|the l word (season three)
Created by: Ilene Chaiken
Well, this season can be summed up in one word really. Morbid.
Yeah that’s right. It was downright depressing. What, did
all the writers lose a favourite pet just before they sat down
to write? The scripts ran the gamut from downright awful to utterly insightful,
but always so, so sorrowful. It was a rocky season, filled with
enough heartbreak and hurt (both accidental and deliberate) to
sink a ship full of lesbians. But there was some hope too, and
a couple of the characters actually managed to grow a little.
I feel the need to bite the bullet here and congratulate the
writers on at least one thing. I complain contsantly that television
has a habit of shaving off all the rough edges of life and not
giving it to us the way that life usually is; harsh, brutal, unforgiving.
You can’t say that about season three. They made some dubious
creative decisions, and I don’t think Bette had a single
line all season that a real person would actually say, but you can’t
say that they made the journey easy for us. And for one character
the journey ended.
BUT, and this is a huge but, even in the roughest of moments the sadness needs to be
tinged with laughter. You need those up moments, those moments
of silliness to temper the bad, or else it ceases to be entertainment
and just becomes a hard slog. I had to literally force myself
to watch the second half of the season, you could see from
a mile away what was coming. So, even though I thought the drama
had moments of brilliance, the season doesn't score highly with me, because as a season of television I can’t
see too many moments being rewound and watched again by the faithful
Bette and Tina and Anjelica and Henry and the Buddhists
That actually sounds like a decent title for a movie! But
for a storyline it sucked completely. Bette kept saying ridiculous
things like “I think you should explore these feelings you
have” and “you no longer have the rights of being
my life partner”. I mean, who writes this crap? And poor
Jennifer Beals for having to say it! The whole buddhism thing
was doomed to failure. Type A Bette was never going to be able
to quiet her inner demons through silence. She’s a woman
of action, and that’s finally what she took.
As for Tina… wow, is she confused. I absolutely see why
they did this. After questioning her relationship with Bette,
it makes sense she would also question the life she chose along
with Bette. She’s questioning life without a father for
her kid, and she’s questioning life with women. After all,
why go after your true heart's desire if you could provide your child with a nice normal family? It’s
a brave angle to chase, and turning Tina into a class A bitch
was tough to take, for everyone.
Alice and Dana and the stalking
OK, the first few episodes of the season were not kind to Leisha
Hailey, though her radio producer going off the rails was kind of funny.
What was supposed to be the “funny” though was just embarrassingly
stupid. The less said about that the better.
Dana and Lara
The kiss at the tennis match was worth waiting three seasons for. Wow. Imagine what they could do with Lara if they really wrote for her,
rather than just have her stand in the background and say all
the most obvious things? Lauren Lee Smith’s big episode,
when she delivers Dana to the hospital for her first operation
and battles the doctors for the right to see her, really showed
off what this actress can do when given a chance. Now I’m afraid
the character really has run her course, because…
Lara and Alice
...is going nowhere. A relationship built on fear of being alone
and mutual grief? It feels so wrong. There’s absolutely
no chemistry there, and I thought Leisha Hailey could generate
chemistry with a wooden pole. I’m sure I’m not the only one
who thinks Lara is about to tell Alice she’s moving away
for good. We’ve seen the last of the soup chef
on The L Word, which makes perfect sense because as I've said on many a message board, the way they've written Lara makes her existence on the show pointless without Dana.
Even thinking about the breast cancer storyline makes me want
to cry and vomit at the same time. I feel the need to rant a little. Dana was my favourite character,
and I’m thoroughly sick of unimaginative writers who just throw characters aside.
It was ultimately meaningless to have her die.
Dana’s final episode (written by Rose
Troché) was the best of the season, and Leisha Hailey was
magnificent. Also pretty
damn cool was Alice walking out of the funeral but stealing the
ashes. The hiking trip to the cabin and the whole waterfall thing was less successful, but
Shane’s breakdown was not only poignant,
but totally in character.
The bit at the basketball game is one of my favourite moments
of this series so far. When they get it right, they get it absolutely
right. When they kill off characters to make some stupid point and to "reinvigorate" the cast, they get it wrong. Besides, why couldn't they kill off Jenny? (Sorry to the Jenny lovers out there - love Mia, hate the character.)
