Notable Scenes with Dylan, Jenny, and Helena
Laurel also had some choice and memorable scenes outside of Tina’s storyline with Bette. Here we discuss three of them.
1) Tina’s scene in episode 603 with Jenny, after Aaron accused the fired diva of stealing the negatives to Lez Girls and holding Tina responsible because she is Jenny’s friend. Laurel and Mia are so great together, as they showed in season 5, and they demonstrated the same brilliance in the comedic scene where Tina tries to ask Jenny about the stolen tapes as Jenny persists in grinding her espresso roast. When Jenny realizes that Tina thinks she stole the negatives and pleads innocent, you can see conflicting emotions wash over Tina’s face as she considers and then believes what Jenny is saying.
2) Tina’s scene with Dylan at the Planet in episode 604 in which Dylan has used a false name in order to get a meeting with Tina so that she can enlist her aid with Helena was another great moment. It was amazing to watch the emotions flash across Laurel’s face as Dylan pleads her case … conflict, understanding, resolve.
Dylan says that Helena is the love of her life and that she would do anything for another chance to be with her. Tina takes a sip of her drink and says, “And you want me to help you? No, Dylan, I can’t. I’m sorry, I can’t.” You can see doubt Tina’s eyes … but also sympathy.
3) Tina’s encounter with Helena during the Dance Marathon in episode 607 finally gave us an opportunity to see the two former lovers as the friends they have become. In their brief but exquisitely played scene on the balcony of the hit club, Tina was really gorgeous with her “Studio 54 look.” After apologizing to Helena for encouraging her to pursue the test of Dylan with Nikki, Tina turned to Helena and said, “She’s in love with you.” Laurel, in profile, gave us a memorable scene with her nuanced performance.
There are many other scenes where Laurel’s layered and understated performance bowled me over. Even so, she was not given as much opportunity to do the comedy that is so good at, nor show in Tina’s job as a producer how gracefully an executive can wield power …as she was allowed to do in the fifth season. We saw her mostly with Aaron as he berated her for the missing negatives or saying boorish things like, “Get on board, Tina. The train isn’t going to lezzie town.”
Her scenes in episode 605 at the restaurant with Bette, Kelly and the artist were amazing. As Kelly tried to goad Tina by asking, “Tina, do you mind that I flirt shamelessly with your girlfriend?” Tina replied with both class and sarcasm, “No, no – flirt away.”
Bette returns to the table as Tina sees Aaron, William and her two writers enter the dining room, and her face crumples. When Bette asks whats wrong? Tina explains that she wasn’t invited, and that in Hollywood is how you know you are fired. Laurel’s devastation is palpable and she played this scene to perfection.
Then when she excused herself from the table to get some air, and walked away with her shoulders hunched in pain, followed by her astonished look as she heard Bette accosting Aaron and calling him a “bald worm” … and then pulling her partner away from her boss. In a critical juncture in their relationship, Tina made clear that she was perfectly capable of defending herself and Bette acknowledged that it was true.
Tina would have likely walked Bette back to their table except that at that moment Aaron said, “I am so glad to be done with dykes!” Tina then turned to him and unleashed some very well deserved invective, including her saying, “Shut your pie-hole Aaron!” She spoke with passion and grace. When she turned to leave, she said, “Enjoy your dinner” and Bette just looked at Aaron with a Bette Porter look that would have slain dragons, followed by a look that said, “Thats my woman.”
Unfortunately we did not see any more of Tibette for the last half of the episode. This is where we should have had a scene at their house with them processing what happened, followed by a fabulous love scene that lasted more than two minutes. Since Season Six was mostly the Alice/Jenny show (with a sideshow of pregnant Max), there was apparently not enough time to allow us to see the magic of Bette and Tina together, making love or talking about important issues like their decision to adopt a child.