“The L Word” Season 2 Review

The Dana-Alice-Tonya triangle offers a study in how television shows manipulate you into responding differently to what is essentially the same behavior. Through anguished, emotional, and often darkly-lit scenes, the audience is invited to witness the devastating consequences of Bette’s infidelity. Meanwhile, quirky music, comic lines, and brightly-lit scenes play Dana’s infidelity for laughs and invite the audience to excuse her for essentially the same behavior.

The only real difference–besides the fact that Bette and Tina have built a life together while Dana and Tonya have only known each other a short while–is that the audience likes Tina, and doesn’t like Tonya.

It doesn’t help that, unlike Bette’s lover Candace, the writers have given Tonya virtually no redeeming qualities besides excelling in public relations, so the relationship between Dana and Tonya never really makes sense. While The Character You Love to Hate is a television staple, and Tonya fulfills that need nicely, it would be a little more interesting and believable if Tonya wasn’t quite so one-dimensional.

Don’t get me wrong–Daniels and Hailey are very funny, they have great chemistry, and they make their characters as loveable as they did in the first season. Plus, a lighter storyline is definitely needed to balance out the intensity of the Bette-Tina-Helena storyline.

But in playing their relationship for comic relief, Alice and Dana are rendered somewhat cartoon-ish, at least in the first half of the season. Even Dana’s reconciliation with her previously unaccepting family happens a little too easily; at times, it feels as if Dana’s storyline is perpetually on fast-forward.

Fortunately, we get more seriousness and depth from Alice and Dana in the second half of the season–helped in part by the return of one Miss Lara Perkins (aka the Soup Chef)–so all is not lost for viewers who want to see more character development for Alice and Dana this season. You just have to wait awhile.

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