Final curtain falls on Showtime’s The L Word
March 9, 2009
Any woman who runs for president in the foreseeable future will be compared to Hillary Clinton. She’ll be asked to comment on Hillary; distinguish herself from Hillary; and to take lessons from Hillary’s successes and missteps. It’s not fair and it’s totally sexist, but that’s what happens when you’re underrepresented. The “first” looms large over the second, the third, the twenty-first, the thirty-ninth and so on until women who run for president aren’t novel anymore. And so it is for Showtime's The L Word. The show marked the first time many lesbians saw themselves on television—or, rather, saw lesbians on television. Whether we really identified with Bette, Tina, Shane, Alice and the rest of the gang is a debate that will continue until shows about lesbians aren’t novel anymore—in other words, for a very long time. Nevertheless, The L Word was our show, and women across the nation seized on that. They enthusiastically flocked to the premiere parties co-hosted by HRC and Showtime at the beginning of each of the show’s six seasons (an understatement). They called HRC’s Washington headquarters frantically trying to ensure admission to their local events. And when the party was over, they took every last beer-ringed flyer home with them as a souvenir. To bring our waltz with The L Word to its proper end, HRC held finale parties in several cities last night to give women a chance to bid adieu to the characters that have been a part of their lives for six seasons. Anthony Hayes, our Northeast regional field organizer, reports on The L Word event held in Manhattan last night:
Almost a thousand women made their way to midtown Manhattan on Sunday to say good-bye to the women of The L Word. HRC volunteer and Board of Governor Lori Megown has pulled together thousands of women (and men) since the show began. NYC fans of The L Word have held some of the largest L Word events in the country. It was a night filled with celebration for a show that the entire audience loved and will miss now that the series has ended. Lori put the night's events in proper perspective by announcing before the finale viewing began that she wants to marry her partner Maria so they can raise their new born son together as a married couple. She reminded the packed house that even though we are celebrating the end of a groundbreaking show on Showtime, our battle to win marriage rights in New York continues in real time.
The popularity of both the show and the screenings are testaments to LGBT women’s hunger for representation. The L Word filled that vacuum and, by doing so, enriched the lives of under-served lesbians of all ages. The L Word never had lofty goals of making a profound political statement. Instead, its mission was to entertain. On that level, it was a triumph. Perhaps The L Word’s most important achievement is the discussion it inspired among lesbians. The most common criticisms of the show—that it was unrealistic, that the characters were too beautiful and too rich—beg the question: If The L Word got it wrong, how can we get it right? And when a future series or film finally does get it right, it will walk on the road that The L Word paved as the first endeavor. It’s a safe bet that whoever pulls it off will have studied and thought deeply about The L Word.
Issues: Coming Out
May 23, 2013