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L Word

L Word


A sadness-soaked eulogy for the show that was better than everything else in its time slot. Usually.

I like to fantasize about how things go down behind the scenes at shows I'm in love with, and I don't want to hear about the reality if it contradicts with what I've created in my mind. Like, for example, I used to love Gilmore Girls and now I'm pals with one of the former cast members. But we usually only talk about reality television or desserts when we chat because I never want to know about what life on that show's set was really like unless it absolutely lines up with my fantasy.

So here's my L Word fantasy: Ilene Chaiken watches The Sopranos final episode with its ambiguous ending and thinks, "I've got it! We start the season with Jenny dying and spend every episode between then and the finale getting all the other characters to utter something somewhat incriminating like, 'I WILL FUCKING MURDER JENNY SCHECTER WITH THIS, MY LATEST BALENCIAGA SCARF PURCHASE, AS I WRAP IT AROUND HER EVIL THROAT, THEN TIE IT TO THE GUY FROM THOSE SAW MOVIES AND THEN TO THE BUMPER OF MY PRIUS! SNAPPIN' LEZZIE NECKS! THEN I WILL THROW HER INTO TINA AND BETTE'S POOL!' and then when the final moments are rolling, all of the characters will don evening gowns and flash hazy Ativan-powered grins straight into the camera as they float on a fragrant and invisible conveyor belt that glides them into the police station where they will be interrogated. Or not. Who cares? The check cleared! Artistry!"

Here's why I think, if you're a fan, you should be happy with the self-congratulatory, full-on-bonkers final sequence: because it makes as much sense as a lot of other stuff that went down during those six amazing seasons. Stuff like Kit's new going-nowhere relationship with the heterosexual drag queen. Stuff like Helena's disappearing children (cleverly given the nod by Alice early this season: "And don't get me started on her kids because what happened to them?!") and her time spent on lockdown. Stuff like the disappearance of Shane's arch sex rival Papi. Stuff like Tasha being friends with Papi and meeting Alice through her but then ditching Papi and all her old friends to hang out with the fancy ladies 24/7. Stuff like Alice outing famous sports figures and then outing Tasha and no one ever keying her car because of it. Stuff like Shane performing oral sex on a movie star on the balcony railing of an upscale restaurant and no one but Jenny catching them doing it. Stuff like Jenny's transformation from unstable, annoying waif into a prissy couture-grabbing villainess. Stuff like Max being the only trans in the village and his fake beard that flashed like a neon sign and pulled focus in every scene he was in, giving way to an even weirder fake mustache that he chose to wear with maternity overall shorts. Stuff like Dawn Denbo basically giving Helena ownership of her Beautiful Lover Cindy in this weird human sex-slave trade and thenaEUR| yes, the disappearance of Beautiful Lover Cindy. Stuff like Dawn Denbo period. I could spend an entire day lamenting the departure of the fire-breathing Dawn Denbo, how she bloomed and flowered for a while in the universe of the Marc Jacobs-beskirted, David Yurman-jewelry acquiring, art-collecting Los Angeles lesbians, terrorizing them with style and humor ("You messed with the wrong bitch, bitch!" and "I'm gonna ruin you and all of your smug little motherfuckin' friends" are staple rejoinders at my house) and then fleeing the city, shamed and stripped of her Beautiful Lover Cindy and her all-lady, all-oil-wrestling-all-the-time nightclub.

I also think the who-cares-who-killed-Jenny finale dovetails nicely into fan desire for either A) Alice eventually explaining what happened in that spin-off show that's coming where she winds up in prison, or, even better, B) an L Word movie. I mean, if Noah's Arc can have its own tie-up-the-loose-ends moment in cinemas, then so can these ladies. Fair is fair.

But let's say that that's it. Let's say we get nothing more. Let's say that the Alice spin-off show pretends that Alice never knew these women at all (Oh, you think that can't happen? Then you never really watched this show) and that there's not going to be a movie. It's OK. We were thoroughly, maddeningly entertained for almost six seasons -- admit it, season 4 kind of sucked a moose -- and that's more than you get from a lot of other TV programs that don't feature weekly extended sequences of under-the-sheets cunnilingus set to bad songs by Betty (And that theme song? Worst/best thing ever. You know I'm right.), or Marlee Matlin teaching you how to properly sign the expression "boring lesbian fiction," or Terminator 3 burning Shane's hair salon/smoothie emporium/skate park (which was also maybe a Planned-Parenthood clinic, comic book shop, and designer cupcake emporium) down to the ground. It's a lot more.

I will miss watching Jenny Schecter prance through rooms and I will miss Alice stirring the shit. I will miss Bette and Tina being really boring and barely present parents to that little girl that occasionally showed up to act like their daughter. I won't miss Shane's hair because I always found it bothersome and because if I want I can just go down the block to my grocery store where Katherine Moennig shops and look at it in person. But I will miss the early seasons where they all sang along to Indigo Girls songs and I will miss pausing the TiVo to get real-life lesbian reality consultations from my friend Lindsay, who showed up every Sunday night, cookies and ice cream in hand, to help a roomful of gay guys watch the show properly. I will miss it mostly because it was "my story" and they were my ladies and now they're gone and Jenny's dead. But, weirdly enough, I guess I don't really care who killed her either.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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