‘The L Word: Generation Q’ Season 2, Episode 5: We need to talk about Bette

Can someone please explain why she's being such a jerk right now?

“I don’t think anything.” —Sarah Finley

We’re halfway through The L Word: Generation Q Season 2, and things are getting spicy! This week, Bette, Tina, Carrie and Angie are in therapy, Shane is confronted with a former flame and Micah and Maribel finally get it on. And amidst it all, Bette is being a real jerk. What’s her deal? Xtra‘s senior editor Erica Lenti and managing producer of video Chelle Turingan host.


Chelle [00:00:09] Welcome back to ‘Off the Chart.’ We’re here and we have a lot to process in episode five of ‘Gen Q’, season two.

Erica [00:00:15] We sure do. This season we are once again watching ‘The L Word: Generation Q’ with you, bringing you our unfiltered takes on the new series reboot, because, of course Chelle, we can’t get over those L.A. lesbians. 

Chelle [00:00:27] I’m Chelle Turingan, managing producer at Xtra, and I don’t know what the hell is going on with Bette right now. 

Erica [00:00:33] I have no idea either. We’ll have to talk about it. I’m Erica Lenti, senior editor at Xtra, and I would love to have a lobster dinner with Alice. You’re invited too. 

Chelle [00:00:42] Oh, thanks, but we might just end up throwing them in the ocean. 

Erica [00:00:46] Jeez.

CLIP: [00:00:47] My dad. He needs a kidney. What are you thinking sweetie? I want to see if I can help. You tell me the truth and I’ll run your company, but if I find out you lied to me, I’ll light that place on fire and watch it burn. 

Chelle [00:00:56] So, Erica, let’s jump right into themes. What did you notice in episode five? 

Erica [00:01:01] Yeah, it’s perhaps the gayest of all themes and perhaps a running theme through the whole series. But the importance of communication seems to be front and center in this episode. Obviously, we got that very intense therapy scene that was all about communication. We’ll have to delve into that later because that was so nuts. And we have, you know, Micah finally communicating his feelings to Maribel. We have, you know, Finley and Sophie failing to communicate as per usual, Bette really shutting out Gigi. No communication there. So these lesbians, they really need to learn how to talk to one another and become active listeners. That’s the moral of this episode, I think. 

Chelle [00:01:46] Sorry, Erica, what did you just say? 

Erica [00:01:49] I hate you. Oh, my God, I hate you so much right now. 

Chelle [00:01:53] I’m sorry about that. Let’s recap

Erica [00:01:58] Let’s do it. 


Chelle [00:01:59] OK, so first off, let’s start with Finley and Sophie and Dani. Finley is in her feelings after learning that Dani and Sophie spent the night together and she’s drinking again, which can’t be a good sign. Sophie pitches a new segment for Alice’s show, which Alice loves, and after interviewing her first guests, Sophie starts to wonder if she’s screwing it up with Finley. So she tries to redeem herself with her own sushi dinner, but realizes when she gets home that Finley has already moved on. Meanwhile, Dani visits her dad in jail and finds out that he has sneakily made her the CEO of his company. And then she spends the day with Gigi trying to process everything which gets a little flirty. So, Erica, I want to talk to you about Sophie and Dani. People seem to be over it. That seems to be the results in the Xtra Twitter polls. How are you feeling? 

Erica [00:02:46] Yeah, I’m with the viewers on this one. I said this last episode, and I feel like I just keep repeating myself and I’m sorry, but, like, I just, I’m so not invested in the storyline at all anymore. 

CLIP [00:03:00] We’re not back together, if that’s what you think. I don’t think anything.

Erica [00:03:04] Sophie is just flip flopping and confusing everybody. And it’s really unfair to Finley and Dani. I think Dani needs to take some time to, like, figure her shit out. And then, like, Finley clearly has a lot going on. We’re watching her regress, which is like really sad, because I don’t want the show to suggest that in order for Finley to be able to, like, get over all of the things she was going through in the first season, that she has to end up with Sophie. Like that Sophie was some sort of solution there. I honestly, I have to echo it again. Like, I think they need to go to a therapist who’s not Micah and figure all their shit out separately. Like, it’s just, it’s so unhealthy and toxic. And I’m like, not about it at all. 

Chelle [00:03:51] The general consensus seems to be that Sophie, like, sucks, and really should just, get your thoughts together first girl, before you start making impulsive decisions and sleeping with your ex and then making dates with the girl that ruined your wedding. It’s just like slow down, like stop. 

