- The L Word
show_name = The L Word
caption = "The L Word" title logo
runtime = approx. 50 mins
Michele Abbot Ilene Chaiken Kathy Greenberg
Jennifer Beals Erin Daniels(2004–2006) Pam Grier Leisha Hailey Laurel Holloman Mia Kirshner Katherine Moennig Rose Rollins Daniela Sea Rachel Shelley
country = USA
first_aired = January 18, 2004
last_aired = present
num_seasons = 5
num_episodes = 62
list_episodes = List of The L Word episodes
imdb_id = 0330251
tv_com_id = 18662
website = http://www.sho.com/site/lword/|
"The L Word" is a
television dramaseries on Showtimethat portrays the lives of a group of lesbian, bisexualand transgenderwomen and men and their friends, family and lovers in the trendy Los Angeles-area city of West Hollywood.
The show was created and is executive-produced by
Ilene Chaiken("Barb Wire", " The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"). Other executive producers include Steve Golin(" Being John Malkovich", " Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") and Larry Kennar("Barbershop"). Besides Chaiken, writers of the show have included Guinevere Turner("Go Fish", " American Psycho") and Rose Troche("Go Fish", "Six Feet Under").
On July 18 2008 Showtime announced it was creating a spin-off of "The L Word" starring a character from the original series. [ [http://www.thrfeed.com/2008/07/l-word-spin-off.html Showtime announces 'L-Word' spin-off - The Live Feed ] ]
In 2008 "The L Word"'s companion web site was honored at the 59th Annual
Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Advanced Media Technology for Best Use of Commercial Advertising on Personal Computers.
Below is the list of the main characters throughout the series, showing in which seasons they appeared and in which they left:
"The L Word" is filmed in
Vancouver, British Columbiaat Coast Mountain Films Studios, which was formerly known as Dufferin Gate Studios Vancouver. The studio was once owned by Dufferin Gate Productions, the sister company to Temple Street Productions, the Canadian producer of the U.S. version of "Queer as Folk".
The original code-name for the project was "Earthlings", a rarely used slang term for lesbians.cite web
title=Folk Like Us
author=Schenden, Laurie K.
work=Curve Magazine] The Planet, the name of the group's main hangout, appears to be a pun on the original title.
The phrase "the L word" has been used as an alias for "lesbian" since at least the 1981 play "My Blue Heaven" by
Jane Chambers, in which a character stammers out: "You're really …? The L-word? Lord God, I never met one before." [cite journal | last = Bailey | first = Lucille M. | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Still More on "X-Word" | journal = American Speech | volume = 70 | issue = 2 | pages = 222–223 | publisher = | date = 1995 | url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-1283%28199522%2970%3A2%3C222%3ASMO%22%3E2.0.CO%3B2-2 | doi = | id = | accessdate = 2007-02-11 ]
Season 1 was first aired in the
United Stateson January 18, 2004, and featured 13 episodes. Several entwined storylines are presented. Set in West Hollywood, the series first introduces Bette Porterand Tina Kennard, a couple with a seven-year relationship who want to have a child. Tina eventually becomes pregnant through artificial insemination but has a miscarriage during episode 1.09: "Luck, next time". Later in the series, Bette develops an affair with Candace Jewell, which Tina learns of during the season finale. cite web
title=Limb for Limb
During the pilot, a coming out/love triangle storyline is introduced in the show, which involves Tina and Bette’s next-door neighbor,
Tim Haspel, his new-in-town girlfriend, Jenny Schecter, and Marina Ferrer. Marina is part of Tina and Bette’s circle of friends and also is the owner of neighborhood café, The Planet, which as the group's hang-out, serves as a focal point for the show. The season also presents Shane McCutcheon, an androgynous, highly sexual hairstylist and serial heart-breaker; Alice Pieszecki, a girly, bisexual journalist looking for love in any way she can, and Dana Fairbanks, a professional tennis player who is still in the closet and torn between pursuing her career and finding love; In the first season, Dana falls for a sous-chef named Lara Perkinswhose sexuality is in question until an unexpected meeting in the locker room.
