We here at AfterEllen.com pride ourselves on delivering the most provocative and nuanced criticism on the web, but this week we thought we’d take a little break. After all, The L Word wrapped up its second season last Sunday, and that means we have at least seven months before Season 3 premieres—plenty of time to nitpick the producers’ choices in Season 2. So instead of launching into a full-throttle critique of heterosexual privilege and its manifestations in the misguided Mark storyline, we thought we’d compile a list of the best and worst moments from last season. Here it is, in random order.
Best Kiss – Carmen and Shane’s game of “Too Hot” in episode 2.03 (“Loneliest Number”) definitely turned up the heat and set a new bar for kissing on The L Word. Watching that scene made that game look like the best invention since Twister.
Worst Kiss – Despite the fact that Kit (Pam Grier) is one hot mama, even she couldn’t make kissing Benjamin Bradshaw (Charles S. Dutton) look good. When she and the self-help guru locked lips after their illicit lunch date (episode 2.06, “Lagrimas de Oro”), their lack of chemistry should have reached out and slapped them. Where’s Ivan when you need him?
Best Seduction – Shane may be the resident heartthrob, but Bette is the real mack daddy. Her trip to New York in episode 2.04 (“Lynch Pin”) may not have landed her a grant from the Peabody Foundation, but it did land her a cute little number from the Starlight Bar. After downing a couple of vodka martinis, Bette swaggered over to the nameless brunette like the hottest shark you ever saw and asked, “Do you wanna dance?” Saying no was never an option.
Worst Seduction – Unfortunately for the nameless older lesbian in episode 2.11 (“Loud and Proud”), she never went to Bette’s School of Seduction. Her attempt to woo Jenny with the line “What’s the matter? Am I too old or too suburban or something?” was both pathetic and just plain weird.
Best Sex Scene – Alice and Dana would have been a cinch for this award given their creative use of costumes on the Olivia Cruise, but since Dana cut out early due to seasickness, the award has to go to Tina and Bette, who reunited briefly on episode 2.09 (“Late, Later, Latent”). The emotion and sincerity in the scene made it one of the most multilayered, meaningful love scenes on the show.
Worst Sex Scene – While many lesbian viewers may object to straight sex scenes because The L Word is a show about lesbians, I don’t mind them-as long as they’re sexy. But in episode 2.01 (“Life, Love, Leaving”), we got an example of a decidedly unsexy straight sex scene when Tim (Eric Mabius) barged into Jenny’s room in the middle of the night, woke her up, and basically mounted her with no foreplay whatsoever. To make matters worse, after about a minute (just when Jenny seemed to be getting into it) he decided he had enough and left. After that, I think pretty much any woman would turn into a dyke.
Best Dressed – In a wardrobe department full of “eccentric” outfits, Bette’s closet stands head and shoulders above the others in terms of style, elegance, and that indefinable hot-damn element. Perhaps it’s just that Jennifer Beals has the grace to carry off even high-waisted trousers with suspenders, but even when Bette is down in her cups, she looks damn good. (An honorable mention has to go to Alice in her scrumptious Julie costume.)
Worst Dressed – Out of a plethora of choices, we have a tie in this category between Jenny’s white doily dress (episode 2.03, “Loneliest Number”) and Alice’s red velour boob tube/track shorts Pride outfit (2.11, “Loud and Proud”). All I can say is, at least Alice wore those accompanying Ray-Bans with pride.
Best Hair – Regular readers of AfterEllen.com will remember that I have a certain fascination with hair on The L Word. Let’s just say that this year everybody on the show should get an award for Most Improved Hair, but the winner in this category has to be Bette. Again, just like her wardrobe, her hair always looks good. Even when Bette was floating face-down in her pool, her hair managed to fan out in the water perfectly. That’s a miracle.
Worst Hair – I picked on Shane’s hair a lot last year, but this year Shane has also improved—on some occasions. I’m going to choose to believe that her hair is a state of her mood, and that when the strange little bleached ducktail on the back of her head emerges, she’s having a bad day. So sometimes Shane has the Worst Hair, and sometimes she’s just really cute.
Best Villain – Who would have thought that I would ever develop fond memories of Tonya (Meredith McGeachie), whom Alice accused of poisoning Dana’s Mr. Piddles? But after that hilarious dream sequence in episode 2.03 (“Loneliest Number”) which Tonya left hot pink lipstick prints all over Alice’s stunned face, Tonya quickly skyrocketed to the top of the villains list. She really was someone we all loved to hate—and McGeachie played her with admirable tongue-in-cheek aplomb.