The L Word
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: Wayne State University Press
Series: TV Milestones Series
Title Page, Series Page, Frontispeice, Copyright, Dedication
Introduction: Histories of Representation and Misrepresentation
In January 2004, Showtime launched The L Word, the first prime-time commercial television drama to focus on the lives of lesbian and bisexual women. Over the course of six seasons, the program explored the deep bonds that linked the members of an evolving lesbian friendship circle, whose members live in...
1. The Problem of Representation
As I noted in the introduction, my central argument in this book is that The L Word demonstrates a sophisticated awareness of feminist debates about the visual representation of women and makes those debates a central theme of the program. This chapter will analyze four of...
2. The L Word’s Reflexivity
The L Word is committed to reflexivity as a key strategy for telling stories and making meaning. Reflexive texts draw attention to the artifices by which they seduce us into their illusions, and thus teach us to be more self-aware and critical consumers of representations. Many twentieth-century artists and...
3. The L Word’s Complicitous Critique of Hollywood
The L Word provides viewers with a detailed analysis of the industrial structures that have produced the systematic misrepresentation of lesbians. It offers a brutal critique of Hollywood and the people who have power in the media and entertainment industries, most of whom are portrayed as...
4. Genre: Soap-drama and Politics
The L Word is one of many shows in the hybrid genre that Glen Creeber has called “soap-drama.” Creeber argues that while such shows focus on the personal lives of a close-knit group of friends, using conventions of melodramatic serial narrative...
5. Lesbian Cultures and Communities
Another significant way that The L Word responded to Hollywood’s misrepresentation and erasure of lesbian lives was to create its own complex representation of a lesbian community, making visible many aspects of lesbian experience, history, and culture. The show’s portrait of the relationships...