Dawn Denbo for President

You know who you are. Do you see the tank top spoiler alert? Do you know what to do?

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Perhaps because it was set against last week’s Magic Festival of Bette and Tina Love, this week’s episode did not set me on fire. I did not understand the purpose of the oil wrestling, Bette had hardly any screen time, and Alice is becoming unrecognizable. (Leisha, however, has never been more lovely).

So let’s talk about Mia Kirshner. How amazing is this woman? All season Jenny has been crazy with a capital C-R-A-Z-Y, and just when I thought we had scraped the bottom of the deep well that is Mia’s talent, this week, she revealed a whole new side of her wacky character. When Jenny and Niki were in bed (do real movie set trailers have real beds like this?) and Niki started talking about having kids and moving to Ireland, Jenny got a little teary. I was looking at Mia’s face and thinking, Hey, there’s something real and deep and soulful going on behind Jenny’s eyes. And then I was thinking, Oh, crap. Niki’s going to break her heart. Jenny seemed to sense this, too, since her response to Niki’s “I love you” was the classic “I’m going to give you a hickey.” For whatever reason, I hadn’t bothered to wonder whether or not I like Niki or whether or not Niki is a likable character. I immediately applauded the relationship because of the narcissism inherent in it and how perfectly in line it was with Jenny’s MO. Suddenly, it’s all deep and important, and I’m nervous for Jenny’s heart. Who knew that Jenny even still had one?

Mia’s genius is reminding me how lucky the folks at The L Word are to have these fantastic actors. I’ll be the first to admit that the writing can be disappointing, the plots can be ridiculous, and the character arcs can be sloppy. Sometimes, though, I don’t even notice all those failings because I am too busy being overwhelmed by how exquisite and measured Jennifer Beals is, how Laurel Holloman’s face can express an entire scene, how Leisha Hailey just plain old rocks every second of every day, and how Rose Rollins feels like a gift straight from the Goddess of Amazing Acting and Fabulous Cheekbones. I honestly don’t understand why these women don’t have Emmys. I watch a lot of TV, and I don’t see better acting than what The L Word has going on. These women save this show over and over again. Usually, I’m all “it’s a team effort” and “let’s not forget the writers, the grips, the DPs, the caterers, etc.” But it’s the actors who put themselves out there week after week, who roll around for God knows how long all covered in oil.

Which brings me to Dawn Denbo. Who could have known what a gem Elizabeth Keener was going to be? Who even knew Catherine Keener had a sister? Dawn Denbo has been on exactly four episodes so far and already she is an icon. Let’s not forget her lover, Cindi, who first caught my attention on a little show I sometimes catch called General Hospital. I always thought Alicia Leigh Willis had great arms and now I’m happy to report that she has a great everything else, although blond and tanned isn’t really my thing. Back to Dawn Denbo. She’s over the top. She’s downright outrageous most of the time. She has a silly Bond villain name. She has painfully ordinary lines like “it’s on,” and she never refers to her girlfriend without saying “my lover Cindi.” But what can I say? It works. It works so well that I find myself mumbling “Dawn Denbo” while I’m going about my day.

Eh, what the hell? I try to watch critically and see it objectively, but the truth is that I am still, after all this time, in love with this show.