Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (January 16, 2009)


Note: There are NO spoilers for the final season of The L Word revealed below except who is killed (which has already been revealed in Showtime’s promos). But if you want to skip this section, click here to go directly to the next section.

Ilene and co. talked about the sixth season of The L Word on a panel at the TCA Winter Press Tour earlier this week, which featured Jennifer Beals, Leisha
Hailey, Laurel Holloman, Katherine Moennig, Pam Grier
and Ilene
, and‘s Michael Jensen gave us the run-down.

Much of the information imparted during the panel confirmed information we already knew — that Lucy Lawless is guest-starring, for example — but Chaiken and the actors offered some interesting opinions about various aspects of the series, and provided some details around the decisions made on the show.

Here are some of the interesting excerpts from the panel:

On whether the murdery-mystery subplot of the final season reflects will be too different for viewers

Ilene Chaiken: I wouldn’t call it an overarching plot.
It’s one story among many, and by far not the dominant
storyline. It’s a story that gives us a framework for
the whole season, but the season is about these lives,
these characters, their relationships, life goes on.

And the tone of the show actually hasn’t changed. It’s
very much as it always has been, a drama with some humor
about life and love and career and everything in
between. And the so-called murder mystery storyline, I
think, will finally put a few things into place. More
than anything it gave us just another metaphor for our

On choosing which character to kill off in the sixth season

Ilene Chaiken: … we didn’t
say, “We’re going to kill someone. Who should we
kill?” We said, “What’s the story that we’re
going to tell this year?” And the decision to
tell that story came out of a lot of things, but
in part it was the stories that we’ve been
telling, and the trouble that Jenny’s gotten into
over the years, the fact that she’s just provoked
everyone to that point at one time or another, and
there’s no question.

And I couldn’t deny that all
of the dialogues that go on around the show, the
passionate viewer reactions, the online
conversations, the things that journalists and
fans say to me in the course of all of the events
that we do were probably resonating in there

Jenny has a lot of the
very devoted fans, people who love her and think
that she’s the best thing that ever was, and she
is the character people loved to hate, and she
provoked rage among lots and lots of people, and
it made it interesting to tell that story.

On Showtime’s decision to give away the identity of the murder victim in the promos

Ilene Chaiken: …the
way that the season is framed, we open the first episode
with flash forward and then we go back and begin
seamlessly telling our stories from where we left off at
the end of Season 5. And so I would venture that the
folks at Showtime who do the incredible job of promoting
our show felt that they weren’t giving anything away.
They were taking the opportunity to build interest off
of something that happens in the first 20 seconds of the

Jennifer Beals: Also I have to say that people tend to
find out online. The show has such an incredible
audience online that they all talk to one another and
somehow they know more than I do usually. A guy would
go to the boards to find out information from them
because they get footage in advance. They know so many
of the storylines in advance. It’s very hard to keep
things from them I think too.

On why The L Word has straight male viewers

Jennifer Beals: Well, it’s pretty obvious. (Laughter.)
God bless them. Hope they’re learning something.

Pam Grier: A lot of straight women have been
watching it, and it’s enhanced their libidos, you
know. I’ve been getting great comments about

On shooting most of the series in Vancouver, B.C.

Ilene Chaiken: I think when we
first started the show, we went to Canada because
that’s what was done. That was how Showtime made
television back then, and many other people did, as
well. I think that it was a blessing for us
because it was a rarefied situation. We were all
up there together. It’s like working in a
laboratory. You focus. You concentrate. You
become closer. You become collaborative in a way
that you wouldn’t if you were lost in the big city
and leading your lives.

Leisha Hailey: I think the fact that we
relocated up there — we really only
had each other. We didn’t know anyone else. So I
think that bonded us very quickly, and if we had
shot down here, we would have maybe never gotten
to know each other so well. I’m just going to
miss these guys (indicating the rest of the cast).

Kate Moennig: [Vancouver] is so
accessible in a way that [L.A.] isn’t. You can
ride your bike … you’re able to run your
errands by foot. It’s like, a small town
sensibility in a big city essentially. I’m going
to miss that because there’s a really cozy element
to that town that you don’t see everywhere.

Pam Grier: I live in Colorado. So coming
to Los Angeles and Hollywood and sharing the lives
with my colleagues was always exciting and being
in Vancouver is like a shore, an ocean — it’s
very much like Denver in Colorado except for it
has the sea, and we have the mountains. I just
thought that we could focus on other things … I would write, and on
the end here (indicating Ilene), she’s a conspirator.
She talked me into writing my memoirs — yeah.
Don’t even start — I’m going to need
therapy because of it.

CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE: fans, favorite seasons, and that “fin” cast photo.

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