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Warrior Nun, Donald Trump, and the Misguided Definition of Able-Bodied Strength

Warrior Nun, Donald Trump, and the Misguided Definition of Able-Bodied

In the opening moments of Warrior Nun, Netflix’s adaptation of Ben Dunn’s comic book, Ava, the show’s kickass protagonist, muses, “My whole life, I’ve dreamed about being dead. I leave my body and I see myself from above, a normal girl. Just normal. I stare at her perfect normality until I wake up and realize I am still the freak I’ve been my whole life.”

Warrior Nun is a fantasy series and Ava wakes up in a morgue, so it’s fair to wonder what she means when she says “freak.” A vampire? A zombie? A ghost? A lich? A ringwraith? A Babadook? But no. What she means is she was a disabled human being, a quadriplegic wheelchair user. When she wakes up from the dead, she wonders if she’s in hell, but decides she doesn’t care, because at least she can use her legs. To emphasize the fact that she’s no longer “a freak,” she goes running along the beach and out dancing in a club and the editor works double-time to focus again and again, solely, on her legs.

A mysterious man, the leader of the Warrior Nuns, shows up looking for her at the orphanage where she lived, but the nuns have no idea where she could be or who she could even be with. Look, here’s her empty hospital wheelchair. And she was quadrapalegic; obviously she had no friends. When the Warrior Nun leader finally does find Ava, he explains to her that she’s not quadrapelegic (or dead) anymore because she’s got a divine artifact nested in her spine. She’s a Chosen One of the Order of the Cruciform Sword, and now that she’s no longer disabled, she can fight the demons the ancient order has been battling for centuries.

I dream about riding my bike every night. Sometimes I’m riding it here in New York City, dodging potholes and pedestrians and finally arriving at the East River, the smell of the ocean — seaweed and brine and sulfur and sunshine — on the edge of the breeze. Sometimes I’m back home in the north Georgia mountains, the crunch of red clay and fallen leaves under my tires. Sometimes I’m in Salt Lake City again, skirting drifts and the glorious sting of the world’s best snow on my face. Sometimes I’m a little kid, on my green Huffy with the spokey dokes or my Strawberry Shortcake banana seat bike with the white basket. I learned to ride on that Strawberry Shortcake bike. My dad got teary when he took off the training wheels, and I thought, “Now I’m free!” (I was four.)

These are the names of all the bikes I’ve ever owned: Strawberry. Pinky. Charlotte. She-Hulk. Smurfette. Ramoth. Bilbo. Minerva. Summitt (two Ts, not one; as in Pat, not a snow-covered mountain). Brisingr. Smoky Mountain Rain.

I used to ride my bike every day. It’s been eight months since I’ve been able to pedal even just a few blocks to the park. I got COVID in March, in the first terrible wave in New York City, and now I’m disabled. I’ve traded my bike for a variety of mobility aids, which I need to function on the rare times I’m able to leave my house. Sometimes a wheelchair, sometimes a walker, almost always a cane with a fold-out seat. I saved and saved and saved to be able to afford Smoky Mountain Rain. The nicest bike I’ve ever owned. A Specialized Sirrus Elite Carbon. These days I use it as a drying rack for my compression socks, which I need to wear all day every day to keep from passing out when I stand up.

In the months between my acute COVID infection subsiding and my diagnosis of Dysautonomia and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, I was basically unable to get out of bed. So I turned to the only other thing that has been as important and spirit-sustaining to me as biking throughout my life — fantasy stories.

The Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The Rage of Dragons. Star Wars. Star Trek. Buffy. Battlestar Galactica. Discworld. The Eye of the World. Ender’s World. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Kindred. The Kingkiller Chronicles. The Left Hand Of Darkness. The Graceling Trilogy. The Broken Earth Trilogy. The Parable of the Sower. The Sword of Shannara. The Sword in the Stone. Xena. Binti. Korra. She-Ra. The Dispossessed. Children of Blood and Bone.

Who knows how many times I’ve lost myself in those books and TV shows and movies. I’ve been doing it my whole life. My heroes make me feel like a hero. Their swords are my swords. Their spaceships are my spaceships. Their triumphs are my triumphs. I couldn’t revisit my favorite fantasy novels in those months. The brain fog and fatigue from my Dysautonomia were too intense. So I decided to try Warrior Nun, because so many queer people on social media were gushing about it.

Two of the main tropes writers use with disabled characters are Better Dead Than Disabled and Magical Cure. The outcome of each trope is the end of a person’s disability, either by ending their life or by applying science, a holy miracle, willpower, or literal magic to cure them — but both tropes are rooted in the same failure of imagination. Most writers are simply unable to imagine a world where people with disabilities live fulfilling, happy lives. The Magical Cure trope is especially prevalent in fantasy narratives, largely because fantasy writers can bend their worlds to do whatever they want them to do, and because fantasy arcs usually involve overcoming adversity — often with physical prowess — and receiving a reward for it.

This is all compounded, of course, by the ways that we, as a culture, talk about sickness. We fight off colds and viruses, we battle cancer. When Donald Trump inevitably contracted COVID in early October after parading around for months without a mask and in the company of countless other people who refused to wear masks, Americans were told he’d be just fine. Former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “He’s a fighter.” His doctor praised his “strength and stamina.” When he left Walter Reed Medical Center, #TrumpStrong trended on Twitter and Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler tweeted a video manipulation of Trump tackling Vince McMahon, whose face had been replaced with the Center for Disease Control’s now infamous COVID illustration. Meanwhile, evangelical religious leaders invoked the language of spiritual warfare: “We know that Trump is under attack physically, spiritually, and politically — and we need to lift him up in prayer for protection and healing.”

So then, those who are mentally and physically strong overcome illness; and those who are weak stay sick. Those who are righteous are healed by God; and those who are wicked remain unwell. And most of all: We have control over what our bodies will and will not do. If we don’t prevail in our “battles” against illness, we must not have wanted it enough.

I am only eight months into having a disability, and oh, I have had some dark days. The pain, the nausea, the air hunger, the weakness, the cognitive dysfunction, the lead-in-my-limbs fatigue. The inability to just hop on my bike and pedal away my stress and anxiety, with nothing but freedom and wind in my hair. The adrenaline, the endorphins, the dopamine, the sunset over the river: all of it, just gone. The inability to make plans with my friends because I don’t know from day-to-day — or even hour-to-hour — what my body and brain will be able to tolerate. Sometimes I lose my words in mid-sentence. Sometimes I also lose the ability to sit up. Before, it would take me four hours to write a 1,500-word essay about TV. This one has taken me four days.

The hardest part, though, is the desperate, grasping feeling that I’m losing myself. I have always been the strong one. The tall one. The big one. The tough one. The overachieving one. The one who is still standing and still going when everyone else has lost the energy or willpower to “soldier on.” I have never, not even once, had a hard time imagining myself as the protagonist of whatever fantasy story I was lost in.

Warrior Nun came to me when I was more physically and mentally weak than I ever have been in my entire life, and it said, “Your inability to do the things ‘normal’ people do makes you a freak; heroes aren’t confined to their beds.” The message of the President of the United States and his followers came right after, and it said, “Strong people don’t stay sick in the face of COVID.” And the religion of my childhood followed with the declaration that God heals those who do right in his eyes.

There’s a scene in one of the final episodes of Steven Universe where the entire gang is facing down big bad Blue Diamond, and one-by-one, they’re all defeated by her. Her weapon is her ability to suck hope and happiness out of the people and gems fighting her. Even Garnet finally falls, on her wedding day! And that’s when Lapis Lazuli arrives. Lapis who’s been trapped in a toxic fusion at the bottom of the ocean. Lapis who’s been captured, interrogated, and imprisoned over and over by Homeworld. Lapis who’s been betrayed. Lapis who’s hurt the people she cares about most because she herself is hurting.

Blue Diamond casts her despair out over the entire group and they cower — except for Lapis. Shocked, Blue Diamond says, “What??” And Lapis flicks away her tears and says, “I’ve felt worse!”

Lapis doesn’t overcome her physical and mental pain; she fights with it, and because of it, and it’s the reason Steven & Co. defeat Blue Diamond in the end.

I keep writing that I lose myself in fantasy stories, the same way my mind clears and my body completely relaxes when I’m on my bike — but maybe that’s not really it.

Joan Didion said we tell ourselves stories in order to live. N.K. Jemisin, three-time Hugo Award winner and the greatest living fantasy writer, took it a step further: “What a lot of people don’t get about fantasy is that one of its purposes is to mirror the self. Technically, all fiction does this! But fantasy in particular highlights the myths that undergird our culture and personal histories, as well as those that outline the agency we’re permitted. Basically, fantasy teaches us who can be a hero and how heroism actually works.”

My life is hard in different ways than it was before I got sick — but it was hard, in many ways, before too. I’ve lost things I love, and I’m struggling to redefine myself with my new limitations — but I’ve had new and wonderful experiences I never would have done if I hadn’t gotten sick. I’ve felt so much better — but I’ve also felt worse.

Warrior Nun gets fighting all wrong. Fighting isn’t a divine gift that manifests itself as easy and wholly able-bodied bliss. Fighting isn’t only the ability to stand up, to run, to do gymnastics and punch and kick.

Strong is fighting. It’s hard, and it’s painful, and it’s every day. It’s what we have to do. Buffy Summers said that. She also said she was a freak, which I guess makes me a freak too, but not because I need a wheelchair.

Steven Universe returns with powerful message for kids about racism

Steven Universe

Cartoon Network enlisted the Steven Universe character to teach children about anti-racism (Cartoon Network/YouTube)

Steven Universe may have left our screens but Garnet’s still on hand to remind kids about flexibility, love and trust.

Cartoon Network enlisted Rebecca Sugar’s most authoritative Crystal Gem for a series of children’s anti-racism PSAs broadcast online and on TV.

The first short, titled “Don’t Deny It, Defy It,” debuted Tuesday on the new website Crystal Gems Speak Up, which also offers links to social justice organisations and additional resources.

The video shows two boys playing happily in a playground. In a casual nod to LGBT+ representation, one says to the other: “Hey, when we’re older let’s get married!”

A third child then appears between them and laughs at the boys. “You can’t get married,” she says mockingly. “Black people can’t marry white people!”

This is where Garnet steps in with a very important message: “Kids! Don’t be racist.”

The lesson doesn’t stop there, though: the PSA continues by exploring racism and explaining its impact in terms that are simple enough for even very young children to understand.

When one of the characters expresses skepticism that racist incidents actually happen “in real life”, the others explain that just because some people don’t experience racism doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

“Everyone messes up sometimes, but you gotta realise it hurts to deal with racism, and when people act like it’s not real, it makes it even worse,” one boy tells another.

“You have to acknowledge racism to work against it,” reminds Garnet, voiced by Estelle. “You kids better work on this before the wedding,” she then adds with a wink, another subtle touch normalising LGBT+ relationships.

The characters of Steven Universe are no strangers to the world of PSAs – the show had previously partnered with Dove to promote body positivity and anti-bullying.

The heartwarming cartoon concluded its run earlier this year, having been hailed by fans and critics for its sensitive LGBT-inclusive storytelling and positive role modelling for children.





Carolina reviews The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – The Lesbrary

Susan reviews The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Amazon Affiliate Link)

“Your characters begin to live the way you do, unrepentant. Never reduced to their queerness, only expanded by it. It infuses them in many ways, sometimes subtle, others loud.”

What does it mean to be invisible? As queer people, most of us are familiar with invisibility in many forms. For some of us, it’s being in the closet, having to deliberately conceal parts of ourselves; for others it’s a lack of representation, a blank outline where we should be in the media. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab is the fantastical and introspective journey of Addie LaRue, a bisexual immortal cursed by the devil himself to be forgotten by all who meet her, until she meets someone who finally accepts her and loves her for who she is.

I’ve always loved Schwab’s writing, from her X-men inspired Villains series, to the whimsical and enchanting A Darker Shade of Magic series. One thing that I always appreciated in her writing is the casual inclusion of queer representation; Prince Rhy Maresh makes Alucard his prince-consort in the magical Red London, and the anti-hero Victor Vale’s asexuality is a valid part of his identity.

Following the immediate publication of long-awaited The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, author V.E. Schwab came out as gay in a moving interview for Oprah Magazine. Schwab’s coming out was touching and it was refreshing to discover one of my favorite authors was queer as well. In the article, she cites the queerness of her characters as a tool to becoming comfortable in her own sexuality and skim, a theme that is echoed throughout Addie LaRue’s life, as love allows her to discover her true self and worth.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is more of a character study than a romance; although Addie does not shy away from describing her female partners in the same way as her male partners, the true core of the book is Addie’s character development. Addie begins the story in 17th century rural France, a desperate teenage girl willing to sell her soul for the chance to to escape an arranged marriage, and live openly on her own terms. Lucifer, ever cunning, gives her the freedom and immortality she longs for, but curses her to be forgotten by all who meet her, dooming her to a life of isolation and sorrow. Throughout her eternal life, she is haunted by the charismatic, seductive devil himself, and nearly loses herself to his deceit. As she grows older and wiser, she learns that although she is forgotten, she will still be remembered through the marks she leaves behind on people’s lives, history and art. When she meets Henry Strauss in 2014, they slowly fall for each other after learning they were both marked by Lucifer. With Henry’s support and encouragement, she begins to find the strength to tell her story and defeat the devil on her own terms.

The novel embodies Schwab’s familiar, haunting prose, and introduces us to a cast of unique and lovable characters, the majority of which are LGBT. Henry’s friend group feels like a love letter to gay friendship as a whole, illustrating the inside jokes and affection only a group of queer people can have for each other. I also loved following Addie through history, seeing the world change and advance around her. The use of multimedia and art as a motif was particularly moving; the art we make acts as a stark indicator of both who we were, are and will be, and the world we live in.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a microcosm of a life’s journeys and discoveries. Addie’s imperceptibility can be seen as a metaphor for being closeted; Addie sells her soul for the opportunity for freedom, and the ability to choose who to love outside of the pre-conceived notions of narrow-minded people in her small French village. Thus, Addie is erased from the forefront, a vital part of her identity disregarded and ignored, her contributions lost to the sands of time, like many queer individuals through the annals of history. Addie is isolated and cut off from anyone like her, similar to being in the closet. It isn’t until Addie meets Henry, someone else who is cursed for wanting love and acceptance on his own terms, that she is able to see herself in him and come into her own.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a moving reflection on isolation and what it truly means to be human, summing up the collective need for companionship and acceptance in a tale worthy of the Brothers Grimm for the modern age.

Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for the advance review copy.

