The L Word’s Jennifer Beals and Laurel Holloman Reveal All on Reuniting Bette and Tina
Every fan of From L: Generation Q will end tonight’s episode with some warmth inside, and maybe even scream “FINALLY” into the screen.
Tonight, if you’ve been watching their at times hot relationship for nearly 20 years, you’ll be ecstatic to see Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals) overcome Los Angeles traffic — it’s not easy — to express her undying love for Tina Kennard (Laurel Holloman). It was the moment every “Tibetan” fan (their ship’s name, of course) had been waiting for: the beloved couple had finally reconciled.
It is an event that should be commemorated and celebrated. Statues must be erected in the middle of the Los Angeles highway in their honor. OK, a bit much, but seriously it was an epic moment for fans of The letter I (both original series and Q generation).
By the way, if you think running traffic is a nod to the classic lesbian rom-com Imagine me and you, you will be correct. “Every generation needs a good woman running through traffic with another woman,” From L: Generation Q host Marja-Lewis Ryan told The Daily Beast via Zoom with a laugh.
The inspiration behind the climactic moment is just one of the many reasons that make it a pretty perfect reconciliation. It has just the right amount of drama (who cares if the car that hit Gigi is Bette or Tina’s?!), it has the perfect amount of heart and heart (Bette’s speeches are always tearful. !).
It’s a moment Ryan knows will always happen this season. Q generation, but must be absolutely right not only for the sake of the show but for the fans as well. “We know that’s where we put their characters,” Ryan said. “[But] We’re just trying to figure out how and what really needs to change for every fan [to be happy with it].”
As Ryan says, there are a lot of Bette and Tina fans out there, but also a lot of people in the fandom who have spoken out about how unhealthy the relationship can be at times. From several kidnappings to the death of a good friend (yes, Jenny), these women have literally been through it all. Ryan wanted to honor both Tibette’s diehard fans, while realizing that something had to change in their relationship for them to get back together.
When Tina first returned to our lives through Q generation, she is engaged to another woman, Carrie (Rosie O’Donnell). However, through co-parenting and spending more and more time with Bette, her relationship with Carrie begins to deteriorate – especially when Bette begins to hint at her feelings for her. Tina.
At the end of season 2 (and the beginning of season 3 of Q generation), Tina confronts Bette and asks her directly, “Do you love me?” Bette finally admitted, “Yes.” Then Tina tells her “That’s not how you love someone,” calls her for sabotaging her relationship with Carrie, admits she loves Bette, and walks out the door. After a leap year, a new and improved Bette arrives giving hope to both Tina and fans that maybe a reconciliation awaits.
“Running down the street is the beginning of the question ‘What are you willing to do to get the love you want for so long?’“
— Jennifer Beals
“I just wanted to honor both sides and to say that people can change and people can grow. And then, once they do, they can fit together. Both things can be true,” Ryan said.
The concept of having to work for a love like this is something the Beals themselves can really overcome. “Running down the street is the beginning of the question ‘What are you willing to do to get the love you’ve always wanted?'” Beals told The Daily Beast.
Since it’s been a leap year, we don’t have insight into all the work Bette has done to make her a better and more emotionally available partner for Tina. However, the change in Bette was quite evident within minutes of the time jump when a college student accidentally crashed into Bette’s car.
Instead of chewing on the baby’s head — which Shane (Kate Moennig), Alice (Leisha Hailey) and Tina all wanted — she hugged her and reassured her. “You see people looking over, because we’re waiting [her] Holloman said. “It’s an energy that suddenly appeals to Tina.”
Beals knows her character has to change a few things to win Tina back, but she thinks Bette’s sometimes intense energy can be helpful. “To be fair, sometimes you need that energy to get things done,” says Beals. “But, when they come to see you in Congress. When they’re ready to set fire to your lawn. I think in order to master yourself, you have to find a balance [of energy].”
It’s been a long journey for these two lovebirds. They stole hearts with their romance and made many people nervous with on/off again, but in the end they were and always will be an iconic relationship in the LGBTQ community. It was all set when Beals uttered the word “let’s have a baby” in the first few frames of 2004 The letter I.
“They were presented as a functional couple living in West Hollywood and having children. It was an aspiration for us,” Ryan said. “Perhaps that’s why we feel so interested in them, because this is the first time we can see a meaningful future for ourselves.”
“That night’s photo shoot was truly an incredible celebration. Definitely my favorite night shoot.“
— Jennifer Beals
The Bette/Tina love story has always been Ryan’s own as she has always found herself supporting the long-term couple. “I have to have my own 19-year love story. My wife and I met in our freshman year of college and we haven’t been together the whole time. Bette and Tina, they have nothing to do with us,” she said with a laugh. “It’s weird to be friends with an ex back to the first.”
One thing was clear from talking to Ryan, Beals, and Holloman: There was a lot of love for Bette and Tina. It’s the characters’ love and devotion to doing the right thing that makes the scene a bittersweet moment for everyone. “That night of photography was truly an incredible celebration. Definitely my favorite night shoot. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but [it was] one of my favorite scenes of the season [to shoot]. It was fun,” Beals said.
In a scenario that perfectly suited Bette and Tina, the scene came together entirely by fate. “There were cases of COVID on set. And so the schedule changed and I kept saying, ‘there’s got to be something we can shoot so we don’t get screwed. [in the schedule].’ So that was the scene we shot,” Beals recalls. “It was a kind of fate because we [Beals and Holloman] around several other Covid cases, but none of us understood. We don’t know how, but we just got lucky.”
“Jennifer and I kept taking pictures of everything just to remember everything,” Holloman fondly recalls.
It was an emotional moment for Tina, it was also an emotional moment for Holloman. “When I read [the scene] on paper, I thought, ‘Oh, this is a classic rom-com.’ And that’s great because we’re so tired of seeing them miscommunicate and miss, miss this and that,” Holloman said. “It was emotional to be on the other side of everything she said. And then there’s the moment where you want them to hold each other and when I pull her into the car, it’s just like that. It’s Exhale and ‘Oh, Finally’ [moment].”
Finally, really. After more than a decade of living, laughing, and loving (not including all the adjectives in the original title song, but you get the point) with this couple, they’re finally on the same page. Page.
“There’s a big event coming their way. They don’t disappear, and their story continues this season“
— Marja-Lewis Ryan
We may not know what lies ahead for Bette and Tina, but both Beals and Holloman hope to be able to do more with their characters. “I want to see them get what they want,” Beals said. “Obviously we go to Toronto, but I like to see them make money and I love watching them try to figure out how to raise their kids.”
Ryan stressed that this won’t be the last time we see Bette and Tina. “There is a big event coming their way. They don’t go away, and their story continues this season.”
Well, if they are facing a big event, then at least they are facing it together. Final.