Kit and Angus
Boring. Pam Grier wasted. And a whole episode with bad Betty acting
and singing? Puh-lease. Get those chicks off this show now. It’s
not that I dislike Angus, he’s just a bit of a nothing character,
and he certainly can’t be Kit’s soulmate.
Dylan and Helena
By far the most interesting storyline of the season in terms of
good writing and exploring a character. Helena was a bitch in
season two mainly to cover her own insecurities, and then she
started spending all her money on her friends to cover her insecurities.
Driven by greed, Dylan allows her boyfriend to use her to set
up Helena for sexual harassment. Helena of course does her best
to help out. Dylan seems to be genuinely caught in the middle
by the end, and scared by her own feelings for another woman.
Of course, Helena gets her heart broken, but their first sex
scene together was one of the hottest ever filmed for the show.
The scene where she watches the tape Dylan leaves her, then turns
down the sound to just watch the woman she loves had me in tears,
and turned Helena into one of my favourite characters. I’m
really looking forward to seeing how she deals with being cut
off from her money next season. Of course, the writers could ultimately screw
it up, but I’m going to keep my hopes up. Oh, and I want
Alice and the vampire chick
This was actually amusing, and gosh didn't the show need it. Starting
with the bisexual speed dating and ending with Uta telling Alice
she needs to sort out her feelings for Dana before they can go
on, this was actually a hoot from start to finish. The sex scene
with Alice swinging from restraints was super hot and a nice shout-out to the fetish community.
Jenny and Max and the utterly weird Alan Cummings
Wow, where to start? The initial transition phase that Moira is
going through started out interesting enough (let’s just
forget the lobster scene ever happened), but as s/he turned into
a loser creep who lost his temper all the time I sided totally
with Jenny, and that has to be a first. I’ve known lots
of people who’ve managed to transition without alienating
their friends and family in the process. Max had some great scenes
with Jenny, and a couple of wonderful scenes with Dana, but overall
I think the character become less successful the further we got
into the season.
They never should have brought Tim back – it just goes
to show just how deep the writers of this show can sink when they
get it wrong. But Jenny went out with a bang this season, literally,
getting her book published and having an affair with a French-Canadian
chick at Whistler. I’m kind of glad they didn’t take
the cutting bit too far. It was true to character for Jenny, but
since she’s been the most vulnerable and screwed up since
episode one, it’s time to begin the healing process. Please, I'm begging you, let Jenny heal.
And what the hell was Alan Cummings on? His portrayal of Billie
was just downright odd. The sex between him and Max was odd. The
whole thing was… odd.
Carmen and Shane
Did anyone actually think Shane would go through with the wedding?
But Kate pulled off the lamest story twist in history, the meeting
of the long lost father and having it destroy her sense of self,
with aplomb. I thought the writing of that storyline was just
dumb. But the wedding proposal itself, done through grief, and
the acceptance at the waterfall, and the struggle as they got
through infidelities… that was all gold.
I’ll actually miss Carmen. She suited Shane. She was a
good contrast to Shane. The way Kate Moennig acts is both inspired
and limiting at the same time. I think she works magnificently
as a wounded soul, but they can’t keep that up forever.
Sooner or later they’ll need to find a different tack for
Shane, and I’ll be intrigued as to what they come up with.
As it is, Kate had a good season, but the writing for her was
so limited. Her sex with her ex by the pool was nothing short
of spectacular though. Strap-on city!
This was the year of Leisha Hailey, the first few episodes notwithstanding. Alice came so far, went through
so much, and traversed a lot of emotional territory.
We need to let Bette move on already. How much more
energy did it give the show when Bette was being seduced by a
Senator and defending art in the senate hearing? Cool, sexy Bette
kicks arse over whiny, housewifey Bette. The Washington scenes
were Bette’s best scenes, and I hope next season contains
more scenes like it.
This season is hard to rate, many people liked it but I think it is the least appealing
season so far. The problem is, it killed off part of its core,
and lost its sense of humour. If Dana had won her struggle with
cancer (surely the message would have been just as strong having
her battle to survive and win – let’s send a message
of hope for early detection?) and the girls had shared even one
hilarious ensemble scene on par with the best of season one, then we would
have been getting somewhere.
Favourite character? I'm back to Dana again, and I'll miss her. Maybe Helena too, oddly enough, considering how negatively I felt about her after season two.
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