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| THE L WORD STANDS FOR LOVELY LAUREL HOLLOMAN
Article by Pam Cole
APRIL 20, 2005After having teased us and taunted us and driven
us steadily insane with frustration throughout this second season,
the writers and producers of The L Word have rewarded us
with the finest lesbian love scene ever filmed in the episode entitled
"Late, Later, Latent." Central to the success of this
scene, and indeed the season, was the lovely Laurel Holloman, blush
with her first pregnancy, radiant as any woman with child would
be. But what actress with child has ever committed such acting,
such presence, such unabashed revelation of her blooming body on
camera? And, in an unprecedented display of commitment to character,
she performs a sex scene in late stage pregnancy (a lesbian sex
scene, no less)-that alone should be awarded an Emmy.
This is not the first sex scene Holloman (who plays Tina) acted during her
pregnancy, but it by far eclipses her earlier, tentative interaction with Rachel
Shelley who plays Tina's new girlfriend. Shelley showed herself as a true heterosexual,
uncomfortable kissing a woman, especially (and who can blame her) a heavily
pregnant woman. But the passion that flares between Bette (Jennifer Beals) and
Tina in this episode stirred from the combination of Beals' and Holloman's innate
chemistry, a history of trust and intimate contact on the show, and Holloman's
courage and willingness to plumb and reveal the sexuality of a woman ripe with
child. Holloman seems to criss-cross the line between reality and acting, entwining
the two in her performance, leaving us to wonder-was this a performance?, in
a way that only the finest actors can do. (Let it also be said that Beals, as
the consummate scene partner, was right there with her on every beat, supporting
and pushing. Beals was shining all on her own, but this article is about Holloman.)
For most of season two, writers have strangely limited Tina's voice, giving
her only sketchy dialog and leaving Holloman with heavy sighs, rolled eyes,
and skewed glances to achieve her objective. (Are pregnant woman too tired to
speak or learn lines? Can it be that Tina has simply had nothing to say until
now? We know that Tina is apt to store up her thoughts and demands lots of time
"to think about it.") But that did little to impair Holloman's performance
in this episode, when she hoisted an entire 4-minute scene on the backs of two
short phrases: "You smell so good" and "Touch me here."
That was all she needed to say. She let her skill as an actress and her physical
presence say the rest.
Holloman, a self-professed bisexual who is now "committed to a man,"
has described previous onscreen make-out sessions with Beals as "delicious."
We can only believe that this scene's kisses were the most delicious of all,
as they were for an audience that has anxiously anticipated Bette and Tina's
reconciliation since the traumatic end of season one. As actresses, Beals and
Holloman patently expressed the months of their characters' longing and aching
with those lips, and then with their bodies. With only partial, tasteful nudity
and lots of heavy breathing, director Tony Goldwyn crafted a scene as powerfully
sexual as any male porno flick.
Holloman's actual pregnancy and Tina's hastily scripted one added untold levels
of dimension to the intensity of sexuality between Bette and Tina. Is Bette
revelling in Tina's body, a passion long-missed and perhaps never to be known
again? Is she taking comfort in Tina's arms, salving the deep pain of separation?
Or is she finally being allowed to freely express her feelings for the unborn
child, a child conceived in love and then lost, only recently regained. Bette
makes love to mother and child in an exquisite display of complexity never before
seen on the screen:
A lesbian ex-lover makes love to the pregnant lesbian mother of the unborn
biracial daughter they both created through planning, dreaming, and the miracle
of artificial insemination. Add to that the sweet, sexual reconnection of
a long-term couple, now long separated by time, loss of trust, denial, and
What you have is one great story. And one, despite its complexity, not so different
from the real lives of lesbians, which is why we love it so much.
Season two has been a ridebumpy, confusing, graced with moments of brilliance
and beauty that kept us in tow: Jenny having her hair cut by Shane, transforming
before our eyes; Bette on her knees in the lawyer's office, begging Tina's forgiveness;
Shane and Alice gently putting a sobbing, drunken Bette to bed; sparks flying
from Shane and Carmen whenever they are in a room together; Bette vehemently
pleading her case for inclusion in the baby's life; Alice and Dana "finally"
making love. Last night, they got it right again, in a beautifully produced
scene surely destined to become a classic in lesbian film.
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2006-01-03, 16:16:11 PM
Comments: Hi,I kinda disagree with this whole piece. Yes Laurel is amazing and Beals equally so, but I don't think this scene was their best. I think their love scenes in season one held more emotion and love than the seaon two effort. I think the actresses did their absolute best and acted how they were directed, I just didn't particuarly love it with quite as much passion as this article. But then again I think that a lot of us were disappointed with season two so maybe that's something that's added on. I'm not sure.Here's to season three and hopefully some better directed/written episodes & scenes for Laurel and Jennifer...-Dixie
2006-01-03, 17:14:22 PM
From: Precious Shadow
Comments: I have to agree that season's 2 love scene between B&T, (though excellent as it was) does not measure up to season one. I guess what left me cold was Tina's comment, as Bette was about to leave. It left me feeling that all Tina was doing was satisfying her "raging hormones". Given the fact that in the very next scene, she was more than ready to jump Helena. The chemestry between Holloman & Beals is never in question, almost to the point where the viewers can feel the heat. The way the script was written left a lot to be desired. Beals was making love, Holloman was having sex. That is what was so different between the two seasons. I guess what I miss the two of them revelling in the after glow, something we have never seen.
