Monday, January 20, 2014

Putting the L back in TV

Hard to believe, but it has indeed been 10 years since Bette’s spectacular tirades and all the spectacular hookups (and breakups and everything in between) of “The L Word. The show premiered Jan. 18, 2004. And as much as we love, love, loved to hate it, we can’t help but miss all the talking, laughing, loving, breathing, fighting, fucking, et al. Ten years after the first-ever television show about gay women and their relationships, what has changed?

There are, indeed, more women – both lesbian and bisexual characters – on TV now. From the moms on “The Fosters” to the inmates on “Orange Is the New Black” to the liars on “Pretty Little Liars” and faebians on “Lost Girl,” we have an array of representations. But, all these years later, we still don’t have another “The L Word.” Sure, we had “Lip Service” ever so briefly. And even more briefly “Exes and Ohs.” But there simply isn’t a scripted show just about gay women on TV right now.

So now the question is, should there be? This past weekend HBO premiered “Looking,” the long-awaited successor to “Queer As Folk” for gay men. Television has been incredibly reluctant to create shows set in almost exclusively gay worlds. Be it squeamishness at the LGBT content or lack of confidence in audience or something else or a combination of everything, networks just haven’t been willing to give us a chance.

Though, our characters have been incorporated in more shows. While gay characters, particularly lesbians, are seldom the singular lead to a series, we have been included successfully into a variety of shows and genres from “The Good Wife” to “Modern Family” to “Grey’s Anatomy” to “Glee.” So is it actually better to have us part of ensembles, just in the mix as we often are in our real lives – at work, in our families.

Is there value in still having shows that depict us in our own world? A world where, as LGBT folks so often do, our families are the friends we surround ourselves with? Hell fucking yeah, there is. It’s been said so much it’s cliché, but we really do create our own families. And they are worth seeing on TV.

Call me greedy, but I want it all. I think we deserve it.


Carmen SanDiego said...

I still long for a lesbian sitcom, Exes and Ohs was so close to what I wanted... As the old After Ellen tag said, visibility matters

Lesberatti said...

"The show premiered Jan. 18, 2014"

No it didn't.

Anonymous said...

Typo. Relax.

Anonymous said...

Lip service was good, but I really enjoyed exes and ohs. It was quirky, light, and all kinds of hilarious. I wish logo would have backed off rupaul just a bit to make room for it.

Stefanie Stokes said...

We definitely need something purely lesbian because as well as Looking Russell T Davies is doing 3 things regarding gay men: Cucumber, which will focus a group of middle-aged gay friends and former activists in the Manchester gay scene, Banana, a series featuring younger characters on the periphery of the Cucumber narrative, and Tofu, an online guide to gay sex