Season 2 began airing in
Showtimeon February 20, 2005. It starts by unveiling to the viewers a secret Tina is keeping from everyone: she successfully became impregnated after a second insemination. Tina begins seeing Helena while Bette’s life is portrayed as a wreck: alcohol abuse, problems with her job, the death of her father in episode 2.12:"L'Chaim", and getting fired during the season finale. Tina and Bette reconcile during the final episode. Since the character of Marina was written out from the show, the Planet is bought by Kit Porter. cite web
Introduced in the second season are
Carmen de la Pica Morales, a confident DJ who becomes part of a love triangle with Shane and Jenny; Helena Peabody, the daughter of a wealthy supporter of the arts and who later becomes Tina's temporary love interest; and Mark Wayland, a documentary filmmaker who moves in with Shane and Jenny. Mark makes them part of his latest documentary, by setting up hidden cameras in the house to videotape them. During episode 2.09: "Late, Later, Latent", Jenny discovers Mark’s tapes and also Carmen’s true love.
Season 2 also presents insights into Jenny’s past as an abused child in episode 2.11: "Loud and Proud" along with episodes of self-mutilation that climax in the season finale. Also, the storyline covers a developing affair between Alice and Dana which becomes a public relationship in episode 2.07: "Luminous".
Season 3 first aired in Showtime on January 8, 2006. The storyline is set six months after the birth of Angelica (Tina and Bette's daughter). Tina's and Bette's relationship as a couple is decaying. cite web
work=Showtime] and finally ends when Tina begins a heterosexual relationship on episode 3.10:"Losing the light"cite web
title=Losing the light.
work=Showtime] The estrangement between the two leads to a climactic showdown over Angelica's custody.
New characters in this season include Moira Sweeney (a working class butch who is Jenny’s girlfriend for most of the season) and Angus Partridge, Angelica’s male nanny who later becomes Kit’s lover. cite web
work=Showtime] Sweeney later starts the process of transitioning from female to male, switching his name to Max. Shane and Carmen's relationship (begun in season 2) leads Carmen to face her family and reveal her
homosexualityto them in episode 3.09: "Lead, follow or get out of the way". cite web
title=Lead, follow, or get out of the way
work=Showtime] At the beginning of the season, Alice and Dana's relationship has ended and Alice is having a hard time dealing with it. Dana is back with Lara, and is later found to have
cancerand ultimately dies in episode 3.10: "Losing the light" of a heart failure. cite web
title=Losing the light.
work=Showtime] This death triggers Shane to ask Carmen to marry her in the following episode. Carmen agrees, but in the season finale Shane does not show up to the ceremony.
Helena's character storyline is switched from being Bette's rival into a new member of the circle of friends, paired mostly with Alice. During episode 3.01:"Labia Majora" she buys a film studio, cite web
work=Showtime] and later in the series Tina starts to work for her. cite web
work=Showtime] Further in the season, Helena meets a documentary producer with whom she has an affair: Dylan Moreland, portrayed by
Alexandra Hedison. A sexual harassmentlawsuit filed by Dylan during episode 3.09:"Lead, follow or get out of the way" cite web
title=Lead, follow, or get out of the way
work=Showtime] , along with Helena’s prodigal behavior puts her family business in jeopardy. During the season finale, her mother Peggy (portrayed by
Holland Taylor) decides to cut her off financially after she has given $10,000 to Shane's father Gabriel for the purpose of buying Shane a wedding present. Gabriel instead decides to skip Canada with the money and a woman he has met at a bar inside the hotel where they are all staying for the wedding. This provokes Peggy to realize that Helena can't really discriminate between who is friends with her for her money and who is legitimately her friend.
Throughout this season, each episode begins with a short pre-credits vignette of two individuals meeting romantically or sexually. As the season progresses lines from Alice's chart ("see below") connect one member of each vignette with a new individual in the next. Beginning in the early 1970s with a housewife named Marilyn, these connections eventually wind through several of the series main characters showing scenes of their earlier lives until it ends with Lara, alone in Paris. A much older Marilyn is introduced in the season finale, showing once again the interconnectedness in all of their lives.
The season premiere of the fourth season, "Legend in the Making", first aired on January 7, 2007.cite web
title=Next On "The L Word"
work=Starbrand.tv] The filming of the season's twelve episodes began in Vancouver, on May 29, 2006.cite web
title=Film List: Television series in production in BC
work=British Columbia Film Commission] Showtime announced renewal of the series, in a February 2, 2006 press releasecite web
title=More Love! More Lust! More Longing! Showtime's The L Word Returns for a fourth Season
Joining the show's fourth season are Academy-Award winner
Marlee Matlin,cite web
title=Marlee Matlin Joins Cast of Showtime's Hit Series The L Word
work=Showtime] three time
Golden Globewinner Cybill Shepherd,cite web
title=The L Word "Sheperds" in a New Cast Member
Kristanna Loken,cite web
Rose Rollinsand Janina Gavankar. Karina Lombardreprised her role as Marina Ferrerfor two episodescite web
work=Karina World] . Film and television star
Annabella Sciorraguest-starred in several episodes as lesbian film director Kate Arden, chosen to direct the film version of Jenny's ( Mia Kirshner) book "Lez Girls".
