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Review: The L Word Season 5 Part 2

Warning: MAJOR spoilers below, revealing almost the entire plot. Read Part 1 if you want a spoiler-free review of the season.

I kinda HAVE to start with Bette and Tina, because, really, they are the reason The L Word still has a fanbase. From the very beginning that they appeared on screen, they’ve been iconic of the long-term lesbian relationship, even when we know that they are doomed from the second Dana remarks, “You guys have the best relationship ever!” So yes, most predictably, they kinda get back together in this season – you knew it was coming. But the way they got back together is so classically lesbian – Bette cheats on Jodi with Tina, and suddenly, the couple who’ve slept together for 7 years is having hot illicit sex in elevators. Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman), have possibly the best on-screen romantic AND sexy chemistry ever, even though both of them are married women with kids (and Jennifer is straight. Sadly.). I like the fact that they didn’t have sex and immediately decide to get back together – which would be entirely unrealistic. Instead, the affair stretches out for some time, and even after Bette and Jodi break up, upon Jodi discovering her infidelity, they don’t immediately get into a relationship, and prefer to take their time in working issues out. Tina is no longer a submissive little housewife, and in some ways, I am glad they had this break, because it gave them, especially Tina, space to achieve their own independence, symbolised by when Tina was leading Bette onto the dance-floor in the season finale.

Sorry, Jodi. We love you, but you and Bette are really not hot together. At all. And especially not when you dress alike. But I do hope you can go make nice with Amy instead.

Speaking of nice, guess who is not? Jenny(Mia Kirschner) started the season with a most credible imitation of Paris Hilton and got progressively worse. Until she fell in love with Nikki, who plays “Jesse” in Lez Girls. Talk about narcissism. Then all of a sudden, it is like Jenny grew a heart (maybe you can teach the Tinman how to do that, Jenny!) First of all, I have to say, the Jenny and Nikki romance is perhaps the most unhot, and irritating one around. Not that I buy Jenny can fall in love with anyone except herself. The two of them behave like 12-year adolescent girls – really, giggling like a maniac and putting a strap-on on your forehead during sex is just… not sexy. Nikki says, “I totally LURVE her!”, as if Jenny were a soft toy or a favourite flavour of ice-cream, and simultaneously checks out Shane. Well done. And of course, she has to get drunk and have sex with Shane on a railing1 at the end of the season.

Nikki isn’t the only foil for Jenny, however. She meets Adele Chaning (an all-too-obvious All About Eve reference), a geeky quiet little girl who seems more than happy to do Jenny’s every bidding. However, she is slowly revealed to be a deviously cunning changeling, who eventually betrays Jenny and takes over the directing of Lez Girls. Because, the writers either like referencing way too much, or they aren’t able to come up with original plots, and they have to steal from 50s movies.

That isn’t the only subplot where creativity is on the drain. Kit (Pam Grier) has picked up the comic slack this season, but entirely by accident. What else can I say about a person who stands around going “Girrrl! GRRRRLLLL!!! Oh girl!!!! Baby gurrlll!!!!” all-the-freaking-time? Because, apparently the robbers not only took her money, but her entire vocabulary. And her common sense too, because what does she do when she is in danger of losing The Planet to Dawn Denbo and her Lover Cindy? She takes out her handy gun and tries to do a Foxy Brown, except, she doesn’t pull it out from her afro.2

Speaking of Dawn Denbo, can I just take a minute to gush about Elizabeth Keener? She was absolutely awesome in the role of Dawn Denbo, or rather Don Denbo, going by Episode 509. And she’s hot. Pleaaasse bring her back, because it is not worth watching without her.

You know who else it is not worth watching without? Alice (Leisha Hailey) and Tasha (Rose Rollins). They are so freaking cute together. This season, it was the whole Tasha-on-trial-for-homosexual-conduct subplot, and Alice’s parallel rise to fame precipitated by her outing a famous basketball player.3

Alice showing off her pumps on The Look (an obvious parody of The View). Because apparently there isn’t enough meta in this show.

I absolutely LOVED the way the trial ended, though perhaps a tad unrealistic. It was very A Officer and a Gentleman, when Tasha picked up Alice and swung her around.

And you know what? I don’t care – I was so freaking happy that they had a happy ending to this. Until fashion designer Clea came into the picture. Why? WHY? In the first place, I do not understand why anyone would want to cheat on Tasha with Clea (Melanie Lynskey), or why Alice is attracted to Clea at all. I do not understand why, on The L Word, every relationship has to end with someone cheating on someone, or meeting someone else. At least Alice resisted the temptation – thank you, Leisha, for showing we lesbians do have some amount of self-control.

And can I just say, Alice’s fashion sucks, especially when paired with Clea. In the words of my friend – is she wearing her RGS pinafore? Or maybe she is wearing one of Clea’s lame-ass creations.

Self-control is something someone should have taught Shane (Katherine Moennig) eons ago. At least, enough self-control not to have sex with the real estate agent in the house you and your girlfriend are planning to lease. While she is still in the house. *slaps forehead* After going through a series of drama with women, and precipitating the whole Dawn-Denbo-against-The-L-Word-Gang-clash (It’s on! It’s so on!) by sleeping with Lover Cindy, and actually trying to swear off sex for a while4, Shane meets Molly, a “straight” girl who just happens to be Phyllis’ daughter.