Trigger Warnings: Abusive relationship, suicidal ideation, depression, addiction

I though the rest of you might find this video interesting too…for ya know. Plane-related reasons. No other reason. : actuallesbians

I though the rest of you might find this video

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Elvira unites with Los Angeles LGBTQ Center for free Halloween virtual screenings / GayCities Blog

Elvira unites with Los Angeles LGBTQ Center for free Halloween

Halloween is likely to be pretty different this year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs remain closed across whole swathes of the world so the opportunities for partying are more limited.

However, there are ways you can mark the occasion with others online. Camp horror icon Elvira has teamed up with the Los Angeles LGBT Center for a special, virtual screening event taking place this Friday (October 30).

Related: Gay Los Angeles

In connection with Shout! Factory TV, Elvira will host two free online screenings of her 2001 movie, Elvira’s Haunted Hills. The screenings will take place at 7 pm and 9 pm PT. The 7 pm screening will also include a virtual costume contest. Anyone interested in entering must submit photos of themselves in their outfit in advance to lalgbtcenter.org/costume 

Elvira, the gothic vamp played by actress Cassandra Peterson, earned herself a huge cult following on the release of the 1988 comedy horror film, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. It spawned numerous sequels.

Whilst watching this Friday’s movie, viewers will also be encouraged to donate to the LA LGBT Center via the Text-to-Donate mobile phone platform, to help it continue to offer its vital services during these difficult times. To join the fun, go to lalgbtcenter.org/watch this Friday evening.

Related: Gay bars in Los Angeles

“What better way to start celebrating Halloween than with shrieks of laughter from the comfort of your own home!” said the LGBT Center’s Membership Associate Kimberly Fisher.

“We are thrilled to partner with Shout! Factory TV to highlight the entertainment company’s profound commitment to honor our authentic selves in visual media. And to have Elvira herself hosting this special ‘live scream’ event is certainly a treat—not a trick!”

Depressed that Halloween won’t be the same this year? Check out a recent video from Elvira encouraging people to celebrate in any way they (safely) can!

Related: Gay Los Angeles has a super stylish new coffee house

“To L and Back” Episode 510: Lifecycle with Erin Sullivan!

"To L and Back" Episode 510: Lifecycle with Erin Sullivan!

this post was supposed to go up on monday but there was a wordpress error i didn’t know about because i was off on monday + tuesday so it’s here now sorry!

Get your butt onto your bicycles ’cause writer Erin Sullivan (creator of the “Who Killed Jenny Schecter” podcast and also Riese’s roommate) is here to discuss Episode 510, Lifecycle! Join us as we discover that Tasha has other friends, Adele is great at brand deals, Bette is a big ol cheater, Tina can’t help loving Bette it’s a thing she can’t help, Molly is ready for Lesbian Sex 102 and Niki has never used a strap-on before! It’s one of our favorite L Word episodes of all time so you will NOT want to miss a thing!

The usual:

Riese: Hi, I’m Riese!

Carly: And I’m Carly!

Riese: And this is—

Carly and Riese: To L and Back!

Riese: I’m thirsty already.

Carly: Oh my god, drink break! I’m drinking water, what are you drinking?

Riese: I’m drinking water, and I’m also drinking Moon Juice.

Carly: Oh my god, fancy! Very fancy.

Riese: Drinking this counts as accomplishing something today.

Carly: If you put something on a list, and then you check it off, you’ve done something today.

Riese: Yeah, and today I put — I actually did do some things today, I went to the post office.

Carly: That’s huge!

Riese: It was terrible.

Carly: That is huge, because going to the post office is almost always a terrible experience.

Riese: Yeah, well, I need a passport just in case.

Carly: Oof, yeah.

Erin: To be fair, our local post office men are pretty scary.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: I fully think that they will murder me one day. And that will be fine with me, because I just respect them so much.

Riese: Yeah, you’ve been ready for a while.

Erin: Yeah, I respect them.

Carly: Every time I go to the post office, the people that work there are great, and the people who are there to be patrons of the post office are all monster people.

Erin: Bad. Yeah, agree.

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: And that’s been my general experience, it’s very bad.

Riese: We should probably introduce our special guest today!

Carly: Should we say what this podcast is?

Riese: Oh, ok, yeah, alright. Yeah, let’s say what the podcast is first.

Carly: Ok.

Riese: This is a podcast about a television show called The L Word, which aired on ShowTime.

Erin: Oh, ok.

Riese: A premium cable network, in 2004.

Carly: And it was about a group of woodland creatures who live in the forest and sometimes ride bikes.

Riese: Yeah, yeah. It was mostly a cooking show.

Carly: Yes, exactly. Yeah, not a lot of people know that, that was the original pitch.

Riese: Yeah, that was the original pitch.

Erin: Wow, it really evolved as a show.

Riese: It really did, yeah. It went from pies to lesbian sex.

Carly: But the only part of the original pitch that stayed was the pear and polenta tart at The Planet.

Riese: Uh huh, yeah.

Erin: Oh my god!

Carly: Yeah I know, it’s wild. The development process is crazy!

Erin: That’s the magic of television, honestly.

Carly: Hollywood magic, you know?

Erin: That’s Hollywood, baby.

Carly: So as you — our loyal listeners might notice that there is a third voice here with us today. So let’s just cut to the chase and introduce our very special guest: the one and only Erin Sullivan!

Riese: Woooo!

Erin: Hello listeners! Readers, as Carly called them earlier.

Riese: Yeah, Carly called you guys readers earlier. Yeah, it’s hard switching mediums. I’m like multimedia — being multimedia as a person is really interesting.

Erin: Yes, so many things are plugged in right now.

Riese: So, Erin, tell us about yourself!

Erin: Well, Riese, as you know, I am your roommate.

Riese: Yeah, Erin lives here.

Erin: And I’m also a writer, and I’m just currently trying to make it through a pandemic, as we all are.

Riese: And also you made a podcast!

Erin: I did make a podcast! It’s called Who Killed Jenny Schecter. It is a true crime podcast.

Carly: This is one of the greatest podcasts I’ve ever heard.

Erin: We get to the bottom of it!

Riese: Yeah, you did?

Erin: We get to the bottom of who killed Jenny Schecter, although it is conflicting with the new L Word: Generation Q’s interpretation of who killed Jenny.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: I’ll leave it at that — but listen, it’s 6 episodes, 10 minutes each.

Riese: Yeah, very short episodes.

Erin: What are you gonna do?

Riese: Yeah, what are you doing?

Erin: You can stand in line at the post office and listen to the whole thing.

Riese: That’s true, actually. You could listen to it all in line at the post office. It’s very funny.

Carly: It’s an extremely enjoyable listen.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: Thank you so much. It’s an all queer cast and production crew, so take a listen.

Riese: Yeah, take a listen! If you like this, you’ll definitely like that!

Carly: Wasn’t it produced — or mixed, I guess — by our very own Lauren Klein?

Erin: Our very own!

Carly: Oh my god!

Riese: She even used some of the same sound things that she uses in ours.

Carly: Ugh, amazing.

Erin: Original score, too, by Lauren.

Carly: Ugh!

Riese: So if you’re an Autostraddle reader, you probably remember Erin from Straight People Watch, and her recaps of bad lesbian movies, and all the other really really funny things that she wrote for Autostraddle.com.

Carly: Yeah, she’s such a visionary that the New York Times has completely co-opted “Are Straight People Ok?”

Erin: Shout out to Haley!

Carly: Just really blown away by that.

Erin: Also, Ellen Degeneres, you know… Ellen took that and ran with it.

Carly: Yep, yep.

Erin: And you know…

Riese: And look at where that got her.

Erin: And her empire fell, so beware, New York Times.

Carly: You’re next!

Erin: You’re next!

Carly: Erin, what is your L Word origin story?

Erin: My origin story…

Riese: Like when did you start watching it?

Erin: Oh ok, so I was a freshman in college when The L Word came out. I was a freshman, I didn’t now I was gay yet, but it was part of my journey, I’ll say that. I was on the soccer team in college, where, if you can believe it, there were a lot of gay people there.

Carly: That is shocking.

Riese: I believe it, I believe it.

Erin: So they were all watching The L Word and just slowly introduced me to the show. And I was like, interesting, this is a very interesting show, I should probably watch all of it.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: You know, with maybe one of you alone.

Carly: Yeah!

Erin: And that’s what happened!

Carly: Ooooo! Fun!

Erin: So, you know… you know how that goes… you know someone who is maybe questioning, and you’re like, “You should watch this show with me!” And that’s what they did and it worked, so, thank you.

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: Incredible.

Erin: In many ways, you know, I was a Jenny. I was sort of following her arc.

Riese: Mhm, so many of us were.

Erin: She was moving into this house, she didn’t know who these people were, but then she looked through the cracks of the fence and she was like, “oh no.”

Carly: And then, a whole new world.

Riese: She saw Shane.

Carly: Do you have any favorite characters? I guess you did mention Jenny, would you say she’s a favorite character?

Erin: Ok so, I would say Jenny Season 5 really — you know, she jumps the shark, and I love her for that. I love the writers for making Jenny sort of go into psycho mode, Seasons 5 through 6. She has the best lines.

Riese: She does.

Carly: Yeah.

Erin: You know, I think people don’t love Jenny, one through four.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: And I can understand why. However, she’s redeemed. And then, you know, obviously Alice.

Carly: Mhm.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: She’s the best.

Riese: Yeah, everyone loves Alice.

Erin: Except when she’s being the worst.

Riese: Yeah, like when she’s being transphobic.

Erin: Right.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: Do you want to introduce the episode to us today, Carly?

Carly: Oh my god, I would be delighted to. Today’s episode is Season 5, Episode 10 entitled “Lifecycle,” which is definitely one of the more literal titles in this series.

Riese: Uh huh, because we do see a baby born, and we see the baby become a toddler, and then we see the baby become a teenager, and then become an adult, and then they die.

Erin: And then they come back, and then they’re old versus a baby.

Carly: And then they Benjamin button.

Riese: Yeah, Benjamin Button.

Carly: Right.

Riese: Yeah, so… and that’s a life cycle.

Carly: it’s a life cycle, so it’s like the riddle: what has 4 legs in the morning and walks on 2 legs in the afternoon and 3 in the evening.

Riese: Exactly.

Carly: It’s a person aging. Anyway, this was —

Riese: My favorite riddle.

Carly: Everyone’s favorite riddle. This was written and directed by Angela Robinson, who we love, and originally aired March 9, 2008.

Erin: Whoa.

Carly: That’s a long time ago.

Riese: What a time!

Carly: What a time!

Riese: Yeah, remember 2008?

Erin: Pre-Obama!

Riese: Pre-Obama.

Carly: Mhmm.

Riese: We just — I think we had just had the primaries. Or we were having the primaries?

Carly: Yeah, March, I guess… I don’t honestly know months anymore. Shall we get into it?

Riese: Ummmm yeah! Let’s do it!

Erin: Let’s do it!

Riese: Let’s talk about it!

Erin: I’m into it!

Riese: Ok!

Carly: Ok, great! Well, then let’s get into this week’s episode!

Riese: So we open on a splendorous field, which is a golf club in British Columbia.

Carly: Incredible.

Riese: But disguised to look like the beginning of the Subaru Pink Ride.

Carly: Dun dun dun!

Erin: Right.

Carly: Sponsored by Subaru!

Riese: Sponsored by Subaru!

Erin: Our ride-or-dies, you know, for decades. Shout out to Subaru. Also Subaru, can I have a car? My friend just got one of your cars and loves it, so I feel like I could also have one of your cars.

Carly: Like, you should give everyone one.

Riese: I would also like a car, because the bottom of my car is held on to the top of my car by 3 zip ties, so if Subaru has an extra car lying around, I’m happy to drive it around.

Erin: Oh yeah, we can share it!

Riese: Yeah, all share it! We’ll share it. We can share it.

Carly: I mean, I’ll say, my first car was a Subaru. It was a Subaru Forester, and my friends and I in college called it “the subaru lesbian.” Like, “Oh, who’s going to drive? Let’s take the lesbian.” You know?

Erin: No name, just “Lesbian?”

Carly: That was her name, yeah, her name was Lesbian.

Erin: That’s what people called me in college.

Carly: Yeah, honestly, I wasn’t sure if people were talking about me or the car, and I think it was kind of like the car became an extension of me and vice versa. Transformers, etc.

Riese: Yeah, totally.

Carly: I never took it into the woods, never took it to a bike thing like is happening here, so I really did not get the true Subaru experience.

Riese: No, you really didn’t. But we’re getting the true Subaru experience here, where everybody is wearing clothes, they have little teams for the rides, and they’re gonna — they’re riding for dead people and they’re also riding for survivors.

Carly: They are riding for the dead.

Riese: Uh huh, yeah, they’re riding for people who died and also for people who didn’t!

Carly: Yes, and we see a woman giving a rousing speech to the whole gang.

Riese: Yes.

Carly: And everyone is excited.

Erin: With a pink polo on!

main L Word characters cheering at the start of the Pink Ride

Riese: Yeah. And then there’s the theme song, and then we go right back where we started from, where we have a very rare thing in the program which is where we see Tasha’s friends.

Carly: Remember how Tasha is a person that has a life outside of this group of friends? You know, we wouldn’t know that because the show doesn’t really give us much of it.

Erin: Right.

Riese: No, they don’t.

Carly: Aside from army, but now that army is not taking up time I guess now we get friends.

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: So cool.

Erin: Alice at one point is like, “Are they flirting with you? Or were they flirting with you?” And she’s like, “Yeah, I’m hot.”

Riese: Yeah, who wouldn’t be?

Carly: Yeah, duh.

Erin: “I’m charming and hot, why wouldn’t they be?”

Carly: Like, “Have you looked at me? Duh.”

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: Right. “You knew what you were getting into when you started dating me, so yes, they were flirting with me.”

Riese: Yeah, who wouldn’t?

Carly: You were drawn in to this bone structure, so you —

Riese: We were all drawn into the bone structure, and her friends are riding for the Coco Club, which they say is a bar, and Alice is like, “I haven’t heard of this bar, it must not exist.” And that’s when Alice finds out that she’s a white woman.

Erin: Yeah, it hurts every time.

Carly: Yeah.

Erin: I do like the idea that there are so many lesbian clubs that Alice wouldn’t know one of them. You know, not just one that eventually closes.

Carly: Yeah.

Erin: It’s a beautiful thought.

Riese: She’s like, “I know all of them.” And I was like, I know all the lesbian clubs in LA too.

Erin: Name them!

Riese: [Silence] I did.

Erin: There we go!

Carly: End of list!

Riese: Jenny and Nikki…

Carly: Yeah. So then, Tina is so mad that Nikki is here! It’s so funny!

Riese: Yeah. She’s mad, she should be shooting Rolling Stone.

Carly: She is so pissed! “What are you doing here?!” “I’m raising awareness for breast cancer!” That was hilarious.

Riese: She’s wearing a Girltrash t-shirt.

Erin: Oh right, Angela Robinson, shout out.

