I was putting the finishing touches on this article when I heard that the L Word was being cancelled. I’d liked the series—most of my ideas about how to improve the show involved introducing more diversity. I wanted to see some working class issues explored. I wanted at least one character that was not super-skinny, and I would have appreciated the presence and discussion of some body issues. What I wanted most, though, was a real butch character—big and strong, with short hair and an attitude. I wanted a shot of reality thrown into the mix. My original article was academic—respectable for sure, but not that much fun.
When I heard that the show would only be coming back for eight more episodes, suddenly all of my opinions became irrelevant. I am sure the producers know exactly what is going to happen in the last season; they are probably already shooting. So even if my ideas had been good, any changes I suggested would now be pointless.
I was upset for about a minute and then I thought, well, why don’t I do a tribute to the show? After all, the airing of this series was an historical event—it was the first show of its kind. So I started thinking about what made the L Word so remarkable and groundbreaking. Was it a glimpse into lesbian reality? Yes. Did it relaunch actresses’ careers? Yes. Did it show powerful women and shatter stereotypes? Sure did.
But what was really arresting about the show? What kept gay (and straight) people tuning in for the last five years? Then it hit me. It’s the sex. It’s women fucking other women on TV. It’s women doing things to each other onscreen—things that I do and have had done to me. Of course, the show is amazing on many levels, but for me and everyone else I know, it was the sex that kept us gripped to our seats.
So, screw the theoretical deconstruction of the show. I want to celebrate all the juicy, hot sex the gals have given us over the years. In my last tribute to the L Word, I humbly give you my Top Three Sex Scenes of All Time (and one sex scene I wish they would have done!).
#3: Bette and Tina
I have to admit that ever since Tina went out with that guy, she has gotten on my nerves—and so has Bette, for that matter. Both of them just made me—ugh … frustrated. The wounded looks and permanent frowny face from Bette, the irritating victimhood and oblivion of Tina—I didn’t care about either of them and certainly didn’t think I wanted them back together. When they kissed at the party, I was unimpressed. There was no fire, no spark. It didn’t look like a forbidden-kiss-with-your-one-true-love kind of kiss. I shrugged it off.
But then—the kitchen scene. Bette is stirring the food. Tina is behind her. Tina says, “Bette. Turn around.” And she does; and they kiss; and OH MY GOD; Oh my God! Since I own the DVD of this episode (thanks, Showtime), I have played it multiple times and I love it love it love it! Just thinking about it makes me feel all funny in my tummy. The part where Tina flips Bette and (finally) takes control of her is hot, liquid gold. Bette saying Tina’s name is so real, heartbreaking, and raw—I was instantly transported to the time in my life when I finally surrendered to my true love. Sniff sniff—I guess I did want them to get back together.
#2: Helena and Dusty (Okay, Anybody)
I don’t know if it’s the accent or the eyes, but I love me some Helena. Even though she was a rich, snotty bitch when she first came onto the scene, I still liked her. Something was always missing though—I never got to see Helena vulnerable. Sure, she lost her money and power along the way and had to fend for herself, but she still acted as if she were above those around her. I really wanted someone to come along and challenge that. Dylan sorta did, but not in the ball-busting way I wanted my sweet Helena to be brought to her knees. And then we met Ms. Dusty.
It was a real treat to see Helena overcome with emotion for once, put in her place, scared, silenced. When her cellmate (real-life professional boxer, Lucia Rijker) pushed her against the wall, I was both jealous and impressed with Dusty’s strength. The energy between them was palpable—and hot. I mean, it’s hard for prison sex not to be hot, but there was something very moving about that scene. Something in Helena shifted; she wasn’t just this incredibly smoking-hot goddess anymore—she gained some depth. And her running off with the money and the girl? New batteries, please.
Sure, I would be thrilled to watch Helena do just about anything—wash dishes, file her nails, buy toilet paper. Her mere existence is sufficient to stake out a spot on this list.
#1: Alice and Dana
This was a hard one. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Love Boat fantasy, but I have to pick Alice and Dana’s first sex scene as my number one favorite. Dana reveals that she always thought Alice had great boobs and Alice reveals that she always thought Dana was a hottie. When Dana bends over, Alice, as serious as can be—as if she were in awe of a wondrous piece of art—remarks, “Dana, you have a really nice ass.” Dana flips around, they kiss, and then it’s on.
The song, “Finally,” explodes onto the scene as Alice and Dana struggle to get clothes off. The effect is comedic, but also very genuine and sweet. They are laughing and kissing; Dana falls off the couch. When the scene moves to more serious fucking, the viewer is pulled in even more. Alice whispers that she wants more of Dana (more fingers it turns out). The camera pans to fingers gripping the carpet, very steamy indeed. Then laughs follow as they nearly get busted and have to remove handcuffs while Dana’s girlfriend has her back turned—good stuff.
I think this scene is brilliant and I don’t think there is a person out there who can’t relate to it. It is a rollercoaster—intense, funny, normal, climatic, and real. But most of all, we know that these characters are really in love—and that is hotter than anything.
Shane/Carmen, Dylan/Helena, Shane/Cheri, Max/Jodi’s interpreter.
One Sex Scene They Should Have Done
Sisters, realtors, friends, straight women, socialites, flower delivery girls, other women’s girlfriends—Shane has had them all. It is rumored that Shane has slept with nearly one thousand women and the producers and writers of the L Word certainly kept Shane busy between the sheets over the course of the series. You would think, at this point, that we’d seen it all … but we haven’t.
Though there is no rhyme or reason to Shane’s type of woman, nearly all her sex scenes have one striking thing in common—Shane is on top. She is the fucker—never the fuckee—and I know women like this exist in the lesbian world; but more often than not, in real life, even the butchiest butch gets bent over every once in a while, trust me. But not Shane—she never gives it up.
If I could script one sex scene that never was but should have been, it would be this one—Shane getting topped by a big ol’ butch dyke. I would like to see her controlled, not controlling; for once, not just making all the other girls weak in the knees, but shaking in her boots with downright desire and abandon for a woman tougher, stronger, bigger, and badder than she is. I would like to see this woman fuck her and then leave her. Shane would not be humiliated or hurt—but stunned … and exhausted, with a big dopey grin on her face. Mmmm … sweet.
So, au revoir L Word—you will be missed. With only the reruns to keep us warm at night, where will we turn for our lesbian soap opera needs? I hope we see something new on the horizon soon; and Ilene Chaiken, if you haven’t launched a new project yet, I propose the D Word—about a group of dykes living in San Francisco. I would be glad to star in the pilot—opposite Drew Barrymore, with lots and lots of sex scenes. Now, that’s sweet.
Photo courtesy of Showtime