by Billie Doux
The second season of The L Word, which airs on Showtime, is now out on DVD. I absolutely love this show. I went through the second season's thirteen episodes in just a few days, just as quickly as I went through season one last year.
What is the L word? Lesbian, of course, but this is not just a story about lesbians. It's also about life in Los Angeles. It's about friends, who become lovers, who become friends again. It's very much about being a woman. Yes, there are hot, lesbian love scenes -- it gets pretty graphic -- and there is a fair amount of nudity. But that's not all there is, not by a long shot.
Watching The L Word is like entering a fascinating alternate reality. Suddenly, you're immersed in a completely different subculture. (Unless, of course, you're a gorgeous, young lesbian living in Los Angeles, in which case this is probably old hat to you.) The rules of life are different when all of your core relationships are female. All eight of the stars of this show are women; the male characters start to feel like aliens. I can't express how different it is and how much fun it can be unless you watch it for yourself.
The main characters are Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Hollomon), who have a seven-year relationship that is going through a rough patch, complicated by Bette's unfaithfulness and Tina's pregnancy. The emotionally disturbed and sexually confused Jenny (Mia Kirshner) is determined to become a professional writer. The witty, bisexual Alice (Leisha Hailey) is in love with her best friend, Dana (Erin Daniels), who is a professional tennis player and a media figure. Disc jockey Carmen (Sarah Shahi) is dating Jenny but is in love with the promiscuous Shane. Bette has a half-sister, Kit (Pam Grier), who is pretty much the token straight in the series, although even Kit is not always sure.
Shane (Katherine Moennig) is my favorite character. She is extremely attractive to other women and goes from bed to bed, avoiding commitment and never sleeping with the same woman twice. If that was all there was to Shane, she'd be a one-note character, but of course, it's not; Shane desperately needs love, but is compelled to push it away.
The L Word has attracted some impressive guest star power. Season two included guest stars Sandra Bernhardt, Kelly Lynch, Camryn Manheim, Charles S. Dutton, Gloria Steinem, and Tony Goldwyn. The late Ossie Davis gave his final performance in season two as Bette and Kit's terminally ill father.
There are a few special features on the second season DVD: a couple of commentaries, and some interview-like fun things, like the cast playing "Balderdash" with several very strange words starting with the letter L. But this is a DVD that you get for the episodes, not the features.
Highly recommended. Unless you're a phobe.