Riese: Yeah, at the time Girltrash was just a little web series on OurChart.com.

Carly: Mhmmm.

Riese: But it eventually became a very contentious film that had a lot of lesbian drama around it.

Carly: The conversation turns into something with Adele, and then Jenny’s like, “Adele, are you gay?” And then Tina just screams —

Tina: Shut up! Ok? Whatever!

Riese: Yeah, mhmm.

Carly: Tina’s worried that she’s going to get fired, which I don’t actually think is actually — I don’t think that Nikki’s managers and agents can get Tina fired from the film.

Erin: Yeah, you’re the producer.

Carly: She’s the producer.

Erin: Calm down.

Carly: But she is concerned because she told them that she would make sure that Nikki was not publicly seen with Jenny.

Niki, in pigtails, says "Mario's hot for Adele"

Riese: Right.

Carly: And they’re like, “Come on, it’s not like we’re going to be having sex on the side of the road.” But like actually…

Erin: Or are we?

Carly: It’s kind of almost accurate.

Riese: It’s literally what they do.

Carly: It’s literally what happens.

Erin: Yeah.

Carly: And then she puts on a pair of Ray-Bans and she’s like, “No one is going to recognize me,” as a man walks up and is like, “Are you Nikki Stevens?” Comedically, it’s very good. Very well paced moment.

Erin: The opposite of “hair down glasses off.”

Carly: Exactly! Oh my god.

Erin: Glasses on…

Riese: Glasses on, hair up.

Carly: What an important reference, also. All teen comedies.

Erin: That Jenny was in! Mia Kirshner was in.

Riese: She was in another teen movie. She kissed a girl in it, right?

Erin: Life cycle…

Riese: Yeah, life cycle… it all comes around.

Carly: Oh my god.

Erin: Yes.

Riese: Guess who’s here? Guess who showed up at the pink ride?

Carly: Guess who showed up?! It’s fucking Molly.

Riese: It’s Molly!

Erin: Molly…

Carly: Shane tells her to go home, Molly shouts —

Molly: Go boobs!

Molly in a pink t-shirt, saying "I can support boobs if I want to"

Riese: Because it’s a free country and she can support boobs if she wants to.

Erin: Right, but isn’t that the most straight woman thing that you could yell?

Carly: Four thousand percent.

Erin: “Go boobs!”

Riese: Mhmm.

Carly: I mean, last episode she was talking about — was that last episode? Where she was —

Riese: Yeah, where she was amazed that Shane had boobs?

Erin: Oh, right.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: Yeah, so she’s really on a journey with boobs today. Again, life cycle. In the beginning of the episode she was still at her mother’s bosom, and now she’s a grown woman riding her bicycle.

Carly: Exactly, it’s a really incredible story.

Riese: My favorite part of this is Kit’s line that Lauren will put in, which is when Kit’s like —

Kit: You flew all the way out here? Shane, Shane, she flew all the way up here to keep fighting with you, girl! That’s true love, that’s true love!

Riese: That was cute!

Carly: That is queer culture, that statement.

Riese: That is queer culture, yeah. It’s like showing up to make a grand gesture, but the grand gesture is just a continuation of a fight that you’ve been having earlier.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: And Shane’s like, “I don’t want to be your loser fuck buddy.”

Carly: I think that’s fair! And now the ride begins! We are treated to our first of many several-minute-long montages of the cast riding bikes!

Erin: Oh, right?!

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: Not even 15 minutes in!

Carly: Honestly, recapping this episode in my notes was much easier than normal because there were so many chunks where nothing happened other than people riding bikes!

Riese: Which, honestly, I enjoyed.

Erin: Entire songs for montages, that’s a rare move!

Carly: I know!

Erin: You usually get maybe a 45-second — we got a full song!

Riese: A full playlist!

Carly: Yeah, incredible.

Riese: Every song we heard the whole thing. And there’s obviously some tension between Bette and Tina, and then there’s a cute little moment where Bette’s like—

Bette: Hey, I need to tell you something.
Tina: What?
Bette: You look really great in those pants.

Bette and Tina biking, other bikers behind them, Pacific Northwest. Bette smiling, just told Tina her ass looks great in those pants

Carly: Guess what? Those pants are disgusting!

Riese: You don’t like them?

Carly: No, I have a huge problem with them because —

Riese: Tell me.

Carly: They would be fine if they were normal leggings, even though they are cropped to the calf, but they flair out at the bottom!

Erin: Oh are they capris? I don’t think I registered Tina’s pants.

Riese: I didn’t either.

Carly: There is a slight flair at the bottom. There’s not an elastic band at the bottom that made them — personally illegal, these pants are illegal.

Erin: That hurts. so they’re yoga pants, but flared.

Carly: Yes.

Erin: Oh no.

Carly: And they are a hate crime.

Erin: Tina would wear those pants.

Riese: She would wear those pants.

Erin: If someone was like, “What did she wear?” I would be like, “Leggings that were flared at the bottom.”

Riese: Yeah, I would also think this was 2008…

Carly: Oh, it’s very of-the-era, but I find that comment to be terrible. “You look great in those pants.” You could have said anything else.

Riese: Yeah, they should be re-dubbing it for a new audience. For the 2020 audience, they should re-dub it and say like, “You look really great in that jacket.”

Erin: I try not to really register Tina on-screen.

Carly: That’s fair.

Erin: I don’t know what she was wearing.

Riese: It’s easy to kind of forget her, you know?

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: Speaking of Tina, she doesn’t want Jodi to know that they’ve been hooking up, which I, you know, of course not.

Carly: Yeah.

Erin: That’s a good move.

Carly: Yeah, Bette’s like, “She’s going to find out.” And she’s like, “No no, you can break up with her, but you can’t tell her that we’ve been fucking behind her back.” And Bette definitely is like, deep in thought at this in a way that I was like, oh god, now what?

Erin: Like have you not given any thought to this?

Carly: Have you really not thought through what the next steps are here? It seems pretty obvious.

Riese: I don’t think she has. She’s too embroiled.

Erin: Which is so weird because they have zero chemistry.

Carly: I know. Jodi’s riding right behind them, this whole conversation is crazy!

Riese: Right, but she can’t hear it.

Erin: I know! How rude to speed up and be like, “Let’s talk.”

Riese: Yeah, because that was my first thought too. Like, she’s right behind you. Then I was like, oh you motherfuckers.

Carly: You fucking assholes.

Riese: You can’t do that. That’s another type of cheating that I also condemn.

Carly: That’s like when she said — what did she say? She said, “I love Tina” with her back to her.

Riese: “I’m in love with Tina” with her back turned.

Carly: Yeah, come on.

Riese: And then she’s like, “Oh, nothing. I’m stressed out about work.”

Carly: Bette, you are… Bette’s a jerk. Ugh, I’m mad.

Riese: I love nature.

Carly: Lots of nature. Tasha’s friends ride by and they’re like, “Hey, come on, Tasha!” And Tasha’s like, “I’m gonna catch up to them! Come on, Alice!” And Alice is like, “This is a ride, not a race. And then they ride off as the captions say, “thunder crackles.”

Erin: Ohhhh.

Carly: Yeah.

Erin: Thunder only happens when it’s —

Riese: Raining.

Erin: There we go.

Riese: Uh huh.

Carly: Yep, that’s an important quote.

Riese: Here we are on the side of the road.

Carly: Love it. I love the orange slices, that’s real.

Riese: I know, it reminded me of soccer!

Erin: Soccer games!

Carly: Yeah, totally, absolutely.

Erin: Life cycle!

Riese: Yeah, which is relevant because Erin, as aforementioned, played soccer in college.

Carly: Exactly!

Riese: And then, boom. Comes all the way back around. Oranges are a circle…

Carly: Circle of life, life cycle.

Riese: Circle of life, life cycle.

Carly: The wheels on the bike are round. This is one of our most synergistic episodes of all time!

Riese: It is, absolutely. Actually, I’d like to pause and talk about myself for a second.

Erin: Please!

Carly: Please do!

Riese: One thing I was thinking about as I was watching these women on their bicycles is that my bicycle was, once again, stolen!

Carly: Oh!

Riese: My bike was stolen in January. I immediately replaced it, because I could not grapple with the emotional weight of losing it.

Erin: I get that. I get that.

Carly: For sure.

Erin: If you buy a new one, it didn’t happen.

Carly: Exactly.

Riese: Exactly. There were only a few hours where I didn’t know, you know? I bought the exact same bike from the exact same lesbian, but I bought more intense locks, which was the advice of our landlord. Basically, our landlord is dead, so there’s someone else we correspond with now. He’s not the landlord but he’s somehow in this position. And somehow, someone removed the wheels, even though I had a lock around the wheels, but also it fucked up the bike so they basically stole the bike again. So now I’ve had a bike stolen twice. And now I’m like, but if I replace it, it will probably get stolen again.

Erin: Was this in the locked garage, as well?

Riese: Uh huh.

Erin: Oh, wow.

Riese: He said — I emailed just to let him know, and he said it’s really only happened to me.

Erin: Oh… feels targeted.

Carly: It does, yeah.

Riese: So anyway, I’m jealous of all these people who have bikes.

Erin: Another question: you said you bought it from the same lesbian, is this a woman who just has a bunch of bikes? Or you went to a store where a lesbian works?

Riese: Oh, I went to a store.

Carly: Oh, ok. That makes more sense, because I just thought you Craigslisted it from a lesbian who was getting rid of it, and then somehow she had the same bike again.

Riese: No.

Carly: And then I was gonna —

Erin: She’s gonna keep stealing your bike!

Riese: That’s what I would do if I was a smart resourceful person. Anyway, the point is, I am jealous. I’m jealous of everyone on their bikes and that was a feeling that I was feeling throughout this entire thing.

Carly: I’m so glad you shared that.

Riese: Thank you, I’m really glad that I was able to have an opportunity to talk about it.

Carly: Absolutely.

Erin: You can walk outside…

Riese: Ehhhh… yeah…

Erin: Ok, you just mentioned it was so beautiful, and I was just thinking, you could walk…

Riese: Yeah, it’s a little hot today.

Carly: You could.

Erin: No? Ok, you’re right.

Riese: I prefer to bike.

Carly: Walking is the worst. So, Shane and Nikki are getting water and oranges, and Nikki starts kind of flirting with Shane and starts asking her how she met Jenny and asked if they ever hooked up, and Shane’s like, “Fuck no.”

Riese: “No, we’re just friends, and just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

Erin: Nikki is an agent of chaos.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: Everywhere she goes, she just drops bombs and walks away. She doesn’t even stay to watch the explosion, she just drops it and walks.

Carly: It’s kind of interesting because Nikki is a very overt agent of chaos, and then you have someone like Adele — it’s almost like the mirror of her, because she’s the secret behind-the-scenes agent of chaos.

Erin: The shadow.

Carly: It’s totally her shadow, but she’s also almost like Jenny’s shadow… I don’t know.

Riese: Everyone’s focused on how Nikki is gonna fuck up the movie, but it’s really Adele, but Nikki has the attitude of someone who has always been really hot — traditionally hot, and therefore has not had to do anything correctly, or like, respectfully.

Erin: Or apologize.

Riese: Yeah, or apologize. She just does her own thing.

Carly: Yeah, consequences don’t really factor in for her.

Riese: Yeah, it’s not really a thing for her.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: Um, so Jenny’s pussy is so numb. I love that part.

Erin: Again, psycho mode. She just comes up and says whatever she’s thinking about her pussy.

Jenny getting off her bike at a stop saying her pussy is numb

Carly: It’s true.

Erin: Good for her.

Riese: Good for her, and that’s a real thing.

Carly: She asks Shane to do something about her stalker, which is Molly.

Riese: Uh huh.

Carly: Which is, you know, great. And then Shane just peaces the fuck out of there, but she’s trying to escape Molly who, of course, is now following her. And they decide that Molly wants to race to the next stop, and if Molly gets there first and wins, then Shane has to talk to her. But if Shane gets there first, then Molly will go home. Whoa. Big stakes.

Riese: She’ll get an Alaska Air flight right out there.

Carly: Right out of there, yep.

Riese: Well, and guess who wins? It’s Molly. She does a last minute — she says I’m in love with you, and then Shane’s like, “What?” And then — you know, I’ve seen this a million times and I forgot that that happened, and I was like, she says she’s in love with her?

Erin: Right.

Riese: I was just like Shane, just totally fooled.

Erin: And how far into this are we? That they’ve known each other?

Carly: Like five minutes?

Riese: Um, two episodes?

Erin: Ok, two.

Riese: Three episodes?

Erin: And Molly was engaged when they met, is that correct?

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: To Richard!

Riese: To Richard.

Erin: Richard, you made me buy boat tickets.

Riese: Uh huh yeah exactly, cut from the same cloth. Life cycle.

Carly: Again, bringing it back.

Riese: Uh huh.

Carly: If I were the other riders on this ride and was anywhere near these two as they’re riding bikes and screaming at each other, I would be so angry.

Riese: I would be so entertained, I would be delighted.

Carly: That’s true. That would be deeply entertaining.

Erin: You’d be feeding it.

Riese: Because, especially by that point, your pussy’s numb, your legs hurt.

Carly: Your ass is asleep, yeah.

Riese: Your ass is asleep, your AirPods are dead.

Carly: What else are you gonna do?

Erin: You’re riding for cancer.

Riese: You’re riding for cancer, and then you want to hear — you want something to happen.

Erin: Yeah, you want a race.

Riese: You want a race. You want to see a race. And then we get this wonderful exchange of words between two women who have a complicated relationship.

Carly: Indeed.

Riese: In which Molly’s like —

Molly: Ok, I know I’m a disaster, but you have to listen to me, because that was the bet.
Shane: Make it fast.
Molly: I don’t know if I’m gay, I don’t know if I’m straight, but I know that I want to be with you.
Shane: We had terrible sex.
Molly: No, it was great for me! You don’t just get on a bike and know how to ride it. Same with riding a girl! So I freaked out, big deal. You’ve just been with so many girls, you don’t remember your first time. Well guess what? It was my first time and it was great! It was better than with Richard, and with guys, and with anybody. And I’m really into you and I swear next time I will so go down with you!
Shane: Molly, Molly, you’re making a scene, please. Seriously, why do you want to be with me? Think about it, because you’ve been using me to get back at your mother the whole time.
Molly: I haven’t! I haven’t been using you. I’ve never flown to the Pacific Northwest to chase a girl that I barely know. And I’m here and I’m really crazy about you! And I need you to give me another chance, even if I’m awful in bed. I know that I’m still Gay 101, but I’m a really fast learner and before you know it, I’m going to be an Advanced Placement Gay, and then Graduate-level Gay, and fuck law school! I’ll get my Doctorate in fucking gay!

Riese: I did appreciate Shane being very open about the fact that the sex they had was terrible.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: You know?

