Showtime has a new reality series this season that is a take-off on The L Word, a popular drama about gay women in Los Angeles, CA that ran from 2004-2009. The Real L Word is a spin-off that follows real life lesbians who live and work in the LA area.
The only problem is that I find it quite unreal. It is nothing like the original series that dealt with issues such as a tennis star publicly coming out as gay, art as freedom of expression, bi-racial dating, raising a bi-racial daughter, gays in the military, gay marriage, discrimination against women and gays, transgender bias, breast cancer, and gay networking.
To me the thing that held that series together was the close bond of friendship between the main characters. It felt real and natural. That is until the disappointing final abbreviated season that seemed to suffer from the writer's strike. But on the whole it was a provocative, entertaining, relevant, well written, and finely acted series with characters that were interesting and sexy.
The same cannot be said of The Real L Word which chronicles the life of six lesbians. Not that some of the stars aren't sexy or appealing. It's just that the cast members are not close friends that hang out together, but are merely acquaintances and the show just seems irrelevant to what is going on in the world right now.
Nikki and Jill, two femmes are the lesbian equivalents of the Sex and The City ladies. As they are busy planning their lavish wedding, dress shopping, finding the right location, and working with their wedding planner (yawn), I wonder: Don't they know there is a recession going on? It's like rubbing salt into the wounds of the millions who are unemployed in this country. They act like they are living in the '90s. Who cares if they need to find the perfect wedding dress? Question is do they know how lucky they are to live in a state that allows gay marriage and the struggle (still ongoing) it has taken for gays to have this right?
Butch Mikey (fashion guru) and her sexy girlfriend, Raquel are workaholics who can never find time to be together. Even though Mikey publicly proposed at her fashion show last week, we will see how long this relationship lasts.
Rose (real estate advisor) is a sexy Latino Lothario trying to change her partying ways (not too successfully as she still has her groupies) to be in a serious relationship with Natalie. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop with this twosome.
Whitney (special effects artist), a commitment phobe sex addict (in my eyes), seems to mirror the Shane character of the original series. She is a ladykiller who always seems to succumb to the temptation of lust while breaking hearts right and left. My big question is why do Tor, Romi, and that girlfriend in San Francisco keep sleeping with her knowing that she can't commit to being monogamous? They must be masochists at heart.
Tracy (film and TV development executive) seems to be the only sane one in the bunch (and sexiest to me). She has a solid relationship with her girlfriend, Stammie, who has several small children which can at times be problematic. Tracy's communications with her mom, who is having a hard time accepting her orientation, present one of the most potent and real moments on the show.
None of the cast seems to have a clue as to the gay generation that preceded them. Haven't they heard of Stonewall, the Harvey Milk-Anita Bryant battles, the Aids epidemic of the 80s, Matthew Shephard, or even Ellen's coming out episode? Do they know the sacrifices and abuse older gays have lived through that have allowed them to be so open and out today?
What The Real L Word represents to me is a gay Jersey Shore. It is a shallow, pleasure seeking, narcissistic series that may reflect today's anything goes philosophy, but as a meaningful dialogue about gay issues, tolerance, and human rights, it falls way short. Maybe that is because it takes place in LA which is far ahead of the curve when it comes to gay acceptance. I would prefer the series be filmed in Iowa or Texas or anywhere in the heartland where gays are still struggling for a place in this society. I would like a series that does not have partying and sex as the main theme. We gays have always been good at that.
We need to win over the hearts and souls of greater America. For we really are no different than them except for whom we sleep with. The Real L Word does nothing to convey this fact. Bring back the original. A sequel would be nice.
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