Home' LOTL : April 2004 Contents If Showtime really need to boost their ratings, titillating
straight males is a desperate move -- and an obvious one too, as
noted in the reviews of the show. Robert Peters, of media
watchdog group Morality in Media, said: "These women are all
knockouts. This is for heterosexual men who want to watch
women having sex." And Critic Robert Bianco from USA Today
agrees: "It comes across as a repetitive soap opera that reduces life
to sex, and sex to a Joey Tribiani fantasy about girl-on-girl make-
PHOTO COURTESY CHANNEL SEVEN
The L Word premieres March 31 at 10.30pm on Channel Seven.
out sessions." But Chaiken remains unfazed: "It doesn't bother
me. If men come for that reason, I welcome them. I hope they
become engaged by the stories and the characters and want to
Undoubtedly, much will be made of the sex shown on The
L Word, not least because the writers have already described
some scenes as "drunken, lessie messes". Will it be graphic,
realistic, and intimate? L Word actress, Mia Kirschner (pictured
on our cover) who plays Jenny is quoted as saying that the
deflowering scene between her and Marina is "very sad sex"
because she breaks down crying during it. Yet, this is truthful,
it's authentic. People appreciate seeing their own experiences
dramatised. And the groundwork that has gone into writing
the show has been extensive and largely biographical.
L Word scriptwriter Angela Robinson says: "Showtime
were really interested in mining the reality of lesbian lives. So
you'd sit around for hours in a room and tell a story about
your life or your friends or people you'd heard about." This is
a welcome reassurance, but there is still a danger that, as with
Queer As Folk, the sex scenes will dominate the narrative.
However, the lesbian community has simply not revolved
around sexual conquests to the extent of the gay male, and
with the amount of lesbians involved behind the scenes and on
set, the frissons should have a degree of realism. And despite
the criticisms that there isn't enough diversity within the cast,
the dialogue isn't overly witty, and the pace isn't too snappy,
the upshot is that it has brought an entire cast of gay female
characters out of the closet and onto our television screens.
And as audiences generally become more welcoming of
gay characters, so the advent of The L Word will add to greater
acceptance on a wider scale. Ilene Chaiken said: "I hope that
as the show becomes a part of the zeitgeist it plays a small role
in shifting attitudes in the inevitable direction."
Basically, fans and critics alike have to remember that part
of the reason for watching television is pure escapism. I mean,
how many girls really lead the lives of Sarah Jessica Parker and
her gang in NYC? And it's the same for The L Word. As Anna
Barry-Jester wrote in The Village Voice: "They reflect the real
lesbian world as much as Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and
Miranda reflect the straight one. That is to say, not much. But
it doesn't matter, because these actresses radiate the same kind
of luminous ensemble chemistry that has animated Sex And
The City all these years."
With the news that Showtime ordered 13 more episodes
just two weeks after The L Word debuted (the fastest ever
renewal for a Showtime series), its future is looking bright. And
the fact that lesbians (or at least our snazzy representations) are
finally being written about, filmed and screened, is a huge step
for ward -- be it in a Doc Marten boot or a sexy stiletto.
BEALS, HAS LIKENED IT TO SEX AND THE CITY
WITH EACH OTHER"
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