10 Years After “The L Word” premiered: Lesbians On Television

Ten years ago this Sunday, Showtime premiered the first ever television series focused on lesbian life and relationships. The L Word boasted star power from lead Jennifer Beals, legendary actress Pam Grier and the Murmurs‘ frontwoman Leisha Hailey. Behind-the-scenes were Guinevere Turner and Rose Troche of Go Fish, a popular lesbian film from the ’90s, and on the success of Queer as Folk and Sex and the City, premium cable networks were pushing the boundaries of the kinds of sexuality they would dare to show on their late night programming.

The pilot episode of The L Word introduced us to characters that we had not seen on TV. Up until 2004 queer-identified female characters were part of larger ensembles (ER), featured players in only one or very few episodes (L.A. Law) and frequently the only gay woman on the show, outside of their prospective partner/love interest. The L Word revolved around several queer-identified women (mostly lesbian, one bisexual), and they were each well-defined, three dimensional characters. If you watched the show, you saw them develop further through romances, heartaches, new friendships, protests, and other facets of life that, although often glamorized, showed that we are not all one and the same.

Continued on AfterEllen…

"You’re KateShane."

We sorted every (magical) lesbian/bi TV character in the history of the world into Hogwarts houses because we love you.

I have so many great friends from my time on the show.Kate Moennig has become one of my absolute best friends, which is really funny, because the first day I met her, she intimidated the hell out of me. I was like, “How can any one person bethis cool? It’s not normal.” I was afraid she might roll her eyes every time I opened my mouth because I’m so not cool. But, ironically, now she’s like my sister. The L Word was such a unique experience. We were all in Vancouver together, away from home, and we hung out with each other all the time. It was so rare and so great to be surrounded by that many strong, smart women.

EXCLUSIVE: “DTLA” star Erin Daniels talks missing “The L Word” and working with Emma Watson

I said, “Pam, look, I’m straight.” She’s like, “I know.” Only two girls on that show were actually gay. But I said, “I’m coming at you, I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna pursue you and get you to fall in love with me. And you are gonna do it. And I’m not gonna make you. You just watch.” And she was laughing, but sure enough, it was this romantic, great thing. At one point, I’m singing Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” to her in a parking garage and dancing her around. It was amazing. I had the best time.

Kelly Lynch on playing Ivan the drag king.

But of course — Bette Porter and Tina Kennard are the ultimate lesbian power couple. I’d love to run into them at the gym or Starbucks, although I might be too intimidated to actually talk to them. Their passion for life would make them a joy to know, even if their passion for each other might make being around them a little awkward from time to time.  - The Linster

Fictional lesbian couples we wish we knew
When you meet a lesbian who says she’s never seen an episode of The L Word.

Lesbians from WeHo insist that The L Word is like real life, but most of us don’t know any Bette Porters or Shan McCutcheons. But nearly all of us know some Dana Fairbankses. Hell, lots of us are Dana Fairbankses: Clumsy at love, kind of insecure, mostly sweet, still a little bit scared of our parents. And who among us hasn’t shared her heart with a Mr. Piddles? And then the most relatable character on the highest profile lesbian TV show that has ever (and probably will ever) exist got the kind of breast cancer that kills you faster than a snakebite. Dana’s death is the gold standard by which we measure all other shitty TV writing and general agony. WE’LL NEVER FORGET.

Trauma Verdict: The limit does not exist. - Heather Hogan

Rating lesbian character deaths on a scale of 1 to 5 crying Santana Lopezes

She murdered Mr. Piddles. Do I really need to say anything else about her? - Heather Hogan

Then 10 most annoying les/bi characters in the history of TV

Tina don’t want to act no mo.