Erica [00:04:09] And as my partner repeatedly says, Sophie’s the common denominator in all of this, like, huge mess of a love triangle. So I don’t know. I think really, like, let’s get Sophie and Finley and Dani to, like, untangle themselves from each other. I think Dani is probably getting the closest to doing that. Finley is clearly regressing into past behavior. Sophie maybe just needs to focus on her job. 

Chelle [00:04:35] We both work at Xtra Magazine. We are a magazine publication and Sophie is a producer on a TV show. They have very similar through lines, don’t you think? 

Erica [00:04:45] They sure do. Like when Sophie was pitching her quiet rebellion segment for Alice, I was like, yo, Sophie, come work for Xtra. Like you can basically do our job. 

CLIP: [00:04:58] Growing up, we had no role models, no one who loved like us on TV.

Erica [00:05:04] I also really loved the whole meta, being like, growing up, we didn’t see people that look like us on screen, and I was like, but that was ‘The L Word’, like you’re on the show! So I liked that. I really liked that. Yeah I think Chelle, perhaps you can hire Sophie as a producer. I think she would fit in really well with the Xtra team.

Chelle [00:05:25] Oh, I would love to have Sophie on this team. She seems to have pretty good ideas. I think great minds think alike. I was like, wait a minute, Xtra has a series that is very similar to this one called ‘Inspired.’ 

CLIP: [00:05:39] It’s a documentary style segment on every day, unsung, queer heroes. 

Chelle [00:05:46] Sophie did have a great idea. Alice loved it. I can’t wait to see it. Let’s talk about Dani and Gigi. The poll results from a couple of weeks ago said that you guys were all for it. I was wondering, Erica, what did you think? 

Erica [00:05:58] Well, after this episode, I’m a little bit more for it. I do love, and I think you said this last episode, Chelle, I love the sort of shorthand that they have, you know, speaking Farsi with one another, they just get each other on that level. And so I love the friendship aspect of it.

Chelle [00:06:15] I thought it was really bold of Dani to just like call it out and say flat out like, are you hitting on me? I would never have the balls to do that. So like props to Dani, these two are perhaps the only two in the whole episode who were communicating and could still like, open communication about the flirtation and still be able to to do the dance, the nuance of flirting with each other. Like what a fine balance. Like I really love, like it just feels really organic. Like it feels like they’re clicking on a very natural level that whether or not it’s romantic or platonic, like it’s just lovely to see. 

Erica [00:06:57] I completely agree. And now Dani’s the boss lady, so Gigi doesn’t have to be with the art boss. She can be with the pharmaceutical boss instead.

Chelle [00:07:09] OK, so let’s talk about Bette, because her and her fam are really going through the ringer this episode. Bette goes to therapy with Tina and Carrie to talk through Angie’s dilemma with her donor who is dying of kidney failure. The session pops off, to say the least, and everyone involved is feeling pretty tense. But in the end, Tina and Bette agree that Angie should meet her donor, Marcus. So, Erica, this probably made up the bulk of the episode. Before we get into the therapy session, though, I want to address the elephant in the room. Why is that Bette such a bitch? Like to Gigi? She’s being a really horrible mother to Angie right now. She’s being just like an awful person to Carrie right now. 

CLIP: [00:07:52] I’m adopted. She’s not adopted. She is our child. 

Chelle [00:07:57] Is she just, like, too enamored with Pippa Pascal to, like, act right with anyone? Like what is going on with Bette? 

Erica [00:08:03] Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if she’s being a horrible mother, Angie. I think she’s a reactionary Scorpio, which like, I am also a reactionary Scorpio. So I will you know, I will give her a slight pass. I don’t give her a pass on Gigi because, like, I don’t know what her deal is. Clearly, she’s very enamored, like you said, with Pippa Pascal. I don’t know what’s going on. You know, if she’s not into Gigi anymore, just let her go and let her do her own thing. Like Gigi is a boss bitch. She doesn’t need to deal with Bette’s complicated bullshit if Bette’s not into it.

CLIP: [00:08:42] Stay as long as you want, but I have plans to meet Dani. Oh, I didn’t know you two were friends. 

Erica [00:08:48] I also think that most of our viewers thought she was going f*ck Pippa by this point. So if we are going down that road, like, I would rather see her just end things with Gigi. I Bette has a tendency to be kind of awful sometimes and then take a step back and realize, like, whoa, I really f*cked up. But it’s like really awful to have to watch. It’s really terrible to watch a character you love make like really stupid mistakes, which is like kind of what’s happening with Sophie, you know, watching like someone who you’ve come to love on the screen and then watch them do like really dumb things is really crappy because you come to love these characters so much. So I hope Bette redeems herself like she always does somehow. 