Showtimepicked up a fifth season of "The L Word" for 12 episodes, touting the show as "a signature franchise among our viewers". Production began in Vancouver the summer of 2007 and ended in Los Angeles early November 2007. The fifth season premiered on January 6, 2008, with episode "501 - LGB tease" [ [http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/03-08-2007/0004542685&EDATE Five Times the Love! Lust! Laughs! Longing! SHOWTIME's THE L WORD(R) Returns for a Fifth Season ] ] .
The 5th season led to the mysterious disappearance of Eva "Papi" Torres (
Janina Gavankar), as well as the departures of Angus Patridge (who was dumped by Kit), and season four recurring guest stars Paige Sobel (portrayed by Kristanna Loken) and Kate Arden portrayed by Annabella Sciorra. An explanation on Papi’s disappearance has yet to be discussed on the show or by the writers/producers of “The L Word”. Clementine Ford, daughter of Cybill Shepherd, reprises her role as Phylis Kroll's daughter and begins a relationship with Shane McCutcheon, played by Katherine Moennig. [ [http://www.ourchart.com OurChart. You're On It. | OurChart ] ] Elizabeth Keenerjoined the show as entrepreneur Dawn Denbo, who starts a rival lesbian bar with her lover Cindi Tucker. Malaya Rivera Drewand Kate Frenchhave been cast for the upcoming season. [ [http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117960762.html?categoryid=14&cs=1 Showtime loyal to 'L Word' - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety ] ] Malaya is to play Adele, a young fan of Jenny's work who gets hired as her personal assistant. Kate is to play Nikki Stevens, an ambitious young actress who lands the lead role of Jenny's character of Jesse in the movie production 'Lez Girls' which Jenny is planning to direct herself.
Showtime has confirmed a sixth and final season for "The L Word"; unlike the show's previous seasons, it will only last 8 episodes. Studio executives commented on the impressive longevity of the show, with the Showtime president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt saying that "The L Word" has "surpassed its niche as a gay show." Season 6 is set to start production in summer 2008, airing on January 18, 2009. [ [http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003722311 Showtime will have last 'Word' ] ]
Producers and writers of "The L Word" are going to be taking viewers' opinions regarding the final season’s episodes. Some of the most popular topics from fans are regarding the return of Carmen de la Pica Morales, a possible relationship between Jenny and Shane, a wedding between Bette and Tina, and an explanation of the disappearance of Eva ‘Papi’ Torres. Creator Ilene Chaiken denied reports of socialite
Paris Hiltonguest starring on an interview on gaydarnation.com. [ [http://gaydarnation.com/UserPortal/Article/Detail.aspx?ID=21447&sid=64 Ilene Chaiken: L Word] gaydarnation.com, 20 Jun 2008]
In July, 2008, it was confirmed that
Elizabeth Berkleywill star in a multi-episode arc of the final season. She will play the straight girl that got away from Bette in college. Berkley and Beals are best friends in real life, having previously worked on the 2002 independent movie" Roger Dodger". [ [http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2008/07/exclusive-berkl.html Exclusive: Elizabeth Berkley Utters 'The L Word'] EW.com Jul 22, 2008 by Michael Ausiello]
The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken is to write and produce a pilot for a possible spinoff centring around Leisha Hailey's character Alice Pieszecki.
The project will be shot in December, while the sixth and final season of the Showtime drama series will premiere in January 2009.
Showtime's CEO Matt Blank first announced plans for the new show at the Television Critics Association press tour in July.
"We're doing this interesting thing: The storyline at the end of The L Word, the final episode in the final season, there will be an open-ended component to it," Blank confirmed. "And Ilene is going to carry that story along on the Internet, which we think is an interesting way to keep The L Word experience going. Then if we decide to go ahead with the spinoff that storyline will segue into the new series."Fact|date=September 2008
As of March 2008, The L Word has released 5 Compilation CDs with the show's soundtrack. The music composer of the show is
thumb|300px|A small portion of The Chart, covering some of the relationships established between the most important characters along the series during seasons 1 through 5. Pink signifies main female characters, blue signifies main male characters, purple and green minor characters featured in the series (female and male respectively), and grey signifies characters that are only alluded to."The Chart" is a graph of the affairs that occur among Alice's friends and acquaintances; it is an undirected labeled graph in which nodes are labeled with people's names and the lines represent affairs.
