After what can only be considered a shaky start, The
L Word has gone on to fascinate, infuriate, repulse and
attract audiences all over the world. It is the mark of a successful
show though that like it or loathe it, the show has people talking.
Showtime have already guaranteed our favourite TV lesbians at
least another season on the air.
The core cast of The L Word is what makes the show work. These
actresses have such amazing chemistry with each other that it's
easy sometimes to overlook problems with writing and directing.
After watching all thirteen episodes though I thought it was time
to look at the top ten ups and downs of season one.
1. The Jenny/Tim/Marina storyline
This storyline had a lot of good, and an equal amount of bad.
Jenny and Marina together = HOT, no denying it. There was too
much screen time devoted to Jenny and her weird writing. One can't
help wondering if they shouldn't have taken the Henry Fool approach
whereby we just accept the artist is a genius without ever hearing
word of what he's written. The more I heard of Jenny's writing
the more I wanted to flip through an old copy of Jackie Collins's
"Hollywood Wives" for its literary merit.
Tim became rapidly superfluous after he literally walked in on
the Marina/Jenny affair. Some interesting progress was made with
Marina's character after Francesca was introduced and Marina was
revealed as a kept woman, both emotionally and financially. Once
Gene and Jenny started conversing with Beluga whales it went rapidly
downhill. I wouldn't mind seeing more of Robin though, the only
woman capable of thwarting Marina's designs on Jenny. By the finale
though I ended up wanting to fast forward whenever Jenny came
2. Alice, Dana and Shane - The L Word's three stooges
Every scene involving these three characters was a masterpiece.
They played off each other exceptionally well as the comic relief
that helped balance a lot of the emotional trauma of the Bette
and Tina storyline. Highlights included: Dana And Alice tag-teaming
Dana's blind date, Dana learning the meaning of "queef"
from Shane and every time someone consulted Alice's chart.
3. Dana, Lara, Conrad and Subaru
The Lara/Danarelationship was adorable on so many levels. Guest
star Lauren Lee Smith rose above her Mutant X
background and together she and Erin Daniels sizzled on-screen.
it wasn't the most physical coupling on the show, but it was definitely
the cutest and the one that most people could relate to. Dana's
coming out process and scenes with her agent Conrad were less
satisfying, though the storyline about staying in the closet for
the sake of corporate sponsorship rang pretty true. Good on Subaru
for reaffirming their support of gays and lesbians by lending
their name as Dana's sponsor in the show.
4. Alice and Lisa the lesbian identified man
What the fuck? Lisa was a low point of the season but I must admit
this storyline definitely opened the door for The L Word
to explore all kinds of different sexualities. Lisa caused some
friction between Dana and Alice before Alice finally realised
even she needs her guys and girls at least in separate bodies.
5. Bette and Tina, the Provocations exhibit, the baby
and the other woman
In a sense The L Word belongs to Jennifer Beals.
She is the big name, she's the star, she gets more screen time
than anyone else and personally I don't mind! Bette and Tina were
the monogamous couple, the ones we all wanted to make it work.
Tina improved once she miscarried and stopped being a doormat,
as harsh as that sounds. The art exhibit got kind of old after
a while but provided many of the most dramatic moments of the
series, including the TV debate which just showed off Jenniferr
Beals' acting range superbly. Lastly, love her or hate her, Candace
brought two very important things to the show; passion and racial
6. Shane, Cheri and Shane's mysterious past
The lothario falls from her high heights and becomes the lovesick
stalker. Lots of people loved this storyline because it showed
Shane first as the immune-to-love sex goddess she is and then
gradually reveals her learning how to feel. Personally I never
bought Rosanna Arquette as a woman worth flipping over, but she
and Kate Moennig certainly shared (and created!) some heat. throughout
the season we got titillating snippets of Shane's past as a prostitute
in Santa Monica which just makes me more and more curious as to
how she became friends with all these other women in the first
place. She's the odd woman out in the ensemble, but so, so sexy.
7. Kit, Bette, their father and her son
Sounds like a bad Greenaway film. Pam Grier seemed completely
wasted in the first half of the season, like the writers didn't
have a clue what to do with her. As Kit and Bette's relationship
grew stronger Grier scored more screen time and the entire subplot
about their family issues unfolded. In the end Kit's story turned
out to be one of the most appealing and interesting of the season,
especially towards the end as she toyed with the idea of getting
together with Ivan the drag king.
If there's one thing the producers of The L Word need to be congratulated
for it's their guest star casting. In what could have been a bland
exercise in stunt casting they managed to get it spot on 90 %
of the time, in only one case going for a recognised lesbian actress.
Lauren Lee Smith as Lara and Lolita Davidovich as Francesca both
had a huge impact and top my list of guest stars I'd
like to see as recurring characters in season two. Kelly Lynch
as Ivan was just inspired casting. Rosanna Arquette is equal parts
sexy and aloof as Cheri. I confess I don't understand the casting
of Snoop Dogg, nor the point of the character he played. Guin
Turner was a fan favourite and spot on as Gabby, the bitch who
broke Alice's heart. I especially loved the kiss between her and
Leisha Hailey. Way to show all those straight girls how it's
done! It almost melted my TV.
Other honourable mentions: Anne Ramsay as Robin, Anne Archer
as Lenore and Ion Overman as Candace. All perfect.
9. Where have all the non-white people gone?
OK, personally I think too much has been made of this but many
fans believe that The L Word could have been
more embracing of racial diversity in the series. Between Bette,
Kit, Marina, Candace and Yolanda I was pretty satisfied with their
efforts but it's possible Ilene Chaiken will listen to the criticisms
and introduce more characters of colour next season.
10. Dana, Tonya, Alice and Mr Piddles
Is Alice just jealous or is she serious about Dana? Did that kisser
she laid on her friend mean anything? I guess we'll find out.
The kiss was hot though. In the meantime we need justice for Mr
Piddles' murder - if Tonya is run over by a Bakery truck in a
freak accident I won't complain, though I hope Dana gets the ring
and her self-respect back first. Introducing such an irritating
character so late in the season really cramped the Dana character,
which was a shame considering the progress she was making.
RIP, Mr Piddles.
I'm addicted. I know a lot of other people are too. It's not Sex
and the City and it certainly isn't Melrose Place
in Doc Martens. It isn't even like Queer as Folk.
The L Word has achieved many important breakthroughs
in its first season but the most important achievement has to
be that the show has found its own feet and its own unique voice.
It isn't perfect and it isn't for everyone, but what TV show ever
My favourite main character from seaosn one? I can't go past
the gorgeous yet goofy Dana Fairbanks. A little humour and a lot
of geekiness goes a long way.
Go to SEASON TWO
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