What the L? – The Progressive, 2/28/2004

The same week The L-Word premiered on Showtime, The W announced that he was going to press for 1.5 billion dollars for his so-called “Healthy Marriage Initiative.” More cry-for-help than policy, the red meat thrown before the Atkins wing of The Republican Party [see also Mad Vow] would offer training to low income couples in interpersonal skills that sustain healthy, read ‘straight’, marriage – disposing of the body, cheating on one’s spouse and avoiding child care payments.


Actually the initiative would teach problem solving, negotiating, and listening, skills which might then trickle up to the Bush administration. Advertising campaigns will publicize the value of marriage, augmented by the fine work of The Bachelorette and My Big Fat Fianc√©. A mentoring program will use married couples as role models of healthy marriage. If you’re thinking Britney and Jason, or Liza and David, you are being as condescending to marriage as this initiative is to poor people.

The L-word. The M-word. Coinky dink or causal? Pre-emptive or post-emptive? Also that week the Husband-in-Chief announced that he was going to press for funds for the “Pow You to the Moon Project”, formerly known as “Star Wars Missile Defense”. The L-Word’s original name had been “Earthlings” and the L’s meet regularly at a local queer hangout called The Planet. Stop me before I connect more dots. Well, they couldn’t call it Neverland could they?

They could have, because most of us older L’s NEVER thought we’d see The L-Word on television. Our household signed up for Showtime, no doubt sinking me and my cultural war bride in a Homeland Security counterinsurgency data mine somewhere.

I have every confidence that given more of a chance than Ellen ever got, the show will develop character and story lines to rival any long running soap opera. We enjoyed the first episode. It’s been a very cold winter in the Northeast so we appreciate the heat potential of the weekly series and the savings on our home heating bill.

I also enjoyed the foreplay of the previews and the post-coital cigarette reviews. Some previews said the show was a soft porn, “Lesbian Thigh for the Straight Guy”. Most reviews opined that the show was not reflective of lesbian life. Repeat after me – Tel-e-vi-sion.

For a few days after the first episode I viewed my own life through an L-Word lens. Me at the dry cleaners – “This would be a great scene,” and fantasized that the character of the young Shane, the sexual roue, was based on my life. Finally, my domestic partner kindly pointed out that I am an actual lesbian. Still there are a few episodes I would like to see.

During an intake exam when they finally go to the sperm bank, Jennifer Beals discovers through a background DNA check that she is the great-great-granddaughter of Strom Thurmond. Should she come out about it? She tells one L and soon the whole alphabet knows. She rends her t-shirt in shame and restarts a trend. All the L’s rally around her, don short spiky orange wigs and welcome her to the hangout with the banner “Nous Sommes Toutes Les Filles de Strom Thurmond.”

THE L- BOAT: A Navy of Ex-Lovers cannot sail
The L’s all go on a lesbian cruise together to celebrate the franchising of The Planet. While at sea, a friend of bisexual Alice, who is dogsitting her pitbull/poodle mix, accidentally trips the invisible electric dog fence which shuts down the California power grid, which trips the terror color levels to orange, so Gov. Col Klink authorizes the Coast Guard to board the ship. The L’s are in the middle of a Mistress and Commander shipboard game, mistakenly think the Coasties are part of the game and attack them with pool noodles. They impound the ship and toss all the Ls into Guantanamo until further notice. Ginger, the prison warden, has pity on them.

Turns out blonde Tina’s father is the Vice President of the United States! During the v-p debates, he had sidemouthed that the whole issue of gay unions should be left to the states. He changes his tune and says he is in favor of a constitutional amendment to limit marriage to straight people. And he’s coming to visit! The libber Ls are outraged for Tina and think she should not let him in the house. The conservative Ls feel her pain, but don’t want her to upset him, what with his heart condition and all. After a prolonged body cavity search by her father’s Secret Service detail, Vice Dad says wink wink, he didn’t mean her. He’s got people who will do nuptials in his private bunker/wedding chapel.

Kate “Gimme an L!” Clinton does humor-related program activities.