The L Word – the TV show that still has an effect on us

It’s officially announced that The L Word is revived with a new season. The news must have sparked the imagination of every lesbian as this series is regarded as an "all-time favourite".

Warning. The article contains spoilers!


Why do we love The L Word so much?


The first TV program about the lives of lesbians

The L Word (the title is simply translated to “L” in Hungary) is an American-Canadian television series, which follows the everyday lives of a group of gay women in West-Hollywood. This is the first TV show exclusively dedicated to lesbians that has reached millions worldwide. The story is basically about  a group of wealthy friends living in West-Hollywood, sipping their coffee every day in Planet where they chit-chat about what currently happens in their lives. The L word is in fact much more than that. Before 2004, when the series hit the screen, lesbian characters even in supporting roles were rare to find on TV, let alone a whole series produced on this topic. This pioneer attitude resulted in its immediate popularity. The series received mostly positive feedback, but faced criticism due to its sex-centred nature and the irreal storylines in many cases. One thing is true, The L Word was the first series to draw attention to queer women. It shows their social and sexual lives, their everyday problems and how they struggle with the expectations set by the heteronormative society.


Colorful characters

Ilene Chaiken took special care of creating detailed characters, that’s why we come to know queers with different background and personalities. Bette, the educated, careerist, controlling type who always gets what she wants. Jenny, the innocent young girl moving from the Midwest to LA to her fiancé, where she soon discovers she is attracted to women (too). The meek girl turns into the most obnoxious character by the end of season 6. The show ended with her death, but the question is still burning everyone: who killed Jenny Schecter? Shane, as a result of her disturbing childhood, is incapable to form a bond, but girls are enchanted by her attractiveness and can’t keep their pants on. The chatty and charming Alice can easily be considered the most loveable character. We root for her to find her true love throughout the six seasons. The lesbian tennis player, Dana’s fate is by far the most tragic, who dies of breast cancer in season three.

Subplots play, too, an important role in The L Word. That time transsexuality was an even bigger taboo than homosexuality. Thanks to the lesbian Moira, who turns into a trans man named Max, this world gets closer to viewers as well. We witness a 50-year-old mother how she discovers her homosexuality. Tasha is forced to give up her military carrier due to her sexual orientation, while rich and spoiled Helena has to learn to stand on her own feet as an adult. We meet a lesbian man, a deaf sculptor, a long-forgotten, drunken singer and a sexy DJ, too, in The L Word.


Situations never seen elsewhere

The different plots depict situations that are typically known only in the lesbian community. We watch stories of coming-out throughout the entire TV show: Jenny’s realisation and coming-out, the indifference of Bette’s father towards his daughter, Max’s self-acceptance as a transgender man are only a few examples. The viewers learn the challenges of forming a family through the stages of Bette and Tina’s attempt to have children. We (almost) witness a lesbian wedding as well, but Carmen is left at the altar. Besides Shane’s self-destructive and dissolute lifestyle, Jenny’s mental health gets important screen time, too. Jenny, who was sexually abused as a child, tries to cope with her trauma as an adult, self-harm comes up in the show in this regard.


The L Word can easily be called as the pioneer of lesbian TV shows. Who can forget her favorite love story, the most painful break-up or the hottest sex scene? Although it’s 10 years since the last season aired, most of us are on the edge of our seats to watch the new season, where we may again meet old favourites like Bette, Shane and Alice.


Translated by Emese Balog

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