Monday, April 06, 2009

Down on The Farm

So, Showtime didn't buy “The Farm.” Leisha Hailey prison drama spin-off won't be headed to a TV near you anytime soon. Which means the legacy of “The L Word” will more than likely end with the eternally unanswered question of who killed Jenny. Which, once again, sucks. Big time.

And, once again, it is a reminder of the opportunities that were missed in the arc of TLW. Let's be frank, Ilene built the whole insane and incomprehensible final season around the possibility of a spin-off. While she glibly told The Los Angeles Times that she didn't actually feel compelled to tell us who killed Jenny, you know part of her left it unanswered as leverage. Sure, that show ended in a question, but this other show can answer it. Gosh, that worked out well.

As questionable as the idea of Leisha Hailey in a gritty, “Oz”-like prison drama was, it was still Leisha Hailey and lesbians being shown regularly on my TV. Plus, the guest stars assembled for the pilot were impressive: Famke Janssen, Melissa Leo and Laurie Metcalfe. That adds up to a three-time Emmy winner, an Oscar nominee and a Bond girl. With no major lesbian characters on primetime TV and less than a handful of bisexual ones, we are once again starved for representation. So even another crazy Mama Chaiken creation would be better than nothing, right?

Well, I'm not so sure. Instead, I think we may have dodged a big, Ilene-shaped bullet. If those wacky Interrogation Tapes are any indication, Mama C cannot do crime and punishment. Wait, let me rephrase that, Mama C can do crime and punishment metaphorically – just ask her audience. After six seasons, we feel both robbed and beaten. And now these damn “tapes.” (NOTE: Spoiler Alert, but mostly just yawn.) Tina had an incestuous relationship with her sister. Shane burned down Wax. Helena gave away the money (and gets hit on by Xena Sgt. Duffy). Niki stole the “Lez Girls” negatives. Bette wanted Tina to ask her to have their second child. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Ilene, WTF. Afterthought storytelling is not storytelling, it's an afterthought.


Am I sad “The Farm” won't happen? In theory, yes. In practice? Well, we'll just never know, kind of like who killed Jenny.

26 comments:

Sarah said...

I do not understand why the spin-off wasn't based off of Alice's career, as opposed to this silly murder mystery.

Was it because it sounded too Sex and the City-ish?

Please. Carrie Bradshaw, you are no Alice Pieszecki.

Anyhow. If this means the next Uh Huh Her album will drop even sooner than expected, I am all for no Alice spin-off.

Music > television.

Huggitis Brown said...

Actually relieved "The Farm" won't be "gracing" (or rather disgracing, considering the big pile of poop TLW turned into) our screens.

Also relieved for Leisha - I know she was looking fwd to doing more dramatic, serious stuff, but I believe she's talented enough to find something that'll fit her talent soon enough.

not only but also said...

"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot"

This is why I love your work Miss Snarker. Beautiful.

I too am mightily relieved this project won't see the light of day. Good bye Ilene. No really, goodbye.

Vikki said...

I think Alice was the character most likely to have a successful spin-off but prison? No. My only disappointment is that I won't be seeing Leisha on my TV regularly. I hope someone scoops her up for some great project because she really is a gem.

Vikki said...

P.S. Ms. Snarker - your photoshopping skills are very impressive :)

wyrmoftheflame said...

Fuck me, what a train wreck! I can at least understand ABC (F-U-ABC!) fucking us over. Their management obviously leaves something to be desired, but ILENE? Is she one of THEM in disguise? I made excuse after excuse for her ego-maniacal behaviour to fellow, disquieted lesbian brethren but now...I just...what. The. Fuck.
I've had enough man, I hope there's a lesbian paradise where the L word characters can share one of Shane's magical joints, untill the pain goes away.
The actors, however, have been royally screwed by crazy, CRAZY writing and....the sheer what.The.Fuckery of Ilene *gnashes teeth* Chaiken.

Collins said...

i didn't even watch the last season of the l word...and i got subscribed to showtime specifically for that purpose. the last season was so bad and i was so pissed about that i couldn't even turn my vitriol off long enough to force myself to sit down and watch it. i, too, am thankful that i don't have to cringe my way through anymore mama c crack-induced craziness.

besides i found a drama with lesbians that is so much better it has allowed me to completely wash my brain of any memories of MC and the no good very bad show.

the Otalia story over on GL is crazy good snarker. no lie.

now, listen, i know it's a soap. i know it's on at 9AM in some markets so we aren't necessarily gonna get hot, hot lady lovin' love making. BUT- and this is a big but- it is so worth the possibility of some tepid lady lovin' love making just to be able to watch crystal chappell make googly oogly eyes all day long at jessica leccia while uttering some of the best daytime dialogue i have heard ever.

seriously. don't worry about primetime anymore. primetime is a lesbian wasteland. head over to Guiding Light on CBS. get addicted to Otalia like the rest of us. 2100 fan forum members (in 3 months) and over 2 million viewers can't be wrong.

