Grace Chu: It’s been almost five years, and the wound still hasn’t healed. The
sore caused by Dana Fairbanks’ perplexing death on The L Word
continues to fester. Would it make sense to kill Jan Brady? Would it
make sense to kill Vanessa Huxtable? Would you organize a Wu-Tang Clan
reunion tour and then gun down Method Man right before a show at
Madison Square Garden?
Then why would you kill off the character that viewers arguably
related to the most on the only television show for lesbians in
All right, all right. People die. Even lovable fictional characters on
premium cable. We get it. But here’s another thing that sticks in my craw: If you’re going to
kill someone off, at least make it believable. We have a young athlete
in her prime. Breast cancer? Really? A brain aneurysm is more
believable than breast cancer. Getting run over by crazy Jenny on
North Robertson Boulevard is more believable than breast cancer.
Mysteriously falling into a pool and drowning is more believable than
breast cancer. Oh wait.
But the creators of The L Word got to make a public service
announcement about breast cancer after the show to educate people and
to pat themselves on the back for educating people. They just had to
sacrifice Dana to do it. No biggie.
Perhaps I would be less harsh if the episode didn’t treat Dana’s death
with a twisted and almost macabre fascination. See, for example, the timer counting up to Dana’s death. If you don’t remember, as the episode
creaked forward, a little countdown timer perched merrily on the
screen reminding everyone that, “Yep, it’s true! She’s really gonna
die, bitches! La di da! Tickety tick tick! Just a few moments away!”
Was that really necessary? Then when Alice showed up at Dana’s
deathbed a few seconds too late, she crumpled to the floor, sobbing.
The episode should have ended there. The moment was gripping, touching
and sad. But then the air was pierced with the shrill “You Are My
Sunshine” bullcrap. Taken together, there is no doubt in my mind that
the writers felt a dark sense of glee when they killed Dana.
And so I say, screw you. And R.I.P. Dana Fairbanks.
The Linster: All My Children’s Bianca Montgomery can’t catch a break. Her girlfriend Sarah goes insane and ends up in a mental institution. Girlfriend Frankie gets murdered. Girlfriend Lena moves back to her native country, Poland. BFF-then-Girlfriend Maggie (Frankie’s twin) and Bianca move to Paris together, where Maggie cheats on her. (Leaving out Zoe is intentional. Very, very intentional.)
And then! Bianca meets the love of her life, Reese. The couple borrows sperm from Bianca’s brother in law Zach and has a baby. Reese proposes and Bianca accepts and the First! Lesbian! Wedding! on daytime TV happens.
Except Reese passionately kisses baby daddy Zach the day before the wedding. Bianca finds out and wants to have the marriage annulled, then decides to forgive Reese and they return to Paris to work things out. Except Bianca comes back to the U.S. this summer without Reese because they are “having trouble.” Binks tells her sister that Reese still is the love of her life and she hopes they can work things out. But six months later, Bianca is still in Pine Valley and Reese is still in Paris. And since Reese hasn’t shown up to pay respects to dearly departed daddy Zach, my guess is that Bianca is single again.
I can’t possibly choose which of those departures is the worst. In most of these cases, the exit wasn’t even part of the storyline. Yet, All My Children keeps winning GLAAD awards. I guess the Ls in GLAAD simply disappear before the voting.