According to the storyline, Alice first started the Chart on the back of a napkin. In Season 1 it was moved from the whiteboard stretched across one wall of her apartment to an internet site of Alice's own creation.
During episode 1.02: "Let's Do It", Alice attempted to write an article about the chart in "Los Angeles" magazine. As she was unable to convince her supervisor editor of the validity of such an article, she opted to publish the Chart on the internet instead. The network was then enriched by the visitors, and was one of the resources used in season 1 when Lara's sexual orientation was in question.
Late in season 2, the Chart regains plot relevance in the show when a disturbing encounter with Alice's former girlfriend Gabby Deveaux prompts her to put it up as a topic during an interview at
KCRW. In the story, the producer was amazed at the complexity of the affair network and granted Alice a section for its public discussion. The program's low popularity is mentioned during episode 2.11: "Loud and Proud", but by the third season it is pictured as a hit among the lesbian community, even heard at public places (Dana is forced to listen to an ad of the program while visiting the hospital in episode 3.04: "Light My Fire").
From Alice's point of view, the Chart is about her and how she is connected to everyone else on it. Any of the main characters can be connected to Alice in less than four moves. In episode 2.08: "Loyal", Alice claimed she could connect almost anyone to her in less than six moves.
In episode 1.02: "Let's Do It", it is mentioned that the major contributor to the Chart is Shane, which is later confirmed during episode 1.12: "Locked Up" by a comment in which she points out her connections could sum up to about twelve hundred. A larger "hub" in the Chart is found during episode 4.01: "Legend in the Making".
During Season 3, the Chart serves as a marginal storyline that advances through each episode and concludes in the season finale.
In the episode 5.04: "Let's Get This Party Started", as the investigation of Tasha for homosexual conduct escalates, Alice scrubs the chart off her apartment wall to hide evidence of her relationship with Tasha.
Originally, "The L Word" was to be based around a lesbian
Kit Porter, and "The Chart" was tattooed on her back. When Kit Porter was changed into a straight character, The Chart was given to Alice instead.
Critical and scholarly reception
While the show is seen as fulfilling lesbians' "obvious and modest representational need" [Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, "Foreword: The Letter L." "Reading the L Word", edited by Kim Akass and Janet McCabe. London: I. B. Tauris (2006): xix] or even the "ferocious desire not only to be seen in some literal sense… but to be seen with all the blood and angst and magic that you possess," [Dana Heller, "How Does a Lesbian Look? Stendhal's Syndrome and the L Word." "Reading the L Word", edited by Kim Akass and Janet McCabe. London: I. B. Tauris (2006): 57] the show has been criticized for various scenes which serve to "reify heteronormativity." [Samuel A. Chambers, "Heteronormativity and "The L Word": From Politics of Representation to a Politics of Norms" "Reading the L Word", edited by Kim Akass and Janet McCabe. London: I. B. Tauris (2006): 91] The show has also been praised for its nuanced consideration (in the first season) of how and in what ways lesbians should stand up to the religious right, with the "Provocations" art show storyline being "a fictionalized version of what happened when Cincinnati's Contemporary Art Center booked a controversial exhibition of Mapplethorpe photographs in 1990." [Margaret McFadden, ""We cannot afford to keep being so high-minded": Fighting the Religious Right on "The L Word" "The New Queer Aesthetic on Television: Essays on Recent Programming", edited by James R. Keller and Leslie Stratyner. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers (2006): 125]
Some critics find "The L Word" to be "a better written series than "
Queer as Folk" and seems less exploitative," with relationships being more important than sex. [Rob Owen, "TV Review: Lesbians in love" " Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" January 16, 2004] Other reviewers are put off by the theme song (introduced in the second season) and the "graceless, clunky dialogue." [Heather Havrilesky, " [http://www.salon.com/ent/tv/review/2007/01/14/iltw/index2.html I Like to Watch] " salon.com , January 14, 2007]
* Australia: Seven Network (season 1-2),
W. Channel(Season 1-2), Movie Extra(Season 3-4)
* Bosnia and Herzegovina: OBN
* Bulgaria :
Showcase Television(English), illicoon demand (Season 1-2), ARTV(Season 3-4) (French)
Warner Channel(season 1-2-3-4)
* Hungary: Cool TV
* Ireland: Channel 6
* Italy: Jimmy,
* Latin America:
* New Zealand: Prime TV
* Norway: TV3
* Philippines: 2nd Avenue,
RTP2and FOX Life
MTV Russia(Season 1-4)
* Serbia :
* South Africa:
Series Channel DSTV
* South Korea:
TV400(Season 4- and reruns of 1-3), TV3 (Season 1-3)
* United Kingdom: Living
* Costa Rica:
Warner Channel, currently broadcasting season 4
References in pop culture
Several shows have referenced the "The L Word":
South of Nowhere, in Season 1's episode Girls Guide to Dating, Ashley asks Spencer, "For two tickets for the Ellen DeGeneres show and a box set of the first two seasons of "The L Word".
