Bette’s sister Kit Porter, played by 70s chicks-in-prison icon Pam Grier, falls in love with soulful younger musician Angus, who gets her pregnant and then has an affair. Shane and Jenny accept a male roommate, Mark, who talks a good game but secretly wires the house for video so he can tape the women and try to sell a video of them. Homophobic rednecks, crazed Christians, and scuzzy movie executives round out The L Word’s rancid take on men. In the very last episode, Bette even gripes about grubby men using the nice master bathroom in her house – a telling indication of what the character and the series really think about men.
It gets worse! Moira/Max, a transsexual, becomes violent during his transition to maleness, due to those pesky testosterone shots. Even a gay male character is a jerk – the guy impregnates Max and then ditches him/her when he decides he can’t handle fatherhood. Couldn’t the show find some normal guys who are honest, caring, and sane, and leave it at that?
Then again, reality may be a factor here; when I ran the “men are evil” notion past a world-weary woman friend, she quipped, “Only on The L Word?”
Mourning Becomes Pieszecki
Cancer has struck women in my life – my mother died of it in 1984, a cousin and her daughter have had it, and women I care about have, like Dana, endured breast cancer (they are all survivors).
Against this background, the yo-yo relationship between just-out-of-the-closet tennis player Dana Fairbanks and Alice Pieszecki meant a lot to me. They had fun (acting out their Love Boat fantasies), but they kept falling for other people, so they never stayed a couple. Then the great plot tragedy of the show hit. Dana got cancer. Alice and Dana struggled to connect amid the emotional chaos of illness and other lovers.
The series traced Dana’s unstoppable descent through surgery, treatment, anger, and death, followed by tributes, a funeral, and Alice’s mourning her loss. A devastated Alice builds a shrine to Dana in her apartment, complete with a life-size standee of Dana from a marketing promotion.
Dana does return briefly to Alice – as a ghost. This is their riveting exchange:
Dana: “What I know, Alice, is that you never know how long anything is going to last. The only thing any of us knows in this life is that anything can happen. You never know what’s going to happen next.”