Over the years, I’ve recapped 15 seasons of nine different shows for AfterEllen.com, but none has elicited stronger reactions and more opinions than The Real L Word. Some of you love it, some of you loathe it, and some of you take great pride in not watching it at all.
To those of you in the last two groups, I’m here to tell you The Real L Word is a unique and fun hour of television. And that’s me talking; the one who likened Whitney’s dreads to the Predator, said Rose Garcia‘s friends resemble a pipe fitters’ union, and pointed out Romi’s tampon string. You’re welcome.
I won’t be recapping the show this year because I’m concentrating on scripted stuff and furthermore, I’m busy watching the Hot 100 slideshow over and over. Instead, I have for you, five positive reasons the show is worth watching (just in case their “LA Glam vs Brooklyn Cool” Season 3 slogan isn’t enough to get your lips smacking and hips widening.)
Continuing Visibility. The Real L Word is the first all-lesbian reality show to last more than one season, proving that lesbian lives contain sustainable stories for television. We are more than the sum of our Sweeps Week lesbian kisses, token hook-ups and drunky, one-off, make-outs. Thanks, Showtime, for renewing RLW not once, but twice. If you support us, I support you.
No Hair Braiding Here. The Real L Word depicts real L sex. Even when it’s shockingly graphic (strap-on, anyone?) or just plain hilarious, (is that a price tag on the bottom of Sara’s stripper heels? Yes, yes it is.), RLW doesn’t shy away from anything, not even scissoring. No offense to Calzona, but the last time I saw scissoring on Grey’s Anatomy, a day care lady was cutting construction paper for Zola.
Fashion Cues. I’ve been paid to mock the endless parade of knit caps, hats, headbands and Whitney’s shoelace-masquerading-as-a-headband on this show, but you cannot deny that the girls here are mostly fashion forward. To anyone who’s still trying to rock a mullet, shoulder pads or Dockers, I’m begging you: Watch and learn. Layered t-shirts and feminism are not mutually exclusive! Tattoos optional.
Just Do It. If there is one thing I’ve noticed about Seasons 1 and 2, and the premiere episode of Season 3, it’s that these women are all living the lives they want to live. Romi realized her drinking was off the charts, so she did something about it. Tracy and Francine wanted to come out to their moms, so they did. I think that’s brave. Even when they make bad choices or do stupid things, it’s better than feeling stuck or powerless. And by “bad choices,” I mean Rachel doing drugs. And by “stupid things,” I mean Sajdah announcing, “I’m gonna bang you out,” as if that’s a compliment. Don’t do that. But do take inspiration from these girls, ’cause they go for it.
Guilty Pleasure. What is wrong with watching a show for the pure pleasure of seeing telegenic lesbians laughing, loving, cleaning, tweeting, however the song goes? Nothing, that’s what. We watch plenty of PBS, read lots of books, and enrich our minds with hours of Rachel Maddow. We’re allowed to kick back and get our gay girl on once a week. Beside, this season, the show goes to New York for the first time, which is awesome; we learn that Romi has been living a secret life for months (presumably, not as a monkey); and Whitney is now cohabitating with someone she’s serious about because, she says, “I’ve fallen in love.” Whoa.
Want to know what happens this season? You’ll have to watch to find out. The Real L Word premieres on Showtime, Thursday, July 12 at 10PM, ET/PT.