Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Real L Word

In which I see it so you don't have to!

A few weeks ago, I had a cold (yeah, I know you're all dying to know what my sinuses are up to), which meant that I watched a lot more TV than usual. This included quite a few different shows that I probably wouldn't have otherwise seen. The most relevant one to this blog was probably The Real L-Word, on Showtime, which I believe is from the same people who brought us The Fictional L-Word. To my considerable shame, I kept watching the show after my cold got better. (Even though one of the characters was so annoying to me that I fast-forwarded through all her scenes...) I kept hoping that the show would display some potential, but the overall product was trashy and exploitative*, often very boring, and rarely insightful. I found these recaps much more amusing than the actual show. So I wouldn't be surprised if a second season never materialized.

If you haven't figured it out by now, the premise of The Real L-Word is that The L-Word is re-created...but this time, with real people. And it's sort of amazing how closely they've gotten the reality show to adhere to the fictional show. But I ask...what's the point of that? Even The Real World gets to go to a different city every season, but it looks like lesbians are stuck in West Hollywood for the time being. (However, whenever I watch shows set in LA, I always have an urge to dress better, which I suppose is not an awful thing.)

(Let me tell you that in Northern California, we don't get our own anatomically correct palm trees. Dude, I'm outta here.)

Was there anything positive about the show? Well, I can identify one thing. I find that in the media, there is usually a stereotype that lesbian and gay people are not accepted by their families, especially those who aren't white or from American cultural backgrounds. So it was good to see that most of the characters' families did accept them, and were welcoming to their romantic partners.

*(Doin' an asterisk to say that the "scandalous" thing about the show was that people have sex in it, and they are "real people". However, it was pretty PG in comparison to the fictional L-Word. I think there was only one visible sex scene in the whole season, so anyone watching the show for the sex would have been very disappointed. But what was sketchy about it was that the women who did have sex were totally drunk. I don't know how consent on reality shows would work, but I just felt bad for them, like once they sobered up they would have really regretted keeping the lights on. Reading the comments of some non-asexual viewers, I found this idea being echoed.)


Lanafactrix said...

No one likes to watch TV with me anymore because I always end up shouting "CONSENT ISSUES! CONSENT ISSUES!" at the screen.

Ily said...

Aww, I would totally watch TV with you! I'm sure we'd come up with lots of good feminist critiques :-)

Lanafactrix said...

Next time I'm in the Bay Area (or you're in Maryland), we'll totally have to watch TV! ;)

Holly said...

Being a UKian, I have had neither the time or opportunity to see either of these shows, so I just wanted to cheekily hijack my comment to instead say that I just noticed that I was on your blogroll. Thanks very much! And also that self-righteous owls on blogs should totally take over the world.