Erin: It’s important that you start there.

Carly: You gotta call that out, yeah.

Shane telling Molly they had terrible sex

Riese: Yeah, you gotta call that out. And I think it’s important for visibility because, you know, a lot of young new queer people are like, “I don’t know how to have sex!” And look, neither did Molly, but Shane still was willing to give her another chance. But Molly said it was the best sex of her life, which again felt authentic to me.

Carly: She was like, “It was great for me!”

Erin: Right, it feels very Liz Lemon, like, “I’ll let you go down on me and then that’s it!”

Riese: Yeah. The thing about Shane is that her whole character is like, “I fuck lots of girls and I’m blah blah blah,” but she’s the one, in any given season, to most likely be in a relationship.

Carly: Mmmm.

Erin: Makes you think.

Riese: Does make you think.

Carly: Wow, life cycle!

Riese: Thinking…

Erin: Life cycle.

Riese: Life cycle. So they make out and everyone cheers!

Erin: Oh right!

Carly: Yeah, and then Shane tells her she can’t wear pink anymore. What? Why?

Riese: She does?

Carly: She kisses her in order to shut her up, and then everyone cheers, and then she’s like, “Ok, but you can’t wear pink anymore,” or something like that.

Riese: What?

Carly: And I was like, what? Is this some sort of like femme quasi-hetero…

Erin: It’s Shane’s version of a gender reveal.

Riese: Yeah, that was a gender reveal party right there.

Erin: Was it because it looked bad on her? I’m confused.

Riese: She was like, “That’s not your color.”

Erin: “It’s a terrible color for you, you have brown hair.”

Carly: Look, I have some questions, that’s all.

Riese: Everyone knows: brown hair, no pink.

Erin: Right.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: Speaking of hair — if I could, if I may?

Carly: Please do.

Riese: Yeah, sure, please do.

Erin: You know, we’re on a gay bike ride.

Riese: Uh huh.

Erin: Sponsored by Subaru.

Riese: Subaru.

Erin: And there’s not a butch in sight.

Riese: Nope.

Carly: Nary a butch.

Erin: Once again, Ilene has done it.

Riese: No, she has, she’s done it.

Carly: Again.

Riese: And earlier today, I had the pleasure of locating the casting call for this shoot.

Erin: Oh wow!

Carly: Oh, yeah!

Riese: They were calling — it was a call for bikers, for women who love to bike, in the Pitt Meadows area in British Columbia to do three days of biking, $15 an hour.

Erin: Oh no, that feels illegal.

Riese: Well, I mean right now, Shrill is casting extras in Portland for $13.25 an hour.

Carly: Ohhhh, I forgot that Shrill shoots in Portland, that’s right.

Riese: Yeah, so it was a casting — they didn’t say anything else, it was that you had to be a woman, and I think that was it. I don’t recall —

Erin: Not even a fan of the show, just…

Riese: I mean, I imagine it got, there were some fans who turned up for it because I found it on an L Word blog, yeah.

Erin: What is this L Word blog that just does a deep dive?

Riese: It was from the era, it was a blog entry from when they did the casting call, like in November 2007. The source, as Carly pointed out in all caps, was Source Chris.

Erin: Sounds right, I believe it.

Carly: Chris strikes again! Ear to the ground, that Chris!

Riese: Yeah, so… sad cabin.

Carly: Ok…

Erin: Mmm, I have a lot to say about this.

Carly: Suddenly they’re in a cabin that has a quilt and pillows and candles, and I was like, one of the candles is way too close to the quilt.

Erin: Agree!

Carly: And I thought it was a fire hazard, that’s my first comment about this cabin. Did they even show the exterior of this building?

Erin: No.

Carly: Or did I look away when they did that? It looked like they were just riding —

Riese: No, they just walked into it, and in my memory for some reason, it was sort of a weird memory like you have in a dream, where in my memory I remember this being like Dana’s cabin at camp.

Erin: That’s what I thought! I thought I remembered it being in the show, being like, “Oh, they’re at horse camp.”

Riese: Yeah, but how could it possibly be… no, it’s not.

Bette, Alice, Jenny, Shane, Tasha and Jodi in a cabin lighting a candle for Dana

Carly: That’s where they spread her ashes, that’s where they went. But also, leading into this scene, I thought it was going to be Dana and the cabin and the waterfall for some reason.

Erin: Did they take it out and we just don’t know!?

Riese: We just have short circuited, well — and again, we are thinking about life cycles, so we were thinking the last cabin, this time cabin —

Carly: It’s a life cycle of Dana, is what it is.

Riese: Uh huh.

Carly: A character that has been forgotten by the show until this scene.

Riese: Until now. I unfortunately was compelled by a power beyond myself to almost cry.

Erin: Oh wow! It has been a hard pandemic for all of us, hasn’t it?

Carly: I felt nothing watching this, and this episode.

Erin: Again, felt nothing.

Carly: But that’s my own journey, you know what I mean?

Riese: Yeah, uh huh. Well…

Erin: Was it about missing friends?

Riese: I was — I think it was like an involuntary reaction to a sad scene in a show, although it was a lot of friends touching each other which is something…

Carly: Indoors!

Riese: Indoors, which is a nice experience that one doesn’t have these days.

Carly: We do not.

Riese: It was like all the actors were really sad that Erin Daniels was not in the show anymore. I feel like that’s what they were all feeling, they’re like, “Oh, we miss Erin,” and then the people who didn’t know Dana have to supportively put their hands on the shoulders of their Dana-knowing partners.

Carly: Which is called acting, you know it’s called acting.

Riese: That is acting.

Erin: That’s acting, for $15 an hour, that is acting.

Riese: That is acting. Someone left a pin, a Dana pin?

Carly: Alice takes her little Dana button off and clips it onto the quilt.

Riese: Uh huh.

Carly: And they talk about how they love her and will always remember her, even though no one has talked about her in many episodes.

Riese: Correct.

Erin: Right.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: That was very moving, for me only.

Carly: For only Riese.

Riese: I was moved. And then — does anyone else have anything else to say about the cabin?

Carly: No.

Erin: Just another long shot, you know, without speaking. And that’s ok with me.

Carly: It was a lot less work on our end this week.

Riese: It did feel weird to be serious for a second.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: The episode was sort of directed in a different way than they normally do, and sort of arranged in a different way than they normally do. We’re used to these much more rapid-fire dialogue, and they slowed down and I actually think it really worked.

Carly: I think so too, yes.

Erin: I agree! It’s an easy watch.

Riese: Yeah, it was an easy watch.

Carly: It felt thematically appropriate, like those stylistic choices made by Angela Robinson felt appropriate to the somber nature.

Riese: Yeah, and all the complicated shit that’s going on with Bette and Tina.

Erin: Sure.

Riese: Yeah, and this is one of my favorite episodes, actually.

Erin: It’s good! Thank you for having me for this!

Riese: Yeah, you could have gotten — what was the worst one that we had someone do?

Carly: Oh, when Dana died?

Riese: The entirety of Season 3… no, we did that one alone, as a mercy.

Carly: Right, that’s true, ok.

Riese: Everyone’s biking, and Bette pauses on the side of the road, and Jodi pauses and she says that she wishes Angie was there, and Bette you can tell is thinking, “Oh, you’re never going to see her again.”

Erin: Oh noooo. Does Bette know that she can just break up with people?

Carly: I don’t think she does know that.

Riese: No, as someone who is also bad at that…

Erin: You’d rather just have four months of stress.

Riese: Yeah, I’d rather just have them slowly turn against me.

Erin: Ok. It would be hard for Bette on this occasion, seen as they’re sort of on a vacation, would you call it? But Jodi also has friends there that if you’re just like — I know this is weird — but maybe stay with your friend tonight.

Riese: Yeah, or they — I mean, do it before!

Carly: I would also — yeah, make the argument that Bette could have broken up with her at any point in many of the episodes leading up to this one.

Riese: Mhmm.

Erin: Because Bette also seems to hate her.

Carly: Yeah, she for some reason specifically said, “I want to wait until after the pink ride — the Subaru Pink Ride brought to you by Subaru — to break up with Jodi, and so that’s an interesting choice. I guess it’s so that it won’t be weird, but joke’s on them.

Riese: It’s already weird, yeah. That’s what always happens. If you know you want to break up with someone and you’ve decided when you’re going to do it, that means you should do it right now, not that other time. You can’t schedule a break up because then there’s this in-between time where you or the other person starts to feel insane.

Carly: Yeah, like you think that no one’s gonna know, but —

Riese: Yeah, but everyone knows.

Carly: If you’ve made up your mind to break up with someone, it’s very obvious that you hate them because you’re Bette and you can’t hide it and also most people I think would fall into the same problem.

Erin: Hey, at least Bette doesn’t go the straight man route and just murder the entire family.

Riese: Right.

Carly: Exactly.

Erin: She could do that!

Carly: That’s true, yeah.

Erin: She just chooses to make all her friends really uncomfortable, be really mean to that person, and then have that person break up with you, and then she cries about it, you know?

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: As if that’s a shock to her.

Carly: She wanted to ruin a campfire and s’mores, and that’s fucked up.

Riese: Yeah, but also it was really great drama if we’re talking about storytelling. Also, again, on a personal note, the top of my chapstick has come off and now it’s just in my hand like a little button.

Erin: I believe that’s a camp item, right?

Riese: It’s a camp item, yeah. An A-Camp item. Speaking of camping!

Carly: We’re treated to another biking montage!

Riese: Another biking montage! This is a really fun little biking montage!

Carly: This is fun!

Erin: They’re throwing water at each other!

Riese: Alice pees on the side of the road!

Carly: Alice pees on the grass.

Alice peeing in the bushes

Riese: Adele smiles, which is wild. Nikki has a camera. Shane and Molly are hugging. Tina’s on the phone.

Carly: Tom and Max are also in this episode.

Erin: Oh, right, by the way.

Riese: Yeah, they don’t have lines, but they’re there.

Carly: No.

Riese: It’s better that way, for Max.

Carly: I thought this was a fun montage. It was cute. It felt very much like a group of friends hanging out. The one thing that I will say about this episode is that it’s nice to have the entire cast in one place dealing with kind of one or two main central issues, which is we’re on bikes, and Bette’s gonna break up with Jodi. It’s kind of what everyone’s dealing with, and then obviously Jenny has her own thing going on, but that’s kind of it.

Riese: Yeah, and Shane has her new amore.

Erin: They’re still chasing that weed brownie high, you know?

Carly: I know.

Erin: They’re trying to get back there.

Riese: Yeah, I love it.

Carly: Yeah!

Riese: Anyway, now speaking of camping…

Carly: Time to put up some tents!

Riese: They’re gonna put up some tents! Alice seems vaguely jealous that Tasha was with her friends.

Carly: Yes.

Riese: Which is concerning.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: Because you should be happy that Tasha ran into her friends and got to see people she hasn’t seen in so long.

Carly: Yeah, all you do is hang out with your friends. Like, what if Tasha wants to see her friends? Do you ever go hang out with other people? Just hang out at The Planet, is that all we do?

Riese: Yeah, that’s all we do.

Erin: This is one of the times where Alice is the worst, and I don’t like her, so from earlier, you know, if we could subtract moments like this.

Riese: I like the pigtails!

Carly: For sure!

Riese: Little tiny baby pigtails. She was making that work and that’s not easy.

Carly: Yeah, that’s true, it’s not easy.

Riese: So, Bette and Jodi are fighting about the tent.

Carly: Of course they are.

Riese: Because Bette is stubborn about it and Jodi is just like, “Ughhhh.” And Adele has got this gourmet fancy tent from North Face.

Erin: Sponsored by North Face.

Riese: Sponsored by North Face on the Subaru Pink Ride sponsored by Subaru.

Carly: She fully set up a branded deal.

Riese: Uh huh.

Carly: This is like Adele has an Instagram marketing strategy before there was even Instagram.

Erin: Honestly, Adele sounds like an incredible manager.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: Assistant.

Erin: Well, assistant, but she’s taking on a manager role and she should just do this.

Carly: Yeah, above and beyond.

Erin: Stop trying to sabotage someone’s career and just become a manager that you’re really good at.

Carly: This reminded me so much of when Tom Haverford tried to go camping on Parks and Rec and had that gigantic tent with a generator. I was like, this is our version of that.

Riese: Alice is like, “I love to find a hotel,” which I feel that. And Shane has a really shitty tent that she got on sale at Costco, and Molly is like, “How am I gonna have advanced placement lesbian sex in that tent?” And as someone who has tried to have sex in a very small tent, you aren’t gonna… you aren’t.

Erin: Sure.

Riese: And Shane is like, “Mmm.” And it’s cute and funny and they go sabotage Jenny’s tent.

Carly: They untie one of the ropes and the whole thing collapses and Jenny screams.

Jenny: Noooo! We’re being killed!

Jenny's fancy tent collapsing while her and Niki are inside it

Carly: So good!

Erin: I have that in my notes, that line.

Riese: Foreshadowing…

Erin: Foreshadowing.

Carly: Quick pause, to ask: What is everyone’s personal feeling on camping? My personal feeling is that it’s terrible and I hate it and I never want to do it.

Erin: I….

Carly: Do we have any pro-camping voices on this episode today?

Erin: I’m a pro-camper.

Riese: You are?

Erin: I love it.

Carly: Ok, great.

Erin: I love the outdoors. I recently — in a safe way, everybody — went to a farm, basically, that was an airbnb. And I was reminded how much I love the outdoors and how nice it is to breathe fresh air that’s not clouded with smoke from the raging fires that’s around all of us.

Riese: Uh huh.

Erin: But I love camping.

Riese: Did you sleep in a tent?

Erin: No, if I have the right equipment, I love it.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: Yes, it does get dewy, and maybe you’re a little wet, but if you have the right equipment —

Carly: Absolutely not.

Erin: No?

Riese: I love to shower. I love… I like to start my day with a little exercise and a shower.

Erin: She does.

Riese: I do, it’s true.

Erin: I will testify to that.

Carly: I love a little coffee, I love a shower, and I love wifi and privacy. And I also don’t like — I have this weird thing where I don’t like stepping barefoot on grass, and I know that that’s my own shit, so I feel like just the idea of camping in a tent just makes me deeply uncomfortable.

Erin: What about a fire?

Riese: I love a nice campfire, and then afterwards I can go to not a tent.

Erin: Ok.

Carly: Campfire is tough for me because then my clothes all reek of campfire and it doesn’t come out until you wash them.

Riese: I love that smell!

Carly: And so it’s just, it’s a lot. It’s a lot for me. I understand that I’m a little high maintenance when it comes to these things. I own that.

Riese: I am not a person who’s gonna initiate a camping trip, but if someone else initiates it, I’ll attend. But I really, again, would like to have that shower, I would like that morning shower. I’m not gonna feel right without it. And a lot of campsites have showers.

