The L Word: Generation Q - Reboot
Updated: Mar 1, 2020
* SPOILERS AHEAD PEOPLE! Avert your eyes if you haven't seen episodes 1 and 2 of the reboot! *
In the words of Janice from Friends...
On February 4th, UK fans finally got to see the return of one of Queer entertainment's most loved, missed and highly anticipated TV shows; The L Word: Generation Q.
Eleven years on and Ilene Chaiken and her talented team - including Co-Creators Kathy Greenberg and Michele Abbott, and Developer Marja-Lewis Ryan - have done it again, only this time under a more inclusive Queer umbrella.
I was a huge, no... that word doesn’t do it justice. Let me try that again...
I was a gargantuan fan of the original show and I was gutted when it came to an end back in 2009.
Personally, I have never felt ashamed of my sexuality, but for me, The L Word gave me a sense of belonging in a predominantly straight world. I was nineteen-years-old when the show first aired and my only means of watching it was through Sky TV at my friend's house. I used to stay there a lot on weekends and my friend's mum was very liberal and cool, and she let me come over to watch it as my mum would never have paid for Sky. Even her little sister, when she first saw the trailer with me, said how she wanted to watch it with me when I came over, and so every week I would make my way to their house, plonk myself on their sofa after having helped myself to a snack and a cuppa, and she and I would watch it together.
I remember the opening scene of the pilot as it was very racy (and unexpected) and I felt a little awkward sat there seeing close up bodies on-screen with a ten-year-old by my side. My friend's mum walked in and said to her daughter ‘Cor, I don’t think you should be watching that.’ Which is understandable, but to be fair, I didn’t realise that was going to happen. Anyway, she closed her eyes and covered her ears for those scenes as she was adamant that she wanted to watch it.
I know to some it was just a TV show, but it truly was so much more than that. It made me feel accepted and happy. It gave me an air of confidence and pride and it felt like such a release for me to finally have something like that in my life.
Although the characters and storylines were more exaggerated and glamorous than everyday life, (I mean, how jealous was everyone of Bette and Tina's house?) it showed us that lesbians could live these fulfilling 'normal' lives. Sure there were still stigmas and issues attached - that's what added an air of realism and relatability to the show - but there had never been anything like it on TV before. It was refreshing and crucial for the homophobic nation to see that we were just ‘normal’ people. And it is essential that we are visible because we are dotted around all over the world. Trust me.
To have an entire show packed full of beautiful lesbians... well, I was overjoyed and I never wanted it to end. But eventually, as all good things do, it did.
Bear in mind that all we used to have was the odd minuscule appearance of a Queer person in shows here and there, of what I remember at least. Remember this little nugget?
Anna Friel as Beth Jordache and Nicola Stephenson as Margaret Clemence from Liverpool-based soap opera Brookside, 1994.
This was groundbreaking TV for the nineties, and it was the first lesbian kiss to be broadcast on British television before the watershed of 9 pm. I can't express how grateful I was for this moment at nine-years-old... but that was as crazy as it got for Queer representation on mainstream TV.
Here's a little video of their story for your viewing pleasure. A little outdated but still relevant to LGBTQ+ TV history.
I thought Beth and Margaret's kiss was the first on-screen lesbian kiss, however, after some further research I found out that a show called Girl was actually the first on-screen lesbian kiss back in 1974. Check out the article here.
Of course, it isn't available on BBC iPlayer anymore *eye roll* but I did find this short clip on YouTube...
GO ON, PAMELAAAAA!
Anyway, back to The L Word. I’m elated that it’s back and so far, I am hooked.
Fast forward fifteen years from my nineteen-year-old self, and I’m sat on my own sofa, a smile appearing on my face like the Cheshire Cat, feeling nostalgic and warm inside as those three beautiful faces appear back on my screen; Bette, Alice and Shane.
The opening scene had a wonderful 'shock value' feel to it, just like it did in the original pilot. I mean, I wasn't shocked in the slightest. I was hoping they would open the show with an up close and personal sex scene and I would have been seriously disappointed if they hadn't. (Though, I'm glad I didn't have to watch it with my Nonna - imagine?)
The three originals are inevitably doing well for themselves, albeit some expected personal issues which viewers can no doubt relate to - what the hell happened between Shane and her wife?
We also have a string of new characters with their own dilemmas, and I am looking forward to finding out about them as the show unravels.
