The L Word’ Season Opener: Hookups, Breakdowns, and Processing

How can she compete with those ASL-savvy hands? Photo: Courtesy of Showtime

In the fun fifth-season opener of The L Word, “LGB Tease,” only a few weeks have gone by since we last left our ladies who latte. The tension is high, schlock low, and panties are dropping everywhere. The good news: Highly entertaining evildoer Jenny Schecter has regained her malevolent power, rising again, Voldermort-like, over the sapphic creative community of L.A. The bad news: The yodeling Betty theme song? Also back. Side effects include dizziness, flulike symptoms, embarrassment in front of straight people.

The Hookups
Tina pines for Bette. Bette, however, is focused on the return of her nimble-fingered lover Jodi, both a sculptor and sign-language whiz, which is the gay-lady equivalent of packing like John Holmes. (Tina is clearly being punished for her treasonish retreat to man land last season.) Jodi once again resents Bette for her control freakery after Bette sets up a romantic dinner table that includes, much to Jodi's amazement, a tablecloth. Jodi then unleashes her inner control freak, blindfolding Bette and taking off her tablecloth, er, shirt.

Alice, anxiously watching cable news for signs of what might be happening to her soldier girl, Tasha, just shipped out to Iraq, hears a knock at the door. Is it an army official with news of Tasha's death or dismemberment? No, it's Tasha, apparently AWOL and looking for some loving. They immediately go at it in the front hall.

Slimy lawyer Joyce (played deliciously by Jane Lynch) and Cybill Shepherd's Phyllis are shown in sweaty, postcoital bliss, possibly as a reminder to slimy dudes that Showtime is not the Spice Channel.

Shane and skateboard mom Paige go apartment hunting. But what's that? A real-estate agent who looks like a stripper? Shane can't resist trying out the bedroom with the listings lady when she thinks Paige is gone — and seems almost relieved when Paige catches her in the act. Shane is a free agent again!

We don't know what Jenny did to the hedge-fund honcho (played by Wallace Shawn!) producing her movie to make him believe that she's a genius worthy of both writing and directing the screen adaptation of her story “Lez Girls,” but it probably involved more than her explaining the metaphors.

Helena Peabody gets thrown in the slammer for cleaning out her former flame Catherine's safe. Finally, some real butches on The L Word! Helena's cellmate has Popeye forearms, pockmarks, and a protruding forehead. They will so be getting it on. Alice advises Helena not to drop the soap, but she certainly doesn't say anything about picking it up.

Processing
Remember when almost all movies about lesbians were dour and/or self-righteous, and how The L Word helped kick out the jams? Then why is Max the saddest little tranny in Trannyville? Let's see him hanging tough with the bois and having some fun.

Did Paige burn down Shane's hair salon/skate shop Wax? And is this why in future episodes of the show, Shane's hair looks like it barely survived getting too close to the campfire?

Can everyone huddle up and decide on a consistent pronunciation of the “Lez” in “Lez Girls?” Lay or lez, people? Choose one and stick with it.

RIP
These characters seem to have fallen into the breach between seasons, though their disappearances may not be permanent.
Kate: Tina love interest and former Lez Girls director. Fired.
Angus: Kit's philandering man love. Sent packing.
Papi: Playa. M.I.A.
Catherine: Helena's former poker partner (poker? I just met her!) and witness for the prosecution in her case. M.I.A.
Grace: Actual dykelike cutie who coupled up with Max and helped him appreciate his body. M.I.A.

Next week: Shane boffs bridesmaids, Tasha reveals why she isn't in Iraq, and Helena has some issues in the prison shower! —Caryn Brooks