If I learned anything from watching a show like the L Word, it’s that yeah, it’s okay to be Takei, but it still isn’t fine to cheat on your significant other – regardless of sexual orientation, because people don’t like being cheated on; and the first season of the L Word has a lot o’ that happening.
I first watched the L Word long after the US version of Queer as Folk ended. It isn’t my usual fare, but I am interested in different perspectives and relationships. When I found the first season in mint condition for $9 at Value Village, I bought it – why not.
No bones about it, this show is hyper sexed, some nudity and other nether-region stuff “going down” (settle down, fellas – suggested and simulated – you don’t actually see anything), but there is also some relationship stuff that everyone goes through when building a life with someone else; the only difference is that it’s predominantly between women.
To start, we have the hub of the show – couple, Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman) who have been together for seven years and are fixing to make a baby by artificial insemination. Bette is a high-powered art curator and Tina quit her job to become housewife to Bette. Other characters include closeted tennis pro, Dana (Erin Daniels), bisexual and quirky Alice (Leisha Hailey), damaged and distant Shane (Katherine Moennig) and Bette’s straight sister, Kit (Pam Grier). All are living in 2004 Los Angeles, where there was no gay marriage or rights for gay couples in the U.S. (my how things are changing!). The show doesn’t date itself (not yet anyway), so I had to remember that it was 2004 and Bette and Tina weren’t technically married and had little domestic rights between them if their relationship went south.
The main story arc of the first season of the L Word has to do with the “coming out” of budding writer, the precocious Jenny Schecter played by Mia Kerchner. Jenny moves to LA to be with her beau, Tim (Eric Mabius), who happens to live next door to Bette and Tina. Of course, the couple get invited to one of Bette and Tina’s soirees and Jenny gets lured by one of the guests, Marina. It’s not long before, by the sixth episode, Tim walks in on Jenny and Marina in a compromising position. Surprise, Tim! Jenny’s into the ladies… Among other cheats in this playground: Bette has a change of heart when she falls for Candace, a carpenter hired to do some work in her museum, and that jeopardizes her relationship with Tina, and Shane “the studdette” is bedding everyone without discretion, including Sheila (played by Rosanna Arquette) and getting into deep trouble for it.
What I have taken away from watching the complete first season of the L Word is that it’s basically “life… with lesbians.” Include some dick jokes, women in drag, “who’s sleeping with who?” and some female nudity thrown in and you have some idea of what to expect. The plot of the first season is very much like a soap, so count me in on that shallowness. I enjoyed the storylines so much, I am already on the third season (thanks to Netflix).
I know some might be uncomfortable with the subject matter of this show, so if that is you, the L Word is obviously not your kind of show.
L Word: Season 1