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:: L  W O R D  L O W D O W N ::
By L. A. Vess
Gay Wired

Episode 501 - LGB Tease


The long-anticipated fifth season of The L Word finally made its debut Sunday night. As Jenny Schecter's smirking face filled the screen even before the opening credits, anticipation turned quickly to nausea. As much as we were hoping Jenny would meet an untimely end during the break between seasons, however, episode one of season five did have its high points—the primary one being, of course, a gratuitously naked Rachel Shelley.

First, we have to question why Ilene Chaiken must insist on opening the fifth season of The L Word with her annoying, circus freak alter ego Jenny. Nothing against Mia Kirshner, who firmly inhabits and propels Jenny's psychotic narcissism with an almost frightening ease. Nothing against Ilene either, she's obviously a master at knowing how to laugh at herself and the lesbian community in general—a good thing all around.

It is simply that Jenny has become such a shallow, pointless stereotype that it seems wasteful to even spare a moment of precious L Word time on her existence. I'm sure at some future date she'll experience a terrific revelation about what an incredibly self-involved bitch she's developed into and everyone will feel terribly sorry for her and there will be crying involved, etc. etc. But frankly, at this point I would just as soon have seen Jenny drown at sea at the end of last season.

I'm sure Bette and Tina would probably agree—though they might feel guilty about it. Well, maybe Tina would. Bette would probably throw a way too fancy dinner party in celebration of the Lez Girls author's demise. Believe me, I understand the point of engaging in a little L Word parody play—which is basically what the whole Lez Girls storyline is about—but really, haven't we been tortured enough?

Anyway, enough about Jenny. Let's move on to more tasty topics, such as Katherine Moennig's delicious Shane. Now, Shane's been through a rough time all around. She left the hottest woman in existence at the altar and then followed up by getting drugged to the gills and making a bloody wreck out of herself. She prostituted herself on billboards to help her little brother, only to have him taken away by her womanizing father. And no matter how badly she seems to want to find love, she manages to mess it up at every turn.

Honestly, Shane's inability to stop bed-hopping is getting just a little bit tiresome. At the same time, the whole bit with Amazonian housewife Paige (Kristanna Loken) was kind of hard to click with. The two actresses had little in the way of chemistry with each other and their love scenes seemed more humorous than erotic. So when the first episode of the new season found Shane sliding back into her old Casanova waves, it was almost a relief.

Admittedly, the transition from "let's move in together in this nice apartment" Shane to "I'm going to fuck the rental manager" Shane was a little swift. Maybe the rental manager's litany of Shane's ex-conquests in front of girlfriend Paige just got Miss Hugo Boss too hot under the collar to resist adding another chick to her OurChart constellation. Of course, Paige walks in on the impromptu liaison and then promptly walks out. And there goes another LTR prospect for the girl who just can't keep it in her pants.

But what's this, Paige is willing to forgive, forget and let Shane get laid all over town while still coming home for family dinner? Sound like a hot deal to me, but Shane never has let a good thing come her way without fucking it up—so it's goodbye to Paige. Because, of course, Shane is once again 'not good enough' for a nice, stable, reasonably well-adjusted woman. But Shane has obviously not learned the lesson about a "woman scorned" as her precious shop Wax goes up in a burning inferno, and Paige is the primary suspect. Hmmm, maybe Paige was not as well-adjusted as she appeared to be…

On the site of another burning inferno in the making, Bette is waiting anxiously for her lover Jodi (Marlee Matlin) to return. Tina (Laurel Holloman), however, is not so into the idea of Bette's brilliant, beautiful new girlfriend coming back to town. No, Tina's decided to rejoin the lesbian brigade and Bette's started to look like a tasty treat she's been denied for far too long. Especially since Kate was fired off Jenny's film and packed herself off to New York. Now Tina's single, desperate and willing to float herself topless in a pool to try to garner some attention from Bette. (Well, how can you really resist Jennifer Beals?) Frankly, Bette looked like she was almost ready to bite too, until Tina smacked her upside the head with a nasty 'lesbian bed death' dig. Bad Tina. She should be spanked. Repeatedly…