Erin: That’s true.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: So there is that, but…

Carly: Yeah, still not doing it.

Riese: But also, I don’t sleep well, so it’s hard for me to do multiple nights of camping.

Erin: I mean, yeah. I think the max is two for me.

Carly: If someone even invites me on a camping trip where we’re doing hiking and sleeping in tents, I would be offended that they clearly don’t know me.

Erin: Oh no! Just let me erase something from my phone real quick.

Carly: Yeah, sorry…

Erin: Just unsend something…

Carly: Yeah, unsend that invite.

Riese: I also find camping is like this rustic — like, you’re gonna be in the outdoors, but somehow it ends up being so expensive. You end up buying 10,000 things on your way there.

Erin: Yeah.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: It’s sort of like the Caleb Gallo beach day video, but about camping.

Erin: Right.

Riese: And you get there, and it feels like you buy all this stuff to be there, and it feels like I can’t stop analyzing it from a distance where I’m like, it’s so weird how we’re buying all these goods to pretend like we don’t have goods.

Carly: Exactly!

Erin: That we’re living off the land.

Riese: Yeah, that we’re living off the land, but we need all this stuff.

Carly: But we went to REI and spent thousands of dollars before we can leave.

Erin: Yeah, so a bear doesn’t attack all of us.

Carly: Exactly. Alright, back to the episode.

Riese: Back to the episode!

Carly: So Jodi is helping Tina with her tent.

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: Because Bette has scared her away and it’s nice for a minute, but Tina is just so deeply uncomfortable. Tina also calls Bette kind of OCD, which is one of my pet peeves.

Erin: Ooooh.

Riese: Yeah…

Carly: As a person of OCD experience, when people just toss around the term OCD to describe people who don’t actually have OCD, it’s very upsetting and I hate it.

Riese: Yeah, it didn’t make sense because wasn’t she like, “Oh, is Bette moody about” — there’s something about putting together the tent?

Erin: Right.

Riese: And then she was like, “Bette’s really OCD.” I was like, how is any of the behavior you just described —

Carly: Yeah, she’s just being mean.

Riese: There’s the issue of Bette not having OCD, but there’s also like, how is what you just described anyone’s experience of OCD?

Erin: What’s the a-to-b here?

Carly: Yeah.

Erin: She’s trying to put up the tent correctly, because otherwise you can’t be in the tent that’s not.

Riese: That’s not OCD.

Carly: No, she’s just being mean to Jodi because she wants to break up with her and she’s always bossy when it comes to things like this. This has nothing to do with an anxiety disorder or anything of that nature.

Riese: No.

Erin: And also, Jodi’s just trying to help her make the tent, and she’s so mean to her and made me so uncomfortable.

Carly: So mean, it was awful.

Riese: Well, she’s doing that thing where you’re about to break up with someone so you try to make your relationship worse.

Carly: And you push them away so that maybe if you do it enough times, and for long enough, they will actually suggest breaking up and you can just sort of shrug.

Riese: Mhmm.

Carly: Great plan, Bette, this is going to take forever.

Riese: Yeah, it’s not going well. And yeah, Tina obviously feels really guilty.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: That even talking to Jodi about it feels really awkward, which is fair. Also, Tina is the only one on the trip — well, besides Adele, I guess — who is single. You know — well Shane was supposed to be, but Molly is ambitious. So this is a lot. I mean I, as everyone knows, not a Tina fan. But in Season 5, I did find Tina to be a tolerable and realistic person, and I do feel in this episode that she was having a tough time and that was a fair feeling for her to have.

Carly: Yeah, Jodi hugs her at the end and she just looks like she wants to die. Also, Jodi asks how Angie is, and my question is where the fuck is Angie?

Erin: Where’s Angie?

Carly: Who’s watching her? Kit is on this trip.

Erin: Angie is vaping.

Carly: Who’s watching Angelica? We have no idea what the childcare situation is going on with this child, I just —

Riese: How dare they not inform us constantly of who Angie is being babysat by?

Erin: Yeah, put her in a Baby Bjorn.

Carly: Yeah, bring her on the trip and she could look at the lake with Jodi.

Riese: Get a basket! Put a basket on your bike and put the baby in the basket! Good enough for Moses.

Erin: Just be like Mad Men and just forget they have children, you know?

Carly: Might as well.

Erin: We don’t need to see them.

Riese: Put her in a backpack, she’s small.

Erin: Sure.

Riese: Put her in a backpack, zip her up, get on the road.

Carly: She’s fine!

Riese: Hit the road, Jack!

Erin: We know they exist as a concept, we don’t need to see them — just say you have her in a backpack.

Riese: Yeah, and she can peek out, you know? I’ve put Carol in a sack. I’ve put Carol in a tote bag.

Carly: I think that’s a little different, but yeah…

Riese: So now it’s nighttime.

Carly: It’s nighttime.

Riese: There’s a campfire, Adele is on her BlackBerry and Alice is like, “Are you gay?”

Alice and Adele at campfire, Alice asking Adele if she is "gay or what"

Erin: Second time she’s asked that question.

Riese: Second time!

Carly: She says, “What’s your deal?”

Riese: Good for Alice, asking the important questions. Everyone’s wondering, everyone wants to know. And adele is like, “Ehh, it depends.”

Carly: Depends on who’s asking?

Riese: On who’s asking, which… what?

Carly: Huh?

Erin: I’m gonna say that whenever someone asks me a question. “It depends on who’s asking.” “I just asked it.”

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: Well, that’s debatable, and we’ll see about it.

Riese: That’s debatable, yeah.

Carly: Adele does say that she’s single and Alice is like, “Oh great, that’s what these rides are for, curing cancer and one night stands.”

Riese: Yeah, which I don’t think is true.

Carly: I don’t think so, but good for Alice, I guess?

Riese: No one wants a one night stand in a tent.

Carly: Yeah, that sounds terrible. Adele wants to focus on work, Alice thinks she’s boring, and Adele says that she does have her eye on someone, but it’s a secret.

Riese: I don’t even… who??

Erin: She means that literally. She’s literally recording Jenny right now. “I have eyes on her, so don’t worry about it.”

Carly: “I’ve got eyes on Schecter.”

Riese: But also, she’s very busy, she’s like, “I need to focus on work,” which obviously — again, no one here has seen All About Eve, no one knows what’s happening.

Carly: It’s shocking that none of them know anything about that film, it’s wild.

Riese: Shocking. And so everyone’s sitting at the campfire and Tina and Bette are making meaningful eye contact, and Kit is like, “Bette! Come on!”

Erin: The conduit to everyone’s narratives, it’s Kit. I don’t have a story, I just help yours along.

Carly: Exactly.

Riese: Mhmm, that’s true.

Carly: She says, “I sure hope you know what you’re doing,” and Bette says, “I have it completely under control,” which is…

Riese: A lie.

Carly: A lie.

Riese: But anyway, speaking of showers like I was earlier, we go to the shower line, where Nikki and Shane are in line for the shower.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: And Nikki is definitely flirting with Shane at this point, and is like, “Are you hard to get or hard to keep?” And I think the answer is both!

Carly: Uh huh! I would agreeee!

Riese: Then they go into the shower house and there’s a woman, an extra, who has a huge…

Carly: A massive lower back tattoo.

Riese: Yes!

Erin: Shirt off!

Carly: A gigantic…

Erin: She’s coming in real hot.

Riese: And I’m like, is that the extra’s actual tattoo, or did they think this woman needs a little bit of bad gay taste on her lower back?

Carly: Man, it could go either way, honestly.

A girl in the showers at the campsite has a terrible lower back tattoo

Riese: I was just distracted by it.

Erin: I mean, the casting call is too vague!

Carly: Yeah, unless there was a casting call for someone with a hideous gigantic lower back tattoo.

Riese: Yeah, $16 an hour if you have a back tattoo.

Carly: And you have to be comfortable being naked on camera.

Riese: Yeah fully naked, but back to the camera, so it’s not full frontal, it’s full back-al.

Carly: Full back-al.

Erin: Whoa.

Carly: Back-al, side-al, I’d say. Side-al back-al.

Riese: Nikki’s kind of checking Shane out.

Carly: Yeah, she’s overtly checking Shane out as they take off their clothes for the shower. I’m like, Nikki, what are you doing?

Erin: She says a very haunting line where Shane’s like, “I love Jenny.” And she’s like, “Me too, I totally love Jenny.” Which is—

Riese: Dun dun dunnnn…

Erin: Hearing someone like Nikki say that, you get… I’m scared.

Carly: I’m scared, yeah. It shook some fear into my heart, she was saying it in a way that you are like, “Yeah, totally, I totally love that person,” not the way you would talk about —

Erin: Yeah like, “I totally love your skirt…”

Carly: Yeah, not the way you talk about someone you’re actually in love with.

Riese: Right.

Carly: So that was a little weird. Nikki, what are you doing?

Riese: What are you doing, Nikki?

Erin: It’s weighted.

Riese: And then we go to…. ohhh… speaking of blankets…

Erin: Speaking of!

Riese: It’s Alice and Tasha’s tent! And Alice… Tasha’s just lying there thinking about times gone by, how crazy it is to see old friends, how she used to be in army and now is not in army, and now what’s next for Tasha.

Carly: What is next for Tasha?

Riese: Yeah, and we’re right now in a real sweet spot with Tasha, between when she was in the military and when she decides to become a cop, and I wish we could just stay here.

Carly: Oh, me too.

Riese: Relish this sweet moment in time when she’s just wondering what’s next for Tasha.

Carly: And then really casually she just asks what she wants her future to look like? Do you want kids? What do you want to do with your career? Really super chill stuff. I will say that the two of them in this scene together is just so lovely and charming and like —

Riese: Yeah, they’re cute.

Alice and Tasha in their tent together

Carly: It feels so real, the way that they’re just — it almost feels like it wasn’t scripted, even though of course it was scripted, but it just feels so natural and I love that. That was nice.

Riese: And when Alice says what she wants her future to be, what we all know now is that she gets it!

Carly: She wants kids and to be on TV. She gets it!

Riese: Yeah, she got it!

Erin: She wants a talk show where the logo is an upside down mouth.

Carly: Yep, the “Aloce” show.

Riese: The “Aloce” show.

Erin: The “Aloce.”

Riese: And she got that!

Erin: Never stop giving up your dreams!

Carly: Believe in yourself, says Alice Pieszeki. And then Tasha says, “I just want to be with you,” and suggests that they move in together, and it’s cute.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: Yeah.

Carly: It was cute!

Riese: I was surprised by that!

Carly: It seems, I’m surprised that —

Riese: I had forgotten that that had happened!

Carly: I had also forgot — I was surprised that if this couple were to move in together, it seems less likely that Tasha would have been the one to suggest it?

Erin: Right.

Riese: Right.

Carly: And it also seems like maybe it’s a little soon? They just kind of recently got back together and Tasha is in the middle of this huge change of her life.

Riese: Life transition, right.

Erin: Right, it feels like the move of someone who is very uncertain with their life and they’re like, “Let’s throw something crazy in here: Let’s get bangs.”

Riese: Yeah, she could have just suggested that Alice get bangs.

Carly: Yeah, instead she’s like, “Let’s get a house!”

Riese: An apartment!

Carly: Yeah!

Riese: Then we are back at the campfire. Tina is wearing a big coat.

Carly: Big coat!

Riese: Big coat!

Erin: Again, didn’t notice. What does the coat look like?

Riese: It’s kind of like she…

Carly: It’s big.

Riese: It’s just big, yeah.

Erin: It’s big, ok.

Riese: There’s like a logo on it, it’s like a bomber.

Carly: It has a little bit of a bomber vibe, but like is not.

Riese: A little bit of a bomber vibe.

Carly: But it’s not like a shiny coat, it’s more of a matte finish coat. I liked it, I thought it was nice.

Erin: You never really know her style.

Riese: You never do. Then Shane wants to go somewhere with Molly. That’s exciting for them! And then meanwhile, at the campfire, everyone’s making s’mores as if making s’mores is fun, which it isn’t.

Erin: I made s’mores last week and it’s amazing!

Carly: Whoa!

Erin: Where does the hatred come from?

Riese: It’s so laborious!

Carly: It’s laborious, it’s messy.

Erin: To eat? To make?

Carly: All of the above!

Riese: To make — I’m glad I have an ally in this — to make, and then to eat. I mean, I have a small mouth and it’s hard to get all of that —

Erin: I’ll give you that, that is a very laborious bite.

Carly: Well, and I like to eat them. If someone has made a s’more, I will eat the s’more, because I have a gigantic mouth. I just don’t want to take the time to actually make the s’more.

Erin: Ok, so putting a stick in the fire for 15 seconds is a lot for both of you.

Riese: Uh huh. Well, then you also have to get the graham cracker, and then get it —

Carly: Correct, you get the sandwich, and then you pull the stick out, and it’s a mess!

Erin: What you’re describing is putting a marshmallow on a graham cracker, so, it’s not a process, it’s just putting…

Carly: Erin, you’re making it — this is kind of reductive, the way you’re talking about this.

Riese: And then the chocolate is a little hot, it’s a different texture, you got three different textures, and you’re trying to —

Carly: So many different textures!

Riese: You’re trying to combine them all, and the stick, and the marshmallow is all sticky, and then your hands are sticky.

Erin: Wow, they have really done you dirty. I would love to make you two s’mores.

Carly: Thank you!

Riese: Let’s go glamping!

Carly: I would love for you to make s’mores for us!

Riese: I would love for you to make a s’more!

Carly: How about you just make them and then just drop them off at my house on your way to camping?

Erin: Ok, I’ll do that.

Carly: And I’ll just stay home.

Riese: And I’ll stay at my house, which is our house.

Carly: Robin loves s’mores. Robin loves making s’mores and always makes me s’mores when there’s s’mores to be made, and that is wonderful because I love delicious treats. So, Shane and Molly duck out of the campfire with the s’mores, and Molly is like, “I bribed a truck driver so we could fuck in this truck because your tent is too small.” Am I reading this correctly?

Erin: That’s correct. My note on this is, “Is this an abandoned airplane?”

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: Because it looks like they’ve found…

Riese: The Lost plane.

Erin: The wreckage of a plane.

Riese: The smoke monster!

Erin: They were like, “Let’s have sex in here!”

Carly: I mean, good luck!

Riese: Yeah I thought, what’s the surface they’re on? And then I thought, Shane’s shirt — she’s wearing this red waffle sort of shirt, I liked it.

Carly: I liked it too!

Riese: I wouldn’t mind owning a shirt like that for the winter.

Carly: Yeah, I know, it looked cozy!

Riese: So this is a little sexual scene between Molly and Shane.

Carly: Molly asks Shane for —

Molly: Any hot tips?

Carly: Before she goes down on her.

Erin: Which… is always a good start to someone having sex with you.

