The holy grail

Of “flawed premises”

Everyone who has ever joined a tv-show fandom online, knows there is a holy grail to be pursued in most all tv-shows. Usually it is about some couple coming and/or staying together. In “Friends”, for instance, we watched 10 seasons of Ross and Rachel being on again/off again, dating other people while they were on a break (!) and having their fandom split over whether they were completely wrong for each other or whether it was absolutely unthinkable for them not to sail into the sunset together by the end of the show. In our favorite show The L Word that holy grail quite clearly is “Tibette”. The couple we let into our hearts from the very first scene of episode 1 of the original series and that has captivated us ever since. Their unwavering love for one another, even when things got tough and tricky, was something we all strive for, and some of us pledge they would even die in order to save that love. No matter how interesting all the other storylines and characters, no matter how profound the love between some of them, we keep coming back to Bette and Tina. We’ve become a part of their lives. Not only do we witness their struggles, their break-ups and make-ups, we go through them, we feel them almost on a cellular level. When they hang by a thread, we beg to do the patchwork. When they hold each other tight, we hold them even tighter. When one of them screws up, we hate a little (or a lot) on the other one, but when they get back in sync we are the most forgiving bunch ever. When they stray, we may (temporarily?) stray with them, if the object of their affection offers us some deliciously hot scenes. Or we want to tear our hair out in utter disbelief of how they could possibly choose that person over their truly destined soulmate?! In sheer desperation we may even turn to the writers, pointing out their sad misunderstanding of these two characters, as they would never be moving on apart from each other like this, surely?!

Through all the failed relationships, experimenting, frustration, boredom and personal tragedies, Tibette, the holy grail, was pursued like this during 6 seasons of the original series, and then finally found at the end of what we then thought would be the final season. Yet there we were, more than 10 years later, seeing them divorced and Tina engaged to someone else?? WTF, tibette is endgame, we found our treasured ending already, they should stop messing with us. This was not what we had signed up for. This was not why we got all excited when we learned about the reboot. But hey, we’re nothing if not persistent and adamant, and so we were back on our pursuit, because it was after all the holy grail we were pursuing, and that should not be taken lightly.  And by having Tina land on Bette’s doorstep yet again, at the very last scene of this season, we won, right? Finally…

But did we? Did we really? When two people have put in so much time and effort, so much hardship, so much personal growth and mutual respect and understanding, and they still haven’t been able to make their relationship work in an enduring way, should we really want to force them, pressuring our image of what is right and wrong onto them? Is one specific relationship, with one specific person, the holy grail just because we want or need it to be? When I ask myself what I want most for myself in this life, my answer is always “happiness”, without exception. When someone asks me what I want most for my loved ones in this life, my answer is always happiness. I have never defined what that happiness looks like or should look like. Not for myself, nor for my loved ones. And yet, for some reason, I would define it for a fictitious TV-show couple? When I ponder that thought for even 2 seconds, I already start feeling uncomfortable. Especially as I still see the mutual respect, the undying love and the underlying deep bond remaining, and yet they are separated, I realize that they must have given it their all already. And I’m suddenly deeply aware that there could only ever be one ship I should wish for: sail into the sunset with happiness, wherever it takes you! Whoever else may be on board is secondary. Secondary, but not completely unimportant. When you see a woman as beautiful, communicative, distinguished, artistic, classy, self-aware and mature as Pippa by Bette’s side, and when you see how Bette finally lights up again in splendor, after so many years of fighting and feeling miserable, how can one not want this kind of happiness for her? Or for anyone, really?!

Many questions are still left unanswered between Bette and Tina. Most importantly, it seems, “are you still in love with me?” and “If Tina was to show up on your doorstep and says: I’m in love with you, and I want to try again. What would you say?”. To me the questions that originate from these, are much more interesting: why is it important to Tina whether or not Bette is still in love with her, if she initiated their divorce, is in love with Carrie and about to get married? Why does it take her being jealous of another real love interest in Bette’s life, every single time, before she suddenly shows up on her doorstep and (possibly) wants her back? And ultimately, why does anyone even consider it realistic and viable for two women in their 50s, who have spent most of their adult life working through their relationship problems without lasting success, to want to try again in actual hopes of making it work this time around?

So here’s how I think their conversation at Dana’s would have continued and ended, had it not been interrupted:

Bette: No, no, I’m glad Shane and Alice asked me that question, because it made me realize that if you did show up at my doorstep, I would tell you that I will always love you, you are the mother of our child, but I’m not in love with you. I am really and truly happy in my relationship with Pippa. And I want that same happiness for you too! If you found that with Carrie, then I’m happy for the both of you. But if you have any doubts, whatsoever, I just wish they are not based on hopes of us getting back together.

And so we wait for an announcement of renewal… Season three, we’re ready!


Note: I took the liberty to split up my review of the final episode of this season in two parts, in order to be able to properly address the many events and loose ends. The second part will drop in a day or two.

6 Responses

  1. Maria says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a wonderful analysis of the situation and my favorite show! Honestly, everything you said is true for me and I couldn’t have said it better. Your suggestion about how Bette and Tina’s conversation could continue… Oh, my God, if only it really was so! I’ve been feeling for a long time that it’s time for them to let each other go. Moreover, their love at the deepest level has not disappeared anywhere. But if you really love someone, you will wish him happiness regardless of whether this person is with you or not.

    • thelwordq says:

      It is always nice to see that people enjoyed the read 😉 Thank you very much for leaving your feedback, we appreciate it. We hope you keep checking back sometimes; the season may have ended but we will keep posting things on here, hopeful for a season 3

  2. feromoon says:

    Thank you darralings, for giving your ideas and making comments about the show.
    I enjoyed every minute of it.
    Nu duimen dat er een derde jaar komt.
    Spread The L Word, Generation Q..

    Love always

  3. Jageti says:

    I totally agree with this assessment. It is time for them to move on. It is way past time for Bette to stop being unhappy and punishing herself for a 17 year old mistake. She deserves to love and be loved again. And it is time Tina stop playing with Bette’s heart. I had many thoughts about what Bette should say and it was much like yours. Let’s see what S3 holds. I’m hoping for happiness for Bette and Pippa!

  4. Martha A McCorkle says:

    The author makes a lot of assumptions about the breakup between Bette and Tina. Did they really give it their all and fail? We simply do not know. While it takes two to make a relationship, it only takes one to break them apart. And despite the attractiveness of Pippa and the promise of a good future, how does Bette truly able to go forward with an full relationship when she has not truly brought to a closure the relationship with Tina? Closure needs to encompass an understanding as to what happened which broke the two apart and an agreement that their lives together are truly over. It would take a conversation in which there would be full disclosure of their feelings and actions of the events surrounding their breakup. There should be no assumptions made by either party.. on the thoughts and feelings of the other. There is a possibility that they would discover that they did not give their relationship a good effort and that there is a possibility that they could be happy together. But until that happens, I feel that they will remain in emotional limbo and will never be able to have a full and meaningful relationship with anyone else or each other.

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