“Last Word” of “The L Word”: Lame, Lacking, Legacy-Tarnishing

 
 

Perhaps the only viewers that came away from the episode pleased were fans of Bette and Tina, the show’s central on-and-off couple that is finally, permanently back on, and quite happily so.

They’re also quite happily moving to New York — both because of Tina’s job offer, and because, as Bette said in the finale, "I am so ready to get out of here."

Many viewers had the same reaction to The L Word after the finale.

"The series went from hope and fun, to despair, much like the life of Jenny Schecter," said AfterEllen.com reader Kai, adding "This whole thing depresses me."

Reader Tia commented, "It’s amazing how one episode can ruin a whole series."

Most reacted to the finale with a combination of shock, disappointment, cynicism, and outrage, as these comments from readers illustrate:

The finale was horrible and a slap in the face to the fans. Nothing of substance actually happened, and what ACTUALLY happened was left unresolved/didn’t make sense. (carolinagrrrl)

IC and Bernie Maddoff belong together — she took time we will never get back, he just took money. (TruMischief)

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! (Leigh)

Well, this has been an hour of my life that I can’t get back. (Lenna)

glad it was a “celebration” of our lives (sayitloudnow)

worst episode EVER EVER EVER (emmicia)

I feel like Rachel Maddow after Bobby Jindal’s response…..speechless! (vpierce)

I think I’ll just go watch last month’s episodes of All My Children b/c I just don’t have that kicked in the groin feeling yet… (NoTORIous)

This is the first show of its kind amongst all the portrayals of lesbians as psycho, man-hating women and it ends with betrayal, murder, and more betrayal. (Kate)

I waited all week for THIS? That was one of the worst endings I’ve seen since the Sopranos! No loose ends tied up and too many questions left unanswered. (stubbles)

About being too harsh on Ilene: The series was GREAT. The best ever, but the ending was not only disappointing, but it was not even original. I can’t believed she copied the Sopranos ending that everyone hated. I want a new ending — REALLY, make another ending Ilene!! (Olga)

I feel like I got my perfect prom date and didn’t get laid at the end of the night! (Tchelletx)

But a small number of AfterEllen.com readers defended the finale, or were at least more forgiving of the imperfect ending, in light of the contribution of the series as a whole:

I find it interesting that a lot of people wanted a happily ever after ending with every detail explained. That’s not life, and from the beginning (start of the two hour event) we were told, “this is hollywood.” (Tala)

I feel so little closure, but I think the episode wasn’t totally worthless. (beautifulchild)

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at my reaction to the whole final show… I actually thought it was fairly well done and although it didn’t necessarily wrap up the story lines in the manner I would have liked (when did it ever?), it did end well enough to satisfy this 6 season long viewer! (imthey)

I like that they left it open to our imaginations and they did a good job of capturing all the characters over the years. Bravo Ilene. (Me)

Regardless of what we think/thought of the series/finale we should be thankful Ilene Chaiken got a show on TV that was all about lesbians. Thank You Ilene. Thank you AE for all you all do!! (Karen)

Few would argue that The L Word hasn’t contributed greatly to increasing lesbian visibility on television over the last six years, and most fans would agree that The L Word has had moments and even whole seasons that entertained and made us laugh — after struggling with its third and fourth seasons, for example, the show really seemed to be hitting its stride again in the fifth.

But its collapse was inevitable as soon as the decision was made to use the final season primarily as a launching pad for Chaiken’s next project, The Farm, an L Word spinoff about women in prison that may or may not get picked up by Showtime.

The last season of The L Word, in other words, was designed to meet a completely different objective than to deliver a coherent, well-written show that would satisfy fans.

Suddenly an ensemble drama about the relationships between a group of friends was turned into a murder mystery in which every character had to have a reason to want to kill Jenny, which in turn led to character assassinations, poor pacing, and storylines that didn’t make any sense. The actors did a good job with what they had, and the writers managed to deliver a few entertaining scenes and episodes, but overall, The L Word‘s final season was a mess.

With the season built on such an unstable foundation, it was destined to topple in the finale. And as much as Ilene Chaiken and the series have done for the visibility of queer women in America, the legacy of both has been damaged in the fall.

Look for StuntDouble’s Facebook recap of the finale Monday, Scribegrrrl’s full recap on Wednesday, and more commentary, recaps, videos and dicussion in our L Word section.

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