I was 18 when I stumbled upon an episode of The L Word while flicking through DSTV channels over
a decade ago. I watched wide-eyed as two women, who I would later come to know as Shane and Carmen, shared a passionate sexual encounter unlike anything I had seen before.
I quickly changed the channel fearing a family member would catch me and think that I too was gay. However, that moment started my love affair with the ‘The L Word’ which I began secretly recording on VHS tapes and then watching on low volume even when I believed no-one was home.
The L Word, which began airing in America in 2004, revolves around a group of gay and bisexual women living in Los Angeles with the main characters Bette, Tina, Alice, Dana and Shane forming the core friendship group on the show. Bette and Tina are a couple and want to start a family, Dana is a tennis star struggling with coming out to her family and her fans, Alice is a bisexual writer whoprovides many comedic moments, and Shane is a sexy, androgynous hairdresser who is irresistible to queer and straight women alike.
The L Word was groundbreaking when it first aired and continues to be important in 2018. It shows us positive representations of complex queer female characters and helps to normalise our existence in the world.
Whether you’re new to the show or someone who wants to re-watch it, here are 5 reasons why you will love The L word.
It’s endlessly entertaining
The show is probably best described as “romantic dramedy” as it’s the perfect combination of drama and comedy with plenty of romance in each episode. It’s a bit like a soap opera for queer women, in
the best way, as you see this group of friends navigate coming out, career, love, sex, betrayal and much more. Some of the storylines may be over the top but this only adds to the entertainment factor. There is also no shortage of beautiful and realistic sex scenes.
It was made by lesbians for lesbians
More than 10 years later, The L Word still provides a kind of comfort that is rare when consuming media in a hetero-normative world. It allows us to see ourselves and the challenges specific to our >community reflected back to us on screen. It is still the only show created and written by lesbians specifically for queer woman with several of the characters being played by out lesbians. You’ll find yourself laughing along to lesbian inside jokes and comparing the characters to your partners and friends.
It tackles real-life issues
The L Word does a good job of depicting the real-life issues faced by queer women. This includes dealing with infidelity, breast cancer, being gay in the military, being transgender and going through a medical transition, coming out in a public career like sport, dealing with homophobic family members, trying to conceive through IVF and raising children in a same-sex family.
You’ll recognise famous faces
You’ll be delighted at the amount of familiar faces that pop up on screen when watching The L Word.
One of the main characters is played by the gorgeous and talented Jennifer Beals of Flash Dance fame. Other notable actors that you’ll see include Pam Grier, Marlee Matlin, Holland Taylor, Cybil Shepherd, Alan Cumming, Lucy Lawless, Gloria Steinem, Sandra Bernhard, Eric Roberts, Tegan and Sara and even Snoop Dog! It’s perfect for binge-watching
The days of secretly taping The L Word on VHS are long gone as binge-watching on demand has become our wonderful reality. With 6 seasons and 70 45-minute episodes in total, ‘The L Word’ is the perfect show to start binge-watching. The upcoming reboot of The L Word was recently announced so now is a great time to catch up on or re-watch this classic show. #lword @showmaxonline @queerlife
You can catch all the episodes streaming on Showmax from February 2018. All six seasons.
Showmax is an internet-based subscription video on demand service supplying an extensive catalogue of TV shows and movies. By leveraging relationships with major production studios from across the globe, Showmax delivers both world-class international content as well as the best of specialised local content. Showmax is accessible across a wide range of devices from smart TVs and computers to smartphones and tablets.
If you are a DSTV Premium client get connected now dahling, no time to waste otherwise R99 per month. That’s less than three drinks on a Friday night.