"The L Word" Blues: Farewell to Showtime's Quality, Lesbian, Guilty Pleasure

The show departs Showtime after six seasons, and that's a pity.

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By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

It's not getting the attention that was paid to the series finales of "The Sopranos," or "The Wire," or my beloved "Deadwood."

(Them being the holy trinity of well-written and superbly acted made-for-cable escapes.)

But here is a nod to "The L Word," which is departing Showtime on Sunday night, after six seasons.

For about a million lesbians, and an unknown number of the rest of us who chanced upon it channel-surfing and got caught up in the story (really, I buy Playboy for the articles) Ilene Chaiken's slick, funny show was a bit of a guilty pleasure.

It was a fanciful saga of a dozen or so gorgeous gay women in glamorous clothes in glamorous L.A. who have glamorous jobs and steamy love affairs and struggle with commitment and black brassieres.

There were no Mel Brooks dykes in flannel shirts. And no preaching, either. What lessons Chaiken sought to impart were cleverly cloaked in soft-core gauze, with terrific evil villains (Mia Kirshner), and lost Lotharias (Katherine Moennig) but no persecuted victims. The show had some surprisingly good (Jennifer Beals) and especially brave (Daniela Sea) performances.

Over the top? Sure. Novelist Tom Robbins once wrote: "Poetry is nothing more than an intensification or illumination of common objects and everyday events until they shine with their singular nature...until we can follow their steps in the dance."

And so, Chaiken. "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues." With apologies to Uma Thurman, we're still waiting for the movie.

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