Molly is not like the 5000 other girls who immediately fall for Shane – at least at first. Shane and Molly strike up something (yawn!), but the chief problem between them isn’t Molly’s sexuality. It is the plan and incontrovertible truth that Shane is an uneducated hairdresser who can’t keep it in her pants long enough to take a pee-break, and Molly is a smart to-be law student5. Shane sabotages the relationship by flirting with a girl after hearing what Phyllis has to say about their relationship,6 and of course, like I said before, decides to screw up her life further by screwing the maybe-ex of her best friend, Jenny. Actually I am not so sure this makes much sense. Shane, while being a Lothario, has always shown enough sense not to screw up her friendships, and she does not sleep with people in the circle of friends, because they are pretty much her family. And Jenny has pretty much been the only person in the world who thinks Shane is remotely human. So maybe this what is supposed to make all this even more dramatic.

There really isn’t that much to say about Helena. She went to jail for two seconds, fell in love with her hot cellmate, came back out, eloped away to Tahaa, and came back and bought over Dawn Denbo. She has become really kick-ass, however, and is no longer interested in money or luxury comforts. Maybe Peggy Peabody’s impromptu life-lesson worked after all. Except it has backfired on poor Peggy, who is now just begging Helena to be her sole beneficiary. (Peggy, if you really cannot find anyone, I volunteer to be your beneficiary.)

Check back for a Best of the Season!

  1. I was expecting Shane to push Nikki off the railing when Jenny walked in on them [back]
  2. On the sidenote, I really wish the producers had done that, because the whole plotline is so freaking ridiculous as it is, and you might as well go all the way to make it funny. [back]
  3. Oh, can I just say this is perhaps the most unrealistic subplot?In real life, she would be slapped with a breach of non-disclosure suit, on top of a defamation suit. [back]
  4. This, by the way, was Katherine Moennig at her best. During her no-sex period, Shane actually talked more than 2 words at a time, started eating food, working out, even playing on her Nintendo DS, and being generally hilarious with the way she was trying to stay away from women. [back]
  5. And I don’t believe for a second that she is going to be a public defender. Giv her three months, and she will be singing praises about tax law [back]
  6. By the way, I agree with every single thing Phyllis said to Shane. I would not want my daughter to be dating Shane either. [back]
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April 6, 2008 - Posted by | LGBTQ, TV Shows | ,

4 Comments »

  1. I can actually see the Clea appeal. She looks a lot like the Soup Chef, so.

    What I am surprised with The L Word is how fast they can take a great relationship and crush it. Tash and Alice were the cutest couple until Tasha got kicked out of the military. Not taking the settlement with full benefits was stupid.

    Jobette was great when it first started — then when the Tibette came into play that made things interesting. Without a doubt, Jennifer Beals is the heart of this show.

    Loved Helena in this season, especially her prison shower scene. “Do’t drop the soap!” Loved Pam Grier walking down that prison hallway.

    Loved Dawn Denbo: “Hi, I’m Dawn Denbo. And this is My Lover, Cindy.”

    Agree with you Katherine Moennig’s best performance was when Shane was off sex. Especially when she suddenly started hallucinating naked women. That was funny.

    Comment by Dark Orpheus | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  2. Good stuff. Love your post. 🙂

    Comment by Grey Day | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  3. I loved your review! And had a big laugh with it as well( specially on the vocabulary restriction Kit seemed to suffer this season)

    I really hope the Alice and Tasha relationship goes on in season 6. They´ve got to make it work somehow! Maybe when Tasha is more relaxed after leaving her whole life behind, the writers can find something cool for her to do.

    I totally agree with you, the Clea character is absolutely unattractive. Maybe Alice likes her because it´s easy being with her. But Tasha is far hotter and much more intense!! She should realise that.

    This season ending with Bette and Tina was just perfect, and their last dance, as you said, just shows it!

    Thanks!

    Comment by Edith97 | April 18, 2008 | Reply

  4. I completely agree with your post. Season 5 was a complete let down. I just finished watching it and I could not stop asking myself whether the original writers had been fired or were stoned while writing this season. It was almost like the characters were different.

    The Jenny-Nikki relationship was a complete joke/waste of my time. Tina/Bette/Jodie was the best plot this season but even though, they could have done so much with it. And the Alex-Tasha happy ending, coming out and kissing at the base was cute, but completely unrealistic and more importantly completely un-L Word. And Alice getting materialistic and needing to be with someone… not as simple, well. Offensive. Because Alice, the Alice we all have gotten to know in the previous four seasons, would NEVER have done that.

    Even the music changed.

    I got the same feeling while watching Season 5 of The L Word (knot in my throat, wanting to throw up… disappointment, anger, questioning the meaning of it all) that I got while watching the Hearts and Scalpels episode of Nip/Tuck. I remember telling myself as I kept seeing the episodes: This has to be a joke. There HAS to be a reason why this incredible story is now complete shit!

    Well, I am glad I am not the only one that feels this way. I really hope that Season 6 resurrects The L Word, which I would like to state is one of my favorite television series thus far. Although, my comments might seem harsh, they come from the heart.

    P.S. I really want to do Shane.

    Comment by Lily | July 30, 2008 | Reply


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