Carly: Shane has a lot of confidence in this. Despite not knowing what she’s doing, Molly is on top.

Riese: But she’s gung ho, she’s like, “I’m doing this! I’m a top! I’m taking your pants off!” Even though she still has her jacket on. And then she’s gonna do it, she’s gonna eat vaginas.

Molly and Shane are starting to have sex

Erin: I have a question!

Riese: Yeah?

Erin: I didn’t think that Shane let people do stuff to her, am I correct in that?

Riese: Shane is actually a secret power bottom.

Erin: I guess I just never saw Shane in that position.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: And it was unsettling to me a little bit, because she looked very uncomfortable.

Riese: Well, she’s really vulnerable with Molly.

Erin: That she was. She’s uncomfortable and she doesn’t like it.

Carly: Interesting, interesting.

Riese: She tells Molly to —

Shane: Breathe through your mouth.

Carly: That’s the advice!

Riese: And then directs her.

Carly: Then we go to Jenny and Nikki’s condo tent.

Riese: Yeah, and feel how you feel about Jenny or Nikki, this is a classic L Word sex scene.

Erin: I love it.

Carly: Classic.

Riese: It’s so fun, it’s so cute, the music is great.

Carly: So fun! They got “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure. They had Cure money!

Riese: Yeah!

Erin: I know!

Carly: And a lot of the song! Like, it’s most or all of the song, it’s incredible!

Riese: So Jenny got Nikki a strap-on and Nikki is, first of all, not appreciative at all about this gift.

Carly: She opens it and is like, “What is this? I’m not a dude.” And I was just like…

Jenny filming Niki holding a purple dildo

Riese: And she was like, “Yeah, exactly.”

Carly: Yes.

Riese: But then they’re cute and flirty, and it’s purple, the purple dildo.

Carly: They’re filming each other. That won’t lead to something terrible.

Erin: Yeah, bantering with the camera.

Carly: It’s very cute.

Erin: They’re pretending the lube is a gun.

Riese: Yeah, that was cute!

Carly: When Nikki has the strap-on on, she says, “I feel like I have a tail,” which I laughed and then I was like, oh this poor girl doesn’t know what a tail is. Poor thing, she doesn’t know any animals ever.

Riese: She could have said, “I feel like I have a penis.”

Carly: Yeah, that would have been more apt.

Erin: Or a gun.

Riese: A gun in the pants.

Erin: What do you give Nikki’s strap game? What’s a number? Or a letter?

Riese: Honestly, she gets right in there and seems to be competently fucking Jenny.

Erin: Yeah, agree.

Riese: She’s a natural, and also they have great sexual chemistry.

Carly: They do, they are very hot together. So, good for them!

Riese: And this is also when I feel like Jenny is the most playful and human. You know what I mean?

Carly: Yeah.

Erin: Right.

Riese: And we also see that they do a lot of little dirty talk, which I love. Again, it all felt so real and good and funny and everyone had a nice time.

Carly: I know! So much of this episode, the writing and the performances feel super real, which I greatly appreciated.

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: Then we smash cut to Adele sitting outside of their tent, smoking a cigarette and watching their silhouettes fuck!

Riese: Like a creep, yeah.

outside of the tent where Niki and Jenny are having sex

Carly: What an incredible moment, truly. I know that the sex scene is iconic, but I honestly would also say that this Adele moment is also iconic, because this is serial killer behavior.

Erin: It is, yeah.

Riese: That’s someone who is plotting.

Carly: A lot of plotting.

Riese: So then, Molly and Shane, they’ve wrapped up.

Carly: Yeah, Shane gives Molly an A+.

Riese: Awww, that’s sweet.

Carly: I feel like that has to be a lie, but…

Erin: Yeah, it doesn’t feel genuine.

Carly: That felt like such a lie.

Riese: But I think for her — you know, if it’s English 125, then she’s giving her an A+. It’s not AP English.

Erin: Oh, ok.

Riese: It’s freshman English.

Carly: Yeah, alright, I mean, sure.

Riese: Shorter paper, justice for Molly.

Erin: Are you a Molly fan?

Riese: Umm, no…

Carly: What is their shipper name? Is it Sholly?

Riese: Sholly. It’s Sholly.

Carly: I would like to make an argument for Mane.

Erin: Aww!

Carly: Because it’s funny.

Riese: I’m really just dedicated to my number one, which is Shenny.

Carly: Of course, of course.

Erin: Oh, right.

Carly: Right.

Erin: Molly just seems — at this point, I don’t know how old Shane is, but I’m imagining me in that position, where —

Riese: She would have been… 28.

Erin: No!

Riese: Because she turns 40 in Gen Q, which is 10 years after, so she would have been 28?

Erin: What?! Ok, still, at 28, I would be like, I can’t, this is so tiring.

Carly: I know, this shit is exhausting. I would be like, no, I don’t have time for this, or the energy for this.

Erin: Right, you can hang out with us, it seems like you need a community, but I’m tapped.

Carly: Yeah, my schedule’s full, I don’t have time to teach someone how to be gay right now, sorry.

Riese: You could just send her a link. There’s a whole website for that now, it’s called autostraddle.com.

Erin: She seems very stressed about it. Molly doesn’t seem like she’s in it for the ride, she seems very stressed, like she’s looking for a grade, and I don’t think I could give that to her.

Carly: Yeah, agreed.

Riese: I do think on some level I probably relate to that, because I remember I had gotten very good at having sex with men, and then I started having sex with women and I was like, I really want to be good at this too.

Carly: You want to be the best.

Riese: I want to be the best, I don’t want to do something if I’m just going to be in the middle, you know?

Erin: Ok, you don’t want to enjoy it, you want to succeed at it.

Carly: You will defeat it, you want to win the championship.

Riese: I want to deliver! I want to deliver!

Carly: You want to be the best!

Riese: Yeah, but that’s about the beginning and ending of any relationship feelings I have towards this match-up. But I do think that they have funny banter.

Carly: Mhmm, yeah, they do.

Riese: And for a TV show relationship, it’s kind of cute. And Molly says she’s going to be a public defender, which I believe fully that that is what she thinks she’s going to do at this point, but when she graduates law school she’s going to change her mind and go into employment law.

Carly: Absolutely.

Riese: Or something of that nature.

Erin: Divorce?

Riese: Yeah, divorce, like her parents.

Erin: Life cycle!

Carly: We life cycle back to the tent where Nikki and Jenny are still fucking, and we get like 17 close-ups of the camcorder.

Riese: Yeah, just in case you guys didn’t know, if you’ve been distracted by this scene —

Carly: I will only be referring to this device as a camcorder, I will not call it a camera, that is a camcorder. It’s just a specific camera and term.

Erin: Let’s bring those back! Those things were fun to hold!

Riese: I have one in my closet!

Carly: The zoom-ins. The zooms-in? The zoom-ins?

Erin: The zooms-in!

Riese: Zoom zoom!

Carly: The zoom zoom zooms on the camcorder are very funny, this camcorder is really playing a huge role in this episode. “Submitted for the approval of the midnight society…”

Erin: Ah! I love it!

Carly: Alice Pieszecki…

Erin: What if it just changed?

Carly: It almost did, it totally felt like it was a brief homage to Are You Afraid of the Dark? Alice tells a story that is terrible. Like, this was not a ghost story, this was not a campfire story.

Riese: Yeah, this was really bad.

Erin: Have you never heard that story?

Riese: No.

Carly: No, it’s stupid.

Erin: Oh, neither of you had heard that story?

Carly: No!

Riese: I mean, when she started, I knew how it was going to end, because I probably watched this episode a few times, but I was also like, why?

Erin: I mean, it’s a choice to tell this story in a circle of lesbians, a tortured dog story.

Carly: Yeah, no.

Erin: It’s a choice, and good for Alice.

Carly: No thank you.

Riese: Yeah, good for Alice.

Carly: I hated it.

Riese: If I was going to tell a ghost story, I would tell a story about —

Carly: An actual ghost? And not whatever this is?

Riese: Yeah, an actual ghost that tried to kill Erin when we were in Michigan. Remember?

Erin: Oh my god… yeah, I do.

Riese: You woke up to gunshots.

Carly: But they were ghost gun shots?

Erin: Well, Carly, here’s the thing. It was 3:30 in the morning.

Carly: Ok.

Erin: And I heard a gunshot and I was like, well, we’re in the middle of nowhere, it’s not good.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: At the very least it’s not good. My dog starts to run around the house, so I know he heard it because he doesn’t like loud noises. He’s freaking out. He’s running up to Riese’s room, back down the stairs. He’s frantic.

Carly: Ok.

Erin: I think, ok, so someone’s gonna, you know, it’s a home invasion. So I just sit on the couch, I don’t move, I don’t call anyone, I just accept my death immediately.

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: You are resigned to your fate.

Erin: But then, from the other side of the house, gun shot. So I’m like, ok, so someone else is here, and they’re shooting at each other.

Carly: Oh my god…

Erin: Boom boom boom, gun shots for 30 minutes straight. I text Riese and say, “Hey, just wondering if there was ever gun fire?”

Riese: Yeah, because I was out of town.

Erin: Yeah, she was out of town, so I was like, “Is there gunfire late at night? Do people hunt? Is that a thing that happens?” And she said no, so I thought, ok well…

Carly: This is it!

Erin: Again, just sat there, yeah.

Riese: Yeah, but also the house really was haunted.

Erin: And once it stopped, I thought, well, I’ll just try to go to sleep and hopefully nothing bad happens. In the morning I went outside to check just, you know, what happened.

Riese: To see if there were any dead bodies.

Erin: Dead bodies, damage to the house, gun shells.

Riese: Gun residue.

Erin: Anything, and there was nothing.

Riese: Nothing, nothing. Ghosts.

Carly: Holy shit. I believe that this is absolutely a ghost encounter. I have also had a ghost encounter, so I fully believe this story.

Riese: There was also a ghost that left a handprint on Erin’s blanket.

Erin: Yes, I think she was not a — she wasn’t a bad presence, I don’t think. But she did like to fuck with me.

Carly: That’s terrifying.

Erin: But I just learned that there are auditory hauntings, so I believe that it was her.

Riese: And that house was haunted, like there were lots of ghost things that happened in the house.

Carly: That’s wild.

Riese: It was the haunting of Ypsilanti manor.

Erin: You had a person appear in the corner of your room.

Riese: Yeah, with a bag over their head.

Erin: So maybe they were a bad presence…

Carly: Yeah, none of that sounds like a good presence, except for the fact that both of you are alive, so.

Riese: But I wasn’t scared, I didn’t feel scared of them.

Carly: Ok, ok.

Riese: You know? Or the ghosts…

Erin: You know who could help us with this, is Tyler Henry, from Hollywood Medium.

Riese: Oh yeah, Erin’s favorite show.

Erin: I can’t stop watching that show!

Carly: You know what? Robin photographed his book cover, she worked with them!

Erin: Wow! Life cycle!

Carly: Life cycle!

Riese: Whoa!

Erin: Whoa!

Carly: This is unbelievable!

Erin: This is incredible!

Carly: This episode is haunted.

Erin: It’s explosive, this podcast.

Carly: So, anyway, I hated this ghost story.

Riese: Yeah, me too.

Carly: And then Alice is like, “It wasn’t a ghost story,” and she’s like, “It’s a true story. My grandmother told us this story,” which was funny, but whatever. And then Jenny and Nikki jump out wearing hockey masks, and everyone makes fun of them.

Riese: That they bought just for that gag, which I support fully.

Carly: Absolutely.

Erin: It does feel like something you would do.

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: That is absolutely something that I am very into, I love really committing to a bit.

Riese: Yeah.

Carly: So, good for them. Everyone’s like, “Also we can hear you having sex.”

Riese: Yeah, which…

Erin: That was the point, so, good.

Riese: Yeah they were like, “You got The Cure? You managed to get rights to The Cure? That’s cool, guys!”

Carly: Yeah, “We heard the dulcet tones…” whatever.

Riese: So the next part of this, I just…

Carly: This is exhausting.

Erin: Oh, it hurts.

Riese: The next part of this is… this is not how you play “Never Have I Ever.” And I love rules.

Erin: You love a game!

Riese: I love games and I love following the rules of the game. Heather Hogan once told me that her favorite thing I ever did was my recap for this episode, because I get so upset throughout the recap that they’re not playing the game right — which is that when you say “I’ve never done,” it has to actually be true about you.

Erin: About yourself.

Riese: About yourself.

Erin: But something you know that other people have done so that they drink.

Riese: Yeah, right.

Carly: This is chaos, they’re playing it wrong.

Riese: It’s absolute chaos!

Carly: No one’s listening to any rules, this is complete disqualification on this whole game.

Riese: Yeah, because the whole fun of it is thinking about something that is very interesting that you’ve not done, but you know that lots of other people have done. You know what I mean? And then you get your friends, you know?

Erin: It feels like no one had played that game.

Riese: No one!

Erin: Maybe it’s a little bit before their time? I remember playing that a lot in college, the “Never Have I Ever,” so maybe it just missed every single one of these actresses?

Riese: I remember playing it in early high school, in the mid 90s, but we didn’t drink at that point. It was just called “The 10 Fingers Game” and you’d have to put down a finger and then, you know, by the end… but I was good, because I had never had my ears pierced.

Carly: Oh, wow!

Erin: So that saved you.

Riese: And I never had hair longer than my shoulders.

Carly: Holy shit.

Riese: That’s the kind of stuff that got you a big win in 9th grade.

Erin: That’s very pure!

Carly: Very pure.

Erin: “Never have I ever had hair that’s long.”

Riese: Yeah! Uh huh!

Erin: That’s fun! Lets play that game!

Riese: People find out a lot about each other.

Carly: G-rated “Never Have I Ever.”

Riese: So just so everyone knows, this is not how you play “I’ve Never,” and of course it turns into chaos. So tasha says, “I never cheated on a girlfriend.” This is so egregious, she says a thing and then she drinks, which is, like — you know, ugh, oh my god. They’re playing it wrong.

Carly: No rules! Just no rules!

Riese: No rules!

Carly: No respect for the game!

Riese: Oh and also, before that, there’s one that’s like, “I’ve never been in love” and everybody says they’ve been in love except Shane.

Carly: Who has been in love!

Riese: What?! She has been in love!

Carly: Yeah!

Molly and Shane at the campfire

Riese: Come on, Shane. You know she’s the kind of person who ret-cons all of her own relationships so she’s like “No, that wasn’t, I wasn’t really in love then.” I do that too. So Tasha says, “I’ve never cheated on a girlfriend,” and she drinks. It turns out she cheated on Michelle, so. And then Jenny drinks, but also, has Jenny ever had a girlfriend besides Carmen?

Erin: Well, don’t they say the French woman? Or no?

