Review: The L Word

Final fling
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  January 20, 2009

WOMEN WHO GIVE: Don’t expect any group hugs this time around.

I'll admit I've been hazardously vocal around the office about my enthusiasm for The L Word (Showtime, Sundays at 10 pm), which will wrap itself up for good over the course of a scant seven remaining episodes. Can you blame me? The dicy writing, the multiple story lines wobbling like spinning plates starting to slow, the invigorating and ever-present potential for utter train wreck at any time: for a gay (hi there), these are the essential ingredients of successful television. And though it may be a challenge for someone like me to tune out the barrage of leggy Lost Angeles lesbians crawling all over each other, slamming each other up against car doors, texting and/or sucking each other's faces off — it's not impossible.

As the show's now-classic themesong (by the vocal group Betty) indicates, the "women who give" at the center of The L Word are merely the vessels for those essential human gestures to which all of us can relate. Namely: "talking, laughing, loving, breathing, fighting, fucking, crying, drinking, writing, winning, losing, cheating, kissing, thinking, dreaming." Although I should mention that this theme (a distant bastardization of "My Favorite Things") might be the worst piece of recorded music ever, its point stands: lesbians are just like the rest of us. They simply use way more minutes.

As such, it's only natural that in its final season, the exploration of this interconnected gang (see Alice's notorious "chart" — which will have some major connectors drawn) should take some dark turns. Happy endings haven't been stylish for a while now (see Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, BBC's The Office), and the events of the first few episodes suggest that the group hugs that have always lurked behind the flimsily hung dramatic backdrops of the series might not be there this time around. Indeed, season six may well see all-out dyke implosion.

Many a pomegranate martini was spilled when the season opener last Sunday featured Lucy "Xena" Lawless as a police investigator at the wrap party for the increasingly compromised Lez Girls film project. Said martinis were subsequently dropped on dogs when doe-eyed drama vortex Jenny Schecter (Mia Kirshner) was wheeled past in a gurney, very dead. From here, the show leaps back a few months, and the season traces the web of events that led to Jenny's untimely death.

Although the ladies do not seem poised to go gently into their good night (rumor has it that a spinoff will follow one character into a women's prison), the series's trademarks remain. Alice (Leisha Hailey) is still chronically overconnected, Tina (Laurel Holloman) is still naive enough to load all of her world-changing apples into Hollywoood's dungcart, Kit (Pam Grier) is still unbearable, Helena (Rachel Shelley) is still fence-hoppingly hot, and lines like "I think your unwillingness to judge has a lot more to do with your own history than any accommodations that you might make for Shane" still somehow count as zingers.

A short season it may be, but it promises to pack a punch — or at least a nice, fingernaily bitchslap. Somebody gets preggers, someone else makes a surprise reappearance as the filling in a "lesbo sandwich" at Kit and Helena's new club, someone invokes Mayor Newsom while popping the question, and a hook-up ensues that ends up grossing everybody out. Four years after its debut, Lost is the new "L word" of note, and the groundbreaking gusto of The L Word has petered out a bit (no pun), but it's safe to say the ladies would rather go out with a roar than with pillow talk. Just be warned: if you've ever witnessed a lesbian break-up, you know that closure is not their strong suit.

Related: Pride at 39, The 2011 Guide To Pride, Review: Septien, More more >
  Topics: Television , Pam Grier, Lucy Lawless, Mia Kirshner,  More more >
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