Goodbye L Word
Last Sunday, viewers across the nation awaited the much anticipated series finale of Showtime’s iconic The L Word. For six seasons, The L Word made her-story as the first women-centered, lesbian-dominated drama. The series not only took on the sometimes complicated relationships between women, it addressed: the first hearing impaired lesbian; bisexuality; drag kings; cross dressers; the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy; biracial identity and relationships; gay parenting; transsexuals; transsexual pregnancy; self-mutilation; sexual abuse; breast cancer; sexual exploration and sexual discovery … all in six years. The L Word gave lesbianism a voice, a variety of faces and complex stories.
As a devout fan, I can’t help but wonder – does the end of the series mean the end of visibility for the lesbian community? In six years, the series was able to extend beyond the show, reaching audiences through LGBT media, traditional national and local media, online media and corporate partnerships unlike any other show has before. The show, its creator and actors all became public figures for the LGBT movement – helping to bring to light our issues and our lives. For outlets that have extensively covered The L Word, such as Curve, what will the end of The L Word mean? Online outlets, including SheWired.com and AfterEllen.com, have dedicated whole sections of their blogs, forums and Web sites to the series. Will The L Word have a lasting effect or will these outlets face difficulty with highly relevant and engaging news?
The end of The L Word leaves open the possibility and opportunity to engage a now untapped audience. The millions of lesbians who participated in the show’s season premiere and finale parties are left waiting for the next big “L” thing. The L Word creator, Ilene Chaiken, is awaiting news on whether the show’s spinoff, The Farm, receives the green light. If this show can succeed and expand on its predecessor’s impact remains the question. For a show with a distinct niche audience, The L Word was able to broadly engage a variety of audiences, within and outside the LGBT community. It was able to educate audiences — allowing us to move forward and create change.
Originally Posted: Mar 13, 2009