Though it seems Bette is still having some naughty thoughts about her ex-partner Tina, once Jodi arrives, she's the center of Bette's universe. At first, Jodi and Bette are as slobbery as two puppy dogs in love—exhibiting a disgusting level of public PDA. But then Bette errs again by invading Jodi's space with her 'gifts' all uninvited. Poor thing just can't escape her control freak persona even for a minute. Jodi's answer to the problem? Blindfold the bitch and give her a taste of being a real bottom to another Alpha female for a change. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Meanwhile, over in Alice's world things seem to be on a downhill track. Tasha and Alice have transitioned to full-on mushy love, but soldier girl is on her way to Iraq and possible death by roadside bomb. Then, while taping a podcast for her breakout OurChart site, Alice gets dished by former lover Phyllis (Cybill Shepherd), who has the audacity of saying Alice was too 'vanilla' in the bedroom. Ouch, we can imagine Leisha Hailey just died a little inside at having to endure that categorization of Alice. Apparently Phyllis' new lawyer lover Joyce likes it a bit saucier than pretty Pieszecki. But although lawyer lady may have some tasty treats up her pants, Phyllis isn't content to settle down with just one hot power dyke—she's looking to play the field. If only she can get rid of Joyce…

Next, Alice manages to offend Max by saying OurChart is a site for lesbians—and that means the whole transgender thing really isn't appropriate discussion material. She tries to cover up her snafu, but it's pretty obvious this is an issue that will be popping up again. Max, by the way, has decided for the time being that he is enough of a man as is without having transitional surgery. But that too is likely to be another plotline that hasn't yet been resolved. Both subjects are worthy of more exploration, in my humble opinion. There simply hasn't been enough real representation of transgender individuals in our media and it should be quite interesting to see how these delicate issues are dealt with in future episodes.

But I digress, back to the lovely Alice. Lo and behold, Alice's day looks to be brightening when Tasha's next stop isn't the desert sands of an unjust war; instead she comes knocking on Alice's door for a booty call. Alice wants to know if her lover girl is in trouble, but Tasha shuts her up in the most efficient manner possible—by taking off her clothes. If all lesbian drama could be interrupted with such exquisite sexual interventions, the world would probably be a much more fabulous place.

Checking in with our favorite hot girl Helena, she's unfortunately on the receiving end of an entirely unpleasant form of intimacy. A cavity search by a stern female prison guard wearing a rubber glove is probably only exciting to people with rather odd fetishes, but a naked Helena is steamingly delicious regardless of circumstances. Whoever decided to include that particular scene was well aware of the absurd eroticism of stripping Helena naked for the audience's pleasure while making them feel guilty for ogling her in such an uncomfortable situation.

The moments when the humor shines through the drama on The L Word are the moments that truly make the show worth watching—Jenny and all. Such as when Shane, just broken up with Paige after cheating on her, goes pelvic thrusting after a delectable inmate while on her way to visit Helena. Sad, wrong, twisted—but priceless. And, of course, we cannot forget the most cliché and yet most amusing moment of the season opener. Yes, the chorus of Shane, Tina and Alice telling Helena very seriously: "Don't drop the soap."

Which we know, courtesy of next week's previews, she will.

The L Word Online has been designed by Oz and Slicey.  Unique images designed by Oz.  Site maintained by Oz & Slicey.  This website is intended to be fun and informative, and was created with respect to show appreciation for the women and men involved in the creation of TV's first real lesbian drama.  This site is not endorsed, sponsored, or affiliated with Showtime Networks Inc., the television series "The L Word," or any person involved in the making of the show.  No copyright infringement is intended.  Images and other borrowed content are copyright their respective owners.  Credit is given where due.  All original content is the sole property of  the creators of The L Word Online copyright October 2003.