Thursday, 9 June 2016

The L Word, Season 2 (2005)

The first season of The L Word served up heaps of sudsy mostly-lesbian melodrama, culminating in a season finale which saw Bette and Tina end their long term relationship, Alice and Dana possibly begin one - despite the fact that Dana is engaged to someone else - and Jenny still struggling to understand her own sexuality.

Given the nature of the show, I doubt it's much of a spoiler to say that Jenny ultimately comes to realise that she sexually and romantically desires women, rather than men.  The other two plot threads - plus many others such as the purchase of a local cafe and another romantic triangle - continue throughout the season, and deliver more of the soap opera shenanigans you've probably come to expect if you've seen season one.

The writing in The L Word is far from faultless; Jenny's journey of sexual self-discovery never really made sense to a lot of viewers, possibly because the show was trying to convey that Jenny herself didn't really understand why she was doing what she was doing.  Their efforts in this season to try and get her back on track feel like a series of increasingly desperate appeals that we please like her.  She delivers an epic verbal take-down to a complete jackass, gets a cool new haircut, and is revealed to have been sexually abused as a child.  None of it really works.

On the other hand, when the writing is on, it is on.  For instance, there's a great scene where Bette, distraught at having ruined her relationship with Tina, picks up a woman at a bar.  The woman in question is never given a line to speak, and Better refuses to face her as they have sex.  They don't call this out in dialogue in any way: the audience is just trusted to understand the emotional turmoil Bette is experiencing and the (less than healthy) way she is trying to deal with it.

Also, Dana and Alice make a heck of a cute couple, with some great writing as these long time friends first struggle to deny their connection, then to cope with the changes that becoming romantically involved brings to their relationship.

There's also new characters, bitchiness, Jane Lynch!, tears, confessions, pregnancy, and a whole lot of other stuff going on.  They pack a lot into a season.

If you're comfortable with potty mouths and lesbian nooky, and you like your entertainment shamelessly soapy, then The L Word continues to serve up a delightfully cheesy souffle in season two.

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