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:: M I D S E A S O N  R E V I E W ::
By Janine Avril 

When the L Word first premiered Season One, I was really excited about it and genuinely impressed with its quality. It was Hollywood, but it didnít quite feel like it. It was gritty; I related to the characters and the storylines. It took place among glamorous L.A femmes, but there was this universal quality to it that made it appeal to a large range of gay women as well as more mainstream populations. It was down to earth and sympathetic. As the seasons have unfolded up to this point in time five years later, I canít say my sentiments are entirely the same. The show still has some really positive elements to it and its existence is invaluable to so many gay women and men in America, but Iíd really been hoping that Season Five would revive the earlier feelings mentioned. Thus far, itís ceased to do so. I donít think itís the strongest season of the show, but the seasonís not over yet, so I wonít speak too soon...

At this midway point in the season, the show is improving, but I donít think the season got off to a glowing start. If the Season Five Premiere was supposed to wow us into believing that Season Five would transcend any other, I donít think this goal was accomplished. And the storylines that developed in the first several episodes were disappointing on more than one level.
Helena ended up in some maximum security prison. Poor Helena Peabody went from a philanthropist who funded amazing charity organizations to a disenfranchised poker player to a prisoner. No one knew what to do with her, so they sent her straight to jail. Her character really had a lot more potential. It was also too convenient that her murderous looking cellmate who on first glance was some sort of Silence of the Lambs carnivore killer was really just a butch looking dyke in jail for tax fraud who she ends up having hot sex with.

The Alice/Tasha relationship would strike a chord with me if it felt realistic. But Alice as a sulking military wife waiting for her soldier who has shipped out at 0900 oíclock doesnít work for me. Iím still carrying this residual baggage about it from last season. Itís not that the relationship is impossible; it just doesnít sit right with me.

Onwards to Shane...she is conclusively a sex addict who keeps sleeping with different women in different ways. Maybe her character is realistic since any addiction is hard to kick and many addicts donít change. But Iím bored. And the sexual exploits that Shane keeps finding herself in get more and more outlandish. In the second episode of the season when Shane got busy with the bride, the brideís sisters AND the brideís mother all in one afternoon, I couldnít help shaking my head. That was just too much action in one day for someone whoís not a hooker. (Or maybe I should say no longer a hooker)
Iíd have liked to see Shane have some authentic remorse for breaking Paigeís heart. After all, they were planning to merge their families. When Paige wouldnít return her calls, Shane drank a beer, smoked a cigarette and was over it. It felt like, ďPoor me.Ē Also, there was nothing in Paigeís character that helps me believe that she would have committed ARSON. Itís moments like these on the L Word that evoke the surreality of Melrose Place. I had originally prided the L Word on being so different from Melrose, but sometimes now it feels like Lesbian Melrose.

I think weíve caught on that Jenny is supposed to be unlikeable now that fame and power have gotten to her head. Weíve resigned ourselves to the fact that she is merely a caricature of a girl. All we can do is wait for those moments when she acts strangely human, shocking the hell out of us all. Those rare moments arrive when she is with her good friend Shane or when Nikki Stevens (who will play ďJessieĒ in Les Girls) kisses her ass enough to penetrate her looming and grotesque new ego.
Bette is kind enough to fix up Jodiís apartment for her upon Jodiís move back to L.A. In less than five seconds, Jodi tells Bette that she doesnít like it and calls Bette a control freak. This really whets my appetite for Bette to dump Jodi. Maybe itís Jodi thatís the control freak. Itís kind of clear by now that Bette and Jodi are doomed. If the trip to the cabin to visit Jodiís friends, NONE of whom Bette bonded with, was not the tell tale sign of their parting, I donít know what was. And the guy who threw Bette in the lake was the most insufferable guy in the world. Jodi barely reprimanded him for being such a petulant jerk which had me confused. I think our sympathies as viewers are being evoked here, so that when Bette finally cheats on Jodi with Tina, we donít hate her that much for infidelity.

Bette is the one character that Iím really fascinated by right now. Iím trying to crawl into her brain to figure out whether she really misses Tina and after TWO break-ups finally realizes that Tina is the love of her life, if it is her own commitment issues acting up again which create her growing impulse to cheat, or whether this is simply a device by the writers of the show to be forgiven for separating Tina and Bette in the first place. The fan base has a desperate need for Tina and Bette to get back together once and for all because it will reaffirm that true loves ultimately find their way home....
On a quick side note...WHO IS RAISING ANGELICA? There is no manny anymore, and we barely ever see that little girl. We saw her early on in the season when she was at her private pre school interview with her two mommies who want her to be a fine artist by the age of two. This kid is going to be on the fast track to Pratt Institute or RISD. Iíd really love if the show explored lesbian parenting issues in more depth.

I admire Maxís assertion that trans men should be accepted by the lesbian community. Iím also interested in Aliceís decision to ďoutĒ the basketball star Darryl Brewster via her podcast ďLesbolandĒ. It was a contradictory act on her part to risk becoming the talk of the town when her girlfriend was hoping more than anything that sheíd stay on the down low. Maybe this was Aliceís subconscious way of terminating the relationship.

I am compelled by the militaryís investigation of Tasha. This has been entirely educational to me since I never knew that one could be investigated for homosexual conduct that happens OFF the job. If this is true, Iím sure many of us are receiving a crash course on one of the many unethical practices of the American government.

I love the ďmovie in a movieĒ storyline. It is fun and witty. I like the scenes that bring us back to the earlier L Word days, evoking nostalgia. (But Nikki Stevens in the bathroom with Jenny was not as hot as Jenny and Marina were). The Charlieís Angels opener was brilliant and well crafted.

I am also a bit fascinated by Jennyís assistant Adele. Anyone willing to work for the new, improved and grandiose Jenny Schecter must have horrible self esteem resulting from unfathomable childhood abuse. I think that Max might have been onto something when he said that Adele is not who she says she is. Iím curious to learn more.

I await the remainder of the season and will return with commentary after the season finale.

Until then,
Janine Avril

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.