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Beneath the Sheets and on the Street: The L Word (Yeah, that stands for lesbians)

So let me set the scene: your standard Showtime drama set in Los Angeles revolving around the lives of a group of lesbians: their lives, their love, their losses. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, I highly recommend it. Since it’s Showtime, modesty doesn’t really come into play. Though I’d be one of the first to admit that it’s trashy and unrealistic, as one of my male friends stated recently—you become invested in the characters and their progression throughout the six seasons. Not to mention, I support any show that acknowledges the tensions—however exaggerated—in the GLBT community.

photo credit: nanchatte.wordpress.com

So the typical episode of The L Word starts out with a montage of L.A.: pool lounging, corporate business, motorcycles, city life. The viewer’s ears are greeted with a symphonic harmony of powerful women, ending the opening credits with poetry: “This is the way, it’s the way that we live, it’s the way that we live and love.” The main characters are comprised of Jenny, Tina, Bette, Shane, Alice, Dana, and Kit.

In the opening season, Jenny is a somewhat conservative “straight” girl from Illinois, until she meets Marina, who woos her to discovering her true sexuality. After ditching her fiancée, Jenny pursues her life as an artist, writing not-actually-good screenplays and short stories about her traumatic past with the circus (it’s all confusing). Tina and Bette begin the season as a couple (don’t worry, this all changes when Bette sleeps with the carpenter and their bed symbolically grows larger with the demise of their relationship). They’re supposedly in love so they craft a perfectly artistic baby, who, like Bette, is also half black. Though Baby Angelica is present throughout the whole six seasons, she never speaks, another fallacy of the show.

Shane is a hairdresser who is the token “playboy” of the show, whose sex appeal is irresistible to everyone, myself included. She owns a hairdresser and skate shop called Wax, which makes a lot of sense because every time I’m out poppin’ ollies and shredding the sidewalk, I want a haircut. Alice is an adorably bubbly radio host, who additionally runs a social networking site called “Our Chart” that tracks people’s sexual partners, linking them threw orbits. Her storyline doesn’t really develop until the second season but do know that she has a questionable bicep tat that slowly fades throughout the seasons. Dana is the adorable awkward girl that everyone pictures themselves being, except she might be a professional tennis star, who triumphs as the supposed first female tennis player to be openly gay. Big bombshell in the second season but I’ll try not to spoil. Finally, there’s Kit who’s Bette’s alcoholic straight sister, who primarily serves as the shameless political plug for the show.

So despite the hilarity and highly unrealistic plot twists throughout the seasons, The L Word does have some merit. First of all, it’s an entire show that revolves around the lives of a lesbian community in Los Angeles and as far along as we may think we are, gay marriage is still illegal in many states, including California. Secondly, it’s a show that while unrealistic, is somewhat relatable and entertaining. Surely I’d be the first to recognize that it’s not an Emmy-award winning show, but it does have its place in the entertainment world, with perhaps a few political messages to spread.

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