Tag Archives: The L Word

Why I’m Team Kalinda: A New Face For Desi Women On TV

By Guest Contributor Anurag Lahiri

During my four months of funemployment after grad school I became hooked on a list of TV shows. A couple of my queer desi friends had been raving about The Chicago Code a while back and when I finally watched it I enjoyed it. So of course when the same friends started tweeting about The Good Wife, and specifically about one character, Kalinda Sharma, I decided to take the hint and marathon it.

The same things drew me to both shows: aside from the suspense and drama, they’re both set in Chicago. As a girl from the Midwest, I enjoy watching a show whose city politics I can relate to.

There is a difference between the two shows though: Chicago Code was mostly special for me because Jennifer Beals was in it and, for an L Word fan, she will always be Bette Porter. Yes, even if she is playing a superintendent of a police department. On the other hand, I will gladly embrace Archie Panjabi as Sharma, a queer, desi, private investigator on The Good Wife.

Continue reading

Not (Just) Another Queer Movie: The Racialicious Review Of Pariah

By Guest Contributor Spectra

Wait a minute, not all lesbians in movies are white, rich or middle-class with no bills to pay? You mean “life” doesn’t get put on pause so that all gay people can experience the thrill of coming out at summer camp? And, there are other LGBT issues worth talking about besides marriage? Gasp! And Hallelujah for Spike Lee protégé Dee Rees’ Pariah, a film women of color (and other marginalized groups) can truly relate to.

On the surface, Pariah is a coming of age story about an African-American lesbian, Alike (pronounced “Ah-LEE-kay”) in Brooklyn. But dig deeper, and you’ll see a smart and layered tackling of gender, sexuality, religion, and even class — an essential layer of complexity needed to accurately portray the diverse experiences of queer people of color, long been absent from mainstream LGBT films. Rather than depicting homophobia as the only kind of oppression experienced by the LGBT community, Pariah’s world is a varied socio-cultural landscape in motion featuring an all-POC cast, led by Nigerian actress Adepero Oduye’s performance as 17-year old Alike.

Pariah’s urban setting almost eliminates the need to discuss race at all (or, as in popular case of experiencing race through white characters, explain it). The audience is plopped, un-apologetically, right in the middle of a story filled with black characters, making way for intersectional observations about class and gender roles within the story’s cultural context.

SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT

Continue reading

Suddenly Sapphic: A First Time Story [Love, Anonymously]

By Guest Contributor Katrina Pavela

Bette and Tina L WordOn paper, we shouldn’t fit: a same sex, interracial, transnational couple with nearly a quarter century age-gap.

Added to this neither of us had previously been with a woman, nor desired being with one.

New York City. The juxtaposition Mecca of fame and anonymity. I had taken a four- hour bus ride from DC to NYC. The entire way there I tried to remain calm. I was 20 before I welcomed guest contributors to my sex life. After six years and two men—one of whom I almost married—I met Julie. Within a month of our unintentional online acquaintance, we had arranged to rendezvous in NYC five months later. Sure Julie and I had knocked boots via Skype numerous times, microphone headsets our only strap-ons. With a five-hour time divide between Washington and the UK, Julie left her marital bed nearly every night (or morning) so that we could cuddle virtually. It felt real physically but emotionally it left me empty wondering what I was getting myself into. The fact that she was currently in a marriage lasting more than 30 years, with three adult children, left me wondering when—not if—I would wind up with egg on my face.

Passing through New Jersey Turnpike, I wondered if the sex would be as great as the fictionally wonderful sex Bette and Tina seemed to have on The L Word. Mostly I wondered if she would make me come. Would I feel relaxed enough and unself-conscious enough about being with a woman to let my body and mind enjoy themselves. Would Julie go through with it when my pants were pooling around my ankles? We never called it adultery, but a rose by any other name is still, um, adultery. Continue reading

The L Word ends with most unsatisfying series finale ever

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

I love series finales–even the not-so-good ones, even the ones tied to shows in dire need of being put out of their misery, even ones for shows I never really watched in the first place. Series finales evoke this nostalgic, high school graduationesque, joyous/sad feeling of tying loose ends, wrapping up and moving on. They are like little gifts to loyal watchers of a program. A chance to achieve closure with beloved (or not-so-beloved) characters. But with its finale last night, the groundbreaking show “The L Word” once again managed to conquer new territory, by being the most annoying and unsatisying television series finale in recent memory. (After Ellen called the debacle “lame, lacking and legacy tarnishing.” Bwah!)

I came to the show during season two, after deciding to watch some episodes On Demand to see what all the fuss was about. The fuss, of course, was about the first mainstream television program to center around lesbian characters and relationships.

Wikipedia describes “The L Word’s” first season thusly:

Season 1 was first aired in the United States on January 18, 2004, on Showtime and featured 13 episodes presenting several entwined storylines. Set in West Hollywood, the series first introduces Bette Porter and Tina Kennard, a couple with a seven-year relationship who want to have a child. Tina eventually becomes pregnant through artificial insemination but has a miscarriage during episode 1.09: Luck, next time. Later in the series, Bette develops an affair with Candace Jewell, which Tina learns of during the season finale. [5]

The pilot introduced a coming out/love triangle storyline involving Tina and Bette’s neighbor, Tim Haspel, his new-in-town girlfriend, Jenny Schecter, and Marina Ferrer. Marina is part of Tina and Bette’s circle of friends, and owns the neighborhood café, The Planet, which serves as the group’s hang-out and focal point for the show. The season also introduces Shane McCutcheon, an androgynous, highly-sexual hairstylist and serial heart-breaker; Alice Pieszecki, a girly, bisexual journalist looking for love in any way she can, and Dana Fairbanks, a professional tennis player who is still in the closet and torn between pursuing her career and finding love. In the first season, Dana falls for a sous-chef named Lara Perkins whose
sexuality is questioned by the group until Lara has an unexpected meeting with Dana in the locker room.

I’m a straight girl, but I couldn’t resist the great, soapy plotlines of this show. (Betrayal, intrigue, kidnapped babies, fatal illnesses, lost fortunes…Dallas and Dynasty have nothing on “The L Word.”) Add to the high drama (and comedy) awesome fashion, and I’m hooked. “The L Word” was a great, guilty pleasure.

That said, I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the show. Continue reading