AfterEllen.com 2007 Visibility Awards

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It’s that time of year again, when we formally recognize the people who have positively or negatively impacted lesbian and bi visibility in American

entertainment in 2007. From Best Queer Reality TV Series and Best

High-Profile Lesbian Couple to Worst Theatrical Release With Lesbian

Characters and Worst Lesbian Moment on Daytime Television,

we recognize the television shows, movies and people who entertained, inspired

or downright shamed us this year. (We covered 2007’s out women in music thoroughly here and the year’s top 10 albums here).

So read on to see the winners and losers of our fifth annual AfterEllen.com

Visibility Awards …

BEST SCRIPTED TV SERIES ON CABLE OR NETWORK TV

WITH LESBIAN/BI CHARACTERS

WINNER (tie): The L Word (Showtime)

The fourth season of The L Word was

a considerable improvement over the third, as the cast moved on from the death

of Dana (Erin Daniels), and the tiresome baby-napping custody

battle between Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel

Holloman
) was finally put to rest. Meanwhile, newcomers Tasha (Rose

Rollins), Jodi (Marlee Matlin), Phyllis (Cybill

Shepherd
) and Paige (Kristanna

Loken) injected fresh blood — and romance — into the series.

Jenny (Mia Kirshner) and Max (Daniela Sea)

were annoying as usual, but Bette was restored to her former alpha glory, and

much collective heat was generated by the sex scenes between Alice and

Tasha, Paige and Shane, and Bette and Jodi. Jane Lynch’s return as a sleazy

lawyer in love was a nice bonus, too.

WINNER (tie): Exes & Ohs (Logo)

Despite some uneven scenes and an all-white cast, Exes

& Ohs
won us over with its humor, extremely appealing lead character,

Jen (Michelle Paradise), and its realistic

portrayal of lesbians and lesbian life (i.e., women who don’t all look like

glamorous L.A. lesbians). Its lighthearted take on lesbian relationships was

a nice change of pace from the more serious lesbian drama we usually find on

television. We only wish there had been more than six episodes!

RUNNER-UP: South of Nowhere (The N)

South of Nowhere, the teen drama about

a family who relocates from the Midwest to Los Angeles, recovered some of its

mojo in the third season, as Ashley (Mandy Musgrave)

inherited millions, Spencer (Gabrielle Christian)

experimented with dating another girl, and Spencer’s mother, Paula (Maeve

Quinlan
), took steps toward repairing her relationship with her daughter.

The writers made some missteps this season when Spencer’s girlfriend Carmen

(Brooke Vallone) became unhinged, Kyla turned into Paris Hilton, and Ashley

became completely self-absorbed. But the honest and evolving Spencer-Paula

relationship and the long-awaited Ashley-Spencer reunion in the midseason

finale made up for them.

WORST SCRIPTED TV SERIES ON CABLE OR NETWORK TV WITH LESBIAN/BI CHARACTERS

WINNER: Degrassi: The Next Generation (The N)

Only a few short months ago, we gave this long-running

Canadian teen drama high marks for its handling of the lesbian relationship

between Alex (Deanna Casaluce) and Paige (Lauren Collins).

That all went out the window with a single bizarre episode in October when

Alex inexplicably reverted to the character she was three seasons ago, Paige suddenly kicked her to the curb, and Alex left town. Alex’s departure wasn’t unexpected, since the actress had made it clear

in interviews that she was planning to leave the show, but the way the writers

handled it was clumsy at best and extremely disappointing at worst, especially

for the show’s longtime viewers who had become emotionally invested in the evolution

of these characters and their relationship.

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