Monday, February 26, 2007

Man-hating lesbians do exist, it turns out

You can see them every Sunday, on The L Word. I have written before (too many posts to even start linking) that one of the many gaping flaws in The L Word is the writers' insistence on making all of the show's male characters grossly undesirable. From a thieving drug addict to a homophobic father to a man who thinks he is a lesbian, the men on The L Word are creepy. Then there's Henry, who--after a couple of sexual escapades with Tina, thinks he has the right to take away Bette's baby (don't get me started on how creepy Tina is). And Shane's cheating father. And the man who takes secret sex videos of his female roommates. And the gay man who cheats Kit out of her business. The men who aren't perverted and dishonest are portrayed as hopelessly clueless, humorless, and obsessed with their own gratification via girl-on-girl action. Now Angus (whom I never liked) is the latest cheater. The only man on The L Word who is portrayed as having both integrity and at least a little (in comparison) hip sensibility is Max, who is transgendered.

Yes, we have all met lying, cheating men, and men who see lesbians only through the glass of their own male-centered desire. Unfortunately, we have also met plenty of clueless, humorless men, too. But they are not the Entire Population of Men.

Characters like Shane and Papi, if they were men, would be called womanizers, but since they are lesbians, they are simply players. Give me a break. There are players, both male and female, who follow a code of ethics, and players who do not.

Some of the women on The L Word leave something to be desired, to be sure. Jenny, who used to be crazy but touching, is now pathologically vicious, Tina is a wimp who would sell out her own child, Marina was a manipulative trouble-maker to the core, and--in her past incarnation--the now kindly Helena was a scheming witch.

But we also get to see women of integrity on the show: Dana (what a pity she is gone), Shane, Carmen, Alice (she has morphed into an idiot, but she has integrity), Kit, and Bette, who appeared all too human when she cheated. In other words, we see all different kinds of women, and all different kinds of motivations and behaviors in each woman, while the male characters may as well be cardboard cutouts. Even Tim, who was the victim in his relationship with Jenny, was written so that, in the end, we disliked him and felt sorry for Jenny.

The men even look unattractive. Whenever we see a group of men, such as at a party or at a public place, they look hopelessly straight (not in the sexual way), with bad haircuts and stupid clothes, while the women sport high L.A. fashion. They are the kind of men whom all women--not just gay women--spend a lifetime trying to avoid. Probably a lot of men do whatever it takes to avoid them, too: They are dorky, creepy, out-of-it, lascivious goons. In this sense, The L Word is a cartoon, and not a very good one.


I had been debating whether to catch up on the rest of the season - having missed several of the last episodes - and now I'm still not sure, but am glad for the forewarnings here... we'll see. The problem is of course I'd be compelled to write about it, and I have too much damned material these days as it is. (Though you seem often to have the same problem... and manage it gracefully...but how?! )

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:04 AM  

I sometimes ask myself why I watch The L Word, it has become so offensive and just plain bad. I liked the first season, and the second was pretty good, too. There is still occasionally some good humor in it (it used to be very funny), and I do like a few of the characters, especially Jodi, the new character played by Marlee Matlin.

Thanks for the kind words...I think I have just enough of a case of brain-on-fire that I am all over the place--not always to my advantage!

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