Chelle [00:09:37] Let’s talk about the dynamics in the actual session, particularly between Carrie and Tina and Bette. Before I hear your reactions, I just want to say that Rosie O’Donnell’s performance, this episode was chef’s kiss, like just so spot on. So well done. I was shocked. Like I was not expecting to see such a wonderful performance from this character, but like, Rosie O’Donnell is killing it. But what did you think of, like, that whole therapy session? 

Erica [00:10:09] Oof, it was like hard to watch in the best way, like watching Bette react so poorly, so quickly to Angie, when you know that, like, Angie is at the end of the day, Bette’s world. And same with Tina. They love her so much. But to see Bette, like, freak out and, like, totally mess it up off the fly was really heart wrenching and awful. I will say the work done by Jordan Hull in this episode was phenomenal. When Angie talks about so many heavy things like the racial reckoning that we watched last summer, that has obviously continued on through the months that we’ve watched it unfold on the news and online, talking about things like finding people who you can connect with, light skin privilege with her mom, which was like, I think so well done. You know, I think that Bette as a Black woman has always felt that she can completely understand what Angie goes through in life and how she walks through life. And we saw that in the first season of ‘Gen Q’ as well. When Angie gets in trouble at school and they have this really great heart to heart. But I think, Angie, coming to your own and being like, I know you somewhat understand, but you don’t completely understand my experience. I thought that was so powerful. Kudos to Jordan Hull for just killing it. And of course, Jennifer Beals, who is phenomenal. I also liked that Tina and Carrie kind of just sat there and let Angie speak her truth and let her, you know, didn’t interrupt her, didn’t say anything about it. They just listened to her. That was the pinnacle of great active listening and communication in this episode that everybody else needed to do. So I just thought it was great. Huge kudos to the writers. I think anyone who thinks the show is like to woke or whatever, and they just want to see lesbians having sex on screen. This is not the show for you. They do this stuff super well. So huge. Kudos to the team on that. 

Chelle [00:12:19] I feel like as parents, you want to come to your kids with, like, all the right answers. And I feel like at that particular moment, she had to recognize in front of her kid that, like, this was something that she could not fulfill for her. And that’s why, like, wanting to do this for Marcus is so important. Right. Like, it was just so poignant. Like what a delicate scene. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a scene like this in the entire series, old or new. So, so, so beautiful to see. And Jordan Hull is only 18-years-old, that is wild, she is so good, It pairs well against her girlfriend, Jordi, who is like probably like most teenagers who their biggest worry is, like whether or not they’ll be on the nomination list to become prom queen. Even the scene with them where like, I think Angie did such a really good job of of still being present for Jordi. And so when she seemed upset that Jordi couldn’t give that back to her, when it seems like what Angie is going through is so much larger than what Jordi is going through right now, like that was just a really interesting scene. I hope that that doesn’t mean that Jordi and Angie will be on the rocks or have any sorts of fallouts, because we love them. They’re an adorable teenage queer couple. So, yeah, like Jordan Hull, you are absolutely killing it in season two. 

Erica [00:13:39] I will say, like, Angie is somehow the most mature character on the show, and she’s supposed to be like 17. And I don’t get it. Like, we’ve got like, Shane is like 40 and like doesn’t know how to talk to women. And Angie is just like cruising through, having these like super tough conversations and like trying to work out things with her girlfriend who’s running for prom queen while her donor is dying and needs a kidney. Like I just…I don’t know, like the writers need to, like, mature all the other characters to reach Angie’s level at this point. 

Chelle [00:14:17] Yeah, step up your game, everyone. OK, so let’s talk about Tess and Shane now. Tess introduces Shane to the person that she is seeing, and it’s, oh my God, Cherie Jaffe, played by Rosanna Arquette. Everyone is awkward. There’s weird sexual tension in every single direction. Erica, what do you think of the return of Cherie Jaffe? 

Erica [00:14:38] Oh, geez. I really thought we’d seen the end of her when she broke up Carmen and Shane. But, no, she’s back. She’s back to, like, create more toxic scenarios for our beloved L.A. lesbians. 

CLIP: [00:14:52] So I told you I met someone, we’ve actually met before. Of course you have.

