Dana Rudolph

The L Word: Last Words or Launch Pad?

Filed By Dana Rudolph | March 08, 2009 10:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: l word, l word finale, showtime

Tonight on Showtime's pre-game show before the grand finalelw6_key_thumb[1].jpg of The L Word, actor Laurel Holloman ("Tina Kennard") said she would tell her children, "It will be a different world for them, and this [show] will be a little piece of that change."

"Groundbreaking" is perhaps the most overused word associated with media coverage of The L Word. It was not in fact the first show to portray lesbians on television. The first lesbian kiss happened back in 1991 on LA Law. Queer As Folk preceded the lovely ladies on Showtime, and even included a few lesbians of its own. Still, a show by, for, and about lesbians was indeed new territory back in 2004.

The show garnered criticism for not representing "real" lesbians; for not portraying [insert your favorite] aspect of the LGBT community. It gathered a more mainstream audience than even Queer As Folk, however, and it is not beyond reason to give it credit for helping to change some people's minds for the better about the LGBT community.

What are your thoughts about the impact of The L Word, both on the LGBT community itself and the wider community around us? Has it indeed cleared the way for other positive, realistic portrayals of LGBT life, or are those stories yet to be written? What aspects of LGBT life would you most want to see in a new series, or worked into existing shows?

Finally, for the fans: What did you think of the way the series ended?


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I'm only on the third season, but I feel like the show does a lot of good, even when it fails to address certain things well. Sometimes it reminds me of sex and the city: faux empowerment, but better than what's already in place.

Every series feauturing us pushes our issues further into mainstream consciousness. We're no longer the scary Boogeymen(and women) of middle American nightmares. So the L Word is the latest, and IMHO, the BEST example (to date) of this mainstream consciousness raising.

Personally, I haven't seen the last few seasons, so I can't comment on that. I'll wait until the series Box Set is available and then I'm so there.

But, when the show started, I had no interest in seeing a bunch of women cavorting on my TV. I thought, seeing two women get it on would somehow offend every little gay boy cell in my body.

It didn't. It seems I fell into the same stereotype some hold about gay people -- that its all about sex. We know its SO MUCH MORE. The L Word shows that. I got hooked on the premiere episode and watched until I no longer had Showtime. Now I can't wait to buy the series.

Every inch we get is hard earned, but for as long as this show was on, it was a cop out that it didn't extend a bit to include what most REAL lesbians actually look like and how we act.

I watched the show only rarely, because in its infancy, it seemed more like what a male audience would want to see - hot chicks having sex every 15 minutes. The fact that they identified as lesbians was merely a hook.

And I don't mean you have to fill the screen with leather dykes in every scene. But mainstream lesbian couples bear little resemblance to anyone on the L word - not in the families we create, the jobs we hold, or the way we look and act.

To me, this was PURE HOLLYWOOD. Sex in the City wearing lesbian labels.

Gina morvay | March 9, 2009 7:51 PM

It was fun to watch for the first two years but by the third season, just got kind of silly and meaningless. It struck me as though the people creating the series were somehow ashamed to represent a more real version of lez life even as peripheral characters. (which would have helped) Honestly, many of the characters they focused on just weren't that interesting (Helena... yawn, Cybill Shepherd's character... boooring.) And in this world, no butches even existed. How dull. The worst was their absurd depiction of transmen (Max's storyline was underdeveloped and ultimately offensive), really an embarrassment. It was to the point where I wanted to shake the producers and say "just take a walk around San Francisco or West Hollywood and what you'll see is more interesting than what you're putting into this snoozefest. And inexplicably, the producers didn't understand their viewers were a LOT more interested in what happened to Shane and Alice than they were Jenny and Helena. Rule #1 in running a show... don't add additional irrelevant characters if you haven't totally mined the characters you have... it's called Jumping the Shark.

rikki lynn mordhorst | March 9, 2009 8:38 PM

i missed season five but saw the first four seasons and part of this season. over all it is one of the very best drama series i have seen in a long time and i think it has gone a long ways in helping in the mainstream. as a transgender i love the show and plan on buying the series. hopefully this is just the beginning however of other even better shows to come to help give our whole community an uplift and perhaps further understanding of what we go thru. i have many lesbian friends who also adore the show and we even have lword parties on occasional weekends... l word videos and margaritas... what more can you ask for?