Monday, January 02, 2006

One week from tonight, all the crazy women are back!

Both Desperate Housewives and The L Word begin their new seasons next Sunday night, and are shown back to back, but on different networks. It's almost too much to take in at once, but a lot of fun.

I think Desperate Housewives is the better show. It is wickedly camp funny, and it doesn't try to be anything else. Its use of A Letter to Three Wives type of narration is part of its cleverness. The L Word has moments when it is funny, moments when it is visually stunning, moments when it is profound--but it can't seem to settle on an identity. It has way too much sex--almost as though it is marketing itself as a titillation for heterosexual men. On the other hand, it has marvelous guest stars: Rosanna Arquette, Anne Archer, Ossie Davis, Sandra Bernhard. This coming season, both Alan Cumming and Margot Kidder will be featured.

The L Word also features an excellent soundtrack. Unfortunately, the original theme song, "Love Was Made for You and Me," a song from my childhood and one which perfectly suited the show, was trashed in the second season and replaced with a hideous ditty composed and performed by the Los Angeles group, Betty. I kind of like some of the things Betty performs on the show, but not the theme song.

Another good thing The L Word does is present bisexuality as a natural preference, rather than something trendy or ultra-chic, and the show also includes characters who are transgendered.

Whether you're visiting Wisteria Lane or The Planet, you will find enough neurotic women to satisfy your need to feel mentally healthy. My favorite desperate housewife is Bree, played by Marcia Cross (who spent most of this season listening, yet again, to rumors that she is a lesbian; she says she isn't, but the media fantasy certainly created a nice blur into the next hour of television), whom many will remember from Seinfeld. I like Bree because she is quite humorous in spite of herself, and because I empathize with her compulsivity. Eva Longoria's hilarious Gabriela is my other favorite. This past season, Alfre Woodard was added to the cast.

One of the reasons to watch The L Word is Pam Grier, who has found a good television home playing Kit, the manager of The Planet, the club where the show's characters hang out; her sister Bette is played by Jennifer Beals. The show's most interesting character, the psycho-sexually unformed Jenny, is played by Canadian actor Mia Kirshner, who brings a kind of radiant edge to the role which keeps the show from getting bogged down in its own sometimes over-ambitious goals.

2 Comments:

Would not wish to jump the snark here. While I would never say it, some might feel the narrator houswife bit is getting a bit desperate.

Of course I speak of himself/myself in the third person because I am the last person to wish to draw attention to myself/himself.

I/he enjoy(s) your/your commentary on these shows. Much more than the "look at me" (or is it "listen to me") commentary from dead narrator lady who has a very lively voice. I hope to sound that good when I am dead.

Thank you for your support and kind words.

By Anonymous The Heretik, at 1:26 AM  

I know the television writer at Slate thinks the narrator has gone overboard, but he hates the show, so there you are. I still enjoy the conceit--the whole show is so over the top.

I do wonder about the shelf life of the show, though. Kind of like "Who killed Laura Palmer?"

By Anonymous Diane, at 9:41 AM  

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