Last Saturday at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, Hollywood came out to show their support for queer folks at the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which will air on April 21 on Logo, AfterEllen.com’s parent company. Among the stars in attendance were Sarah Paulson, Martina Navratilova, Work Out‘s Jesse Brune, The L Word‘s Laurel Holloman, Marlee Matlin and Rachel Shelley, and South of Nowhere‘s Mandy Musgrave and Gabrielle Christian. As they made their way down the red carpet before the show, I had the chance to talk with some of them about the GLAAD Awards and what we can expect from their shows next season.
[Warning: Some spoilers for The L Word, South of Nowhere and Work Out.]
The L Word: “If I could write it, I would have it happen”
Laurel Holloman, Rachel Shelley and Marlee Matlin attended the GLAAD Awards shortly after The L Word wrapped up its fourth season, in which Holloman’s character, Tina, spent much of the season in a relationship with a man. Holloman admitted that Tina’s relationship with Henry (Steven Eckholdt) was a “challenge” for her to portray.
“Getting stuck with a guy is not a great thing on The L Word and didn’t really give me a lot of opportunities to work,” she told AfterEllen.com, “and I wish that the story line had gotten explored just so you could see either how unhappy Tina was … or why she made that choice. I think it was a tricky story line, and I really look forward to fifth season, because it’s gonna be very different for all of us, but very different for Tina.”
Asked whether she felt uncomfortable with the bisexual story line, Holloman responded: “I just didn’t see it coming, but that was part of Tina’s history. I think it was a story line Ilene [Chaiken] thought was important ’cause she’d seen it happen, and she wanted to put it out there. She wanted to tell the story, and of course it created a really nice drama for Bette and Tina.”
Holloman also said she is pulling for Bette and Tina to reunite. “If I could write it, I would have it happen,” she said, but she also noted that Tina “just needs to grow up a bit, too, and be on her own and date some women.” Holloman believes that Tina has matured quite a bit since the first season, and her relationship with Bette has also evolved — despite their ups and downs and Bette’s new relationship with Marlee Matlin’s character.
“It’s very different, the dynamic” between Tina and Bette, Holloman said. “They’re becoming friends. Like if you really look at the end of fourth season, they’re talking to each other with complete honesty. … [Tina] can say to [Bette], ‘You’re a control freak’; ‘This is what messed up.’ That was never happening before.”
Rachel Shelley’s character, Helena, has also changed quite a bit since she first joined the show in its second season, but Shelley believes the old Helena — Shelley characterized her as “a very strong, manipulative woman” — is still there. “She’s been Californiarized,” Shelley told us, “but … those elements of her are still there. Like when she was trying to get a job, she would be quite fierce.”
By the end of the fourth season, Helena had tried her hand at a variety of careers (after being cut off from her inheritance at the end of the third season), including salon assistant to Shane, caterer, and gambler/companion to the wealthy Catherine Rothberg (Sandrine Holt). But in the fourth season finale, Helena set herself up for a criminal future after taking a large amount of Catherine’s cash.
When asked what sort of career she thought Helena should choose in the fifth season, Shelley responded, “I can’t give away what’s happening, but I don’t think she’s gonna have much of a choice.”