I love that the show has included an array of people and current topics already. So far we have covered; trans, non-binary, race, periods, female body hair, homelessness, public scandal, divorce, life with kids, marijuana, glamour, disability, family drama, proposals, sex, politics, oral for women, environmental sustainability (well, Alice's bamboo toothbrush) and Amazon Prime. Phew!
I also love that Angie still calls her mothers Mama T and Mama B. So adorable.
There were lots of funny little moments throughout; Alice being forced to wave goodbye to her girlfriend's kids for the second time in the space of a minute, and whispers to herself "There they are again". And when Bette is asked by Shane and Alice if she was having hot flushes - after it was revealed that she'd had an affair with a married woman during her mayor campaign - she replies "Yes, death is coming". Classic endearing Bette humour. ♡
One of the scenes I resonated with was when Dani's dad called her girlfriend her 'friend'. What a slap in the face, but it happens. I'm proof of it - and I'm sure I will do a blog post about it at some point. Some progress was made only last year when, after eleven years of being together, I heard my mother utter the words 'partner' to distant relatives when referring to my girlfriend. Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. But elated. (It was about bloody time, mum).
As usual, we are presented with the beautiful backdrops of Los Angeles (or Silverlake, apparently). I had always wanted to visit L.A. and even wished to start a new life there... until I took a trip there in September 2019 and decided that everything was too far away for my liking. I like to be able to walk around the corner to get something if I need it, get some fresh air, not hop in my car to get to the nearest store. You literally have to drive everywhere over there, and I detest driving as it is. So I guess I'm stuck in sunny Surrey for the time being.
The only downside so far is that there only eight episodes. I’ve not even finished it yet but I already want more. Oh, and I really miss the theme tune. I don’t think you’ll ever beat that one and I feel that the words would have still been relevant.
We also found out the one thing that was left unanswered all those years ago... Jenny’s death. Suicide. Predictable. I mean, as a viewer I had decided that that’s what they may have concluded, but it was a bit of a let down after all the crap that Jenny had been through in her life. I know this was about bringing the show up to date and leaving behind old storylines, but I feel that her character deserved more than that. No wonder Mia kirshner wasn’t pleased with Jenny's tragic end:
She has a valid point, but alas, this is what the writers have done and there's nothing any of us can do about it. Sorry Jenny. You and Marina will always hold a special place in my gay heart - if only that relationship had worked out.
How I managed to avoid any spoilers on social media before the show was released in the UK, is beyond me, but from the US release date, any time I saw something relating to The L Word, I would scroll past like a cheetah on speed because I really did not want to ruin it for myself.
Here are some of my predictions for this series after watching episodes one and two:
I see a potential affair between Bette and Dani
Followed by Dani breaking up with Sophie as a result
Shane buys the old Planet bar and refurbishes it into the best (and only) les bar in town (and gets it on with current bar manager, Mercedes)
Tina comes for a visit (okay that was in the ONE spoiler I saw on Instagram. I tried to scroll past, but there’s not much you can do when you can clearly see Bette hugging her)
Alice gets close to her girlfriend's ex-wife, Gigi, and something happens between them
Angie kisses her best friend, Jordi and they fall out as a result
Bette is wanted by everyone again (Dani, Felicity, Tina, the rest of the L.A. population)
Alice interviews a huge celebrity (hopefully Kate McKinnon or Ellen or Kristen Stewart)
Micah... I'm unsure what's in store for him but I hope it's something nice after the disaster storyline with Max in the original show
Shane’s wife comes for a visit and they rekindle
Finley becomes best friends with Shane and reveals a dark trauma from her past which explains her need to intoxicate herself before a sexual encounter (my friend's analogy)
Perhaps a cameo appearance from original babes Helena Peabody and Carmen De La Pica Morales? (I love saying her name). What about a little hello from Peggy Peabody? Surely Kit will pop in to see her niece? (Wishful thinking regarding the entirety of this prediction)
Shane decides that her door is ridiculously and unnecessarily big, and is fed up of boxing every day on her balcony in order to gain muscle to open said door. She eventually buys a new apartment with a normal-sized door.
Let's see how many I get right.
If you would like to watch an in-depth conversation about the first three episodes, Lady Parts TV has uploaded fantastic vlogs for super fans. Watch episode one here.
On that note, I will leave you all with this little gem, and I will be back next week with a review of episodes three and four.