by Jennifer Matos
If you are new to the L Word, or a die-hard fan who has been watching diligently for three seasons, we would like to introduce you to a new segment. Every week, we will look at an L Word character and how they are connected to each other.
Smart. Beautiful. Powerful. Bewitching. English.
These are only a myriad of the words that can be used to describe “Helena Peabody” (Rachel Shelley), the Director of the Peabody Foundation and a board member of the California Arts Center (CAC).
After “Bette” and “Tina’s” breakup, Helena enters the L Word scene and offers two things: a shoulder for Tina to cry on, and an enemy for Bette (Jennifer Beals). She makes a rival out of Bette when she turns the head of her pregnant and estranged partner, Tina Kennard (Laurel Holloman). As a matter of fact, Helena is so entrancing that she makes pregnancy sexy. How many hearts melted and pulses raced when she made love to a very pregnant Tina in a swimming pool? Too many to answer.
Despite her perceived cool, Helena is also vulnerable and willing to hunt down love whenever she can find it. One of her soft spots is for her two children, “Jun Ying” and “Wilson”. We learn that Helena is embroiled in a bitter custody fight with ex-partner, playwright “Winnie Mann” (Melissa Leo). But her long list of lesbian loves doesn’t begin and end with Winnie, not does it begin or end with Tina. The very tempting Helena also manages to seduce her own therapist, “Dr. Isabel de Obaldia” (Mimi Kuzyk) in her office during what is supposed to be a therapy session.
After engaging in a no-win and brief relationship with the “autonomy-happy” Tina, she moves on to sculptor “Leigh Ostin” (Cobie Smulders)as she parades her new conquests in front of Tina, much to her chagrin.
Although writer and radio show host Alice Pieszecki befriends Helena as they console and coach each other through their losses, they do not become an intimate couple.
However, season three introduces an Achilles heel for Helena in the form of documentary filmmaker “Dylan Moreland” (Alexandra Hedison). Helena starts a film production company, offers ex-girlfriend Tina a job in the business, and becomes smitten with Dylan. Helena’s duplicitous new love interest ultimately ends up slapping her with a sexual harassment suit leaving Helena hurt and bewildered. It’s a bad season all around for Helena Peabody as Helena’s actions in the last episode of the season render the wealthy character penniless.
In real life, the actress who portrays “Helena Peabody”, Sheffield University graduate Rachel Shelley, identifies as straight and is said to have a boyfriend.