WHAT THE L?
The folks over at Showtime have apparently been reading my blog and took notice of my obsession with Pam Grier. I got an email from the cable channel last week asking if I would write a review of The L Word season premiere, which aired last night. Since I've been watching the show since it began (this is the fourth season...where does the time go?), it was a pleasure to be asked...and to rhapsodize a bit more over Pam and the show in general. And, yes, that is me talking to show creator Ilene Chaiken and Pam (who's clutching a copy of The Red Light anthology that featured my poem, "Why I Want To Be Pam Grier") at the release party for the second season DVD here in Atlanta.
For those who haven't been watching, The L Word is about a group of lesbians "living, laughing, fighting, fucking" (as the theme song goes) in Los Angeles. Jennifer Beals (forget Flashdance...she's hotter now) plays Bette, an art history professor; Tina (Laurel Holloman) is Bette's on-again-off-again-baby's-mama who decided at the end of last season she was straight; Alice (Leisha Hailey) is a radio talk-show host who has had the worst luck with women ever, including the death of her lover from cancer; Jenny (Mia Kirshner), a victim of horrific child abuse who has written a polarizing memoir; Shane (Katherine Moennig), the androgynous lady-killer who decided she wasn't ready to settle down with girlfriend Carmen, ditching her at the alter; Helena (Rachel Shelley) is the rich-bitch CEO of a philanthropic organization who bedded Tina, but has now become a friend to all the girls; and Kit (Pam Grier), who is Bette's sister and a singer/club owner. At the end of last season, she discovered she was preggers by Bette and Tina's younger, white "manny". Got all that? Good.
Season four opened with Bette on the run with her daughter, and Tina threatening to call the police and take full custody. Tina has evolved into such a harpy over the last couple of seasons, it's hard to have any sympathy for her. I blame the writers, who can't seem to figure out what to do with her now that she and Bette have broken up. Shane woke up on the beach after ditching Carmen at the alter and wound up at house party hosted by Rosanna Arquette, who she bedded last season despite her engagement to Carmen. Kit, considering an abortion, went to a clinic and, after discovering it was run by right-wing Christian conservatives, went fabulously ape-shit on the doctor ("Shut the fuck up...I'll rip your head off with my bare hands!"). Jenny's memoir was getting mixed reviews in the press and her first book signing was upstaged by the return of her first girlfriend, the worldly and beautiful Marina.
Alice created OurChart.com (which is a real website for lesbians at http://www.ourchart.com/), a site for lesbians to sign on and list all their conquests. How this will work in the real world remains to be seen, because do you really want everyone to know how many and who you've slept with? This seems to be the LFC (lesbian fuck circle...basically a group of lesbians who all know and have slept with each other and keep passing the poon around) gone high-tech. Alice discovered an Our Chart user nicknamed Papi who has slept with over 1,000 women, and she was practically double-clicking her mouse trying to track down the lusty lady.
Poor Helena's trust fund was cut off by her mother, who wants her daughter to learn how to work for her money. Helena and Tina are the new execs at a floundering movie studio, so god knows what will happen there. Oh, and I almost forgot Max, who joined the cast last year as one of Jenny's flings, but then dumped her after Max decided to get sexual reassignment to finally become a man. Max is played by Daniela Sea and is so damn cute and boyish, it really confuses me. Gender is such a bitch. He's still hung up on Jenny and hopped up on testosterone. There is trouble brewing at Max's job, where he is believed to be a man and has risen through the ranks as a computer whiz. The boss wants to set Max up with his daughter. Uh-oh...drama and job loss ahead.
Jane Lynch (from the Christopher Guest films and The 40 Year Old Virgin) guest starred as Bette's scheming lawyer who hilariously brokered a visitation agreement for Bette and Tina's daughter. Lynch is the first of a cavalcade of stars set to appear or join the cast this season. Marlee Matlin will become Bette's lover, Cybill Shepherd (looking hot and voluptuous) will play a repressed lesbian who gives up her family to come out and Papi (Janina Gavankar) will finally appear.
The season is off to a good start after the last one nearly lost me as a viewer. Main character Dana, tennis pro and Alice's girlfriend, contracted cancer and was killed off in just a few episodes. Jenny's bizarre memories of her childhood abuse veered into bad David Lynch territory and Bette and Tina's relationship was so erratic it was unbelievable. It still sort of is, so I'm ready for the writers to wrap that up and let these ladies move on. Kit spent the first couple of seasons being the token straight, but has finally got a compelling plot line as she decides, as an older woman, if she should have a child. Another big plus was that the series is actually filming in LA rather than having Vancouver substitute (it's cheaper to film in Canada). All those palm trees, blue ocean and congested freeways looked familiar.
I'm hooked again!