The L Word and Its Lack of Monogamy

Now before I really delve into the topic of The L Word and monogamy, I would like to state for the record that I LOVE the L Word! I'm a HUGE fan and think it's a really entertaining show to watch. I'm actually quite saddened that next year will be the 6th and final season, and as much as I like to make fun of Ilene Chaiken and the other writers for their cheesy plot lines and writing, you know that my ass is parked in front of that TV every Sunday night at 7pm PST. With that said, I would like to explore the lack of monogamy themes on our favorite lesbian drama, The L Word.

Ever since the first season of The L Word, cheating has been incorporated into the plot about as often as two women kissing, and if you've seen the show, you'll know that's a lot. I sat down and thought about all the cheating that had occurred over the past 5 seasons and was quite shocked at the list I came up with:

Season One:
- Alice cheats on Lisa, the lesbian identified man with Andrew, who initially was set up with Dana by their mothers. Jenny cheats on Tim with Marina.
- Bette cheats on Tina with Carpenter-Candace.

Season Two:
- Dana cheats on Tonya with Alice (don’t we all remember the scene in which they go at it on the living room floor and end up in the kitchen with whip cream and strawberries…?).
- Tina cheats on Helena with Bette after the sonogram
- Kit is sleeping with married man, Dr. Benjamin Bradshaw, the motivation speaker.

Season Three:
- Shane cheats on Carmen with Cherie (and let’s not forget that Shane was with her in season one while she was still married).
- Tina cheats on Bette with Josh
- Jenny cheats on Max with the French woman at Shane and Carmen's wedding

Season Four:
- Phyllis cheats on her husband with Alice
- Angus cheats on Kit with Hazel (the skanky nanny)

Season Five:
- Shane cheats on Paige with the Realtor
- Lover Cindy cheats on Dawn Denbo with Shane
- Nikki cheats on Jenny with some actor dude

So there you have it, the proof is in the non-monogamous pudding. As I started to think more and more about these prevalent themes of cheating in the lesbian community as portrayed on The L Word, I wondered what the basis for it all was. After all, The L Word is hugely influential on the lesbian/bisexual/transgendered community. Do you think all the cheating is based on real-life lesbian experiences and that the lesbian community is really as promiscuous and anti-monogamous as the L Word portrays it to be? OR, do you think that The L Word has taken the cheating story lines too far and is depicting a negative image of what the lesbian community is like? After all, the writers of Queer As Folk got a bad rap for incorporating so much promiscuity in QAF, yet, it resonated as ironically accurate in real life. As much as we love the L Word, we can't help but deny the fact that it is watched by millions of impressionable young gay women. Is this the message we really want to give them?

Personally, I am an advocate for monogamy. I think it is important to build a healthy, stable and monogamous relationship with someone you love. I don't condone cheating and I also don't think it is acceptable. The L Word seems to paint a picture that cheating is not only prominent, but it's tolerable, showing that couples who cheat on each other get away with it, and then get back together despite of it. I understand that hot, steamy affairs add an element of intrigue, drama and excitement in a fantasy sense to the storyline, but what's to be said about a show that can't even boast ONE solid, happy, long-term, MONOGAMOUS relationship?

Although The L Word is coming to an end after next season, I would have liked to see more stable, healthy relationships thrown into the mix. It would've been nice to see one couple 'make it' and defy the stereotype that lesbians can't hold down stable long-term relationships. The one thing I really don't understand is why there is so much dysfunction in the relationships on the show, when the show is written/directed/produced by lesbians. I would probably expect this type of behavior exhibited from straight authors, prejudiced against gays, but to have such dark and negative themes from lesbians themselves can only make me think that either a) Ilene Chaiken is really jaded and has had her heart broken too many times or b) She's actually straight.

Call me the eternal optimist, if you will, but maybe I've just read too many love stories, written too many romantic poems and dreamed too many dreams of being swept away by Princess Charming to want to be able to watch a show where lesbians get to have their "Happily Ever After" too. Here's hoping the final season of The L Word gives us something wonderful to look forward to, for once.


Anonymous said...

Here Here - I agree!! Bring on the stable couples!!!

Trop said...

The whole show is idiotic. The best part about it was season one when Bette and Tina were a committed couple. I don't recognize anyone I know in my vast circle of lesbian friends... we are all in committed relationships, some going on 20 years. We have interesting lives that could make for interesting plot lines. Why this show chooses feature so much cheating and promiscuity is beyond me.

Lori said...

Ihave to agree with you on all counts. I love the show, however every week I'm disappointed that someone else "screwed" up (so to speak) Bette and Tina was bad enough but now the teaser shows Alice possibly kissing the fashion girl!!! Tasha left the military for her!!! don't get me going! I do love the line " I hope you bleed soon" (I may use that)

Lesberita said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only that feels this way!!

Serena said...

While you have several points - it's weird that there are barely any monogamous couples on the L Word - I'd just like to state that it is possible to have a happy, healthy stable relationship without being monogamous. I've been in a relationship with the same woman for six years now and I don't see our relationship as any less committed than another relationship just because we occasionally have flings with other people. We're always honest and talk about everything, and that's more than a lot of monogamous couples can say.

Anonymous said...

Monogomy doesn't always equal good drama... and the L Word is all about the drama.

Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to read a different view, you may go here:


The comment box is too small for my thoughts on the subject.

karla said...

It is about money.The goverment and pharmaceutical companies do not want to here about no more STD as END SATAGE AIDS in a 25 year old women or men. That actualy spend $10,000-15,000 every month in hospice services. If you don't have insure who pay for? the goverment with taxes. Who pay more tax then married people? the single. Which community have more singles that sand on the ocean? The homosexual. It's about money

E Tease said...

Lesbian/Gay man=in a relationship in a community of many hot people to chose. some lust too strong, infidelity comes before guilty/drama.
straight people=in a world of all people, billions of hotties, some are able to just live, others are horny, etc.

whats the difference? media spotlight

al said...

I think the reason we watch TV dramas is to watch people with more exciting lives than ours, and thus often more problems and more dramatic situations.

Being a groundbreaking show often means you have to answer for things that other shows, like traditional soap operas that are built on scandalous behavior, don't have to, but conflict and drama is the source of why such shows are entertaining to begin with.

Saggi said...

The L-word is one of the first and most striking shows about the lesbian community. It is not that it represents the whole community, it's just shows a lot of drama and that's what attracts people who know that their "ass is parked in front of that TV every Sunday night at 7pm" just to watch the show! Maybe, if all the series had more monogamic relationships it would be a boring...and Im almost sure it wouldnt be the exciting hit that it is today!! Straight or gay, people like to the tension of the surprising happenings!
Besides, most of the people, nowadays in this so-called "free world" (and as a matter of fact it is much much freeer than it used to be), DO CHEAT...straight or gay, there are always people who cheat! And those are coming more and more frequent..because of the "free-will" and the "i dont care" and the pseudo-"i have the right to be happy" thing! Also, you dont get the same person cheating and having non-monogamic relationships all the time...apart from Shane lol.
I think that as a producer Ilene Chaiken was just trying attract a lot of spectators, and very successfully she did!

suman said...

The L Word was an American co-production television drama series.I Watch The L Word Online.i like this show so much.