According to Jim", Jim is asked what "The L Word" is (obviously in this context relating to the word "love"). Instead, Jim states that "The L Word" is "Lesbian".
*On the medical drama "House",
Dr. Gregory Housesaid he watches "The L Word", but only on mute. He later asks Dr. Cuddyloudly, "Panty hamster get a spin on its wheel?"
*On the dark comedy series "Weeds", after finding her daughter Isabel kissing another girl,
Celia Hodestells Isabel that she can't become a lesbian to avoid losing weight, citing the slim lesbians on "The L Word".
*News satire program "
The Daily Show", which features news headlines altered to reflect pop cultural gags, referred to its coverage of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflictas "The L War" on the July 24, 2006 episode. Host Jon Stewartis a close friend of "The L Word" actress Jennifer Beals, and has previously invited her on to promote the show.
Dave Chapellementions "watching "The L Word" On Showtime, BYAAAAH!!" in his impersonation of Howard Dean's famous outburst in the election runnings. Dave (as Dean) - "I love lesbians. BYAAAAH, I watch "The L Word" on Showtime, BYAAAAH! *Smells his finger* BYAAAAAH!!!"
The Sopranos" episode "Live Free or Die", Tony Sopranoreferences "The L Word" while speaking to his psychiatrist stating that "all that lesbian thing, with the, uh, Jennifer Beals...it's not bad. She a dyke in real life?"
*In the US version of "The Office", when Michael Scott feels he is being accused of discrimination toward homosexuals, he cites watching "The L Word" as evidence to the contrary.
*The fourth season "
Gilmore Girls" episode "Scene in a Mall" features a scene where a germophobic Paris Gelleris trying to keep her shared dorm room with an ill Rory Gilmoreclean (including spraying Lysol on the doorknob), and mentions she'll be sleeping with the other girls in the dorm in their room that night, causing Rory to joke "How very "The L Word" at the sleeping arrangement.
*On G4's "
Attack of the Show", the skit "Lesbionic Women" has the protagonist mentioning watching "The L Word".
* Creator of the show Supernatural,
Eric Kripke, commented on watching "The L Word" during the commentary for the Pilot episode of Supernatural, an episode which features Sarah Shahi.
* "The Big Gay Sketch Show" (Logo Network) references "The L Word" on several occasions. In a sketch from Season Two: Episode Six, in which two women plan a birthday party, one explains to the other that several guests will not be able to attend the party because they will be busy planning their "pre-L Word recap meeting" on Saturday nights. In an episode from Season One: Episode Three, a woman calls a lesbian erotic hotline and proclaims to the operator that what she "really wants" is for "The L Word" to be written better." The series also created a parody advertisement to coincide with "The L Word's" syndication on Logo. It was not part of any specific episode but is available on "The Big Gay Sketch Show's" website and the DVD bonus features.
* Recently, the comedian
Heather McDonald, in the Chelsea Lately Show, joke about one of the characters of the L Word, Jodi Lerner, played by the Oscar winner Marlee Matlin. Chelsea Handlerand Heather McDonalddeclared in the same show that they watch The L Wordall the time; in fact, Heather declared, joking, that if the show had been aired 15 years ago, maybe her life could have changed.
* In the movie
Puccini for Beginnersa character asks if the girl that is about to enter the room was "a glamour dyke like those in The L Word".
* In an episode of "
The Simpsons" entitled " You Kent Always Say What You Want", Ned Flandersmakes a list of shows that he considers unruly, one of which is The L Word (For using "The L Word").
- On Melissa Etheridge's 2007, The Awakening CD, the song "Threesome" refers to: "I stumble onto that showWith all of those ladies, You know with those things, Acting all crazy, I don't know how they manageTo do all that damage" most assuredly referring to The L Word.
* [http://www.ourchart.com/ OurChart] Spin-off official Web site inspired from Alice's "Chart"
* [http://lwordwiki.sho.com/ Official L-Word Wiki for Showtime] Showtime's Official L-Word Wiki
* [http://www.afterellen.com/TV/thelword.html AfterEllen's L Word section] Comprehensive news, reviews, interviews, recaps, and polls related to the series.
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