the d word

2004 - (ongoing)

Executive Producer and Creator: Dasha Snyder

Despite being billed as The L Word with real people (what, are there some fake people in The L Word cast I don't know about?) actually, The D Word is little more than episodic fan fiction for television. It takes all its cues from The L Word and doesn't really have much claim to originality.

Unfortunately as a parody it kind of falls flat too, with only one or two of the characters being truly funny. So for me, watching this was a pretty bland experience.

The D Word takes the story of the The L Word with all it's rich, beautiful and powerful LA lesbians and transplants it to New York. Our New York characters include a lothario, a WNBA basketballer, a type-A personality freakish woman and her doormat girlfriend who are trying to have a baby, a predatory bar owner, a transgendered rap singer, a writer for Fetish Magazine and a sweet and innocent playwright who has just moved to NY to live with her boyfriend. It takes us about two seconds to connect the D dots to the L dots and then we continue.

The rare highlights don't come from the faux plot put in place by the writers, they come in audience recognition of the in-jokes made for fans of The L Word. For example, Daynisha the WNBA basketballer doesn't have a bush problem like our dear Dana. No, instead she has foot fungus, which she has to try and get rid of in order to score a sponsorship from a big shoe company. Instead of our lothario having nipple confidence, we're advised that she has cuticle confidence, that confidence of getting laid you get from a perfect manicure. My personal favourite was Daynisha and Dara grappling over a dildo in a sex shop as Daynisha tries to figure out if Dara is gay.

Other interesting touches have a distinctly New York flavour to them. When the Jenny-substitute arrives in New York, instead of picking her up in a car, her boyfriend Dim insists no one drives in New York so they wait hours for the subway and then have to haul her luggage up twelve flights of stairs to a tiny little studio apartment. Dim has converted a closet into a writing studio (oh the subtlety) and points this out proudly while his Jenny-esque girlfriend looks on in horror. Meanwhile we see the WNBA basketballer in her locker room being taunted by her teammates wearing what looks like an old-style New York Liberty uniform. As is pointed out to the audience during the film, why should she be afraid of coming out? All the other players are gay too!

The writers have been to The L Word message boards and websites, read the wish lists by all the detractors of The L Word and included them all here. The women aren't rich, they all live in dingy little apartments. None of the characters are particularly successful, articulate or good-looking. Some are quite butch. Sex is quick and looks uncomfortable and the less said about the kissing the better. Even the so-called babe-magnet of the piece is an overwrought parody. There are representatives of so many different ethnicities here that you could tick them off on a checklist.

Yes, this is what The L Word landscape might have looked like had the political correctness police gotten their way. It's horrible, and it isn't even as funny as it thinks it is. I can't quite figure out if that is the whole point.

The D Word is obviously a labour of love by fans of The L Word. Not a single word or scene is in place that doesn't reflect or comment on some aspect of the source material. Anyone expecting an original story with actual characters (as the advance press could have led you to believe) is going to be sorely disappointed. Basically, The D Word is an homage that points out all the ways that The L Word is good, by showing us all the ways it really could have sucked.

Got a comment? Write to me at nancyamazon@gmail.com