TV Review: L Word Season 3 Premiere

Monday, January 09, 2006

From Showtime: The third season opens with Bette and Tina trying to rekindle their sexual groove after having a child; road rage grabs hold of Alice as she chases after Dana through the streets of Los Angeles; Helena purchases a movie studio; Jenny leaves the mid-west and heads back out to LA.

My Rating: 3 out of 4

The L Word returns to Showtime this week for its third season. Fans have been anxiously awaiting its return to see what happens next with their favorite lesbians. Season two ended on a bittersweet note with the birth of Bette and Tina's baby and Jenny's breakdown both playing a major focus in the finale episode.

In the past, the series tackled numerous issues of importance to not only the gay and lesbian community, but to people in general. We witnessed the breakdown of a not only in essence a marriage due to infidelity. Season 2 also showed the breakdown of one young woman's psyche over the course of a few months time due to the uncovering of a traumatic childhood event unleashed by a present day one. We saw relationships form and end.

However, many fans were not all too happy with the way the season played out, myself included. The focus of the series seemed to shift somewhere midseason, and this shifting in the story lines confused and even angered many. Rumors are already spreading that this season, season three, might be the final season of the highly acclaimed series that earned its second season after only the shows first airing two years ago.

Even more rumors are flying about the possible non-return of Jennifer Beals if the series continues on to a fourth season. An L Word without Bette might send fans into an uproar. Fans are hoping that serious changes are made with the show this season, but having read the spoilers of what Ilene has to come for us in regards to all things L Word, those changes aren't forthcoming. In fact, things might even be worse this season than last.

Let's hope that doesn't end up being the case. If it does end up being the case though, fans won't sit still and watch. This season they do have choices. Other shows related to the GLBT community are out there. Entire networks are now available. The L Word, and in the past Queer as Folk, are no longer the only game in town.

Tonight's episode titled, Labia Majora, picks up six months after the events that ended season two, and this world in which our favorite characters live in is now very different than where we left off at the end of last season. We quickly learn that Alice and Dana are no longer together, and Alice isn't handling the break-up between the two of them at all well. In fact, it appears in the early minutes of the premiere she is popping pills, and we soon learn she is on Ritalin for her issues resulting from the break-up. She is now obsessed with Dana, and Dana is now back with former flame, Lara.

The majority of this episode does focus on Alice and her obsession with her now ex-girlfriend. Alice has really lost all control, and it is obvious when she sees Dana, her obsession goes full speed ahead. Upon seeing her at The Planet, Alice causes a scene that makes the whole group uncomfortable and makes Dana and Lara leave. Later on, Alice sees Dana while driving through Los Angeles, and she proceeds to chase her through the streets until she finally loses her.

It also appears that Helena and Alice have become buddies in a peculiar development. In fact, after a visit to have her tarot cards read, Helena seems to think the romance prophesized in her cards is actually with new pal Alice. Helena has also recently purchased a movie studio. A good portion of the drastic changes so far seems to be with Alice's character, but there is more.

Let's move on to new parents, Bette and Tina. Their infant daughter, Angelica, is now six months old, and Bette is moving forward to adopt the baby as a second parent. This is an issue that will bring forth the difficulty lesbian mothers have in adopting children, as we can soon see the social worker will not be easy on them at all. Rebecca, the social worker, is disabled, and they don't win any points right off the bat with their parenting style. The couple is practicing attachment parenting, which means the baby is held at all times. They haven't kept the crib or the beautiful nursery we saw in the house at the end of season two, and the house has been in no way, shape or form been prepared for a baby. The social worker is also not pleased that there is no obvious male influence for the young infant. With Bette's current unemployed status, it seems there might be a problem with the state permitting her to adopt Angelica. The couple will have a second chance with the social worker, but she is truly not happy with the living situation as it is currently.

What about everyone's favorite hairdresser? Shane is still happily in relationship heaven with Carmen, and Shane is now even meeting the family. However, there is a problem. Carmen isn't truly out with her parents. As a Latina woman, it would be hard to find acceptance as a lesbian woman in her family. As a bisexual Latina myself, I can understand this difficulty. So when Shane finds herself going to meet the family, she decides to play it straight for the sake of Carmen. Playing it straight goes so far as us getting to see Shane in a dress when Carmen's mother invites her to a special gathering the family is having the following week. Of course Carmen has no problem playing a quick game of too hot when her mother leaves the room.

Shane isn't the only one having to play it straight, but this time it isn't by choice. Jenny has returned home to her family in order to recover from her breakdown. We can soon see that Jenny's mother think that her daughter being gay is part of her illness, and this is something that must change. Jenny seems to be the most accepting of her sexuality than she has been since the start of the series, and she stands up to her mother on this issue. She won't change what she is to fit in with her religious family structure.

In fact, we soon see she has developed a relationship with a woman in her hometown, Moira. She takes her home, and the two are caught having sex by Jenny's parents. They in turn throw her out, and Jenny stands up even further for herself. She seems to be the strongest she's been in awhile, and this is a welcome change to how her character ended season two. In a touching scene between mother and daughter, the two find acceptance with Jenny's past, and Jenny finds the acknowledgement from her mother she'd always been wanting, but never received. Moira and Jenny are now on their way to Los Angeles.

A minor subplot of this episode follows Kit and the changes happening within her since her father's passing at the end of season two. It seems the issues between she and her son have also been resolved, as she visits him in his capacity as a doctor, and by the end of the episode we learn she is entering menopause.

All in all, this episode in my opinion was a poor start for this season. We jump six months ahead, which in itself is fine, but there are so many changes that are offered with our characters as fact that have no explanation whatsoever. Alice's character has drastically changed. She's always been a bit high strung, but this takes the cake. Last season, Jenny had her breakdown, as did Bette. Now it appears to be Alice's turn to have her own issues, and I don't know if that is fair.

I'm also not sure how we are expected to believe Dana and Lara are just back together. They appear to be living together. Even some back-story thrown in with dialogue would have been nice. The same can be said for Kit and her son. Last I knew they had problems, and now they are sitting her office discussing her bodily functions. Definitely a change of pace from previous encounters between the two characters.

I'm quite curious to see how things develop here. The series is still handling important issues that do affect the GLBT community such as familial acceptance and adoption within gay and lesbian couples, but these issues are a bit diluted with all the changes that have occurred. We will have to see how this season of The L Word progresses over time.

You can find a download of next week's episode here.


Copyright © One Couch Critic