|fastlane: "strap on"
1.11 / Original air date 17 January, 2003
|Written by: Kim Newton
|Directed by: Greg Yaitanes
If there was ever a lesbian episode meant to titillate the male
audience (a perfect example of what Liz Friendman coined "Sweeps
Lesbianism") it is this rather amusing episode of Fastlane,
an expensive show that never quite made it out of the starting
blocks before Fox pulled the plug. (Something that became an annoying
habit over at Fox over the years actually. See Firefly.)
The only reason it even remotely works probably has something
to do with the fact that the writers wisely kept it ambiguous
whether or not the lead character Billie (played by Tiffani Thiessen)
actually could be bisexual. Stories have since leaked that the
makers of the show deliberately dropped hint after hint of Billie's
fluid sexuality during the show's 22 episode run. I can't confirm
this, having only seen a few episodes of the show, but the fact
that this undercover assignment came so easily to Billie was a
plus and it played as a sexy and fun piece of television for both
men and women.
Each hour-long episode of Fastlane, created
by Charlie's Angels director McG, revolves around
a single case where Billie, Van and Deaq, an elite undercover
police squad, take on the rich and famous at their own game. The
three cops use the tools and clothes of busted, rich criminals
in order to mix and mingle in the glamorous criminal underworld.
In this episode they take on a couple of female house robbers
who have inconveniently stolen $500K from Deaq's house that the
unit was going to use to bribe and bust a corrupt witness and
send a murderer to jail. Usually Van and Deaq would swing in and
seduce the cash from under the women's unsuspecting noses, but
this time there's a twist. The robbers are lesbians.
Cue the oh-so-sexy Billie to save the day. She successfully manages
to seduce one of the robbers (and who wouldn't be seduced by Tiffani
Thiessen in that dress?) and convinces the gang to pull off a
job on Billie's made-up ex-husband who is supposedly screwing
her over in their divorce. After they're busted, Sara is persuaded
to give up the $500K in exchange for a deal.
The best parts of the episode are undoubtedly the seduction scenes.
Billie works overtime on the unsuspecting Sara (guest star Jaime
Pressley), dragging her into a web of lies and gaining her trust.
The two women have some cool chemistry, better than most lesbian
stunt episodes I've seen, and they seem to come together in a
way that is believable, despite the obvious time constraints.
They're not in love, but they could be one day, and Billie seems
genuinely sorry to have to betray Sara when the time comes.
Billie is the aggressor, the one who initiates almost all the
sexual contact. If she isn't bisexual, then she's a damn good
undercover cop! Even when she isn't being watched by her target
she shows no discomfort in the lesbian world, she brushes off
another woman's advances with kindness not disgust and never seems
to have anything but respect for these women and their sexuality.
I was impressed and more than a bit seduced by her myself.
Of course, this side of the storyline couldn't take up the entire
show. Annoyingly the narrative had to keep going back to Van and
Deaq and their attempts to procure more cash in case Billie's
seduction attempt fails. The entire storyline about extracting
money from the crippled bookie just left me cold. I can understand
on some level why the show was eventually cancelled. These guys,
played by Peter Facinelli and Bill Bellamy, have no charisma at
all. It is however admittedly difficult to take one episode out
of context of a series and make informed judgements. Let's just
say I was not really that inspired to expand my viewing of Fastlane
much beyond this and a couple of other episodes.
It's flashy, it's sexy, it's designer bubblegum for the eyes
for those people who sat through The Fast and the Furious
and enjoyed it. It is even well written in places. But for all
we're offered here, I think definitely catch it if it pops up
in late night reruns, but don't break something trying to hunt
this episode down if you missed it first time around. Tiffani
Thiessen is all grown up from her 90210 and Saved
By the Bell days and looking for a project that suits
her many talents. We can only hope she finds something better
Got a comment? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org