- Helena Peabody
Infobox character | name = Helena Peabody
real_name = Helena Peabody
gender = Female
first = Lynch Pin "(episode 2.04)"
age = 33 (c. 1974)
occupation = Peabody Foundation President (2.04 - 4.02)
Unemployed (4.02 - 4.11)
children = Wilson Mann "(Son)"
Jang Yin Mann "(Daughter)"
Helena Peabody is a
fictional characteron the Showtimetelevision network series " The L Word", shown nationally in the United States. She is played by English actress Rachel Shelley. Helena first appeared in season two, episode four.
Helena Peabody is the only child of Peggy Peabody, a free-spirited socialite and heiress. Peggy married Helena's father, a penniless British aristocrat, in England after her fleeing a brief same-sex relationship in early 1970s. Helena was born in England c. 1974 and had primarily and presumably been living in England, hence her British accent, and later, New York. She has an ex-lover, Winnie Mann, with whom she has a son, Wilson. The couple later adopted a Chinese girl, Jang Yin. Both children spend time between both mothers after their split. Helena had a few sex-related legal problems, and every time her mother came to her rescue. It was after Peggy's retirement and Helena's appointment as the new director of the Peabody Foundation that she later moved to Los Angeles.
Helena is an alpha female who almost always publicly or recklessly displays her affection toward accompanying female companions.
Helena is first introduced in the series as the new director of the Peabody Foundation, when her mother Peggy decides to retire. Her first interaction with the major characters of the series occurs when
Bette Portervisits her at the Peabody Foundation headquarters in New York Cityto try to convince her of the importance of keeping funds for arts projects at the California Arts Center. However, Helena shifts the foundation's focus away from the arts and towards community service, cutting all funds to the CAC and awarding the biggest grant to Tina Kennard's organization, Headquarters for Social Justicecite web
After meeting Tina in
Los Angeles, Helena tries to seduce her, and also notices her pregnancybefore Bette is informed. Tina and Helena thus start an affaircite web
title=Lágrimas de Oro
work=Showtime] that lasts for the second half of the season. During this time, Helena moves to
Los Angelesand tries to get more involved in Tina's life. At the same time, she becomes part of the board of the CAC and brings in Leo Herrera, who outshines Bette. Herrera's achievements lead the CAC to buy out Bette's contract during the second season finale.
Helena has two adopted children, but does not always live up to the custody agreement. The children appear to accept Helena's many affairs, often asking if her lover can come along with them on activities such as swimming or going to the zoo.
During the third season, Helena buys a movie studiocite web
work=Showtime] and, despite how her relationship with Tina ended, she brings her in to work with her as an executive producer of the studiocite web
work=Showtime] . She becomes friends with
Alice Pieszecki, whom she thinks might be a new love interest after an unclear tarot reading, and she tries to help her come out of depression after the break-up with Dana. Further into the season Helena gets involved with Dylan Moreland (played by Alexandra Hedison), and is eventually slapped with a sexual harassmentlawsuit (as it turns out, Dylan was only using her to gain money)cite web
title=Lead, follow, or get out of the way
work=Showtime] . Off-court meetings of this lawsuit presented in episode 3.10:"Last Dance" unveil Helena's past: In 1998, Helena was sued for sexual harassment; the claim was settled out of court. In 2002, Helena violated a
restraining orderfiled against her by her psychiatrist. She agrees to settle off court.
Helena helped Dana somewhat in her last days of her battle with
cancerand was at her funeral. She also supported the fundraiser for Max's gender reassignment surgery, and paid for Shane's wedding during the third season finale (where she makes the disastrous decision of giving Gabriel McCutcheon money which he used to run off leaving Carla, and which triggered Shane to also leave Carmen at the altar). At about this time, her wealthy mother cut her off financially.
After being cut off by her mothercite web
title=Legend in the making
work=Showtime] , Helena becomes Alice's roommatecite web
title=Livin' La Vida Loca
work=Showtime] for the fourth season, time during which she discovers the Chart, gets fired from her own movie studiocite web
title=Livin' La Vida Loca
work=Showtime] , and has a one-night stand with Papi. The spoiled Helena, who has never really had to work before, is depicted having a hard time finding a job. After several unsuccessful attempts, Shane brings her into WAXcite web
work=Showtime] to be the receptionist, but she proves to be unsuited for the job and quits. Further on, Alice convices Phyllis to hire Helena as a caterer for a party from which she ends up without profit after an incident in the kitchen. Helena later joins Shane and Alice at the "Roll the Dice" movie premiere party. Here, she meets
Catherine Rothberg, an actress who invites her to play pokercite web
title=Luck Be A Lady
work=Showtime] at her high stake game. Helena loses and is in a struggle to pay her debtcite web
title=Lesson Number One
work=Showtime] of fifty thousand dollars as a penalty, but the actress agrees to spare her from the debt if she wins another card game at her house. If Helena loses, Catherine implies she will demand sexual favours from Helena. Helena initially has doubts about whether to attend the game, questioning whether or not she would become a whore, but decides to take Catherine on nonetheless. She ends up winning the game, but still embarks on an affair with Catherine, as it is now theoretically on her own terms. Catherine seduces Helena into a world of high stakes betting on poker games and horse races, but the terms of their relationship seem unclear to the rest of Helena's friends. Even when Helena wins big, Catherine seems to keep the winnings (possibly because she was using Catherine's money to bet), and when Helena loses, it is Helena's problem (such as when she loses $100,000 on a horse race after a tip from Catherine doesn't work out as they hoped). Helena is also forced by Catherine to ignore her children to do what Catherine wants. Towards the end of the season, she is also seen doing menial jobs for Catherine, all because Catherine bankrolls the wealthy lifestyle Helena craves. After Catherine makes a bet whether Shane and Paige will still be together in six months, with the stakes being a million dollars for Helena or Helena's services as a servant and sex slave for a year for Catherine, Helena snaps, and cleans out Catherine's safe.
Helena is admitted into prison on charges of stealing money from Catherine. Due to her being a 'flight risk', her bail is set at an undisclosed, but high amount. While Alice attempts to contact Helena's mother, Peggy, Helena is warned 'not to drop the soap'.Later, after being romantically entangled with another butch inmate named "Dusty", her mother Peggy Peabody bails her daughter out of prison, only to have her escape out the back of "The Planet" with plans of finding her hidden money to set Dusty free and escape to a Polynesian island paradise with her, as is signified with the light fingering of a puzzle piece given to her by Dusty.
Having left Dusty, Helena returns to L.A. in time to receive her ailing mother, who reinstates her heiress status. She learns of changes that happened during her absence. At her mother's encouragement, Helena takes over both SheBar and The Planet from Dawn Denbo. In the process, she also claims Denbo's Lover Cindi (Cindi Annabelle Tucker) as a prize.
* Kera Bolonik, "The L Word: Welcome to Our Planet". New York: Fireside. 2006: 64 - 68
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