L Word, The – Season 1-5

My own history with The L Word is peculiar. #thanksShane

Though I totally hated the last season of the show and how the writers began digging Jenny’s grave throughout the seasons, there were also good aspects that created interesting drama. No one can take away the importance of The L Word as an LGBT show — not in my book, or anyone I know.

The show begins when Jenny Schecter (Mia Kirshner) arrives to LA to live with boyfriend Tim (Eric Mabius, who later left for Ugly Betty). Jenny is a small-town girl who gets her first introduction to the lesbian world when she sneak-peaks Shane (Kate Moennig) getting a good one naked in the pool.

Jenny seems amused, but not intrigued until she meets the rest of the lesbian gang that includes Marina (Karina Lombard), who connects with Jenny in more ways than just the intellectual, leading her away from her heterosexual life and opening the gates for all the crazy that was Jenny Schecter. We also meet Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman), who represent the lesbian power couple of the show that ended up sustaining it throughout the seasons with their ups and downs, breakups and makeups.

We also meet Alice (Leisha Hailey), a quirky carefree bisexual (at least in the first season), who ended up in that awkward phase of falling in love with your best friend. Her best friend just so happened to be Dana (Erin Daniels) — the deep in the closet tennis player who, despite all the drama she brought in her last season, gave plenty of laughs, making her one of the most beloved characters in the show.

And finally, Shane. I could really write a whole feature on her probably because Shane’s a phenomenon. Shane is a player, never to settle down, always looking for the next one. She’s a great friend, but a lousy girlfriend. She knows it, her friends know it, and all the girls whose hearts Shane has broken know it. If there were any guest stars, there’s a 75% chance that Kate Moennig had to make out with her.

To quote Amy Poehler from her The Advocate interview:

Who’s the most important gay person in your life now?
Shane from The L Word. She just can’t get her shit together. She’s a broken bird, and she needs someone to fix her. Just when you think she’s ready for love, she sabotages it. And the woman gives a rock ’n’ roll haircut. [Laughs]

First, there was Cherie Jaffe (Rosanna Arquette), whose tumble in the pool with Shane made this TV Guide Top10 List. Then there was Carmen (Sarah Shahi), Paige (Kristanna Loken), and Molly (Clementine Ford) — and that’s just because I’m counting the ones who were regulars or recurring guests. However, there’s no denying that Shane’s biggest regret (besides letting Molly get away) was Carmen, whose surprising relationship with no-commitment Shane lasted for over a season wtih loads of hot chemistry and hurt looks that could break your heart. Shahi mastered the art of looking hurt in this show.

There was also Pam Grier, who despite being severely underused with random “hey, girls” or those “baby girls” was pretty awesome as sometimes not the wisest elder sister to Bette.

We also can’t forget the rotating regulars who started changing as characters left, like Max (Daniela Sea), the only character in the show representing transsexuals. Her transition from woman to man could have made for some memorable television, but Sea’s part was reduced to little less than supporting as the seasons went on. Helena (Rachel Shelley), the money-controlling chick in charge of the Peabody Foundation, who seemed a tough nut to crack, but turned out to be a softy. Lara (Lauren Lee Smith), the sous chef who had to go through difficult times with Dana and Alice. Tasha (Rose Rollins) the tough soldier but giggly girl that got Alice, and Mark (Eric Lively), the roommate who didn’t know any better and had a fixation with Shane. — Don’t get me started on the male representation of this show.

Throughout the years, The L Word boasted some pretty good guests that include (now Academy Award winner) Melissa Leo — Helena’s bitter ex — Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin as Jodi, Golden Globe winner Cybill Shepherd, on-screen mom of her real-life daughter, our favorite mean cheerleading coach Jane Lynch as the cut-throat divorce lawyer, Alan Cumming, Heather Matarazzo, Kelly McGillis, Elizabeth Berkley, Jessica Capshaw, and Eric Roberts — as Shane’s player-player dad.

Though The L Word had its highs and some very VERY low moments that could get you to pull your hair, it’s a decent show that suffered a little bit from consistency that comes from budget changes, staff changes, crew and cast leaving. Now imagine the possibilities if you could plan one concrete season of the show — what do you think?

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Part of the 2011 LGBT Blogathon


YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

1 Response

  1. August 8, 2017

    […] has swiftly opened the gates of fandom shipping like I haven’t experienced in a decade since The L Word (but feel free to prove me […]

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