The L Word: Generation Q
It’s the holiday season (do doop, do doo) so maybe I’m reading into things, but this week’s episode of The L Word: Generation Q was my queer Christmas special — well, my other queer Christmas special, along with that episode of My So-Called Life wherein Rickie meets Juliana Hatfield and she’s an angel. YOU KNOW THE ONE. Truly, though, this episode has everything that makes the season bright: Shane shane-ing someone in the backroom of the bar, lesbians trying to be friends with their exes, church-related stress, and voicemails from a dad!
So to begin: Shane has impulse-shaned a bar. (Seeing how many verbs I can replace with “shane” — in this case, I mean “bought.”) Alice is excited about this. Bette is worried. Jamie Clayton’s character is appreciative and Mercedes Mason’s character is horny for Shane. Yes, Shane will shane this horny bartender by the end of the episode and, yes, that is complicated because Shane is upset her marriage has shaned (waned?) but is still open to putting someone else’s relationship in jeopardy, and ready to leap back in before things are really wrapped up. Honestly, sounds like queerness to me.
Speaking of queerness, Alice spends her time this week chatting with actual Megan Rapinoe about her actual Megan Rapinoe life. Megan is a true champ and deserves any screen time she gets — and also, speaking as a dyed-hair dyke who men could not stop congratulating on winning the World Cup, her appearance here means I get to continue to confuse gentlemen asking for photos with me in airports, which is fun. We also see Ms. Pieszecki try to set her GF, Nat, back up with Nat’s ex, Gigi, on a friend date. Alice ends up feeling too second fiddle, and my second favorite moment in the episode is when A, after being boxed out of the conversation between ex-wives, abruptly tells Gigi, “Well, good night.” It’s the best exit I’ve seen since that one time I walked in the front door of a party, realized I hated parties, traveled directly through the house saying hello, walked out the back door and went home.
What’s my first favorite moment of the episode? Well, it’s Angie punching her slut-shaming classmate right in the old kisser. Angie is relatable. It would be annoying to have perfect, strict, and morally ambiguous Bette Porter as a mom. It would be annoying to have a political candidate as a parent. And Angie’s experiences with coded racism would make anyone want to Rocky Balboa the rest of the world. I am hungry for more scenes wherein Angie is with pals, with herself or out in the world. I have no idea how old Jordan Hull, who plays Angie, is, but that human is likable and full of teenaged-ness and all I want to do is put her in whatever school Zendaya attends in Euphoria so she’s surrounded by fewer Tracy Flicks.
Speaking of flicks, we do get a slightly good skin flick (that’s an old-timey word for porn, children!) when Micah, having been blown off by Shirtless Neighbor, has couch sex with a random. As a correction: Last week I stated that Micah was a top, and we see him bottoming here. Cool, cool, a versatile fellow! Micah refers later to his pattern of using anonymous sex to cope with rejection and Sophie comforts him, saying it’s okay to have anonymous sex. There’s something about Micah in this scene — his shame, maybe — that makes me hope he makes some more gay dude friends, specifically gay trans dude friends. You’re not alone, my bud!
And when it comes to loneliness, few things can bring that horrible holiday feeling like being raised Catholic. Latent Catholicism will echo in my life this week, and it echoes in the world of the show this week, too. Finley was also raised in THE CHURCH and found that shit DAMAGING (understood, my dude, understood). In this episode, we learn that the gal Finley banged last week and rolled around in bed with this week is a minister. Finley is freaked out by this, though pretty vague about why, so we queers get to fill in our own experiences with organized religion. It seems maybe she’ll find faith this season? Or at least heal wounds done by a skyman-worshipping set of octogenarian Italian guys.
Elsewhere in made-for-TV Silverlake, a younger-than-80 but still gray guy is messing up his daughter’s life in the present. Well, that or Dani is prioritizing her father over her fiancee by tailoring her choice of wedding venue to wherever she thinks won’t let her father down. This pressure — to choose between family of origin and our partners — is one that can be felt by all couples, but is even stronger in the queer community. I find never having a male partner whose needs I need to bow to affects the way I am treated by friends and family; it even affects the way I treat myself. Patriarchy is insidious and when you’re raised in it, like we all are, it can be extra hard to navigate the switch to putting your partner first (well, yourself first and then your partner). I loved this part of the episode, and I hope we see more of that tension.
That tension — who to prioritize, family of origin or chosen family — is a huge part of what makes the holidays so fucking bonkers for queer folks. Maybe you’re not welcome at home, maybe you’re welcome at home but not in that shirt from the men’s section, or maybe you and your family get along just fine but you wish you had more queer community in your life. Whatever your deal, you’re not alone. There is every type of person in our queer family, having every type of holiday. A Merry Bettemas to you.
• I used to podcast in the same building used as a location for Bette’s campaign headquarters. The show was called Wham Bam Pow. Look it up and you’ll hear us talking about action movies IN THAT SAME SPACE. I bet if you really raise the volume on this season, you’ll hear our voices rattling around there in these scenes.
• Kudos to whatever actor landed the role of “Jeff Milner,” Bette’s mayoral opponent. No more thankless job than being the guy we don’t want to be mayor.
• There is a real church called the MCC in Los Feliz, an Eastside neighborhood near where a lot of this was shot. That location is not where they shot this episode, but it is a wildly queer and trans-affirming church, and I love their services. Here’s hoping they get a TLW bump in attendance, because those sweeties are doing good work.