Review of “The L Word” Season 1 DVD


First, let's get this out of the way: there is little extra on this DVD that will be new to avid L Word fans. Showtime has done a good job of aggregating clips and specials that have already been aired, like the half-hour special The L Word Defined, a video clip of the Power Up L Word panel featuring Ilene Chaiken, Leisha Hailey, and Guinevere Turner talking about the series right before it went on the air, and the Season 2 promo which has been running on Showtime for the last few months.It's great to have these on the DVD, but many of us have already seen or read transcripts of them before.

The new content consists primarily of an amusing puppet show of some of the L Word scenes by Katherine Moennig, Leisha Hailey, Guinevere Turner, and Erin Daniels, and commentary on the pilot by Ilene Chaiken and Jennifer Beals.

The commentary is light and entertaining, if not overly insightful—we learn that Beals and Laurel Holloman initially bonded over their upcoming weddings; that Beals met Katherine Moennig for the first time in an elevator; that the cast used to meet at Beals's house on the weekend to rehearse the group scenes together so they could get the chemistry right; and that many of the insemination scenes were loosely based on Chaiken's experiences when she and her partner tried to get pregnant.

There are also short written bios of the actresses, a paragraph description of each character's clothing style, and a short clip examining the on-set process of selecting the clothes for the characters.

Noticeably lacking are the promised blooper reels and deleted scenes, which is disappointing both because we were expecting them, and because they would have made the DVD more than just a digital collection of the episodes.

But let's be honest: we're not really buying this DVD for the extras. The real benefit to getting The L Word on DVD is that it lets you easily watch your favorite characters, scenes, and episodes over and over again—and skip past the ones you could really do without ever seeing again.

Everyone's favorite scenes differ, but topping many viewers' lists are Marina and Jenny's use of literature as a tool of seduction in the pilot; Dana's gleeful firing of her manager after Subaru tells her they want to position her as the "gay Anna Kournikova;" and Peggy Peabody coming to Bette's rescue in the boardroom.

Almost all the group scenes are worth watching several times—like the road trip to Dinah Shore, with its excellent coming-out flashbacks; the group's Italian Job-esque stakeout at Dana's country club; Shane's dance party on the yacht; and the women lounging by Bette and Tina's pool with Alice's mother.

Meanwhile, less-favorite moments—like Bette and Tina's endless insemination efforts, most of Jenny's on-screen writing, and almost any scene with Tonya—can be easily and mercifully fast-forwarded now that the series is out on DVD.

For impatient fans of The L Word, the DVD also provides a way to stay connected to the characters during the long hiatus between seasons. But its greatest value may lie in making the show accessible to those who've never seen it in the first place, which has the effect of increasing the visibility of lesbian and bisexual women beyond those who subscribe to Showtime.

Either way, it's one of best DVD releases for lesbian and bisexual women in a long time.

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