2006-01-03, 17:51:20 PM
Comments: I don't know. I really enjoyed this scene. They took their time with it and actually gave it 4 minutes. Most scenes last half that. I could truly feel Bette's emotion being the first (and unfortunatley, the only time) to experience Tina's body with their baby. I think Season One's scene is different is so many ways to Season Two's--and for different reasons. So it's really hard to compare. For me at least. I loved them both and wished we had a few more!!!!!!
2006-01-03, 20:28:30 PM
Comments: I opened this "article" thinking it was going to actually be about Laurel/Tina, when instead it was just as much a piece on TiBette/Beals. The repeated jabs at Rachel Shelley by Ms. Coles have gotten old, too. *yawn*
2006-01-03, 21:47:31 PM
From: Anngie Mosby
Comments: I loved these scenes in season two. But you really do have to closely observe Laurel and Jennifer and seek to understand what they are portraying - not in so many words necessarily to each other, but in their actions and by reading between their lines; and piecing together specific things that we are shown from scene to scene. And the writers do not make it easy for the audience – you really do have to pay attention. For example, during the scene in Helena's bedroom, early in the morning (before the ultrasound with Bette), Tina is lying in Helena's bed and just waking up - Tina hears Helena yelling at Winnie over the phone. Helena is verbally assaulting Winnie and Tina is getting annoyed with Helena. Helena continues to scream at Winnie, and Tina is so obviously disgusted with her. She is listening to what Helena is saying and she is realizing just how superficial Helena is. Later in this scene, Tina asks Helena to come to her apartment after the ultrasound. Helena tries to brush Tina off by walking away, but Tina presses the issue. Helena thinks she has gotten out of having to spend time at Tina's apartment by saying "we will go out to dinner." Note that Helena doesn't ask Tina, but rather tells Tina what she wants of her most of the time. Helena says to Tina, "We'll go out to dinner," and "You're coming to my place later," etc. But when Helena gets to Tina's apartment, Tina pushes the issue even further by asking Helena "is my apartment too plain for you?" *******In the scene during the ultrasound, Bette and Tina have a 'connection' (when Tina turns and looks at Bette and smiles, and then Bette holds Tina's hand); and after the ultrasound (at Tina's apartment), Tina thanks Bette for going to the ultrasound, telling Bette that it was really nice having her there. Bette responds by telling Tina that it meant more to her than Tina can imagine. Tina is realizing that she is still in love with Bette. Tina knows that her relationship with Helena is nothing in comparison to how she feels for Bette - she still loves Bette and she shows it clearly (just with her erratic breathing) during the scene in the kitchen - and then in the bedroom. Bette also makes it very clear how she feels too - as soon as Tina embraces Bette in the kitchen, Bette lets her emotions out, telling Tina "you feel so good." And although Tina can see how much Bette is in love with her, she still doesn't trust Bette or the feelings that she knows she has for her - but she is starting to. ******** In the next scene Tina is 'acting' like she wants to jump Helena - she is pretty sure what Helena's reaction will be, and proves it by going 'over the top’ with her actions. She knows that Helena won't allow Tina to control her like Bette did when she so willingly let Tina control things earlier in the day. They are showing us the contrast between Tina and Helena's relationship vs. Tina and Bette's relationship. Even though Tina totally initiates it in both scenes, the way she approaches Bette is so very different than the way she approaches Helena. It is clear that Tina wants to make love with Bette, but in the scene with Helena, Tina basically lunges at Helena - she doesn't say "come here" to Helena, she doesn't embrace Helena, she doesn't gaze in Helena's eyes, or caress her hair/face/lips like she did so lovingly with Bette - she just lunges at Helena, knowing what the outcome will be. She knows Helena doesn't want to be at her 'plain' apartment - and she knows that Helena looks down her nose at her most of the time. In contrast, Bette really allows herself to be vulnerable with Tina - she really put herself and her feelings for Tina ‘out there’ by making love with Tina - and still allowing Tina to 'hold all the cards.' Tina can see it in Bette's eyes that Bette loves her and is in love with her. She wants to beg Tina to forgive her, but Tina holds all the cards, so Bette won't ask for anything...she will only give Tina whatever Tina wants. Tina can see that Bette has changed and is willing to do whatever it takes to get her back. (And if you remember - that is exactly what Bette professes to do earlier in a scene with her father, when she tells Melvin "I'm not going to give up." *******The next day Tina goes to Helena's house and Helena has had a room decorated for Tina (and the baby) “just in case they want to stay” (as Helena puts it). Holloman so clearly portrays Tina’s raw emotions. You can see it in her face that she knows she doesn't want that type of relationship with Helena - not for herself or for her child. If you read between the lines/scenes even further, you