Riese: But Marina wasn’t her girlfriend…

Carly: No, they mentioned that she cheated on Max with Claude.

Riese: Right, but Max was her boyfriend.

Carly: Right.

Riese: Oh, by the way, that was a strong move for Max. I appreciated that.

Carly: I love that he doesn’t get any dialogue except that.

Riese: Yeah, when he was like —

Max: When you cheated on me with Claude?

Riese: That’s right, Max!

Carly: That was a sick burn, Max.

Max and Tom at the campfire

Riese: You know? Yes. It was funny, that was a good burn, Max. So anyway, we get into what is cheating. Bette says it’s not kissing. Alice says it’s kissing. Shane says it’s not kissing or sex if you just do it once. And then Jodi points out a very valid point, which is that, actually, cheating depends on the rules that you’ve established for your relationship!

Carly: Yep!

Erin: Jodi coming through, the most rational person here.

Carly: Mhmm always, always.

Riese: If you’re in a monogamous relationship that is sexually and whatever — everyone sets up their own rules, and it’s important to talk about what those are and to define cheating for yourself.

Erin: Well, I think that conversation is, “Are we monogamous or not?”

Carly: Right.

Erin: However, I don’t know if I get into a relationship and say, “This is what I think cheating is.”

Carly: No.

Erin: “For me, it’s this…”

Riese: But it’s about what is ok — like there’s some relationships where even though, like, “we’re monogamous, but it’s ok if you want to kiss someone else,” or like, “we’re monogamous but we can have a threesome,” or like, there’s some people who don’t want their girlfriends to see their exes or to have feelings for someone else — like if that happened, they would want to talk about it instead of cutting it off or whatever.

Carly: Right. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It’s completely subjective, person by person, and then relationships by relationship. And communication is key. If you’re not having these conversations, then you end up in the kind of situation that Bette finds herself in.

Jenny, Niki and Adele at the campfire debating what cheating is

Riese: Tasha is a real radical here, she says that —

Tasha: Thinking is cheating!
Alice: Oh my god!
Jodi: Thinking?
Alice: Thinking?
Tasha: What? Yes! If you’re thinking about having sex with somebody besides your partner, flirting with them, that’s intimacy that you’re giving somebody else.
Alice: Oh my god.
Tasha: Besides your partner, it’s cheating! What?

Erin: Alright, we’re entering Twitter discourse here…

Carly: We’re into thought crimes.

Riese: We’re into thought crimes. Oof. Bette sort of dodges the question of what she thinks is cheating, and then Alice goes on a little journey…

Carly: Oh my god.

Erin: Bette’s not…

Carly: Oh my god.

Riese: Lauren, put this in.

Alice: Bette, what do you think? You didn’t raise your hand.
Bette: I don’t know, I just think it’s a trap to judge. I mean, I think there are different situations and you can’t really categorically…
Alice: Oh my god, that is such a non-answer. That’s bette, because she is a big old cheater!
Bette: Alice…
Shane: Oh, give her a break, come on.
Alice: I’m not — I’m not judging!
Tina: Who’s got the next “I never?”
Bette: Yeah, who’s got the next one?
Alice: I’m just — Bette, come on. I mean, you cheat. You were a giant cheater. And it was a phase, I’m not saying you are now, but like, you cheated on Tina, you cheated on me. I mean, you cheated. There’s a lot of cheating, right? You guys, come on, you saw it. You were there, she was cracking through ‘em, baboom, ginormous cheater. Ok, leave me alone, sorry.

Riese: She’s not wrong…

Carly: True…

Alice at campfire saying that Bette cheats

Erin: You’ve got to know it’s coming, when a game like this is played.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: If you’re Bette, you just gotta sit in it, ok?

Riese: You gotta sit in it.

Carly: You gotta roll with it. You have to sit in your discomfort, own what you’ve done, and just roll with it. Because instead, what Bette does is make it very very very very obvious and very awkward. Then Jodi — well there’s that moment — or did you already say this? When everyone’s like, “I’ve cheated! I’ve cheated!” And Bette’s just kind of like [silence.]

Erin: Right. “No, I don’t even know what that means, I don’t even know what cheating is.”

Riese: Yeah, well they’re like, “Is kissing cheating?” Or like, “What is cheating exactly?” And then Jodi sort of is like, “Umm… what… what?” But also, it’s annoying, because Jodi actually has wanted to have an open relationship with Bette.

Carly: I know!

Riese: And Bette denied it.

Carly: This is the true tragedy.

Riese: So Jodi’s trying her best to be monogamous, and Bette’s not really trying very hard at being monogamous, and everyone’s uncomfortable in the way that you are when your drunk friend says the wrong thing and then keeps running with it. But also, it was true, and then she cheated on everyone and then Jodi’s like, “Have you cheated on me?” The sound of Jodi saying this is burned into my brain for life.

Carly: Absolutely.

Riese: It’s so painful, when she has her head turned and is just like, “Are you cheating on me?” And then there’s this moment of like —

Erin: Right. Too long of a pause.

Carly: Bette just pauses and then everyone’s face is just the same face of horror.

Erin: Here’s the thing: Bette has committed to a lie for months now.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: You can continue to lie right now!

Riese: Commit, yeah!

Erin: “Are you cheating on me?” “No, what?”

Riese: “Uh uh, I’m not, no. Why would you think that?”

Erin: “Why are you projecting on me?”

Riese: “That’s insane, no, I’m just in a bad mood all the time.”

Erin: Yeah.

Riese: But Tina then gets up and leaves.

Erin: Runs!

Riese: Runs off!

Carly: Runs into the woods!

Riese: So she kind of blows up her spot. And then Jodi is sort of like, “Uh… huh.” And she runs off, and then Bette runs after her, but so does Tom, and Tom is like, “She doesn’t want to see you, go away.”

Carly: She won’t let Bette unzip the tent door. It’s pretty funny to run into your tent and slam the door.

Erin: And zip it up!

Carly: And zip it up real fast. Like, “This would have been a little more impactful if I was in a house!”

Erin: “I could slam this!”

Carly: “Just know I want to slam this door in your face!”

Riese: And Tina’s tent, she’s kind of like — first of all, she’s still in her big coat, she’s hunched over. This is butch Tina.

Carly: Right, because of the bomber jacket.

Riese: Shane and Alice come to join her and they’re like, “Are you having an affair with Bette?” And then we go back to Bette’s tent where Kit is yelling at Bette, who’s like, “Do you remember that you hated Tina?”

Erin: Right, and you’re not good now.

Carly: No, Bette is like, “I love Tina, I’ve always loved Tina,” and Kit’s response to this is to go, “Ughhhh.” It was amazing.

Erin: Kit is all of us, every episode.

Carly: And her response was, “Ughhh.”

Riese: “Sounds like you’re doing what’s right for Bette.”

Carly: Bette thinks she’s going about it all wrong, but is doing the right thing and for the right reasons, and I would say that all of that is incorrect.

Riese: Uh huh. And then back in the Tina tent…

Carly: Tina tent!

Riese: Tina is like, “I didn’t want it to happen like this,” and her saying, “I can’t help it, it’s something I can’t help” for some reason is an earworm for me, like that gets stuck in my head all the time.

Carly: Oh, interesting!

Riese: The way she says it.

Carly: Wow!

Riese: And I think about it when I’m in situations like that — not like this, obviously.

Carly: I’m sorry the voice of Tina is always with you.

Riese: Recently it was like an earworm in my head and I was like, what is this fucking from? It was driving me nuts, and then when I realized it was from this, I thought, “Well…” But then Shane and Alice are like, “You guys belong together,” and everyone at home in 2008 was like, “That’s true! Yayyy!”

Erin: They belong together in jail, both of them.

Carly: I read that moment as like, you’re both terrible, you deserve each other, absolutely.

Erin: Right, you deserve each other.

Carly: Right, that was the way they said, “You belong together.”

Riese: I don’t think Tina’s really — I mean, again, far be it for me to defend Tina.

Carly: Of course.

Riese: But she’s not the one who’s messing up here, it’s Bette.

Erin: Right.

Riese: It’s true that they can’t help their feelings. They have them, they’re real, they should be together, Bette shouldn’t be with Jodi.

Carly: But Tina is single, and she knows what she’s doing, and it’s not great, but Bette is the one who is deliberately hurting her partner and lying.

Erin: Sure.

Carly: Then Tina shouts, “I fucking hate women!”

Riese: Yeah, and then she dates Henry again. She fires up the laptop and is like, “Daddy…”

Carly: Daddy of two!

Erin: “Where’s my WiFi?”

Riese: “Adele! Do you have WiFi?”

Erin: “Let me get a hotspot!”

Riese: Oh yeah, a hotspot!

Carly: So now we go back to the campfire of sadness.

Riese: Sad fire.

Carly: Because everyone is gone. Sad fire.

Riese: Did you write “campfire of sadness?” Because I wrote “sad fire.”

Carly: I wrote “campfire of sadness.” And Jenny and Nikki are alone, ruminating about how everyone else is in a really bad place.

Riese: Yeah. I’ve been there before too, where you’re sitting with someone and your relationship is bad, but yet you’re sitting there talking about how everyone else’s is bad, but in the back of my mind I’m like, I think this is also bad.

Erin: This is going to end terribly.

Carly: Exactly.

Erin: Not just bad, it’s going to end terribly.

Carly: Horribly!

Erin: She says another very scary line to Nikki, which is, “I’m going to love you forever” dot dot dot, “I promise.”

Carly: Yeah, it sounded like a threat.

Erin: Which…

Riese: That means, no, she’s not.

Erin: At that point… ooof.

Riese: Yeah, the narrator is like, “She did not love her forever.”

Carly: Jenny says that her friends think that she is out of her mind for falling in love with Nikki, to which I wrote, ‘”do they?”

Riese: What friends?

Carly: Oh yeah, I thought people were just upset with her about sleeping with the star of the film, and those people that were upset with her were the people making the film. I don’t think her friends care that she’s with Nikki, if anything they’re probably — I mean she seems happy with Nikki, besides from the obvious conflict of interest at work, so, I thought that was a little like, ok Jenny.

Riese: Yeah, I don’t think anyone cares who Jenny is dating, it’s just the work thing, which is kind of inapprorpiate.

Carly: Inappropriate. And then Nikki’s like, “We’re different, Jenny.” Which is how — whomst amongst us…

Riese: They were not different.

Carly: I have not been in a relationship with someone where you watch other peoples’ relationships fall apart and you sit there smugly saying, “Well, we’re different,” and that, of course, is inevitable that you will also meet your doom.

Riese: Yeah. Everyone needs to accept that they’re not different, and you’re just going to have problems and you’re going to have to work through them.

Erin: Carly, didn’t you make a list about that?

Carly: I’m currently — due to some pending legal action, I’m no longer allowed to talk about that list.

Erin: Oh, ok.

Carly: Yeah, I’ve been sued by everyone who was on it.

Riese: Wow!

Erin: Got it.

Carly: Ok, now the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Where’s Adele? Adele is in the tent. And guess what?

Riese: Thieving.

Carly: She is scheming some more. She finds the camcorder, takes the tape out of the camcorder, puts a blank tape into the camcorder as a decoy — which made me truly nostalgic for physical media for a brief moment — and then peaces out.

Riese: I wrote, “I remember those little tapes.”

Erin: Yeah!

Carly: Yeah!

Erin: Yeah, they were fun to plug in!

Carly: Yeah, those mini DVs! Mini DVs!

Riese: Yeah and the [screaching noise] and then you put the thing over, you know?

Carly: And then it’s tomorrow, and Bette is crying by a lake.

Riese: Yeah, she’s wearing a flannel, she’s got a fleece on over the flannel, she’s wearing a winter hat, she’s wearing flared dark jeans.

Carly: Yep.

Riese: Almost certainly GAP jeans. And she’s crying, this is deep deep lesbian culture.

Carly: Absolutely, crying by a body of water in layers, come on.

Erin: And crying for what?

Riese: Herself?

Erin: I understand that everything around her is crumbling, but…

Carly: It’s her fault!

Riese: She feels terrible.

Erin: She orchestrated this.

Riese: I know, but she still feels terrible.

Carly: Once again, Bette Porter is the architect of her own demise.

Erin: Right!

Riese: Yeah, she is. She doesn’t deserve sympathy, because she did this.

Erin: No.

Riese: But she’s still devastated to hurt someone.

Erin: But it would seem exhausting, I think, to me, she’s what, at this point, 30? I guess? Whatever timeline…

Riese: 40… yeah… 75?

Erin: She’s 75, and she’s done this her whole life, right?

Riese: Yeah, she did this in the 80s, she did it in the 70s… she did it in the 20s, the roaring 20s.

Erin: The roaring 20s.

Riese: The roaring 20s, she was a maniac.

Erin: Whoa!

Carly: Just cheating on everybody.

Erin: She was a flapper and just could not stop.

Riese: She could not stop. Prohibition, she thrived.

Erin: I just don’t understand — I mean, she’s a mystery to me, really.

Riese: Yeah, I think what’s funny about this podcast is that everyone always — you didn’t say this — but most people say that Bette is their favorite character, and then we actually start talking about the episode and they’re just like, “Wow, Bette, that’s a bad thing that happened!”

Carly: It happens almost every episode.

Erin: Is everyone’s favorite Bette?

Riese: Yeah, it’s the most common.

Carly: Yeah. So Bette walks back to the campsite, Max is like, “They left. Jodi wanted to ride alone.” And then we just get some more biking B-roll!

Riese: And Max is mad.

Carly: Of course he is!

Riese: He’s mad at Bette for being a cheater. And also, Bette cheated and he doesn’t get to ride bikes with his boyfriend. Instead he has to ride bikes with all of his transphobic lesbian friends.

Carly: Exactly. Now he’s in hell.

Riese: Once again, Max is the one — and he’s got to put away the whole tent by himself!

Carly: Ugh, it sucks.

Riese: And that’s it!

Carly: And then we get more biking B-roll, and that’s the episode!

Riese: Oh yeah, we do. Yeah everyone has a nice sad…

Carly: Sad bike ride.

Erin: How many miles did they say that was?

Riese: Um, a hundred and…

Erin: A hundred and twenty…

Riese: Uh huh. 5,000 miles? 500 miles?

Erin: Good for them!

Riese: Well, that’s the episode!

Carly: That’s the episode! I feel like, generally, we liked this episode question mark?

Erin: Yeah I think —

Riese: I loved it!

Erin: I loved it!

Carly: I enjoyed it!

Erin: I love Angela Robinson.

Riese: I do wish they played “I never” correctly.

Erin: Oh, right.

Carly: Yeah, that was a crime, and the flared leggings were a crime, but everything else was generally fine.

Riese: I had a lot of feelings during it that ran the gamut.

Carly: I enjoyed the amount of drama that was present on this ride for charity.

Riese: Uh huh, and the amount of comedy.

