The Best and Worst of “The L Word” Season 2

Worst Villain — Shane and Jenny’s roommate Mark (Eric Lively) is a shoo-in for this award. Mark’s behavior was offensive, sure, but he was also boring, and his sudden change-of-heart combined with an obvious obsession with Shane was unbelievable and, dare I say it, lame.

Tina's freak-out with Helena gets Worst Angst-Ridden MomentMark gets Worst Villain

Best Guest Star — On Season 1, The L Word made a mistake by having the sole Asian character be the hysterical (as in, apparently crazy) girlfriend of Bette and Tina’s baby daddy. The show made amends this year by casting Linda Ko as the calm, assured nurse that Bette hired to care for her dying father beginning in episode 2.12 (“L’Chaim”). Thank you, casting directors.

Worst Guest Star — Ariana Huffington’s appearance in episode 2.01 (“Life, Loss, Leaving”) was clearly a throwaway celebrity placement, and an uninteresting one at that.

Best Use of Music in an EpisodeThe L Word has been pretty adventurous with its sound this year, and music director ezgirl (a.k.a. Elizabeth Ziff of Betty) definitely got it right in episode 2.09 (“Late, Later, Latent”) when she chose to layer Heart’s “No Other Love” over Bette and Tina’s love scene. That song’s minimalist aesthetic and one verse of repeated lyrics was perfect for the emotion and intensity of the scene.

Worst Use of Music in an Episode — The theme song has really taken a beating this year, and while I admit I am not a fan of its spy-girl-meets-surfer-chick sound, I would have been okay with it if it had been limited to the opening credits. However, the theme song reappears throughout most episodes in endless variation (xylophone, cello, French), hammering home the fact that “this is the way that we live.” Message to ezgirl: okay, we get it! Girls in tight dresses drag with mustaches!

Mia Kirshner as Jenny - Best Actress, DramaLeisha Hailey as Alice - Best Actress, Comedy

Best Angst-ridden Moment — Dyke drama was showcased in its finest form during Tonya and Dana’s bridal shower in episode 2.05 (“Labryinth”) when a miserable Bette toasted the mismatched couple. “I lift my glass to caring…and kindness and trust…and longevity and respect. To all the things that you’ll need to keep your love alive,” Bette began. “I wish you… happiness. And I hope that you forever spare each other pain. And if you find that is impossible,” she concluded with heartbreaking honesty, “then I wish you forgiveness.” Did you hear that massive rustling sound? That was thousands of lesbians pulling out their tissues at the same moment.

Worst Angst-ridden Moment — Tina’s emotional breakdown with Helena (2.09, “Late, Later, Latent”) shortly after she slept with Bette was so over-the-top bizarre that I kept wondering if Tina was flailing out at Helena on purpose in order to drive her away. The scene was a seesaw between stereotypical pregnant hormones gone bad and questionable acting—neither Laurel Holloman nor Rachel Shelley convinced me that the two characters were really in the moment.

Best Use of a Prop — The dildo at the airport in episode 2.10 (“Land Ahoy”) wins, hands-down. (No pun intended.)

Worst Use of a Prop — “Land Ahoy” delivers again on this category. The Phoebe Sparkle/Amy Ziff extended love scene featured the use of a cello. No musical instrument that fine should suffer that kind of indignity.

Best Man — For two seasons now, Bette’s assistant James (Preston Cook) has stood by her through numerous personal and professional challenges. Even though James was forced to reveal Bette’s personal schedule to Helena on threat of being fired during the season finale, he still deserves to be the winner in this category. Go James!

Worst Man — Mark’s lascivious, one-dimensional buddy-in-crime, Gomey (Sam Easton) takes the prize in this case. Mark would have won this category, except he already won for Worst Villain, and in my random rules for judging, one man cannot win more than one category.

Best Public Service Message Moment — In 2.09 (“Late, Later, Latent”), Alice crawls up to Dana and declares seductively, “Dana. Many bona fide lesbians find strapping it on the ultimate way of fucking.” Alice, if your radio career doesn’t succeed, there’s probably a job for you at your local sex toy store.

Worst Public Service Message Moment — The season finale featured Gloria Steinem (love her, much respect) in a round-table discussion at Bette’s father’s funeral about feminism and its intersection with lesbianism. A fascinating and worthy topic, but the conversation was both contrived and unconvincing, not to mention it seemed really inappropriate for a funeral.

Best Actress, Drama — Even if Jenny is a bit crazy, Mia Kirshner invests her with real dignity. Go Mia!

Best Actress, Comedy — Leisha Hailey has emerged as the show’s star comedic actress. Her timing is always perfect, and she plays the straight man with a skill found only in real dykes.

What do you think of our list? Share your own Best and Worst Moments from Season 2 of The L Word in the Forum, or see what other viewers thought of the season in our L Word polls.

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