The third season of the hit show, The L Word, follows a group of friends - both gay and straight - through stories of career, family, inner struggle, friendship and romantic relationships. Stars Jennifer Beals, Erin Daniels, Leisha Hailey, Laurel Holloman, Mia Kirshner, Katherine Moennig, Sarah Shahi, Rachel Shelley and Pam Grier.
The third season of Showtime's The L Word
is all about transitions. The season opens with Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey) coping with her between-seasons break-up with Dana Fairbanks (Erin Daniels), who is herself headed for an even heavier series of transitions. Kit Porter (Pam Grier) both falls in love with a younger man and discovers she is going through menopause. Shane (Katherine Moennig), who spent much of the first two seasons of the show hopping from bed to bed, finds herself more or less committed to Latina deejay Carmen (Sarah Shahi). And the second season's resident villain, Helena Peabody (Rachel Shelley), becomes embroiled in a sexual harassment case that leaves her ultimately looking like the victim. As with previous seasons, The L Word
gets all hot and bothered with various seductions filmed to sometimes jarring music on the soundtrack, but it's the day-to-day foibles and celebrations of Los Angeles's lesbian community that keep the show interesting. Newcomer Moira/Max (Daniela Sea) begins the process of gender reassignment, making for some curious situations with potential employers. Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman) begin to drift apart when Tina lands a big movie studio job and starts feeling attracted to men, leading to a custody battle over their baby daughter. Where The L Word
starts getting preachy and obvious is in the opening flashback sequences. When these vignettes refer to current characters of the show, they make sense; when they depict situations meant to underline how queer identity has evolved over the years, they seem politically overloaded. The L Word
works intelligently through its characters' concerns without having to resort to such direct appeals for tolerance. Its strength isn't in making lesbian culture appear more mainstream, but in making us care and identify with these women's struggles, regardless of our sexual orientation. --Ryan Boudinot