When I was coming out and up in the 70s, we were very proud of a local Syracuse, New York girl band, Sweet Jenny Grit. They were a proudly defiant rock and roll hair band and toured throughout the northeast. We all went the regular Speakeasy Dance on Friday nights at a friend's loft in Cazenovia, a little lake town near Syracuse. Once in a while Sweet Jenny Grit deigned to play there.
It was sexy, sweaty, flirty fun, fueled by Bud and shots of Tequila slyly recommended by the crinkly tanned, turquoise laden poet/forest ranger on leave from her fire spotting outpost in the mountains of New Mexico. Her goal was to turn the dance into an orgy. She was on short shore leave, so she didn't seem to have a lot of time for individual attention to the ladies. She was trouble. Someone always ended up in tears.
You will never see the story line on That 70's Show but those were the days of the much-caricatured lesbian feminist separatist movement. In urban and rural settings, groups of women separated themselves from the trappings of patriarchy, lived together on and off the land, started women's health care clinics, record companies, writing centers, anti-nuke and peace movements, hydroponic pot wholesaling and tried to live a utopian dream.
In my early years of comedy travel sponsored by production collectives spawned in those communes throughout the country, I would listen to dystopian dyke-dramas in intense twenty-four hour gabfests, interrupted by my show, before I had to trundle off in my van to the next gig. Time and time again I was struck by the inability of another group of women to cope with some member of the group whose mental problems would eventually bring them down.
As an outsider I could see that the woman, let's call her Jenny, was mentally ill, deeply damaged by her nature or nurture. Jenny was certifiably a narcissist, a pathological liar, manic-depressive or some combination thereof. But the community was completely unable to call it out, get her help, or for the good of the group, send her packing. And another well-intentioned group would fall prey to the tyranny of the weak and bite the dust.
I have no idea how the L-Word will answer the season and series ending question of who killed Jenny. When I saw the season opener shot of Jenny doing her William Holden dead man's float, I must say I was relieved. I've never liked her. But to have the whole last half-season be about establishing a motive for every major character to kill Jenny, who is emotionally ill in anyone's amateur DSM, is finally a sad conclusion to the initial promise of a show about lesbians. It's so 70s.
I will miss the final L-Word episode because I will be returning from an Olivia Cruise. Olivia is a travel and leisure company for lesbians which grew out of a lesbian music business which grew out of a lesbian collective that wanted to hear and see their lives as lesbians represented. I will have someone TIVO the show for me. I hope it will be about a miraculous resuscitation, a kindly but stern intervention, some appropriate medication until Jenny is stabilized, then a lot of individual and group therapy followed by everyone's gracious acceptance of Jenny's amends. Then her voluntary relocation to the screenwriting department at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.