Erica [00:14:56] I was a bit spoiled by Showtime at the end of the episode last week. So I’m kind of annoyed because I felt like that was the most exciting part of the storyline. I’m sorry, I just was not feeling it. It’s great I think whenever they bring back people from, like, the original series and they do these callbacks, like, I always love that this just felt really anticlimactic for me. I don’t know if you felt the same way, Chelle

Chelle [00:15:22] I still think that the Shane and Tess storyline is super interesting. I mean, like Shane has this larger than life reputation. And remember, Tess called her a living legend in season one. 

CLIP: [00:15:35] Really? I’m glad you’re here, I’m Tess. Shane. Yeah girl, I know who you are. Everyone in the city knows who you are. You’re like a living legend. No, no, I’m not. How adorable is that? You don’t like that reputation? 

Erica [00:15:47] Shane has the very difficult job of convincing people that she has changed her ways. Like I get that, I can resonate with that. I find Shane’s evolution of her character in just ‘Gen Q’ overall really interesting because I was listening to episodes of Kate and Leisha’s podcast ‘Pants.’ And, you know, they were saying Kate in particular was saying that, like it would be really sad if Shane came back and was still like the lesbian Lothario, just like macking on girls and women and just like, you know what I mean? Like, not not wanting to settle down, not wanting to put roots anywhere. Like there would be no signs of like, personal growth or maturity or changing there. And so to bring back this character that reminds us of Shane’s past, like it it tore me up a little bit because, you know, this part of her past that, like, really messed her up is now back in the picture somewhat randomly. So, like, I still think it’s really interesting. 

Erica [00:16:48] I will counter you, though, because you said that it would be really sad if Shane was still this lesbian Lothario. But isn’t that exactly what we got in the first episode of the season? She tries to sleep with Lena Waithe’s wife. She’s flirting with her. So there’s still a part of Shane that is that person. There are definitely still elements of Shane and her past that have been shown in the series. And I would hate to see the show use another character to sort of solve Shane’s like issues, or have her mature through like someone else, because I don’t think it’s fair to put so much personal growth into another person in the same way that, like, it would really annoy me if Finley, like, kept regressing until she ended up with Sophie and that Sophie was like the cure all. I was more invested last episode in Shane and Tess, I think. But I know you are the captain of that ship, so I won’t I won’t poo poo on you too much for that. 

Chelle [00:17:49] I appreciate that. I mean, they did end this episode with another one of your favorites, like a cliffhanger of Cherie Jaffe, like dropping off Tess and then going back to Dana’s to check up on Shane, and Shane let’s her in, and you’re like, what’s going to happen? But I think that that’s a red herring. I really think the writers are invested in like making Shane a character who like evolves and has matured. And so we’ll have to wait and see what happens in episode six, but I really hope they don’t hook up. 

Erica [00:18:16] Yeah. And to our producer Lito’s point, we haven’t had a sex scene with Shane in this season yet, which is really interesting because I swear, like every season opens with Shane having sex with someone. Interesting, yeah, that’s right.

Chelle [00:18:33] OK, so let’s move on to Alice now, who has finally finished her memoir and you know, to celebrate, she’s maybe going to try one more time with Nat. But, you know, when tNat bails, Alice decides to call her new buddy Tom, her editor, over for dinner and shenanigans ensue. Erica, it seems like Alice and Nat are done, donezo, done for good. So do we think that something’s going to happen between Alice and Tom or would that be too obvious? 

Erica [00:19:02] Yeah, I always think it’s going to happen. And the show always unexpectedly surprises me with who they end up pairing up. Like, I think Tom is such a nice match with Alice just in terms of like their their chemistry and banter. Like, Tom is really funny and has a really great sense of humor. And I think that both Alice and Tom are great comic relief on a show that can be incredibly heavy sometimes. I do think it would be nice to show a bit more of Alice’s bisexuality, but I’m like not into like a full blown relationship. 

CLIP: [00:19:34] Nat and I were so good. I think she’s nuts for not trying to work things out with you. 

Erica [00:19:39] You know, the dynamic duo that, like Tom is like, what are you doing with your love life? You’re nuts. And Alice being like, shut up. And like them ripping each other about things, like that would be really fun. 

Chelle [00:19:52] We’re only halfway through the season so it can go either way. And, you know, we’ve been duped before with many red herrings from the writers. So it’s hard to say what will happen. I will say that, like, you know, ‘L Word’ is not really a show that has a lot of straight cis male actors on it. And so it’s really actually nice to have Donald Faison even in this, like, recurring character, because he brings like a completely different energy. He’s kind of like, oh, I’m this editor from New York and all of this seems so Hollywood. And he’s just like, there’s something very charming and endearing about him. Maybe they’ll become besties. I would really love to see him, like, come in and out of Alice’s life throughout the course of ‘Gen Q.’ Like that could be interesting, but we’ll have to see. 