Anonymous said...

WE KNOW WHO KILLED JENNY:
Ilene Chaiken

TheWeyrd1 said...

I haven't watched the tapes. I heard about the Tina one and decided that I really just don't want to know. However, I did just watch the Helena one at The Gentleman's site and here's what I commented there:

"I must say that WAS hot! What's IC thinking...a spin off with Sgt. Xena and Helena Moneybags would be VERY entertaining" much more so than the weird idea she had for The Farm anyway...

aj said...

omygod--that tape is the most ridiculous writing.

Jane said...

Duh, Carrie Bradshaw is ten times better than Alice Pieszecki.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Showtime for saving us from the IC mess.
Whiskey Tango...Shane burns business - Lame!!
glad that never went to air!
What a mess... I think it will all take us several years of post-traumatic stress to let go of the finale!

Anonymous said...

The idea that ANY of those characters was a murderer is as crazy as IC. I mean really. Neurotic, bitchy, self-centered, yes, Homocidal, no. It's just yet ANOTHER example of idiotic writing. If you can't use real talent to write plot, then you just pull a monkey out of your bu** and call it drama. Really? Really? NO.

I think we missed a BIG bullet with the Farm. I am relieved!

"whiskey tango foxtrot", snarker, you are fab.

BackinJersey said...

I have to ask, does anyone really care who killed Jenny? I sure as hell don't. The tights, the ridiculous, endless vignettes of meaningless hoo haa, the whining, the double standards... ugh it makes me apoplectic just thinking about it.

Anyway, I am happy that Showtime didn't pick up The Farm. It would have been depressing to see Alice in that setting.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

Good riddance. I hope she had the time of her life.

Anonymous said...

The Bette interrogation tape is ridiculous this is almost as stupid as Tina doing her sister. The hits just keep on coming!!!!!!

There's never a question about Jenny --- Ops!! What were we trying to find out at the police station?????

Anonymous said...

I like Leisha too much for her to act in The Farm. I don't want IC to ruin her acting career. I also dislike the lesbian jailbird stereotype. If there ought to be a crime show about lesbians, I'll rather they're cops.

Norma Desmond said...

I used to think some representation was better than none, in the beginning. However, after IC and the downward spiral enacted by the L Word... I'm actually relieved she won't get a second chance. And I'm actually glad people won't have a crazy TV to connect us to anymore.

On the Bette tape... ridiculous. Somehow, I don't really buy that one last character shift they gave Bette of making her suddenly want to be a happy homemaker. Just don't buy it.

Anonymous said...

IC killed Jenny, TLW, and her career due to arrogance. Ohhhhh snap.

riese said...

I guess that's one thing me and Ilene will always have in common - neither of us know who killed Jenny, and never will.

After reading The Farm script, I can say we absolutely dodged a bullet. One "Papi" character was enough for me, thanks. I'll pass on Tootsie & Chachi and so on.

Anonymous said...

Read Kim Ficera's killer interview on AfterEllen of Michelle Abbott and Kathy Greenberg, the co-creators of TLW. At last, some new dish about MS. Chaiken and what really happened during the formation of the show. Maybe if they had continued to be involved, TLW would have be better written and had more coherent storylines. Again, more missed opportunities. See what you can find out ms. Snarker

Femme Politik said...

I can't even bring myself to watch more personality transplants. I'll get my fix by following the L word characters on Twitter @betteporter @mama_ti. They crack me up.

Simone said...

I'm not sorry to see it not get picked up, either. The latter half of the L word was garbage, the interrogation tapes were garbage, and the whole 6th season was a complete waste (including a huge waste of the Flawless One).

If you want to see a decent love story between two women on television, there's only one place to look: GUIDING LIGHT.

The Olivia/Natalia love story is angsty, compelling, realistic, passionate, difficult, intense - in short, better than 99% of the crap on television, gay or hetero.

Primetime is a vast wasteland right now, anyone who is missing out on this story will be kicking themselves later. Crystal Chappell is easily one of the five hottest women on television, and she's especially hot with another woman. Don't be the last lezzie on the block to get Otalia-itis.

Anonymous said...

Bette's tape is just as insanely divorced from coherent storytelling as all the rest of the final season.

The Farm had characters named Tootsie and Chachi? For realz? I wish I could say I was sad it wasn't picked up - but alas, I'm not. I'm so sick of IFC and her ego having a stranglehold on a desperate audience. I want new lesbian showrunners to have a chance.

Annie Muss said...

Actually, I killed Jenny Schecter AND Amanda Palmer. Just thought I'd clear that up for everyone.

Anonymous said...

I second collins comments. Snarker - you really should do some Otalia coverage. So sad that the longest running show in broadcast history (Guiding Light) has been axed.