L Word's coming back on Sunday, 9pm on Showtime.
***Partial Spoiler Alert***
The long-running Sapphic soap opera features the most stunning well-to-do
lesbians on the planet who incestuously trade partners like people pass out
Showtime's "The L Word" is a pastiche character-driven dramedy of
accomplished women in Los Angeles’ lesbian community and their byzantine
love/life stories. This critically acclaimed series takes a lifestyle
perhaps unfamiliar, and makes it all seem very ordinary at times.
This season will please those who felt the series got a bit vanilla, a
cardinal sin in rainbow colored Gay-land.
The writers have injected testosterone into the very graphic sex that we
see, this isn’t Anais Nin high-brow writhing and filmy girl kisses, more
like wham-bam rough stuff. The straight guys who fantasize about comely
girls doing the business will love the new order.
The casting is well-stocked with veteran champs like Pam Grier (Kit) and
Wallace Shawn, a smitten producer who takes Jenny Schecter’s “Lez Girls”
article and blows it up into a movie, all cast and produced within season 5
of the L Word.
Season 5 is Mia Kirshner's character Jenny’s turn to shine as a neurotic
writer / director; she is hilarious refusing to rein in her ego as she
abuses her assistants to no end. She has an imbroglio with her foisted upon
leading lady only to find a surprise attraction waits.
Katherine Moennig as Shane is still the low-key ladykiller, a gamine, Audrey
Hepburn meets Anime boy style fusion who disarms seemingly straight women
right into her hands (literally) and seduces the world.
In fact, Shane snags an entire family of straight women, all at one fateful
wedding. That episode was a bit much for me.
Jennifer Beals and Laurel Holloman play central cast members Bette and Tina;
the long running on-again, off-again professional couple have their tender
moments. I won’t spoil it for you.
Marlee Matlin as Bette’s new squeeze Jodi and Cybill Shepherd as Phyllis
shine in their roles for season 5.
Matlin plays Jodi, the fiercely independent art professor with passion.
Matlin has one of the funnier scenes as she drives Bette to Big Bear to meet
her inner circle of friends. As she drives, she is animatedly telling Bette
about her pals in sign language. Lots of near-death swerving ensues.
Cybill Shepherd as Chancellor Phyllis is funny as hell as the accomplished
mid-life lesbian. She ditches a 25 year marriage with children to play the
field with the ladies. Her scenes with great comedic actress Jane Lynch (as
Joyce) are no-miss.
Rachel Shelley plays Helena, the hapless rich girl who has her trust-fund
money snatched away by her mummy, the vilest matriarch in televised history.
Helena winds up in jail.
A not-so-hot prison shower scene happens - and uncharacteristically for the
L Word - flawed, real women are shown fully naked.
Yes, Helena accidentally drops the soap, and for all the pervy guys out
there who watch this show, prison sex occurs.
Pam Grier as Bette’s sister Kit runs The Planet, the hub of all L Word
doings. Grier normally is cast as a powerhouse player, and seeing her so
vulnerable seems a bit off at times for me, but she does an excellent
balancing act for all the Alice/Shane/Jenny insanity happening around the
core group of girls.
Ah Alice. All the young girls love Alice, tender young Alice they say. She
is the Chelsea Handler of the group: A brash, disher of lesbian dirt on the
air, quick-witted and quite the connector of the dots. Only Shane gets more
puss than Alice.
Leisha Hailey's quirky Alice character has one of the more interesting story
lines for season 5, her girlfriend Tasha faces the most difficult hurdle a
gay person in the military can be confronted by. Her dedication and
excellent service to our country is in real jeopardy.
Even The Planet has a bit of competition this season. A new L Word
locational muse is introduced to the action. “It’s like South Beach threw up
in here,” says Shane. “Shebar” is invitation-only venue where the pretty
lesbians get to drink, dance and debauch the night away.
Yes, Shane sleeps with the owners of Shebar too. At the same time.
Jennifer Beals ... Bette Porter
Leisha Hailey ... Alice Pieszecki
Laurel Holloman ... Tina Kennard
Mia Kirshner ... Jenny Schecter
Katherine Moennig ... Shane McCutcheon
Pam Grier ... Kit Porter
Rachel Shelley ... Helena Peabody
Erin Daniels ... Dana Fairbanks
Dallas Roberts ... Angus Partridge
Sarah Shahi ... Carmen de la Pica Morales
Daniela Sea ... Max Sweeney
Rated MA: Nudity, language - not for kids
Grade A for lovers of attractive people being naked and having adult
Grade F for Iowa "values voters"