Erica [00:20:42] I agree. I agree totally. I’d love to see it more. I’m just as shocked as you are that we are so excited about a straight man on this show. 

Chelle [00:20:51] OK, so finally, let’s talk about Micah and Maribel. It finally happened after Angie’s therapy session. Micah is, you know, just having a day and needs a buddy to call and just like, relax, cause Maribel, who ditches his her date to to hang out with him, and things happen. They hook up. What do you think, Erica? 

Erica [00:21:14] Yeah. Finally, I’m so glad that Micah can, like, be happy and like, get something good in his life. I feel like things are constantly stressful and awful. And he’s constantly a sad boy as we repeat on this show all the time. So I’m super excited. I thought they did a great job. I loved, you know, I loved the the normalizing of sex with a disabled person, like a trans man and a disabled woman. Like I don’t know how or what other show you would see this on. You don’t see that on television. I thought it was so lovely. I thought they did a wonderful job, the two actors, did a great job of it. So kudos to them. It was just like a really nice way to to end the episode for them, I think. So I’m all about it. 

Chelle [00:22:02] It’s so nice to see this, like, finally pan out this thing that we’ve been waiting for, all these other storylines to pan out in this one seems to finally have landed. 

Erica [00:22:11] I can’t wait to see what Sophie thinks about Micah sleeping with her sister. Juicy. 

Chelle [00:22:18] Could you imagine Sophie walks in, sees Finley hooking up with a random, and then goes to another room and sees her sister hooking up with one of her best friends. I’d be like, Yeah, goodbye, everyone. 

Erica [00:22:30] Yeah, I would just leave the house. 

Chelle [00:22:31] OK, it’s our favorite part of the episode. It’s the superlatives round where we each talk about our favorite moment in the episode. Erica, what was yours? 

Erica [00:22:38] OK, I’m kind of subverting the superlatives here. This is not a favorite. It’s a least favorite. I’m very sorry. Most unnecessary sex scene, which on this show, does it exist? It can, according to this episode, Tess and Cherie Jaffe. Now, look, I don’t have an issue with either character. I’ve really come to love Tess. I don’t really care about Cherie Jaffe because she was just introduced and she’s like a distant memory from Shane’s past. I would have preferred to see another Shane and Tess interaction or something. So sorry to disappoint with a least favorite this week, but I just can’t stop thinking about how unnecessary it was. Yeah. What was yours? 

Chelle [00:23:30] I’ll say that my funniest moment was when Alice and Tom remember that they’ve released the lobsters into the ocean with the rubber band still on the claws. It’s so funny because when I was watching that scene, I noticed that when they were putting the lobsters in, I was like, take the rubber bands off! And so that was really funny of the writers to like a callback to that and be like, oh, no, they’re going to die. Like, let’s go and get them. So funny, very adorable. And I will also say that my top comment of the week comes from YouTube, from our viewer, Andrea Chiu, who says, I wish I didn’t know that there could have been a world in which they killed off Tina instead of Dana. I mean, true. But Andrea, to that, I will say without Tina, there would be no Angie, and that would suck because Angie is the absolute best. 

Erica [00:24:21] OK, so those were our favorite and least favorite moments from the episode. We want to hear yours, so be sure to sound off in the comments below. 

Chelle [00:24:30] So that’s it for this episode. Tune in next week when we talk episode six of ‘Gen Q’, and we get our karaoke on. I’m Chelle Turingan.

Erica [00:24:37] And I’m Erica Lenti. ‘Off the Chart’ is produced by Chelle Turingan. Our technical producer is Lito Howse. Our executive producer is Rachel Giese and our music is by KidKulit. 

Chelle [00:24:48] If you like ‘Off the Chart’, please like and subscribe. Leave a review wherever you get your podcasts and feel free to follow us on Twitter @XtraMagazine. Until next time. Bye!

Chelle [00:25:00] Sophie’s pitch is slightly different, but oh, Belle is barking. 

Erica [00:25:04] Sorry! 

Chelle Turingan is a video journalist and filmmaker based in Toronto, ON. Their work has appeared in Maclean’sChatelaine, and Today’s Parent. They are also co-director / producer / editor of Xtra’s documentary film, Small Town Pride.

Erica Lenti

Erica Lenti is a deputy editor at Chatelaine and a former editor at Xtra.

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