can see it in Holloman’s eyes – Tina has a revelation in this scene - she knows that in her heart that she only wants Bette in her and her child’s life…Tina stands there – right in the middle of a beautifully decorated baby’s room filled with designer labels and all the materialistic things that she and her unborn child could possibly ever need or want, and yet, she is rejecting it...all she wants for herself and her unborn child is Bette and the love that Bette has for them.It is just so plain for me to see that Bette and Tina are both making love. Laurel Holloman and Jennifer Beals both deserve an Emmy for their portrayal of Bette and Tina – not only in the love scene but in the scenes when Bette tells Helena she is the “scourge of the earth,” and especially in the scenes with Tina and Bette both in the birthing tank and during Tina’s labor. I could swear that Laurel Holloman really had her baby right there on screen! These two actresses most definitely “take you there.” Laurel Holloman really extended her self - body and soul, both physically and emotionally all through season two. She has really shown the world how truly beautiful pregnancy is. She is really amazing. And Jennifer Beals is connecting right there with her in every way, shape and form. They are phenomenal together. If the writers don’t keep Bette and Tina together throughout the rest of the seasons of the L-Word, especially after showing us these magnificent scenes in season two, the show most definitely won’t ‘flow’ right, and I will have to give up hope for all humanity. Bette and Tina belong together - forever.
2006-01-04, 00:18:37 AM
Comments: I really like Bette and Tina as a couple, but I'm not sure that they belong together. I agree with those who say the season one scenes were more passionate. But it just seems like this writer is writing another Bette/Tina article instead of a Laurel Holloman article. She even has to remind herself: "(Let it also be said that Beals, as the consummate scene partner, was right there with her on every beat, supporting and pushing. Beals was shining all on her own, but this article is about Holloman.)". It seems to me that Pam only knows how to write about one thing. Her obsession.
2006-01-04, 01:37:02 AM
Comments: Pam Cole, you have too much time on your hands... And has a serious bias problem. All the chicks are amazing, and the show is great (albeit inconsistent). Period. Enough with the nitpicking already!
2006-01-04, 06:02:04 AM
Comments: I´m quite sure I´ve read this article or at least parts of it, before, months ago, somewhere. If it was here on the l-word.com, why was it published again?
2006-01-06, 10:00:31 AM
Comments: Fabulous comment Ms. Mosby!!! I agree with you wholly ...you totally have to read between the lines on this show - that is what makes it such a great show ...it is deep, it is relational, it is body language, it is sexual, it is primal ...it is so everything we need in people I think. I agree that LH deserved an award for her groundbreaking portrayal of a pregnant lesbian. She was so radiantly beautiful words cannot desribe. I think Beals is such a fab actress anyway - she is so complex and mysterious as a person that is carries through on screen as well. TLW is long overdue for some recognition for it's acting on both of their parts as well as some others :) Thankyou Lword.com for giving us a forum to comment.
2006-01-06, 12:45:27 PM
Comments: I did find season 2s scene fanominal and it was the first glimps of hope for many of us who up to that point had started questioning Bette and Tina. I do also believe that the first seasons first love scene, where Tina tells Bette that she is the only one that gets her all hot and bothered with only the words "this is you" and I think it said alot more about their relationship. In that sentance she said so much more, she was letting Bette know that she never needed any reservations with Tina, that Tina would always support Bette, and how she would let Bette assume she was the strong one while at the same time taking comand and being Bettes strength.
2006-01-09, 13:28:30 PM
Comments: I think that this scene was the best because in S1 we hadn't ever seen this couple and we knew that they had connection. What we saw in S1 was the beginning of the show and the producers wanted us to see how they were meant to be together and how they connected in such a strong way. This sex scene in S2 showed how they missed one another and no matter what happens, they will always end up in each others arms. I think that it was far more emotional in this scene. In my opinion, it showed that they were still so deeply in love and they wanted to be together. It showed how Tina had grew and how Bette was so sorry, so in love and missed Tina so much and all of those emotions showed. I also think that it showed the audiaence why they even got together in the first place. I think that it showed both of them why they connected and why they were so madly in live with each other. That's why I think Tina went crazy on Helena, because she knew that Helena couldn't be Bette and there was no other Bette and she wanted Bette back so badly. On the other hand when Bette was talking to her therapist, I think that he was trying to tell Bette that even though Tina had changed, it had nothing to do with why they connected and fell in love. I think Jennifer and Laural did a fine job.