Erin: And montages!

Riese: And montages, and lots of nice soft indie rock…

Erin: Close to lesbian scrapbooking music.

Carly: Yeah.

Riese: Close…

Erin: Close, but not.

Carly: Not exactly. I also appreciated all the kind of Pacific Northwest-y landscape-y vistas, that was a lovely change of scenery.

Erin: Beautiful!

Carly: It was beautiful.

Riese: And I loved that it rained!

Carly: Never rains on this show.

Riese: Because it never rains on this show, just like it never rains in LA.

Carly: That’s very true to LA, yeah, but not Vancouver, so that’s interesting.

Riese: And a bird pooped on the other side of my bedroom window, like 6 months ago, and I can’t access it, you know, it’s like —

Erin: Oh, right!

Riese: So I have been waiting for it to rain ever since then, and it still hasn’t rained, and it’s never going to rain.

Carly: It’s never going to rain.

Riese: And what do I do? Do I put a poster on my window?

Erin: Yeah, maybe!

Carly: Maybe!

Erin: Or just like a large frame you can lean against the wall?

Riese: Yeah. Anyway!

Carly: Erin, where can everyone find you on the internet?

Erin: You can find me on Twitter @sullivem, that is my old email from college, just lopped off. People get very confused because my last name is Sullivan, and it isn’t spelled that way. But you can find me on Twitter @sullivem and on Instagram @active_senior_

Riese: Yeah, she posts all the time.

Erin: I don’t, I don’t.

Riese: So you’re going to have a hard time keeping up!

Erin: Occasionally Stories…

Riese: Yeah, occasionally Stories.

Erin: I post on the regular profile maybe once a year. So, watch that space, another one may be coming out!

Carly: Oh my god, this is huge.

Erin: I don’t know yet.

Carly: This is a big day, very big day.

Riese: Wow! A big day. That will be a big day.

Carly: I would also want to plug, again, Who Killed Jenny Schecter, an incredible podcast, and I think fans of this podcast would really enjoy your podcast!

Erin: I think you are correct!

Riese: Yeah!

Erin: And you can find it everywhere!

Carly: But also, I would say if you haven’t seen the whole series, maybe don’t watch it yet, because it does have spoilers. Like the title, for instance, is a spoiler.

Erin: Right, I guess you know that right off the bat though.

Riese: Well it was in Gen Q.

Carly: Yeah it’s in Gen Q.

Erin: Otherwise, we’re not really in the same realm as The L Word world, I guess.

Riese: Yeah.

Erin: Same characters, but not necessarily the same plot lines, so just enjoy.

Carly: Not canon, but should be.

Riese: It’s not canon, but it should be.

Carly: Should be canon.

Riese: And yeah, you can find that on iTunes and —

Carly: Just wherever you get your podcasts.

Riese: And I believe it does say, on your podcast it says, “If you like this podcast, you might like To L and Back.

Erin: Cute!

Riese: I wonder if it says that on our podcast about your podcast?

Erin: I bet so!

Carly: That’s so cute! Thank you so much for listening to To L and Back. You can find us on social media over on Instagram and Twitter. We are @tolandback. You can also email us at: tolandbackcast@gmail.com. And don’t forget, we have a hotline! You can give us a call and leave a message, it’s 971-217-6130. We’ve also got merch, which you can find at store.autostraddle.com. There’s stickers, there’s shirts, including a Bette Porter 2020 shirt, which is pretty excellent. Our theme song is by Be Steadwell, our logo is by Carra Sykes. And this podcast was produced, edited, and mixed by Lauren Klein. You can find me on social, I am @carlytron. Riese is @autowin. Autostraddle is @autostraddle. And of course, Autostraddle.com, the reason we are all here today.

Riese: Autostraddle dot com!

Carly: Alright, and finally, it’s time for our L words. This is the segment of the show where we end things by simultaneously shouting out a random L word. Usually these have little-to-no relevance to anything we recapped. Ok, Riese, are you ready?

Riese: Ok. One, two, three. List.

Carly: LeBron James.

Erin: Learning.

Erin: Wow!

Carly: Riese, what was yours?

Riese: I said LAvote.net.

Carly: Oh my god, amazing!

Erin: Get out the vote! Rock the vote!

Riese: Yeah, rock the vote! No, mine was “list.” Mine was “list,” because it’s on the cover of Erin’s voter guide, which arrived today, a week after your ballot arrived.

Erin: I already filled it out.

Riese: I filled mine out, I mailed mine today.

Carly: I dropped off my ballot three days before my voting guide arrived.

Erin: Yeah, I don’t know why they came separate.

Carly: Y,eah. Erin what was your L word?

Erin: Learning!

Carly: Oh, I love to learn!

Erin: Like I will learn —

Riese: Yeah, you’re gonna learn about the candidates!

Erin: The local candidates!

Riese: Yeah!

Erin: And measures!

Carly: I can also send you a voting guide that I used. And mine was LeBron James, who just won his fourth NBA title in his 17th season, just like Sue Bird did a week before that. And I like LeBron James a lot.

Riese: So who did you vote for for President?

Carly: For President?!

Erin: Just run through all of it!

Carly: Um, I believe I voted for Kanye…. I’m just kidding, I… do you want me to answer? Joe Biden. Are you serious?

Riese: Yeah, me too. I did too.

Erin: Joe Biden!

Riese: Yeah, Joe Biden.

Carly: Joe Biden all the way. I mean…

Riese: Joe Biden… loooove…

Erin: Bette Porter 2020.

Carly: Because honestly the slug should be “Joe Biden: I guess we’re doing this.”

Riese: Yeah, Joe Biden.

Carly: I guess so.

Erin: Ok.

Riese: And honestly I would recommend to those of you at home, I would say of all the candidates for President, I would vote for Joe Biden.

Erin: I agree.

Carly: Yeah, that feels like the right choice. Thank you all for listening, bye!

Riese: Yeah, enjoy the cycle of life! A.K.A —

Riese and Erin: Life cycle!

Riese: Oh wow, we killed that!

Carly: Ok yay, we did it!

Lesbian Helsinki On a Budget – Our Taste for Life

Lesbian Helsinki On a Budget - Our Taste for Life

Lesbian Helsinki On a Budget - Our Taste for Life

Helsinki may be a lot of things, but the one thing it certainly isn’t is cheap. In fact, it’s up there as one of the most expensive cities we’ve ever visited (and we’ve lived in London)! Thankfully, we made it our mission to explore lesbaian Helsinki on a budget, and we’ve gathered all the insider knowledge to help you maximise your time in the city but minimise your spends. In this guide, we share the best Helsinki budget tips, including affordable hotels & restaurants, the cheapest ways to get around, and the best free things to do in Helsinki.

Helsinki is a modern and forward-thinking city, bursting with energy, art, culture, and awe-inspiring architecture. Scandinavia has a reputation for being expensive, however, and at first glance, Helsinki lives up to it. It’s apparent from the moment you try to book a hotel or hostel, with prices considerably more than other European capitals such as Berlin, Prague or Budapest.

Having said that, you shouldn’t allow this to put you off visiting Helsinki. There are many ways to explore the city on a budget, and still have a wonderful time. By following the Helsinki budget tips and advice in this guide, I guarantee you’ll leave the city feeling like you haven’t missed out on a thing.

Sound good? Let’s get to it then, here’s our guide to exploring Helsinki on a budget.

Where to Stay in Lesbian Helsinki on a Budget

There is no shortage of accommodation options in Helsinki; however, most aren’t what I would consider budget-friendly. You can expect a bed in a dorm room to set you back €20-30 per night, while private rooms are easily €50-60. If you stay outside of the city centre, the prices tend to be a little cheaper; however, the additional travel can cost you both time and money. I’ve made some hotel suggestions below to help you decide, or you can click the link to compare all hostels, guesthouses, and hotels in the city.

Full Story at Our Taste for Travel

Same-Sex Parents Win as State Department Backs Down in Two Cases Challenging Children’s Citizenship

Same-Sex Parents Win as State Department Backs Down in Two

In a significant victory for same-sex parents, the U.S. State Department on Monday backed down in two cases where it had been challenging the citizenship of children born abroad to married two-dad couples who were U.S. citizens.

Kiviti and Mize-Gregg families

The State Department withdrew its appeal in Kiviti vs. Pompeo, a case involving dads Roee and Adiel Kiviti, who legally married in California in 2013, and had their daughter Kessem via surrogacy in Canada in 2019. Because Kessem was born outside the U.S. and only has a biological connection to Adiel, however, the State Department considered Kessem as “born out of wedlock.” The department would not grant her citizenship unless she had a biological relationship to a U.S. citizen parent who had resided in the U.S. for five years. Even though both Roee and Adiel are U.S. citizens, Adiel was born in Israel and was one year short of the residency requirement.

The dads sued the State Department in 2019 with the help of Lambda Legal and Immigration Equality and pro bono counsel Morgan Lewis, arguing that the residency requirement didn’t apply to the children of married U.S. citizens. The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled in June that Kessem should be granted citizenship and that the Immigration and Nationality Act “does not require a biological relationship with both parents.”

After this week’s withdrawal by the State Department, Roee Kiviti said in a press statement:

We are very relieved, on behalf of our daughter, on behalf of our family, and on behalf of LGBT families across this great country of ours. The law was always clear. We knew it, the courts knew it, and now the State Department knows it, too.

Adiel Kiviti added:

This was never just about us. It was always about standing up for what’s right. We are grateful to those who did it before us, and we are humbled to be a part of the ongoing struggle for justice.

The State Department also said this week that it would not appeal the district court’s decision in Mize-Gregg v. Pompeo, where it had been challenging the citizenship of Simone Mize-Gregg, daughter of U.S. citizen’s Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg. The men had legally married in New York in 2015 and now live in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2018, they had Simone via surrogacy in England and both fathers are listed on her birth certificate. Gregg himself had been born in London to a married U.S. citizen and was therefore a U.S. citizen since birth—but like Adiel Kiviti, was short of the five-year residency requirement in the U.S. That should not have been an issue, however, since he was married to a U.S. citizen—but the State Department refused Simone’s citizenship, treating her as “born out of wedlock.” The dads sued the State Department in 2019 with the help of the same organizations as the Kivitis. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found in their favor  August.

Mize and Gregg said in a statement yesterday after the State Department said it would not appeal that decision:

We are extremely grateful that this fight is over and won. All we ever wanted was for Simone to be treated fairly. This process has reaffirmed for us that standing up for equal treatment is always right, no matter how difficult it is or long it may take.

Two more couples have sued the State Department for similar reasons. In October, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Dvash-Banks family, recognizing their child’s birthright citizenship. And a case involving two moms is now before a district court in New Jersey. There’s no word yet on whether the State Department will withdraw in these cases as well, but as Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney at Lambda Legal and one of the lawyers for the families, said yesterday, “We hope that the Trump Administration and the State Department will abide by these courts’ decisions when it encounters other families headed by same-sex couples. No family should have to go through what the Kiviti and Mize-Gregg families endured.”

Kelly Ripa just posted a picture of Mark Consuelos in a cop uniform. We need to talk about his baton. / Queerty

Kelly Ripa just posted a picture of Mark Consuelos in

Actress and talk show host Kelly Ripa just loves posting pictures of her family, especially as Halloween approaches. This year however, she may have her Instagram followers fainting from lust rather than fright: one image of her husband, actor Mark Consuelos, shows off the actor’s massive bulge.

“Halloween is a family business,” Ripa posted to Instagram, along with a roll of photos featuring her family. Followers that scroll all the way to the end get a glimpse–actually, more like an eyeful–of Conseulos’ package as he channels 1970s-era Erik Estrada from C.H.I.P.S.

We wonder how he is with body cavity searches.

Related: Who Knew Kelly Ripa Was A Total Size Queen?

Ripa’s made a habit of posting some very thirsty pictures of Consuelos, 49. The pair met on the set of the soap opera All My Children back in 1995 when he was cast as the love interest of Ripa’s character. The pair married in secret a year later, and continued to appear on the show together as series regulars until 2002. Today, they have three children together.

Have a look back at some of Ripa’s most classic shots. Have some water on hand…you’ll be thirsty.

Anyone else look back on photos of your significant other and realize how lucky you are to have them in your life? Share your favorites ladies!! : actuallesbians

Anyone else look back on photos of your significant other

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Artists’ Loft B&B – Gay Friendly Cottage in Julian, California


Artists' Loft B&B - Gay Friendly Cottage in Julian, California
The view from your car as you enter the Artists Loft parking


As most of you know…. all the buildings at the Artists’ Loft Inn were completely destroyed by the great Cedar Fire of 2003 in San Diego County.

The fire moved in sometime in the afternoon of the 28th of October with a fierce fire tornado that took down five of the neighboring homes as well as ours… the plants and wildlife suffered even more… we escaped with the seven cats, a few material things… and our love of the mountain.

We have rebuilt, and the new loft is a special retreat for two to four persons, with views from the peaks of the Cuyamacas to the islands off the coast of Southern California.

We’ve also taken a new approach to the bed and breakfast, and offer a private loft for working artists to use as they like.

See the Artists’ Loft B&B Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Julian Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren do the ‘Time Warp’ with Tenacious D

Time Warp Buttigieg Warren

Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg joined Tenacious D to get young voters to “jump to the left”. (Tenacious D/ YouTube)

Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren did the “Time Warp” with Tenacious D in a truly iconic Rocky Horror Picture Show tribute to encourage voters to “jump to the left”.

The video is part of the Rock the Vote campaign, which urges “young people across the country to exercise their rights and represent their interests” by voting.

With just one week to go until the US presidential election, Jack Black and the rest of Tenacious D put on wigs, makeup and sequins to encourage young Americans to “Rock-y the vote”.

Sharing the video which “just saved 2020” on YouTube, Tenacious D wrote: “It’s astounding… time is fleeting… and the 2020 election is here.

“Time to ROCK-Y THE VOTE! And remember: it’s just a jump to the LEFT, and not a step to the right!”

As well as former Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, the “Time Warp” cover featured footage of the Rocky Horror Picture Show cast, interspersed with a multitude of queer icons including George Takei, Ilana Glazer, John Waters, King Princess, Phoebe Bridgers and Peaches.

Posting the video on Twitter, Warren wrote: “Thanks for letting me get in on this Rocky Horror remix, Jack Black and Tenacious D!

“Remember when you’re casting your ballot: ‘It’s just a jump to the left!’” 

One commenter wrote: “This is the BEST! Since the theatres are closed this year but the polls are open, this is the next best thing!”

One Twitter user responded: “In these uncertain times seeing Elizabeth Warren in a cover of the ‘Time Warp’ does give a glimmer of hope as the gathering storm approaches on Nov 3. #AndNotAStepToTheRight.”

“Man, the starpower in this vid,” wrote another. “A worthy cover for a worthy cause. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!!”