You see, Ilene has no intention of telling us who killed Jenny. In fact, she cheerily told L.A. Times writer Kate Aurthur:
“There are ways I could still answer it if the need were to arise. But I don't actually feel compelled to answer it. The show is about character and relationships, and I used this story to deeply explore those relationships. It's a risk not to solve a mystery, admittedly.”
A risk? A risk, Ilene? No, lady, that is just ridiculous.
So, what possible reason could Ilene have for her non-ending ending? Could it be that she is ready for her close-up, Mr. DeMille?
“I hope we'll do an 'L Word' movie -- there's no plan to do an 'L Word' movie. But I would love to do that. I just believe that in some way, the show will live on....And that if there are questions that need to be answered, they'll get answered.”
Oh, so she is going to end the first major dramatic series about lesbians with a murdered lesbian and then not tell us who murdered her because, um, she wants a big movie deal? And what about that dead lesbian stereotype? Shouldn't she try to avoid instead of embrace that old chestnut?
“I'm mindful of it. But I've always considered my primary responsibility to entertain and tell good stories.”
[p.s. That L.A. Times article may or may not (totally may!) contain a couple quotes from yours snarkily. And Kate, its writer, has seen a rough cut of the finale and may or may not (totally may!) have told me, “Oh, you'll have a field day” with it.]
The great failure of “The L Word” has and continues to be that Ilene's ego is its unseen yet most insistent character. It's always there, poking its head in where it doesn't belong and derailing the other characters for no reason other than its own glorification.
In its best moments, the women of The L were able to breathe – not to mention laugh, love, fight and fuck – as if they were real, autonomous, sentient beings. But at its worst, the women moved like powerless pawns on the great chessboard of Mama Chaiken's ego. We all know those clangingly false moves immediately. The death of Dana. The shameful misuse of Max. The insane clown posse of Jenny. And if you want to be here all week we could get into the overnight personality transplants and gaping plot holes.
Continuity is important for a reason. Simple physics tells us that bodies at rest and motion tend to – in fact must – behave in certain ways. When they don't, well, nature gets cranky so same goes for viewers.
You see, Ilene, telling good stories doesn't mean just telling whatever damn story you damn well please. It means letting your characters come alive. It means letting their actions feel organically theirs, and not like your manipulations. You know a story has you when, instead of getting mad at the author, you get mad at the character if she does something stupid. That is the triumph of storytelling.
And, as always, it is painfully apparent that for all her hoo-ha about telling stories and exploring relationships, Ilene doesn't get it. Instead it comes back to – who else – her.
For as she also told the L.A. Times: “You're absolutely failing if you don't have plenty of people ranting and raving.”
So, then I guess by her standard, she is a raging, rapturous success. And I guess by ranting and raving I'm just feeding her insatiable ego. Yet still I feel deeply cheated. You see, it's not that Ilene owes us, the show's fans, anything really. Art should be able to exist outside of its audience's expectations. But she does owe her characters – her own creations – the simple courtesy of acting like themselves. And they certainly deserve the basic dignity of a reason. She owes it to Jenny to let us know who killed her. Otherwise, really, what is the fucking point?
And, perhaps, that is the point. This is Ilene Chaiken's show and don't you fucking forget it.